The Bible nowhere tries to prove that there is a God. It begins with the words, "In the beginning God ..."
The Bible teaches us that creation itself witnesses to the existence of a Living God. "...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:19-20).
Indeed, if you think about it, it is logical. We examine things and come to conclusions often on the basis of cause and effect. A clock assumes the existence of a clock maker. A car assumes the existence of a car manufacturer. Creation assumes the existence of a creator.
Many people have suggested that creation is the result of some cosmic accident. But accidents always result in chaos not order. Some people suggest that if you leave a monkey alone with a typewriter long enough, it could type Shakespeare. But that has never happened and never will because accidents do not result in order but chaos.
The world in which we live is incredibly ordered. Conservationists are constantly telling us that creation is a finely balanced mechanism that our constant pollution is putting it under threat.
Mathematicians tell us that nature is mathematically ordered and that the growth and division of cells and plant life are completely predictable because of the order in creation.
The growth in the science of genetics is only possible because of the obvious and intricate design of even the most microscopic cells.
Surely it is only someone with a closed mind and heart that would insist that there is not an awesome creator who has made all things well. The Bible says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' " (Psalm 14:1).
Why does God seem far away?
The Bible teaches that God made human beings to live in close relationship with him. However, a separation came as men and women decided to live life their own way and disregard God and his love.
God seems far away because the human race has turned away from him. It is we who are far away from God, not he from us.
God planned a way to bring us back to the close relationship he first intended. This plan of reconciliation is rooted in Jesus. His life, death and rising from the dead, were God's way of opening up the possibility of a new relationship with him. The sacrificial blood of Jesus opens the door to bringing God close.
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13).
Not everyone believed in Jesus. Many rejected him.
"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:11-13)
He speaks of a relationship so close that he lives in you and you in him.
What does Jesus want from me?
In the Bible, Jesus says he wants to come into your heart, into your life, so that you can have a relationship with him. Jesus calls you first of all to himself - not to a particular church, not to a set of rules or some philosophy. He calls you to himself.
He said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9)
How can you enter through the door?
To open yourself to Jesus you have to invite him to come into your heart. He is ready to forgive you for everything you have done wrong. He didn't come to rub it in. He came to rub it out. As you say sorry for the past, he is ready to receive you.
So picture him standing before you now. And speak out these words to him. Say them out loud as you offer yourself to him.
I want to know you today.
Please forgive me for the past.
For all the things I wish I hadn't done.
For all the good things I wish I had done but didn't do.
(Take a moment to mention specific things...)
I believe you gave your life on the cross for me.
I now give my life to you.
Come into my life today.
Come in as my Saviour to give me life.
Come in as my Lord to guide me.
Come in as my Friend to be with me.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me a new life.
And I will serve you for the rest of my life.
If you have said this prayer of commitment and meant it, Jesus has come into your life. In order to maintain this new life there are a few things you need to do.
You have entered into a new relationship with Jesus. Any relationship that is starved of conversation will grow cold and die. So you need to talk with Jesus every day.
The best way to do this is to read some of his words in the Bible (preferably in a modern translation - The Message or The New International Version are good ones). You'll find the words of Jesus about two-thirds of the way through the Bible in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (Use the contents page if you can't find them!)
After reading some of his words, talk to him and ask him to be involved in your day. Many people find first thing in the morning a good time for this, so they take God into the day with them.
In coming into this new relationship with Jesus, you have also come into a new relationship with God's family. So find a church where you can grow in your new relationship and where you can learn more of Jesus, and make new friends. Church should be a friendly and exciting place to be. We would be glad to meet you here at St Mary's.
Many churches today have housegroups or homegroups - a few people meet together during the week in someone's home to look at the Bible and learn together. Speak to the leader of the church about joining one of these.
It's also important not to be shy about what you have done. Tell someone what you have done today. Start with someone you think will be pleased to hear. Never apologise for being a Christian.