The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Serving God

Why We Shouldn’t Be Trying To Draw People Closer to God

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How do we draw other people closer to God?  We don’t.  He does.  This is one of those simple truths that has a profound impact on how we will attempt to relate to both God and humans.

Now at first, it’s easy to shrug and say, “Well, of course God is the One actually drawing people closer to Him—that’s obvious.”  Christians are quick to agree with statements that sound God honoring, but they rarely stop to really absorb those statements into their theologies.  Take the idea of putting God first in life.  We all know that He’s supposed to be our First Love—the One who we’re living to please.  “Put God first” is a common Sunday School mantra, but saying the words and understanding what they mean are two very different things. Read more of this post

How to Avoid Witnessing Burnout: It’s Not Your Job to Save the World

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Why do people end up in Hell? According to God, Hell is a just punishment for humans who willfully refuse to submit to Him as the Supreme Authority that He is.  Given the fact that you can’t even exist without God constantly sustaining you, it’s hardly unreasonable for Him to demand that you embrace your place as the powerless fleck who depends on Him for all things.   When God demands that you acknowledge His supremacy over you, it’s rather like you being told to agree with the fact that you need oxygen to survive.  He’s really just demanding that you accept a reality that you can’t change.  God outranks you: this is a fact that you have no control over.  God controls your quality of life, therefore it’s more than a little stupid for you to scoff at His Authority.

Now when you’re born,  your body needs oxygen to survive, but you don’t understand this fact until someone teaches it to you, and that doesn’t happen until years into your life.  The fact that you don’t understand something doesn’t make that something cease to be true, but it does change how accountable you are.  Before God introduces Himself to you and explains about the vast difference in rank between the two of you, He doesn’t expect you to know who He is.  Before God teaches you that He wants you to submit to Him, He doesn’t blame you for not doing so.  The possibility of you being eternally damned only comes up after God has personally given you all of the information you need to meet His salvation requirements.  No one ends up in Hell by accident.  We only get there by willfully defying God and intentionally spurning His Authority.

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Witnessing Realities: Why Your Testimony Is Irrelevant

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Here’s a common stream of logic that is used by Christian leaders when they are discussing the subject of evangelism.

  • There are many people in the world who have never submitted to God, either out of ignorance or because they’re choosing to embrace an attitude of spiritual rebellion.
  • As an individual Christian, it’s your spiritual duty to try and persuade unbelievers to convert to your religion so that God’s Kingdom will grow. Witnessing—the verbal sharing of your faith with others—is a critical way that you do this.
  • There are many ways to approach witnessing. One of the most effective ways is to share your personal testimony.  In other words, you should tell others about why you became a Christian, and what God has done for you.  Since well-stated testimonies are the most convincing, take some time to work out what your testimony is.  Practice saying it until you’ve got a nice, polished story.  Then get out there and start pitching God to unbelievers and see how many new converts you can herd into His Kingdom.

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Serving God vs. Serving People: Understanding the Difference

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You’re a Christian who claims to be serving God.  But is that what you’re actually doing?  Or is it just what you think you’re doing?  Do you understand what it means to serve God?  Most Christians don’t.  We certainly aren’t taught how to serve God in church.  At church we’re only taught how to serve people—people who tell us that we should trust them to interpret God’s will for us.  But should we?  Read more of this post

When God Sets You Up to Look Stupid: Help for Humiliated Christians

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We all start off serving God on a “give to get” basis.  When we obey Him at great costs to ourselves, we naturally expect Him to reward us within the same context.  If obeying Him causes us to look really stupid in the eyes of others, then we would really appreciate God rewarding us in that same context–by doing something that shuts everyone’s faces and proves that we were right.  Noah looked like a lunatic when he was building the ark–but then the flood did actually happen, thus he got his “Ha, I told you so,” moment.  When Daniel was chucked into the lion’s den, he got his “told you so” moment the next morning when he was still alive.  When Shadrach and his friends were thrown into the fiery furnace, they got the satisfaction of God publicly exalting them by keeping them alive.  Plenty of us would be willing to put it all on the line for God if we knew our earthly humiliation would end in earthly glory.

But what if it doesn’t? Read more of this post

Serving a God Who Lies

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God has a long history of lying to human beings.  This is one of those uncomfortable truths that none of us want to deal with, so we try to ignore it as long as possible.  But when God calls you to function as one of His prophets, you end up forced to deal with the lying business, because you’re the one He’s very likely to do some of His lying through.  Who wants to look like an idiot by prophesying something that doesn’t happen?  No one.  But prophets aren’t the only ones who get affected by God’s deceptiveness.  If you pursue God long enough, it’s only a matter of time until He lies to you about something you really care about.  Then what?  You’ll feel all bitter and disillusioned, of course.  There’s nothing fun about the first time God hits you with some bit of crushing disillusionment.  It’s rather like a first heartbreak—it’s really miserable and it permanently changes you.  Of course it’s a lot easier to get sympathy for a broken heart than it is for God lying to you.  Among Christians, it’s taboo to use the phrase “God lies,” and souls who are caught in this stage with Him often end up shunned, harshly criticized, and blamed for all sorts of things.  This is one of the reasons we discuss the topic of God lying in such depth on our site: because when you’re dealing with it for the first time, it’s a very lonely road.  Read more of this post

