Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Halle... I'm a Grandpa !!!!!

Today is a day that I will cherish forever! Eric and Marcie had their baby this morning! Eric is my oldest son and this is my first grandchild. I can not believe I'm a grandpa. Wow! Grandma and I are sooooo proud. Uncle Ryan, Eric's brother (our youngest son) is so proud as well. She is absolutely beautiful
Halle Lynn, was born this Tuesday Morning 1-16-2007 at 8:37am. She weighed 6lbs and 14 oz. She is 20 inches long and has adorable blond hair.

I just want to say one thing. Eric and Marcie, Brenda and I love you both so much! God has certainly blessed us all with Halle, a wonderful addition to our family. May you have many, many years of happiness together. Thank you for this wonderful gift, our granddaughter! She is gorgeous!

Love....Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Ryan

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Roman Road, Tell the Good News! (part 2)

If you have not read the previous posting... "The Roman Road, Tell the Good news! pt.1 dated Wednesday Jan. 10th,2007 then you may want to read that posting first before continuing with this one.

So now that you've set up your bible with written scripture verses and page numbers as described in the previous posting, you are now ready to share the message of Christ with someone. Of course before I go out to witness to anyone, I pray for God to pave the way. God will put people in your path that he has prepared to hear the Gospel, but it's important that you pray and prepare yourself to be lead by the Holy Spirit as you're giving witness. He will give you the words to say.

I'm going to assume that you have asked the questions mentioned in the previous posting and you have an individual or group of individuals that have said they want to hear more. OK, let's tell them the Good News!

Start off your conversation with something like this... "I want to show you how you can know for certain that you can have eternal life in heaven." Open your bible to the inside cover and turn to the page# you have written there so you can find Romans 3:23. Say..."I'd like to start with this verse, Romans 3:23. It says this... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (sometimes I like to have them look in my bible and read along with me as I point to the verse) Now explain what this verse means to them.

Romans 3:23 explanation:
"You see, we're all sinners. The bible says we ALL have sinned. This sin started back with Adam and Eve, they were the first people that God created. God gave them only one rule to obey and that was that they could not eat fruit from the tree of "Knowledge of good and evil." Well they did eat this fruit, and this sin, this disobedience, has separated all mankind from God. God sent them away and ever since then mankind has been cursed or separated from God. That's why this verse says... ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There's nothing any of us can do to earn favor with God, we all fall short. If you think about it we all sin, we do bad things. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stole anything or cheated? Well we all have haven't we. We're all sinners!

Ask them..."Do you believe you are a sinner?" YES "Do you believe God lets sinners in heaven? NO "Well I have good news! Look at the next verse you have written there at the bottom of the page in your bible and turn to to Romans 6:23. Read this verse to them...

Romans 6:23 says... For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Now explain what this verse mean to them.

Romans 6:23 explanation:
When we think of wages we think of payment for something we've earned, don't we? Well this verse is simply saying that we deserve death because of our sin. Our payment or wage is death! The death mentioned here is an eternal separation from God's love in a place called Hell! The good news however is found in the second half of this verse... "But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Yes we deserve death, but God wants to give us eternal life! It's a free gift that He offers us. We don't deserve it, we can't earn it, but it can be ours if we accept it. God loves you and I so much that he's provided a way for us to live in heaven with him. Let me show you what I mean. Look at the bottom of the page in your bible and turn to the next verse you have written in your bible. Romans 5:8 says this... "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Now explain what this verse means to them.

Romans 5:8 explanation:
You see, God loves us so much that even though we are sinners, he allowed Christ to die for us! To pay the price for our sinfulness. The reason that Christ died for you and me is because of our sin separates us from God. We are not holy and perfect and therefore we can't be in the presence of God who is holy and perfect. Jesus came to die on that cross in our place. remember we deserve death, but even though we are sinners, Christ died for us, to give us eternal life. So how do we receive this free gift of eternal life? How do I know for certain that I have been saved from going to Hell? Let me show you one more passage of scripture. Look at the bottom of the page and turn to the next verse that you have written there in your bible. Read Romans 10:9,10 (Wait to read Romans 10:13 till after you've explained verses 9 and 10) Romans 10:9,10 says this... (9) that 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. (10) For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Now explain what these two verses mean to them.

