Archive for May, 2006

How far away is your God?

May 9, 2006

Here’s an article I’ve been working on. I’m calling it “Binoculars, please!”

How far away is your God?

I think a relationship with God is a lot like a romance or a love story. If only more people caught on to that kind of thinking. It’s sad when people see God like themselves – self-centered, self-sufficient, in-charge kind of God. Just because we see ourselves that way has no effect on who God is. A.W. Tozer has a lot to say about knowing God. He said the most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God. What do you think about when you think about God? Is your God far away or close by? Is your God someone who keeps score – who watches you like a hawk and comes down and strikes you when you do the wrong thing? Do you see God like your parent or grandparent – a quiet, proper, old, traditional, forever kind of God? Is your God someone whose so busy running the world he doesn’t have time for you – he’s far away from you has no relevance to your life? There are some who have chosen to be the “I don’t believe in God” people. There are others who are mad about the God thing because of their parents or those who go to college and enjoy buying in to a professor’s views. All of us have constructed a view of God. We carry this view with us through life.

The reality is how you see God is the litmus test that’s going to affect everything single aspect of how you will pursue him. If you haven’t nailed down a God whose love for you as his son or daughter, is more affectionate than you could ever truly understand. If your view of God is wrong then you are going to have difficulty with everything. We read in Daniel that people who know their God will be much stronger.

But you can know how to view God. Did you know God made you for himself – to enjoy, to love, to cherish, hold? When you capture that kind of reality sharing him with others will become your affection too.

This is something that’s dear to my heart because I too never developed a real sense of who God is until Amber and I married and we moved to Atlanta. I started spending time with some people who clearly saw God and life in a different viewpoint than I did. I was captivated by that; confused at first, but intrigued. So I went on this little journey of rediscovering God. It took longer than I anticipated it would because I had to shatter my old view of God. At the Christian university I attended I developed a view of God that was dutiful, rigid, political, rude if needed, always do the right thing over anything else even if it meant to run over people. I don’t want to point fingers at my school. I would never blame them for a view I had of God, but it was there that I developed it and I needed some clarification in my life of who He was. In Atlanta I found it. Two men who really affected me were Louie Giglio and my pastor Andy Stanley. Louie taught a gathering on Tuesday nights and preached at my church some. They were close friends from grade school and grew up in the kind of environment I was used to and where I developed my view of God. And I’m grateful to sit under their preaching especially when I needed to see God in a different light. They know how to speak the language of the culture.

God made you for his pleasure. You were made for God. “All things have been created by God and for God.” You were not only created in God’s image but for his pleasure as well. Inside our hearts are these evidences – these homing devices that intensely crave after God. More is never enough when were after God because we were created to live in deep, passionate communion with Him all the time. When were not, something’s wrong – a gap is created and we thirst for him. We go our searching and while there are these offbeat cultural textures that are after our minds as well, we will stay thirsty until we find God. Some people stay thirsty for a long time. Every human being craves intimacy – a kind that only God can give. Yet some of us aren’t aware of this. This is what happens – we respond to all of this by the way we see Him. If we see him like a God who keeps score then we will try to do things that might make him happy. If we see him as far away then we’ll respond to him like he is far away. If you think he is old or out of touch with us then you will just do what you want because being cool is important to some of us. Some of us think God doesn’t understand us at all.

What’s amazing about God is that right now as you try to understand more about God, God is saying, “I understand what you’re going through. I get the deal.” That means a lot when you enter a stage of confusion and clarification like that. One of his characteristics is patience and He’s committed to patiently wait on you as you go through this process. That’s encouraging! God knows what’s going on, on TV. He knows whose going to win the Amazing Race. God isn’t out to judge us He’s out to capture us with attention, love, and understanding. Who wouldn’t want that?

Here’s an important catch: God has told us about Himself so we could know about who He is. God is not what we choose to think of Him, what our parents or family thinks of Him. God is who He is…period. We have to get in our heads that we can’t decide that, He does. He’s God.

First, we need to unveil his character, what makes God to be God. He’s displayed his amazing traits. God is revealed in his son, Jesus. God established a relationship with us through his son, Jesus. Jesus taught that God is the: Perfect Father. Creator. Savior. Redeemer. Majesty. Ruler. He is: Love. Joy. Patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Jesus taught you are the: Son. Daughter. He is the Father. This is a love relationship. The greatest romantic story ever told. He sent Jesus for you, his blood filled the gap sin built, the crave we endure. The enemy is out to derail your relationship with God.

