How do Christians Connect with God? (2)

Earlier I posted my comments before the Mubarak Mosque on October 15th.

The entire service is now available online in video (click here).

Photo of Stephen W. Hiemstra
Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Mubarak Mosque, Chantilly, Virginia on Religious Founders’ Day, October 15, 2017

Background

Good afternoon. My name is Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a volunteer pastor and a Christian writer. My volunteer work focuses on Hispanic ministry and I write about Christian spirituality. My wife, Maryam, hails from Iran and considers herself a Muslim. We have been married 33 years and have three grown children.

My comments today will focus on how Christians connect with God. Because today we are celebrating Religious Founders’ Day, I take the inspiration for my talk from a sermon by the Apostle Peter that he gave on the day that the Christian church was founded, which we call Pentecost.

Invocation

Please join me in a word of prayer.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 ESV) In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Introduction

How do Christians connect with God? (2X)

Let me start by asking, what do secular people think about connecting with God?

Basically, they say that if you talk to God, that’s prayer, but if God talks to you, that’s psychosis. While pastor’s often tell this story as a light-hearted joke, psychologist Sigmund Freud described God’s existence as an illusion.[1] Karl Marx believed that religion (that is, God’s existence) was the opiate of the masses.[2] In other words, if you believe in God, Freud tells us you must be nuts and Marx tells us that you must be on drugs.

In my recent memoir, Called Along the Way, published this last month, I write that anyone in this secular age who takes God seriously must be considered a brother or sister in the faith. In this spirit, I would like to thank the Mubarak Mosque for the invitation to speak this afternoon to address this important topic.

Scripture

How do Christians connect with God? (2X)

The basic path to connecting with God is outlined by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. Hear Peter’s words:

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 ESV)

Elsewhere, the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Rome about 30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, some 2,000 years ago:

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Roman 10:9 ESV)

Rome at the time of Paul’s writing was the capital of the Western world much like Washington DC is today.

Because most of you here today are not Christians, you may be asking yourself why Peter and Paul are so adamant about two things mentioned in these two passages: confession of sins and belief in Jesus Christ (2X).

Transcendent and Holy

To understand the focus here, you need to understand the Christian understanding of God. Christians believe in a personal God who is both transcendent and Holy (2X).

God’s transcendence arises because he created the known universe. The first verse of the Bible in the Book of Genesis says:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 ESV)

As creator, God had to exist before the universe that he created and he had to have been set apart from it. Time, as we know it, is part of the created universe. Consequently, God stands outside of time and space (2X). Because we exist inside time and space, we cannot approach God on our own. He has to reveal himself to us (2X).

Likewise, we cannot approach a Holy God, because we are sinful beings, not Holy beings. Our sin separates us from a Holy God.

To summarize, we cannot approach God on our own because he transcends time and space and because he is holy. Only God can initiate connection with unholy, created beings such as we are. There is no path up the mountain to God; God must come down (2X). As Christians, we believe that God came down in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, whose coming was prophesied from the earliest days of scripture. For example, the Prophet Job wrote (slide 5):

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27 NIV)

The Book of Job is thought by some to have been written by Moses before any other book in the Bible and before he returned to Egypt, which makes the anticipation of a redeemer all the more stunning. Moses himself lived about 1,500 years before Christ.

God’s Self-Revelation

So who is this transcendent God that loves us enough to initiate connection with us in spite of our sin?

Later, after giving Moses the Ten Commandments for a second time on Mount Sinai, God reveals himself to Moses with these words:

“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)

Notice that God describes himself first as merciful. As Christians, we believe that God love is shown to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because God himself has provided the ultimate sacrifice of his son on the cross, Christians do not need to offer animal sacrifices—in Christ, our debt to God for sin has already been paid. This is real mercy, real love.

Listen to the confession given by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [that is Peter’s nickname], then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinth 15:3-6 ESV)

Jesus, as the perfect son of God, is the bridge that God has given us to connect with himself through the Holy Spirit, as Peter said on the Day of Pentecost:

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 ESV)

Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to pray to God with the assurance that we will be heard; we are able to read the Bible with the confidence that God will speak to us; and we are able to live our daily lives knowing that God walks with us each step of the way. In this way, as Christians we are always connected with God in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Will you pray with me?

