Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why God?

So, last week I began my new Sunday morning study, a series entitled, "It's Hard to Believe." By the looks on the faces of many in the congregation I would gather they thought I was loosing my faith, but the truth is my faith has never been more alive. Yes, I have more questions now than in my younger years, but they are questions that continually drive me to God, and I am learning in the process that what I need is not more answers, but more of the One who is the Answer.

This week I plan to begin addressing the first statement in our Statement of Faith, which deals with what we believe about God. The first statement reads:

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

It covers a lot of ground, that's for sure, and will demand a few weeks of "unpacking" in order for us to begin to get a handle on this portion of our Statement of Faith, but our belief about God is crucial to all of the beliefs that follow.

Last week I asked some people, via our church's Facebook page, to respond to the question; Why do you believe in God? I would like to offer the question to you my blog readers as well.

Would you care to share your thoughts? Why do YOU believe in God? And, maybe to answer as well, Why is it important to hold a right belief in this regard? I am sure there are lots of questions, and of course lots of answers as well, so feel free to jump in and join the discussion. My prayer is that we will all not only gain more insight, but more importantly, be drawn closer to the One who is the great I AM.

3 comments:

Gary said...

The question was asked: “Why do you believe in God?” Huh? The question could have been, “Why do you believe in consciousness, or music, or mathematics?” I guess I believe because I do not disbelieve. How can I do otherwise?

However gaining an understanding of each of the above – music, math, and consciousness - can make life more pleasant for the individual and for his or her associates. This is especially so in the area of consciousness – for in this area (in our thoughts) is where God wants to live full-time.

God’s “habitation” (Psalm 91:9) is in heaven (Mat. 6:9) - it is His Kingdom - which I believe is a mental place accessed exclusively through Christ, now dwelling in you. The Spirit of Christ, I believe, acts as an ongoing translator within our thoughts, helping us to see beyond any seeming darkness of this world, and to know God as “my refuge and my fortress…in him will I trust.”

As Paul said at Col. 1:13 “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us [or translated us, as the KJ says, which has to do with expanding the understanding] to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” I love this verse.

However, as there are rules in music to follow in order to avoid unintentional discord, and rules in mathematics to follow in order to reach reasonable conclusions – so there are rules for our living in a harmonious consciousness. Jesus gave the world these rules or guidelines (some people seem to scoff at the word “rules”) for harmonious living through his teachings given to his followers. Voluntarily learning and following Jesus’ teachings, or some of them – or even one or two of them – will start the flow of harmony into a person’s life in a like manner as following the rules of mathematics and music (or some of them, or one or two of them!) will bring better results when it comes to working with music and math.

This is a reasonably short answer. I think long ago before I came to grips with some of Jesus’ life-changing directives, one of my goals for knowing God better was to express tangible prosperity. However long-term believing in Christ has pretty much completely deleted this thought from my mind. Now it is those “treasures in the heavens that do not fail” that are gaining my undivided attention. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” is a much better assurance to hold on to.

Why do you believe?

Anonymous said...

Pastor,
Perhaps I was one of those last Sunday with a quizzical look on my face.....not that I was concerned about YOU losing faith...but that you kept asking if I found such and such "hard to swallow". Many nodded their heads in agreement with you and I wanted to jump up and say "NO"!!!
I DON'T find it hard to believe the stories of the Bible. I certainly don't always understand "HOW" they could have happened...but because I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of a God who is TRUTH...and HE said they are true...how can I NOT believe them? Because of my belief in who God is...absolute truth, infinite, sovereign, almighty etc etc...I don't have a problem believing HIS word as fact whether or not it makes "sense" when we mortals try to intellectulize it. Who am I to question the creator of the universe?
Perhaps I am too trusting....too child like in my faith. When my heavenly Father says 1 plus 1 is 2....who am I to argue? Even if He said 1 plus 1 is 3...that doesn't "compute" with my tiny intellect....but if He said it was true...I have to choose to believe Him.....not my human teacher who taught me differently.

I am in a women's Bible study and we are just embarking on a new study...Genesis. Last Thurs. was devoted to the 7 days of creation. I came away awe struck once again by our creative awesome triune God. How could I EVER doubt such a God? I never doubt His ABILITY to handle all of my petitions...I sometimes question His timing...and sometimes His apparent "no" answers....but my God is an AWESOME God. He does ALL things well...He is faithful...He is good ALL of the time...He loves me....He is HOLY...He has a high standard...but He has provided all I need in order to meet His requirements.He WAS, IS and will EVER BE. He has made His power available to me as He lives within me. How can I question what He says is truth?
I think the very core is what you are addressing this week...Who is God to us? How big is He? Is He believable, capable, dependable??

Preach it!!! Ruthie

gentledove said...

I was speechless when I read your December post “It’s Hard to Believe,” because it was seemed such a profound statement that I couldn’t think of a response that I felt would do it justice. I haven’t yet listened to the tape of the sermon, but I believe it’s important to address those issues because law of averages alone tells us that not everyone sitting out there in the congregation finds it “easy to believe” and just as Paul “became all things to all people” so that he could communicate the gospel to a very diverse group of people, I think it is important for us (and especially for pastors) to try to put themselves in even a doubter’s shoes to better communicate the gospel empathetically in a way that they can relate to.

I personally found it easy to believe that Jesus walked on water and that Peter did as well (as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus and didn’t let any doubt creep in). I found it so easy to believe in fact that Jesus and Peter walked on water that I honestly believed (or thought I believed) that I should (if I really believed) be able to walk on water myself.

Let’s just say my attempt to saunter across a lake made doubting Thomas seem like a faith giant. I comforted myself with the fact that I can for brief periods (before falling on my rear end) ski across the water holding onto a rope being pulled by a boat which is probably a lot more fun than walking on water anyway.

Okay, that shook my faith a little except that if I had really had faith, I probably would have successfully walked on water in the first place which really shook my faith because then I wondered if I really believed in the first place since I truly thought I believed enough to walk on water but obviously didn’t believe as much as I thought I did???? It also helped that by the time I tried to walk on water, I had also already developed a personal relationship with Christ. Of course, in the movie “Harvey,” Elwood P. Dowd really believed he could have conversations with Harvey, the invisible rabbit too.

But all joking aside, it really didn’t shake my faith much. Why?

Because as a child I was blessed to have attended a Sunday School that planted all those wonderful faith seeds in my heart and so really, it is easy for me to believe in spite of the fact that I didn’t successfully walk on water. They filled me full of faith as a child in that wonderful little sunday school and so I didn’t have to work very hard at all to believe. It was a gift, really, such a precious gift that I don’t even mind the world thinking I’m slightly off my rocker for believing -- besides I know the “world” really is going madder every day.

But I’m glad I tried to hike across that lake because it made me more empathetic when I talk to people who think I am crazier than a bedbug for believing Christ died on a cross for my sins and was resurrected. It helps me understand that it is hard for them to believe if it wasn’t instilled in them as a small child – especially if they have been taught exactly the opposite from childhood -- that only the ignorant and the foolish believe in such things.

Which always humbles me and brings me to the point where I wonder if one of the reasons people find it hard to believe isn’t because it IS hard to believe or perhaps a better way of saying this is “it’s hard to be a true believer”) – hard to really live the way Christ really wants us to.

Perhaps if the world could see those of us who believe selling everything we have and giving it to the poor, putting others ahead of ourselves, being utterly selfless, really crucifying self and picking up our cross and following him – perhaps the more faith we have, the more contagious our faith will be.

There’s a lot to be said for the prayer Christ’s disciples prayed when they fell short in the faith department, “I believe. Please help my unbelief” because all of us can always use more faith.