The Local Vineyard Church Podcast

I Believe in God but I Don't Know Him

September 17, 2023 The Local
The Local Vineyard Church Podcast
I Believe in God but I Don't Know Him
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Christian Atheist? Seems like a paradox, right? Yet, there are many who, despite acknowledging God, live as though he doesn't exist. From alarming statistics about young people distancing themselves from the church, to the powerful reminder that simply acknowledging God isn't enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we'll uncover the layers of what it means to be a Christian Atheist.

Merely declaring belief doesn't guarantee a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. We'll take inspiration from Jesus's warning to those who don't act on their beliefs. And we'll also explore the power of Jesus's promise, discussing how even in life's toughest times, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

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Speaker 1:

Christian atheists. Okay, you may be like what the heck is a Christian atheist? What in the world is that? Even a thing? Is that possible? So we are kicking off this brand new series and we're gonna talk about this. Here you go. According to a recent survey in America, it says three out of every four people would say they believe in God. That's good news, right? Three out of four. And then it says seven out of 10 Americans say they believe that Jesus is the risen Son of God. Is the risen Son of God? Also good news, right? That sounds like good news. That's a lot of people, that's a big chunk. But there's always a big but. But maybe you would agree with me or not. But when we look out into the world, when we look into our communities, when we look into even our schools and different things, it doesn't seem like the majority of people are Jesus followers. There's a lot of anger, depression, depression rates are higher than ever before. This upcoming generation has more depression rates than any generation in previous history. Now, why is that? Why is that? Here comes the thought. Here comes the thought that we're gonna explore for the next four weeks a Christian atheist. A Christian atheist Because when we look at how people live. They live as, in a way, they say oh, I believe in a God, but by the way they live, their life doesn't show that he exists, that they don't. They didn't show that he exists. So, as everyday people who are learning how to become Jesus followers, how can we live in a way that reflects following Jesus in our families, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our communities, in all of our environments? How can we, as Jesus says, be a light to the world? How can we do this? Here you go a Christian atheist. The working definition of a Christian atheist is believes in God but lives as if he doesn't exist. Lives as if he doesn't exist. Another interesting survey by Barna Group. It says more and more people than ever before are walking away from church. More and more people than ever before are walking away from church Not because of Jesus and, interestingly enough, not even because of church systems or structures. It's kind of a fascinating thing that we're seeing among young people. Young people are actually going back to liturgical churches in record numbers, more than evangelical, charismatic expressions of church. But it says this and the reason why people are walking away from Jesus they say because they don't see a difference in people who call themselves Christians and people who don't. Well, that's alarming. That's a good alert. We need to hear that In fact, among ages 13 to 17, so the next generation, I'm coming up they are more spiritually open than ever before, but reports they are hesitant of following Jesus because of the lifestyle they have witnessed from other Christians. Now I want to kind of use this verse that the apostle Paul is talking to Timothy to kind of set the tone for the next four weeks. It says this Paul talking to Titus I'm sorry, not Timothy, I mean Titus Paul talking to Titus says this and I want you to hear the heart behind this Titus 1, 16,. It says they claim to what? No God. They claim to no God and there's a difference. I want you to get this. There's a difference between knowing God and knowing God. It's like we all know who the president is, but we don't know the president. Do we? And the same with God? A lot of people. They know who God is, but do you know God intimately? Is God, do you have a relational connection to God? Here you go. It says they claim to know God, but by their actions. By their actions, what do they do, but by their actions they deny him. They deny him. They claim to know God but by the way they live they actually deny him. And I recall that a Christian atheist I believe in God, but I live in a way as if he doesn't exist. So let's be honest. Let's be honest. Haven't you met a Christian before that says one thing but then they do another thing? Haven't we all met a Christian before that? We would use the word man? They come across as like hypocritical or judgmental, not kind. You don't see attributes of Jesus. When you say and what is it doing your heart? What is it doing your soul? Doesn't it bother you? You know what I mean. Like when you see, even