A few weeks ago, 25 Foursquare pastors and leaders followed the steps of Paul in Acts 18 as he left Athens and traveled to Corinth.
In Athens, we stood on Mars Hill in the shadow of the great Acropolis with its temples to pagan gods. We listened to Tim Clark (supervisor of the Greater Los Angeles District) and John Fehlen (senior pastor of West Salem Foursquare Church in Oregon) expound on the apostle Paul’s words when he said: " 'God ... does not dwell in temples made with hands' " (Acts 17:24, NKJV).
For the next several days, we traveled to Corinth, Patmos, Ephesus, Crete and Rome. We visited numerous cathedrals and basilicas built in honor of the apostles Paul, John and Peter. They were majestic, filled with gold and marble, and carefully crafted with artistic touches.
It was clear that no expense was spared all those centuries ago. But, in every temple and cathedral, I kept thinking about where God dwells.
On the last day of our tour, our final visit was to the catacombs. What a stark contrast this was to the ornate basilicas we had just encountered.
We walked underground, down four floors, and heard about the 500,000 people who were buried all around us. We passed by small rooms, some containing an altar denoting an area for worship.
We entered one of the rooms filled with the graves of an extended family, both adults and children. In this place deep inside the earth, and with awesome reverence, our voices rang out with the words of the doxology:
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
As we sang, I have never felt such a profound sense of God's presence. The words of the great hymn hung in the air.
I was in awe of how many beautiful edifices we had walked through with crosses, symbols and altars of worship. Yet, in them all, I was left cold. But in this dark, dirt cave, I sensed the dwelling place of God. It wasn't because of the cave; it was because of the worship of our hearts, the place where God dwells.
I will never forget that experience!
As the apostle Paul came to Corinth, as was his practice he went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews. After being opposed and abused there, Acts 18:7 says, "Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house ..." (NIV).
Our buildings are meant to be meeting places with God and His people. Whether a magnificent cathedral or an earthen cave, a synagogue or the house next door, God dwells in the hearts of the people who will worship Him there.
By: Tammy Dunahoo, vice president of U.S. operations, general supervisor
Share your journey through Acts » Comment below to share what God is showing you personally as the Foursquare family reads through Acts together this year! You can also subscribe to the weekly Foursquare Leader Prayer email to receive insights on Acts from Foursquare leaders around the world.