Next Steps

Salvation

Salvation

The first step to drawing closer to God and growing spiritually is to put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. Your relationship with God starts here. These are the steps to receiving Christ:

Recognize that you are a sinner and are in need of a savior. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (ESV)

Recognize that Jesus died for you to bear your sins. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (NLT)

Recognize that only through Jesus can we have access to God the Father. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV)

Put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (NLT)

Repent of your sins. Acts 27:30 says, “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.” (NLT)

And invite Jesus into your heart. Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (ESV) Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Will you let him in?

If you are ready to put your trust in Jesus as your Lord and savior say this prayer:

Father God, I am a sinner, and I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. I believe that he died in my place so that I might be forgiven. I ask that you forgive me now of all of my sins. Make me your child. Give me eternal life. And I thank you for saving me.

If you made that prayer in faith, then I can say by the authority of God’s word that God has forgiven you and has saved you and has given you eternal life. Welcome to God’s family!

We would like to rejoice with you, so please let us know that you have given your life to Christ by filling out the form at the bottom of this page and submitting it or by calling us at 562-646-SLCC. God bless you.

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Baptism

Why get baptized?

Baptism is an ordinance (or command) that Jesus gave the Church. We see this in Matthew 28:18-20:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

Since it is an ordinance then every believer should be baptized out of obedience to Jesus. In fact, Jesus set the example by being baptized. We see this in Matthew 3:13-17:

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (NLT)

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How are people baptized?

In the original Greek the word baptize means to dip or immerse. So when we baptize we fully immerse the individual in water. We see this method in Matthew 3:16 that says, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God. Notice that it says, “immediately he went up from the water.” This tells us that Jesus was fully immersed in water and then came up from it.

What is the purpose of baptism?

It symbolizes dying with Christ, being buried with him and walking in newness of life. This makes baptism a proclamation of our faith in Jesus.

Romans 6:3-4 says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (ESV)

Are we saved through baptism?

The answer is no. We are saved when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is simply a public declaration of our faith in Jesus as our Lord and savior. There are two passages that demonstrate this:

Colossians 2:12 says, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (ESV) Notice that is says “raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God.”

Gal 3:26-27 says, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (ESV)

Notice that it says we “are all sons of God, through faith.” Verse 27 confirms our sonship by stating “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

We can say it like this: We know that we are sons of God, through faith, because when we were baptized in water we outwardly proclaimed our faith in Jesus Christ.

What happens after I’m baptized?

You should join a local church. Baptism is an initiation into a life of discipleship that takes place within a community of faith. Acts 2:41 says, “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” (NLT) We need each other in order to grow as followers of Christ. We need the love, support, accountability and encouragement that is found within a local church.

You should join a small group where you will learn how to apply God’s word to your life. Baptism is an initiation into a life of discipleship where we learn to obey all that Jesus has commanded. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Small groups are a great way to achieve this.

What do you need to do to get baptized?

First, you must put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. And second, sign up for our baptism class. The class is about an hour long and we cover more info on baptism and answer questions and explain the process of actually getting baptized.

How often do you baptize?

We baptize whenever one or more people are ready to get baptized.

Communion

Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Holy Communion, also referred to as the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Table, Eucharist or simply as Communion, was instituted by our Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed. We see this in Matthew 26:26-29:

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, Each of you drink from it,28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.29 Mark my words, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom. (NLT)

What is Holy Communion?

Holy Communion, also referred to as the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Table, Eucharist or simply as Communion, was instituted by our Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed. We see this in Matthew 26:26-29:

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it,28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” (NLT)

Why should we partake of Holy Communion?

Every believer in Christ should partake of Holy Communion because it is an ordinance (or command) that Jesus gave the Church. Jesus said of the bread, “take this and eat it.” And of the wine he said, “Each of you drink from it, for this my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people.” (Matthew 26:26-27). So the main reason for partaking of Holy Communion is obedience to the Lord. But there are other reasons.

