If you don’t already know how incredibly loved you are by your Heavenly Father who took so much joy in creating you, we hope you’ll stick around to find out.

He couldn’t love me!!!

If that thought just crossed your mind, maybe your story is a lot like mine (this is Amy writing). You grew up churched, used to have a relationship with God, but have since “Put on your crazy shoes,” as my Mom-Mom used to say, and you feel like God would never take you back after the things you’ve done. Oh friend… you have no idea how much God still loves you and is waiting for you to come back! Trust me, I know… been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

man carrying Bible and Jesus carrying our cross

Maybe you’ve never had a relationship with God, you’ve heard about Him, but no-one has ever taken the time to share His incredible love with you. Hopefully, since you’re still reading along, you’ll allow us to be the ones to tell you that God loves you way more than you know and is so excited for your relationship to begin. He’s been waiting your whole life for this very moment.

Maybe you’re somewhere in between. You’ve tiptoed into a relationship with God but have hesitated to go knee deep. Can we just say to you,

Take the jump!

The beautiful relationship waiting for you on the other side is beyond any other relationship you’ll ever experience.

kid jumping into a pool

Maybe all that you’ve ever known about God stems from a religious background full of rules and standards that make Him seem unreachable. Perhaps you have some deep hurt from others pointing their fingers at you, making you feel unworthy of a relationship with God. It’s time that someone shared the truth with you…

God wants your love, not your perfection!

You don’t have to change before you can go to God. Going to God is what changes you.

religion vs. relationship.

Black chalkboard with description of religion
Black chalkboard with description of Relationship.

Religion…

When Jesus walked the earth, He did practice religion in its true sense. He went to the synagogues, even taught at them. Religious feasts and festivals were very important to Him and He followed all of God’s laws. So, we often think that this type of religion that pushes people away from God is a modern problem, when in fact, it’s something that Jesus himself dealt with during his time on the earth too. The Bible tells of Jesus rebuking the religious leaders of His time who pushed people away from God rather than drawing them to Him.

In Matthew 23:2-5 (NLT), these words are written in red (aka Jesus spoke them)…

“The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Everything they do is for show.”

If you continue reading this chapter of Matthew, you’ll see seven statements that include the words, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees.” Other Bible translations say, “Woe to you!” Most also include the words, “Blind Guides!” or “Hypocrites!” All speak to how the religious leaders of Jesus’ time were so caught up in all of the laws, both God-given and man-made, that instead of helping others feel close to God they made Him feel very far away. Even more disheartening, in my opinion, was that their awaited Messiah was right there in front of them, but they couldn’t see Him through their self-glorifying, law-tinted glasses. Sadly, too many religions still have this huge stumbling block effect on so many people today.

We meet people all the time who grew up in some sort of church but have since sprinted in the opposite direction, distancing themselves from Jesus as a result. The good news though is that, while we may run from Jesus, He never runs from us. He sticks way closer to us than we know (and deserve). Our passion to share Jesus with others stems from knowing exactly what this feels like because it’s our story too. We both grew up in completely opposite religions but have since found relationship with Jesus together. It’s our heart, passion, and purpose to help you do the same. And that happens with relationship, not religion.

To be clear, we’re not suggesting that religion is synonymous with all churches, but it is very important to find a good one. If your story is anything like ours, you may be very hesitant to step back into any church building. It may take time, like it did for us, but we pray that with God’s guidance you’ll get there. Not because being in a church is a requirement for your salvation, but beause finding the right community of believers will be a wonderful blessing for you. The truth is, you’re never going to find the perfect church because humans are humans, but that’s kinda the thing with finding the RIGHT church.

The right church will be full of people who know that they are flawed, broken, and a constant work in progress. They’ll share truth in love because they know God’s grace is a daily thing, and they need it just as much as you do. You’ll find brothers and sisters who will encourage you to step out of comfort zones as you grow in your relationship with Jesus and they’ll count on you to do the same for them. The right church will not only teach what’s in the Bible, you’ll see the fruit of it in the lives of those who are living it out daily. It’s these churches that we have been so blessed to call home. We’re so thankful for the bonus family that God has sent into our lives since we stepped out of our comfort zones and into the right church buildings. We believe with all our heart that God has some very special people waiting for you too, so we encourage you to ask God to lead you to walk through the right doors.

Guy fishing in lake
Religion vs. Relationship

Relationship…

is spending time with God, reading His Word, talking with Him in prayer, and getting to know Him like you would a new friend. It’s growing closer to Him daily and spending time in His house because you love being there, not because you have to. It’s about becoming more like Jesus as you grow closer to Him and serving others out of love just as He did.

Relationship is about realizing that being a Christian doesn’t mean that you have arrived at perfection. Quite the opposite actually. Most days you’ll be reminded about how much of a hot mess you still are, but you’ll find joy in lauging at yourself as God gently reminds you that  you’ll always be a work in progress this side of Heaven, as His still small voice also encourages you to keep heading in the right direction.

It’s also knowing without a doubt that you were created with a very special purpose and trusting that the same God who created you with that purpose will mold you into the person He created you to be so you can do the things He created you to do. It’s about about being able to put your faith and trust in your Heavenly Father as you step out in obedience to the plans He has for you. And it’s also about realizing that His plans for you are way better than the plans you make for yourself.

Just like any good relationship, it’s doing more listening than talking and slowing down our thoughts to hear God’s small voice, which always seems to say,

 “My precious child, I love you so, so much!”

If you’re still questioning His love for you, I hope you’ll read more about this by clicking on the “Gospel” link below. If you’re ready to jump into the most important relationship you’ll ever have. I invite you to click on the “Easy as ABC” link below. Wherever you’re at in your faith journey, I encourage you to always be growing. You can find some ways to do that by clicking on the “Keep Growing” link below.

hands holding the word gospel

The Gospel

You can find out more about God’s love for you and His salvation plan here.

hands holding the word Jesus

Easy as ABC

Religion makes something so simple and free seem impossible. Relationship is as easy as ABC… find out more here.

hands holding the word grow

Keep Growing

The very best way to keep growing in your relationship with God is spending time with Him daily. Here’s a great place to start.