How to Truly Know Who God Really Is

If you want some interesting theories about God ask that question at a cocktail party after everyone’s had a few drinks. And no I never do.

But I have the topic come up in conversation not that infrequently.

 

Photo Credit: Melvin E

Photo Credit: Melvin E

 

Often, as we all do, I’m asked, “So what do you do for a living?”

I’ll tell them.

Then they ask, “So how long have you been doing this?”

I answer. They look at me doing the math.

Then ask, “So what did you do before?”

When I answer, “I pastored a church”, it starts. Inevitably they respond, “Well, you know, I have my own theories about God.”

I feign surprise, “Oh really?”

And off we go.

Often it’s a mixture of various religious teachings. They include the parts they like and leave out the ones that are inconvenient.

I find often it comes off as some doting fragile grandfather. Or as something so ethereal that I wouldn’t be able to recognize him if he was the one over in the corner having scotch on the rocks.

I thank them for their revelational insights and quickly excuse myself to refresh my drink.

But it also reminds me of when I was exactly the same.

 

And how impossible it was to know who God really is in my own power.

 

I mean how can we?

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How to Understand the Mysteries of God

Several months ago with fear and trepidation I agreed to have lunch with an atheist friend. He’d been bugging me for over a year to “debate religion.”

I told him several times, “I’m happy to have lunch with you but I really have no interest in debating religion. Frankly I don’t like debating and I’m not all that interested in religion.”

 

Photo Credit: Michael Thurber

Photo Credit: Michael Thurber

 

Finally, I agreed on the condition we’d discuss faith not debate religion. He agreed. And I knew that agreement wouldn’t hold.

We sat on the patio of a vineyard restaurant on a warm fall afternoon. I said, “For today, I’d like to only focus on why belief in God is reasonable and how your view is based on belief as much as mine. I think that’s enough for one lunch.”

Through our conversation I kept focusing on the origins of the universe. How did all of this begin?

I said, “I’ve no problem accepting the Big Bang theory. But atheists have no explanation for where the matter and energy came from. In other words where did everything come from that went bang and who or what caused it?

He talked about theories of alternate universes and time dimensions. Then stated, “But I believe that matter and energy are eternal. They’ve always existed.”

I responded, “Wow! That sounds a lot like God to me.”

He answered, “No no, of course not.”

As we finished I said, “For me the simplest, most straight forward explanation is God. There’s just no logical or provable alternative explanation. So in reality we both begin by choosing our belief.”

 

He reluctantly agreed and amazingly we parted still friends.

 

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Is It Time to Stop Making Excuses and Live the Amazing Life?

Years ago, when I pastored a church, I had a conversation with a friend that rattled me.

We grew up together in a church and both drifted away after high school.

Then I experienced a spiritual transformation in college and he raced full out the other direction.

 

Photo Credit: Jofre Ferrer

Photo Credit: Jofre Ferrer

 

He’d visited our church, which was now booming, a couple of times with his mom on Mother’s Day.

One evening as I was leaving the office he came by the church to deliver something for his mom. Afterward I stood at his driver’s window talking with him while he sat in his car with the engine running. That was my first clue he preparing for a quick getaway.

Easter was coming and we had a special service planned so I asked, “Why don’t you join us?”

He responded, “No, I’m really not interested. And I need to be going.” With that he rolled up his window and left me standing on the sidewalk in the dark.

 

I remember feeling rejected and wondering, “Was there something else I could have said?”

 

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What to Do When Your Faith is Challenged and Criticized

A few weeks ago I made a big mistake. Well ok, that’s a daily occurrence but let’s just focus on this one.

 

Photo Credit: Stefan Lins

Photo Credit: Stefan Lins

 

I have a Facebook friend whom I would term a militant atheist. Other frankly other than that we actually do like each other.

But he often posts quotes attacking faith in God. Most I just pass off as his rant. But a few months ago he posted a particularly obnoxious one which was also illogical and based on a false premise.

So courteously, yes really, I called him on it.

Big mistake. He went ballistic. Then some of his groupies jumped in and in true elementary school fashion began calling me names.

I commented back that when my kids debated and I judged when one side started calling the other side names you knew they had just lost because they ran out of logical arguments.

And yes you can imagine how that went over.

I finally just turned off his feed. I’m not sure how long the comments continued.

But I also realized it was never about discussing to seek out the truth it was only about enforcing his version of the world.

 

Sometimes I’ve found when my faith is challenged like that it can also cause me to question it.

 

 

And no frankly in this situation that really didn’t happen.

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Sunday Music: “The River is Rising” by Michael W. Smith

Happy Sunday to you!

This is just a feel good, get up and dance kind of song.  Just don’t scare anybody okay?

