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Leading Someone to Faith in Christ

Salvation is truly a gift of God’s grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.

Salvation is available to everyone who will put their faith and trust in Jesus:

John 3:16
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 1:12
But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A few verses in the book of Romans clearly explain the gospel, and show you the way to Christ. These verses are referred to by many as the “Romans Road.”

Salvation is truly turning away from your sin, trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross as the payment of your sin, believing that Jesus rose from the dead and that He will give you eternal life, and placing your faith in Him as your Lord and Savior. Salvation is receiving the gift of eternal life.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:13
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

In light of all of the verses above, are you ready to do the following?

A — Admit that you are a sinner

B — Believe in Jesus as your only hope for salvation

C — Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior

If you are ready, then verbalize your desire for salvation through a prayer to the Lord. You can pray a prayer similar to this one:

“Dear Jesus, I know that I am sinner and I need you to save me. Right now, by faith, I turn from my sin and trust in You. I believe that you died for me and rose again. By faith, I receive your grace and the gift of eternal life. Jesus, I commit my life to you. Thank you for saving me. Help me to never be ashamed of you. AMEN.”

If you just trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior, praise God! It is very important for you to tell someone (a pastor, parent, friend or other Christ-follower) about your decision. They can help you in your walk with Christ, including next steps of obedience with Christ including:

  • baptism
  • reading your Bible
  • prayer
  • connection to a local church
  • telling others about Christ
  • growing in your faith to become more and more like Jesus

If you just trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I am excited for you! You have just made the most important decision of your life. I want to celebrate with you and help you any way that I can. Please contact me using the Contact tab above.

Perhaps you are already a believer in Jesus Christ. Use this resource to share the good news of Jesus with others who are not yet followers of Jesus. When you have the opportunity to lead someone to faith in Christ, let me know about it. I want to celebrate with you too!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law”

One of the pastors that I deeply respect is John Piper. Like me, he believes in the sufficiency of Scripture to guide us, so that we will know what to think, what to believe, what to say and what to do in every situation. He encourages us to love Christ deeply and to realize how the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything!

Here is Piper’s article from June 26, 2015 after the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in regards to same-sex marriage. May the Lord use his words to drive you to the cross and to God’s Word for perspective on this monumental ruling in our nation’s history.

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Article by John Piper: “So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity” (June 26, 2015)

Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.

His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.

For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

The Bible is not silent about such decisions. Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24–27) stands the indictment of the approval and institutionalization of it. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:29–32). “I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:18–19).

This is what the highest court in our land did today — knowing these deeds are wrong, “yet approving those who practice them.”

My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act — just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.

My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.

Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery: “Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).

And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).

Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins.

The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation. In the days of Ezekiel, God put a mark of hope “on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 9:4).

This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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In the Middle of the Desert, God Provides

The children of Israel knew their history. Their ancestors wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land of God’s abundance. At one point in their journey, when they were completely out of water, they cried out to the Lord in prayer and God provided water from a rock.

Hundreds of years later, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, God reminded them (and he reminds us!) that He is still the one to provide streams in the desert. God provides in miraculous ways. God takes a person who is spiritually dry and gives them eternal life! They know the refreshment that comes from abundant life with God.

Let me illustrate. I have a friend who was a police officer in a big city in America. He was married with children. But he was a hard man. He was rough, with very foul language and searing anger that could explode at any moment. He was an alcoholic. He had grown up aware of religion, but he was spiritually dry. He was lost. After years of marriage struggles, he and his wife got divorced. He relocated to another part of the state.

He began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He got remarried. Some friends from AA invited him to our church. He came week after week. He attended Bible study discussion group and worship services. God began to soften his heart. I remember the day that he came to talk to me at the end of the worship service. His huge hand shook mine, and he gave me a huge bear hug. He poured his heart out, and received God’s gift of salvation on that day. His life was changed forever. He became a brand new person in Christ. He now knows what it is like for God to provide streams of water in his life.

The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, Yahweh, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

I will open rivers on the barren heights,
and springs in the middle of the plains.
I will turn the desert into a pool of water
and dry land into springs of water.

I will plant cedars in the desert,
acacias, myrtles, and olive trees.
I will put juniper trees in the desert,
elms and cypress trees together,

so that all may see and know,
consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-20)

In a hopeless situation
There’s a cry of desperation (v17a)
____________
God who hears
God who cares (v17b)
____________
God who works miracles
God who meets needs
God who turns the desert
into an oasis (vv18-19)
____________
Tell all the world who God is
Tell all the world what God has done (v20)
__________
 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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3 Reasons to Rejoice in the Lord

Rejoicing in the Lord is bragging on the Lord; being grateful to the Lord; being happy in the Lord; giving the Lord the credit He deserves for the great things He has done. There are many ways to rejoice in the Lord: prayer, songs, spoken words, written words, grateful contemplation, and many more.

