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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rising to the Next Level

Recently I have had a number of experiences of talking with people who are Christians, and have been so for many years, but they have not yet had the personal experience with God that they see in others in our congregation—and they hunger for it.

Many of them have grown up in, or been a part of solid Christian denominations, but those who do not encourage or teach a personal relationship with God. So they live their lives praying to God, but he is always the God who is “out there”—as if they’re standing at the door talking to him through the screen door, or through a window—with God on the outside and they on the inside of this house called life.

But now they want more. They know people who seem to have an inside track with God. These other persons have a close personal relationship that they themselves have never experienced—and they want to experience it too.

Too often in the past we have told these persons they need to “get saved”, which is really an insult because they have been serving God to the best of their ability for many years. After much thought and prayer I now approach this situation in a different way. In a situation like this I talk to them about moving up to a whole new level in their relationship with God. I try to never denigrate the relationship they already have. I recognize them as Christians and I truly believe if they died, they would go to heaven. We are saved through faith in Christ, not by some particular method of believing or ritual (such as kneeling at an altar) no matter how meaningful that ritual is to us. The secret of salvation is in our faith in Jesus Christ, not in a particular method or denominational polity.

If you don’t know Christ in a personal way, you’re missing something very special. He wants to be your best friend and when he becomes so, it won’t hurt your relationship with your current best friend. (At least not usually—there are exceptions when the current best friend resents the change in you and tries to turn you away from Christ.) When that happens you have to make a choice and I hope you choose Jesus. He will make all of your good relationships better, he can sometimes redeem relationships that are bad, and He will help you move up to an entirely new level of your Christian walk.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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