How to Begin a Relationship with God, and Know You’ll Be in Heaven.

The central theme of the Bible is God’s love for you and for all people. This love was greatly revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died a horrible death on the cross as payment for our sins, and proved His victory over death by His resurrection from the dead. Because Christ died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death, you can have eternal life. You can know for sure about your destination after you die.

Check out this helpful link from the Billy Graham Association on how to begin a relationship with God, which will show you the way to eternal life and peace with God: www.peacewithgod.net

We at Grace Church invite you to grow in your knowledge of who God is, and explore the wonders of God’s Word in the Bible, which teaches us how to walk with Him. God gives us amazing insights about who He is, and clear evidence that he faithfully fulfills all His promises. Some commonly asked questions are addressed in the section below entitled “tough questions”.

Is There Really a God?

Polls show that as many as 96 percent of all Americans strongly believe in the existence of a God who is holy and perfect, and who created the world and rules it today. But is there really a God? You cannot prove that God exists, at least by normal scientific methods.

If it is beyond our five senses to examine, then you cannot use science to either prove or disprove. But think about it, no one has ever seen love, yet we all know it is real. No one has ever smelled freedom, but it exists. The key is to look for evidence that would support whether or not it is reasonable to believe in the existence of God. Christians believe that such evidence exists in abundance.

For example, the leading hypothesis for the beginning of the universe is the “Big Bang” theory, which maintains that at one time all matter was packed into a dense mass at temperatures of many trillions of degrees. Then, roughly 4 billion years ago, there was a huge explosion. From that explosion, all of the matter that today forms our planets and stars was born. The great cosmological question is:

“What caused the Big Bang?”

Even more important, where did the matter come from – you can’t have something come from nothing!

Dr. Robert Jastrow, professor of Astronomy at both Columbia University and Dartmouth College, director of the Mount Wilson Institute, manager of the Mount Wilson Observatory, and for twenty years director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, made the following comment in regard to the Big Bang:

“Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world.”

But there is far more than “cause and effect” to consider; there is the great order and design of the world as well. Imagine you came upon a space shuttle sitting in the middle of the desert. You could reason that it came together by chance through a chaotic sandstorm.
But your initial thought would likely be that someone made it and placed it there. Buildings imply an architect, paintings suggest a painter. There is design in the universe, so it is reasonable to assume that there is a Great Designer. The alternative is that infinite time plus chance, in the context of chaos, created incredible order and purpose. This would be akin to having the software for the latest windows application result – by chance – from an explosion in a computer warehouse.
Physicist Stephen Hawking once told a reporter that:

“The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the big bang are enormous. … I think clearly there are religious implications.”

And so do Christians.

The debate is hardly academic. More consequence for thought and action flow from this one question than any other question you can raise.

What is God Like?

Most of us have a picture of God in our minds that we have drawn, usually based on a series of ideas, feelings and past experiences from our life. Christianity presents a picture of God that is both unique and compelling, but it may be a picture that is very different than the one you’ve drawn before. Here are some common images people have about God.

The Cosmic Cop
Some images of God portray him as some kind of “cosmic cop,” a Being whose mission in life is to catch us doing something wrong in order to punish us. There is no doubt that Christianity presents God as a God of justice and truth, right and wrong, but the Bible also teaches that God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love (Psalm 103:8). The Bible contains countless references to God’s tenderness, His patience, His sensitivity to our weaknesses, and His desire to be our Friend.

Santa Claus
Some images of God seem to portray Him as a celestial Santa Claus, a grandfatherly type who smiles at everything we do, and then pats us on the head while giving us whatever it is we want. This is a picture of God that is safe, comfortable, convenient, warm and fuzzy – regardless of how we live. According to the Bible, this is every bit as distorted as seeing God as the “cosmic cop.” Instead, the Christian faith presents a God who is to be taken very seriously.

Big Man
Some pictures see God as little more than a “big man,” a John Wayne figure that is like us, only more. But while God is a Person and is personal, he is not an advanced human being. Instead, the Bible says that “God is spirit” (John 4:24), who is “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Timothy 1:17). While the Bible often uses physical imagery as a literary device to discuss the personality of God, He is not made of flesh and blood. His nature and being goes far beyond a superhuman version of us.

