Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Happy Birthday to Me!
On October 7, 1972 I accepted Christ as my savior. I had grown up in the church and participated fully in every aspect of Sunday School, choir and youth group. I was baptized at the age of 4 months and confirmed at the age of 12 but I did not really know Jesus as my personal savior. I knew him as the main character in many wonderful Bible stories. I felt bad about the crucifixion as it seemed like a bad thing to have happened to a nice person like Jesus, but I did not connect the cross of Christ to the sins of my life and my need for Christ’s death as the way of salvation.
I went off to Lebanon Valley College at the age of 17 and met a group of Christians there. I could see that Jesus was the center of their life and that they actually had a living relationship with the Spirit of Christ that was in them. I contrasted that to my life and it was clearly different for me. Through my relationship with these campus Christians, my own peers, that I came to understand about Jesus’ death on the cross as the way forgiveness and that I was in need of that saving grace. I accepted Christ and that was the point where I made the decision to live for Jesus. Christianity means being a “little Christ” out in the world. Exchanging your life for Christ is at the center of salvation.
Still today relationship is everything. Our world is obsessed with cell phones, pagers, Facebook and e-mail. We are starved as a culture for connections and relationship. It is that relationship with Jesus that truly satisfies and puts all other relationships in context.
William Barclay once wrote: “Christianity does not mean knowing about Christ, it means knowing Christ and to do that requires not earthly wisdom, but heavenly grace.” It is the “old, old story of Jesus and his love” that we need to continue to tell the world. By our loving relationships with people we model Christ’s love. That draws people to Christ. We don’t talk people into salvation by head knowledge or skilled apologetics. We build relationships that nurture people into an understanding of Jesus’ love through our witness.
Who does Christ want you to lead to him? We do it one person at a time. It comes by taking time to be with people in relationship and being sure that our witness is genuine and our lives are a model of Christian grace and patience.
**Learn more in our Evangelism and Faith Sharing Training event with Dr. Eddie Fox on Saturday, November 3 at Bethany UMC in Allentown: