If you believe God is real…prove it.

is God real

It’s back to school day today for many students, and there’s a good chance that at some point during this school year, they will be asked the question…

Do you believe God is real?

It’s kind of an intimidating question really.

The kind of question that ends up labeling you on campus and makes you choose a side when it comes to religion and spiritual beliefs.

How would you answer the question?

If you choose NO, then I’d want to know why you don’t think He’s real.

I’d say to you…

“If you believe God isn’t real, then prove it.”

If you choose YES, then I’d want to know why you think He’s real.

I’d say to you…

“Okay, if you believe God is real, then prove it.”

So, how exactly do you prove God is real?

You love like Jesus…

You love with compassion.

You love with kindness.

You love with sacrifice.

You love with humility.

You love with grace.

You love with truth.

You love with forgiveness.

In other words, you love others like Jesus loves you.

The world is looking for proof that God is real…

Be the proof.

 

12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.  (I John 4:12)

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”   (John 13:34-35)

 

 

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Looking for God in the routine

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Fall is coming…

And, it’s bringing routine with it.

Routine.

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with routine.

Routine is comfortable.

It’s so comfortable, we can do routine on auto-pilot.

The kids go to school and do their thing.

We go to work and do our thing.

Practices, meetings, games, performances, projects, chores, homework, housework, paperwork…we all “punch the clock” with our routines every day.

And then we hit repeat and do it all over again.

When routine gets so…you know…routine, we tend to forget that God is still fully present with us in our routines.

Our tendency is to look for God only in the big and extraordinary things and miss seeing Him in the rhythm of our ordinary, routine, everyday lives.

And then our relationship with Him ends up going on auto-pilot as well.

We “punch the clock” at church on Sunday…and then go through the motions with Him the rest of the week.

And then we hit repeat the next Sunday and do it all over again.

Our relationship with God just becomes another one of our comfortable routines.

The good news is that God is just as present and just as powerful in your normal, everyday, routine life as He is when your life is turned upside-down.

He is fully present in your home.

He is fully present in your workplace.

He is fully present in your kids’ school.

He is fully present at the gym or on the field.

He is fully present in your neighborhood.

He is fully present in your life everywhere, all the time…

Even in your routine.

So, as fall brings routine with it, you might want to ask yourself…

Where is God in my routine?

Am I looking for Him in my routine, or am I missing seeing Him in the ordinary?

Is my relationship with God on auto-pilot right now, or am I actively seeking and pursuing Him in the normal rhythm of my days?

Fall is coming, and it’s bringing routine with it.

Fortunately, God is fully present in the routine…and He isn’t going anywhere.

 

Let all that I am praise the Lordwith my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lordmay I never forget the good things he does for me.

Psalms 103:1-2

 

 

What floating a river taught me about following Jesus

floating a river

I recently floated a river…

And it was a lot of work.

I made a bad assumption that floating a river just meant deciding to get into an inner-tube and letting the river take you downstream to your destination.

I was wrong.

Three things happened on that river that taught me a lot about the bad assumptions we can make about what it means to follow Jesus.

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First…the current was strong and didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.

Turns out I had to paddle with my arms a lot to get where I wanted to go.  And, I had to pay attention to my surroundings…especially to the obstacles like sharp rocks and river debris.

Second…the pace of the river wasn’t the same for everybody and our group easily became spread out and disconnected.

Remember what I said about the current not always taking me where I wanted to go and having to paddle with my arms a lot?  Well, now you can add having to get out of my tube and swimming with the current to catch up with my group to that.

Third…it was a long day on the river.

Just when I thought we were done floating, there was another stretch of river.  And another and another…

So, what did all of that teach me about some of the bad assumptions we can make about following Jesus?

Bad Assumption #1:  Following Jesus just means deciding to follow Him and then waiting to get to your ultimate destination…heaven.

This is the classic “get-out-of-hell-free” approach to following Jesus.

You pray a prayer and wait for heaven.

But, following Jesus is so much more than that.  It takes a lot of work to stay in His current and avoid the obstacles of life that get you off track.

Because, life is full of currents…some good and some bad.

And, you better know where the one you’re in right now is taking you.

Bad Assumption #2:  Following Jesus just means connecting yourself with other Jesus followers by going to church once a week.

If you truly want to be connected to other people who are going to help you follow Jesus, it takes more than just going to church with them.

Six days between Sundays is a long time and it’s easy to live our lives disconnected.

You may find that you need to get out of your comfort zone a little bit and work at getting to know the people following Jesus with you.

At the least, you need to look around right now and see who you’re floating through life with…are they helping you follow Jesus or not?

Bad Assumption #3:  Following Jesus just means following Him when it’s convenient or comfortable…and when it fits into your schedule.

(Did I mention that it was a long day on that river?)

We can easily wish away our time on this earth or fill it with stuff that has little value in the end.

And, we can always find things to complain or whine about if things don’t go our way.

But, we miss out on so much that God has for us when we choose to focus on our own convenience and comfort instead of trusting His timing and plans for us every day.

So, how are you following Jesus right now?

Are you just floating through life?

Are you trying to follow Him alone?

Are you trusting Him to lead and guide you?

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)