The Force
Finally, some ideas picture God like the “force” in the Star Wars movies, seeing everything as God. Therefore God is not “He,” or even personal, but an “it.” The Bible does teach that God surrounds and guides the universe, and that God is present everywhere; He is Spirit – but that’s where the comparison ends. The very basis of the Christian faith is that God is a Person, and wants to be in a personal relationship with each one of us.

The Real God
A man once expressed to his Christian friend the frustration of many spiritual seekers when he asked, “Why doesn’t God make it clear – why doesn’t He just come down and make His existence conclusively known, letting everyone know exactly who He is and what He is like?”

His friend’s answer surprised him: “He did. That is why Christians believe that Jesus is so important.”

Why is Jesus So Important?

Why are Christians intrigued by a lone historical figure from the distant past? This question is particularly pressing when you consider that His life didn’t seem destined for greatness. He was born into poverty, living in an obscure village. He didn’t go to high school or college. He never visited a large city. In fact, He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where He was born.

He was only 33 years old when the tide of public opinion turned against Him, prompting even His closest friends to abandon Him. He was then turned over to His enemies and was nailed to a wooden cross between two criminals. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had on earth.

After He died, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of an acquaintance. Yet almost two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is arguably the central figure of the entire human race. Why? It begins with His life.

Why His Life Matters
Christians believe the life of Jesus matters first because of who He was: God in human form, which was Jesus’ claim for Himself (for example, see John 8:48-59; John 10:36; John 14:6).

Second, His life matters because of how He lived. As God in human form, He lived a perfect life and gave us the best picture of how life ought to be lived. Finally, His life matters because of what He taught. Christians sense within the teachings of Jesus an authority and truth that isn’t found anywhere else.

Why His Death Matters
Christians believe that the death of Jesus matters because it was in our place. Sin in our life is serious business, and separates us from God leading to eternal, spiritual death. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, our relationship with God can be restored and spiritual death can be avoided.

Why His Resurrection Matters
But Jesus’ life and death pale in comparison to why Jesus matters the most to Christians – after His death, the Bible maintains that Jesus rose from the dead. This is what the celebration of Easter is all about: the resurrection of Jesus, which gives Christians the ability to trust in Jesus, have a new beginning in life, experience power for living, and look to the future with hope. As the Bible teaches, “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven.” (1 Peter 1:3)

Does Christianity Work?

M. Scott Peck opened up his best-selling book “The Road Less Traveled” with three profound words: “Life is difficult.” And he’s right – it is. And many seekers begin their spiritual search not for the discovery of truth, but for the discovery of coping strategies, for survival, for a way to make it through another day. As one man said, “I need to know whether or not its true, but I also need to know whether or not it works.”

Christianity begins its practical relevance for the human life with the life of Jesus, a working, compelling model of how life is to be lived. By enacting what we ought to be like, He showed who we were meant to be.

Christianity also has the most relevant, comprehensive handbook imaginable in the Bible. And what it has to say is relevant to every aspect of life, such as marriage, parenting, relationships, finances, business, self-image, and family life.

Also, Christianity offers us power for living. And we need power – not only to endure the stress and struggle of life, but to also experience lasting, authentic life-change in the areas of our weaknesses.

Finally, Christianity can make a claim to work because of its astounding track record in the lives of millions of Christians throughout time and history.

Aren't There Many Ways to God?

In this day and age, tolerance is seen as a great virtue. And we need to avoid a spirit that persecutes someone for their differing beliefs, or denies them their religious freedom.

But this spirit of tolerance is very different than believing that all points of view are equally valid. Ultimately, the question is whether or not we believe in truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me!” (John 14:6, The Living Bible).

Not a way, a truth, or a life, but the way, the truth, and the life. And this idea marks the Christian faith. In the book of Acts, we read the apostle Peter proclaiming that:  “It is by the name of Jesus Christ. … Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10, Acts 4:12, NIV)

Someone once said that “it’s not shocking that there are not 10 ways to heaven, but it is shocking that God made a way for lost sinners to be reconciled with Him and enter heaven.”  God threw us a life preserver, after we “fell overboard” through our rebellion and sin.  Are we now going to argue with Him that we don’t like the life preserver he threw?