when you see some of these big mega pastors and they have these falls from grace, they have all these doesn't it like there's something in it like rub you the wrong way, like man? That bothers me. Right here you go. Let's not just pick on people out there. What about us? What about us? What about you and your life, when you know God is leading you to live a certain way, to act a certain way, to love a certain way, and yet you still do the opposite? Doesn't it bother you when you live your life in a way that you know God is real, but I keep making choices as if he doesn't exist. It bothers us, right, it bothers us in our core Now, and there's a reason for that. There's a reason for that because today, what we're gonna talk about are those who believe but do not know him, those who believe but do not know him, and is that even possible? Is that possible to know someone, to believe someone, but not know them intimately? Well, yes, let me give you a good example of this. Before I knew my wife, erin, I knew her, but, yeah, before I knew her as my wife and knew her intimately, I knew of her. I knew of her Erin, and I actually knew each other a long time before the romance came in, before Cupid shot his bow and arrow. I knew her for a while. I actually knew Erin when she was around 16 years old and I was a little bit older, I was 18, and I knew her back then because I was a mentor to her sister, sarah, who was a part of our youth discipleship program when I was a youth pastor down in Virginia Beach, or at that time I was a youth director, and so in that process of me getting to know Sarah Erin's sister, I got really close to the Cory Erin's maiden name the Cory family. I got so close to the family, in fact, that me and my brother were spent every Sunday there for family dinners. And then we got so close that we started to spend things given with them. And here's a funny part For Sarah it was great because, like, oh, her mentor and you know, it was part of her family. For Erin, who wasn't a Jesus follower, who wasn't a believer, I was her sister's annoying Christian friend and I would just keep coming over and I'm always positive and encouraging and all this stuff. I was like K-love, Thank you. Thank you for laughing at my jokes, so it makes my self-esteem feel better, but that's all I was to Erin. I was the annoying Christian guy that hung out with the family and all I knew of her was Sarah's sister, erin. And so the funny part was I actually joined Sarah and praying for Erin every day for her to have a relationship with Jesus. Little did I know at that time I was praying for my future wife. So when you pray for people, you never know who you're praying for. So Erin goes. Erin ends up going to George Mason University, her second year there at George Mason. George Mason gives her life to Jesus, which is amazing because that's one of the hardest people groups to reach is 18 to 22 year olds and she gives her life to Christ is really incredible story. You should ask her in the lobby about it. But so when she gets back in town, I'm really her only friend from Virginia Beach who is a Jesus follower, my only friend from Virginia Beach who's a Jesus follower, for other friends weren't really headed in that life direction. So we hung out a couple of times, no big deal, let's kind of talk a little bit until the moment the moment happened. Okay, back at this time I was a weekend service director for our church in Virginia Beach. There's a pretty large church down there. I had like almost every single job, as you can think, as a Pastor and I was. I was in charge of the weekend service, the worship and all that stuff, and I was and I was leaning up against the sound booth and the in this Sunday service was starting and and the way our church was set up. The sound booth was like here and then the doors for the entry doors were this way and I'm leaning against the sound board and all sudden I look over and I see Erin walk in and she's wearing this beautiful red dress and in that moment I don't recommend this for everybody, but in this, in that moment I thought to myself wow, I'm going to marry Erin Corrie. That was my thought is that Erin walks up to me and here's even the best part of it. Prior to this day, I was going through one of those I was probably like in my, in my early 20s. At that point, I was going through one of those seasons that most Got people in the early 20s goes through, where you're trying to figure out life and you know some, I grew my hair out really long out, his little fro. It was awesome, and my facial hair was all like rough, I look rough, I look like a homeless bum, To be honest. And so I finally got a haircut prior to prior to this moment, right? So I got a fresh fade, got cleaned up, and then Erin walks up to me and she does this. She rubs my face, she says that looks way better, and I said, oh, you be witch to me, body and soul. You know I start talking pride and prejudice on her, you know, but I didn't say that out loud there. But it's a funny part, we end up hanging out a little bit. And then that summer we hung out every single day that summer With the excuse of we're going to train for a half marathon, and so we would go to the park every day, run around the park. We said we were going to run a half marathon. We never did, but