If you would like a hard copy of this document, it can be downloaded here.
Do you know God?
Some people do, and some don't. Most of us struggle with the whole idea. We recognize that this life is temporary, so we have some serious curiosity about God. And we also have this vague feeling that there's Someone out there Somewhere. But we don't know how to connect with God - not like we do with our friends, or our families, or even ourselves. I mean, how do you get to know God ... ?
Well, that's where Jesus comes in. A friend once asked Him, "Show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered, "Don't you know me, Philip ... ? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."
In other words, Jesus is God. When we see Jesus, we see God. When we hear Jesus, we hear God. That's pretty heavy. Maybe you're trying to wrap your head around it. Me too. Take your time. There's lots of stuff to learn, and there are other links on this website that will help you explore your thinking. But maybe you already know who He is. In that case, let me tell you a little bit about this church.
Here at MRCC we have a very simple model for getting to know God. It's based on the Bible. Simply put, God wants you to get to know Him the way a child gets to know her parents. There are four broad steps, each of which has lots of moments and learning built into it:
First of all, He wants you to know Him as your Savior. This is important, because receiving Jesus as your Savior means that you stop trying to "climb the mountain" and start letting God get inside of you. The whole journey of spiritual life begins when you admit you need help and turn to Jesus. It seems like a small thing to "believe" in Jesus, but He said it's like putting a mustard seed in the ground. Although it's tiny at first - in fact, you can't even see it - just wait. Once you plant it, the seed will grow, and eventually it turns into this huge tree that's bigger than you are. That's what believing in Jesus is like.
If you want to know God, you begin with the decision to believe in Jesus. When you make that very simple and very personal decision, God adopts you the way I adopted my son. Now you belong to each other forever.
The next step is to start learning from Him. He wants to show you how to manage every part of your life - not because He's a control freak, but because He wants to set you free. Think about it. When I teach my son how to live, I'm not trying to dominate him. Instead, I am trying to show him how to live in such a way that addictions, dependencies, or plain old-fashioned bad habits don't prevent him from becoming the astronaut or artist or arc-welder that he wants to be. So I teach him. I warn him away from some things, and encourage others.
Jesus wants to teach you. He once said that if you're tired on the inside, He can show you how to get over it. All you have to do is start learning from Him and doing certain things His way. In a sense, He is a mentor. A coach. A teacher. So � listen to Him. Learn from Him.
Inevitably, all that tangled mess of anger and grief and confusion inside of you has to be dealt with. Sooner or later, you have to come to terms with it. You can only sweep stuff under the rug for so long. That's why people have mid-life melt-downs. That's why they sink into depression. That's why they give up and check out.
God wants something better for you. After you have come to know Him as your Savior and Lord, He wants to reveal Himself as your Father, with all the intimacy that implies. This happens in lots of ways, but as you are growing in your awareness of God He will begin to show you WHY things happened in your life, and HOW He is working through your pain and your joy like a guitar-teacher works through your sore fingers to your sudden excitement at being able to play three chords in a row. This is deep stuff. This is gut-level real. Now you are being healed from the inside out, way down in the basement of your heart. Most people experience tremendous transformation at this stage. At the risk of turning off the guys in the audience, caterpillars become butterflies. Or to put it another way, insecure boys become upright and honorable men.
Think this through. The first thing a child needs to learn is that Mom/Dad is a nurturing/rescuing presence (Savior), and then a right/wrong authority and mentor (Lord). Once this groundwork of relationship is laid down, Mom and Dad are free to build a healthy sense of love in a child's heart. God wants you to know Him as Father.
Eventually, kids grow up. IF everything goes the way it is supposed to, Mom and Dad turn into friends as well as parents. The child has his own children, and becomes just like Mom and Dad in the sense of his love for his children. What's more, he develops a deeper appreciation of the things Mom and Dad were trying to teach all along.
This is what friendship with God looks like - a deep and abiding love for other people. It shows up in giving, or serving, or telling an unwelcome truth, or forgiving the unforgivable. If you get to know God, you turn into a saint. Sooner or later, you become a father to the fatherless.
On the last weekend of Jesus' earthly life, He told His disciples, "You're not servants anymore - now you're my friends, because you know who I am and you know what I'm doing." Friendship with God is the ultimate goal. It is the aim of the His Spirit in your life. When a person becomes a friend of God, you will know it. Their new life shows up in everything they do, especially the way they love God and love people.
Jesus came to invite you to start this journey. Sometimes it takes decades to get from Savior to Friend. Very often, people wander back and forth on the path, but it is important to learn each step because your relationship with Him depends on it. Here at MRCC, we are committed to helping you walk all four miles to the end. We want to help you discover friendship with God
First Savior, then Lord, then Father, then Friend. Everyone takes a slightly different path, but the direction doesn't change. And there are no short-cuts. You always start with Savior, and the goal is always Friend. You can walk this path. Anyone can. What's more, you've been personally invited to walk it with the Spirit of God. The Bible says, "For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
So ... come and walk with us. Come and follow Jesus. It's the way Home.
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
Give us a call or drop us an email. We'd love to help you get started. If you've never received Jesus as your Savior, then go ahead and do that right now. God is listening. Just tell Him that you are a sinner (in other words, you need help with your life) and tell Him you would like Him to come into your heart. It's that simple. The Bible says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)
Maybe you have a bunch of questions before you make that decision, or maybe you have a bunch of questions after you make that decision. No worries. This website (and many others) are filled with good stuff to learn. But it begins right here and right now.
It's up to you. God is right here in this moment. You can put the seed in the ground today. It's your call.