How does One Become a Christian?

How does One Become a Christian?

Maybe you’ve gone to church when you were younger, but never took that step to become a Christian. Maybe you’ve been living your life your own way and not taking into account what it takes to live life differently, one with meaning and purpose. Man looks on the outside but it’s really our hearts and our character that God is concerned about.

Becoming a Christian requires a decision. In the Bible we read:

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-11

Jesus waits patiently for our decision and our heart to be open to receive Him and His love. God responds to genuine humility and sincere acknowledgment that one is a sinner in need of a Savior and seeks God’s forgiveness and acceptance. God is loving and merciful and does not want anyone to be lost.

If becoming a Christian is the desire of your heart, I encourage you to talk to God and voice this simple prayer. You can do this aloud or silently because God hears your heart speaking as well as your mouth. In your own words, admit you are sinner in need of a Savior. Then ask God to help you turn away from your old way of living and thinking. (This is called repentence.) Invite God into your life and promise to follow Him for the rest of your days.

When you pray this sincerely, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit will enter your your mind and heart bringing peace, forgiveness of your sins, and assurance of eternal life with God after you physically die.
When you seek God’s forgiveness for your sin and acknowledge Jesus as your savior, you become a child of God. In effect, you become ‘born again’, a new creation in Christ and enter into a personal relationship with Him. The old life will have passed away and a new life will begin. Will everything in this life suddenly become perfect? No. But how you see and react to your circumstances and the people around you will change for the better.

Giving your life to Jesus is the most important decision you can ever make. Eternity hangs in the balance; heaven or hell. Today is the day of decision.

 

Why are Orthodox churches celebrating Easter this Sunday?

Why are Orthodox churches celebrating Easter this Sunday?

The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is the most important day in the Christian calendar. That day differs in the western Christian tradition and among churches in areas of the world that have been influenced by the eastern or Orthodox tradition.

It all goes back to the Roman Empire and a division that took place one thousand years ago between Rome in the West and Constantinople in the East, the two capitals of the empire. Following the split of the government, church leaders aligned themselves with the respective governments. In what has been described as the Great Schism of 1054, the Pope-led Catholic Church in Rome excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople, leader of the Orthodox Church, who in turn excommunicated the Pope. Though now separate, the two churches agreed that believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection and acknowledging Christ as savior was central to Christianity.

For the next 500 years everyone in Christianity used the same Julian calendar and set of rules to celebrate Easter after Jewish Passover which was dictated by the Jewish lunar calendar. The problem of two dates for Easter cropped up after countries in Europe began adopting the Gregorian calendar that more accurately accounts for the vernal equinox and summer and winter solstices. The Catholic church began using the new calendar, but Orthodox churches did not even after the countries in which they were situated made the switch. So, Orthodox churches around the world will celebrate Easter this Sunday. In many countries, Egypt, for example, most non-orthodox churches follow the lead of their local Orthodox churches and celebrate Easter at the same time.

For millions of Christians, this is the week they end their 40 days of Lent. This is the week they commemorate the betrayal, trials and crucifixion of Jesus. On Sunday, they will celebrate the resurrection just as hundreds of millions of Christians did three weeks ago. The next time all Christianity will celebrate Easter on the same day will be in 2034.

Do you celebrate Easter? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you’re not sure or would like to know more about Jesus, please contact us. We would love to talk with you about how you can enjoy a renewed life and assurance of where you will spend eternity.

How do we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

How do we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

The human authors who wrote the Bible did not do so by an act
of their own will or natural inspiration. Rather, the Holy Spirit
exerted supernatural influence upon these writers as stated in
2 Peter 1:21, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by
the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the author of the
Bible.

The Bible is timeless and true, containing no inaccuracies with
regard to history or factual science. Although written by 40
men over a period of 1500 years, it flows harmoniously and seamlessly
void of any inconsistencies or contradictions. As King David
said, “the Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and His word was on
my tongue.” (2 Samuel 23:2). All the words of the Bible are
“God breathed” and therefore, the Bible is infallible, prophetic,
completely free from error and absolutely trustworthy.