Oh dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your presence through the person of Jesus. Forgive our sin and draw us closer to you day by day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Presentation

Before I turn over the podium, let me read a few words from the acknowledgment section of my book, Life in Tension.

“In the fall of 2014, I was invited to speak at a local mosque about my book, A Christian Guide to Spirituality. Speaking at a mosque was new to me and anticipating this visit I spent three days fasting and praying for guidance. Instead of guidance on the mosque visit, God inspired me to write this book.” (xvii)

The reference here is to the Mubarak Mosque where we now stand. Consequently, I would like to present you with a copy of the book, Life in Tension. Thank you.

[1] Sigmund Freud. 1961. The Future of an Illusion. Translated by James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people.

How do Christians Connect with God?

Also see:

Blackaby Expects Answers to Prayer 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2fEPbBK

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Invitation to Visit Mubarak Mosque in Chantilly, Virginia on Sunday, October 15th, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Photo of Stephen W. Hiemstra
Stephen W. Hiemstra

On Sunday, October 15th, 2017 author and publisher Stephen W. Hiemstra (PhD, MDiv) will talk for 10-15 minutes on How Christians Connect with God as part of an interfaith dialogue. Please join us if you are interested and able to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Click here to read flyer on this event.

I hope to have copies of my books available for those interested.

This event is sponsored by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Virginia Chapter.

RSVP: Haris Raja ~ tabligh.nva@ahmadiyy.us ~ 571.528.5171

Mubarak Mosque, 4555 Ahmadiyya Drive, Chantilly, VA 2015.

Please copy me on your RSVP (T2Pneuma@gmail.com). For those unable to attend, check T2Pneuma.net on Sunday to read my presentation.

Thank you so much!

Stephen W. Hiemstra

Invitation to Visit Mubarak Mosque in Chantilly, Virginia on Sunday, October 15th, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Also see:

Blackaby Expects Answers to Prayer 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2fEPbBK

Continue Reading

T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” in Paperback, Kindle, and EPUB (3)

Cover for Called Along the Way
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” 

CONTACT:

Stephen W. Hiemstra, author, T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (T2Pneuma.com), Centreville, VA 703-973-8898 (M), T2Pneuma@gmail.com

 CENTREVILLE, VA, 9/28/2017:

Called Along The Way: A Spiritual Memoir by Stephen W. Hiemstra is now available in both paperback (978-1942199250), Kindle (978-1942199298) on Amazon.com and in EPUB (978-1942199175) on BarnesAndNoble.com or Kobo.com according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. Details available at T2Pneuma.com.

 DISCUSSION:

Called Along the Way describes my faith journey from unbeliever to believer, from cultural Christian to active disciple, from disciple to realization of call, and from seminary to early ministry. Unlike Adam and Eve, my story does not begin the Garden of Eden. If you too have struggled with your faith walk, then my story may offer solace. Even in our baby steps of faith, God promises to walk with us.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Author Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, PhD) is a slave of Christ, husband, father, volunteer pastor, writer, and speaker. He lives with Maryam, his wife of 30+ years, in Centreville, VA and they have three grown children.

Key words:

Christian memoir, faith, discipleship, pastoral call, personal memoir, autobiography, memoir, federal service, education.

******************

What people are saying… 

Have you ever wondered if the church in America is mortally wounded? Is God really dead as the infamous 1966 Time magazine cover reported? This memoir offers evidence to the contrary.

— Aaron Gordon, Pastor

Stephen opens up his life story for us to delve into, investigate, and learn from. It provides an excellent inside view of how God uses every facet of our lives to mold us and to use us for His glory.

— Nohemi Zerbi Chemical Engineer

Stephen’s spiritual journey is interesting because it has taken place along the pathway of enormous changes in America. 

— Jonathan Jenkins, Pastor

Other paperback books by T2Pneuma Publishers LLC include:

  • A Christian Guide to Spirituality
  • Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad
  • My Travel Through Life
  • Life in Tension

Please mention T2Pneuma.com on social media.

