Home

Who We Are

About Cell-Based Ministry

Contact Us

 MultiMedia

 Knowing God

   
__


Finding & Knowing God

My own personal search for God began many years ago. My father was Jewish and my mother was Methodist. My dad wanted me to go to the synagogue; my mother wanted to take me to church. At times it was very confusing. I was studying for my bar mitzvah (a Jewish rite of passage when a boy becomes a man) when illness struck down my father. He fought a good fight but finally succumb to a stroke and cancer of the lungs. I was only 13 years of age. My mother and I tried to moved on with our lives, or so it seemed. I had a really hard time believing in a God who would take my father from me when I needed him so desperately.

We move to a small town in Tennessee where my mother put me in a Methodist church with kids from school. I have
no recollection of my experience in that church. I didn't find God there; that I do remember. When I was 17 my mother decided to move us back to Memphis, Tennessee. I did not know that my mother grieved for many years concerning the death of my father. I knew she was depressed quite a bit, but I didn't know why. I remember coming home from work one evening to the shock of my life! There lying on the floor in our kitchen was my mother - dead from an overdose of medication. Lying beside her was a suicide note explaining her inability to carrying on with life. I was devastated to say the least. With both parents gone and no brothers or sisters, I was now totally on my own. I could not stay in the apartment where we lived. The memory was too painful; and besides, I was trying to go to college and maintain a part-time job. I could not afford the apartment, even if I wanted to. Friends took me in and provided me with a place to sleep. I tried my best to carry on with my life. I felt so alone and without hope.

I must admit that a strong root of bitterness ran deep within my soul. Where was this God that other people talked about. I certainly could not find him! And to the best of my knowledge
no one ever offered to help me find him; if they did, I don't remember.

When I was 21, I joined the Sheriff's Department in Memphis. Now it seemed that my life would get better. I had a good job and a future. But this did not relieve me of my constant battle with depression that settled on me like a dark cloud. I filled my life with
work. I filled my spare time with partying. I took on an "eat, drink, and be merry" attitude. But still, my life was filled with a huge hole in my soul, a void or lack of purpose or meaning.

In 1975 I married a beautiful young girl named Kim (this year of 2000 will be our 25th wedding anniversary). During our first year of marriage, Kim went searching for God and found Him. I was not happy. I complained about her Christian lifestyle and wanted her to give it up. But she didn't. After many months of putting up with her Bible reading and her going to church, I finally asked her one afternoon,
"If I were to die today, where would I go - to heaven or hell?" Kim said without any hesitation, "To hell." She said it not with a cocky attitude but with a sincere heartfelt concern. I had no response. For the next three days I pondered her statement. I even lost sleep over the possibility of her answer. As time progressed I became intrigued by Kim's concern for my soul. I watched her carefully for months to see if this Christianity would wear off. It didn't. Then simply out of curiosity I asked her one-day, "If I wanted to know more about God, where do I look?" She politely shared her Bible with me and told me to read the gospel of John. I did and something happened. I read about Jesus who gave His life so we could live forever with God.

In 1978,
I found God! I found Him through the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection. I found Him also through the love and respect that my wife showed me during those many months of my searching for truth.

The root of bitterness concerning the death of my parents was uprooted from my soul. My life took on new meaning and purpose. It was as if a veil had been removed from my eyes and now I could see God. I began to experience true hope for my future. Love took on new meaning. God began healing my heart from the pain of my adolescence.

I am very thankful how the Lord used my wife to point me to Him. Over the past number of years the Lord has used my wife to teach me about love and the value of relationships; lessons I've had to learn over and over again.

In 1979 Kim and I entered into full-time Christian ministry, and that's another story. Today we are still happily married with three children and one grandson.
God has been so good to us. Oh yes, our life's journey has not been without bumps in the road, but God has been faithful to keep us on the right path and bless our lives abundantly. What more could we ask? It's been quite an adventure, but it's not over. This year we are entering into a new and deeper relationship with God and His purposes for our lives. We are very excited about the future!

I wrote this brief testimony to help or inspire
you - the one who is reading this right now! Whether you have found God or not, I encourage you to keep reading the following statements about God and how to know Him. If I can be of help, please email me (mike@powerlife.org) or call my office in the Shoals (767-7279).

Concerning our search for God, Paul the Apostle said,

Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near
(Acts 17:26-27, The Message).

Jesus said,

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, NIV)."

May the Lord help you in your life's journey and pursuit of God.

Mike Simon
Pastor
Shoals New Life


How To Know God

Has your life been like a maze?
You struggle to find your way
but discover that you are only going in circles.

God can fix this!

I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. Psalm 32:8, TLB

Knowing God is a life-long journey of discovery, revelation, and opportunity in relationships.

In discovery we explore why we exit and what's our purpose in life.

In
revelation we see and touch God, the creator of life.

In
opportunity in relationships we "connect" in body, soul, and spirit with ourselves, Father God, and with other people like our self.

Knowing God is more than just knowledge about God. It is a supernatural relationship between man and his Creator, between flesh and spirit, between temporal and eternal.

Knowing God is a journey that all of mankind has been invited to travel.


