What does it look like for someone to find their way back to God?
Dave and Jon Ferguson, brothers and pastors at Chicago Community Christian Church, wrote a book exploring that topic. Finding Your Way Back to God traces the journey the authors say every person takes.
In the second of our two-part interview with Dave, he addresses the five awakenings in a journey to God and the wager the book challenges skeptical readers to take.
Facts & Trends: Could you give some short summaries of the five “awakenings” you say will help wanderers find their way back to God?
Awakening to Longing – “There’s got to be more.”
We all have longings to love and be loved in return, to find purpose in life, and to make sense out of life when life doesn’t make sense.
We all have an awareness there has to be something more to life than the emptiness we often experience. These longings are from God, and when we draw near to Him, He will truly fulfill those longings.
Awakening to Regret – “I want to start over.”
Just like the prodigal in Jesus’ story, we too often seek to fulfill our longings for love, purpose, and meaning on our own, which often leads to disappointment and regret.
The emptiness we feel for trying to forge our own path can either lead to more longing and regret—we call this the “Sorry Cycle”—or it can cause us to return to the only one who can truly fulfill our longings, our Heavenly Father.
Awakening to Help – “I can’t do this on my own”
When we finally recognize our need for help, we can make the turn that leads us home to our Heavenly Father. Jesus said the prodigal “came to his senses,” and it was a turning point for him on his path to returning to his father.
We too come to our senses, we repent when we admit we are powerless on our own to find fulfillment in this life and recognize the help we truly need has a name: Jesus.
Awakening to Love – “God loves me deeply after all”
We experience the irresistible grace and love of God in Jesus when we finally return to our Father. This is what the prodigal son experienced when his father came running out to embrace him and welcome him home.
The forgiveness and grace He offers to every one of us is something we can’t find anywhere else. It’s shocking. It’s overwhelming. It is amazing. It is what we truly long for.
Awakening to Life – “Now this is living”
Our life as a follower of Jesus is a journey we never need travel alone. We can celebrate each day with our Heavenly Father.
We have the opportunity to connect with others who are finding their way back to God. And alongside other prodigals, we can contribute to the mission of helping others find their way back to God. This is how we were meant to live.
F&T: In the book, you challenge readers to a “30-day wager.” Please explain what it is and why you decided to ask readers to take it.
Dave: Because people are increasingly open to experience wonder and so many people (92 percent) believe in God, we wanted to encourage people with what we call a “30-day wager.”
We borrowed this idea from the great mathematician Blaise Pascal. He would challenge skeptics to pray, “God if you are real, make yourself real to me” believing God would show up. He would add, “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Over and over God says in Scripture if you will seek me, you will find me. In Finding Your Way Back to God we challenge people to pray Pascal’s prayer for 30-days because we believe God will make Himself known to the person who prays that prayer.
F&T: When someone reads your book, no matter their spiritual state, what are you hoping they take from it? What do you hope it accomplishes?
Dave: We hope all our readers will come away with an understanding and experience that no matter who they are, what they’ve done, or what they believe or don’t believe that God is passionately pursuing them and wants a relationship with them.
We hope the five awakenings become a path for all people to find God for the first time or once again. Our hope is that Finding Your Way Back to God is the go-to guide for skeptics, seekers, and nones to discover a God they may believe in, but don’t know how to find.
In the first part of the interview, Dave Ferguson shares why the religious Nones want an investigative faith, not an inherited one.