 

 

 

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T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” in Paperback, Kindle, and EPUB (2)

Cover for Called Along the Way
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” 

CONTACT:

Stephen W. Hiemstra, author, T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (T2Pneuma.com), Centreville, VA 703-973-8898 (M), T2Pneuma@gmail.com

 CENTREVILLE, VA, 9/28/2017:

Called Along The Way: A Spiritual Memoir by Stephen W. Hiemstra is now available in both paperback (978-1942199250), Kindle (978-1942199298) on Amazon.com and in EPUB (978-1942199175) on BarnesAndNoble.com or Kobo.com according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. Details available at T2Pneuma.com.

 DISCUSSION:

Called Along the Way describes my faith journey from unbeliever to believer, from cultural Christian to active disciple, from disciple to realization of call, and from seminary to early ministry. Unlike Adam and Eve, my story does not begin the Garden of Eden. If you too have struggled with your faith walk, then my story may offer solace. Even in our baby steps of faith, God promises to walk with us.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Author Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, PhD) is a slave of Christ, husband, father, volunteer pastor, writer, and speaker. He lives with Maryam, his wife of 30+ years, in Centreville, VA and they have three grown children.

Key words:

Christian memoir, faith, discipleship, pastoral call, personal memoir, autobiography, memoir, federal service, education.

******************

What people are saying… 

Have you ever wondered if the church in America is mortally wounded? Is God really dead as the infamous 1966 Time magazine cover reported? This memoir offers evidence to the contrary.

— Aaron Gordon, Pastor

Stephen opens up his life story for us to delve into, investigate, and learn from. It provides an excellent inside view of how God uses every facet of our lives to mold us and to use us for His glory.

— Nohemi Zerbi Chemical Engineer

Stephen’s spiritual journey is interesting because it has taken place along the pathway of enormous changes in America. 

— Jonathan Jenkins, Pastor

Other paperback books by T2Pneuma Publishers LLC include:

  • A Christian Guide to Spirituality
  • Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad
  • My Travel Through Life
  • Life in Tension

Please mention T2Pneuma.com on social media.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” in Paperback, Kindle, and EPUB

T2Pneuma Releases “Called Along The Way” in Paperback, Kindle, and EPUB.

CONTACT: Stephen W. Hiemstra, author, T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (T2Pneuma.com), Centreville, VA 703-973-8898 (M), T2Pneuma@gmail.com

 CENTREVILLE, VA, 9/28/2017: Called Along The Way: A Spiritual Memoir by Stephen W. Hiemstra is now available in both paperback (978-1942199250), Kindle (978-1942199298) on Amazon.com and in EPUB (978-1942199175) on BarnesAndNoble.com or Kobo.com according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. Details available at T2Pneuma.com.

 DISCUSSION:

Called Along the Way describes my faith journey from unbeliever to believer, from cultural Christian to active disciple, from disciple to realization of call, and from seminary to early ministry. Unlike Adam and Eve, my story does not begin the Garden of Eden. If you too have struggled with your faith walk, then my story may offer solace. Even in our baby steps of faith, God promises to walk with us.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Author Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, PhD) is a slave of Christ, husband, father, volunteer pastor, writer, and speaker. He lives with Maryam, his wife of 30+ years, in Centreville, VA and they have three grown children.

Key words: Christian memoir, faith, discipleship, pastoral call, personal memoir, autobiography, memoir, federal service, education.

******************

What people are saying… 

Have you ever wondered if the church in America is mortally wounded? Is God really dead as the infamous 1966 Time magazine cover reported? This memoir offers evidence to the contrary.

— Aaron Gordon, Pastor

Stephen opens up his life story for us to delve into, investigate, and learn from. It provides an excellent inside view of how God uses every facet of our lives to mold us and to use us for His glory.

— Nohemi Zerbi Chemical Engineer

Stephen’s spiritual journey is interesting because it has taken place along the pathway of enormous changes in America. 

— Jonathan Jenkins, Pastor

Other paperback books by T2Pneuma Publishers LLC include:

  • A Christian Guide to Spirituality
  • Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad
  • My Travel Through Life
  • Life in Tension

Please mention T2Pneuma.com on social media.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

T2Pneuma Releases “My Travel Through Life” By Stephen J. Hiemstra In Kindle Ebook

T2PNEUMA RELEASES “MY TRAVEL THROUGH LIFE” BY STEPHEN J. HIEMSTRA IN KINDLE EBOOK.

