How do I begin a relationship with God?
Many people go to church because they are looking for God. Perhaps this is why you have come to South Metro Vineyard Church of Burnsville. You feel there is something missing from your life. The famous French mathematician, Pascal, said that inside every person is a God-shaped void meant only for Him. God desires to have a relationship with you and to fill the emptiness you feel inside.
1. Admit that you are a sinner and need a savior
According to the Bible, it is sin (the things that we do that are wrong) that has separated us from God in the first place and caused us to feel so empty. Our natural desire as human beings is to ignore God and to do what we want. Our two great sins are failing to love God with all our heart and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. “All we like sheep have gone astray, and each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6) “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you.”(Isaiah 59:2)
2. Believe that Jesus died on the cross to save you from your sin, that He rose from the dead and is alive today
Instead of making us pay, God allowed Jesus to pay the price for our sin-a penalty that was rightfully ours. He did this because He loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8) “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.” (Romans 10:9)
3. Accept God’s gift of salvation
God’s offer of forgiveness for sin is free and always available. But it is not yours until you personally accept it. Don’t try to earn it because you can’t. Nothing you do will ever make you good enough for God. Just accept what He has done for you. “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.”(Ephesians 2:8,9)
4. Surrender your life to Jesus
Invite Him into your heart to be your Lord (master) and Savior. To surrender to Jesus means you relinquish control of your life over to Him. Inviting Him into your heart means you welcome His presence into your life. When you do, He will come into you, through the Holy Spirit, and fill the emptiness inside. This is what Jesus called being “born again.” Becoming a Christian is a lot like birth. It is the start of a whole new life-Jesus will make you new from the inside out. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”(Revelation 3:20) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”(John 3:3) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Here is a simple prayer you can follow:
Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I don’t do what I should, and I do a lot of things that I shouldn’t. I don’t love you with all my heart and I don’t love my neighbor as myself. I’m sorry for my sins and for generally going my own way. Thank you for loving me and for sending Jesus to die for me. I believe He took my place, suffered the punishment that I deserved, rose from the dead and is alive today. I accept your free gift of forgiveness right now. Jesus, I give you my life and ask you to come into my heart to live in me forever-to be my Lord and Master. I want to follow you from now on. Amen. If you have given your life to Christ, please tell one of our pastors . We would like to help you grow in your new relationship with God. For more information about the Christian life, please contact South Metro Vineyard Church’s office at (952-892-1000).
I’ve Just Become A Christian, Now What?
If you have given your life to Christ and invited Him into your heart, then you are a Christian. Jesus called this being “born again.” “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”(John 3:3) Paul said that becoming a Christian is like starting a whole new life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”(2 Corinthians 5:17) But now what? What should you do now that you are a Christian? Here are several key things you can do:
1. Read the Bible every day.
The Bible is God’s Word-He is the author. It is the primary way God communicates with us. By reading the Bible, you will learn more about Him, what He has done for you and His plan for your life. You will also find comfort during difficult times and answers for your problems. We need to read the Bible every day in order to live and grow as Christians. A good place to start reading is the biographies of Jesus, called the gospels. They are the first four books of the New Testament. We recommend reading a modern translation of the Bible, such as the New International Version (NIV). Jesus answered, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”(Matthew 4:4)
2. Spend time praying every day.
Prayer is just talking to God. A simple formula to follow when praying is “A.C.T.S.”-adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. When praying, make sure to praise God for who He is, to honestly confess your sins to Him, to thank Him for what He’s done for you and to ask Him for what you need. Be open during prayer for God to speak to you about what He may want you to be doing or changing in your life. “You do not have because you do not ask God.”(James 4:2) “I love the Lord, because He hears my prayers and answers them. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2; paraphrase)
3. Stay in fellowship.
This means to maintain close relationships with other Christians. At Vineyard, believers stay in fellowship by regularly attending our weekend services and by joining one of our small groups. As a new Christian, you may want to consider joining a the Vineyard Foundations group. Vineyard Foundation groups are designed for new believers-to help get them off to a good start as Christians. They are modeled after Jesus and his twelve disciples. Not only did Jesus teach His disciples, but He also spent time in relationship with them, showing them how to live for God. New discipleship groups are starting up all the time at Vineyard, so call the church office to find out about one that is right for you. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God…”(see Acts 2:42-47) “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:35)
4. Share Jesus with others.
As a Christian, you are called to be a witness for Christ. This means you are to tell others what the Lord has done for you. It is not necessary to be a Bible scholar or to have all the answers. Sharing your “testimony”(the story of your journey toward Christ) is one of the most effective ways of helping others find Him. There are benefits in it for you as well. Sharing your faith forces you to discover what you really believe and why, and it enables you to participate with the Lord in His plan for the world. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”(1 Peter 3:15) “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”(Philemon 6). “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”(2 Corinthians 5:20)