Romans 10:9,10 explanation:
Now that you have heard these verses, the bible says that if you believe that Jesus died and God raised him up from the dead, then you will be saved! It goes on to say that it's with our believing heart that we are justified. To be justified means to be made right with God, or in other words our sin is removed. You see, Jesus paid the price for us, he died in our place. And when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is our Lord, then we are saved! It's when we realize what Christ did for us that we have the desire to live for him and make him Lord of our life. When we believe this, we can be saved. Saved from what? Saved from Hell! Hell is a place of eternal torture and torment for those people that never made Jesus Lord of their life. They never believed. Heaven is a place provided for those people that believe that Jesus is Lord and that he died and rose again victorious over sins death. We just need to call on Jesus to save us. Romans 10:13 says this..."For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." It's like crying out for help! It's saying "Lord Jesus I need you!" "I believe you are the Son of God!" "I believe you died for my sins and that you rose from the dead!" "Jesus, please save me!"

Ask these questions...
"Do you want to live forever in Heaven?" YES
"Do you believe that you are a sinner?" YES
"Do you believe that Jesus died for you and rose from the dead?" YES
Then all you have to do is call on the Lord and His promise is that He will save you. Do you want to do that right now? YES I'm going to pray with you right now, and I want you to simply repeat after me as I lead you through this prayer, and we're going to call on Jesus to save you right now. Let's pray...
(remember to say the prayer slowly so they can repeat after you easily. Also remember that there are no specific words that must be said in this prayer. The purpose of this prayer is to "acknowledge their sin", to "believe that Jesus died for them and rose again" paying the price for their sin, and to "confess and commit their life to Jesus as their Lord."

PRAYER... Dear God......., I know that I am a sinner......., I believe that you sent your Son Jesus......., to die on the cross for my sins......., and that you raised Him from the dead......., so that I can have eternal life......., I want to live my life for you......., Thank you for saving me......., Amen.

If you said that prayer and meant it with all your heart, you just confessed and were saved.

Wow! You did it! You shared the gospel with someone and they gave their life to Christ. (remember this... even if it never got to this point in your witness, because often it won't, you still tried to make a difference in the life of that person. Maybe the next person that shares will be able to see this person come to know Jesus as their Lord, or maybe the next or the next.... or maybe it never happens. You however, have planted a seed in their conscious that only God can water and harvest when the time is right. Don't ever measure your success at witnessing by how many people give their life to Jesus at the time of your witness. Many people, such as myself, heard this message several times before I finally realized my need for a savior. I'm sure glad people didn't stop witnessing to me. So don't let it discourage you if the person doesn't commit.) Keep praying for them.

A few thoughts to think about here.

  1. Answer any questions they might have, help them to understand what has just happened to them. The Spiritual battle that goes on between the New Spirit inside them and their old nature needs to be explained to them. they need to understand they will struggle with sin in a different way.

  2. You'll want to invite them to church so they can begin fellowship with other believers. They really need to get involved in a new Christians class or a Sunday school class.

  3. You'll want to introduce them to your Pastor / Minister so they can ask questions and be counseled etc. The Pastor will want to talk to them about what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. He'll want to talk about baptism and why they should be baptized.

  4. The worst thing we can do for a new Christian is to lead them to know the Lord and become saved, and then not follow up with them and disciple them. Remember, they have lived their whole life up to this point obeying only their old nature. Without prayer and support and love from others it is easy to fall into temptation and revert back to our old ways real quick. Be there for them, disciple them, and get them involved in church and fellowship as quickly as possible.

I hope this helps you with your witnessing and I hope this gives you the confidence you need to boldly step out in faith and allow God to use you to make an impact on His Kingdom. Can you remember the day that someone told you about Jesus and the impact that that made on the rest of your life? Well it's your turn to pass on the Good News! God bless you as you serve Him!


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Christian's are ordinary people too!