While there may be an initial shock to this outrageous claim, it should not be dismissed simply because there are so many other religions and religious ideas. While there are many from which to choose, they differ radically from each other, and choosing where to place your spiritual trust is neither narrow-minded nor intolerant.

Truth exists, and it matters. If all roads do not lead to God, then our spiritual search will lead us to the scandalous reality of one way.

Christians believe that way is through a person – Jesus Christ.  Based on God’s clear revelation to us through his son the Lord Jesus Christ.

If God is Good, Why Is There So Much Suffering in the World?

The Bible teaches that God is all-powerful, able to do anything He wants. The Bible also teaches that God is thoroughly good. Yet bad things happen.

People reason: If God is good and all-powerful, He shouldn’t let bad things happen; since they do happen, either God isn’t good or He isn’t all-powerful. The Bible teaches that God made us to love us. Because of this, God gave us the freedom to respond to that love, or to reject it. Love is meaningless unless it is freely given and freely received.

The first use of free will, according to the Bible, was by the first humans, Adam and Eve. They made the purposeful choice to disobey God and remove themselves from His leadership. Each of us, like Adam and Eve, has used our free will in ways that has reflected rebellion and disobedience against God. All choices come with consequences, else they were never really choices. The decision to reject God’s leadership altered God’s original design for how the world would operate and how life would be lived, ushering in sin and evil as well as the consequences of sin and evil. Theologians have termed this the “fall,” and point out that we now live in a “fallen” world.

Remember, however, that God is not the author of sin and suffering – we are. God let us choose, and we did. Evil is the rejection or absence of God’s goodness in a situation, as darkness is the absence of light. Our choices can be used in a way that rejects His love and can have terrible consequences. But God has determined that the gift of free will is worth it.

Could God step in and stop the consequences of our choices? Yes, but He doesn’t, for to do so would violate our free will, and the violation of free will would end the possibility of true relationship between us and God. So where is God in the suffering? Right in the middle of it. He is in grief over how free will was used to reject Him. That’s why He has invested Himself in the process of healing the wounds that have come from our choice by entering into the suffering process with us in order to lift us out of it.

Jesus on the cross was God entering into the reality of human suffering, experiencing it just like we do, in order to demonstrate that even when we used our free will to reject Him, His love never ended.

God could wipe out all evil and suffering at any time. But if at midnight tonight God decreed that all evil would be stamped out in the universe, not a single person would be here at 12:01.

God’s hope is that you will instead be given the time to search, and that your search will result in an authentic relationship with Him. So the real question is whether, as a seeker, will you allow the reality of pain and suffering to drive you away from God, or to God?

How Does Someone Explore Christianity?

There is nothing more important than your spiritual search. Christianity, as the world’s largest religion, deserves anyone’s serious attention. So how do you go about authentically exploring Christianity?

First, decide that you’re going to maintain an open mind. This doesn’t mean the blind acceptance of whatever you explore, just an openness to what you might discover. To authentically seek means that you have a healthy balance between solid investigation and a willingness to accept what you find.

Second, determine what it is you’re looking for, and make sure it’s fair. Most seekers would say that they are looking for a relationship with God so that they can order their lives accordingly. And that’s fair. But we don’t always stop there. Sometimes we add things on to our search that are not fair, such as “I want whatever I find to solve all of my problems – instantly.” A relationship with God certainly addresses our problems and helps us with them, but never promises to instantly remove them.
Another unfair expectation is to expect what you find to compliment your lifestyle instead of change it.  Since our deepest needs and issues are spiritual in nature, we should expect our search to lead us to the deepest corners of our life.

The third step is to check out the source documents of the Christian faith, which are found within the pages of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by more than 40 authors over a period of several hundred years. Christians believe that the Bible is God revealing Himself and truth about Himself that could not otherwise be known by people.
When checking out the Bible, make sure you start off with a modern translation. Also, it is often best to start your reading with one of the four biographies of the life of Jesus, which would be the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (named after the men who wrote them). After that, go to a book like James, which will give you a taste of what patterning your life after Christ looks like.
Then read the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and get some answers to some of the foundational questions of human existence in light of what you’ve learned about Christ. After you get those three read, jump in wherever you want.

