I was born and raised in church. It seemed like we were there every day because if the doors were open, we were going to church. I spent most of my church time reading the hymnal, counting knots in the wooden beams or counting ceiling tiles. Then, when I was around twelve years old, I went to kids camp in Kerrville, Texas and had an encounter with God. Suddenly I felt His presence and He became real to me. Each night of camp, I was more excited for the services than the games. Camp became a place where I wanted to go each year so I could experience God like I had before.
In Genesis 28, Jacob was on the run. He had stolen his brother’s birthright, and Esau was looking to kill him. He camped near a city called Luz. That night, he had an experience with God. He saw a ladder descending from Heaven and the angels were going up and down it. He also saw the Lord standing beside him. Verse 16 says, “Jacob woke up and said, ‘The Lord is here! He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!’” (GNT) He changed the name of that city from Luz to Bethel, which means house of God. He returned there later and had another experience with God as well.
If you’ve been a believer for a while, you can probably point to your Bethel where you experienced God like never before. I know many people who are chasing Bethel. They’re looking to recapture it by going to all the conferences, worship concerts or certain churches. They’re looking for that place where they can experience God’s presence in a tangible way. What we forget though is that God’s presence is everywhere. We can experience Bethel wherever we are when we position our hearts, give God freedom to meet with us and wait on Him. We don’t have to chase Bethel by going to a certain place. God is ready to meet with you where you are so you can experience and encounter Him consistently. The Lord is in the place where you are today making it your Bethel.