VIDEO Pastor Judah Smith Answers Maria Shriver: ‘Why Should I Believe in God?’

When Maria Shriver asked Pastor Judah Smith this week “Why should I believe in God?” he revealed that he doesn’t like convincing people to worship God.

Smith, who sat down with Shriver in an Architects of Change Live conversation about the new children’s book he wrote along with his wife, Chelsea, titled I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook, was engaging with his host about faith when she asked him the question that he introduced himself.

“I think this idea that believing in God is something that you concoct, it is something that you conjure up. It is something that over a succession of emotional discussions or sermons you develop this habit of now it’s happened. I think, I believe that there is a God space in every human soul,” he said.

“I believe we were designed inherently to be worshipers, and I think you see it in culture. We end up worshiping great athletes or entertainers. So I actually think it’s not far-fetched when they say ‘how do I possibly do it?’ Actually, its way more possible than you think. I believe that it’s there,” he said.

Judah Smith Asks: Are Material Things Weighing You Down?

“I also believe that if there is a God and He’s big and He’s real, then He’ll actually meet you in a genuine and authentic way. That it won’t just be this blind faith as it’s said. … I think that God is real. I’ve talked to friends that still don’t believe as I believe that say ‘hey, no big deal,'” he continued in a suppositional tone.

“If you want to believe, let’s just pray and I believe that God will meet you in a real way. And I believe there’s a space inside you for God. The awesome thing is you don’t have to defend God because He is God; and you don’t have to talk people into God because He is God. And I don’t want to get into that habit anyways of convincing people to worship God and believe in God, because if you can convince them then they can be unconvinced just as easily,” he ended.

Shriver then told the couple that she went to an all-girl Catholic school all her life and wanted to become a nun but decided against it when she found out “you had to be poor and celibate.”

“It’s like well, that’s not gonna work for me,” she said.

She then got into a discussion about spiritual crises and asked them if they had ever faced any like the saints she read about in school that had an impact on why they believe.

“In Catholic school I used to read all the autobiographies of the saints, right, and they would be thrown up against the cross and their lives were like, oh my God! They were just horrendous right. But I thought you had to do that to actually be a saint,” said Shriver.

“And when you read, whether it’s about Mother Theresa and others that I’ve read about, they often talk about the dark night of the soul, you know. Their own spiritual crisis and having to kind of work through that and find their way back to God. Does that happen to you or are you too young?” she asked.

Smith turned to his wife with a searching almost quizzical look before Chelsea chimed in with an uneasy laugh “way too young. Definitely.”

“No doubt in God? No spiritual crisis? No having to find your way back? No giving up on Jesus?” asked Shriver.

Smith then talked about the challenges of being a parent and explained that watching his father — who was also a pastor — being destroyed by cancer was a dark hour for him. He felt the suffering of his father didn’t make any sense considering how he served God, but he said he found refuge in the Bible.

“I found that in my darkest night I found God to be nearer than I imagined.”

When Shriver asked him how, Judah said: “I think His presence, His nearness.”

Shriver then talked about the appearance of Jesus in the book, noting that she grew up with a lot of books about Jesus and He was always white, but in the couple’s new book Jesus looked “more authentic.”

She then asked Judah if that was deliberate and he said it was.

“It was important to me as a dad to be honest and we showed those depictions to our kids and my 11-year-old acknowledged that Jesus is brown. And I said, ‘that’s right'” added Smith, noting that it was a very meaningful moment for him.

“I could get really emotional because I think Jesus is for everyone, but I think where Jesus came from and I think the diversity of this book. I wanted my babies to see who Jesus really was and I know it’s just a cartoon character but the color of his skin mattered to me,” he continued.

“It really did and the fact that my 11-year-old acknowledged that and the fact that I had an African-American friend text me in tears. He said ‘I’m ordering them right now.’ I said, ‘don’t order them,’ I’ll send them to you.’ He said because it’s the first Bible I’ve seen Jesus depicted with brown skin. He says, ‘I want to thank you.’ And I cried. I secretly cried,” Smith added.


Seeing Jesus on the Stage of Marriage


She submits; he sacrifices.
She follows; he leads.
She affirms; he initiates.
She reflects Jesus; he reflects Jesus.

The greatest privilege in marriage is reflecting our Savior. And, in God’s design, the privilege is equally great even though Jesus is reflected differently and uniquely by a husband and his wife.

Seeing Jesus in a Husband

He reflects Jesus. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:25–26). Husbands are to love their wives. To love is to desire, plan and act for the ultimate good of the beloved. So the husband must know what’s best for his wife; namely, God himself. Then he must plan, desire and act in every way conceivable to bring her to a greater knowledge and enjoyment of God.

Jesus did that for us by dying for our sins. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,that he might bring [you] to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus humbled himself by becoming a slave and serving to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:6–8). The husband gets to reflect the sacrificial love of Jesus by dying to himself—his sin, his selfishness, his own interests—and instead enlarging his interests to include his bride’s joy in God.

That means he must die to any ambition to be god in his wife’s heart. He must die to insisting on his preferenceswhen putting hers above his own will not lead to sin. In this sacrificial love, the wife will see the Messiah while she looks at her man. And this love breeds trust.

Lastly, the husband reflects Jesus to his wife and to the world by washing his wife with the water of the word. His goal is her holiness—her obedience to her heavenly Father and her satisfaction in him. So he speaks God’s words to her. He reads the Bible with her. He insists on disagreeing and rebuking her gently when she is transgressing the word. He confesses his sin to his wife and repents according to the word. The Bible saturates the marriage, the conversation, the conflict, the resolution, the decision-making and the movement of their marriage. In this unswerving allegiance to Scripture, the husband echoes Jesus’ refrain, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

Seeing Jesus in a Wife

She reflects Jesus, too. “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:22–23). The wife reflects Jesus by submitting to her husband as her head. How? Paul teaches us that Jesus is under the headship of the Father: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). And so Jesus the Son submits to the Father.

While fully God himself, he humbled himself by becoming a human (Philippians 2:6–7). And in his humanity, he became “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:8). Jesus submitted to the Father. When he asked his Father for the cup (symbolizing his impending death in our place on the cross) to be passed from him, he finished the request by saying, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

A wife reflects Jesus when she submits to her husband’s will. This means that she will follow her husband’s leadership, even when she prefers or desires another way. Jesus did. Do not pass over that reality too quickly. No matter how strong her desire is for a different direction than her husband’s, her desire to conform to her husband’s will is greater. Jesus’ desire was. As a godly woman wedded to a man, she will submit to his will and so reflect the glory of Jesus’ submission to the Father.

The one exception to this is when the husband’s will would lead her into sin against God. But even when she faithfully and graciously resists his lead, her resistance is with a broken heart. She wants her husband to honor the Lord. Her resistance is a winsome call to repentance. In this she reflects Jesus as a wife.

Lastly, in her humble submission to her husband’s leadership, she will be exalted. Jesus humbled himself taking the form of a slave and going to the cross in submission to the Father. Paul tells us what comes out of that greatest act of submission: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). God exalted Jesus because he humbly submitted himself to the Father’s headship.

James and Peter give us the principle, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). So Peter calls us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, “so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6). There is a time to be exalted. This correlates directly with humility and submission. God will often exalt the persevering godly wife in this life: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’” (Proverbs 31:28–29). And even if not in this life, certainly in the judgment to come she will receive her reward for her submission. And in that final, glorious exaltation, she will reflect Jesus Christ who was exalted for his humble submission before her.

The husband reflects Jesus’ love as he serves and sacrifices for his wife’s good. The wife reflects Jesus’ love as she humbly and boldly submits to the will of her husband, looking forward to the exaltation to come. Therefore, marriage is a unique and wonderful stage filled with opportunities every day to reflect the glories of King Jesus.


by P.J. Tibayan

The Obstacle To Humility

Proverbs 6:16-19

Humility is a healthy, godly sense of our merits, talents, and achievements. In the life of the believer, one thing stands as an obstacle to humility: pride. To think of oneself above others is the exact opposite of the humble mindset God calls His children to demonstrate (Phil. 2:3). Pride is deceitful in that we might not recognize it in our own hearts. Even more dangerous is the person who is proud on the inside and yet appears humble to others. But God cannot be fooled.