A fourth suggestion is to be sure that you focus on the identity of Jesus. He really is the heart of the Christian faith.  God the Son promised us in John 6:37 that “whoever comes to me I will never drive away”.
And finally, find a church like Grace that will let you start where you are as you explore the Christian faith. In other words, find a church that will let you come as a seeker and will attempt to serve your seeking process. This will let you talk first-hand with folks who are Christians.

Listen to their stories, raise your questions, enter into a dialogue with them about their faith.

Is the Bible Reliable?

The first thing to understand is that the Bible was endorsed by Jesus. Today, a book is often bolstered by “blurbs” written on the book jacket by famous people or experts in particular fields. Their credibility is used to establish the book’s credibility. For a Christian, there is no more credible figure in history than Jesus, and He threw his weight behind the Bible. (see Matthew 5:18; John 10:35)

Second, the integrity of any ancient writing is determined by the number of documented manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts we have to examine. For example, there are less than ten existing copies of the ancient manuscripts of Plato which are available to study and compare in order to determine the accuracy and quality of the transmission of his writings throughout the years. The oldest of these manuscripts is a copy dating about 1,400 years after it was originally written.

When it comes to the Bible, there are more than 5,000 handwritten manuscripts in the Greek language in support of the New Testament alone that help us ensure the accuracy of its writings. Many of the earliest copies are separated from the originals not by 1,400 years, but by only 25 to 50 years. Simply put, the Bible is the most dependable ancient document in all of history in terms of textual credibility.

Third, the Bible has been supported at every juncture by archaeology. Sir William Ramsay of Oxford University, regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists ever to have lived, concluded upon his own examination that the writers of the Bible are historians of the first rank that should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. So overwhelming was the support of the archaeological evidence that Ramsay eventually became a Christian. The historical integrity of the Bible also extends to the Bible’s record of such things as the teachings of Jesus. Recent evidence has determined that such biblical records as the gospel of Matthew are truly firsthand, eyewitness accounts written as early as A.D. 50, as opposed to layers of stories and traditions that were added over a kernel of Matthew’s actual writings throughout history.

Lastly, the Bible has over 2000 specific prophecies that have been fulfilled over time.  The Bible is totally unique in this area also.  Incredible prophecies such as: the rise and fall of kingdoms of the world; that the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem;  that Israel would become a nation again after almost 1900 years of not being a nation;  and a vivid description of Jesus’ death on a cross, written over 400 years before crucifixion was even invented by the predecessors of the Romans.  Clearly God’s fingerprints are all over this book!

The Bible is the most reliable document imaginable, and can be read by a spiritual seeker with confidence.

How Come Some Christians Are Such Hypocrites?

The media has been filled with stories of ministers who have broken the law, church leaders who have embezzled funds from church accounts, and pastors caught in adulterous affairs. Scores of religious celebrities and leaders have been exposed in recent years for sexual or financial impropriety. But its not just Christians that disappoint us, but institutions as well. As a result, more and more seekers are saying, “Spirituality, yes. Church, no.”

When those who claim to follow Christ are immoral, inflexible, strange, uptight, unloving, judgmental or hypocritical, it casts shadows on the faith itself. And when our experience with Christian community involves being bored, or even worse, burned, it is tempting to walk away from Christianity altogether. Yet disappointed people who continue their exploration of the Christian faith have often done so after realizing that it is God who is perfect, not people. While somewhat trite, the phrase, “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven,” is important to remember. An authentic Christian is not someone who is perfect, just someone who has come to God for forgiveness and a relationship.

Every Christian is somewhere in the process of becoming more like Christ.  Some have not just gotten very far yet.  So be careful not to judge God and the Bible by some of the characters you see.   🙂

How Do I Become a Christian?