But What Is Our First Step In Knowing God?

Actually our first step is not with our beginning, but with God Himself. Before there was even a need for a journey for mankind, there was God. I find it more than coincidental that the first and last chapters of the Bible describe God as the one who starts and finishes everything.

Genesis 1:1

Revelation 22:13

You see, there is no way for any of us to surprise God or even catch Him off guard. He always makes the first move. Before we even existed, God did. God took the first step in creation. He spoke heaven, earth, and mankind into existence. Before we even pursued God, He pursued us. God took the first step in revelation. He made known to mankind His divine nature and will.

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Hebrews 1:1

Before we realized our predicament as sinners, God provided a way of salvation. He took the first step by coming to earth in the form of an ordinary man named Jesus of Nazareth. (see Phil. 2:1-11)


In his classic work, entitled
Basic Christianity, John Stott writes,

"God has created. God has spoken. God has acted. These statements of God's initiative in three difference spheres form a summary of the religion of the Bible. If God has spoken, his last and greatest word to the world is Jesus Christ. If God has acted, his noblest act is the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ. This means that Christianity is not just pious talk. It is neither a collection of religious ideas nor a catalogue of rules. It is a 'gospel' (i.e. God news) - in Paul's words 'the gospel of God…concerning his Son…Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 1:1-4). It is not primarily an invitation to man to do anything; it is supremely a declaration of what God has done in Christ for human beings like ourselves (p.12)."


To Know God We Must Respond
To God's Revelation Of Himself.

Our first step in our journey to know God is simply responding to His apparent revelation of Himself.

"Man is an insatiably inquisitive creature. His mind is so made that it cannot rest. It is always prying into the unknown. He pursues knowledge with restless energy. His life is a voyage of discovery. He is always questing, exploring, investigating, researching. He never grows out of the child's interminable 'Why?" (Stott, p. 12)

But how can our finite minds truly understand the infinite mind of Almighty God?

It was impossible.
And it would have remained so if God had not remedied the situation.

God has spoken. He has
unmistakably revealed Himself to us.

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man
that you care for him?

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.
So nobody has a good excuse. (Romans 1:19-20, The Message)


This is what's commonly referred to as
"general or natural revelation."

"But this is not enough. It certainly makes known his existence, and something of his divine power, glory and faithfulness. But if man is to come to know God personally, to have his sins forgiven and to enter into relationship with God, he needs a more extensive and practical revelation still. God's self-disclosure must include his holiness, his love and his power to save us from sin." (Stott, p. 13)

Hallelujah, more extensive revelation did come!

God's most practical revelation was personifying His divine revelation into the person of Jesus Christ.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
(John 1:14 MS)

But Jesus Christ left this earth to a heavenly abode.
Did God make provisions for His continued revelation to mankind?

Yes He did! His revelation still continues to this very day.

God still reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

1 Cor. 2:10, 13
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.


1 Cor. 2:9-10

That is what is meant by the Scriptures which say that no mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord. But we know about these things because God has sent his Spirit to tell us,
and his Spirit searches out and shows us all of God's deepest secrets.

2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God
as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

God still reveals
Himself through

His Word,
The Bible.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.


Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.


God still reveals
Himself through
Prophetic Vision.

Isaiah 1:1-2
The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! For the LORD has spoken:


Ezekiel 12:26-27

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, the house of Israel is saying,
'The vision he sees is for many years from now,
and he prophesies about the distant future.'


Rev. 1:1

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,



God still reveals
Himself through

Spiritual Gifts.

Ephes. 4:7-8

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."

God still reveals
Himself through

Divine Inspiration.

2 Tim. 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Today, God is still taking the initiative in divinely breathing life into His creation (that includes you and I).
(see Gen. 2:7)

He is still revealing Himself to mankind and offering the miracle of salvation to all who would receive.


But Knowing God Is Much More
Than Just Knowing About Him.

The Bible is our primary source for knowing about God. We have in our hands thousands of years of recorded history regarding our Heavenly Father's activities and relationship with mankind. We have clearly defined, specific instructions as to how to know God, encounter His presence, and maintain a personal relationship with Him. But the Bible is more than just history and a set of instructions. It is the divinely inspired Word of God. And just as God breathes life with His Words, the Bible is a supernatural avenue of life breathed into the lives of all who dare to open their lives up to God's revelation. The Bible is an eternal gift to mankind.

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

We should READ our Bibles.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (Ephes. 3:4)

We should STUDY our Bibles.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

We should MEDITATE about
what we discover in our Bibles.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)

Our Bibles should lead us into personal relationship with God and not just theological knowledge.

J. I. Packer in his classic work entitled
Knowing God writes, (p. 17)

We need to ask ourselves: what is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things? What do I intend to do with my knowledge about God, once I have got it? For the fact that we have to face is this: that if we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited…To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it.

Maybe this is the reason why some Christians seemingly have a greater depth of knowledge concerning Scriptures, yet exhibit little life that Scripture breathes into our mortal being. In other words, there seems to be imbalance in the outward expression of the inward transformation.

Consider this truth: "As we read our Bible; at the same time, our Bible is reading us!"


