Advent UMC Eagan

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About God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit

Maybe you have lots of questions about this “God thing.” Even if you’ve been going to church for 30 years you probably still have questions. Most of us do. Maybe you just invited God into your life 5 minutes ago. The information below might help with some of your questions

If you want to know the truth about God, you are a “seeker.” Jesus encouraged people to seek, to knock on doors and he promised that if we do, we’ll find him and we’ll find new life. Most people are seekers. Some don’t believe in God; others believe in God, but aren’t sure how to connect with God. But all seekers are open to the possibility that God may exist, and more importantly, that God may want to get to know them. Are you open to that possibility? Here are four questions to help you in your seeking:

1. Why do you want to know God? People seek God for a variety of reasons. Some look for a more fulfilling life or a greater sense of purpose. Others look for a relief from their pain. Still others are curious and want to find what is true. What’s your reason? You should be aware of your motivations, because you may be looking for the wrong thing.
For example, perhaps you are seeking because you want to find greater happiness. What if you do find God, but your life circumstances lead to less happiness? Will you feel cheated? Christ followers often report that God gives them greater joy, meaning, and purpose in life. But nearly every believer will also experience periods of difficulty.
So ask yourself: What am I looking for? And, what does God offer me? As you read God’s book, the Bible, you’ll discover how much God’s already given. But God may not give you exactly what you’ve anticipated. So expect the unexpected, and make it your goal to find God, no matter what the outcome or perks. The bottom line is that a true seeker seeks the Giver of life, not just God’s gifts.

2. Are you placing limitations on God? Two people who have fallen deeply in love don’t go into marriage with the intention of ignoring each other’s wishes after the wedding ceremony. Priorities are adjusted in the interest of building the relationship. When they establish their residence, a couple will discuss the furnishings, wall hangings, and other personal touches to make their house (or apartment) a home. In the same way, it would be absurd for a seeker to open up to God but give no thought to the possibility that God may want to rearrange a few pieces of furniture when God moves in.

Some people are fearful that God wants to throw out all the furniture and condemn their house as unlivable. Nothing could be further than the truth! God created us to be in relationship with God and with each other. Do you realize that God wants to be a powerful presence in your life, not just an idea in your head? Many seekers declare intellectual reasons for dismissing the claims of the Bible, but in truth, they are not willing to give up some activity they know is offensive to God. If that’s you, you need to know that God will take you as you are, but God doesn’t want to leave you that way. God wants you to be opened to transformation into the person God created you to be.

3. What do you think about Jesus? A spiritual seeker may think the proper order of inquiry is to first decide if there is a God and then figure out who Jesus is. But many seekers find out that when they discover Jesus, they find answers to many of their other questions at the same time:
Is there a God? Yes, and God came to earth in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John chapter 16 verse 28, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Does God love me? Yes! Look at what God did to show that love: “For God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, that whoever believes in God will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John chapter 3, verses 16,17). No matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, God is filled with an unquenchable love for you.
What religion is the right one? Reconsider that question in light of the fact that God wants a relationship with you, not religious affiliation. “You are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus…There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians chapter 3, verses 26-28).
What do I have to do to live forever? Accept Jesus as your forgiver and your God. See John chapter 6, verse 40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise Him up at the last day.”
How can I experience meaning and purpose in life? John Wesley, the founder of Methodism once said, “Do all the good you can, do no harm and stay in love with God.” Scripture says, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.” “Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

According to the Bible, until a seeker comes to terms with Jesus, he or she hasn’t dealt with the issue that’s most important in starting a relationship with God. Consider this: Jesus is the most influential person in history. A poor itinerant preacher, the son of a carpenter but also the Son of God, changed the entire course of world history. God is still changing history as followers of Jesus are moved to do justice and offer mercy to the world.

4. How will you respond to Jesus? It’s not enough to intellectually agree with Jesus’ claims. Do you want to follow him? Do you care about the things and people that Jesus cares about? Do you want to join God’s purpose that will bring wholeness not only in your life but to all of creation? All you have to do is say “Yes” to God. Yes, I will follow you, yes I will listen for your voice and look for your face in every face I see each day. Yes, I will love my neighbors even when they are acting unlovable. Yes, I will look to you, God, to give me the power to do what I cannot do alone. Salvation in Jesus is a totally free gift, and receiving it is as easy as saying, “Jesus, I acknowledge I need you. I now ask You to be my forgiver and my God.” God does forgive and asks us to be baptized. Baptism reminds us that we are forgiven, claimed and called into God’s family.

Practical Helps
Read the Bible – start with the New Testament books of John, Acts, and Romans.
Talk to people who display a genuine relationship with God—those who obviously love God and try to live God’s Way.
Spend time in nature, observing and experiencing God’s creation.
Question things everybody seems to take for granted – be a lover of truth.
Recognize that following God must make sense: truth may go beyond reason, but not against it.
Write down your questions as you read the Bible, and take them to knowledgeable Christians who respect your seeking.
Know your presuppositions – the things you already believe – and try not to let them interfere with your quest for truth.
Know your personal issues: your past will profoundly influence your present ability to be objective.
Remember that you don’t have to know everything to know something.
Determine to seek for a specific period of time, and continually evaluate your progress. Then try to reach an appropriate conclusion.
Act on what you decide: “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds: and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7, verses 7,8).
Questions about anything you’ve read here? Contact one of our pastors.