Have you ever been running late to a movie and miss the first few minutes? I hate this since I love watching trailers. But sometimes, traffic — or Catherine! — makes me late and I walk in without having seen the opening.
I hate that feeling since you don’t exactly know what’s going on, or who the characters are. It’s so hard trying to put the pieces together that you can’t quite get into it easily.
I think going to church is sometimes like that. As many of you know, I was raised by two Christian parents and I’ve been a Christian myself for most of my life. But I have a feeling that people who weren’t raised in a Christian family might be confused if they somehow wound up at church or if they’re in a conversation with someone who uses the words “Jesus,” “crucifixion,” “salvation,” or “sanctification.” It’s like you missed the beginning where everything is set up…. There’s no way to rewind and say, “Hey, what’s the plot?”
I’ve found through my own conversations that many people believe in God and believe Jesus died on a cross and rose again. But they don’t really understand why those things happened. So, today I thought I’d lay it out in very simple terms, to “rewind” and start from the beginning. (If you know someone who might want to read this, I encourage you to please pass it on to them.) It’s a really great story, and you don’t want to miss any of it.
1. The first thing you need to know is that God is perfect. He’s never made a mistake, not one. He also knows all, He’s everywhere at once and He created us in His own image.
2. God gave us free will. We have the ability to pursue Him and follow his path to true joy or not. It’s our choice. We’re not puppets and he’s not a puppeteer, and because of our free will, we often screw up and make mistakes (sin).
3. Because God is perfect and we are not (especially me), we need a bridge. Jesus is that bridge.
4. Jesus (God in man form) came to this Earth, lived a perfect, sinless life and died on the cross for our sins only to rise three days later. In other words, there’s nothing you’ve done in your life that wasn’t paid for on that cross. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, God loves you and forgives you. I know that may seem like a hard concept to wrap your mind around, but I assure you that it’s true- there’s nothing hiding in your past that God won’t forgive.
5. Here’s maybe the biggest point of all- God knows everything little thing about you and HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH. Now he wants you to know Him just was well. Salvation comes through giving your life over to Him and repenting from your old, sinful ways. In other words, make a commitment right here and now to trust God and accept that Jesus died for your sins. Talk to God through prayer and learn about God through his love letter to you (the Bible).
6. Finally, God wants you to be encouraged and supported by other believers. It’s really important to get involved in a local church where you can be surrounded by others who will lift you up spiritually. God wants you to live a life full of joy and he knows that true joy can only be found in Him. If you haven’t, I pray that you’ll think about accepting Jesus as your savior and I promise that your life will never be the same! All it takes is a simple prayer. Lastly, as a believer we know that our time on Earth is temporary. Eventually we all will die and since we’ve accepted Jesus as our savior, we will spend eternity in Heaven with our perfect God and all of the other believers. That alone should be enough to change your entire perspective on life.
Anyway, that’s the gist of it. The Bible is the ultimate story because it can change your life… I’d recommend starting with the book of John. Or, use this cool audio Bible and listen to it on the way to work.
Here’s a great idea for January… Take some time to read it instead of grabbing the remote or the hottest novel.
Buy my New York Times Best Selling Book For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First to learn more about how Catherine and I met and about my journey to faith.