Tag Archives: Human

Worshipping God?

This post was written in response to the questions “Can all religions be correct and just worship one God in different ways?  If so, does it matter how I worship God?” which were sent in by Lincolnshirepeasant.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

To explore these questions,  I would like to take you down a memory lane.

I was in 9th grade. It was 9am. Monday morning.  Social Studies class.  My best friend, who was more into the social scene than the academic side of school, was sitting beside me in class. Monday morning, 9am...and, my friend, was in class. 

In case you are starting to doubt the credibility of my story, I will have you know that my friend would never skip this class.  Why? Because she had a crush on the dark, young-ish, physical education teacher who taught us Social Studies. He also happened to be married, but that did not keep her from sitting at the back of the class and giggling, nor me from teasing her ruthlessly. Yes, we were immature, in case you were wondering.

My friend thought our teacher was nothing more than a good-looking jock. And maybe that is all he was, but I doubt it.  I learned some stuff in that Social Studies class, and not just about the awkward social interaction between a giddy 9th grade best friend and a very weirded out teacher.

In between giggles, I heard the teacher say something about warship. I was confused.  I mean, I knew that I was a bit distracted, but just a second ago he had been talking about culture, and I was not really following the jump to “warship”.  The teacher kept talking, and I kept not-really-understanding until all of a sudden it hit me: the teacher was referring to worship. At first, I thought he was just pronouncing it wrong.  However, I happened to be that kid who liked to test the teachers.  So I asked him a question about worship. His response revealed that he did not have a clue what he was teaching.

And as I racked my brain for ways I could monopolize on the opportunity created by my teacher’s ignorance, I stumbled upon a second epiphany. I did not really know what worship meant either.

So what is worship?

While I am sure that we could ask a lot of people and get many different answers (or befuddled looks of confusion), I would like to offer a couple of thoughts.

Worship is not about you.

Worship is not about the worshipper.  Worship is an act of adoring, honoring, revering or admiring. The important one involved is the recipient, not the worshipper.  If the worshipper maintains the focus, then it is not really worship.  Think about worship like giving a compliment.

Worship requires us to focus on God instead of ourselves.

A good compliment focuses on the recipient.  A compliment which draws the attention back to the person giving the compliment, is not really a compliment at all.

Because worship requires the one who is worshipped to be kept in mind…

The One who is worshipped must be known.

The person who gives the compliment needs to know about the recipient in order to compliment them.  The better you know someone, the more able you will be to compliment that person in a meaningful way.  Likewise, worshippers need to know about who they worship. Worship which is directed towards someone who is unknown does not really mean much.

This brings us to the question of whether or not all religions can be correct and worship the same God.  While I personally believe that there is one God, I do not believe that all religions can be correct about Him, because the gods which are professed by different religions are so completely different. How could such contradiction be worshipful?

Is it really a compliment if it is not based on truth?

The other risk you run if you do not know who you worship is that you may not be worshipping the God who you need to be worshipping.

In Exodus, God tells his people to quit worshipping others: “ You shall  tear down their altars and  break their pillars and cut down their  Asherim 14 (for  you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).”

Worshipping God seems pretty important, yet…

Worship is humanly impossible.

You need God’s help to worship. Worship is by faith; faith must be received. Worship involves obedience; direction must be provided.  When God directs, he must also provide the strength to do what He wills. Worship has a cost. It requires  sacrifice. We are good at being self-centered; we need help to become God-centered.

Abraham is a man who really got worship. You can read his story here.

I am not saying there is one specific way to worship.  I believe that there are many.  The important thing is to worship God on his terms, not ours.

Are we really worshipping God if we are only willing to do what we want?

Anyone can choose to worship Jesus.

In one of my favourite passages, Jesus speaks to a Samaritan woman and says,  “22 You worship what you do not know;  we worship what we know, for  salvation is  from the Jews. 23 But  the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father  in spirit and  truth, for the Father  is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that  Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes,  he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

That about sums it up right there.

It does not matter who you are.  You could be a Jew or a Samaritan, a hot-shot jock teacher or a giddy teenage girl. If you choose to believe in Jesus and want to worship Him, you will be able to.

It does not matter where you are.  You could be on a mountain, in a church, or sitting in front of a computer screen.

All that matters is who He is.  You can depend on Jesus to help you worship in spirit and in truth. 

Do you worship anyone or anything?  How do you do this?

Relationship with God?

This post was written in response to the question “How can I have a relationship with God?” which was sent in by Dan.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

 

Dan, your question is a great one.  I think many people wonder about Jesus, especially around times like Easter and Christmas, because they think that it is important to go to church on these days. While going to church can be good, it can also be confusing.  Different churches have their own culture, and if you are not in the church all of the time, the new culture can make you feel foreign and lost. I know what it is like to sit in church and not understand what is going on.  It is disappointing.  It is frustrating. And it sometimes does not help you answer the questions which really need to be answered.