Did you know that since you are now a Christian you are perfect? Yep, sure enough! Did you know that since you gave your life to Christ, well, you'll never be tempted with sin anymore, you'll always do the right things and say the right things? You didn't know that? You'll never lie, cheat, steal, or gossip again. Did you know that because you are a Christian and now have the Holy Spirit living in you, well, you just won't struggle in those areas of sin anymore! Didn't you know that?

Before we go any further.... I hope you know that everything I just said is NOT true! But I'm amazed at how many people think it is.

I believe it's so important for us as Christians to live our lives in a way that shows the way to Jesus. We don't want to be a stumbling block for others. We should be a light in a dark world. We can't be of this world, (we can't look like it.) We should be different, we should be an example for others so they can see joy and happiness because we belong to the Lord. We have eternal life and we have a peace that can only come from a Relationship with Jesus, our Savior. But the change in us is not of ourselves. The change in us comes from the power of the Holy Spirit within us. If we stop cussing, lying, cheating and sinning; etc. etc. etc. it's only because we are being obedient to the Holy Spirit within us.
We don't become perfect saints or sinless people now that we have given our life to Jesus. But what we do have is the ability to overcome those natural tendencies within us by the power of the Holy Spirit if we obey His leading.

Before I became a Christian, I thought that "those" people were somehow better than me. I mean, they were good enough to go to church! You see I thought you had to be living right before you went to church. So that meant that since I liked to drink a beer once in a while, well I couldn't go to church till I got that issue resolved and eliminated. I knew that occasionally I would slip out those cuss words that I knew I shouldn't say. Oh they weren't the really nasty words, but they were cuss words none the less, and before I could go to church, well I had to clean up my life. There is no way I could go to church every Sunday and pretend I was good when I knew I wasn't. Regrettably that was my understanding of Religion at the time, and I dare say, that it's the way many other people feel as well. As a person that didn't know the Lord or attend Church or know much of anything about the bible, I thought that somehow these Christians were better people. They must have it all together somehow and that's why they were in God's house.

But then I'd see them throughout the week while at work or at school and they would do the same things that I did, they would say the same bad words that I did, maybe not as often, but they slipped them out just like I would once in a while. They weren't perfect saints like I thought they were.

I remember the first time I really started taking my family to Church faithfully was at age 30. I had given my life to Christ as a teenager, but throughout my teenage years I really went my own way and eventually found myself not going to church or reading my bible anymore and my prayer life was non existent (unless of course I was in trouble, then I was a praying fanatic. You know the prayer.... "God if you get me out this one...I'll ...."). Well as I got older and had children I realized the need to get myself refocused on what I knew I needed. I needed to restore my relationship with Jesus. We started going to church as a family when our neighbors invited us to join them one Sunday. This one invitation was the beginning of many Sunday school classes and worship services that helped us to learn and grow in our faith. But you know, deep down inside me I still thought I wasn't good enough to be in church. I still struggled with sin, I'd still say those bad words once in a while. I did quit the beers, but that was really never an issue anyway, I rarely drank, and didn't even like the taste much anyway so it was an easy thing for me to give up. I guess I still thought I had to be better. I always wondered if there would be a day when I could be as good as the other Christians that I knew in church?

It wasn't until I started attending a Men's Ministry class on Sunday evenings that I finally realized that these Christians were no different than me or anyone else for that matter. During the beginning of the class we would always have prayer requests and we shared with each other our struggles with sin that we had in our lives. I was absolutely shocked and relieved to hear that most of the men in the class struggled with the same issues and sins that I struggled with. These men that I had held in my mind as very holy perfect saints, were not so perfect, they struggled just like me. What a relief! One of the men shared with me Romans 3:23 (NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Wow! All this time I had it wrong. I was trying to measure up some how, and I never realized that it was impossible for me to do that. No matter how hard I tried, I always failed, and of course I always will.

I've learned that there is only one difference between a Christian and a person who is not a Christian. One admits they are a sinner and goes to church and God to get the help and encouragement they need to be able to overcome their sin. The other feels that because of their sin they can't go to church or to God for help, because they don't understand that really both people are exactly the same. They think one is somehow better than the other and they misunderstand and think it has something to do with who they are or what they've done, when in reality it's the work of the Holy Spirit that changes the person. All people fall short of God's glory. There is not one who is better or more worthy than the other. The bible says... we're all as filthy rags. In other words were all sinners.