Hear the words spoken by Isaiah the prophet:

Isaiah 41:11-16
11 Be sure that all who are enraged against you will be ashamed and disgraced; those who contend with you will become as nothing and will perish. 12 You will look for those who contend with you, but you will not find them. Those who war against you will become absolutely nothing. 13 For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you: Do not fear, I will help you. 14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel: I will help you— this is the LORD’s declaration. Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 See, I will make you into a sharp threshing board, new, with many teeth. You will thresh mountains and pulverize them and make hills into chaff. 16 You will winnow them and a wind will carry them away, a gale will scatter them. But you will rejoice in the LORD; you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.
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Why do you rejoice in the Lord? Here are three reasons.

1. The Lord empowers you (vv13-16). He guides your hand the way that a father holds the hand of his son when he is teaching him a new skill such as fishing or archery. He helps you the way a father helps his young son to hit a baseball for the very first time. The Lord provides the strength you need for the tasks at hand. He empowers you. Rejoice in the Lord.

2. The Lord removes your fear (vv13-14). In comparison to God, you are as small as a worm (see verse 14). Yet, God loves you so much that He speaks deep into your emotions to remove your fear. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you do not have to be afraid because He is with you, and He is your God. Moment by moment, one emotional, mental and spiritual battle at a time, He removes your fear. When He does, rejoice in the Lord.

3. The Lord gives you victory (vv11-12). When Jesus died on the cross, He broke the curse of sin. When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved to be the One who gives us power over every sin, temptation and struggle we face, even the enemy of death itself. When you trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, your life is changed forever, your sin is forgiven, and your home in heaven is secure. As you face the challenges of each day, you do not have to wonder if God will help you to have victory over sins, temptations and struggles. You simply need to stand in His victory, and trust Him to defeat your enemies one at a time. Trust in Him. Depend on Him. Walk in victory. He will guide you. He will empower you. He will remove your fear. He will give you victory. And when He does, rejoice in the Lord.

As Paul writes in Philippians 4:4 — rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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God’s Righteous Right Hand

Our great God is indescribable. He is eternal, invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere at all times. He is so unbelievably big and awesome and holy and glorious that He is truly indescribable.

To help us understand our indescribable God, the Bible uses terms that we can understand. The technical term for this is anthropomorphism, which is ascribing human characteristics to something that is not a person; in terms of our understanding of who God is and what He does, it is using human terminology to help us describe our indescribable God.

God has a righteous right hand. That is important for us to know and understand.

8 But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham, My friend— 9 I brought you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners. I said to you: You are My servant; I have chosen you and not rejected you. 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:8-10)

GOD’S HAND

God’s hand is righteous (v10). He always does what is right. He always points you in the right direction. He always does what is best for you, even if you don’t always realize it at the time.

God’s hand reaches far (v9). There is nowhere that you can go that God can not reach you. He can find you at the top of the mountains, at the depths of the oceans or anywhere in between. He can reach you in outer space (all the astronauts are grateful for this!). When you hit rock bottom in your life or are at the top of your game, the Lord can reach you. His hand reaches far.

God’s hand brings you near (v9). The purpose in His reach is to bring you close. He has not rejected you. He wants to connect with you spiritually, relationally, eternally. The God of the universe cares about you. He really cares about you.

God’s hand is strong (v10). With His hand, He strengthens you and helps you. He holds onto you with His righteous right hand.

THE IMPACT OF GOD’S HAND ON YOUR LIFE

Realize who you are. According to Isaiah chapter 41, verses 8-9…

* you are chosen by God — He picked you on His team!

* you are a servant of the King — what an honor!

* you are a friend of God — wow! God calls you His friend!

[Note: See Jesus’ words in John 15:9-17 to read more about being chosen by God, a servant of the King, a friend of God, showing love to others and bearing spiritual fruit.]

Do not be afraid (v10). In every stage of life, there are circumstances that tempt you to be afraid. But if you know who you are (chosen by God, a friend of God, a servant of the King), then you will know that you do not have to be afraid. Trust in God’s righteous right hand. Do not be afraid.

Live in victory (v10). God’s far-reaching, close-bringing, strong, righteous hand will guide you and give you victory over every enemy you face: enemies such as guilt, fear, impurity, oppression and temptations of every kind. He will also empower you to do the good work that He leads you to do, things that help others. He will strengthen you, help you, and hold on to you. Don’t live a defeated life. Depend on God and live in victory, every moment of every day.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Who Is Your Master? 

This past Sunday, we discussed the following verse during the worship service at Hebron in our series on Treasures:

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.” (Matthew 6:24)

It is tempting to allow things other than Jesus to be the master of your life, things like position, power, or possessions. These things try to rule your life. But you can’t serve two masters. Here are ten questions to help you determine whether or not Jesus is the true Master of your life:

#1. Is there anything in your life that you would not be willing to give up if Jesus asked you to?

#2. Who would you say is becoming the biggest single influence on your attitudes and behavior?

#3. If you were to review your calendar and checkbook for the year so far, what priorities would they reflect?

#4. When you pray, do you tend to just list things you want, or do you consistently tell God that you’re available and willing to do whatever He wants?

#5. Have you actually started to take concrete action steps to grow in the areas that Christ’s teachings have challenged you in?

#6. Do you have a mindset of wanting to coast with God?

#7. How rich are you in the real stuff of God?

#8. Do you consider yourself to be a representative of Christ and live your life in such a way as to protect His reputation?

#9. Is your heart toward others growing bigger or shrinking?

#10. Would you say that your net worth in heaven is growing as fast or faster than your net worth on earth?

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Who Controls History?

This is a very important question to consider. Who controls history? What we are saying is, who controls the events of history? There are some who say that things are spinning out of control. And certainly in some cities of our country and some places of the world, the violence is so great that it appears no one is in charge.

So, who controls history?

Is history controlled by the conquering nations of the world? Their exploits certainly make the history books. But do they control history? Artists, entertainers and athletes certainly leave their mark on history. But do they control history through their paintings, songs, movies, plays and athletic achievements? Entrepreneurs and business leaders use their financial resources, leadership and influence to impact millions of people. Inventors bring to us new devices and tools to improve our lives. Certainly all of these people impact history. But do they control history?

The Bible tells us who controls history.

History is not controlled by the kings of the earth. In Isaiah’s day, it appeared that the conquering nations of Assyria, then Babylon, then Persia were in control of history. It felt like that to the nation of Israel because those nations in succession overwhelmed Israel and controlled their daily lives. But God spoke to those nations who were on the mainland and the island nations, reminding them that they were accountable to Him.

1 “Be silent before Me, islands! And let peoples renew their strength. Let them approach, then let them testify; let us come together for the trial. 2 Who has stirred him up from the east? He calls righteousness to his feet. The LORD hands nations over to him, and he subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, like wind-driven stubble with his bow. 3 He pursues them, going on safely, hardly touching the path with his feet. (Isaiah 41:1-3)
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The kings of the earth who lead the nations of the world need to recognize that they are in power only because of the sovereign hand of God allowing them to rule. He is the one who stirs up leaders, who gives nations over to them, and who subdues kings (see above). The kings of the earth may think that they control history, but they do not. They are under the sovereign control of the Lord.

History is not controlled by the idols of the world. Sadly, people worship idols. Some people worship idols made of wood, jewels or precious metals formed into particular images. Others worship idols such as money or pleasure. Some worship demonic beings or forces of nature. Still others worship famous artists, entertainers, athletes, business leaders, political action groups, educators, or others, putting their allegiance in those people and blindly following those folks no matter how extreme their ideas. But history is not controlled by the idols of the world.

5 The islands see and are afraid, the whole earth trembles. They approach and arrive. 6 Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” 7 The craftsman encourages the metalworker; the one who flattens with the hammer supports the one who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good.” He fastens it with nails so that it will not fall over. (Isaiah 41:5-7)

In the verses above, Isaiah describes how the craftsman, the metalworker, and all of the others who are making the idol talk with one another and convince each other that the idol is good. But the idol is not good. The truth is that the idol does not have any power. They have to fasten the idol with nails so that it does not fall over. How can a statue that has to be held up with nails control history? It can’t.

The Lord controls history. It is truly the sovereign Lord of the universe who controls history. He has powers that the idols do not have. He controls events in ways that the kings of the earth only try to control them. Truly, the kings are under His sovereign control, and the idols of the world are speechless before Him.

4 Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Yahweh, am the first, and with the last—I am He.” (Isaiah 41:4)
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The Lord is the one who was at the beginning (He is “the first”) and He will be there at the end (“the last”). He is the great I AM, meaning that He is the self-existant One, the One who always does what is right, always gives us what we need, always acts in accordance with His perfect will. We can trust Him.

Conclusion. If you truly believe — as the Bible says — that the Lord controls history, then you will remain calm no matter whatever events occur all over the world, or in your own neighborhood. You will not put your trust in the idols of the earth or the kings of the world. If you truly believe that the Lord controls history, then you will follow Him and His ways. And you will trust Him for the little things that happen to you every day, knowing that you are under His loving, sovereign control. Walk with Him. Follow Him. Trust Him. The Lord is in control.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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