Our heavenly Father hates pride because He knows the destructive power it can have in our lives. When we are proud, what we’re really saying is that we know better than God. He places pride—“haughty eyes”—at the top of the list of seven abominations. That doesn’t mean that He hates the person who is prideful. God loves all of us. Because of that love, He despises anything that will bring harm to us.

Pride blocks our communication with God. Scripture tells us God opposes the proud (James 4:6), so we must recognize that such an attitude will affect communication with Him. We can’t expect the Lord to answer our prayers if we approach Him with a prideful heart. Our worthiness isn’t God’s basis for considering the prayer requests we bring; the fact of the matter is that we are not worthy. God instead responds to our need.

When we attempt to live in our own strength, we can expect God to ruin our successes (2 Chron. 26), ridicule our schemes (Ps. 2:1-5), and remove our status (Dan. 5). He wants us to renounce our pride before it destroys us.

Creation in Praise of God

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)

Every now and again, the biblical writers were so lifted up in spirit as they contemplated the glory of God and His great works of creation and redemption that they could sense the very creation itself singing out in happy praises. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) is one of the most familiar of these divinely inspired figures of speech, but there are many others. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: . . . Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. . . . Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth” (Psalm 98:4, 7-9).

Often these praises are in contemplation of God’s final return to complete and fulfill all His primeval purposes in creation, as in the above passage. This better time is also in view in our text, which looks forward to a time when “instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:13). God has triumphed over evil!

And this all points ahead to the eventual removal of the great curse that now dominates creation because of man’s sin (Genesis 3:14-19). For the present, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). One day, however, the groaning creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21). Therefore, “let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; . . . Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice” (Psalm 96:11-12). HMM

I Know the One Who Made This!

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. —Jeremiah 9:24

I just listened today while we had our dinner to a sonata by Beethoven and it was beautiful. But I suppose it would have been more wonderful if I could have shaken hands with the great Beethoven and said, “It’s an honor to shake your hand, sir. I consider you one of the greatest composers that ever lived—a genius!”… It would have been wonderful.

And so with Michaelangelo, the greatest artist of his day…. Perhaps he would have called me by my first name and I could have called him by his first name. I would introduce him to my friends and say, “I’d like to have you meet the great Michaelangelo.”

That would have been better than knowing his works. I have seen his tremendous sculpture of Moses, but it would have been better if I could have seen the man himself. So let men turn their telescopes on the heavens and their microscopes on the
molecules. Let them probe and search and tabulate and name and find and discover. I can dare to say to them, “I know the One who made all this. I’m personally acquainted with the One who made it.” AOG081-082

I bow before You, great God, realizing the awesome privilege that is mine: the privilege of knowing You personally. Amen.

We Have Individual Worth

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Romans 10:4)

Our lost race has always been prone to discount and reject the wonderful fact of the individual factor in the love of God. Far, far too many men and women in this world are convinced that God’s love for the world is just one big lump—and the individual is not involved.

We have only to look around us with serious observation to confirm the fact that the devil has been successful in planting his lie that no one cares for the individual person.

Even in nature around us, there appears to be very little individual concern. The burden of concern is always for the species.

But Jesus did not preach to the multitudes as though they were a faceless crowd. He preached to them as individuals, and with a knowledge of the burdens and the needs of each one. Our Savior did not come into the world to deal with statistics!

Each of us must come with full confidence that it is a personal word God has spoken to us in Christ, that “whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish.”

There is no loss in being a Christian

There is no loss in being a Christian, and making God the first object; but make anything else your goal, and with all your running, should you run ever so well, you shall fall short of the mark; or if you gain it, you shall fall uncrowned, unhonored to the earth. “My soul, wait thou only upon God.”

He that serves God in body, soul, and spirit, to the utmost of his power, finds new power given to him hour by hour, for God opens to him fresh springs.

The ideal Christian is one who has been made alive with a life which he lives for God.