As stated in 2 Timothy 3:10, the Bible is profitable for doctrine,
reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness. God’s
word has special power as written in Hebrews 4:12, “For the
word of God is living and powerful, sharper that any two edge
sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit.” The
Bible is the God inspired operations manual for life and it is
Best Investigated Before Leaving Earth!

What does it mean to glorify God?

What does it mean to glorify God?

To glorify God means to recognize and talk about his magnificent and unfathomable attributes as creator of the universe and all life forms on planet Earth. Those attributes include his majesty, holiness, grace, love, omnipotence, omniscience to name just a few. Glorifying God also includes loving God, keeping his covenants and obeying his commands. This said, we will take a look at specific references to bringing glory to God from the Scriptures.

We need to first look at God’s glory as defined in Isaiah 6:3. It says, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” And in Romans 1:20 we read: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

God created the world in all its splendor and beauty for His glory so He could communicate His glory to us and draw us to Him. Isaiah 43:6 says, “Bring my daughters and my sons from afar, everyone whom I have created for my glory.”

As you can see, God’s desire is to draw all men to himself. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are told to shine their light before men reflecting his glory so men may look to him and discover the salvation he offers only in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

The Westminster Catechism written in the 1600’s to clarify the Christian faith asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “A Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” It is very clear from the Bible that we are to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions and be about glorifying God and not glorifying self!

In what ways is the Bible God’s operating manual for life?

In what ways is the Bible God’s operating manual for life?

The Bible is the best selling book of all times. It has guided and transformed hundreds of millions of lives down through the ages and continues to do the same today. It has provided mankind with truths for living, for developing personal core values, for defining one’s worldview, for establishing a moral compass, and for discovering God’s love and plan for redemption from sin and eternal life. But, there is much more to be gained from the Bible.

One of the amazing things about the Bible is that it actually does provide the information on how to live our lives. The basics for living a godly and satisfying life can be found in what are known as the Beatitudes which are Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew chapter 5. Throughout the New Testament there are many examples for dealing with man’s more common problems. However, the Bible should not be taken as a stand-alone troubleshooting guide. Equally important is to know and trust God and depend upon him. God stands ready to help throughout life and to give both guidance and wisdom if he is asked.

The apostle John, one of Jesus’ disciples, explained further the way to life with God: “Yet to all who received him (Jesus) to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12-13) God’s children have direct access to God the Father on all issues of life. God’s operating manual offers help through all of life’s trials. As God’s children, they are welcome anytime to come before God knowing with confidence that he will listen and respond. It’s called prayer. Everyone who lives according to God’s inspired words and accepts Jesus as Savior will be blessed in this life and in the life to come.

Finally, if you have a Bible, you need to check out these books of wisdom: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs in the Old Testament. They along with the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Beatitudes referenced above (Matthew 5:2-11) will give you God’s basic operating manual for life. Reading, studying and internalizing the truth and wisdom contained in just these four of the 66 books of the Bible will provide guidance and a moral compass for living a meaningful and productive life that brings honor and glory to God.

Trying to live a Godly life without God to direct you will prove to be a futile task. If you have not placed your trust in God and would like to know how you can be assured of both eternal life and a fuller understanding of life on this earth, check out our Next Steps page.

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Few events in antiquity are as well documented as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity.

Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected. But unlike others who were raised from the dead only to die again at a future date, Jesus was very much alive when he departed this earth in front of witnesses. He was and is alive today, but not in the human form in which he lived 2,000 years ago.

Today, Jesus reigns with His father, God, in heaven and is preparing a place for every believer to join Him there. But one doesn’t have to wait for the end of life on earth to encounter Jesus, because when he departed he promised to send his Spirit to serve as advocate, counselor, and comforter to those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and sincerely ask him to be his or her savior.

Jesus, who has the power and authority to hold together every atom in the universe, is the same Jesus who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected to declare his power to triumph over death. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Are you ready to meet him in this world or the next? If you would like to learn more, please visit our Next Steps page.

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week in the Christian Calendar and marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered and waved palm branches. Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

That’s why, when Jesus approached the City of David riding on a donkey it seemed to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Zechariah 9:9

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal live to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

What is a Moral compass?

What is a Moral compass?

