Next Steps

nolausaSo, you got this shiny piece of paper from a guy in a red hat that says NGL. Maybe you’re here to find out more. We trust it was more than curiosity that led you here. We believe God is doing something in your heart. Let’s continue the conversation.

To recap what you probably already heard, here are some things we believe:

 

The God who created the universe loves you, personally.
From the order of creation, to concepts like beauty and love, so many signs point to the existence of an ordering power. We believe that our deep longing for connection, justice and mercy points to the character of that ordering power – a character we see exhibited in God. That same God has drawn near to the creation He lovingly crafted through sacred texts, prophets, and ultimately, in the person of Jesus Christ. The God who gives light to all the stars of the sky cares deeply and personally for you, a child of His own making.

Sin separates us from God.
God desires an unbroken relationship of love and trust with each of us. Yet, we so often desire control, and selfishly fulfill our wants in ways that break trust, and hurt our relationships. We can witness that profound wounding in specific areas of our own lives, and we certainly see it in the injustices, inequalities, and evils that we observe in the world around us. Racism, poverty, sexism, fear, and violence all point to a fundamental sickness in human hearts and spirits. Our own brokenness – seen in the things we do that we know we shouldn’t, as well as the things we know we should do, but don’t – that brokenness results in us building a wall between ourselves and the God of perfect love. Each self-serving act or failure to act builds a barrier between us and true healing. It’s a fortified and calcified wall that, despite our best efforts, we are unable to tear down on our own.

Jesus Christ died and rose again to restore us now, and forever.
In our desperate situation, God didn’t leave us helpless. God’s Son stepped down from the glory of heaven to enter into the human condition. Jesus was an infant, nurtured by his mother. Jesus was a human, subjected to the same hurts, trials, and temptations that come to each of us. But that isn’t all. Jesus was called Emmanuel: “God with us.” God humbled Himself, coming to earth as a servant, and submitting Himself to take a punishment He didn’t deserve to spare our lives from the punishment that would be ours.
See, living this life rejecting God would lead us to an eternity apart from God’s comfort, provision, and mercies. By His death, Jesus tore down the walls of separation we constructed, took our sin-stained hearts and washed them clean. Through His death, Jesus Christ won for us a brand new beginning. By accepting this gift, we are reborn with hearts newly filled with compassion and selflessness. This new nature provides us with hope for today, and the promise of an eternity in the presence of our loving God.

We must receive this gift.
God wants to enter into your life, but Jesus doesn’t take control unless He’s invited. Scripture tells us that Jesus stands at the door and knocks, and anyone who lets Him in will join Him for a meal – a dinner between friends.
There’s a reason why you’ve read this far. You may not hear God knocking at a literal door, but you can feel something working within you. There’s a longing to take all the shame, burden, sadness, sin, and wounds you’ve been carrying – maybe for years – and hand them over to the God who is able to take all of that and redeem it. Maybe you know that now is your opportunity to take all that time that feels wasted, and to let Jesus turn it into a story of new life and hope. If so, a new beginning might start with something as simple as a prayer like this:

Dear God,
Thank you for your love.
I know I have lived in ways that reject you, and reject your perfect love.
Forgive me, Lord. I receive the gift won for me through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit.
Let me live every day for your glory.
In Jesus name, Amen.

What now?
If you have found a new start through Jesus, then there are some ways we get to respond to keep that gift fresh in our hearts. We connect with the family of faith God has given to this world by building a relationship with a church where we can worship and gather with other believers. We nourish new life through reading the Bible and through prayer. Like a beggar telling another beggar where we’ve found bread, we share this good thing we’ve found. These things may not come easy to us at first, but with God’s help, and the encouragement we receive from our new family, we get to see our lives changing in ways that cause us to show greater love, forgiveness, grace, and charity.

Okay, enough from us.
We want to hear from you. If you fill out this contact form, we’ll send you a Bible along with information about how to nurture and develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Please feel free to send questions about Christian faith, need for prayer, or comments about your Mardi Gras conversation in the comment field. We’re truly grateful we had a chance to start a conversation with you.

Thank you! We’ve prayed for this conversation since before it ever happened. Know that you continue to be in our prayers.

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