We partake of Holy Communion because by doing so we have communion with Jesus. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 says, “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (NASB)

The word sharing is the Greek word koinonia that is also translated as communion or fellowship. When we gather at the Lord’s table he is present and we have fellowship with him.

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We also partake in order to proclaim that Jesus died for our sins in order to pay the price for our salvation. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (NLT)

Another reason for partaking is to proclaim that Jesus is coming again. Look at the last part of 1 Corinthians 11:26: “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (NLT)

And finally we partake to show the unity and the fellowship that exists among the members of the Church with each other and with Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:17 says, “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.”

What do the bread and wine represent?

We believe that the two elements—the bread and the wine—are symbolic of Jesus’ body that was broken for us and his blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

What should we be doing during Holy Communion?

We should remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Jesus said of the bread, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24, NLT)

And he said of the cup, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” (1Corinthians 11:25, NLT)

Remembering involves thanksgiving and reflection and worship. It also involves self-examination. We should search our hearts to see if there is sin that we need to confess to God. 1Corinthians 11:28 says, “That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.” (NLT)

How often should we participate of Holy Communion?

Jesus didn’t specify the frequency, but he did say, “Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” (1 Corinthians 11:25, NLT). We partake of Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month during our worship service.

If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, then we invite you to join us for Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month.

Prayer and Reading the Bible

For every relationship to grow there must be communication. The same holds true for our relationship with God. There are two ways that we can communicate with God. We talk to God through prayer and he speaks to us through his word—the Bible.

Jesus said, “I am with you always” (Matt 28:20, NLT). He is with us at every moment of our day and he wants us to talk to him. There are two ways that we can do this. The first is to set time aside to pray to him.

Jesus gave us the example of making time for prayer. Mark 1:35 tells us that “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (NLT) This was a way of life for him. And Luke 5:16 states that “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (NLT) We need to decide whether praying in the morning, the afternoon or the evening works best. The idea is to make time to be with Jesus.

The second way that we can talk to Jesus is by sending him short prayers throughout the day. It may be a prayer of only a few words, like, “Guide me Jesus” or “Thank you Jesus.” You may say it out loud, below your breath or in your mind. But praying these short prayers throughout the day help us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV).

Nehemiah offers an example of this short type of prayer. He went in to ask a favor of the king, and, “The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’ With a prayer to the God of heaven,5 I replied . . .” (Nehemiah 2:4-5, NLT). Nehemiah didn’t stop and offer a long prayer to God while the king was waiting for his reply. He simply offered a short prayer, possibly under his breath, asking God to help him. We can do the same each day.

Some things to pray for:

  • Give God praise for how amazing he is

  • Give God thanks for all that he does for us

  • Pray for our family

  • Pray for others

  • Pray for ourselves (our needs)

  • Pray for forgiveness

  • Pray for guidance

  • Cast our cares on him

  • Pray that he helps us to do his will

  • Share our day with God

Now let’s look at how God talks to us through his word. God has been speaking to humanity since the beginning. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.” (NLT) What was spoken by the prophets and by God’s Son—Jesus—has been captured in the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (NLT) Although God can speak to us in different ways, he uses his word to communicate with us.

We also feed ourselves spiritually every time we read the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (ESV) Therefore, since God’s word feeds our spirit, we should read it daily. In fact, in Matthew 6:11, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (ESV)

And every time we read the Bible it works inside of us. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (ESV)

So, to talk with Jesus each day, pray to him. Then open the Bible and ask him to speak to you. Then read a chapter of the Bible. Then re-read it several times paying close attention to what’s being said. Then think about what you have read and let Jesus guide you. He will speak to you. Jesus will send his Spirit to teach you, as he said in John 14:26: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (NLT)

You may be thinking, “Where do I start reading in the Bible?” You can start by reading the four books that speak of all that Jesus said and done: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Or you can follow a Bible reading plan. You can download a free Bible app called YouVersion for either Apple or Android that has free Bible reading plans.

Start praying and reading the Bible today. It will draw you closer to Jesus. And remember that we are here to help. Let us know if you have any questions on prayer and reading the Bible.

