God…The Really Big Question In Life
Think about the questions we ask God: “Are You there?” “Do You care?” “What are You like?” “Will You help me?”
Once you start to have those questions answered—or even begin to ask them—life begins to take shape. Figuring out God is the most important step towards figuring out life.
We believe questions about God are natural—and even right to ask. We think God welcomes our questions. We’re convinced that God is entirely approachable and that He wants a conversation with us. What makes us think that God would even listen? Well, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is near.” (Mark 1:15) In other words, God isn’t just camped out in heaven. He’s closer than you think. Maybe He does want to talk. What a cool idea.
Does God care about me?
You bet He does! He thinks about you constantly and loves you intensely. He created you personally. He “knit” you together by hand in your mother’s womb. He knows everything about you—both good and bad, the wins and the losses, the joys and the sorrows. Yet nothing stands in the way of His passionate pursuit of you.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)
What is “salvation”?
The talk about “being saved” can be confusing. “Saved from what? By whom? I’m not sure I want to be saved.” For many folks, the term “saved” conjures up an image of a guy in a black suit yelling at us from behind a pulpit. If that’s what it is, we’re pretty sure we’re not interested either.
Getting beyond the stereotypes (always a good idea), the word “saved” is a word the ancient Greeks used. It’s rich in meaning . . . rescue, deliver, keep safe, make well, preserve, release. It also implies forgiveness and that God actively works against those things that would eat away at our lives—things like fear, selfishness, bitterness, greed, anger, despair.
Salvation is a pretty far reaching idea, but its core is that God wants to reclaim us for Himself and is willing to rebuild our souls and our lives. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved. (Psalm 18:3)
The Bible speaks freely of “sin” – a word that’s often misunderstood.
“Sin” does mean moral failure, those things we’re ashamed of. But “sin” is a still deeper word whose original meaning is rooted in archery. It pictures firing an arrow and missing the target. What a dramatic picture of life! Don’t most of us sense that somehow, on some significant level, we are missing – or have missed – what’s important in life?
When God restores us to Himself, saves us, He rebuilds in us the original purpose and meaning of life. Still more, he begins to pour the gift of Himself into our lives so that our thinking and actions begin to change. The past forgiven. Even more so, God begins the process of giving us a new future by remaking us into new human beings. This is a miracle and it can happen to you!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
What sort of book is the Bible?
The short answer is . . . it’s a really different sort of a book. Many people lump religious books together. The idea is that the Bible, the Koran, the writings of Confucius all say the same kind of thing. Well, not really. While there is some common ground, there are some big differences.
If you read carefully, what you get with the other religious books is . . . well, religious stuff: Be good. God (or the gods) is in heaven. Life is what you make it.
For starters, the Bible is a history book. That’s a huge difference. Unlike any of the other spiritual books, the Bible records God doing things in history. Big stuff like creating the universe. Parting the Red Sea. Raising Christ from the dead. All of that may be a little hard to believe . . . but could we ask you a question? If God is God, wouldn’t you expect Him to be doing big things?
There’s another question that matters . . . don’t human beings need God to act in history? I mean, platitudes about being good and God (or gods) being in heaven are nice, but most of us need real help. In other words, we need God to actually do stuff.
The other religions are pretty safe when they keep God in heaven. No one can prove you wrong. But the Bible has always been a book of risks, and it makes some amazing claims about who God is, what He has done, and the sort of things He is willing to do.
Boy, that’s a big one! Many people respond warmly to much of Christianity but choke on the thought that God’s forgiveness and salvation come only through faith in Christ. Let’s take a crack at getting the subject started. First of all, remember that there is only one God. Since that’s the case, then why not “only one” salvation?
Secondly, there is an ENORMOUS difference between Christianity and every other faith system in the world. Boil the fat out of it, and every other religion sends this message . . . try to be good and God may help you out. The problem is that we human beings are pretty inconsistent about the “being good” thing. The more you think carefully about your motives and your thoughts, the more you see that, morally speaking, we’re a mixed bag.
The truth of the matter is that we all need to be forgiven. Isn’t that just another way of saying that we all need that salvation thing? We believe in “Jesus only” because only Christianity offers us what we need the most—a Savior.
What difference can God make in my life?
It comes down to real life, doesn’t it? Faith has to be about more than creeds and worship gatherings; it’s about people. God loves people. Our story is that knowing Jesus Christ is a life-giving revolution that has changed our lives. His impact has been so great that the only conclusion we can reach is that God entered our lives through Christ . . . and we are so grateful.
How do I start praying?
Wow! Are you ready to start? It’s pretty simple . . . just start talking to God. He’s really there, and He really listens. He cares deeply about your prayers, because they are the beginning of you reaching out towards Him. He is a loving Father, and He will surely hear and answer.
Some thoughts . . .
- Forget the “Thee’s and Thou’s.” Use real life language.
- Ask God questions about Himself . . . “God, are You there?” “If You really exist, show me how to know You.” “Show me about Jesus. I’m trying to figure this whole thing out.” This is the stuff God loves to hear.
- Talk about what matters to you. Ask God to help others. Don’t just talk about your issues.
- Come in and talk with one of our pastors (or email us). We’d love to pray with you—even help you learn how to pray.
I’m not really religious. Is church for me?
You bet. We believe church isn’t just for followers of Christ, but that it’s for everyone. Consider us your friends, and so consider yourself invited! Join us this weekend. If you email us, we’ll meet you at the door and make sure you’re personally welcomed. It would be our honor to welcome you!
I’m still a little suspicious of religion.
Good. So are we. As a result, we try to get down to the bottom line of faith.
Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and take moral responsibility for our lives. (James 1:27)
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