Your Second Chance At Life: How To Use It Well

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God could end your life at any time.  This is true for all of us, but for the most part, we don’t really give much thought to God’s absolute control over life and death.  But when God arranges for us to have some close brush with death, suddenly our perspective changes.  Maybe He healed you from some fatal disease.  Maybe He saved you from dying in some horrible collision.  Maybe He botched your attempt to commit suicide.  Maybe you were impaled by a bullet or a knife that barely missed puncturing some critical organ.  Maybe you almost died on an operating table.  Maybe you’ve lived past the expiration date that medical experts put on you.  Maybe you survived someone’s attempt to have you killed in the womb.  Maybe you were saved from execution at the last second.  Whatever the circumstances, when God does this sort of thing, He’s forcing you to see how easily He could have taken your life.  He’s also making His decision to prolong your life on this planet feel like the very personal, purposeful decision that it is.  The big question now becomes: why?  Why is God keeping you here?  Why didn’t He have you die when it seemed you should have?  Why is He making an exception in your case?  If you’re currently pondering these questions, then you’re definitely on the right track, and helping you stay on the right track is the purpose of this post.  Read more of this post

Understanding Salvation: How We Find the Real Gods & The Irrelevance of Titles

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Here’s a scenario which baffles many Christians.  Suppose there’s a tribe deep in the Amazon jungle.  This tribe is so remote that they have no contact with the outside world.  All they know is each other and a couple of the small tribes around them.  None of us “civilized” folk even know that this tribe exists, so the Church has never attempted to send missionaries in to reach them.  With no access to the Bible or jungle savvy evangelists, how can our remote tribe of pagans ever get saved? In their tribe, they worship gods of nature—tree gods, monkey gods, and a sun god.  But they’ve never been told about the real Gods.  So how should we view these people?  Are they beyond all hope of salvation because they don’t have any Bible quoting Christians to tell them the Gospel message?  According to the arrogant apostle Paul, yes, these souls are as good as damned.  Paul liked to tell himself that Yahweh is simply too limited to work without the help of us humans. This is why Paul says:

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in Him; and before they can believe in Him, they must hear about Him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. (Rom. 10:14-15)

Wow, talk about pompous.  But now let’s set aside the massive ego of Paul and get back to truth. What do our Gods say about Their ability to introduce Themselves to people without our help?  They say that They are more than up to the task.  So you see, jungle natives really don’t need to be preached at by some title touting human before they can understand who the real Gods are.  They just need those Gods to speak up. Read more of this post

Being Called by God: The Responsibility & The Risk

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One day John’s boss calls him into his office and announces that a new position has opened up in the company. It’s a prestigious position—one which will give John a lot more clout than he currently has. John is shocked and thrilled when his boss promotes John to the new position right then and there. Now John has a new title, a bunch of new responsibilities, a new staff, a new office, and a ton to learn. Does merely receiving the promotion mean that John will be a success at the new job? Not hardly. The promotion is merely an opportunity—it’s now up to John to decide how he is going to use the opportunity. He might do great, he might turn out to be mediocre, or he might miserably tank. If his boss isn’t happy with John’s work, John could get fired. The promotion isn’t a guarantee of success or of job security. Promotions can be taken away the same way they are given, and when they are taken away, it’s bitter. It would be less humiliating for John to get fired from his low ranking job than it would to be fired from a high ranking position. His new promotion has not guaranteed his success, but it does come with extra responsibility and the threat of extra humiliation if things don’t work out.

Among Christians there is endless fuss surrounding the subject of Divine callings. Yet while we’re busy envying titles and prestige, we’re forgetting about the great responsibility and risk that come with Divine appointments. If you get iced out of a church congregation as an untitled layperson, it’s certainly a painful experience, but you can find another church where the people are less twerpy. Meanwhile, the whole community isn’t gossiping about what happened to you. But if you’re the pastor who the church board just decided to fire, there’s now a bunch of flack and embarrassment following you around and making it difficult for you to find a new position. Once you gain a reputation for being a “somebody” in the Church, you end up being the target of intense scrutiny and criticism. There’s enormous pressure to compromise, and there’s a growing mob of folks who are eagerly waiting to celebrate your demise. But beyond the human realm, there’s God. He’s the One you’re serving, He’s the One who gave you the promotion, and He is holding you accountable for how you use it. Read more of this post

Waiting on God: How It Makes Us Better Servants

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We humans don’t like to wait. Waiting makes us feel forgotten, tired and aging. The longer we wait, the harder it gets. There’s just nothing fun or rewarding about standing around wondering if we’re ever going to have a turn. Christians approach serving God with this same impatient mindset. We don’t like waiting for God to direct us because He takes too long to say anything. So instead we just decide for ourselves what He would have us do and we hop to it so that we can have a ready defense to that guilt-laden question “What are you doing for God?” No one wants to say “I’m waiting.” Waiting is interpreted as “nothing.” Those who wait are considered spiritual slackers and carnal cop outs. No one respects waiting. No one except God, that is. Read more of this post