We have a small group called First Steps 2.0 that explores different forms of prayer and Bible reading that will help you grow. If you are interested in learning more about this small group or would like to join it, please fill in the form below and let us know. Go to Form

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Church Membership

Why is church membership so important?

Jesus created the Church. It was his idea. Matthew 16:18 says, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (NLT) The Church has survived for nearly 2,000 years facing incredible odds and persecution, even to this day, because the Church was created and empowered by Jesus. This is why the “powers of hell will not conquer it.”

There is one Church, referred to with a capital “C” that is worldwide and composed of all the followers of Jesus Christ. When you place your faith in Jesus you become part of the Church (capital “C”). 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 uses the human body as an analogy to describe our insertion into the Church. It says, “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” (NLT)

But once we place our faith in Christ we must become part of a local church (small “c”). Philemon 1:1-2 says, “This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker,2 and to our sister Apphia, and to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church that meets in your house.” (NLT) Notice the last part of verse 2: “and to the church that meets in your house.” That’s a local church. The early Christians met regularly in local churches. In fact, the Bible places great importance on regular church attendance. Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)

God never meant for us to go it alone in following Jesus. His plan is for us to join a local Church so that we can find the encouragement, accountability and support we need to grow in our relationship with Jesus and to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). God’s plan is that our Christian character be shaped and our spiritual gifts be used within the context of a local church.

God has given us a spiritual family to help us grow. Ephesians 2:19 says, “So now you non-Jewish people are not visitors or strangers, but you are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family.” (ERV) And 1Peter 2:17 says, “Love your spiritual family.” (HCSB) Every time we attend church and church functions we are gathering with our spiritual siblings.

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Here are some things we can do within the context of a local congregation:

  1. Worship. Acts 2:36-47: “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity —47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” (NLT)

  1. Get spiritually fed. Acts 20:28: “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.” (NLT)

  1. Fellowship with other believers. Acts 2:42: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” (NLT)

  1. Get discipled. Matthew 28:20: “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)

  1. Be ministered to. James 5:14-15: “Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” (NLT)

  1. Do ministry together. 1 Corinthians 12:7: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (NLT)

  1. Do outreach together. Acts 2:46-47: “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity —47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” (NLT)

  1. Practice corporate prayer (pray together). Acts 2:42: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” (NLT)

  1. Hold each other accountable. Hebrews 3:13: “You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” (NLT)

  1. Show compassion to the needy. Acts 2:45: “They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (NLT)

  1. Encourage and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (ESV)

  1. Bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (ESV)

What does membership entail?

Membership entails three things:

Commitment: We have a commitment to Jesus Christ, to love him and bring him glory and honor. We have a commitment to one another, to love one another and be there for each other. And we have a commitment to advance the mission and the vision of our church in its fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Membership means commitment. We are members of the body of Christ and membership doesn’t mean that we can sit on the sidelines. We all have a function. Romans 12:4 says, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (ESV)

Responsibility: We have a responsibility to serve, support and contribute to our church so that our church can continue to carry out God’s plan.

Rights and privileges: Members have a voice and vote in the church business meetings and they may be eligible to serve in various positions and ministries within the church.

What is the process of becoming a member?

  1. You first take a membership class. The duration of this class is about two hours. The class covers our beliefs, organization and constitution and bylaws. The membership class is given when a small group of people are ready to take the class.

  1. You then fill out a membership application.

  1. The church board will review the application and verify that you meet the requirements for membership, as stipulated in our constitution and bylaws.

  1. If approved by the church board, you will be welcomed as a new member of our church.

To request to take the membership class, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page and submit it. Go to Form

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Small Groups

Why join a small group?

Small groups help us connect with God and others. You see, Christians are not called to go it alone, but to walk this journey of faith in community where we can encourage each other, build each other up and hold each other accountable. Small groups are ideal for spiritual formation because they allow a group of 3 to as many as 15 people to grow together in their relationship with Christ as they learn to apply God’s word to daily living. Look at it this way: Jesus had twelve disciples that were part of his small group. He formed them spiritually within this context. Not to mention that joining a small group is a great way to make new friends with people that are on a similar journey.