What we mean when we talk about growing in your relationship with God, is enlarging your understanding of who Jesus Christ is, your love for Him, and obedience to His Word.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  – John 17:3 (NIV)

What would it look like for you to take the next step in following Jesus?  When we get excited about our personal walk with Christ, we desire to know Jesus better.  The more we know Christ, the more we want to be like Him.  The more we’re like Christ, the deeper the roots of our faith grow.  What are the next steps in your faith journey with Jesus?

1) Surrender Your Life.  As you walk through life, our prayer is that you will feel God pulling on your heart to come to him.  It looks different for each person, and God will use various people and circumstances to draw people to himself.  But one thing is for sure: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  – 2 Peter 3:9.  Whether you feel a vague emptiness in your life, or you feel like you’re drowning in a deep pit, God’s desire is that you come to Him and ask Him to save you.  He’s waiting right now!

So how do you do it?  Surrender your life to Christ – Jesus loves you and wants a close relationship with you!  The Bible says that you can know for sure that you are God’s child and headed towards heaven (John 1:12 and  1 John 5:13).  Here’s a great link from the Billy Graham Association recapping how to receive Christ:  https://peacewithgod.net/

2) An important next step in your walk with God, after you have given your life to the Lord and received his gift of salvation, is to be baptized.  Baptism is an outward expression of what you’ve personally done in your heart (putting your trust in Jesus).  The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is the first step of obedience after surrendering to Christ: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” – Acts 2:38.  It’s the way we publicly declare our allegiance to Him.  Jesus declares in Matthew 10:32  “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”

3) Lastly, communication is important in any relationship.  These several aspects of communication will aid your spiritual growth…  

A) God speaks to us through the Bible.  He reveals Himself, His will for our lives, and how He has dealt with people in the past.  Once you have surrendered your life to Christ, it is so important to grow in your relationship with Him by regularly reading the Bible. 

In the Bible, God tells us that we’ve been given “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him…” – 2  Peter 1:3 and “If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”  -2 Peter 1:8-9.

Ask God to show you who He is and what you need to change in your life in order to follow his leading.  God’s Word brings needed hope, encouragement and correction to our lives… “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  Meditating on God’s word brings His blessing (Joshua 1:8).  For a list of all the benefits of God’s word see Psalm 19 and 119. 

Access the Bible on your computer, iPad, Kindle or mobile device and read it or listen to it daily.  A good place to first start reading the Bible is the Gospel of John, then Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Psalms, and Proverbs.   We recommend reading the rest of the New Testament before starting the remaining Old Testament books. 

B) God also communicates with us through the Holy Spirit, who comes into your heart the moment you believe (or put your trust) in Christ.  He will give you power to understand God’s Word, to live the Christian life, and to be everything that God calls you to be.

C) We communicate with God through prayer, by expressing our praise and thanksgiving to Him, along with our thoughts, concerns and needs.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  15And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”  – 1 John 5:14-15  Note: underline added.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  – Philippians 4:6-7

It’s a great idea to set aside a daily time to study God’s word and talk to Him in prayer.

D) We communicate and fellowship with other believers, as our best growth typically occurs in community with other believers.  We gain insights into God’s word through preaching, small group Bible studies (click here to see Grace small groups)  (web note: add link to Grace S.G. page), and supporting one another while living life together.  We encourage you to regularly attend a Bible teaching church that accurately proclaims God’s word.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  – Hebrews 10:24-25

E) We also communicate with non-Christians by sharing the hope that we have in Christ, and the joys of being in relationship with Him.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”  – John 1:12

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  – Acts 4:12

F) Lastly, we also grow by using our giftedness to serve others.   The community of believers, and the world in general, are made a better place by followers of Christ investing in people’s lives and in our community.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  – 1 Peter 4:9-10   (Also see Rom. 12:4-8).

These principles listed above, on how to grow in your relationship with God, are summed up in Grace Church’s purpose statement:  To exalt Jesus Christ by making disciples who: Love Jesus, grow with others, and serve the world.

Go to www.peacewithgod.net for additional information on how to turn from sin and surrender your life to Christ.

