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FOREWORD

My friend Mike Moore has the most unusual gift of hospitality I’ve ever seen. And that is saying something, since I live among champions in that area. In fact, we first met because of his kindness to me and my sons while we were visiting Texas for a few days. He left a permanent mark on my life.

 

Hospitality may seem insignificant to many—but not Mike’s version. For him, it’s a practical way of bringing the love of God found in Jesus into the day-to-day experiences of people he meets. Thousands of people have come face-to-face with the kindness of God in Mike’s home—tasting and seeing that God really is good—all because he discovered a secret found in Genesis 28: God’s house is where God is.

 

Does the title of this book offend you? I hope so. It offends me. And if you understand God’s definition of the word, church, it probably does offend you. Of course Mike would never lift up his voice against what God values, but since “church” has come to mean so many things other than what God intended, titles like the one of this book are useful.

 

Love God Hate Church is aimed at one deadly target: anything that claims to represent our heavenly Father but contradicts Him by actions, values, and controls that violate the nature of His heart. It’s the same target that Jesus confronted, day in and day out, in dialogue with the Pharisees—that unseen element exalted by some that keeps a few people powerful while the rest grovel at the feet of those who rule. The leaders of these movements are the antithesis of the Father; they misrepresent the Kingdom of God completely.

 

I, too, hate these expressions that some mistakenly call “the church.” They seem to declare that if we are good enough, keep the rules well enough, and follow their lead with enough focus and devotion, then perhaps we’ll qualify for God’s acceptance. That undermines the true gospel. But even then, we don’t live in reaction to error. We live in response to truth—and more importantly, the One who is Truth.

 

Mike’s passion for the authentic is visible in every part of his life. And perhaps that’s why there was a cry in his heart to write such a book as this, so that people would take another look at the authentic. I share Mike’s passion for authenticity completely.

 

Here’s a simple but profound truth found on these pages: if you want to change your behavior, change what you believe. That’s where it all starts. And if you want to change what you believe, start with God. That is so powerful and true. Especially when one realizes that God is the perfect Father. All true knowledge starts with God Himself.

 

Mike Moore is a man who has experienced the freedom that comes from really knowing the heart and love of God as a Father. From that place, he longs to take the reader, and the countless visitors to his home, into the authentic expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only this message—and this Father—can truly make one free.

 

– Bill Johnson Pastor, Bethel Church, Redding, CA Author of When Heaven Invades Earth

INTRODUCTION

 

My name’s Mike Moore. I love God. I can’t stand religion.

 

I don’t hate the church in a literal sense. And I am differentiating between the institutional church and the body of Christ. Jesus stated in Luke 14, “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his father, mother, brother, sister, wife, even his own life, etc., he can’t be my disciple.” Jesus was speaking of priority, not to literally hate everyone and everything around you.
However, when any church anywhere puts rules, regulations, laws, terms, conditions, or restrictions before God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and grace, I think Jesus would say, “Go ahead and hate that church.”

 

I’m really disappointed with the way the church tries to control not what we believe as much as how we believe and why we believe it. Can the church guide us? Sure – if it’s not into modifying behaviors or managing its own image.

 

I didn’t always believe this way. I was raised Catholic on the South Side of Chicago. As I matured and graduated college, there was a huge disconnect between how I thought God viewed me and the way He actually did. I thought that if I did all of the right things (attended church, didn’t steal, didn’t take another man’s wife, didn’t kill anyone, etc.), that I was doing OK. I read the Bible, taught classes on it, and even shared my beliefs with others. Yet, inside, I wasn’t happy. I felt like God wanted more.

 

But I couldn’t do any better. So I gave up. I gave up until I realized that it wasn’t God’s fault if I viewed Him the way I did. What if the church got it all wrong? Or only half-right?! If you feel the way I do about any of these topics, then maybe we should talk.

 

The problem with the world today is that if you want to get to God, you might think you have to go to a building, say this, do that, believe this, and don’t believe that – or else God’s gonna hate you, and you won’t be accepted.

 

Are there sincere people in churches? Absolutely there are, both in the pulpit and in the pews. The problem is that the way the game is set up today, you have to go through rules and institutions if you want to get to God. I say that’s crazy. God doesn’t need you to make an appointment. God’ll see you right now!

 

God doesn’t need you to come with someone else’s opinion about how you should think, feel, believe, or not believe. God is the ultimate come-as-you-are. And why shouldn’t He be that way? After all, He created you just the way you are! And He loves you just the way you are!
So this is a book for people who want to have a spiritual life but aren’t all that crazy about what they’ve seen or experienced in some of our religious institutions.

 

Who am I? Someone who’s not too different from you. Someone who’s just trying to figure the whole thing out. Someone invested in the process and not the outcome. Why we’re here. How we’re supposed to be. And what the deal is with God.

 

I’m not a religion guy. Actually, I’m a businessman. I have a forty-year track record of success in the business world. As a speaker, I’ve had the privilege of addressing audiences all over the world on the subject of spirituality, religion, and God. As a businessman. Not a cleric.

 

Jesus Christ’s my guy. I dig Him. I get Him. And I hope to connect you with Him in a way that maybe you’ve never seen before. This is a book of plain speaking, not empty philosophizing.

 

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, if you don’t like other people defining your spirituality for you, and if you want to find a path to God that’s truly your path, I might be able to help. All I can say is, if you read these pages and you aren’t shocked, outraged, moved, and called to a new love of God, then one of us failed.

 

Which one of us?

 

– Mike

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