Passages Christian Fellowship
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Connect...Challenge...Impact!

Find God

"How do I get connected to God?" 
People have asked this basic question for as long as people have been alive to ask it, so if you have questions about how to get connected to God, you're not alone!
 
There ís a world of opinion about how people can lead a life of faith. Christianity is unique among faiths because of its fundamental knowledge of how it is that people can connect to God.
 
The first assumption that Christianity makes regarding people's connection to God is that people routinely fail to live up to the standard of God's perfection. That includes everyone in the world, no matter what their religious, moral, ethnic or gender perspectives may be. We all have the same problem before a perfect God: we miss the mark. 
 
Christian scripture calls this failure "sin" and it shows up in our everyday lives so often that we can even stop seeing it at times! Rest assured it's there, however, and it's especially noticeable when held up before a perfect God. This imperfection, or sin, is what separates people from God and obstructs people's ability to connect to God. The price of sin is steep, resulting in death and separation from God not only in this life, but for all of eternity.
 
In the same way that everyone in the world has this basic dynamic of sin in their lives, so also does everyone in the world have the need for some way to be connected back to God – a way for the obstruction to be removed. Christianity asserts that it's not within the power of people who are disconnected from God by sin to remove the obstruction of sin that separates them from God. Something more powerful is needed. God is needed.
 
So the second premise of Christian faith is that people, because of their disconnection from God, need special help from God to become reconnected. Christianity says that this help comes in the form of Jesus, who is the actual Son of God. Jesus is the "Christ" or "Savior" whom God promised to broken people. Jesus suffered the consequences of sin – death and separation from God – on behalf of all people. 
 
It's a dramatic gesture on the part of God to stay connected to people – to allow God's Son to take the punishment for people. It's so dramatic, so effective, that many Christians call the result of this gesture from God "being saved" – literally being plucked out of harrowing circumstances by the actions of God on our behalf. That's what it means when people talk about "salvation" – simply that we've been rescued and given a new way to have an eternal connection to God. That new connection comes with new life, healing and a restoration of our original purpose – freedom from the things that hold us down. It's a renewed vision of what everything is and what everything means.
 
Having realized that we are disconnected from God because of the ways we fall short, and having accepted that God offers a wonderful way to reconnect to God in Jesus, the original question of "How do I get connected to God?" gets asked a different way: "What must I do to be saved?"
 
In fact, that very question was asked by a prison guard twenty centuries ago not long after Jesus walked the earth. The answer came back from the apostle Paul simply and pointedly: "Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (The account of this eternal Q&A is found in the Bible, in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts.)
 
"Too easy!" you say. "Surely a person must do something to earn God's forgiveness and Godís dramatic act of salvation."
 
There are many faiths in the world today which teach that our "good" works and our "bad" works are tallied and weighed when our life ends. Christianity, however, has no such accounting system. Christianity asserts that people are too disconnected from God to do anything about their predicament other than to receive the gift of reconnection to God and eternal life that comes from faith in Jesus -- the one who can reconnect us.
 
If you have not made the decision to resign your disconnectedness from God and to instead embrace a life of faith in Jesus Christ (who can reconnect you to God), the first step is to simply tell God that this is what you want to do. Talking to God this way – praying – is what you do. Pray honestly to God and tell God that you are ready to accept the reality of your predicament, as well as God's dramatic gesture to reach out and save you.
 
There's no magic formula to prayer – it just needs to be from your heart. Many people who pray this way for the first time sound something like this:
 
"God, thank you for continuing to come to me, where I am. I am disconnected from you and I don't have the means to become reconnected on my own. I know that I do things in my life which disconnect me from you, things which make me fall short of who I should be. I understand that a life following Jesus, your Son, is the only way for me to become reconnected to you and to the fullness of life that connection with you brings. Without the gesture you made through your Son, Jesus, who accepted responsibility for the consequences of the sin in my life and the lives of all people, I'd be lost.  I'll need your help to continue my life of faith in Jesus Christ. Help me to grow in my understanding of faith and to hear your voice as I learn from the teachings of the Bible. Help me to grow in my faith as I become increasingly connected to other Christians who also have decided to follow and trust in Jesus Christ.  
 
Let these things be so, God! I trust you!
 
If you would like to "connect with God", we welcome you to stop by Passages Church next Sunday and I will be happy to personally talk with you.
 
Warmly,
Keith