Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Orthopraxy, right living, is as important as and a complement to orthodoxy, right doctrine. Most of the time, it is our heresy regarding our practice that is criticized by outsiders. Orthodoxy, right doctrine, is important mostly to insiders.
How we act is a validation of what we believe, and what we truly believe informs everything we think, do or say. Are you in love with the One who loves you passionately? Do your actions reveal that you believe He loves you and that you return His ardor? Did you practice anything in this day that was proof that you really believe God is love and that He is crazy in love with you?
Are you rushing forth into the days anticipating eagerly the ways you are going to meet, to playfully cry, “Gotcha!”? Or was two weeks ago, or two months ago (whenever you were last in church), the last time you had a concentrated focus on things spiritual, before you stepped outside, and the sermon-sucking black hole that exists somewhere between the front door and the parking lot swooshed all remembrance of worship into its vortex? Truthfully you haven’t looked into the Word since, and you really haven’t thought much about God.
The Barna Research Group has been tracking America’s religious beliefs and practices since 1984, and over that time has given us an alarming picture of the state of the church (or to say it another way, of the state of the Christians who make up the church). Of those who meet the requirements for being classified as born-again, the data confirms there are more than ten million who are unchurched. Now, we can love God without going to church, but we can’t love Him as well. The community of faith is one of the primary places where we have the best opportunities to be confronted with both our orthopraxy of our orthodoxy.
What begins to be even more disturbing is when The Barna Group measures nine religious beliefs that have also been tracked for the past decade. These include the self-reported importance of faith, levels of personal commitment to Christianity and to Jesus Christ, beliefs about God, Satan, and the Bible, and perspectives on eternal salvation. These beliefs dip into some core values of orthodox doctrine and many are disquietingly diluted.
For instance, one of the most disturbing revelations concerns the nature of Christ. Described in Barna’s book. State of the Church 2002. is the large number of born-again, non-evangelicals (measured according to established criteria) who believe that Jesus sinned. One out of five strongly agree that He sinned, an additional one out of eight agreed less vehemently, and 6 percent disagreed somewhat, with 5 percent not sure what to believe. This means that nearly half of the non-evangelical born-again segment, 46 percent, did not strongly disagree with the notion that Christ sinned.
America certainly did not experience the spiritual revival that many Christians hoped would emerge as the new millennium began. In fact, Americans seem to have become almost inoculated to spiritual events, to outreach efforts and the quest for personal spiritual development…Our research continues to point out the need for behavioral modeling strategic ministry and a more urgent reliance upon God to change people’s lives.
How are you going to resuscitate or energize your spiritual passion? Going on the God Hunt can restore practical Christianity and help you renew and freshen the reality of the Lover who is always there, waiting to laughingly play. As quickly as any of the spiritual practices that I have used in my life and that have been traditionally undertaken by Christians through the centuries, the God Hunt can restore delight and wonder again to our understanding of a life of faith. It is a much-needed exercise for Christians who seem to be mired in spiritual complacency. It is daily evidence of how much God loves to be with us and of how constantly we are on his mind.
Go on the God Hunt. Match your orthopraxy with your orthodoxy.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.