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…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?

 

 

Brain Change?

Is it possible to have a ‘brain change’?

I know that some people might think at times that others have had a ‘lobotomy’,  but they usually say that in jest, and that’s not the ‘brain change’ that I’m talking about.

 

In all seriousness, I’m wondering whether or not God can change my brain.

Can He change my thoughts?

Can the Creator of the universe do anything to change how I choose to think?

I think the answer is Yes….and No!

 

The Lord gives those of us have a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus lots of potential to change our thinking.

He certainly gives us new teachings and mindsets to adopt from His Word.

Yet, it’s up to us to actively engage in ridding ourselves of the lies with those truths.

 

Many of us grew up with the lies constantly in our minds–‘You’re no good’, ‘You’ll never succeed’, ‘You’re worthless’.

Our enemy the devil certainly adds to those: ‘You’re not forgivable’, ‘You’re too far gone’, ‘Jesus rejects you’, ‘God is against you’.

Oftentimes those kinds of thoughts are present in our minds, and we are quite unaware of them. These thought sabotage a lot of God’s work in our lives, and the enemy smiles in delight. Remember, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy…” (John 10:10)

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:11 “We are not ignorant of his wicked schemes”.

We know how he works, and a lot of his work is in our minds–the stuff we think.

Sure, there’s the standard ‘temptation’, and we can defeat that with the Spirit’s guidance (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), but I’m talking about the lies he gets us to believe about ourselves…and the ‘destruction’ that satan accomplishes by keeping us believing those lies!

We need to learn to judge (critique) our own thoughts:

‘Where does that thought come from: The Lord, the enemy, this world, or the flesh’?

If it’s not from the Lord, don’t waste your time with it. If it is from the enemy, come against it, in the name of Jesus!

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

We need to engage, by faith, with God in this. We need to be actively involved in ‘taking every thought captive’ and running it through the grid of Scripture.

We need to learn to stand on His Word, and affirm the truths–for others, yes; but for ourselves too!

Those kinds of Truths are everywhere in the Scriptures: Truths about His Love for us; His will for us; His grace and mercy toward us; His power to use us for His purposes….they jump from the Scriptures!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Now it’s up to us to live differently by standing on those truths!

We need a ‘brain change’…and God graciously and powerfully give it, if we walk with Him and stand on His Word!

 

Let’s DO This!

Dave

Let’s Go! The Journey begins…

There’s something about a countdown…

One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13…and there’s a great countdown here:

Pretty intense!

But it’s not just in Spaceships…there’s Nascar, there’s anticipation of the first pitch in baseball, the opening kickoff in football, the anticipation of the initial faceoff in hockey.

At those moments, you’re almost holding your breath, awaiting what comes next.

Sometimes ‘what comes next’ is catastrophic–an embarrassing defeat by the other team, or (much more significantly) a terrible, tragic accident like happened on Apollo 1, or the Space Shuttle.

Yet, the anticipation of something new is still exciting. The new direction could take you to another stage, another level…and Victory!

In some ways, as a church, we are anticipating something new.

At KCC we are daring to ask, ‘What does God really want from me?’  ‘What does He really have for me?’

We’ve been daring to consider Jesus words in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have LIFE, more abundantly.” 

What does that ‘abundant’ life look like? Is it that ‘God wants to make me rich’? I don’t think so.

I do think, however, that God wants to bless us as we follow His Word, and that the Holy Spirit does want to ‘show Himself’ more in our lives.

This week we start a new series called “The Journey: An Invitation to a Life of Faith”.

We are daring to challenge our preconceived notions of how much God wants to ‘show Himself’ in our lives. We are daring to ask, IF Jesus really did come to give His followers “Life more abundantly”, WHY AM I NOT EXPERIENCING THAT?

One thing we do know: It’s not because His power, His love and His will has been changed…so it must be us.

And we want to change that!

This week we start a new journey together…the countdown has started….Let’s Go!