Friday, February 09, 2007

Has America Become Too Religious?

Back on January 19th, I went out on a limb with this bold prediction: "Fresno State will beat Nevada, who'll likely be ranked in the Top 10, when they play in the Save Mart Center later this year.

That limb broke last night.

Nevada showed up ranked #12 and the Bulldogs hung tough for a half before falling to the Wolfpack, 81-68.

The game was secondary, though, to spending time with Trae and Tori and watching them, once again, do their thing with the cheerleaders on the floor during a second half timeout.


Later this morning, Tori and a recovered (finally!) Mandy will join me as we head to the Bay Area for this evening's Sweetheart Dinner at the Lassen Street Church of Christ in Vallejo. I am excited about the opportunity to speak after dinner this evening. The folks in Vallejo have had us there twice in the past for seminars and it will be great to renew some friendships that are very dear in our lives.


I left the last post on ministry in Fresno up for three days intentionally. Perhaps you thought I'd taken a blog siesta, but I wanted that particular entry to get as wide a read as possible. For all you Woodward Park'ers, thanks for reading and thanks for emailing me your comments and insights. I appreciate your willingness to "think outside the box" with me. Right now, we're dreaming and envisioning. The day is coming, though, when the dreams and plans must become reality. I hope you're beginning to pray for God's direction, guidance and strength to minister most effectively to our city...all of our city.


My Yahoo homepage has a link to a poll question that caught my eye: Has America become too religious? As I write this, there are 600-plus replies to the question. Interestingly, many believers in God have responded in the affirmative, yet drawing a distinction between being "religious" and being in "relationship" with God.

In Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller writes: "I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's heart into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God" (13).

Does your faith find you relegated to the realm of "religion" while forfeiting "relationship" with God? Jesus himself said the essence of eternal life was to know God (see John 17.3). There is a qualitative difference in knowing facts about God and knowing God; in knowing all about God and truly having relationship with God; in settling for religion when relationship is available for the taking.