Tonight at our student ministry meeting we played cell phone Olympics! In these events, our senior high students were challenged to complete certain tasks with their cell phones. For example, they had to go to certain spots in the church and take pictures. They had to get their parents to text them. They were challenged to text Jillianne with their name and favorite restaurant (congrats to Amber Grant for winning the Olympics and a free dinner at her favorite restaurant!).
After our Olympics we were supposed to go outside and do some star gazing. But, thanks to tropical storm Ida, we were rained out. However, we found some great videos on youtube.com and watched them to learn about constellations and star gazing! The topic for the night was connecting to God. Here's the basis of our talk:
The night sky is divided into 88 constellations, most of which are visible from the United States at different times of the year. On a clear, moonless night, a thousand or more stars are visible. Five of our solar system's eight planets, a few star clusters, a spiral galaxy, and the odd bright comet are visible, too!
It is amazing how small we are and how BIG the universe is, how small we are but how much God loves us. God wants to be in a relationship with us. In the click of a button (on a cell phone) we can be connected anywhere in the world, just like that. But how easy is it to connect with God? If you are like me, it’s not as easy as pushing that speed dial button on the phone. But, God tells us it can be!
So, how big is God? Think of size of the universe. Nearest star is about 4 light yrs away. How far is that? Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. This means nearest star is about 24 trillion miles away from earth. That’s a long way, but it’s just a speck of distance in the universe. Scientists estimate may be up to 200 billion galaxies out there. But here’s how big God is … Read Isaiah 40:12. Isaiah 40:12 tells us God measured off space with his fingers. That's pretty BIG!!
We are called to connect with God (to find a speed dial). So if God is that big, that God can measure the universe with God’s fingers, then why is it so hard for us to connect with God / to find that speed dial button in our lives? Why do we feel alone at times?
Bottom line - it is hard. We do sometimes feel disconnected from God, like God doesn’t care about us, There are many reasons for this. My top two?
1. We fill our lives with so much that we just do not have time for God. In our culture we fill up every free moment that we have to make sure there is never a time where we have nothing to do. From the moment we open our eyes, to the moment we close them at night we are doing things. We are so active with work, food, chores, projects, school, family, friends, entertainment, and any other things we add to the mix that we don’t have room in our day for God.
2. Other times we feel disconnected because we don’t want God to be God. If God is in control of our lives that means that we aren’t. We feel disconnected from God because we are trying to run the show ourselves. Sometimes we feel disconnected from God because we are all imperfect people. Each and every one of us sins and that keeps us from God.
Have you ever felt disconnected from God? I assure you, you are not the first. And it is a battle you may fight for the rest of your life as a Christian. Even in Biblical times, people felt disconnected. Just read Psalm 22.
When we feel disconnected from God it is because we walk away. God has not moved. God did not leave. God did not desert us. God is standing right where we left God. It is us. Because here’s the thing, right, if God can measure the universe (THE UNIVERSE) with God’s fingers, how can we 5 or 6 feet tall people ever escape God’s presence? Where is somebody that BIG going to hide from us?
Later in Psalm 22 we hear:
God has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. God has never wandered off to do his own thing; God has been right there, listening.
So how do we stay connected? It’s really simple actually. Is God at the top of your list? Make a mental list of the top 5 things in your life. Now take away 2. Take away 1. Take away one more. Is God your number one? If God is your number one, then you live your life differently because of that. Things like worship, Bible study, youth group, fellowship, youth trips, mission work, etc. become important. Those are the things that fill up the hours in your day. I am not saying there can’t be other stuff too. But the way you do that other "stuff" changes. God being # 1 means you play ball differently, you hang out with different people, you stand up for the kid being picked on in the lunch room. It’s ironic, because saying God is number 1 is really simple, but the life you are called to lead because of that is not so easy.
Connecting with God ... what's your priority?