CONTACT: Stephen W. Hiemstra (son), T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (T2Pneuma.com), Centreville, VA, 703-973-8898 (M), T2Pneuma@gmail.com

CENTREVILLE, VA, 05022017: “My Travel Through Life:  Memoir of Family Life and Federal Service” by Stephen J. Hiemstra (Father) is now available in Kindle Ebook (ISBN: 978-1942199137; ASIN: B071YSTF44). It is also available in paperback (ISBN: 978-1942199038) on Amazon.com according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. For more details, see: T2Pneuma.com.

DISCUSSION:

Stephen J. Hiemstra (Phd) chronicles his early life, schooling, military service, and service in the federal government.  In this rags to riches story, read about how an Iowa farm boy finds love, earns a doctorate, serves his country, combats hunger, advises presidents, and starts the first doctoral program in hospitality anywhere.

Stephen is a Professor Emeritus at Purdue University and former Senior Research Fellow in the School of Business and Public Policy at George Washington University. He is the founder and Director of the hospitality Ph.D. program in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University.

Stephen grew up on a mixed, grain-livestock farm in near Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a graduate with a bachelors and master’s degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He received his doctorate in agricultural economics at University of California at Berkeley in 1960, after service in the U. S. Air Force. He is currently retired and living in Falls Church, Virginia with Hazel, his wife, of 60+ years.

Key words for this book include: agriculture, food, hospitality, economics, Iowa, USDA, Purdue.

******************

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

His role in the evolution of USDA’s programs that now feed millions of Americans should not be understated. There is much more to learn and enjoy in this very readable journey of a very productive life.                                                                – John E. Lee, Jr., Retired Administrator and Professor Emeritus

 

As we learned from Dr. Stephen J. Hiemstra, life is a journey where we travel from moment to moment, from research to education, from government to university, from discovery to discovery.

– Hailin Qu, Professor, Oklahoma State University

 

Dr. Hiemstra was a brilliant thinker, problem solver, patient with those who didn’t have his intellect, and a man of God. He was a statesman, leader, and, more importantly, my friend.

– Dr. Carl A. Boger Jr., Professor, University of Houston

 

Other books by T2Pneuma Publishers LLC include:

  • A Christian Guide to Spirituality
  • Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad
  • Life in Tension

For more details, see: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

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T2Pneuma Releases “Prayers” in EBook

T2Pneuma Releases “Prayers” in EBook 

Buy (Kindle, EPUB)
Learn more (click here)

CONTACT: Stephen W. Hiemstra, author, T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (T2Pneuma.com), Centreville, VA 703-973-8898 (M), T2Pneuma@gmail.com

 CENTREVILLE, VA, 4/10/2017Prayers by Stephen W. Hiemstra is now available in Kindle (ISBN: 978-1942199083 (ASIN: B06Y15XYPN), EPUB (ISBN: 978-1942199120). The Kindle Edition is currently on sale on Amazon.com according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. Details are available at T2Pneuma.com.

DISCUSSION:

In this book are 50 prayers taken from A Christian Guide to Spirituality (2014) by the same author. These prayers are inspired by the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer.

Una edición en español (Oraciones) es también disponible.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

Author Stephen W. Hiemstra (MDiv, PhD) is a slave of Christ, husband, father, tentmaker, writer, and speaker. He lives with Maryam, his wife of 30+ years, in Centreville, VA and they have three grown children.

BISAC: Christian Prayerbook (REL052010), Christian Life—Prayer (REL012080),   Spirituality (REL062000).

KEY WORDS: prayer, prayerbook, Christianity, devotion, spirituality, faith, Christian living.

 Please mention T2Pneuma.com on social media.

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The Christian Memoir and Self-Publishing

Stephen W. Hiemstra, 1983

The Christian Memoir and Self-Publishing

 
On Sunday, March 19th, 2017 author and publisher Stephen W. Hiemstra (PhD, MDiv) will talk about writing a Christian memoir and self-publishing after the 11 a.m. worship service at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church (www.Lewinsville.org) in the chapel. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.
 
Mark your calendar and RSVP at T2Pneuma@gmail.com to receive a follow-up reminder before the talk with updated details. Information about Dr. Hiemstra’s publications can be found at: T2Pneuma.com.
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