Sunday, December 16, 2012

the (not so) unknown God.

Everybody has those passages in the Bible that you just keep going back to, that you just can't get enough of. The ones that you don't even try to memorize but you end up knowing word perfect because you've read them so much.

One of those passages for me is in Acts 17. I've always (hyperbole?) loved it but have recently grown to love it even more after looking at it closely. So here I am. Pastor Anna Shelley. And I'm going to give you a sermon. Except just kidding about the pastor dad would freak.

In the latter part of Acts 17 you find Paul waiting on some of his friends to join him in Athens. So, meanwhile, he's just hanging out in the synagogue, you know, typical apostle stuff. While there, he's talking to some of the people and they think he's preaching about some sort of foreign god because he's talking about this Jesus person and about a resurrection. Absurd, I know....who would be talking about Jesus in a synagogue. So they take him to go talk to the Aeropagus. I'm not even going to pretend I know who or what that is. But for now, he's talking to something...someone...a group of people...I don't know. Ask my dad, the real preacher here.

So they ask Paul to tell them about this stuff that he's going around preaching. I imagine they were a little skeptical. He tells them about how he notices that they are religious...they even have an altar inscribed with the words: "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." And then comes my favorite part. I'm not going to try to paraphrase the rest of it. It's perfect how it is. I mean, it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and all.

"...Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 'God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being...'"

If you just skimmed through it or just skipped it altogether: go back and read it. If you did read it, read it again. Maybe two more times. You can't catch everything after reading it once. Dude, this stuff is good. Those poor people in Athens were worshiping the God that created the earth but they weren't worshiping the God that knows them and wants them to know Him [which, by the way, is the same God].

So often I am Athens. I worship God. I sing songs. I sing about how He made the stars and decides how high the ocean tides can rise. But I forget to worship the One who died for me. The One who was Immanuel - God with us. The One who puts little things in my life to encourage me and bless me. The One who knows my name and knows my every thought.

God is a personal God. It's my job to grow that personal relationship with Him, to talk to Him, to let Him talk to me. Not just in my "devotions"...whatever that even means. But throughout the day. When I encounter the person that looks dirty or deformed and realize how beautiful they are...that they were made in the image of God. When I have a spare minute and use it to read a few verses. When I find a christian girl in my class and talk to her for 45 minutes about spiritual things. When I hand the homeless lady a pack of crackers and she gives me a smile and a candy cane. It's the little things. It's seeing God everywhere. After all, everywhere I go I am with people who are made in His image. It's hard to miss Him if you're looking for Him.

It's hard to turn Him into an unknown God. He knows you. And He desperately, desperately wants you to know Him too.

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