Posted in Belief in God, faith, God, Worship

Why I Believe in God and How This Changes My Life

“Imagine there’s no heaven, easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky.” –John Lennon

It’s attractive–the idea of no religion. Nothing to divide people. No ultimate standard. No God. No judgement.

John Lennon’s utopia was imaginary and impossible. The reason is because people need to understand why they are on this earth and how they got here and who is responsible for their being here and what this implies. Hence, religions.

God-fearing people live their lives as though God is watching. Religion has exploited believers in numerous ways, so I don’t particularly want to associate myself with the common understanding of religion. I want to distill my faith to the basics, one of which is a belief in an eternal God who sees all. From here I move on to his son, Jesus Christ, and the significance of his life, death and resurrection. I am a believer in Christ because my research has led me to the conclusion that the evidence for his life, death and resurrection is overwhelming.

Mine is not a defence of religion, or of faith, or of belief in God. Mine is a call to an honest search. Jesus said, “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.” I cannot find your way for you. You have to find it for yourself. For me it meant casting aside my previously held beliefs and then examining every piece before I decided which ones I would pick up and keep. It is a brave thing to do. You don’t know at the outset what the outcome will be.

I watched a small bird hop around on my balcony and I allowed my imagination to wander to what went into the design of this little winged creature. Then I thought about the seeds it was eating, and the plants that produced those seeds, and the sun that shone on the plants, the rain that fell on them, the soil that nurtured the plants. I thought of the seasons. I thought of the galaxies. I thought of the perfect distance of the sun from the earth so that we are not scorched and do not freeze. I thought about the exquisite balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. I thought about gravity and the rotation of the earth around the sun, and the moon around the earth. And on and on and on. I thought about all the things that are not explained by the theory of evolution. Let’s remember it is only a theory. And it was a theory introduced as a reaction to the concept of religion and the possibility of a Creator. It is a theory that, when you really think about it, makes no sense at all. But people don’t want to think. Deep thinking scares them. It shakes their fabricated reality.

There is no possible way that this earth is an accident that happened over billions of years. So the only other alternative is that we are dealing with a Designer. A Designer with intent. From this point on I think it is reasonable to believe that this Designer wants to communicate with his creation. This is where religion begins. And there are many ways that religions have explained and tried to understand God.

It is the order of the universe that makes me a believer in a Creator. It is the fact that we have a conscience that makes me a believer in the righteousness of a Creator God. Up to this point most religions are similar but from here they begin to branch out with many tangents. I do not believe that all religions lead to God. God transcends religions. Religion is just a series of beliefs organized to understand God and to attempt to know how to respond to him. What I believe is that righteousness is at the heart of true religion. And I believe that God bridges the gap between his complete righteousness and our partial righteousness when we seek him and put our faith in him. However, this does require a type of re-birth, a dying of the old, a seed falling into the ground and a new life springing forth. The nature of God transcends all, even our human understanding. I cannot explain or describe God any more than I can explain or describe the wind and even this is a totally inadequate analogy. But I have felt God. And I worship him. I seek him with all my being. I desire to fulfill the design he had in creating me. My knowledge of God gives meaning to all I do.

My faith journey has been a life-long process and I have discovered many wonderful resources along the way. A book I recommend, and which profoundly impacted my search, is written by the late J. I. Packer, entitled Knowing God.

Posted in Church, faith, Music, Worship

Are You Listening?


The ear is a very delicate instrument. Hearing loss can happen after long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for noise induced hearing loss (NICL) to happen. Below 75 decibels is generally considered a safe sound level.

I have hearing loss in one ear and occasionally find it frustrating when I miss the end of a phrase or have to follow someone’s lips to try and make out the words. It’s the softer or higher frequency sounds that are muffled. I frequently have to move nearer to the person speaking in order to hear.

I cringe when I overhear the younger generation talk about how their ears are still ringing the next day after attending a concert. My husband is a music instructor and he carefully guards his ears from excessive volumes of noise because he knows how important it is nothonouring the elderly 2 only for his teaching, but for his musicianship and personal enjoyment to be able to hear.

This week I had a senior woman approach me in church and express her concern about the volume of the music and the possibility that babies and young children could be suffering hearing loss by being subjected to the worship music. I had never really thought about this before. I know that I have been in worship services where the decibel level of the music would require safety gear in an industrial environment.

Although I have a concern about the babies, I am actually more concerned at the moment about this dear woman. She was clearly distressed about this matter and had not known to whom she should turn. Here is a “mother in Israel” speaking from her heart, yet no one is listening.

On an occasion when I spoke to a pastor about the volume of the music his response was simply, “The young people like it loud.”lift-hands-to-worship

One Sunday I commented to an usher that the music was loud this Sunday. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a packet of earplugs and handed them to me. This is how we are to cope with our discomfort in worship services.

I have brought my own earplugs, but find it awkward when I have to remove them to greet people or take them out during prayer and then have to put them back in again. It’s something I don’t really want people to notice me doing.

There is a difference between preferring it loud, and finding the volume physically distressing to the point of needing to use ear plugs to get relief. On more than one occasion I have had to leave the service because the beat of the bass caused my heart to lose it’s natural rhythm and I feared I might end up in Emergency. Thankfully my heartbeat returned to normal shortly after I left the sanctuary.

Some attendees solve this problem of uncomfortably loud music by coming to church after the singing. A woman told me that her husband, who is an usher, has seen many people walk out because of the volume of the music, even newcomers to the church. The sad thing is that some never come back.