really we just wanted to see each other. Yeah, so we did. We have seen each other. By the end of that year, erin and I started to date nine years, nine years later, three kids in a church plant later. Now I really know her like I know her now. Then I know when she's, when she sat or upset, before she even speaks a word. I know how to push her buttons. She knows how to push my hand and she Knows the deepest on the deepest parts of my heart, my deepest fears. And I know her. We have a deep shared love for our children and their hopes and their futures, and I wish, I wish there was more Minutes in the day so I could think about Erin even more. That's how much I know her, right compared to how I knew her when she was 16 to how I know her now, there's a difference. And what is the biggest difference? What is the biggest difference of when back then and now? Intimacy there's a relationship, there's an intimate relationship, there's heart to heart and and. And there's a relation, there's an intimacy there. And what I want to say to us today, why do I say all that? What I want to say to us today? Maybe you grew up in church environments where it was all about head knowledge and how much Bible you know and how, and that's important and that's great and it's good to have a good theology. But did you know that the God who created the heavens in the earth, the God who made the sea and everything in it, that that God desires an intimate relationship with you? He desires an intimate relationship with you not just in the head but in the heart, and that God loves you so much that the Bible says that he is near people who have what Broken hearts, which signifies to us that God is a relational God, that he is near and close. So the problem is we often have head knowledge of God yeah, I know him but no heart knowledge. The intimacy has to grow Now. What I want to do is give us kind of three different levels, three different categories of what it looks like to believe in God, and these are kind of my ways of expressing it. But I think you're gonna see yourself in one of these three categories, probably a little bit in all three of them. To be honest with my hope, is my hope for at the end of this talk today that you, that we will all say I want to take a step towards the third category that I'm gonna say okay, here you go. The first one, if you're taking notes, some people believe in God but don't know him, and that's kind of what I've been saying. Some people they believe in God but they don't know him, and that could be a lot of us actually that could be alive, especially in certain areas in our lives. Like I, yeah, I believe in God, but I don't really know that he's gonna come through for me on this job. I don't really know he's gonna come through for me on providing for my family. I don't really know if he's gonna like yeah, I believe him, but does he think about me? Does he? Does he care about me? And so you know and here's the thing that this is the part I want you to get some people you know. You say you believe in God without knowing God. Scripture says this, and this is kind of interesting thought. Scripture says even the demons Believe in God and they shutter. And so what does that mean you can have? You can have a head knowledge of God, but not a personal, surrendered lifestyle to God. You can't. You could like, oh yeah, I know God, but not be surrendered to God, or are, are, are being in a loving relationship with them. In fact, I would call this more of a cultural Christian. Culturally, you're a Christian. You may be someone that says, yeah, because my mom was Catholic, yeah, I believe in God. Or my dad was Baptist, yeah, I believe in God. We went to Christmas on the important times, you know, and we went to church on important times like Christmas and Easter and when the church had the cool picnic with all the food. Those are the important dates to go, you know. You may say, yeah, I'm a Christian because I don't follow any other religion, so by default, I'm a Christian. You may say why grew up watching veggie tails? Does that count, you know? Yeah, that's not. Maybe you say you go in first, John too. John has some very direct words, I think, about a real, significant issue that was going on in his time. That I think, is going on in our time as well. Check this out in first, john too. He says this. He says this we know that we have come what. We know that we have come to know God. If we, if we do what, we know God, if we what keep his commands, if we keep his commands, whoever says I know him, I know God, but does not do what he says, what is that person according to John and John's a little harsh here he's the right. He says they're a liar. Wow, that's kind of hard. If you say you know him but don't do what he commands, we're a liar and the truth is not in that person. Whoever says I know God, but there's no fruit in their life, there's no sense of obedience, there's no sense of remorse when we sin, there's no, there's no transformation. We claim to know God, but we don't live our lives in a way that represents God. What is he saying? He says well, you're kind of living a lie and I don't think it's like you're a liar, you're you scum. I don't think it's like that. I think it's Western, is not being honest to ourselves. We're not when I you know