Within small groups we learn the spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study. These disciplines are necessary for our spiritual formation. Spiritual growth happens when prayer and the reading of God’s word are a daily part of our life.

Within small groups we also learn about Jesus and how to apply his teachings to our life. The small group context facilitates the asking of questions and the sharing insights. It also makes it an ideal place to pray with others.

The model the Bible provides us with is that of believers gathering together on Sunday at church and during the week in homes (small groups). Acts 2:46 says, “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.” (NLT)

To learn more about small groups simply fill in the form below and let us know that you are interested in learning more, and we will contact you. Go to Form

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Serving Others

Why serve others?

There is great joy in serving Jesus and others and serving helps us and those around us grow spiritually. Jesus is our example of service. He said in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)

He also demonstrated what it means to serve others when he washed the feet of his disciples. You see, in those days, people wore sandals. And it was customary to have one’s feet washed if one entered a home as a guest. This was a role assigned to the least servant in a home or two the youngest member of the family. In John 13:4-5 we learn that Jesus performed this lowly task of service: “So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist,5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (NLT)

He then said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John 13:13-15, NLT). People wear shoes these days and most of our roads are paved, so we don’t wash people’s feet when they enter our home. But the command to serve others remains.

Consider the following. When we start following Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us each a spiritual gift. A spiritual gift is a special ability given so that we can minister to one another and build each other up.  1 Corinthians 2:4 and 7 says, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all…A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (NLT) And 1 Peter 4:10-11 says,

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (NLT)

And Romans 12:10-11 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” (NLT)

God’s plan is for us to serve him by serving others. When we do this, it brings growth to our life and strengthens the congregation. In Ephesians 4 the Apostle Paul uses a metaphor of the human body to describe the health and growth that takes place among believers when everyone uses their gifts to bless others. Ephesians 4:16 says, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (NLT) When believers serve one another it brings growth throughout the church.

Did you notice that in the previous verses (Romans 12:10-11 and Ephesians 4:16) the word love is associated with serving others? That’s because serving others is an expression of our love for God and for Others.

How can you start serving?

You may not know what gift you have or even where to start in serving others. But there are several ways you can serve God and others at church. You can start by being a greeter, an usher and a member of the hospitality team.

The Usher Ministry: The ushers greet and direct all our new visitors, as well as our congregation. They make everyone feel welcome. Ushers provide notes and handouts, take up the collection and assist as necessary. We are always looking for people with a servant’s heart to serve in this ministry.

The Greeters Ministry: Greeters do one thing. They welcome everyone to church. We are always looking for individuals with big smiles and warm hearts to serve in this ministry.

The Hospitality Team: This team goes beyond greeting people to make them feel welcome. They prepare pancakes or waffles or at times set up a table filled with treats for our guests and regular attenders. We are looking for people that enjoy receiving company and making others feel welcomed.

To sign up to serve or to simply learn more, fill in the form below and let us know that you are interested and we will contact you. Go to Form

Sharing Christ

What is God’s mission?

God is on a Mission. His mission is to find his lost children. We have all left God and we are lost.

Isaiah 53:6 says that “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (NLT) And Luke 19:10 says that “The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.” Luke 19:10 (CEV)

Jesus seeks to bring us back into a relationship with him.

So, he calls us back to him: “O my rebellious children, come back to me again and I will heal you from your sins. And they reply, Yes, we will come, for you are the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 3:22 (TLB)

And he knocks at the door of our heart: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 (NLT)

In his patience, he waits for us: “But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NCV)

What part do we play in God’s mission?

He wants to use us to reach others. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, “All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him.” (NCV)

We are responsible for telling people about Jesus. Ezekiel 33:8 says, “If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” (ESV)

If I don’t tell people the Good News, I am in real trouble.” 1 Corinthians 9:16 (ERV)

God has wired us in such a way that we are able to reach the people that we interact with on a regular basis. It is no mistake that we live where we do. God put us there because he has uniquely created us to reach the people that surround us.

