Have you ever heard the saying
“I’d rather live my life believing that there is a God and die to find out that there isn’t, than to live my life believing that there is no God and die to find out that there is”?
In my humble opinion, it seems that any reasonably intelligent person after reading (or hearing) that would think to themselves “that makes sense” and adopt that philosophy.
I want you to know before we go any further that I am a believer and a Christian… if you are not, but have an open mind about the existence of God, than I invite and welcome you to proceed.
There will be times throughout this site when I will reference scriptures. Also, there will be times throughout this site when I will reference other authors; things they have written; things they have said that have impacted me. I will do that to make the points I want to communicate to you and of course if you are a reasonably intelligent person, you know that you are always free to accept or reject whatever point(s) I am communicating. As the old adage goes “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
As I stated in the introduction, I will need to make a connection with you and have you consider me to be a credible source. Otherwise anything I say (or write here) will not have any effect on you or your happiness level.
One of the primary reasons I have for writing this book is to help other people. I use to think that everything I might have to say has already been said by the other authors that I’ve read or heard throughout my life… but then I realized that just like the 5 blindfolded men I mentioned in the first post, I too have had a unique experience of life that I can share with others… and perhaps my message might speak directly to your heart and resonate with you like no other author could.
Proof, Trust or Both?
As I was growing up at some point, my parents told me my name and at some point later in life, they gave me a birth certificate. From what I understand, this birth certificate proves that I am who it says I am.
But I ask you…
Is it possible to create a false document, such as a birth certificate?
And if so, has it ever been done before?
Of course it has.
So then, how does this “birth certificate” (a piece of paper that has “A” name on it) prove that that is “MY” name?
Do you see what I mean? I believe my name is Don Pasco, BUT…
I don’t really know…
I believe it because I have faith in the source; the source being my parents.
The word faith in that sentence could be interchanged with the word “trust” without changing the meaning of the sentence at all.
What is faith?
Throughout this book there will be other words that could also be interchanged with the word faith, e.g. confidence, and I have heard many different definitions of the word faith, but I would like to share my own personal definition that may help you to more clearly understand where I am coming from when I use these words. Here goes.
“Belief in something of which there is NO proof.”
Have you ever heard anyone say, “I won’t believe it until there’s proof?”
Sounds like the infamous disciple named Thomas (doubting Thomas), doesn’t it?
The bible says that it is impossible to please God without Faith (Hebrews 11:6). I sometimes wonder if that is what living in this world is all about. After all, in heaven faith is not needed. It’s obsolete there.
Do you want to “please” God? Of course, if you’re not a believer (yet), then you probably haven’t given it much thought, if any. But those who are believers, I suspect you do (want to “please” God).
Let me ask you this. What are you doing to “please” Him? Anything? Nothing? Perhaps you pray once in while… Perhaps you pray every day… Perhaps you pray when one of your loved ones is ill or having a surgery. Perhaps you pray when YOU are having a surgery or medical procedure.
Do you go to church on Sunday? Perhaps at Christmas time… I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty. I’m just asking.
Considering that there will be readers with all different answers to that question, I just want you to think about your answer.
I was raised Catholic and as a child I really did not like going to church every Sunday and in retrospect I think that’s understandable. The sermons were Booor –ing. Kneel down, stand up, sit down, stand up again, kneel down again… I mean come on! What’s the point? Lol
It wasn’t until the 5th grade that I began to find some value in it. That was when I first heard about the altar boy program. One day there was an announcement that anyone who was interested could stay after school and get all the details. My Mom encouraged me to do it and I will be forever grateful. I had to learn how to say all of the prayers in Latin, which was a pretty big task for a 5th grader. As I began to learn all about the different parts of a mass I noticed that every mass from then on seemed to go by a little faster than when I was bored to tears and had no interest or knowledge about them.
It took many months to learn everything I needed to know and it became obvious that the person who taught the group had to work the boys who were ready to serve into the schedule as opportunities arose. I recall that although I wasn’t the last boy to get my chance, there weren’t many other boys left when I was finally selected to serve my first mass on a weekday morning at about 6:30 am.
I’ll never forget the big deal my Mom made about it. Although my Dad had to work, my Grandparents and my Mom were there to see me serve my first mass as an altar boy, in a church with just a handful of other people. It may seem like a small thing to a lot of people, but its times like this that stay with a person throughout their lifetime. If you’re a parent (and a believer), may I suggest that you make anything and everything to do with God a big deal with your kids. It will pay dividends you can’t possibly imagine.
My Mom and Grandparents are no longer with us, but the memory of that day is still here and making an impact in the words on this page.
Although I now go to church virtually every Sunday, there was a time shortly after my high school days that I stopped going (unless it was Christmas or Easter), so I know why people get away from going and why some don’t see any value in it. I would ask that “after” you finish reading this book, you reconsider. I’m not going to try to make you feel guilty if you’re not a person that goes to mass regularly.
For one thing, I don’t feel it is right to force anyone to go to mass unless perhaps they are children. Perhaps force is too strong of a word there. Perhaps I should say “make” or “require.” And the reason I feel that parents should “make” or “require” their children to go is because I firmly believe in this scripture:
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I Didn’t Like Going to Church…
During the time that I stopped going to church, I had what I felt was a VERY good argument. I know the 10 commandments and as a Catholic we were taught that it was a mortal sin to miss Sunday mass because it was Commandment number 3.
Remember to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day.
