How Does Someone Get Saved?

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

James 2:19

From Alex,

How does someone get to heaven? What is the requirement for admission into the Streets of Gold? What has to happen in order to bridge the gap between a human and God? Many religions claim to know. Many religions (particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) claim that the relationship between humanity and God has been severed and needs to be reset, but what do they say must take place in order for that to be completed?

See, almost all religion can be summed up in one sentence: humanity, through grit, inner-strength, and self-righteousness attempts to earn their way or prove themselves to god (or to gods). This statement, however, stands in shady contrast to the method of salvation found within the Christian Scriptures. Shown numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testament, the way someone goes about mending their relationship with God isn’t by stirring their inner-good-person to follow the rules. The situation described by the Bible is one where all people, everywhere, are absolutely incapable of “earning” anything in the sight of God. Hence, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There are many calls to obey and submit, yes, but is submission and obedience the same as “following the rules” and “sticking to the books”? Not according to the text. The Word describes all people as in a helpless position, in the sense that, no matter how hard someone tries, they cannot do anything to make God love them more or do anything that makes God indebted to them.

Continue reading How Does Someone Get Saved?

Does the Resurrection Even Matter?

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”

Timothy Keller

What if Jesus just died and never rose from the grave? Would Christianity still be validated? Would our relationship with God change? Historical, factual texts show that there was a man named Jesus who lived and walked this earth around 30 AD. Obviously this man would have died by now… so does his resurrection really mean anything?

Continue reading Does the Resurrection Even Matter?

Running To Restoration, Not Away From Fear

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore”

~ Bob Goff

From Carly,

Fear.

I realize it’s hard to talk about this topic since most people are afraid of being vulnerable. Maybe they’re afraid of saying something they shouldn’t, something that would make them look broken inside or just different.

Continue reading Running To Restoration, Not Away From Fear

How Can I Share My Testimony?

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

2 corinthians 5:20

This past summer I had an amazing opportunity to travel across the world and share my faith with those who have never heard the name of Jesus. In doing so, I gradually learned how to effectively share my testimony so that others would see the forgiveness of sins that is in Jesus Christ. I was taught a method that I shared with many believers in remote areas who needed to be discipled.

This method is simply called the 2, 3, 4 method. There are 2 parts to the Gospel: Your story and the story of Jesus. Remember that your story is only a part to the whole, much like a slice out of an apple. Your story is important, but keep it in the context of Christ. Your story includes 3 parts.

  1. Your life before you met/accepted Jesus into your life. When talking to people, tell them about who you were and how you acted before you accepted Jesus into your heart. In Acts 26:4-11 you can see Paul’s life before Christ.
  2. Next you share about how you met Christ and your transformation. Paul talks about his encounter with God on the road to Damascus in Acts 26:12-18. Many of us probably don’t have a story like Paul’s where God appeared to us on a road and blinded us, but some of us do. The fact is, however you met Jesus is just as important for Paul as it is you and I.
  3. Finally, the life you live after you accepted Jesus in your heart is what you share. Compare it to your previous life before Christ. Tell how you were once dead in sin, but now have assurance of eternal life. This part of Paul’s testimony is in Acts 26:19-23.

Sharing your testimony is crucial when you are trying to share the gospel with a neighbor or friend. Your story may be similar to theirs. They may be able to relate to your life before Christ, which may spur them on to learn more about this Jesus you are telling them about. Constantly practice sharing your story with friends and family so that you will be ready when God presents you with an opportunity to share your testimony.

Now, the second part to the Gospel is Jesus’ story. There are 4 parts to the story of Jesus.

  1. Judgement- We all face judgement for the sins in our lives. Romans 3:23 states that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all born with a sin nature and can do nothing on our own to fix this issue. Hebrews 9:27 says that “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” We will all be judged.
  2. Repent– Jesus taught us that we must repent- turn away from the sin in our lives. We must realize that we are all sinners and chose to run from that sin. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Without repentance, their cannot be turning away from sins, and therefore no forgiveness.
  3. Death– Through judgement and the knowledge that we have all sinned, it is then evident that this will lead to death. We all deserve death, both spiritual and physical. Romans 6:23 says that “The wages of sin is death.” The Bible tells us that Christ died for all; in Romans 5:8 it says that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ took death so that we don’t have to, he brings us hope!
  4. Resurrection/ New Life- Christ did not stay dead. He rose from the grave, conquering death and sin, enduring the sin so that we don’t have to. If we chose him, he will stand for us on judgement day, taking our sin and shame so that we can spend eternity in heaven with him. John 3:16 says that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. We have an inheritance in heaven with Jesus.

It is always important to talk about the story of Jesus when sharing the Gospel and your testimony. Make sure who you are talking knows that your new life is only possible because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, taking our sin and our shame.

Apply It!

Pray that God would give you 3 people this week that you could share your testimony and the Gospel with. Practice sharing your testimony with your family to figure out what you will say. Take courage and remember that God’s word will never return void! Follow his voice and share your story with those around you. If you don’t tell them, who will?!

How Trials Will Grow You

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:5

From Carly,

During the writing of Psalm 42, most believe it was the time of Absalom’s rebellion, and David, the potential author, was facing the consequences. David’s enemies persecuted him, spitting lies and forcing doubt into every area of David’s life.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to dehumanize the “heroes” of the Bible. I think they’re better than me. No temptations, no mistakes. The perfect example to live by.

I may be right about one thing. They’re a great example of how we should live. Though David lived many years devoted to the Lord, seeking and serving wholeheartedly, he also went though seasons of doubt, fatigue, grief, and sin.

The wonderful thing about tragedy is that what results from such mess, turns out to be the most beautiful story of healing and spiritual maturity. You’ve heard it before. The Lord puts us through trials to come out the other end changed. Of course, as Christians we know this, but no one is battling for the first spot in line to face impending tragedy and persecution. Tragedy doesn’t just come and go in a weekend, it usually doesn’t even stay for a week. When faced with such important trials, they can rule your entire life, wreck your worldview, causing doubt and fear to fester.

At the time, David was facing such oppression and desperation, that doubt began to win.

“My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'”

Psalm 42:3

He was questioning whether the Lord was with him or not, whether he would come out of this situation sustained with the life-breathing hope and salvation he once had. I’m guessing we’ve all been in David’s position, or a similar circumstance, at one point in our lives. We always pay attention to the aftermath of such devastation, but what matters most to our God, is how we handle things during the oppression. 

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

Psalm 42:1-2 

David thirsted, hungered, longed for the Lord. To be near Him, to be healed by His presence. This is how he dealt with his grief. Though times were tough and nothing made sense, he knew the only way to get out meant full reliance on the Lord. Nothing more, nothing less.

Doubt can creep up, fear can envelope our soul. It’s what we do during those times that matters the most. Do we solely seek the Lord in our suffering, or do we cower in our misery and surrender to the pain?

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:11

What tenacity it took to realize his soul’s depravity. To repeat the very words he proclaimed previously. He commanded himself to place his hope and trust in the Lord once again. He vowed to praise his Savior and God. What an example. If David wrote this, we catch a glimpse of how entirely human he really is, not the perfect biblical hero without fault. David was just like you and me, faced with inexplicable tragedy during his short life. If he can resolve to hope in the Lord, to destroy his once-doubtful soul, then we can too. In fact, I encourage you to hunger and thirst for Jesus as much in peaceful times as you do in turmoil. May not only the aftermath, but also the time of oppression be what grows you, what causes you to lean on Him.