Q&A with Keith Nachbor and Brent Bailey
Q: I know what my pastor and my youth leader say about God. Do I need to have my own relationship with Him?
Brent: You should never live your life with God through your pastor, your parents, your youth minister, or your friends. You should have your own personal relationship with God. Sadly, a lot of people have a relationship with God through someone else.
Keith: Too many people are not digging things out of the Word of God for themselves. They’re not praying about things and hearing His voice. There’s nothing in their lives that causes them to act upon the Word of God other than what someone else says. Jesus took 12 guys and poured Himself into them, and everything He did was to try to teach them how to have a relationship with the Father.
Q: Why do I have to have my own personal relationship with God?
Brent: Unfortunately, many people end up hurt when their prayers don’t get answered because they don’t have a relationship with God to the point where they just believe He is going to move. When they pray, it’s almost out of desperation instead of faith. The prayer of faith comes from knowing God. When people don’t have a relationship with Him and they pray and their prayer doesn’t get answered, they get mad and say, “See, God doesn’t move.” Well, that’s because they don’t know Him to begin with. You can’t believe God for something if you don’t know Him.
Q: Do you think it comes down to the verse, “. . . for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6 NKJV)?
Brent: I believe it’s the “Him” at the end of that verse that is most important. Most of us have been taught that God is a rewarder and we celebrate that. But do we really know Him as a rewarder, or are we just taking someone else’s word for it?
Keith: I come back to the word “diligently.” He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. And it’s diligently seeking Him, not diligently seeking the reward.
Q: Can you think of examples from your own lives that go along with this point?
Keith: When I diligently seek God, all of these other things are “added to me” (Matt. 6:33). I can look back at times in my life when I’ve gone without. And I went without because I wasn’t diligently seeking Him. I was diligently seeking the reward. My prayer time consisted of me asking for things and not talking to Him. There was no relationship.
Brent: One of the steps to building a relationship with God is, you’ve got to spend time with Him even when you don’t feel like He’s there. Many times I haven’t asked God for anything. I’ve gotten into my car, turned on some worship music, and just spent time with Him—not because I wanted something or because I wanted Him to do something in my life. I just wanted to get close to Him. I look at my relationship with God as I do the relationships I have with people. My grandfather made you feel like a million dollars when you walked into the room. Because of what he did, I wanted to spend more time with him. But even if he didn’t have a sucker or anything else for me, I still ran up to my grandpa and jumped into his arms because I loved being with him. That’s what I want my relationship with God to be like.
Q: So what do you think the biggest hindrance for youth is as far as spending time with God?
Brent: Waiting for a feeling before they believe He is there.
Keith: Yes. It’s the idea that spending time with God is based on emotion. We should fall more in love with God and pursue Him more every day. The Bible says that God is a God Who hides Himself (Isa. 45:15). God wants us to seek Him and search Him out.
Brent: When I was a kid, my cousin and I would play hide and seek. My cousin was a little guy, and when he would hide he was hard to find. I would even look where he was hiding and not see him. When he would come out I would say, “I know I looked there.” He was so small that he could disappear into the darkness and I would never see him. But even though I didn’t see him, I was still in his presence. I was standing right there where he was. Just because I didn’t touch him or detect him with one of my other senses, that didn’t mean he wasn’t there. That’s where many people miss it in their relationship with God. They think that if they are in God’s presence, one of their senses will sense or “feel” Him. Well, when you begin to seek God, your faith is the only thing that should be getting activated. That will eventually bring all these other experiences, but many times you have to start without feeling anything.