1. Is God Real and Relevant?
a. Is it really possible for a God you can’t see or touch to be real, personal and relevant in your life?
b. We’ve all thought those same thoughts and asked those same questions.
c. How do you know whether God is real?
2. That’s what were going to talk about tonight.
a. We are going to focus more, tonight, on how God can be real to you personally and relationally.
b. We won’t be focusing tonight, on all the natural, physical and scientific evidence for God’s existence, but there is a ton of this evidence too.
3. How do you determine what is real in the first place?
a. What does it take to believe?
1. Brain chemistry.
1. Optical illusions. - What you see is not necessarily real.
b. There are many things you don’t see that you know are real, and probably never doubted.
i. Can’t see History.
1. Know it’s real because of reliable records: historical artifacts & writings.
a. There are countless reliable and irrefutable records about Christ.
ii. Can’t see China (at least not from here).
1. Know it’s real because of trustworthy witnesses: descriptions and stories from people, TV and other sources.
a. There are millions of lives He has personally changed.
i. You’ll here some of those stories here each week.
iii. Can’t see Air.
1. Know it’s real because of natural effects: Breathing, wind.
2. You can see God working personally in your life every day! Our hope is that Connect will encourage you in this.
4. The Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 4:18, that “...what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
a. How can you know something you can’t see is real?
b. How can you know without any doubt that God is real?
5. Just because something is real doesn’t mean it is personal and relevant to you.
a. What is more personal and relevant:
i. A Facebook super poke or a talk with a close friend?
ii. An unlimited credit card or $20 cash?
6. So the question is really how can you know God is real and experience God in a personal & relevant way?
a. It’s human to doubt - you are not alone.
i. John 20:24-29 - “Thomas...was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
b. Jesus met Thomas where he was at, and He will do the same with each of you.
i. So how is God real to you personally?
7. Here are just a few ways you will experience & know God in a real and personal way:
a. He is the only way you will ever experience real PURPOSE & HOPE.
i. God promises you, in Jer.29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
1. God is real to me because He alone gives me a purpose and hope!
b. He is the only way you will ever experience real LOVE & ACCEPTANCE.
i. God says, in Jer.31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and continues in Rom.8:38-39 saying, nothing can separate you from His love.
ii. He has also given us friends, brothers and sisters, who love us like He does.
1. God is real to me because He alone gives me unconditional love and acceptance!
c. He is the only way you will ever experience real JOY & FULFILLMENT.
i. Jesus promised, in John 6:35, that He alone could meet the deepest desires of your heart; He said: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
1. God is real to me because He alone satisfies me and gives me joy.
d. He is the only way you will ever experience real PEACE & SECURITY.
i. He promises you a peace that surpasses understanding (Phil.4:7).
1. God is real to me because He alone gives me peace and security!
e. He is the only way you will ever experience real LIFE.
i. Jesus promises you an abundant life here on earth, in Jn.10:10, saying, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
ii. He also promises a life for eternity in heaven with Him after you die, saying in Jn.6:40, He will personally raise you up after you die.
1. God is real to me because He alone gives me true life!
f. No one has ever offered half of that and come through on it.
i. Life won’t always be peaches and cream, but whatever you do go through, He will walk through it with you, giving true joy, hope, purpose and peace in it.
8. G.K Chesterton once said, “God is like the sun. You can’t look at it but without it you can’t look at anything else.”
a. Even though you can’t flip a switch and see God appear, He can be so real in your life that nothing on this planet makes any sense without Him.
b. You can come to know and experience God in a personal way that is more real and relevant to you than the person sitting next to you, or the seat your sitting in.
c. I know that is true because in Jer.29:13, He promises, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
9. That’s why we’re here.
a. We’re here to encourage you every week in your personal journey with God.
b. Our hope is that during your time here you will experience God in such a real way that nothing and no one will ever compare.
10. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother (Pr.18:24).
a. If this is all new to you, come talk to me, or anyone w/ a Connect shirt to talk some more.
i. God loves you and desires a relationship with you right now, no matter where you are at or coming from.
b. If this is familiar to you, and you understand that real relationship with God, get ready to grow in that walk more than ever before.
c. If you’re coming back from a hard summer, remember, He forgives you and desires that close fellowship.
d. If you’re coming back from a good summer, Great! Let’s rock this campus.
11. He loves you right where you’re at, no matter where you’re coming from or what you’ve done. So do we!