Used by permission of James Emery White, A Search for the Spiritual (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998). 
To purchase a copy of this book from Baker Publishing: www.BakerPublishingGroup.com

How to Grow in your Relationship with God

What we mean when we talk about growing in your relationship with God, is enlarging your understanding of who Jesus Christ is, your love for Him, and obedience to His Word.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  – John 17:3 (NIV)

What would it look like for you to take the next step in following Jesus?  When we get excited about our personal walk with Christ, we desire to know Jesus better.  The more we know Christ, the more we want to be like Him.  The more we’re like Christ, the deeper the roots of our faith grow.  What are the next steps in your faith journey with Jesus?

1) Surrender Your Life.  As you walk through life, our prayer is that you will feel God pulling on your heart to come to him.  It looks different for each person, and God will use various people and circumstances to draw people to himself.  But one thing is for sure: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  – 2 Peter 3:9.  Whether you feel a vague emptiness in your life, or you feel like you’re drowning in a deep pit, God’s desire is that you come to Him and ask Him to save you.  He’s waiting right now!

So how do you do it?  Surrender your life to Christ – Jesus loves you and wants a close relationship with you!  The Bible says that you can know for sure that you are God’s child and headed towards heaven (John 1:12 and  1 John 5:13).  Here’s a great link from the Billy Graham Association recapping how to receive Christ:  https://peacewithgod.net/

2) An important next step in your walk with God, after you have given your life to the Lord and received his gift of salvation, is to be baptized.  Baptism is an outward expression of what you’ve personally done in your heart (putting your trust in Jesus).  The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is the first step of obedience after surrendering to Christ: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” – Acts 2:38.  It’s the way we publicly declare our allegiance to Jesus Christ.  Jesus declares in Matthew 10:32  “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” 

Here is how to be baptized at Grace

3) Lastly, communication is important in any relationship.  These several aspects of communication will aid your growth with God…  

A) God speaks to us through the Bible.  He reveals Himself, His will for our lives, and how He has dealt with people in the past.  Once you surrendered your life to Christ, it is so important to grow in your relationship with Him by regularly reading the Bible. 

In the Bible, God tells us that we’ve been given “everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him…” – 2  Peter 1:3 and “If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”  -2 Peter 1:8-9.

Ask God to show you who He is and what you need to adjust in your life in order to follow his leading.  God’s Word brings needed hope, encouragement and correction to our lives… “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  Meditating on God’s word brings His blessing (Joshua 1:8).  For a list of all the benefits of God’s word see Psalm 19 and 119. 

Access the Bible on your computer, iPad, Kindle or mobile device and read it or listen to it daily.  A good place to first start reading the Bible is the Gospel of John, then Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Psalms, Proverbs.   We recommend reading the rest of the New Testament before starting the remaining Old Testament books. 

B) God also communicates with us through the Holy Spirit, who comes into your heart the moment you believe (or put your trust) in Christ.  He will give you power to understand God’s Word, to live the Christian life, and to be everything that God calls you to be.

C) We communicate with God through prayer, by sharing our praise of Him, along with our thoughts, concerns and needs.  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  15And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”  – 1 John 5:14-15  Note: underline added.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  – Philippians 4:6-7

It’s a great idea to set aside a daily time to study God’s word and talk to Him in prayer.

D) We communicate and fellowship with other believers, as our best growth typically occurs in community with other believers.  We gain insights into God’s word through preaching, small group Bible studies (click here to see Grace small groups)  (web note: add link to Grace S.G. page), and supporting one another while living life together.  We encourage you to regularly attend a Bible teaching church that accurately proclaims God’s word.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  – Hebrews 10:24-25

To see a list of small groups at Grace Church, click here.

E) We also communicate with non-Christians by sharing the hope that we have in Christ, and the wonders of being in relationship with Him.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”  – John 1:12

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  – Acts 4:12

F) Lastly, we also grow by using our giftedness to serve others.   The community of believers, and the world in general, are made a better place by followers of Christ investing in people’s lives and our community.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  – 1 Peter 4:9-10   (Also see Rom. 12:4-8).

These principles listed above, on how to grow in your relationship with God, are summed up in Grace Church’s purpose statement:  To exalt Jesus Christ by making disciples who: Love Jesus, grow with others, and serve the world.