If you recently decided to take a step of faith--whether you're accepting Jesus for the first time or just looking to get your faith back on track--congratulations! We're excited for you, and we want you to know we're here anytime you have questions or could use some help.
Here are a few things that are important for you to know:
1) Since you believe, you are now a part of God's loving family.
"To all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God." John 1:12
"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
If you believe in God and have started a relationship with Jesus, your new life has begun. His love for you is unconditional. He has a plan for your life. You have a purpose and a hope for being alive, despite the daily ups and downs we all face. It's the most important decision you can make, and now you're on your way to living a life of love and joy that God promises.
2) You are forgiven and secure.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
"Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us." Romans 8:35, 37
We all have pasts and things we're not proud of, but God has the right and the ability to forgive and set us free. Once we accept Christ, our slates are wiped clean and we have a new start. We will still make mistakes, but our relationship and our standing with God are not based on our performance. Nothing you can do can make God love you more or less. He won't change His mind and leave you. You are safe, loved, and secure.
3) Get started.
"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible tells us a handful of things we should do to stay close to God. Although our faith isn't about "following the rules," you'll find comfort, advice, and life-giving community if you follow the instructions God has for us.
- Pray. Talk (and listen) to God. We know it can be intimidating to pray out loud, but it doesn't need to be. Remember that God is your Father and your Friend. Ask for forgiveness, thank Him for the good things in your life, and ask for help when you need it.
- Read the Bible. Even though it was written thousands of years ago, the Bible is still the most reliable and trustworthy guide to life. If you haven't read it much before, download this guide to get started. We recommend downloading the Bible app or using bible.com. If you'd like a physical copy of the Bible, stop by the Welcome Desk in our lobby and we would be honored to give you one.
- Get baptized. Once you become a Christian, God asks you to publicly display this decision with friends who can help and encourage you along the way. We offer a free class called Next Steps where we talk in more detail about what we believe, and after taking that one-time class, we'll invite you to participate in one of our lake baptisms.
- Find a church. You were never meant to go through life alone. We offer a ton of ways to get involved, but we also want to make sure we're the best fit for you. Read more about what to expect here, and be sure to read through what we believe. If you end up going to a different church, we won't be offended at all. Find a collection of people you feel comfortable with, and then get plugged in. Join a small group. Find ways to use your hobbies and talents to serve others. Go on a mission trip. Join a Sunday School class. Any of those would be great. Jump in, and if you're not sure where to start, let us know.
If you've made some sort of faith decision, please let us know! We promise we won't make you come on stage or raise your hand or sign up for anything. None of that. We would simply love to be able to encourage, guide, and celebrate with you.
Again, congratulations on this decision, and please know we're here for you to encourage and cheer you on.
I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10