The official release of my book was on my wife’s birthday October 4th, 2014. But before we released it we did an eight week pre-release discussion group at a church in Rancho Bernardo. I am at my best with “Q and A”, so this class was a lot of fun. Shelley filmed some of my answers and we will be releasing them on my YouTube Channel.
The group went so well we have been invited back in March to run it again. It has even inspired us write a companion study and discussion guide. It is a great outreach to those wondering about Christianity or even those who know their faith but would like more words to express why we believe it is a relationship not a religion.
“What if you can’t have a relationship with God while treating it as a religion?
We “talk” relationship but we “live” religion, with unsatisfying results. Christianity defines itself, first and foremost, as a relationship with God. Even though this is true, our human nature tends toward living a relationship with God as if it were a religion.
Comments from the Book Discussion Nights:
Even thought I have been involved in many Protestant churches and Bible Studies over the years, I discovered as a young adult that I really didn’t know the Holy Spirit, that it really was a mystery to me. After a particularly difficult period in my life when I needed to be closer to God and feel his Presence with me, I read several books about the Holy Spirit and I did find that God’s Spirit that was embodied in Jesus, was what Jesus gave us. Prayerfully I asked the Holy Spirit to come into my life, and I felt a basic peace and joy in all facets of my life.
However, as my life situation improved, my prayer life decreased, and although I continued my activity within my church and community, I felt something was missing. I thought then that once I had asked the Holy Spirit to come into my life I didn’t need to do more. When I moved to San Diego, the pastor of my new church had written a book and was preaching a series on the Holy Spirit alive in our lives. After I read his book, I was invited to attend a class led by Mark Cowper-Smith based on his book “Is God Religious? “Mark’s emphasis is on having an ongoing relationship with God set me thinking. Having a relationship with a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend always involves ongoing dialogue with that person. The light bulb went on in my brain: having a relationship with the Holy Spirit also involves ongoing dialogue! As Mark states, on p. 220,”…….Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sins in order to give us the innocence necessary to have a relationship with a holy God, but it is the Spirit within us that makes that relationship real to us day by day.”
I am now trying to keep up this dialogue and ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit daily (there are lapses, however), and I have experienced more joy in all areas of my life. Thanks, Mark