He is a knowable and relatable God. He is the tender mercy to a crying heart. He desires to be intimate with me. That’s one that I continue to wallow in.

So now what? We have to say, “I get it and I trust you.” We have to decide that he knows best and put our entire trust in his ways. Tell God, “I trust you.” He loves me more than I love myself. That’s the first step to knowing God and beginning spiritual conversations. He’s in control of every conversation you will have. He’s the one that holds everything together. When we get that – our lives become fluid, something God can fill up and overflow on to others. Conversations are nothing more than an overflow of what God is doing inside of us. The intimacy spreads through others and we get the privilege of enjoying community like it was meant to be. Then there’s connectiveness in our lives.

Once we understand how God sees us, it should free us up to pursue him.

Converse with him.

We don’t have all the answers, but Jesus surely does. He encourages us to experience him, to bring him into the conversation we so desire to have. We are limited in what we offer, but Jesus is limitless. No boundaries with him.

So, go for it!

Talk to him. Love on him. Then go love on others. And leave the rest of the story to the storyteller. You’re immersed in something that’s far more beautiful that you’re most amazing mindscapes can comprehend. Something compelling.

You’ll never tire of hearing about God when it’s truly representing who he is. That makes life so exciting and liberating doesn’t it? The story never ends.

When you spend time with him it’s not like going online, it’s more like sitting down on the couch and together having an intimate talk. The difference is that God sends his spirit to interact through the conversation. The spirit makes it a lot more intimate. In the spirit you feel his love and his pride in you. Your outlook of the world all of sudden turns small. You realize that the world is so minute compared to the Creator of the Universe. The only downsize, if there is one to those who experience this amazing connection, is that it takes more time with him, to really grasp the reality that he won’t be able to fill your spirit like that all the time unless you keep seeking him. You crave for it. You search for it. You try all kinds of ways to fill that vacuum that you’ve had before. You learn over time that he can’t do it for you unless you allow him to. It’s called freedom of choice. Through time, if we’re willing to endure and keep searching, we’ll learn how to discipline ourselves to hear his voice and obey. We’ll learn how to talk to him and get results. It is a discipline and a language. People don’t master it they just trust him and go with it. A person who is godly isn’t someone who knows a lot about God; it’s someone who knows God and maintains a vibrant relationship with him.

Conversations with God / Conversoulogy

I’ve heard some people say that life is one big conversation. The life you live is a conversation with God.

In the Spring of 1997—it was in the middle of February, as I recall.

I heard someone say one time a lot of us are sure as hell about things, but do you want to be as sure as heaven?

It was a timely moment for me. I cried out for a connection with God. I was stung. My pain had to go away—I knew I needed to be healed. I was almost completely certain that only God could heal me. I believed it for a moment—just a moment—a divine moment it was. Immediately everything changed.

So what healed me? God did. How did he heal me? -Through my heart’s cry for him. He wants to be sought. Now I wanted to play my role as the seeker. He’s God. I’m man. He’s to be sought while I’m to seek Him. It truly makes sense.

That day I began to have conversations with God. It’s called prayer. A guy named Charles Spurgeon said it best: “prayer is the slender nerve that touches the omnipotence of God.” Ever since that day I’ve been in this magnificent dialogue with the Creator…aka CEO himself.

Before then I couldn’t talk to him, nor thought I really wanted to. The reason I didn’t want to was because God cannot hear us until we thoroughly introduce ourselves. I had introduces myself the way people told me to, but I didn’t really want it that badly. It wasn’t until that day that I really wanted it and when I did, he came and I’ve spent every day since wishing the world could experience what I’ve experienced.

I told a guy the other day “you’ll meet God when you figure out that he works. Am I right?” His reply was, “I think you’re right.” I said, well hang with me a little while and you find out that he works. He said, “Great.” Well, this young intellectual had told me just weeks before that conversation that he didn’t believe in one God. Yet, he’s admitting openly and honestly now that if there is one God and he discovers a piece of him, he’ll believe it. That’s the way a lot of people are. They don’t believe it because they haven’t met Him. Until you meet him you won’t understand.

Generalization is the death of art. It’s in the details where God resides.
ARTHUR MILLER

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