Do you know God? Or Do you only know about God?
John Calvin wrote, “To know God is to be changed by God; true knowledge of God leads to worship.” The future of the Church is worship.
How do you really know someone? We may think we know…say…the president of the United States. But do we honestly really know him? There is much written about him good and bad that causes us to form an opinion about him but the truth of the matter is, unless you can say you have been with him in person and hung around him , you really can’t say you know him. Nevertheless you know about him.
There is much written about God. People make statements in the name of God that are not God at all. Yet we form opinion based on that knowledge about that keeps us from actually seeking to know God.
I had a transformational experience when I was 18 years old. I was living the life many others were living. Living at home, working all week at a low paying job only to party on the weekend. I felt my life was going nowhere and in the late 70’s early 80’s prospects for a woman raised in a blue collar city were limited. I had an encounter with some friends who were going to a Baptist church. They had stopped by to share their faith. I was not receptive; as a matter of fact I mocked and insulted them until they challenged me with this: “Your friends are not your friends but there is one who will stick closer to you than a brother. I later found this in the bible: proverbs 18:24. The first half of this proverb was painfully true and I did not want to admit it. They said Jesus would stick closer to me than a brother. For weeks I resented these words, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about them. One night my “friends” abandoned me to a situation that put me in grave danger. I will fore go the details. I found myself begging God, “if you are really there, I need you now…” All I can tell you is a peace came over unlike anything I had experienced before. I became acutely aware I was not alone and took a deep breath and made a break for it. I remember going to the beach that night and crying out into the dark while the waves lapped the shore, “God you are real…you are here.” For the first time in my life I realized God cared about me and loved me enough to rescue me. My response was to find a place where I could worship God. I have been a follower ever since. Knowing God for me is experiential not theory. Knowing God is to know Grace. It is to know I am a child with a Parent with whom I belong. It is this true knowledge that led me to worship and has been the source of my strength and has kept me in the faith.
We need to proclaim our experience more than teach theory. God desires all of us to open our heart so that we can know just how close and connected we are. May you open your heart to the possibility of knowing God not just knowing about God.
- What is it that compels someone to seek a community were God is worshiped?
- Do you think people go to church because they only know about God but hope to find God?
- What other questions does this raise for you?