Can I know God even more?

Of course you can! God loves you ….really. He is not mad, He is in a good mood! No matter who you are or what you are going through, God truly loves you and has always wanted to have a close, meaningful relationship with you. He's got a great plan for your life. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know where to begin our journey with God. Furthermore, we don’t even realize that He actually came looking for us! So how do we meet God one-on-one and begin a dialogue with Him? Let me tell you: life is a much better better adventure when you find God.

Here are a few steps for encountering the God of the universe:

1. Recognize that God loves you.

God loves everybody. Not just religious types or the perfect suit-wearing types who seem to have their lives all together. He loves all mankind with an extravagant love ... utterly apart from what we've done. God's love is "unconditional" ... that means even the worst, most horrible stuff you've ever done did not stop Him from loving you. And the best, most noble thing you've ever done didn't cause Him to love you more. He loves you totally aside from your actions (whether those actions were good or bad).

2. Know that Jesus came to forgive and transform you God loved us too much to let us self-destruct.

Deep down, people feel guilt, shame or fear when it comes to God stuff. Why? Because no matter how good a life we try to live, we still fall miserably short of being a perfect person. Deep down, we all know that God is perfect, and the Bible tells us that every one of us has done bad things (we have all sinned). This means we have all fallen short of God’s desire for us to be pure and holy. The Bible says, “No one is good—not even one” (Romans 3:10). Sin – even “little” sins – cause us to feel separated from God. It's a pretty heavy deal to feel separated from God. And you can never be good enough on your own. But the crazy thing is ... Jesus came to change all that! He traded place with that "sinful" you -- traded you His perfect, supernatural life -- when you weren't even looking for it! Sin caused us to feel rejected, isolated, abandoned or out of reach from God. That is why it's important to just admit it. "Hey, I've done some terrible stuff. I need some help!" That helps us to stop looking to our own selves to fix our own problems. We say, "Hey! I need your help God!" Jesus Christ stepped in and took care of the problem for us!

3. Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose again.

The Bible tells us, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while were still sinners” (Romans 5:8 NLT). This is the Good News, that God loves us so much (even in the middle of our sin) that He sent His only Son to die in our place. Jesus took all of our evil - all of our self-destruction onto Himself when he died on the cross. You didn't deserve that - for God Himself to step into your place. But He did it to express His overwhelming love and forgiveness toward you. He did it to absorb all of your sinfulness into Himself and wipe it away. Then He supernaturally rose from the dead - proving that He is God and that He really did accomplish the job!

4. Let your direction change.

When we begin to trust that Jesus took away our sinfulness, we can't help but see a change in our lives! He enables us to live like we really are new, perfect and happy. He died so our lives could be full of His life. We no longer live like sinners anymore - we draw pleasure from God rather than sinful things that once damaged and abused us. This gives us the ability to turn toward God in every area of our lives. God's Spirit literally "lives" inside of everyone who trusts in Him. His Spirit now begins to flow through us because Jesus died to make us "united" to God. Now God enables us to change our ways. As our minds change about the goodness of God, a change in our lifestyles follow ... We find fulfillment in living a godly life. Instead of running away from God, we enjoy our relationship with Him. His Spirit helps and guides us. We turn away from darkness and to turn toward the light and goodness of Christ. Turning toward God is not about turning to a bunch of rules and regulations. It means turning toward the beauty, splendor and creativity of a living God who wants to have a relationship with you and enable you to live a clean life.

5. Enjoy Jesus Christ in your life.

Trusting that Jesus died for your sins, means that you accept the fact that He is God. Now you can enjoy the reality that He is God over your own personal life. You begin to willingly follow Him and enjoy HIm everyday. Becoming a "believer" is not merely believing some principles or going to church on Sunday. It is having the awareness that Christ Himself has taken residence in your life and heart. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door (of your life) and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in . . . .” (Revelation 3:20). He hears your prayer. He responds to anyone who really wants to see Him and know Him in their life and heart. Do you hear Him knocking at your door right now? He's already right here.

The great news is that you couldn't climb up to God ... so God came to you!! Wanna dive into a conversation with Jesus right now? Don't know where to begin? Here's a simple prayer that may help you get started. I would encourage you to say it aloud right now ... knowing that God hears you and loves you:

"Dear Lord Jesus, I receive your love for me! I know I have sinned, and that made me feel distant from you. I believe you died for my sins and that you rose from the grave. I thank you for forgiving me, and I receive you into my life. I ask you to lead me in this new life with you. I trust you to continually fill my heart and guide me in a deeper relationship with you. Begin even now to show me any wrong ways of thinking or acting that have caused me to feel distant from you, and flood me right now with your precious Holy Spirit! I know that you are Lord and thank you for saving me. Amen."