(Deuteronomy 14:3, John 1:12, Romans 9:26, Galatians 3:29)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, when a Bible Study is planned to be held in a bar and have a drink of beer, wine, or other form of alcohol, during the study, is it a way of reaching out to the un-churched, especially the younger kids, college age ?? I have been given the argument, when I disagree, that Jesus served wine at the banquet feast, so what is wrong where we meet, if we are learning about God’s word and is taught by our Pastor? Is this considered Evangelism? So far, those who have attended the 2 meetings they have had, are people who attend church and are not of college age. Most are retired. I am confused!
ANSWER: Nobody is for reaching people where they live than I am. However, there does have to be a line drawn. Having a Bible Study inside of a bar that is open and operating as a bar is like having a Bible Study inside of an x-rated bookstore! I have done TONS of evangelistic outreaches around bars…but OUTSIDE…trying to reach those going in and coming out. I don’t think there is anything wrong if an individual, or group, goes into a bar (not drinking), to engage the patrons. However, the people who own/run the bar will toss you out in a few minutes so you won’t accomplish anything. Also, in settings like this, people are NOT there to hear about the Lord or the Bible. What you are trying to accomplish is planting seeds and giving them something to think about. I get the plan of your pastor, but it is a flawed plan. He will accomplish more handing out tracts to people going in, coming out.
Each person comes to know Christ in their own and unique way. One of the biggest problems I deal with every day is people who have accepted Christ as their Savior, but don’t really have a close, intimate, personal relationship with Him. I submit to you today that a large percentage of Christians, people who are saved and going to Heaven, look at being a Christian the same way they look at being part of the Tuesday night bowling league. It is part of their life, it is not their life.
Today, I am going to share with you one of the most critical Devotionals God has led me to write in 15+ years. For many, it will give you an entirely new look on what being a Christian really means. Most of all, I pray today that for those who read these words, today will be the day that the “lightbulb goes off,” and you understand that being a Christian is about having a real and vibrant and personal relationship with Jesus. Today, I want to help you learn how to make your relationship with Jesus, your own.
I am sure many people right now are very puzzled about what I am talking about, while others are thinking this is an elementary message. Yes it is foundational, but it is also the very essence of what being a follower of Christ is really all about. You see, most people get saved and it is often years later, sadly in many cases never, that they learn what having a personal relationship with Jesus is really all about. Just like God created each of us in a unique and special way, each person has their own unique and special relationship with Jesus.
My friend, you can’t have your mother’s relationship with the Lord, you can’t have your father’s relationship with the Lord, you can’t have your friend’s relationship with the Lord, you can’t have your spouse’s relationship with the Lord, you can’t have your pastor’s relationship with the Lord, YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD! Each person has got to find their own personal relationship with Christ!!!
This is why discipleship is so critical. After a person make the commitment of their heart and life to the Lord by faith, it is imperative that they find someone to mentor them, to guide them in their new-found faith. A person who gets saved and is not discipled is no different than a baby that is born and then left on the floor of the birthing room. A person who gets saved has come to that place in their life where they acknowledge they are a sinner, that they need a Savior, and that Jesus Christ is the One who died for their sins. By putting their faith and trust in Him, their sins will be forgiven and they have the promise and assurance that when this brief life is over they will be with Him forever.
THIS IS AS FAR AS THE VAST MAJORITY OF CHRISTIANS EVER GET!!!
It is not their fault. They don’t know any better. All they know is that once they were lost and now they are found, that once they were once blind and now they see. However, beyond that, unless someone tells them what to do next, they simply go back to living their life as before. Let me add that so many churches are to blame. They do a great job of raising millions to build new buildings, but do virtually NOTHING in bringing the lost to Christ or discipling new Believers. Millions of people sit in the pews of churches all across our nation every Sunday who have made the commitment to accept Christ into their heart and life by faith, but have been frozen at that point in their spiritual growth for 1, 5, 10, even 50 years!!!
Again, it is not their fault. There needs to be a shepherd to lead them. Someone to teach them how to walk with Christ. Someone to teach them how to grow in their faith. Someone to guide them how to make their faith real in their daily life. Someone to encourage and challenge them to rise up and be the man or woman of God they have been called to be. Jesus said that the people are like sheep. Without a shepherd to lead them, the sheep will simply wander aimlessly and end up lost, confused, with no direction or purpose. We have too many weak and ineffective pastors, so it is no wonder why we have so many weak and ineffective Christians!
So how do you have a real relationship with Jesus? First, you have to realize that your relationship with the Lord is like any other relationship in your life. You have to work at it, you have to commit time, effort, and energy into it. You only get out of a relationship what you put into it. That holds true for your relationship with the Lord. To have a meaningful relationship with the Lord, you MUST spend time with the Lord each day. You do that in prayer, talking to Him and letting Him talk to you. You do that by reading the Word, another way the Lord will speak to you. Remember, the more time and energy you put into your relationship with the Lord, the better that relationship will be and the greater part of your life it will become.
Second, our relationship with the Lord is literally 24/7/365. What that means is that your relationship with Christ is continual and part of every second of every day. This is a key area many people fail to comprehend. They treat their relationship with the Lord like their relationship with their favorite Aunt who you might see once a week or so. People go to church for an hour on Sunday to “be with Jesus,” but forget about Him until the next time they go to church. When you accept the Lord as your Savoir by faith, you are literally giving Him your very life. At the moment you are saved, the Holy Sprit indwells you and God is literally living in you. The Lord has promised to never leave you nor forsake you, He is with you always.
Lastly, very few people will admit it, so let me say it for you. It is weird having a personal, intimate, daily relationship with someone you can’t see! You can see, touch, communicate with your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your friends, but Jesus is invisible. Those who mock the Lord and Christians laugh at our “imaginary friend.” Let me tell you this day that Jesus is alive and well! He lives in you and you can feel His presence in your heart and life just as much as anyone else you are with. You CAN talk to Him, and He will talk to you. Jesus is real and Jesus is alive!!!
The same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem’s manger, the same Jesus who preached and prophesied and worked miracles, the same Jesus who gave His life on the cross for the sins of all mankind, the same Jesus who God raised from the dead on the third day…IS THE VERY SAME JESUS THAT IS ALIVE TODAY AND SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER AND DESIRES TO HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I want to encourage you today in your relationship with the Lord. It is not a questions of does Jesus want to have a relationship with you, after all, God created us to have fellowship with Him, it is a question of do you want to have a relationship with Jesus. If you have accepted Him into your heart and life by faith that means you do have a relationship with the Lord, an everlasting one. Now it is a matter of making that relationship with the Lord real now during this life, making it your own.
That is why you have to invest the time, effort, and energy into your relationship with the Lord each day. That relationship can be as special as you want to make it and will grow and become more special to you over time. Pray, communicate with the Lord and let Him talk to you Read the Bible, and let the Lord speak to you through His Word. Never forget that the Lord is literally with you 24/7/365 and take advantage of His presence. Jesus is real, His love for you is real, and His desire to have a personal, intimate relationship with you is real.
I will be praying for you today. Praying that today you will realize that Jesus loves you and loves you so much that He died for your sins. He gave His very life so you could escape the eternal punishment you deserve. How mind boggling is it that this same Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with YOU! I pray that you will take advantage of this incredible opportunity and begin today to start building that relationship with the Lord. As I tell you often, the only thing we will take from this life into eternity is our relationship with the Lord. He will be your friend now and for all eternity!!!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
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