Missing the Guy in the Empty Chair


ChairWe’re producing a generation of spiritual dwarfs.
Many in the church are going through the motions, but their faith
lacks vibrancy, exuberance, life and contagion.

They may be saying the right stuff. Doing the right stuff. But
missing the main thing.

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Yesterday I met a man who gets it. He introduced me to an empty
chair. At least, it seemed empty. By the way, this guy’s name is
not Clint Eastwood.

His name is Wally Armstrong. He’s a PGA golfer, author, and
friend of Jesus. He just finished a book called 
Practicing the Presence of Jesus

He explained how individuals and churches so often miss the main
thing-a true friendship with Jesus. He said, “Either we are caught
up in a flurry of performance as we try to live the Christian life
in service, or we set our minds on acquiring more knowledge in the
hope that with wisdom we will gain holiness. Of course, both of
these paths leave us empty, because we’ve overlooked what Jesus
came to give us.”

Armstrong described how, after spending decades hearing about
Jesus in church, he chose to look at Jesus in a fresh new way. He
chose to imagine Jesus as a present, contemporary friend-a
companion. He pictured Jesus sitting in a chair beside him.

It transformed his prayer life and his entire relationship with
Jesus.  He positioned an empty chair in his den. “I began
picturing my Friend sitting across from me in the chair and myself
talking to him,” he said. The chair experiment, as he calls it,
helped to bring him “into the fullness of life and the
companionship Jesus had always promised.”

This is the Jesus we’re missing. This is the dimension of faith
we’re ignoring.

Our ministry methodology so often camps only on teaching about
Jesus, drilling on biblical facts, and parsing theological nuances.
Or, we concentrate only on coaxing our people to work-volunteering
at church, serving in the community, doing good deeds.

Please understand. Knowledge is good. Service is good. But these
are not the essence of faith.

Faith is not an academic subject. Faith is not a list of DOs and

Faith is a relationship. A friendship. A companionship.

Maybe it’s time to pull up a chair.

Missing the Guy in the Empty Chair
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About Author

Thom Schultz

Thom Schultz is an eclectic author and the founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café. Holy Soup offers innovative approaches to ministry, and challenges the status quo of today’s church.

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