when it's not being honest with ourselves, and because we're not being honest with ourselves, we're not seeing the results that we want. It's like if you were into, if you were into weight training, right, if you're into weight training and you say, you say to yourself, yeah, I go to the gym every day. And you and your friends look at you and say what? You go to the gym every day because they look at you kind of weird, because you kind of got a. You know, you got out a little bit. You know, you know you don't look that healthy. And you know, yeah, I go to the gym every day. You're like, you're like, okay, well, what do you do at the gym? When you go to the gym every day, you're like, oh Well, my jam has a wonderful jacuzzi that I sit in every day. Well, yeah, you go to the gym every day, but you're in the jacuzzi. I don't think you're going to get the weightlifting muscles you want from sitting in the jacuzzi. Here's the thing I think some of us, we sit in church, we say we know God, we say oh, yeah, but when it comes to the weightlifting training of following God. We aren't doing the stuff. We aren't doing the stuff. Again, and this is what John is saying. He said, hey, you say you know him, but if you know him, you're going to do what. You're going to do his commands. Come on, go with me here, go with me here. Ok, so there's a head knowledge of the things of God but not a heart relationship with God, because some of the things that God requires for us to do, or asks for us to do, we just can't make a head decision on it. It has to be a heart decision. See, when God is moving us to be to show forgiveness to people, that's hard to do in your head. Show forgiveness for that person out of the way they treated me, nope. But if my heart, if my heart is moving towards God, I'll do it. I'll keep his commands. Ok, here you go. In fact, jesus had even more harsh words to say, and again, I don't normally preach all like the harsh Bible verses, but I felt it was important for this one. This one used to scare me when I first gave my life to Jesus. I'm like, oh my gosh, I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. Jesus says this. He says this, not everyone who says to me Lord, lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, uh-oh, jesus, but only the one who does what the will of my father, who what Keeps my commands, who lives a life in obedience and surrendered to the life of God. Ok, it continues. He says, lord, look. And then others will say many will say on that day to me Lord, look, didn't we prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons like Linda Blair, and in your name, perform many miracles. What we might say to that? It says didn't we go to church? Didn't we go to the membership class? Then I get baptized when I was a baby, then I give some money, then I try to do nice things and I pray for the people I like. But Jesus says this. And he said then I will tell them plainly I never. What's the word there? Knew you, man? What are we going to do with that verse? Church, I'm doing all the church stuff. Is it possible that we can do the church stuff and be doing the church stuff for our own egos and not out of a relationship with God? Is it possible that God wants us to get to a place? And it's a word that we don't like to use in our culture, and I understand for an extent, but maybe God wants us to get to a place of surrender. I surrender my life to you, god. I'm going to follow your commands, because when I try to do it by my commands, well, I don't know about you guys, but I know about me. When I try to do it my way, man, my way, it's not a good way. It makes me do things that after I do it I'm going to say why did I do that? Here you go, let's continue, let's continue. I want to get you guys out on time because everyone's hungry and we all got to see Aaron Rogers play. Oh, never mind, okay. Aaron Rogers hurt himself, never mind, okay. So, first category I believe in God, but I don't know him. Second category I believe in God and I know him, but I don't know him well. I don't know him well. This is good. I want you to go here, okay. I believe in God. I've experienced God. I've had some experience with God. I've worshipped before. I don't know him well, I don't know him intimately. And the reality is there's a lot of us who actually have had experiences with God, but we might not have grown up with God, we might have stopped after that experience. And this is what I want to say, because this is where this is one of these things that I guess my heart going to get my passion going. I actually believe the reason why so many people begin to experience God and then there's kind of a stop and we see this kind of this exodus from the church, is because maybe and maybe this is you and maybe it's not you. But if this is you, maybe you had experience with God. But then you got into a church, you got around a leader, you got around a pastor who maybe used their position to manipulate Can I can be honest in church today Use it to kind of get you to do things? And guilt Maybe feel guilty when you didn't do certain things and there was a disconnect. And because there was a disconnect at that church, in return, you said, well, I'm not going to go to church anymore. And you said and you probably use this phrase, well, I don't need a