So what can we learn from this experience?

  1. As Christians we need to reach out to those that are lost. They may be looking at us and thinking that we are something we're not. We shouldn't look like two different people. You know what I mean.... On Sunday were all happy and smiling, but on Monday it's back to work and life, well, it's the pits! Where's our joy now? We send mixed signals to those that are watching, and they are watching. Reach out and try to get to know someone that you've never seen in church. They may just have some really messed up ideas about religion and God like I did.

  2. Be real... Be who you are. Why do we as Christians pretend to be better than we are? I'll tell you why... it's because we know better. We know that we should behave differently because we belong to Christ. We know that we should be polite and friendly and courteous, so we act like we are and then when we let our guard down and the real us comes out. That's when we look like a hypocrite. We confuse others as they watch what we do and say. Now I said be real, be who you are. The reason I said this is because if we'll be real (not pretend were something else) then we'll realize our sin and our weaknesses and that's when we can go to God for help.

  3. We need to ask God to help us obey the Spirit within us. A battle rages on within us each minute of every day between our new Spirit and our old nature. It's simple....which are we going to listen to? The Holy Spirit or our old nature? We may not be listening at all! If we want to change, then we need to stop trying to change, and focus on Jesus and let the change happen to us as we obey Christ. It's that simple. By being obedient, our life will be transformed into His likeness. We'll act like Him, we'll talk like Him, We'll be more like Him. Then suddenly the things that we used to want to change about ourselves, has changed, and we didn't even realize it happened. That how the God changes us you know, He does it without us knowing it because were not watching ourselves, were watching Him and when we focus on Him, we are changed.

God bless you all. Remember, that we're all the same in the eyes of God. He loves us all equally, He created us all equally, the only differences in us are the different spiritual gifts He's given us and our willingness to be obedient to His will in our lives. Live for Him!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Roman Road, Tell the Good news! (part 1)

The "Roman Road" is simply a road map of verses in the Book of Romans that clearly show us the way to having eternal life in heaven. I've marked these verses in my bible as a quick reference when telling someone about Jesus. In other words witnessing to others about Jesus.

If you are a Christian (Someone who has given their life to Jesus Christ as their Lord) then you know how it happened that you came to know the Lord. SOMEONE told you about Him! Someone either told you about Jesus or they gave you a track that told you about Jesus, or you learned about Jesus from a source of media that you either read, heard or saw. You see, God uses us to spread the word to others so that they may have eternal life with Him. Imagine where you would be today if nobody had told you about Christ. Well you'd be lost! Your soul would be cast into the lake of fire on the day of judgement because your name was not found written in the "Book of Life." We know there is only one way to ensure you have eternal life, and that's by believing that God sent His Son Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sin and that He rose victoriously defeating death and He's alive today. His Spirit's still at work saving souls and He does this by way of our testimony. We have to be willing to share the good news to others. The Holy Spirit is ready and waiting for you to plant the seed. Hopefully this information that I'm giving you will help you to plant seeds. You don't even have to be good at planting seeds, you just have to do it. One things for sure, if you don't plant seeds, there's no chance for growth is there? So here's some tips on what you can do to prepare yourself to be a better witness for Christ. We're going to prepare ourselves to be able to lead someone to Christ by first setting up our bibles so that we can find the verses we want to share with others. We need to be able to find these verses quickly and with ease.

