PASTOR COLUMN - Jesus offers us a living relationship

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I'm not very religious," is a comment we may hear often. We might hear it spoken when we invite others to pray with us, when we express thanks to God for a blessing, or when we encourage someone to place his or her trust in the Lord.

It is possible to confuse "religion" with "relationship." Although "religion" may refer to form and repetitious practice, "relationship" involves connection and intimacy.

A "relationship" with Jesus is far deeper and much more satisfying than religious form. A relationship is alive and life-changing. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said, "I have come that you might have life, and have life more abundantly."

Experiencing the Lord in our daily lives is an adventure of loving relationship. It was a living relationship Jesus was referring to when He said, "I am the bread of life. He that believes in me shall never hunger."

His loves reaches deeply within us, permeating our inner being with forgiveness, fresh life, indescribable joy, and continual gladness.

Materialistic possessions, monetary wealth and electronic luxuries can not satisfy the heart that was created to be filled by a loving God. Only a relationship with Jesus offers us that life. He is living bread.

Jesus was referring to this life-changing relationship when He said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me," (Rev. 3:20).

This relationship is for any and everyone. Jesus died on the cross for sinners (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). Jesus was raised from the dead and declared to be the Son of God with power, and He is only a prayer away. He is a gentleman, waiting for each one to personally invite Him into his or her heart (inner being) and life, through faith.

He doesn't disappoint. Instead, He "eats with us," sharing the joys of salvation, grace, His life-changing word, mercy, daily power and comfort of the Holy Spirit. This is not religious form. This is a relationship of abundant, joyful life.

The Rev. Greg Brownell is pastor of United Brethren Church in Dayton. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at catherinehicks@wwub.com.

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