Read: Jeremiah 29:10-13


To find God the first time, you don't have to seek Him. All you have to do is stop, open your heart, and there He is.


In the religion of natural man, God is thought of as the reward that comes at the end of a search. There are people who spend their whole lives searching for illumination until at last they arrive at some kind of God, some kind of truth.


But that is not how it was with you. You didn't find God after years of searching. God found you. God simply broke in upon your life. God came crashing through at a time when He was the farthest thing from your mind (in most cases).


- Some of us were sitting in our churches thinking we knew God.


  - Some of us were out there doing our own thing.


- Some of us were sick,

           or at the bottom of a pit of despair,

           or flush with success and material wealth.


Suddenly, there was God, speaking to us, calling us by name.


Abraham didn't set out on a search to find God. God came to Abraham - to this man who had grown up surrounded by idols - and called him to walk by faith.


Moses wasn't fasting and praying that day when God spoke to him from the burning bush - God took him by surprise.


Mary wasn't headed for the convent when Gabriel came and announced that she would be the mother of Israel's Messiah - she was cleaning the kitchen.


In scripture, it's never people searching for God, it's God breaking in, interrupting, calling men and women to leave what they are doing and come up into His plan.


"You did not choose me, I chose you", says Jesus to the disciples.


Whatever we know of God at this moment,

Whatever we are experiencing of God this hour,

Whatever of God dwells in us, is not in the least degree the result of our effort, or cleverness, or worthiness, it is the result of God's sheer grace.


Was it our deserving that caused God the Son to lay aside His glory and descend from the heights of splendor?


Was it something beautiful in us that caused Him to take upon Himself our flesh?


He laid down His life on that Cross for sinners in whose hearts there wasn't one speck of righteousness left.


And His Spirit broods over us now, not because God finds us worthy of special favor, but for the very opposite reason - because we're so unlikely.


When Jesus tells us,


- Ask and it shall be given you,


- Seek and you shall find,


- Knock and it shall be opened to you,


He's not telling us to go out and look for God, He is telling us to draw near to the God who has now come to us and ask for the things that are on our hearts.


And if there's somebody reading these words who hasn't found God yet,


- you're searching for God,


- you're reading this pamphlet hoping that perhaps you might at least pick up another clue to help you find your way to Him,


our message to you is that the God you seek is closer to you now than your own beating heart - that the Son of the true and living God is now standing at the gate­way of your mind knocking.


"Open to me", He says, "and I will enter you this day. I will wash away your sins in my blood. I will fill you with my life."


But there is a time when we indeed have to seek God: and that's when we discover that,


- the God who once revealed Himself to us,


- the God who blessed us with countless gifts of grace,


is no longer real to us. And the reason He is no longer real is because beneath the surface of piety and faith we failed to walk in that grace.


When God visited you, He didn't come to wrap you in a blanket of happiness and joy for your own sake alone. He filled you with His grace so that that grace might flow out to somebody else.


God didn't come to Abraham just so Abraham could have spiritual thrills. He came to make Abraham the father of a nation that would bring redemption to the world.


God didn't speak to Moses from the burning bush for Moses' private benefit but so that Moses would lead the Israelites out of bondage.


Gabriel came to Mary not merely for Mary's joy, but to call her into a ministry that would consume her life and pierce her heart.


And when the grace of God came to you, it was to touch this earth with blessing that would go far beyond you.


"You did not choose me, I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit - fruit that will remain."


But when we


- fail to go on in that grace,

- fail to diligently minister in that grace,

- fail to do the redemptive work God's grace called us to do,


then the life of God in us begins to die.


It happens so gradually. It begins with such small things we don't even realize what's going on. Bit by bit that first-love erodes away. The mind and the memory start running back to Egypt. Then the heart begins turning. Then the life begins, in trivial things at first, to change back to its old ways,


- the old habits,

- the old moods,

- the old slovenliness,

- the old temper, lust, gluttony, deceit.


Then one day you wake up and find that you're sitting high and dry. The peace of the living God has departed from your soul. The Lord you walked and talked with is gone. You say His name, "Jesus," but it's like calling in an empty house for someone who is no longer there.

Now if you're ever again going to taste that blessedness you once knew, you are going to have to do some seeking.


And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim." And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, "Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation." And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, "We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day." And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.                                                                      Judges 10:10-16


Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.                                                                Jeremiah 29:13


Notice what the people of Israel did:


1. They cried to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against thee, because we have forsaken our God."


We have to begin by getting rid of our excuses and ad­mitting to God that we've been trifling with His mercy - behind our fronts.


- We've allowed His words to drift into the air and float away without faith, without obedience on our part.


- We've allowed our lives to become com­plicated and cluttered by things that will soon be dust, while the Eternal Son waits to make Himself heard.


Will we admit it?


Will we confess it to Him?


2. The Israelites said: "Do to us what seemeth good to thee."


And for us this means that we accept the stigma of the Cross. Are we willing to be identified with the Cross of Jesus Christ?


When we commit ourselves to Jesus,


- we are not only committing ourselves to Jesus the glorious King,


- we are committing ourselves to the Crucified One - the rejected King.


We accept our share in the shame of His Cross.

Are you still trying to be one of those "hip Christians", one of those "really with it" types? Or are you willing to accept the fact that any way you cut it the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.


Are you willing to consider abuse suffered for Christ greater wealth than the treasure of Egypt? And take some of that abuse?


Are you willing to say, "Lord, do to us what seemeth good to thee! Let us share in the shame of the Cross?"


3. The Israelites put away the strange gods from among them. What about those strange gods we have allowed to come back into our lives? Mammon - the god of money and things.


How many of us have been serving success,



                                                     and Channel 50?


So we take these things and start cutting. Friend, if you're not willing to start trimming the junky gods out of your life, you're not thirsty enough for God's grace.


4. Finally, the Israelites served the Lord. They did more than go to fellowship. They started doing some­thing with the grace of God which began flowing back into them.


Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.


When the grace of God starts flowing again in your life, (and it's probably happening right now) - when God comes into you in love,

in power,

in peace,

with a word to be spoken,

with a healing to be ministered,

with a deed to be done,

an act of service,


don't just drink it in! Move in His will. Minister! Speak! Serve!


If there is anything that is causing death in the Body across this city right now it is the fact that be­lievers are not ministering according to the grace they've been given. The word of God is stuck in their throats, they're not letting it come out. The mercy of God simply isn't coming out of them in deeds.


God gave you a work to do - start doing it!


And, as you do, the Spirit of God will burn in you as never before.


- He will create in you a clean heart.


- He will renew a right spirit within you.


- He will restore to you the joy of His salvation.


- He will open your lips and your mouth will show forth His praise.


- He will use you to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

and to prepare the earth for the coming of the King.


And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart.