I have to ask you Steve because I'm curious not because I want to challenge . Who and what is God to you ? Also do you believe in a man named Jesus? If you do, do you understand the Jewish philosophy on this man since he was a Jew? One more question because I'm very interested in the 13/+ major world religions out there for many reasons. Are you filled with love? I'm just curious to see your thoughts, you are one person who I think has done the most studying on Christianity that I know personally.
Your questions were really good, and I am glad you asked. I made my reply public because so many carry these questions and I hope this will help guide you and others.
I have a profound respect for those who believe differently than I do. I have many friends who are neither Christians, conservative, or even faith-based. And although I disagree with them and support the bible as the final word, I do respect their beliefs and will never revile them for being different.
I’m sure you probably have seen the movie “The Passion” produced and directed by Mel Gibson. The movie does a superb job of portraying the final hours of Jesus’ life and how brutal the religious leaders really were. These men avidly followed a list of authoritarian rules, but had absolutely no relationship with their God. The gospel Jesus preached was packaged much differently than what they were comfortable with; they rejected Him as their “Messiah” and tortured Him with the anticipation of death. Many precious Jewish people today still reject Jesus as Messiah, but God is drawing millions of them to Jesus.
Jesus, who cared little about the rules and religious traditions of His day, hung out with “tax collectors,” “prostitutes,” and “party people.” Then He called twelve of the most unqualified men imaginable to be His disciples. It amazes me that they all “immediately dropped” what they were doing to follow Him. What was it about this Jesus that made them “forsake all” within mere moments? They literally “left it all” to follow a stranger. Millions of people over the years have allowed their own lives to be taken for this one they love. Burned to the stake, crucified, beheaded, buried alive, tortured... Why would anyone allow themselves to face violent painful cruel death if they didn't have to? They could have spoken the word and denied Jesus and lived instead they willingly gave up their lives....why? LOVE. They loved him unto death. This is no fairy tale.
To this day Jesus offers something other religions don’t possess. He offers genuine relationship--love and intimacy, the ability to know and to be fully known and loved, that can be found nowhere else. When those disciples gazed into His eyes they were transformed and could never return to “dead religion.” They could no longer settle for following so-called “holy men” who had hearts far from God; now that they had tasted the real thing they demanded something authentic, something real, concrete, and tangible.
When I “hit the streets” I want to take an authentic Jesus with me. I’ve spent years hanging out in the parks and alleys to show people the love of Christ. Many have been won to Christianity as a result of it.
Several years ago, a friend and I were both feeling a burden for the state of Wisconsin. We fasted and prayed for several days before loading up the car with tracts, books, and discipleship CDs. Then we headed down the Interstate toward unfamiliar territory. We prayed in the spirit and spoke life over our journey.
Along the way the Lord gave me a vision of a man sitting at a bar, depressed and alone. The Lord said, "Get off this exit." I told my friend to get off now, and the Lord went on to say turn left and then right. As Jesus gave me specific directions, we followed exactly and ended up at the bar I had seen in my spirit. We got out of the car and walked in, and immediately, I saw the man in my vision. We shared about the love of God and prayed for him. He seemed genuinely surprised that we would take the time to minister to him. We then left as suddenly as we came.
Afterward we continued on our journey, and our three-day trip was clearly anointed as we ministered to many people along the way, hugging and praying for people on the streets. That Sunday morning we were sitting in a church in Wisconsin, when we received a prophetic word from a pastor that God was taking us on a journey and guiding our steps! We were blown away.
There are so many people to minister to on the streets. I could spend hours sharing with you my experiences there. I can remember pastoring in one city years ago and feeding and clothing 500 people in just one day. I still reminisce about hugging those people, holding the children, and hanging out with the ones many churches had rejected. That was what Jesus did in His day.
Diane and I plan to hit the streets again, going on adventures to new cities and just love on people. Fasting and praying and asking the Lord to use us. Canada has really been burning on my heart again, it is a honor to just go love, hug and pray for people in the streets. We are no one special as there are many people God is using in the streets. God can use anyone that is motivated by pure love and is available to pray, fast, hug and love broken people.
I wish I could give you positive, scientific proof of the actual existence of our God, but the truth is I can’t. I do believe the very universe cries out there is a God. Purest logic decrees that with a design there is always a designer. With a plan there is always a planner. My car didn’t just materialize by accident. Someone worked hard to build it. This complex universe with its planets, suns, moons, animals, plants, and even our water speak eloquently of a Creator: “You were no accident; your Maker created you for a reason.”
Someone once said, “Give me an atheist for one hour and have him ponder how long eternity is, and He will finally come to the conclusion after that hour there must be a God.” Eternity is longer than a dove transporting all the sand in the world to the sun piece by piece. In fact that would only be maybe a second in eternity when all the sand of the world lay at the sun. Wow that is a long time, we must get it right when it comes to our eternity...Not to go science geek on you, but Imagine that you could drive your car at a constant speed of 130 km/hr, even across oceans and in space. How long would it take to drive from the Sun to Earth? How long would it take to drive from the Sun to Pluto? How long would it take to drive to Alpha Centauri (4.4 light-years away)? Well assuming the distance to the sun is 149,668,992 km then a drive from Earth to the Sun at 130 km/hr (81 MPH) would take about 131.337 years. Average distance from Sun to Pluto is 5,908,931,804.16 km so a drive at 130 km/hr (81 MPH) would take 5,185.184 yrs. 4.4 ly to Alpha Centauri would be 41,627,214,079,352 km. A drive at 130 km/hr (81 MPH) would take 365,285,579.1426 yrs. Anyway all that to say this...Eternity is a long long time, I don't want to miss it when it comes to my eternal security. 100 Trillion years we will still exist... the question is where...