He has even been shaping our life experiences to make us who we need to be to reach the people he’s determined for us to reach. Psalm 139 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (NLT)

How do we share Jesus?

We need these three things to share Jesus:

The first, is our story. God has made it so that our account of how we met Jesus and how he’s changed our life will resonate with those that we have contact with on a regular basis. The Bible tells a story of a man who was possessed and tormented by many evil spirits. But one day, Jesus came to where he was and set him free. Mark 5:18-20 tells us what happened as Jesus prepared to leave:

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him.19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (NLT)

Jesus sent the man back to his family so that he could share his story with them, and that’s what he did.

Our story should include these four things:

  1. My life before Jesus

  2. How I came to recognize that I needed Jesus

  3. How I gave my life to Jesus

  4. How Jesus has impacted my life

The second thing we need to share Jesus is the good news: Here’s a short passage that contains the good news: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:12-13 (NLT)

And the third thing we need is an opportunity. Colossians 4:5 says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.” (NLT)

God gives us opportunities each day to share Jesus. We need to pray each day and ask God to show us these opportunities and then look for them. It may be a co-worker going through a difficult situation at home that you are able to pray for. Someone may ask you what you did over the weekend. You can then share that you went to church, and that can lead to a conversation about your faith in Jesus. You may even say out of gratitude, “Isn’t God good?” that may start a discussion between you and others, about God. There are many ways to share Jesus with others.

How do we get started?

Here’s how you start. Make a list of at least five people that you would like to tell about Jesus. Then ask God to guide you in how to approach them. Then look for the opportunity to share your story and the good news with them.

Giving

Do I have to give?

Giving is voluntary. But God has a lot to say about us giving. Below are reasons for why we should give.

Why Does God want us to give?

God wants you to give because he wants our heart. Whatever we treasure will have our heart. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT) If we value our money and possessions above God, then our heart doesn’t belong to Jesus.

Jesus said this: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 (NLT)

Jesus also said Luke 14:33, “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (NLT) He didn’t mean that we are to give away everything we have and go live on the street. What he means is that if we want to follow him that we must give him everything we own. He becomes the owner and we become the managers of what is his. By doing this, Jesus becomes our treasure and our heart’s desire is found in him.

God also wants us to give so that we might imitate him.  Ephesians 5:1 says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” (NLT)

God is a generous giver. Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (NLT) And John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV) So every time we give generously, we are imitating our heavenly Father.

How we manage the resources that God has entrusted into our care is a test of our maturity and ability to handle greater things. Jesus said in Luke 16:10-12, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? (NLT)

How should we give?

We should give cheerfully and willingly. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” (NLT)

How much should we give?

Leviticus 27:30 says that “One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.” (NLT) The tenth, also referred to as the tithe, is the Lord’s.

And Malachi 3:10-11 says the following about giving the tenth:

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. (ESV)

When we give God his ten percent, he blesses our ninety percent.

Jesus approved of giving of the tenth in Luke 11:42 when he said, “You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” (NLT)

Where do we give?

We should bring our tithes to the church we attend. Before Jesus started the Church, we were told in Malachi 3:10 to “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” This was the Jewish temple. But now we bring it to the local church.  Speaking to the church of Corinth, Paul the apostle said in1 Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned.” (NLT)

What are the different ways that we can give?

We can give four ways: First, we can give at church during the collection. Second, we can give online using this website. You can click here to go to our online giving page. Third, we can give through automatic pay. And fourth, we can mail in a check to the church.

Will God bless me if I give?

Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)

And 2 Corinthians 9:6, and 8 says, “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop . . . And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (NLT)

Is my giving tax deductible?

All giving is tax deductible. You will receive a donation receipt during the first part of January for tax purposes.

Faith and Giving

It takes faith to give. You must believe that God receives your tithe as a form of worship. And you must trust that God will bless you for your faithful giving.

When do I start giving?

You can start today if you like or you can give this Sunday. But you must decide about giving. It is generous people that give to Spirit Life that make it possible for our church to operate and be a blessing to you and others. Now you have an opportunity to do the same.

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