To answer your question, I will first share with you a brief explanation of how I started my relationship with God.  I will then give you some pointers in how to grow in that relationship.
My relationship began the day that I realized that I did not deserve to know God. Someone explained what the Bible said in simple terms to me:
1. God loves humans and wants to have a relationship with us so that we can have full spiritual life.
2. We separate ourselves from God by choosing to follow our own ways instead of his. This is called sin, and results in disconnection from God, or spiritual death.  Once our relationship with God is broken, we have no way to get it back ourselves.
3. God chose to come to earth as Jesus, live a life which had no sin, and then take the death that we all deserve on the cross.  He showed he was God when he came back to life after 3 days. He died for everyone, so anyone who wants to have a relationship with God can just accept that Jesus made the way for that, and ask God.
4. We must choose to accept Jesus for ourselves. No one can do it for us.  It is our choice.

I chose to pray to receive Christ.  I told God that I have separated myself from God and gone my own way.  I told him that I do not have a way to make myself right.  And then I said that I believe that Jesus is God, that he came to earth, that he was without fault, that he died the death that I deserve, and that he came back to life on the third day.  I thanked him for doing this for me, and asked him to help me start a new relationship with God.

If you want to start a relationship with God, know that He is waiting for you.  It does not matter what you have done in the past.  He loves you.  You can pray the same thing that I prayed if you want.  What matters is the attitude of your heart.  If you want to know God, I encourage you to pray now.

If you have chosen to do that, I am excited for you!  If you have chosen not to do so, I encourage you to consider what is keeping you from believing in Jesus.

Once you have chosen to receive Jesus, your new life with God can start!  I promise you, it will be exciting if you are willing to let God direct you.  Here are some ways you can get to know Him more:

1. Pray, which is just talking with God. That is a really great way to grow in your relationship.

2. Read the Bible.  I suggest you start by reading about Jesus life in the book of John (you can find it here: biblegateway.com).  Find friends who can help you understand it.  You can count me as your first friend who wants to do that!

3. Tell others about your decision.  Maybe others want to have the same hope.  Or maybe you can find friends who already have faith, and can help you understand more about God.  You can find such friends at some churches.  Just make sure it is a church which believes that it is by Jesus’ grace that we are saved.:)

What are your reasons for believing in Jesus, or not?

This God-Guy Jesus

His Story: Jesus

This is a story which has been told millions of times. There has probably been more written on Jesus than any other historical person. Sadly, not everyone has access to knowledge of Jesus.  In many countries, to know Jesus is illegal, and can mean certain death. This reality makes celebrating Easter (the death and resurrection of Jesus) a freedom and privilege.

I could write Jesus’s story again.  As a Wannabe Missionary, that is probably what I should do.  Afterall I am 20-something, and therefore confident (aka cocky) that I could write the best, most animated rendition of the story of Jesus. But I am not going to.  Instead, I will share with you some ways the story has already been shared.

This Jesus Movie follows the Gospel of John in the Bible.  Exactly.  Word for word.  You could read along if you like. That is the good news.

The bad news is…how can I say this nicely?  The movie is old and we are stupid. The events which are depicted are from a time and place that we often do not understand very well.  However, I think it is good to watch the movie and just note questions for further explanation. Try not to be too critical, since cultural misunderstandings can really get us riled up.

The Passion of the Christ is technically a much better film.  It also uses a bit more liberal artistic license. The gore really comes alive when it is on screen instead of written in a book.

There is just this one thing about  Jesus that I would like to flesh out.

It is a little strange to see Jesus in stone...

Jesus - God, guy, and statue?

Historically, it is not difficult to understand that Jesus was a man. However, the reason why so many people have faith in Jesus is because they believe he is also God.

Why believe that Jesus is God?

 1. Jesus claimed that he is God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” He told people that their sins were forgiven.  They knew what this meant.  No one but God could forgive sins.  They knew that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah (Savior) who God had promised to send to them.

2. Jesus died because of who he was. But much like today, many people were not willing to let Jesus be the leader.  In fact, those who were in power were threatened by Jesus.  So they plotted to kill him.

3. Jesus came back to life. Humans are always defeated by death.  Jesus did die, but he came back to life, showing that He has power over life and death.

So because Jesus said that He was God, and backed up his words by his actions, I choose to believe him.  Since I have chosen to accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as the way to have friendship with God, I have had a full life!  But that is a another whole story…

This post was written in response to the question “When people talk about Jesus sometimes..I’ve noticed they call him “God.” Why?” which was sent in by Brandi.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

If you want to read the whole story of Jesus life for yourself, visit biblegateway.com.

What are your thoughts?

In the beginning…

The story of Adam and Eve is one of beginnings, representing the story of all humanity.

It is found at the very beginning of the very first book in the Bible, called Genesis. I see parts of this story re-played every day in the lives of everyone who I know. Understanding this story has helped me understand so much about myself and others.

This story is one of my favourites because it has some good stuff in it: gore, romance (a bit risqué), paradise, stupidity, deception, a great plot  and some lessons to learn from.

I will tell the story to you.

