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I have had people ask about God and where to start, so here it is simply put. The thing always I like to clarify first is that God is not a religion. I have a relationship with God, I do not follow religion. Yes, there are rituals and teachings but those are trailing behind the relationship because without it nothing is of importance and becomes just another thing to do.

Like getting to know a person - a friend, coworker, future spouse - you have to spend time with them. You cannot simply hangout with people who know Sally, talk about Sally, explain what she is like, list her characteristics and what she's done for each person and expect to really know Sally at all. You may have a general idea about what to expect when you meet Sally but you have to actually spend time with her to know her. The same is true with God. You have to personally spend time with him in order to know what he is like. To taste and see that he is good (Psalm 34:8).

Church is look like group dating, if you will. This is the part where you may have encountered Jesus for the first time. Perhaps through an invite from a friend or family member or you were brave and just showed up. I met my husband through friends back in junior high, perhaps you can relate. Church is when everyone comes together to worship and get to know God together. You have the opportunity to get to know God through his message from the pastor. Through the people he has strategically placed next to you in your Sunday school class or at the end of the row in service. Through tithes and offering. Through volunteering in various ministries throughout the week and getting involved in God's community and bible studies.

Church may be the part that feels more scripted and you may try to look good and be on your best behavior but just be yourself. You just need to come as you are and realize that you are coming to a place that is filled with others who are imperfect and sinful, too. Not perfect in the slightest. After all, no one is perfect, no not even one (Romans 3:10).  So do not feel like you are an outcast, you fit right in, really. Church is a place filled with people who realize they need a savior and choose not to do life alone anymore because life with God is AMAZING.

When you are dating a new person of interest, a lot of time is generally spent hanging out with him or her, especially one on one. He becomes the thing you cannot stop thinking about. You wonder how you ever were without her. And may even think of ways to impress him.

Your relationship with God needs the same thing, without the impressing part. You need one on one time. It is carving out time to get to know him. Just you and him. Reading your bible. Writing down what speaks to you through it. It's taking down questions about things you do not understand and God leading you to someone who is able to answer them, most likely someone in the group dating part. It is learning to clear yourself from distractions and listen. A relationship without quality one on one time is not going to last or be deep, especially with God. And the best part of a relationship with God is that you just have to come to God as you are, messy parts included.

And just in case you need a nickname for him, (because when you get to know someone a special name is something you share) I thought I would leave you with some compiled from A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. 

Emmanuel: My God with me (Matt. 1:22-23)
El-Channun: The Gracious God (Jonah 4:2)
El Hanne'eman: The Faithful God (Deut. 7:9)
El Roi: The God Who Sees Me (Gen. 16:13-14)
El ha-Gibbor: The Mighty God, God the Hero (Isa. 9:6)
El Shaddai: The All-Sufficient God (Gen. 17:1-2)
El Sali: God of My Strength (Ps. 42:9)
El Olam: The Everlasting God (Gen. 21:32–33)
El Elyon: The Most High God (Dan. 4:34)
Elohim: God, My Mighty Creator (Gen. 1:1)
Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Who Will Provide for Me (Gen. 22:13–14)
Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Who Heals Me (Exod. 15:26)
Jehovah Nissi: The Lord My Banner (Exod. 17:15–16)
Jehovah Shalom: The Lord My Peace (Judg. 6:24)
Yahweh Tsuri: The Lord My Rock (Ps. 144:1)
Jehovah Rohi: The Lord My Shepherd (Ps. 23:1)
Jehovah Shammah: The Lord Is There for Me (Ezek. 48:35)
Abba: My Father (Ps. 68:5–6)

Praying that you will seek God and find him. That he will be the one you run to in joy and heartache. That you would learn to trust him as each of these names is played out over your life tine. Praying that you would enjoy your time spent with God and know that there is nothing sweeter. 

Here's to getting to know God better than anyone you know. Here's to a renewed relationship with the creator of the universe. 

And a little printable, if you need a reminder of his awesomeness. Click to download an 8x10. 

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