church to believe in God, and there's truth to that, but there's also a lot of, a lot of not truth to that too. And and, and, and, and, and and. But because of that, because you stepped away from church. Your relationship with God. It kind of was good at first but then kind of got stagnant. It kind of got stuck and then opinions of the world and the opinions of the gospel of Netflix started to shape your way of thinking. And here's what happened and I just want to say, if that's you, that is you. We're not perfect here at LVC and I can't promise that we won't hurt you or there won't be a thing that make you feel disappointed. I can't promise that because we're imperfect people and one of our things here at LVC we believe where we're a perfect place for imperfect people. And if you're perfect, don't come to our church anymore, because we don't want to ruin you with our imperfection. But I want to apologize on behalf of pastors the best I can, a church leaders who maybe Use their position in an unhealthy way. We know it's true, we know it happens. It happens. It doesn't happen just in church, it happens in workplaces and stuff too, but when it happens in the church, there's eternal consequences to it. Okay, but here you go. But, but maybe that's why you may say and this is kind of how I will put it You've been informed about Jesus, but you haven't been transformed by Jesus. Yeah, you've been, there's information, you've had some experience, but there hasn't been a life transformation. And this is what I want to say. The apostle Paul says this, talking to a group of Christians that kind of are in the same category. He said to them formally, when you did not know God in other words, you haven't known Jesus yet you haven't no God. Formally, when you didn't know God, you were what slaves to those who, by nature, are gods. He said now that you know God, now that you know God not just here, but know God in your heart, or rather that you have been known by God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? Now, maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just me and if it's just me, I hope you guys pray for me about it in the service. Maybe it's just me, but do you ever catch yourself doing something and you're ahead? You know I'm doing something that God doesn't want me to do. Do you ever catch yourself at a place that you're like the way you're nagging at your spouse? You know God doesn't want me to nag at my spouse the way that you point at your kids flaws rather than acknowledging their success. The way you complain. The way you complain. Here you go, the way you complain. Even though God has come through time and time and time Again, you still have this level on this pattern of it's never enough. I just keep complaining About, about what I don't have, instead of thanking God for what I do have. And there's this level of complaint there, right, and you catch yourself. You're like why am I doing that? You know, why do you do it? And here's what I want to ask, here's what I want to, here's what I want to point out why do we go back to destructive behaviors at time? Why does sin, even though we know sin is destructive and sin is not what we want? Why do we find ourselves going back to sin at times? Maybe cannot throw someone out here today Because, again, maybe it's just me, but anytime I'm on the verge of doing something I don't want to do, leading up to that moment, my heart, my heart, was wounded, my heart was hurt. And out of the wound of my heart, out of the hurt of my heart, sometimes I want to choose things that feel like an escapism Rather than dealing with it. And what does Jesus? Come on, let's go go with me here. What is Jesus saying? Jesus says something so interesting in the scriptures. He's because I love one thing I love about Jesus he was always just honest. He never did bait and switch on people and I hope at LVC we don't bait and switch you. Here you go. This is what Jesus says. He says in this life, everything's gonna be great. In this life, when you follow me, I will provide a unicorn for you. In this life, when you follow me, you're gonna be rich. In this life, when you follow me, you're gonna be rich. And that's not what Jesus says. Is it Jesus says in this life, come on, jesus, give us something encouraging. In this life, you will have Let me hear it, jesus something good Troubles. Bethany, you can play something up here for me. In this life, jesus this is Jesus says this you will have Troubles. Your heart, your heart, will get hurt. There will be relationships that let you down and you will let down people you love. There will be problems that come up that we can't understand. There'll be issues that take place and we. That leaves us asking the question why is that happening? Jesus makes it clear that in this life you will have trouble. But then he says something. And then he says something I think is so important for us, especially for us who know God. We experience God, but but, but. But our faith is kind of lukewarm. You can say Our faith is kind of rocky Like. Our faith is kind of like yeah, I want to believe, but it's kind of like a like, like a, like a barrier to keep stopping me from fully diving in. Jesus says take heart, Take heart, take heart. Why does Jesus say take heart? Can't be honest again