What is our purpose for being here? Is it just to breathe and eat and indulge ourselves, perhaps hopefully do some good before we die? I believe we were purposely created for a special reason, to know Him as a close friend. It still amazes me that our God would even want to be near me.
I once heard an illustration that our understanding is like the size of a cup while God’s understanding is as large as the ocean. How could a cup swallow the vastness of the seas? Many of the answers to our questions cannot be understood with our minds and can only be grasped by our hearts. It takes faith to believe. How do I have faith? I have faith because I have encountered Him many times as a friend.
I’ve had at least two dreams where I have seen Jesus. The dreams seemed so real that I woke up in a sweat with my heart pounding. In my dreams I was changed forever when I looked into His eyes. Many times I have heard Him speak to me and felt His comforting presence beside me. I have invested thousands of hours alone with Him in prayer over the years, and I could not have done so, unless I was experiencing something life-changing. I have also seen evidence of the devil in hauntings, the paranormal, demonic activity, physical attacks, and have even seen him “cast out” of other people’s lives.
During many of my travels to Africa and India I’ve seen things that would make your skin crawl. All this leads me to believe in a God who loves me – and a devouring devil who wants to destroy me. In fact, God has spared my life more than thirteen times, demonstrating His miraculous power. There was a time when I was floundering and even suicidal at one point, yet I heard His gentle whisper in my heart. I see Him currently making something beautiful out of the past messes I have created--a huge miracle indeed! He is a God of the second chance.
I take great joy and feel deep contentment in knowing Him in a personal way. Trusting Him with my life brings peace, and I am comforted to entrust my soul to His hands when I die. The truth is you are not alone. He is always there. When you took your first step He was there. When you entered school He was right beside you. When your heart was broken, and you were unsure you would pull through He was there. He wept beside you every time you cried. In fact the Bible says, “He keeps all our tears.” He loves you that much.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Ps. 56:8).
In the silence of the night, He waits patiently for us, longing for us to just reach for Him. His eyes are full of “life-changing love.” We’ll have all the proof we ever need once we meet Him in a personal encounter. The chains of dead religion will never again shackle us; instead we’ll eagerly begin our journey toward personally knowing our God.
There is a prayer so powerful that when you pray it, it will change your world, it will change your life, it did for me. It did for many of the friends I know and the people that I talk to on a regular basis. It’s just an amazing prayer! And the prayer was made possible by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. Back then, man didn’t have a way to get to God. Man had fallen away. And when you read the Old Testament in the Bible you can see it so clearly.
God sent His own son, Jesus Christ, who died in our place on the cross. The Bible says He took our sin: past, present, future – all of it, and He took the punishment. He paid the penalty for everything you’ve ever done wrong so that He could give you a gift. This gift is a relationship with God, being able to be in His family.
This prayer is so powerful because what you’re saying is, “God, I want to be in your family and I accept the free gift that Jesus paid for on the cross with His own life, dying in my place.” Jesus qualified you to be in God’s family. Jesus qualified you to pray this prayer. You don’t have to go out and clean up your life first, you come as you are and God will accept you because of what Jesus did.
Once you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are now in God’s family and you get to change with His power. The loneliness goes, and you now have the power to change in whatever area of life. Whether it’s bad habits, whether it’s sin, whether it’s things like depression and fear – things that could hold you in bondage. God’s power is in you and you are able to change anything. It’s not always an instantaneous change. It is a step by step living your life for God as He walks you through the challenges that life can bring. He’ll walk with you through any mess you've made and help you to be victorious! I say again He is the God of the second chance. He makes all things new!
If you’re interested in joining God’s family, making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, then pray this powerful prayer:
“Father I come to you.
I understand that your son Jesus died for me.
I come as I am and I ask you to forgive me,
and come into my heart.
I ask from today and on that you’d give me the power to change every day, every year, for the rest of my life.
From today and on I choose to give my life to Jesus Christ.
I choose to follow Him and I thank you for that free gift of salvation.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you just prayed that prayer, you’ve made the first step to getting to know God. He’s inside of you but now you’ve got to get to know him. Know what He’s like, know your purpose for life, know why you were made, and that there is a destiny ahead of you! There are so many amazing things yet that you have to learn. Get into a spirit filled bible believing church. We would be more than happy to help you find one.
Sending Love and Prayers your way! May Jesus who is filled with love and His powerful presence wrap around you today like a warm blanket. Know He loves you and desires to reveal Himself to you in powerful ways. His eyes of love are looking in your direction even as you read this.
"Lord wrap your presence around Michelle as she reads. May she sense your nearness. Holy Spirit consume her with your love right now, In Jesus name. Amen"
Sending love from
Steve & Diane