I think it is engrained in human nature to want to “tame” God to their understanding. Men have tried to put divine beings into a visible image, touchable statue, and recognizable place throughout history.
But if God looks exactly as we expected him to be, he wouldn’t be God anymore, by definition. This temptation to tame God to our understanding is not limited to non-Christians. But if we look at the scripture, God has always been on the move.
Abraham worshipped God on the move. The very first meeting place God ordained for the people of Israel was not stationary but a mobile tent. Some might argue that Israel had a temple. But building the temple was never God’s idea, but King David’s idea, which God “allowed” his son to build it. And since then, the temple has never been a place of God-activity but of man’s corruption and hypocrisy. Today, the temple is destroyed, and only a portion of the wall remains. Israel’s obsession with the temple prevented them from seeing God, who does not dwell in places created by man.
Today, though we may not confine God in a place anymore, we often do so in our experience and expectations. Many people define God too early based on their past experience of church, Christians or life events, regardless of whether it was good or bad. But Just as our human relationship moves along different stages, our experience of God does the same because God continues to reveal a different part of him in various stages of our lives. When I look at my past preaching notes, I discover that my understanding of God has considerably changed and expanded.
Also, God is often found in an unexpected place. Jesus was born in such an unexpected place, a manger. While the people of Israel were gathering at the temple to experience God’s presence, God was walking around them, healing and delivering people in the person of Jesus.
So, don’t limit God’s activity to Sunday service. He is up to something in your family, in your workplace, in your relationships. However, don’t forget that how we experience God on Sunday profoundly affects how we view him during the week as well.