I’m what you might call a late bloomer pastor. There are a few of us around. We’re the ones who have had the call to shepherd for many years but for whatever reasons were unable to pursue the call in our younger years. The church I’m privileged to be a part of took me on when in my mid fifties. You can say this is my first rodeo.
When I get up in the morning I try not to look in the mirror but when I do and I see lots of gray hair and it’s a stark reminder that as John Wayne would put it, “Slap some bacon on a biscuit boys we’re burning daylight”. With this sense of urgency comes the desire to stay focused. The best advice I received as a pastor was simply to point folks to God. Not my agenda, my understanding or my political cause but to God as He makes himself known through His story our Bible.
Throughout history there have been and continue to be many individuals and groups who have used this same Bible for selfish and misguided motives to promote misrepresentations of who God is and what He’s about. Our county is not immune to this. It can be a frightening thing to trust.
Thirty-some-odd years ago a local man of God introduced me to this God of the Bible using a Billy Graham tract. In recognition of the hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who have come into a relationship with this living God thru Billy Graham’s ministries I’d ask us to hear him out.
Steps to peace with God:
1. God’s Plan —Peace and Life
God loves you and wants you to experience His peace and life. The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
2. Our Problem — Separation
Being at peace with God is not automatic, because by nature you are separated from God. The Bible says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
3. God’s Remedy — The Cross
God’s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says: “He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross.” (1 Peter 2:24, tlb).
4. Our Response — Receive Christ
You cross the bridge into God’s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. The Bible says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12).
To receive Christ you need to do four things:
1. Admit your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
2. Repent and be willing to turn from your sin.
3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
4. Receive, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.
Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20). The Bible says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
What to pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you find yourself wanting to know more I’d invite you to not delay getting answers to the questions you might have. Seek a church or a person who can point you to this living God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your and lean not on our own understandings. In all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Bruce Macek is pastor at Newman Community Bible Church, 9230 Sagle Road.