1. Take your bible and write on the inside cover (front page).....
"Step One" - Go to Romans 3:23, page# (whatever page # it is in your bible)

2. Turn in your bible to page# ? and locate Romans 3:23 and take a highlighter and highlight that verse.

3. At the bottom of the page that you highlighted Romans 3:23, write.....
"Step Two" - Go to Romans 6:23, page# (whatever page # it is in your bible)

4. Turn in your bible to page# ? and locate Romans 6:23 and highlight that verse.

5. At the bottom of the page that you highlighted Romans 6:23, write.....
"Step Three" - Go to Romans 5:8, page# (whatever page # it is in your bible)

6. Turn in your bible to page# ? and locate Romans 5:8 and highlight that verse.

7. At the bottom of the page that you highlighted Romans 5:8, write.....
"Step Four" - Go to Romans 10:9,10, and 13, page # (whatever pg# it is in your bible)

8. Turn in your bible to page# ? and locate these three verses Romans 10:9,10,13 and highlight them.

Now you are ready to study these verses, to understand these verses, and familiarize yourself with what they mean. You have marked your bible so that you can follow along without having to remember every verse. I know that sometimes when we first start witnessing to others we are very nervous and anxious, so by having these verses and these steps identified in your bible for you this way, you can be assured you won't get lost while telling someone about Jesus. The road is laid out for you to follow and all you have to do is follow the steps. Now lets prepare ourselves to share the gospel with someone that God has laid on your heart to witness to.

There are some questions that you can use to start conversation when witnessing. You can ask... "Do you think about Spiritual things?" or "Do you believe there is a heaven?" or "Do you believe in God?" These are simple questions that require really only a yes or no response. Then you'll want to follow up with this question... "Do you know for certain that if you were to die today that you would go to heaven?"

If they answer this question "NO, I don't know." then this is your opportunity to tell them they can know. Ask them if they would like to go to heaven when they die? If they say yes then ask them if you could show them how they can know for sure they will go to heaven when they die? Then if they say yes then open your bible to the inside cover and start from "Step One" on the Roman Road and say... "Let me show you what the bible says about it." Then proceed with your witnessing. (we'll get to what to say later).

If they answer "yes, I do know for certain I will go to heaven when I die." Then ask them how they know.
They may tell you they know the Lord as their savior and they'll explain. What your wanting to hear is that they understand that Jesus died for their sins, and they realized that they're a sinner and that they believe Jesus died and rose from the dead and paid the penalty or debt for their sins. And because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to save the lost, they gave their life to Jesus as their Lord and they repented of their sins and asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and now they know they have eternal life, because of what Jesus did for them.
They may tell you they think they're going to heaven, they'll say things like they "hope they are going to heaven," or they "hope they have been good enough," or they may say "I'm not a bad person, I don't cuss or steal or anything really bad, I think God will let me in heaven." they may say, "I go to church and I read my bible so I know that I'm going to heaven." If they answer this way then you'll know they need to hear the truth of the Gospel and you can say something like... "The bible tells us there is only one way to get into heaven and that's through a relationship with Jesus Christ." Then ask... "Do you want to know for certain that when you die you'll go to heaven?" If they answer "yes," then lead them down the Roman road and start with "Step One" on the inside cover of your bible.

Remember your goal here is not to save anyone. We don't save people. Jesus does! Our work is simply to present the message of Christ and allow the Spirit to do the work. We're just planting seeds for Christ. If that person says "No, I'm not interested." then do not be offended or hurt or feel like you have failed in anyway. You did what the Lord wanted you to do. You attempted to tell someone about Jesus, and for whatever reason it just wasn't in God's timing for this person to give his or her life to Christ. Just remember to pray for that person and hope that God allows other people to try and share to them like you did, and over time, maybe they will have their eyes opened and be able to see the truth. The worst thing that we can do is measure our success at witnessing by how many people give their life over to Jesus at the time of our witnessing. When I think back to the day I gave my life to Christ, that was not the first time I was told about Jesus. It took years of different people inviting me to church and telling me about the Lord before His Spirit finally convicted me of my sin. I wish I could go back now and tell all those that had witnessed to me that they did have an impact on my life and it's because of their faithfulness that I belong to Christ today. They just don't know the impact they made on me, but I do, and I'm thankful for them all.

In a few days I'll post again "The Roman Road, Tell the Good News pt.2" and I'll explain how you can share each verse and explain what it means so that whoever you are talking to understands and you can also feel more comfortable with your witness. The more you do it the more comfortable you'll get and the less anxious you'll feel. You just need to get going and be prepared for God to use you in a mighty way to impact His Kingdom! God bless you in your service.


