I have some good news!
You were created. You have a purpose. You are loved by your Creator. He made you amazingly beautiful, creative and unique. He wants a relationship with you and wants you to thrive in your relationship and purpose. He wants you to be a part of his work to redeem this world. This is what the Bible teaches. This is truth (see Genesis 1-2 and Psalm 139).
But there is a problem: sin. Not only does the Bible reveal that we were made in God’s image because he loves us for a purpose and for a great relationship with him and each other, but the Bible also makes is painfully clear that God’s plan for us was disrupted because we believed lies about him and rebelled against him (see Genesis 3 and Romans 1-3). We have taken the good gifts he has given us and used them as hurtful tools for selfish purposes. We’ve been diseased by lies and poisoned by sin. This world is broken because of us. We need a cure.
There is only one cure. This disease called sin has separated us from God. His righteousness stands in direct opposition to our sin. It repels him from us like we are repulsed by sewage. And yet, he loves us still. He is committed to our good. He is relentless. He is pursuing you. He has never given up. Rather, he has made a way.
And so, in his great love which we do not deserve, he made a way to be made right with himself. He provided a way to clean us, heal us, forgive us, and bring us back home. He sent his Son Jesus to be the cure for our sin. Jesus died for our sin, removing it from us, so that God could give us life again–redeeming our relationship with himself, with each other, and our purpose. Read more about this in Romans 3-8.
Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. Jesus told us no one comes to the Father (God) except through him (John 14:6-7). Why? Because he is the only cure for our sin.
Those who accept his free gift of forgiveness become children of God and receive God’s Spirit. Those who have God’s Spirit, receive his life and are sealed for the day Jesus will return and restore this world to perfection. We will then have the wonderful privilege of living with him forever. This is his desire, his will. Is it yours?
How do I start a relationship with God?
We come into a relationship with God by receiving Jesus’ gift of forgiveness, which he paid for at the cross. We are promised that, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).” By simply asking him to forgive your sin and inviting him to be your Lord (the leader of your life) he responds.
What happens when I receive Jesus?
When you invite Jesus to be your Lord he graciously comes to live inside you. Your relationship with God begins. Jesus forgives your sin, makes you right with God, secures your place in heaven, and begins to lead you by his Spirit. As he leads and you surrender, he will heal you and transform your life by making you like himself. He will also cause you to live with purpose by loving others and serving with the gifts he gave you.
What do I do after I receive Jesus?
You simply continue to walk in relationship with him. “Salvation” is not a one-time event or a ticket to heaven, it’s a relationship with Jesus. Your part is to surrender to his leadership, his part is to lead. Your part is to trust, his part is to be faithful. Read more in John 15.
What do I do in a relationship with Jesus?
Here is what I recommend you do to develop your relationship with Jesus. These are biblical commands that help us surrender to Jesus so he can lead us.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all the things I have commanded you.”–Matthew 28:19-20
Be in community. Don’t go alone. We need each other. Gather with a community of other Christ followers (a church). God will bring people alongside you to encourage you and help you grow. There are lots of good churches. I am personally a part of the Foursquare family of churches and am a pastor at the Rock in Anaheim.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some —Hebrews 10:24-25
Be baptized in water. Baptism is an outward, public sign and declaration that Jesus is your Lord. This involves coming into community with others who are seeking Christ. Its in community we make a public declaration of our faith, receive discipleship and begin to give to others.
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” —Acts 2:38
Be with Jesus daily. Spend time listening to Jesus through his Word and spend time talking with him—both thanking him and asking him for help.
You can start reading a New Testament reading plan—just one chapter/day. Click here to start reading. I recommend an understandable translation like NLT to start with. I frequently use the NKJV in my teaching.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” —John 8:31-32
It takes time and effort to grow in Christ. Its a process of surrendering to Christ, getting to know him, learning the truth and implementing it. That process is best done in community. That process requires the teaching of God’s Word. There are many tools to help us grow: discipleship classes, small groups, bible studies. I recommend starting with this one: Operation: Solid Lives. Its a discipleship tool that has changed me and many others.
Be a blessing. Starting serving others now. Tell them your story—what God is doing in you—invite them to church, serve them, bless them, pray for them. Be light in darkness.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations —Matthew 28:19
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. —1 Peter 4:10
Do you have questions or thoughts? Let me know.