My argument was that “keeping the Lord’s day holy” is not the same as “thou shalt go to church on Sunday.”
Pretty good argument, huh?
It seemed to me that keeping a day holy could be anything that would make that day “special”, for lack of a better term.
What if every Sunday I volunteered at the local hospital doing something (anything) for patients? What if I entertained them in some way? Wouldn’t that or couldn’t that be a way to “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day?” Of course!
There was one problem with my argument. When I didn’t go to church, I didn’t do anything else to “Keep Holy the Lord’s Day”. I suspect that most people that don’t go to mass on Sunday don’t. I too am guilty… which may be why I now enjoy going to mass (virtually) every week.
Even though it may be rare to hear a sermon that I am fully engaged in, (most priests are very poor public speakers, in my opinion, though there are exceptions), I do get something out of the experience. Having made going to church on Sunday a ritual, even if my mind wanders (as it frequently does) and I never comprehend a single word of the sermon, it is impossible NOT to think about God at least a few times, either before, during or after the mass. I suspect that those who stay home and make Sunday just another day don’t realize the opportunities or the benefits they’re missing.
I personally love the idea of giving that time to the Lord. From the time I begin getting ready to go, I think to myself, “Lord this is for You”.
I love to get dressed up a little. Not usually in a suit and tie unless it’s Christmas or Easter, but in dress pants and a dress shirt, dress shoes and some nice smelling after shave. I love thinking to myself that I am going to the Lord’s house…. I can’t wait to talk to Him there. I know He hears me wherever I am, but perhaps my words will mean a little more there. Who knows?
I love the idea of thinking that if it is impossible to please God without faith, that He will be very pleased to see me do these things because I am showing my faith through every action. From getting dressed, to making the trip, to spending the time doing all of these things.
Now I ask you, if all things being equal, there was another me that just didn’t make the effort, that didn’t see the value in it, and lived every Sunday like just any other day, and you were God… who do you think you would want to bless first?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t know how God thinks and perhaps He doesn’t think like me at all. In fact, another scripture that I like is Isaiah 55:9
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
What if You Truly Can’t Make it or…
Are Still Opposed to the idea?
When I come back from church the first thing I do is heat up a fresh cup of hot coffee and sit down to watch my favorite preacher. You may not be aware of it, but some of these people are fantastic public speakers with positive messages like you’ve never heard before!
They are like polar opposites of the priests I mentioned earlier. Now you’ll have to find the one(s) that speak to your own heart, but there are many to choose from. Admittedly, there are some that I do not care for at all and I suspect that there will be some (perhaps many) that you won’t care for either. That’s okay. You only really need to find one. You can do that. It may take a few weeks, but give them a chance and I’m sure you will succeed, if you’re truly sincere in your search.
And once you do, give that time spent each Sunday to the Lord. You won’t regret it. Make it your little ritual. Get yourself a hot cup of coffee (if you’re a coffee drinker) and a comfortable seat in your living room. So you’re not going to get dressed up, or make the trip to the local church, but you will be setting aside the time spent for one purpose and that purpose is to “keep holy the Lord’s day.”
Don’t let anything distract you during this time. Give the speaker your undivided attention. That means that you won’t be perusing the Sunday newspaper while you’re watching it, you won’t be holding a conversation with someone else while you’re watching it, you won’t be taking phone calls or checking your text messages while you’re watching it. Explain to anyone who may be around you that you have set this time aside to give to the Lord and you would appreciate it if they would respect your wishes and not distract you while it is on and that anything they need from you can be addressed when the program is over… unless of course, the house is on fire. 🙂
When others see that you are serious about these boundaries, they may become interested and join you. Being an example for others is something we should all strive for.
You might consider…
One of my personal favorites is Joel Osteen (though I’ve had other personal favorites before Joel came along). He’s a young guy with a slight southern accent, but we won’t hold that against him, will we?
He is the Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas –
It is a huge church that use to be the former Compact Center ( a very popular Sports arena years ago). Someday I ‘d like to go there just for the experience. It’s on my bucket list.
A few others you might also consider are:
New Creation Church – Joseph Prince (also one of my favorites) www.josephprince.org
North Point Ministries – Andy Stanley (quite frankly ALL of these are my favorites, lol) yourmove.is
In Touch Ministries – Dr. Charles Stanley www.intouch.org
Joyce Meyer Ministries – Joyce Meyer www.joycemeyer.org
T.D. Jakes Ministries – Pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas www.tdjakes.org
Why Is Chapter 1 All About God?
So glad you asked.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I firmly believe that God is the foundation of all happiness. As I stated in the introduction, there will be times throughout this book when I will reference scriptures. I do not claim to be an expert of any kind when it comes to the bible. I believe that there are many things that I have no clue about or do not understand, just as any of the 5 blindfolded men only knew a fraction of what the elephant was all about.
In this book I am sharing my own personal beliefs, observations and experiences. Your personal beliefs, observations and experiences may be far different from mine and of course, you are always free to accept or reject my way of thinking, but I hope you will at least consider the possibility that there could be some truth in what I am saying.
I want to tell you one more thing about faith before I end this chapter/post. In the introduction I referenced 2 Corinthians 5:7
“For we walk by faith, not by sight”
Apparently it is possible to do more than “walk” by faith. Did you know that scientists have proven that it is aerodynamically impossible for the bumble bee to fly?
Apparently, they believe they can.
I guess they didn’t get the memo. 🙂
Let’s move on to “The World You Live In”