The message is uplifting and speaks to the joy we experience as we walk with the one who created us to live an amazing life.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite music video.

Please share it on Facebook, Twitter or email me.  Blessings!

Do You Need God’s Miracle and His Guidance?

Have you ever faced a challenge when you just wished you could see a God work a miracle and hear him speak?

Or more frustrating have you ever had a time you experienced that and now you’re facing a struggle but God seems to have left on vacation?

I can personally say yes to both.

 

Photo Credit: Frederic Poirot

Photo Credit: Frederic Poirot

 

I went through a serious medical challenge about eight years ago that was misdiagnosed and left me debilitated. Yet I watched as God arranged “coincidences” in miraculous ways and spoke to my heart which eventually led to my full recovery.

Fast forward to today. Honestly, when I write most mornings, I sense God’s leading. In fact sometimes I’m surprised by where posts come out. Although I would guess sometimes God’s probably surprised by what I come up with also.

Yet, to be honest I’m also frustrated with my blog at times. It continues to grow but excruciatingly slow. I pray regularly for God to show me how to grow it fast. Yet, what do I get?

Well, actually I do sense one answer, “Wait.” But frankly I don’t like that answer. I don’t do waiting well. And no don’t ask my wife.

 

So, it causes me to question again, “Why do I sometimes see God act and hear his quiet voice? And other times he seems to have left the building?”

 

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Guest Post: “How to Craft the Best Headline for Your Post”

This is a post I wrote for the blog “Write to Done.”  If you are a writer I think you will enjoy it.

 

Don’t you want the best headline for your post?

You write a great post.

Obviously, you want it to go viral.

Then you give your post a headline and watch it drift into the internet nether world.

Headlines are critical if you want your masterpiece to be read.

 

You can read the rest here.

 

How to Find Assurance When You Struggle With Doubts About God

I was one of those children who authors make big money writing books about to help parents. I challenge everything.

I question authority, ask hard questions and rarely take anything for granted. I especially ridicule authority figures who make grand pronouncements and simply expect everyone to follow in lock step.

 

Photo Credit:  Marcello Maria Perongini

Photo Credit: Marcello Maria Perongini

 

Growing up I experimented probably a shade too much. In high school and college that didn’t always play out so well. But it’s just how I’m wired.

So in my faith walk it happens also, often.

The worst though was when I pastored a church. Yeah I know you’re shocked. Pastors are the Supermen of faith. Yeah right.

I’d be driving to the church on Sunday morning often with the kids. All of a sudden the thought would pop into my mind, “Who are you kidding? Are you sure about all this?”

 

Let me tell you that’s not what you want your mind focused on when you’re getting ready to preach.

 

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What is the Secret Formula for Seeing the Miracles of God?

I’ve wrestled at times with trying to determine how to consistently see the miracles of God.

I’ve prayed for people and really no fooling seen God work a miracle.

So I’ve thought, “Ok, now I’ve got the formula figured out. Follow these steps and shazam!”

Yet, frustratingly I’ve followed those steps letter perfect and no shazam.

 

Photo Credit: Tim Ellis

Photo Credit: Tim Ellis

 

When I’ve asked Christian friends usually I get a variation on a couple of standard answers.

“Well, you just need to have more faith.” Or, “You just need to be filled with the Holy Spirit more.”

So I try really hard to have more faith. But it just never seems to work.

Or the other very pious answer, “You have leave it up to God and pray, ‘Not my will but yours be done.’”

The only thing is before I knew better I mistakenly prayed for God to work some miracles and he did.

So where does that leave me?

See I’m a checklist guy. I like simple step by step formulas that work every time.

 

But God frustratingly seems to not follow my checklist.

 

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Finding Your Significance When You Feel Rejected

Have you ever noticed our world is rigged to make us feel rejected? It’s like it’s hard wired into the system.

Remember elementary school when teams were chosen to play soccer? Were you ever the last one still waiting to be picked and the team captain is looking around hoping to see somebody, anybody hiding in the bushes?

 

Photo Credit:  Orin Zebest

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest

 

Or how about high school and desperately wanting to make the varsity basketball team even if you were only five-six? Or hoping to be selected cheerleader even if you had the coordination of a new born giraffe?

And adulthood doesn’t get any better does it?

Dating is like toxic. I mean who thought up?

Add to that competing to get the best job. Live in the nicest house. Have the largest portfolio.

No wonder we feel exhausted and defeated half the time.

We trudge around looking at our friends and think, “Man, they’ve got it so together. “
And they’re looking at us thinking, “Man they’ve got it so together.”

 

I think a lot of the time most of us feel like less than we ever hoped for. And sometimes that’s the high point for the day.

 

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