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Stop the Madness

Sometimes we need to just stop what were doing and start over. Especially when it comes to areas of sin or temptation in our life. We need to realize when it's gone too far and do whatever it takes to stop the madness. Sometimes with sin we think that things will work out and over time it will get better. But it doesn't. Sin breeds more sin and the consequences just keep building up.

Have you ever been snow skiing? I remember years ago when my wife and I learned how to snow ski. The first thing we learned to do was to "snow plow." This is what you do to brake or slow down as your skiing down the slope. The second thing we learned to do was to "fall down" properly. The reason we learned this is because if you're going too fast and you can't seem to slow down then you have to know how to fall down without getting hurt and stop your forward progress down the slope. These two things are really all you need to know on day one, the rest comes with practice. I learned the hard way how important knowing how and when to fall down is to the skier. I discovered that if I'm skiing down the slope and I'm gaining momentum and going faster and faster, and I'm snow plowing but it's just not working and I'm still going faster and faster, there are thoughts that go through your head very quickly at the moment you realize your not going to stop. One is... "I'll gain control of this and be alright." The other is... "Fall down NOW!" "Stop now before it's too late!" From first hand experience I can tell you that if you are flying down a mountain and you realize it's time to stop, you better do whatever it takes to stop. "It only gets worse the longer you wait!" I remember thinking... "I'm going to fast, I have to fall down." But then I'd think, "Well I think I can get this under control." Then I'd think "OH NO, I'm really going too fast now, if I fall down now it's really going to hurt." So I go on... How stupid was that?... Now I'm really in trouble and I realize I'm no longer in control of my skiing at all, I'm heading straight down the mountain and heading for the moguls. Something inside of me says... "Fall down you idiot!" But I don't listen, I keep going. Finally I hit the first mogul and launch myself into orbit. When I finally return to earth... well lets just say it wasn't pretty.

I learned a very valuable lesson that day. When things are starting to get bad, they can go from bad to worse real quick if you don't do something to stop it right then when you realize it's going wrong. I had to learn the hard way that it's always best to STOP, and begin again when I see things are getting out of hand. The sad thing about this whole lesson was, I knew what to do! I could have avoided this disastrous wreak. But I chose to keep going (knowing better) and I paid the price.

We do this everyday with sin and temptation. We like to flirt with sin. We get so close that we find it more and more difficult to stop until eventually we can't stop and then we find ourselves heading towards disaster real quick. The best advise I can give when you find yourself lost in sin is found in the book of James.

James 4:7, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

Stop what your doing! Submit yourself to God. It's through His strength and His strength alone that you can resist the devil. The promise is that the devil will flee from you. In other words you'll no longer be tempted, he'll leave you alone.
You know Jesus faced temptation as well, but every time he was tempted by the devil, Jesus would say... "For it is written." and then Jesus would quote scripture explaining why he would not fall into temptation. We need to be like Jesus. We need to study God's word (the bible) so that when we are tempted by Satan, we too can boldly say... "For it is written." and then quote scripture to turn that devil around heading the other direction.

The key with sin is to recognize it! To recognize that were going to fast, or were not even going in the right direction. Something has to change quick or I'm going to get hurt. When we recognize were in trouble, this is when we should react. Submit to God, resist the sin and the devil will flee from you.

God Bless you.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

What Shall I do Lord?

Acts 22:10,21

(10) "What shall I do Lord? I asked. "Get up," the Lord said, "and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do." (21) Then the Lord said to me, "Go; I will send you away to the Gentiles."

I'm always amazed at Paul and the way he totally sold out to Christ. Paul was a man who truly thought he was doing the work of God as he persecuted Christians dragging them away to prison because of their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. He was the one who stood by in approval as the crowd beat and stoned Stephen to his death (Acts:22:19,20). But Paul eventually had an encounter with Jesus. While traveling on the way to Damascus Paul saw a bright Light shining all around him and a voice saying, "Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me? Paul asks who it is that is speaking to him and the voice answers saying... "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting." Paul's next question is a question that will change his life forever. "What shall I do Lord?"