Once upon a time, God, who is pretty creative, decided to make humans in his image, male and female. He “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” So, basically, the story is saying the only difference between men and dirt is the breath of God. I can agree with that!  I desire that life-giving breath too.

Gore

This is where I think the story gets good!(: God then said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” That sounds nice. However, it turns into the first blood-and-guts scene of the Bible.  God performed the first surgery, removed a rib from Adam (he was put asleep first), and used it to create the woman, who was called Eve. I think that this justifiably means that women are, in fact, God’s gift to men!

Romance

This story then takes on a genre I am a fan of: Romance!  When the man awoke, he liked the woman so much that he broke out some poetry.

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”i

So the woman was literally a part of Adam, and Adam held fast to his wife so that they were one. *Sigh*

Risque

 “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”  Enough said.

Paradise

Adam and Eve had it all.  They did not have to worry about what they would eat, because God planted them a garden.  And, when I say garden, I mean GARDEN. Picture this: “the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” It also had a river flowing through it.  Talk about beautiful. They had pets galore because God entrusted all of creation, the entire earth and animals and plants living on it, to the care of the humans. So they basically lived in paradise, and had no crowds or crime to worry about. Even God was impressed by everything, saying it was very good.

Can you imagine living here?

The best part is that they had full access to God.  They could ask him questions. Sort of like the internet, except with a whole lot less lies. And God also  loved Adam and Eve.  He created them.  He spent time with them. He talked with them, and God always spoke the truth to them.

So God told Adam and Eve that there were a couple of special trees in the middle of the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them that they had full access to eat fruit from every tree in the garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because eating from that tree would cause death.

Stupidity

This is the point of the story where human stupidity makes its entrance.  God, who knows everything, who provided Adam and Eve with everything that they needed, and who showed nothing but love towards them, let Adam and Eve do whatever they want, except this one thing.  He asked them not to eat from one tree in the entire garden.  And yet, what do you think they did?

Deception

To be fair, they had a bit of help making the stupid decision.  Enter, the snake.

The snake represents Satan, or the devil, a former angel who decided that he wanted to have a power struggle with God.  Instead of letting God be God, Satan wanted to be treated like god instead.  So he spends his time convincing humans to believe in him instead of The Original God.  God is good. Satan gets people to follow him by convincing them to choose what is not good.

Satan (disguised as the snake) said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” This is the first lie that Satan tried to confuse Eve with.  The lie that God will not provide, that He is withholding good from the human.

But the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This is the second lie that Satan spoke.  The lie that God is not trustworthy.  The lie that God would withhold what is best from Adam and Eve.  The lie of pride that man and woman should be like God. Satan was teaching what he selfishly believed.

Now, this is the point when I wish that Eve would have taken a step back and had a good look at the situation.  Had she contemplated whether what Satan was saying about God made sense with what she had already experienced with the God that she knew, perhaps she would not have been so stupid.  Had she asked God about what Satan said before she made an impulsive decision, then maybe things could have been different.  But she did not.  “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”. Eve only looked at her physical circumstances, and chose to place her trust in a snake instead of the God she knew.

It wasn’t just Eve who fell for Satan’s scheme. “And she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Peer pressure at its best.

The Fall

Eve was tempted to act like God. Instead of choosing to let God make the decisions, she and Adam disregarded what God said. Choosing to do what God told them not to do changed Adam and Eve.  They became ashamed of their nakedness, so they found leaves to sew together. “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Their choice to disobey resulted in separating themselves from God.

The Bigger “Man”

‘But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

Let us remember that God knows everything.  He knew where they were. He knew what they had done.  But He chose to call out to them who were hiding.

True Confessions… and then shifting blame…

“And Adam said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Nothing like owning up, guys.

Actions have Consequences

And beliefs lead to actions.  Eve believed that God did not know what was best for her, so she chose to separate herself from Him. And like usual, God was the one who fixed the human’s  problem.

God condemned the serpant first. He told the woman that she would have pain when she birthed babies and would desire a husband who would rule over her. He removed them from the garden and told Adam that he would have to work for his food, and that he would return to dust (aka die).

And then God did something which I think shows His love.  He accepted the reality that Adam and Eve chose, and provided for them then too. “The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” It was not God’s idea for humans to have to wear clothes. But he took their choices, and still provided for them.

Adam and Eve went on with their lives.  Genesis says that Adam knew Eve.  This is one of the Bible’s ways of saying that they had sex.  I am pretty sure that it was during the births of Cain, Abel, and Seth, their three sons, that Eve really regretted choosing to make her own way instead of taking God’s way. Nevertheless, those sons all have stories of their own which can be explored at a later date.

If you want to read the whole story for yourself, visit biblegateway.com.

This post is in response to a question submitted by Brandi! “So who the heck are Adam and Eve? All I know is that the story includes an apple and snake. Besides that, I am CLUELESS.” I want to thank Brandi for being so honest and candid! To see more questions which we will explore, click here.  To add a question yourself, just comment on any post.

Your turn!

Why do you think Adam and Eve chose to ignore God? In what ways do you see this story connecting with your life?