Our Next Step In Knowing God

Our first step was to become acquainted with God.

God has spoken. God has acted…God has spoken; but have we listened to his word? God has acted; but have we benefited from what he has done.? (Stott, pp. 15-16)

Our next step is our
"personal response" to God's revelation and actions.
He has sought us and is still seeking us today. Now it is our turn to seek Him.

God's chief quarrel with man is that he does not seek (Stott, p. 16).

Psalm 14:2-3
The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good, not even one.

Isaiah 65:1
"I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'



If we seek God, we will find Him! The OT makes mighty declarations.

Deut. 4:29
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

2 Chron. 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.


Jesus promised,

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 7:7
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.


God so desires to be found by those who truly desire to find Him, but we must seek Him
earnestly.

Emerson once wrote, "Man is as lazy as he dares to be."


We must overcome our natural tendencies to become lazy and apathetic; in addition, we must overcome our procrastination.

You see, God is not moved by trifle seekers, but
"rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6)."


We must seek Him
humbly.

Humility is not weakness but meekness.

Humility is not a
fleshly appearance
but a
heart attitude.

To be humble means to be
void of
pride and arrogance.

Pride lands you flat on your face;
humility prepares you for
honors.
Proverbs 29:23, The Message

Jesus said,

"Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people.
Matthew 11:25, The Message

"I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.
Matthew 18:3, The Message

Jesus loved little children. Why?

Because they are teachable.

Because they are
innocent, not proud and not critical

We will find God if we seek Him with the humble, receptive attitude of a child.

We must seek Him obediently.

John Stott writes, (p. 17)

This is the hardest condition of all to fulfil. In seeking God we have to be prepared not only to revise our ideas but to reform our lives. The Christian message has a moral challenge. If the message is true, the moral challenge has to be accepted. So God is not a fit object for man's detached scrutiny. You cannot fix God at the end of a telescope or a microscope and say 'How interesting!' God is not interesting. He is deeply upsetting. The same is true of Jesus Christ.

Obedience says, "I must and I will!"

Sacrifice says,
"I can and I might."


To Know God, We Must Know Jesus Christ

Paul, the Apostle said,

Philip. 3:7-11
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.


To know Christ is to know God. Why? Because Jesus said,

"Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

John 14:9


"I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
John 14:19

Here is one of our biggest challenge as Christians. The world will not see the historical Jesus until his return; however, we Christians should be seeing him right now. But how?

We should be seeing Christ-like "transformation" all around us as evidenced in the hearts of Christians that surround our lives.
"Can you see Jesus in me? Can I see Jesus in you?"

John Stott writes,

God today is neither tangible, visible nor audible. Yet there was a time when he chose to speak, and to clothe himself with a body which could be seen and touched. So John began his first Epistle with the claim, 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands…we proclaim also to you…' (I John 1:1, 14)

John 1:1, The Message
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in-we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.

1 John 1:2-3, The Message
We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

The opportunity to find God and encounter His presence is always at hand.
All you have to do is,

Stop

Look

and Listen!


Ready To Cross Over The Bridge
That Leads To New Life?


God loves us. He has plans and purpose for our life.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Step 1
God's Love
& Plan

Sin, which means "missing the mark" separates us from a personal relationship with God.

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Step 2
Our Problem:
Separation From God

Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Jesus died on a cross and rose from the grave, paying the penalty for our sins and bridging the gap between God and people.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Cor. 15:3-6
Christ died for our sins…he was buried…he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time,

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Step 3
God's Remedy:
The Cross

Believing means trust and commitment - acknowledging our sinfulness, trusting Christ's forgiveness, and letting Him control our life.
Eternal, abundant life is a gift for us to receive.


Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Step 4
Our Response


How To Receive Jesus Christ
As Your Saviour and Lord

1. Admit your spiritual need (I am a sinner).

2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).

3. Believe that Jesus died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.

4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come into your life right now.



Prayer of Faith:

Father, please forgive my sins and not accepting your best for my life. I believe your son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross as payment for my sins. I believe that He rose from the dead. By faith I receive Jesus Christ into my life. Please release your Holy Spirit in my life that I may be strong and begin to grow as a Christian.




Your Assurance of Eternal Life

If you've prayed this prayer with a sincere heart, then your sins are forgiven, and you now are promised eternal life.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 10:13
for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Ephes. 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.

What's Next?

This is just the beginning of your new life in Christ. You must now concentrate on deepening your personal relationship with Christ. To do so,

1.

Get yourself a Bible and begin reading the Gospel of John. This is a good place to start. Make sure to set aside time each day to read and study your Bible.
Ask God to illuminate your understanding of His Word.

2.

Talk to God in prayer each day. This is simple conversation between you and God.
Be sure to stop and listen as you pray. God does talk back to you through His Holy Spirit who is now resident inside of you. Listen for His "still small voice."

3.

Tell others immediately about your new faith in Christ.

4.

Join yourself with other Christians who can help you become a strong, mature Christian.

5.

As Christ's representative in a needy world,
demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others.

Home | Who We Are | About Cell Based Ministry |The Powerlife Project | Contact Us | MultiMedia