Standing on the church pulpit, dressed in my Sunday best, with the congregation staring up at me. “Let us pray ...” It was how I started every sermon that I preached. It was slowly dawning upon me that despite having a degree in theology, irrespective of my church leader status and regardless of being a published Christian author — I didn't really know God at all. The more I claimed to have a relationship with the Almighty, the more I felt a fraud. That Sunday morning, feeling disconnected with the divine, I walked out of an archaic Church building and vowed to find God. My search was not focused upon encountering the creator through rituals and religion but through his creation. I want to share with you 6 ways you can meet your maker without going to church.
1. Savor your surroundings.
Have you ever looked up into the night's sky lost in wonder at the vastness of the Universe? Have you ever lost your breath as you gaze at the beauty of the setting sun? Have you ever dived deep into the blue sea only to be met the most dazzling array of colors as fish of every shape and size?
The first time I truly met God was by standing on a beach in Fiji with the sun beating down on my back and nothing but the deep blue sea that met the horizon. Right then I knew that we are each called to be a caretaker of a land that has been so tenderly and lovingly made. For the first time I could see God, all around me.
Next time you walk through creation, allow yourself to stand in awe at the works of God.
2. Meet through the music.
I had messed up. I had let everyone down. I was sitting in my bedroom when all of a sudden the words of Richard's Marx's song 'Waiting for you' came gently through the radio. “Wherever you go, whatever you do I will be right here waiting for you. Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks I will be right here waiting for you'. This moment was one of the most intense of my life. God was using the lyrics of Marx to speak directly to me, to encourage me that it does not matter how many times I mess up and get things wrong, God will always be there waiting for me.
Want to meet with God? Turn on the radio and open your mind to the voice of God speaking to you, loud and clear, speaking into your situation and sharing His wisdom through the words that you hear.
3. Receive the gift of giving.
I will never forget the time that I bumped into a young woman in a pub with her 4 year old son. It was getting late and this lady explained to me that her husband had kicked her out and she had nowhere to stay. I could not bear to see these two people homeless for the night and so I invited them to stay in my spare room. A week later I received a letter from the husband of this lady who had explained that they had come to the end of their relationship but that though giving my time and resources it was as if an angel had been sent to them in the midst of their pain — they decided to give their marriage another go.
If you really want to meet with God, give.
4. Through all that you have
You are healthy. You have family, friends and loved ones around you. You are living under a roof. You are able to enjoy eating the most beautiful of foods. Despite the fact that you can be fixated on all that you haven't got. You are blessed by God because you have everything that you will ever need.
Have you ever seriously lacked or gone without need, I doubt it. Why? Because God always ensures that his children are taken care of. Want to meet with God? Meet with him in the moment of appreciating all that you have.
5. Be open to oneness.
Everything is connected. We are all humans living on the same planet. No matter where we are in the world, we gaze into the night sky and enjoy the beauty of the same stars. The animals around us are simply co-inhabitants of this earth. We are all born and we all die. We are all one.
Be inspired by the fact that you are insignificant on planet earth both in the here and now and in comparison to millions of people who have existed throughout the generations. And yet, you are so important, so special and so unique. You are a child of God.
6. End the unending questions.
How could Moses have parted the Red Sea? How could Mary have had a virgin birth? Did Jesus really die on the cross and somehow “rise again”? As a church leader I was not only asked these questions but I also asked them myself, time and time again. It was only when I walked away from the church and religion that I recognized an important truth: God is infinite. God's creation is finite. In other words it is totally impossible for the created to grasp the mind of it's creator.
When I ended the unending questions I ceased trying to understand God with my mind and in doing so I met Him, in my heart. I started to live my life by faith, by intuition, by loving and giving and in this way God truly revealed himself to me.
To think that you can only meet God in a church is to deny yourself of the opportunity to transform your life in the beautiful, simplest and most human things. Go meet with God. I dare you.