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How You View God Determines How You Present God to Others

My first impression of Salt Lake City was that it was very clean. It reminded me of Disney World without the Disney. A kind of “sheen of niceness” hung over everything and everyone, but instead of feeling happy and content, the whole vibe just made me feel kind of…sad.

I’m not sure if I can even explain why.

But I wasn’t there to walk around with a white glove and test the dirt levels, I was there to film a movie. The goal was to go into the very heart of Mormon country, to the Tabernacle itself, and introduce as many people as we could to the Holy Spirit.

While we were there we talked with some former Mormons, some of whom had family members on the council of 12 (which, I was told, is a really big deal), and to say I learned a lot is an understatement.

I learned that Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being and is the brother of Lucifer (the devil). I learned that Mormons believe that two other books are on par with the Bible as spiritual authority.

Most importantly to my task at hand was that I learned that Mormons do not believe that the Holy Spirit can be consciously felt or experienced, nor do they believe He is an actual Person in the Godhead. To Mormons, the Holy Spirit is more like the idea of Providence—a kind of force that works behind the scenes and vaguely affects things.

But that’s not what I believe, nor what I know to be true. The Holy Spirit is indeed a Person, and He’s the Person Jesus sent to be God’s representative here on earth—to be our comforter, advocate, healer, and partner. In our time at Salt Lake City, I simply wanted to introduce people to my friend as I knew Him.

I was there with two friends of mine, Will Hart and Jamie Galloway, and all day we simply struck up conversations with people, almost all of them Mormons, and prayed for them to have an actual experience, an encounter with the Holy Spirit.

It was wild to watch people feel sensations in their hands and arms, almost like electric shocks, and none of them knew what to do about it. This was not the Holy Spirit they had been taught about, and the experiencing of Him began to overrule what they had previously thought.

At one point we met a man who was standing on the corner yelling at everyone that they were going to hell because they did not believe in the true Jesus Christ. We approached him and struck up a conversation because I really wanted to understand this man and why he did what he did. I found out that he had been doing this for decades, and he believed that people can only be convicted by preaching. We obviously had a difference of opinion, but I was trying to understand him. He was a nice man, but he viewed God differently than me.

I learned a major lesson that day.

How you view God will in large part determine how you present God to others. If you think God is angry, then that’s exactly what you’re going to show others. If you think God is full of grace, you will most likely take an opposite approach.

Both the justice people and the grace people have a real hard time understanding each other because they are so diametrically opposed to one another. But the hard part for everyone else is the understanding that God cares about both justice AND grace.

So which one do we present to people?

For me, Jesus is the ultimate answer to this question. How did he treat people who didn’t believe in Him? He spoke the truth, but He also did it in grace and love, and He always sought to connect with whoever He was dealing with—at His core Jesus was a man who loved people.

I wonder how much easier reaching the world would be if Christians just took His example to heart.

Later that day, we met four teenagers who were heading home from a local skate park. We were able to talk and pray for all of them, and one of them was even healed of a problem he had been having with his knee.

That day they experienced God in a way they didn’t know was possible, and that experience trumped anything they might have learned from church. All four of them accepted Jesus into their life not because of our eloquent preaching, but simply because they encountered the wonderful Jesus on their own. And if there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that Jesus is truly irresistible.

How is your view of God affecting your life and those you present the Gospel to?

This Story is From:

Holy Ghost. You can watch this story as it unfolded because captured it on film. See this and more stories in the full movie available now.

6 Comments

  • Larry S Knight

    Darren, I thank God for the "boldness" The Holy Spirit has poured out on you as He did in Acts 4, to the early Christians of that day. Oh, that The Church of this Day had that "parrhesia" boldness to press through all fears and proclaim The God of The Bible!!! I'm reminded of Job just now, the most Righteous man on the planet at that time who said of God in Job 42:5 " I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You." Blessings on you and yours, Pastor Steve Knight

  • Sassy

    Darren, so true that our perception of God shapes who we are. Your film, Father of Lights offered me such a delightful freedom that I couldn't turn it down! I felt guilty (and was made to feel guilty) about just loving people. It colored everything I said and did. Even though He would gently prod me to love someone, I felt myself holding back because of the religious (and often judgmental) things that I was taught. The truth is, God IS love, and this manifests in so many amazing ways when we come into agreement that that is who He is. And, He is a God who answers prayer - all of the time! Thanks so much for your quest to reveal God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for who they truly are. What a great ride!

