“Lord I Believe”
by Pastor Allen Werk
May 20, 2017
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St. Paul Lutheran Church and School

Batavia, New York

          How well do you know your neighbor?  How well do you know your mailman?  How well do you know the clerk who checks you out at the grocery store?  How well do you know your senator or representative?  How well do you know your children and your spouse? 

         What’s my point?  Obviously you know some people much better than others.  For people in your family, you know just about everything about them right down to their favorite foods and favorite colors and what scares them and what they enjoy.  For some of those others, you may not even know their name.  Some of our relationships with people can be very close and personal and some of our relationships are very distant and superficial.  Some relationships are very rewarding, and some are very utilitarian. 

          How well do you know your God?  Do you know God as well as you know the check out person in the grocery store?  You recognize His face, say a friendly hello, and wait for Him to take care of you and pack up everything you had on your list.  Do you think of Him as your cosmic servant?  Or do you know God as well as you know your spouse?  Do you know His values and passions well enough to anticipate what He would choose or do in a particular situation?  Do you care about Him so much you would give up your own plans to help Him with what He wants to accomplish? 

          I think there are a lot of people that would be willing to do more for their neighbor than they would do for God.  Frankly I believe that is because they know their neighbor better than they know God.  They have spent time talking to their neighbor.  They have shared some interests.  They have even helped each other out with a few projects.  If they were to spend even a little time getting to know God, talking to Him, finding out what He is interested in, helping Him out with a project or two, I think their relationship with God would quickly change. 

         Many people don’t know God because they haven’t really given Him a chance.  Find a Bible, turn to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and start reading and you will quickly get a better picture of God as you read about Jesus and His life and teachings and activities.  Jesus is the true God.  He says in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” 

          When Paul visited Athens, Greece he found all kinds of statues dedicated to all kinds of gods.  And he found one inscribed TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.  Paul’s reaction was, let me tell you all about the true God so you can get to know Him and worship Him.  (Acts 17:16-34)

          Spend some time really getting to know Jesus, before you write Him off as some distant or occasional acquaintance.  Get to know what is important to Him.  See how He patiently takes time to help people in need.  See His forgiveness for those who hurt Him.  Discover the joy of His perspective on life in this world and especially beyond this world.  Discover the victory that He brings to every difficult situation.  Try partnering with Jesus, taking up one of His causes, helping someone in need or talking to someone who is lonely.  Get to know Jesus and you will see God personally at work in this world of ours.  And you will see that He often works through people just like you.  Get to know who Jesus really is and you may decide that you enjoy having the almighty God for a close friend.  You may wonder why you didn’t take the time to get to know Him better a lot sooner.