with you guys? This may not be the most encouraging thing. You said man, you came to church to be encouraged. Today I'm going to tell you something that may not fit our encouragement. I'm going to say it because I love you and I'd rather be honest with you than puff you up. Because what happens to puffed up people? Puffed up people pop when life circumstances happen right. The reason why our heart hurts at times is because there is a relentless assault at your heart. There is an enemy who has a relentless assault at your heart that wants to keep you down, that wants to keep you in anxiety, that wants to keep you in fear, that does not want you to experience that breakthrough, that does not want you to experience what freedom looks like, that does not want you to live the life that God has designed and called you to live. There is an enemy that will attack your heart with fear and doubt and depression and anxiety, because that enemy does not want you to live out the calling of God in your life. And Jesus says take heart Like grab your heart. The proverb writer even says this. He says from the overflow of he said. The proverb writer says this. He says guard your heart Above all else. Guard your heart from everything you do flows from it. Jesus says take heart. The proverb says guard your heart. And the reason why we guard and protect our heart because it's in our heart that God begins to do life transformation. See, knowing God isn't just sitting in church. Knowing God isn't just joining the serve team, which is awesome to join a serve team. Joining one is awesome, serving God. Knowing God isn't just giving money every once in a while, you know, or whatever. Knowing God isn't just here you go, isn't just behavior modification, it's not just oh, let me modify my behavior because then God may love me. No, that's religion, not relationship. Knowing God is heart transformation. Jesus says take heart. Why can we take heart? Because he says. He says, even though in this life you have trouble, take heart, for he overcame the world. Hey, hey, hey, hey, you're over. Jesus. You lying to me. You overcame the world. If you overcame the world, why am I still dealing with this jump? Why am I still dealing with this mess? I don't know about you, guys, but sometimes I wake up and I just feel the weight of life on my chest. Have you ever felt that way before? You wake up and you're like you don't even want to get out of bed because it feels heavy, it hurts. Jesus, I don't feel like you overcame the world to me. Here's what I want you to get. Here's what I want you to get church, when we take heart, when we guard our hearts, the way we do that is when we spend daily time with God. Because in the process of spending daily time with God, through prayer, through scripture, reading, through times of you know this being in God's presence, through worship, when we spend daily time with God, it repairs the wounds and the brokenness of our hearts and friends. It's what the Bible will use, this Bible word called sanctification. It's a process. It's a process of taking a broken thing Our hearts and making it a whole thing. Last category, last category, and this is where I hope we all can get to I believe in God and I know Him intimately and I serve Him wholeheartedly. Can I just say that one more time and let that soak over us, because imagine how different our lives would be If I believe in God and I know Him intimately and I serve Him wholeheartedly. Aaron and I were talking the other day and I said, aaron, I kind of had this epiphany. I don't know if it's true or not, but this is what I feel. I feel like God. I think it's been preached that God wants to take us from better to better to better, like, like, like one level better to the next level better. And I said, I think that I do think God is. He's a good father and he wants to give us good gifts, like the scripture says. But I don't know if God necessarily wants to take us from better to better, to better in the sense of how we view better. I think God wants to take us from better to obedient, like, and sometimes obedience is working through that hard thing, sometimes obedience is working through that characteristic of anger that you've been defined by for your whole life, and God is saying I didn't make you to be an angry person. I want you to work on that. Obedience means going back to that relationship that you violated and trying to make it right. I hope I didn't get too heavy on us today, because the problem is, I think, if we view life as, oh, god wants to take me to something better and better and better, and there's this idea of prosperity, this prosperity gospel that kind of gets woven into it, and what we really miss is that God is not about prosperity in the sense of I'm going to just give you a bunch of things, but God is in. But God wants to prosper us, in our hearts, so we can be the person that he has called us to be, to not be someone who's angry, to not be someone who's vengeful, to not be someone who is consumed in depression, to not be someone who can't experience freedom. But I believe in God and I know Him intimately and I serve Him wholeheartedly. And so, friends, I asked you this question today what area of your life do you need to surrender to God? What area in your life have you been living as