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Jesus

painting of Jesus by Akiane, age 12

i don’t shy away from my faith.  Jesus saved my soul a long time ago and i want to take a moment to share with you His amazing, wondrous work of grace.

Introduction

yes, i’m a christian. true christianity is not a religion. christianity is not a set of guiding principles that dictate my life. being a christian is having a relationship with Jesus Christ — a real, every day relationship. let me tell you about Him then I’ll tell you how I met Him.

Who is Jesus

Jesus is, was, and always shall be God. He is the only begotten Son of God. He was born to a virgin two thousand years ago. yes, a virgin. seems impossible, yet God is the God of the impossible. allowing a virgin to conceive was the only way to bypass man’s sin nature which is passed through the seed of man. since we all have human fathers, we are all sinners. and it’s our sin that separates us from God the Father.

although Jesus is God, He was also a man. given His mother’s humanity, He had to endure the same temptations that we all face. yet He was found without sin. He never stumbled in His standing with God the Father, not even once.

during His earthly life, which spanned a little over 33 years, He marveled, ministered, and sometimes confounded the crowds. it was the zealous religious types, who believed in mandating rules and regulations over every part of people’s lives, that were bothered the most by His life and message. what was that message? freedom.

the true paradox, Jesus was and is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet He lived His life as a servant to God the Father. by His own words He said, “I only do and say what I hear my Father in heaven tell me.” a servant to the point where He willingly obeyed His Father and was crucified on the cross.

it was on the cross that the sins of mankind were placed on Him. only a perfect, spotless lamb could be used as a sacrifice for our sins. He became that Lamb. He bore my sins and yours as He made a way for us to come to the Father. so great a cost. so great a love. both of the Father, to be willing to lay down His Son’s life for us, and of the Son, who would obey His Father and endure such suffering for us.

three days after He yielded His life on the cross, He rose from the dead. many saw Him and testified of His resurrection. today He sits at the right hand of the Father and prays for you and i.

years ago i learned the difference between religion and relationship is FREEDOM. Jesus brings a freedom to your life.

How can you know Him?

it’s really easy. God knew we’d never be good enough to “earn” heaven. He also knew that even the wealthiest person of all history couldn’t buy his way in. so there was only one way — through Jesus.

“but it cost God so much by allowing Jesus to pay for my sins … His own Son’s very life. shouldn’t there be some kinda cost?” that’s a trick question because the answer is both no and a yes. we’ll deal with the ‘no’ first.

i’ve been around some religious folks that think you have to look and act a certain way. God doesn’t care about that. He really doesn’t. what He does care about is your heart. eternal life through Jesus Christ is a free gift. He extends it to you freely. right where you are — just like you are. all you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart, forgive you of your sins, and be the Lord of your life.

Lord? yes, that’s the part that costs you. when you repent and ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord, He’ll do just that. sounds kinda hocus-pocus, but it’s not. it’s just God filling you with His Holy Spirit (the third part of the holy Trinity) and helping you along in life. when you become a christian (asking for forgiveness and for Jesus to be your Lord), you become a child of God.

the place where mercy and grace are found in abundance

unlike the bad images hollywood tends to put out, God is loving, patient, gentle, full of grace, and merciful. don’t get me wrong, He hates sin and the misery sin has brought into the world, but He loves you.  there may be things in your life that He knows aren’t in your best interest. you may have to give up some habits or things that you like to do. but if He does want you to give up some stuff, He’ll let you know in a gentle and loving way and then give you the strength to give those things to Him.

this may seem like a bold statement, but I would even go as far as saying that if someone tells you that you have to give something up after becoming a christian that you pray about it. ask God. don’t just accept what someone else says because they say something like “a christian shouldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that”. God will be a loving Father and guide you.

want to become a christian? i can help. read the following prayer. then using your own words, pray this prayer to God. trust me, He’ll answer you. and your life will never be the same.

“God, I come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus. I ask You to forgive me for messing up and trying to do my own thing. Please forgive me for my sins. I ask You to help me turn from my sins and follow You. Jesus, please be my Lord. I want to give You my heart. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide my heart. Thank You for loving me. Amen.”

if you just prayed that for the very first time, i hope you will send me an email and let me know.

How did I become a christian?

i was 14 years old and pretty new to the area. we had moved from New York to Texas and i was having a difficult time adjusting to the area. people made fun of me. many reasons both real and imagined. didn’t matter. i just wasn’t very happy.

some people moved in across the street from us. one of the sons that lived there was in his early 20’s and in college. some neighborhood kids use to get together and play some football after school. since he was in college classes in the morning, he often had a few minutes to play some football. before I knew it, he was kinda like the youth worker of the neighborhood. everyone seemed to like him. one day he asked if anyone would be interested in going to a bible study he was going to start.

me and my wife, 2008

i didn’t give it a whole lot of thought, but it sounded ok. a couple other kids were going also, so this was a way for me to try and fit in. he started explaining about how God loved and cared about us. as a teenager, i was surprised that anyone cared. i listened a little more. over the next several weeks he taught about Jesus, heaven, hell, and angels and other things. one day, after a bible lesson, i went home and i felt something or someone tugging at my heart. i thought about how much God loved me. i couldn’t help but think about it all evening, too. God was really talking to my heart. i knew what i had to do.

i went to bed, but i couldn’t stop thinking about God. i stared at the ceiling for awhile then tossed and turned in bed. finally, i couldn’t stand it anymore. i knew that i needed Jesus in my life. i just KNEW it. i climbed out of bed and knelt beside it. right there i asked God to forgive me. i wanted Jesus to be my Lord. i needed Him to save me and help me. He did. it wasn’t a fancy prayer, but an honest one. i wanted Jesus in my life and in my heart.

i knew immediately that something was different. i felt a peace i had never had before. God moved into my heart and i’ve never been the same since. it hasn’t always been easy. i’ve had more than my shares of ups and downs. i’m very far from perfect and i’ve made horrible mistakes in my life. but God has never left me. He loves me. i’m very grateful that He is patient and full of mercy. i would have given up on me by now, but God has never given up on me. He loves me. and He loves you, too, right where you are and just like you are.

well, thanks for spending this time. i hope I’ve encouraged you or at least made you stop and think about your life in the spotlight of eternity. but more than anything else, i hope you see how much God loves you. i’d love to hear from you.

— rick
aka chunky ninja

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