A magnetic compass is a tool that helps find your way to a destination and back home again. However, it points to a changing magnetic north, not to the unchanging ‘true north,’ where map lines of longitude converge at the pole. Mariners of old used celestial navigation to locate their position. Their tool was a nautical sextant. Their guiding light was most often the North Star although other celestial bodies were also used. Today, satellites and GPS help travelers navigate on air, land or sea to find their final destination.

moral compass—a set of core values and beliefs—on the other hand is an important tool that guides a person through the challenges, dangers, and temptations of modern life and toward a godly, satisfying future. God has provided that moral compass, the Bible. It is God’s inspired unchanging Word, full of truth and wisdom, interpreted for you by the Holy Spirit. It becomes a person’s moral compass when it is read, studied and internalized and so that in school, the workplace and in relationships it will help you decide right from wrong, truth from lies and lead to the true north, Jesus Christ.

Men and women are created in God’s image with a purpose that gives meaning to life and glory to God. That purpose is to honor God with your life and your work, love your neighbor as yourself and to accomplish the good works God has planned for every follower of Jesus Christ. That means God has a plan to give each believer hope and a fantastic future. The greatest adventure in life is to discover God’s plan and live it to the fullest. God’s moral compass is a tool that will guide the way. Remember, it is only Jesus Christ who can assure that at the end of life you will reach heaven as your final destination.

Photo by Brian Regrut

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Does man have a Noble purpose or do we just exist? Part 2

Last week we took an overview approach to answer this question focusing on God’s love. This week we have taken an in-depth search of Scriptures to see what else we can discover about whether or not mankind has a noble purpose ordained by its creator, God.

First, what is man that God is mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4). Well, God created man, a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), with a purpose to rule over the planet Earth (Genesis 1:28). This purpose was in direct conflict with the former most powerful ruler of Earth, Satan.  Satan attacks man even to this day to remove man as ruler and for Satan to try to gain back his rule over Earth and to destroy Israel.

But, Jesus the Lord God takes on flesh of a man (Hebrews 2:9), coming to Earth as the “son of man.” This son of man defeats Satan at the cross, and is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9; Psalm 8:5). Jesus raises man to a highly elevated position as a son of God and brother of Jesus, through placement in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5), for those who receive him (John 1:12). Man is thus raised to the highest place of significance far above that of the place of Satan.

Such a work of God brings glory to God revealing his wonderful grace and mercy. Further, after having raised man to a high position in Christ, God then uses man to join with Him in order to carry out God’s will on Earth.

Man’s purpose is thus: To be an instrument used by God in the face of a powerful enemy, wherein God rules planet Earth through man, to accomplish God’s purposes, and so bring glory to God (1Peter 4:11; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, we can conclude positively from the Scriptures that man has a noble purpose. A purpose that is good and honorable. A purpose that can be admired due to its impressive value in and through the work and activity of God.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

(Note: The reference to man refers to mankind and includes both men and women, sons and daughters).

Does Mankind have a Noble purpose or do we just exist?

Does Mankind have a Noble purpose or do we just exist?

Mankind was created in the image of God to rule the earth and to fulfill God’s plan of redemption for the human race. Mankind’s role in this plan seems to point to a noble purpose. There are many ways to answer this question and not everyone will agree with our response but it will cause everyone to think more seriously about why mankind is on planet Earth. So, this question will be answered in two parts in successive weeks to give the reader a broad perspective on the biblical concept of a noble purpose.

Mankind has been around a long time. There are signs in cave drawings, primitive rituals, cities that go back more than 12,000 years.Humans have been living in community for the most of our history, reaching beyond mere existence and survival. A lot of smart people including psychologists, philosophers, historians, theologians and just thoughtful people have affirmed that when we live life with a sense of purpose we are healthier, happier, have better relationships and are likely to be more successful.

So, is there a noble purpose for mankind? There are clues; in fact, an abundance of clues. In spite of many attempts to reduce faith in God to rules and rituals, at the heart of God’s self-disclosure is love. If God is love and if God’s self-disclosure is to encourage and support love, then we have discovered a significant clue about a noble purpose. If love is the basis for sustainable personal relationships, restorative justice, caring for those in need, family and community building, and transformational communication, then we have found a noble purpose that has deep roots, a long track record, and universal application that comes directly from the heart and mind of God.