if God doesn't exist. How do you indicate that, like Jacob? Can you make it practical for me? What are you trying to do? That looks more like this to God rather than this, and I'm reminded of a story. It's not even in my notes. I don't even need my notes, no more. I'm reminded of a story in the Bible. If you grew up in Kids Church, you know the story. Maybe they may actually ease past this part in Kids Church about a man named Abraham. Abraham prayed and prayed and prayed for his son, made some decisions that he shouldn't have made while he was hoping for his son, and then God blessed him with a son named Isaac. And then Abraham found the promise. The promise he felt like is here. And then Isaac's growing up. Abraham has his boy, they throw in the baseball together, they have a good time, they have a fun time, and then God all of a sudden drops on Abraham and he says, oh, hey, abraham. And he's like yeah, god, man, I'm loving life. God, you gave me my son. And he's like oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's good, that's good. Hey, abraham, I need you to do one thing for me. And Abraham's like do anything, god, god, you name it, god, I'll do it. And God's like oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, shoot. Hey, abraham, can you go ahead and like, just take Isaac to the top of the mountain? Oh, you want us to go on a father-son hiking trip? Of course, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, hiking trip. But when you get there, hey, you think you can sacrifice them to me. And Abraham's like screw what. There's a couple things I want you to get from this story. Okay, couple things I want you to get. Abraham willingly takes his son. They go on their hiking trip. He trusts his God all the way up to the top of the mountain and he knew, he knew that God would provide a way, so much to the point that he lays his son on the altar. And what we see here in a beautiful poetry is that God saw what it would look like for him to sacrifice his son for us. It's a beautiful poetry, scripture is beautiful. But he lays him down, he's about to go and sacrifice him. Angel stops and says Abraham, abraham, don't harm the boy. Why do I share that story with you? Because I am wondering today, holy Spirit, speak to people. What is your, isaac, that you need to put on the altar? What is your thing that you need to put on the altar so that you just don't know God here, but you know God and you trust him and you live wholeheartedly for him. That you say I'm gonna make a decision in my life to not just be a cultural Christian or not just be a Christian when it benefits me, when it's just good for my life. I'll be a Christian when it's good for me no, no, no. But will you follow Jesus, even to the scary places? Will you follow Jesus to the hard places? Will you take Jesus to the places that you're like? I don't know if I can go there without you. Jesus, and I'm gonna tell you this God is looking for people, for you and for me, for people who will say wholeheartedly, intimately, I will follow you. Let's pray God, jesus, holy Spirit, we thank you for your goodness and your favor. We thank you for your love and Lord. We come to you saying we want to know you intimately, know you in the deep places. Man, guys, I just have this picture in my head. Maybe it's one of us, maybe it's two of us, maybe it's all of us. In some area of our lives we are just holding on so tight to the things that we think we can control. I suspect the Holy Spirit is just saying to again I don't know if it's for one person, couple people, I don't know. I just feel the Holy Spirit is saying stop lying to yourself, you can't control this situation, you can't control it. Let it go, give it to me, surrender it to me, even if that's you, maybe right where you are in your chair, you just start. You already know what I'm talking about, whoever I'm talking to, or whomever I'm talking to Even right now, in your chair, to say God, I give that to you, that person, that relationship, that fear, that anxiety, whatever it is. God, I've been trying to control this for way too long. I give it to you and I'm gonna say something that I believe will set you free right now, because Scripture says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So, holy Spirit, be with people right now. Bring freedom to people right now, bring freedom in Jesus' name, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And Lord. You are here, holy Spirit, you are here. Calm, holy Spirit, do great things. Maybe in here today, you don't know this Jesus I've been talking about. Maybe you did. Maybe you grew up. You know Him. You don't know Him. You want to know Him intimately, and that's you. I want you to pray this prayer with me. I'm not gonna call you out. Have you come up front? Nothing like that. Just write where you are. If you want to know Jesus, just pray this prayer with me. You can say it out loud or say it in your heart. Say Jesus, forgive me for my sins, make me new Today. I trust you in the life Today. I follow you in Jesus' name, amen, amen. Let's give God some praise in here today. Amen.

Exploring Christian Atheism and Its Impact
Belief in God vs. Personal Relationship
Jesus' Promise
Taking Heart and Surrendering to God
Accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord