God On The Net
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
Luke 6:46 Why do you call
me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
There are no 'magic words' to become a Christian. Remember -- praying is talking to God, not just saying words. I suggest you pray this prayer:
Father God, I come to You right now, in the name of your most Holy Son, Jesus Christ, asking You to accept me as a Christian.
You say in Your word that if I confess my sins and ask forgiveness, You are faithful and will forgive my sins and remember them no more. You will not hold them against me and You will give me everlasting life.
Father, I confess that I have sinned against You. I have not followed Your commandments and I have broken Your laws. I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness.
Father, I believe that Jesus Christ, Your only Son, came to Earth and was born, that He lived among us, and that He was crucified to pay for our sins and for my sins. I believe that You raised Him from the dead and gave Him power over all creation.
Lord, right now I accept Your Son Jesus as my Savior and as the Lord of my life. Send the Holy Spirit to guide me, protect me, lead me and counsel me. Send Your angels to gather around me and protect me. Protect me from Satan and his evil forces. Help me grow in wisdom, knowledge and love for You and Your ways. Give me the strength and courage to change my ways and resist the Devil and avoid sin in the future.
Lord, I thank You for sending Your only Son to die so that I can live.
Jesus, I thank You in that You died for me while I was still a sinner and had not yet accepted You. I thank You for forgiving my sins and for bringing me to a saving knowledge of You. Please bless me and protect me. Teach me to pray. Guide me. Increase my faith, and make me sure in the knowledge that I can rely on You, no matter what may come. Lead me to a good church where I can learn Your word and the Father's will, where I can fellowship with Christians and grow in my knowledge of You.
I ask these things in Your most holy and precious name, and I thank You for making me a Christian.
If you earnestly prayed that prayer, you are now a Christian!
As a Christian, you have obligations. Christianity
isn't a "vaccine" you take once and everything stays the same. You
must sincerely try to change your ways to avoid sin. God will help you
do this. When you feel tempted to sin, immediately ask God
for grace and strength to resist the Devil. If possible, get away from
the temptation. Sometimes, this means you may have to avoid people or
places you used to like, such as singles bars.
GO JOIN A CHURCH OR A MESSIANIC CONGREGATION!
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to accept Christ and try to "go it alone." You don't have to join the first church you visit, but don't spend the next six months "window shopping" either!
This is just my personal opinion, but I suggest you join a moderate-size church -- one with at least several hundred members, but no more than about one-to-two thousand members. With less than a few hundred members there is too much of danger of financial problems and church politics, where a handful of long-time members run roughshod over the pastor. With a congregation of several thousand, there is too much of a tendency to become "just another number", where your spiritual needs aren't being met. (Most churches in smaller towns only have a few hundred members.)
Ask how long the current pastor has been there and how long
the previous pastor was there. In non-Methodist denominations, a high
turnover rate could indicate a church that is wracked with politics. Methodist
churches are episcopal, meaning they have a bishop who appoints
pastors in his district. Historically, Methodist pastors
were reassigned every year. In such circumstances, the pastor
never has a real chance to develop and carry out an agenda. However, that
is changing; in our episcopal district (Dallas-Fort Worth), for instance, the
bishop has been leaving most pastors with the same congregation for several
years, and the improvement is obvious.
START ATTENDING A BIBLE STUDY GROUP!
You don't have to attend Bible study group to be saved, but you definitely will benefit from one. Realize that in most churches, adult Bible-study groups are substantially different from "Sunday School" when you were a kid. If they're not, you probably should look for a different church.
Also understand that in most churches all the people who teach Sunday School are volunteers with no formal training in theology, denominational doctrines, etc. Don't assume that everything they say is biblically correct. On the other hand, as a "newbie", don't assume they are wrong just because you read five verses a week ago that seem to not support what they are saying. Understanding the Bible is like understanding the inner workings of a company. You have to spend some time "getting your bearings" before you can really understand what is going on. There are no shortcuts, no instant answers or instant gratification. Christianity is about developing a relationship with God, not knowing the books of the Bible in order, being able to name Jesus' twelve disciples, or knowing a lot of "data".
Beware of "small group" Bible study groups not led by a clergy person. Almost all denominations require their clergy to have formal training and to agree with the denomination's Statement of Beliefs (which goes by various names). So, for instance, an individual who does not believe in Hell or believes everyone will go to heaven could not get ordained in a Christian denomination. On the other hand, with small Bible-study groups led by someone who is not clergy (often in someone's
home and not affiliated with a particular congregation) it usually winds up that 1-3 people do almost all the studying and most of the talking and everyone else just mainly listens and accepts whatever is said as fact. Usually the leaders have no formal training in theology, etc., and often what they say is not in fact correct.
CHRISTIANS AREN'T PERFECT -- JUST FORGIVEN!
Don't think that just because you are now a Christian you won't
ever sin again. When you do sin in the future, don't think
that it proves God didn't really accept you. God is interested in our
effort, in our good intentions. Humans aren't sinners because we
sin, we sin because we are sinners. It is our nature
to sin. God helps us to reduce the amount we sin, but even
He can't keep us from ever sinning again -- until He changes our nature at the
WELCOME TO ETERNAL LIFE . . .
|BECOME A CHRISTIAN|
|GOD ON THE NET|
(c) 1998-2000 by Rick Reinckens