Believing God but living as if He doesn't exist. That is the theme of Craig Groeschel's book, "The Christian Atheist." In the first chapter Craig talks about "Believing versus Knowing." See if this rings a bell in your heart like it did in mine.

A recent Gallup poll reported that 94 percent of Americans claim to believe in God or a universal spirit. However, a quick glance at Scripture and our culture makes it plainly obvious that nowhere near 94 percent actually know God. I mean, really know him - intimately. Belief isn't the same as personal knowledge. For many people, the very idea that you could know God on a relational level seems unlikely, unrealistic, unattainable.

Part of the confusion stems from failure to recognize the different levels of intimacy when it comes to knowing God.

Some of us know God by reputation, as when we hear about a certain girl or guy from a close friend. We may know a bit about God - perhaps we've been to church a few times, we've heard some Bible stories, or we have a favorite Bible verse on a refrigerator magnet. But it's only secondhand.

Some of us know God in our memories. We've truly experienced His goodness, grace and love in the past. Like when I recently bumped into an old college buddy. Twenty years ago.  .  .After we graduated, we lost touch. I knew him years ago, but I can't say that I know him now.

And some of us know God intimately. Right here, right now. This is the kind of loving knowledge that God promises when we seek Him (see Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13; Matt. 7:7-8; Acts 17:27). When we are thirsty for God, God will satisfy that longing. And as we seek God, we'll grow to know Him more and more intimately. When we hear God's voice, we'll recognize it instantly. We'll talk to God all the time and miss Him when circumstances distract us from His presence. We'll build a history together, storing up story after story of shared experiences.

We'll love God.  We'll trust God.  We'll know God.

These words are a wonderful reminder and challenge to us to stay tuned in to a vital relationship with the living God. They remind me not to settle with knowledge of Him alone but to unwaveringly desire to build a relationship of intimacy with Chtist. That is the great challenge for all of us who seriously long to be followers of Christ.

Pastor Scott