Does God Really Love Us?

We often hear, and often say, ‘God Loves You’!

Do we really believe it?

Seriously…do you? Are you CONVINCED that God love you?

Here’s why I ask:

I grew up believing in God, but honestly, not really believing that He cared all that much about me–Dave–as a person. I certainly did not operate my life as if I believed that God loved me and wanted what was best for me.

I lived my life as though God was out to kill my fun, take all joy away, and lead me into a religious prison.

Therefore, not surprisingly, I ran from Him. I rebelled in every way possible. (I’ll spare you the messy details.)

It wasn’t till later that I realized I had been believing a lie!

Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they might have LIFE and have it to the full!” (John 10:10)

At Kalamazoo Community Church, we’ve been considering the implications of that for several weeks now (I’d encourage you to listen to the podcasts at http://www.mykcc.org).

Here’s the thing: This is all theoretical and has no real impact if we leave it in the realm of ‘theological truth’ and don’t apply it to our lives. And really, we won’t apply it to our lives unless we really BELIEVE that God LOVES us!

Otherwise, we’ll treat it like a Christian ‘Hallmark Card’–nice sentiment, but no real impact.

So let me ask again…

Do you really believe that God loves you?

If you do, than that should mean that you know He has the ‘best’ in mind for you. That He wants what is ‘best’ for you, and that He will bring it about–as you trust and follow Him.

Yet, many of us believe the lies of the enemy instead, and turn away to find our ‘best’ life in the ways of, and the things of this world.

Romans 12:1-2:And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

In other words, rather than buying into what our world and culture says, we should give ourselves to God, day-in and day-out. As we do so, He will make us more like Jesus, and will in the process bring about His will for our lives…and His Will is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT!

Do you believe–really believe–that God loves you?

I do!

Let’s follow His lead and let Him show us!

Faith…ACTIVE Faith!

Think of your faith again.

Is it merely ‘intellectual assent’? Is it merely a system of beliefs that have you assured of forgiveness for sins now,  and going to heaven when you die?

God wants it to be SO much more!

Look at Hebrews, Ch. 11:  Not only does it tell us what faith is (v. 1), and why it’s important (v. 6) it is also FULL of people who’s faith caused them to act.

This faith was not merely ‘academic’, but very personal, very active, very bold and very real!

Noah built an Ark…taking lots of time to do so when others would have ridiculed him and maybe even tried to stop him.

Abram left his home and family and went out to follow God’s leading, but did not have any knowledge where he would be led!

This chapter is FILLED with people who trusted God enough to step out!

In some cases, it went very well…By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.” (vv. 33-35), but not always:

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” (vv.36-38).

The Point?

Their faith was ACTIVE! It was WILLING! It was EXPECTANT!

They Listened for the Lord’s leading, and FOLLOWED!

Their faith was not a road to ‘safety’ and ‘security’…rather, it was a path to Adventure (and not the film ‘Hobbit’ type of ‘adventure’ that we experience vicariously–this was PUT YOUR LIFE ON THE LINE TO FOLLOW–type of ‘adventure’!

And here’s the point: I believe God is still looking for those who are willing to listen, to follow, who do not ‘demand’ security and a ‘safe, predictable plan’ from God.

God is still leading…are we willing to follow?

 

 

Faith…REAL Faith!

Faith.

Many talk about it.

Many say they have it.

We are exhorted to ‘have faith’ when things aren’t going our way, almost as if it’s synonymous with being optimistic.

That may be nice, but that’s not “FAITH”–not Biblical Faith anyway.

Faith is “the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not yet seen” (Hebrews 11:1) This kind of faith is not just a ‘hope’ it’s a hope BASED ON SOMETHING…more accurately, SomeONE–the Lord!

The writer goes on to say,  And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (v.6)

My question is this:

Is your faith REAL?

I think ‘faith’–i.e. the basic belief in God, and even in Jesus–is crucial (obviously), however I don’t think the Scriptures are encouraging mere ‘intellectual assent’.

After all, James wrote: “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19)

At least the demons’ ‘intellectual assent’ leads them to do something–in this case tremble!

Real faith GOES SOMEWHERE!

It DOES something!

It compels action!

This past weekend, our family (and our church) had the pleasure of having Pastor Solomon Mwisege of Uganda stay with us. He is a man who has learned that real faith is faith that COMPELS ACTION! Not just any action, but Spirit-led action! Real faith starts with the conviction that GOD IS STILL WORKING and that He’s looking for people who will let Him work through them!

I want to be that kind of person.

I want our family to be that kind of family.

I want KCC to be that kind of church.

Where faith is active, expectant, bold and Spirit-led.

 

I am CONVINCED that the Lord is looking for people to join His work–actively–here.

I’m ready!

What about you?