I tried to think back long ago to the day I had my encounter with Jesus... the day I gave my Life to Christ, and I don't remember asking, "What shall I do Lord?" As a matter of fact it's only been in the last several years that I have even thought about asking Jesus what it is He wants me to do. Oh sure I've asked for His guidance and His help, but that's not what Paul was asking here. The question that Paul asked revealed his willingness to obey whatever his Lord tells him to do. You see, when we ask... What shall I do Lord? We are acknowledging that he has power and authority over us, and we're awaiting His instruction. Why did Paul have such an impact on the Kingdom of God? Well it was his willingness to ask this question. Also his willingness to do what he was told to do.

What was Paul's mission? What did God assign Paul to do? He was to tell the world about Jesus. Because of Paul many people other than Jews were now going to be introduced to Jesus. Paul's whole life was full of pain and suffering. In and out of prisons and enduring several beatings. But Paul still praised the Lord in his work. How could he do this? Because he knew that he was in the center of God's will. When in prison, he didn't say woe is me, he said praise the Lord and he sang praises to God and the men around him gave their lives to Christ. It occurs to me that the only way we can sing praises to God during the storms of our lives is when we know we're right where God wants us to be. We're not focused on our circumstances but rather we're asking, "What shall I do Lord, while I'm here in this place?" He might just say... These people need to know me and I've brought you here to tell them the good news. How long has it been since you asked, "What shall I do Lord?"

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus. What is it you want me to do? May I always ask and may I always be obedient to go where you tell me to go and do what you tell me to do. I put my life in your guiding hand. Amen

It can't be this simple!

Passage of Scripture, Luke 23:39-43

Luk 23:39
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself-and us, too, while you're at it!"
Luk 23:40
But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying?
Luk 23:41
We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong."
Luk 23:42
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
Luk 23:43
And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."

So many people misunderstand Gods love for us. They misunderstand His grace and forgiveness. They just don't believe salvation can be this simple. There must be more to it than this! Rules to obey, a certain way to live our life, things we can do to hopefully be good enough to earn our way into heaven. It's called legalism and legalism is a stumbling block. Legalism prevents us from realizing that when it comes to our salvation, there are no rules to follow. To be saved from a place called Hell where we're eternally separated from God simply means to believe that Jesus is who he says he is. To have faith that Jesus is the Son of God. The bible reminds us that the ways of God will seem foolish to those that do not know Him so it's no wonder that so many people just can't understand this. They lack faith.

One thief, made fun of Jesus. Mocked him and hurled insults at him. Told him if he was who he said he was he should save himself and the two of them as well. This thief for what ever reason had no faith. He didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah for a minute. I can only imagine how foolish he really thought Jesus was. All this talk about being the Son of God. Sure, prove it!

The other thief, believed Jesus to be who he said he was. He asked the other thief... "Don't you fear God, even when you're dying?" Then this thief says something that is most important. He acknowledges his sin. He says, we're getting what we deserve. we deserve to die because we're evil people, but this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong. The next words this thief says secures his salvation. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom. He called on Jesus to remember him, to not forget him, to never let him go.

Then came the promise... Jesus says... "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.

How do we get saved? We don't do anything to get saved. Jesus does it all! All that is required of us is to believe that God sent his Son Jesus to die for us to pay the penalty for our sins. When we acknowledge that we're sinners (like this thief did), and then call on Jesus to save us (like this thief did), He will assure us eternal life with Him in paradise (like he did for this thief.)

Final thoughts... Did this thief do anything to deserve to be with Jesus in heaven (paradise)? Did this thief attend church faithfully in order to hopefully gain favor with Jesus? Did this thief get baptised first before being allowed to spend eternity with Jesus? The answer of course, is no.

This is the simplest example I know of to show just how easy God has made it for us to spend eternity with Him. He loves us that much! It's a shame that we've made it so complicated.

Do you believe that you are a sinner? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God like he says he is? Do you have eternal life? This thief is your example of what to do. Trust in Jesus to save you and spend eternity with Him in Paradise!