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We're not told what Jesus did in that outdoor sanctuary, but it's clear that when the time ended, he was committed to his mission of proclaiming his gospel more than ever.

A sanctuary, no matter what form it takes, is a place where one should experience interior change. Among the changes? A reminder of the beauty and love of God, a fresh realization of one's brokenness, a host of things to be thankful for, a chance to give from the fruits of one's labor, an experience of deep prayer and the sense that God has heard, and a time to hear the reading of Holy Scripture and feel it planting its powerful content in one's soul.

Many of us enter sanctuaries tired or disappointed or angry or fearful or lonely. Others enter with appreciations for loving relationships, life-blessings, and a desire to deepen or grow. But the thing of greatest importance is how do we leave? Redirected, newly focused? Having experienced grace and forgiveness? Appreciative of the people we've been with? Freshly committed to Jesus?

Then, whether we sat on pews, arena seats, a dirt floor, or a crowded bus, makes little difference. We have worshiped and God himself has been with us.

Gordon MacDonald is editor at large of Leadership Journal and chancellor of Denver Seminary.

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Gordon MacDonald is chancellor of Denver Seminary and editor-at-large for Leadership Journal. He is author of numerous books, including Going Deep: Becoming A Person of Influence.

Posted: December 23, 2011

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Krista Austin

December 28, 2011  8:08am

I, too, remember Urbana. I still have a fondness for Romans because of John Stott's meaty Bible teaching. Then there was the midnight communion service with Billy Graham issuing a challenge to serve the Lord full-time. It wasn't until years later that I realized serving Him full-time didn't have to mean overseas as a missionary. It's a little like having a sanctuary that isn't confined to a church building. Emmanuel, God with...me.

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Earl G

December 28, 2011  7:09am

I have just had a walk (several blocks). I always enjoy the quietness and the liitle distractions to be with my Lord. Having read this article, I declare that my sanctaury is a mobile one as I experience the presence of my Creator as I walk and welcome the new morning! Thanks for this insightful article!

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Elizabeth Havill

December 27, 2011  1:35pm

I find Gordon MacDonalds articles so fresh and inspiring! What a nice thought about making every place we are a "Santuary." Besides being one myself where the Lord Jesus can dwell! And it's a choice we make each day! What a profound difference we could make in the lives of those who cross our paths, if we kept this thought foremost in our minds and hearts. May God grant this in the year before us for His Dear Name's sake!

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