  • KCSchellpeper

    Yes!!! Praise God that the Holy Spirit is moving and acting among us today! I LOVE that you went to Temple Square to love on and seek to understand the Mormon people. I love the ongoing emphasis of your work and ministry to simply follow God's leading and seek to love His children the way He does. You and your team continue to set a stunning example of how Jesus loves all of us! The greatest challenge for us as Christians indeed is to balance love and justice (we do this so imperfectly!). But for those who did not yet know God, Jesus always, always, always led with love (only then could His message of justice be heard). As Christians in this world, may we follow His example so that we can open the door to let His Holy Spirit do the work of redemption and transformation! Thank you for your essential Kingdom-building work...keep it up!!!

  • Adeola Odutola

    God You know who needs this in my sphere of influence and how the seed of sexual perversion and immorality is being sown under the sound of their voice and influence .You also know what is in my heart for I do not want to gossip under the guise of prayer, I need You to divinely intervene in such a manner that it cannot be attributed to anyone but You. I thank you for hearing me and for answering while I am yet asking Amen.

  • cbestwick

    My experience with your films started with Holy Ghost. I was thrilled to learn that Netflix picked up your first four films! I only have Furious Love left to watch. A good friend of mine went to Salem at halloween, with Grace, Mercy and Love as his guideposts. There were evangelists there doing a similar approach of condemnation. And there was another ministry holding a sign next to them declaring God's grace. My friend was a part of a team who were doing dream interpretation and healing prayers. Prayer WINS!

  • Restore-ation

    I do love what you are doing. And I appreciate reading your stories. It is inspirational and instructional to me on how to really approach people and introduce them to my Friend (as you so eloquently put it). Thank you for sharing and I'm so glad Holy Spirit connected me with your ministry. I admit I tripped over you calling the "angry God" people the "justice people." Unfortunately, I know people who fit into the "angry God" group who really don't care much about justice. Not true justice. They cover up and come into alliances with incredibly unjust practices and people but will throw the book at someone who doesn't line up with their view of God or Scripture - Christian or not. Because of my situation of coming from abuse involving both evil and "church" people and watching these type Christians, who were not a part of the abuse but who didn't stop or deal with it, effectively block true justice, I struggle with your designation of them. These are well-respected leaders and members of "Bible believing and teaching" churches. These are people regarded as "pillars" of "true Godliness" in their community. Unfortunately, they are like this man you encountered. Sadly they demand people come to God through their view and in their way ONLY. They actually block both TRUE justice and TRUE grace which means they are not "justice people" but "man-made law people" or "angry people" or some other designation maybe God uses that we feel awkward saying out loud. (Trust me, I've had those conversations with God!) I am definitely a grace person. But I am also a justice person. Through God's grace I came to realize I am not a throwaway and forgotten statistic of abuse (as some see me). Through His grace He showed me I can not only be healed but be a valuable part of His Kingdom regardless of what was done to me (as opposed to the wrong belief that I am now tainted and unworthy of such places in the Kingdom of God and need to just stop speaking truth and go live quietly to myself). I have learned I can rightfully expect righteous justice. (This was a new understanding having been raised under the man-made, angry God law doctrine.) I now understand what you said about God being of true justice and grace. What amazes me is how He accomplishes true justice and TRUTH in all areas with a grace that defies all anger and malice. My challenge is to not take offense even though what they are doing is wrong and view them as God does - in truth, with all that entails - but also in grace and forgiveness, letting Him sort it out. This is my very real, ongoing challenge. I am obviously still working that one out. :-/ Hence my tripping on your innocent designation of such people. You, however, have demonstrated your maturity in that area in how you dealt with that man. Your conclusion to leave Him in God's hands and continue about the beautiful work God gave to you is a great example to me. I will follow your lead and continue working out forgiveness and let go of such people in my life as well. Perhaps it would be easier if I could leave them and go home to another place. However, that is not my case and I know my Great Friend will give me what I need to walk this out with these people still in my life. I do appreciate your prayer for me on that! God bless!

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