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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!
If you have recently come to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I would like to say, "Welcome to the Family."
If you have come back to The Lord after being away for a little while, I would like to say, "Welcome Home."
If you have been saved for what seems like forever, and you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I would like to say, "Thank you for being a vital part of this family."
Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, this post is for you. It is a reminder to all of us who have been saved, not to neglect what we remembered from the beginning. (1 John 2:24) And it is a tool for all of those who are just starting their walk with Jesus.
My Salvation Story.
My salvation story isn't one of worldly sins and addiction. It isn't one that you will find on the cover of magazines.
It is simple really.
I have been saved for as long as I remember. I was born into a God-fearing family. My mother and father served the Lord for as long as I've been alive. I've been a part of a local church my whole life. I've known Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior for as long as I have lived.
My salvation story is simple . . . Jesus kept me.
He kept me from the world. He kept me from addictions. He kept me from the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. (I John 2:16)
My salvation story and my testimony are that I have never wandered from out of His reach.
Have I sinned? Oh yes. And I've been forgiven.
Have I messed up? Heck yea. And I've been redeemed.
Have I struggled in life? Don't get me started! But, He has kept me.
The Christian Walk.
I was blessed to have been given the tools to grow my faith, further my relationship with Jesus, and learn His words and how they pertain to my life.
The Christian walk isn't an easy walk. If someone lied to you and told you it would be butterflies and unicorns from here on out; I apologize for their foolishness. It isn't easy, but oh my friend, it is so worth it.
There are many Christian-Celebrity-Preachers who have built a personal empire on false teachings. They promise prosperity and wealth if you only follow and obey God. Following God will lead to prosperity and success. There are no consequences in life because everything is covered in "grace."
Shame on them.
Don't be deceived by their honeyed words and multi-million-dollar ministries, my friends. The Bible warns us to expect just the opposite. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; l have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
You will have tribulation. That's just life. Life is hard, and it indeed isn't fair. BUT, we have been given great and precious promises in the Word of God. (2 Peter 1:4)
Why would you even want to walk the Christian walk?
Because although we aren't promised sunshine and rainbows each waking minute of our day, we are promised peace that passes all understanding in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:7) We are promised joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1 Peter 1:8). We are promised eternal life in Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)
Tools Every New Christian Needs.
As a new Christian/returning Christian/saved-forever Christian, there are some tools you need to help you grow. I want to share some tools that I have used to disciple new Christians.
This list isn't intended to be a comprehensive list of everything that you need, but an idea to get you started.
1. A Church Family.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
I cannot stress the importance of having a local church family. Imagine a new baby being born and not having a mother/father/family to care for that baby. It would die.
The same is true for new Christians.
You need a family. You need a spiritual mother or father to come alongside you and show you the ins and outs of this Christian walk.
In your local church, you may find home/life groups (small groups that meet together outside of the church setting to encourage and strengthen each other). You may find a mentor or a Pastor that you connect with to help you on this path. You may find a ministry that you want to serve in to help others know the joy of knowing Jesus.
A local church is essential to your walk with Jesus. A simple Google search for local churches will lead you to a few in your area. Visit them and see which one feels like HOME.
2. A Bible.
I think this goes without saying, but a Bible is now your road map to life. While devotionals and books and guides are helpful, nothing can replace the inspired word of God. With so many Bibles on the market, it is easy to get confused as to which one to pick. Below, I share my personal favorites. If you like them, GREAT! If not, just find what works for you.
* An explanation of Translations.
These are “literal” translations. They try to translate each Greek and Hebrew word literally. They are as close as you can get to the original translation of the Bible.
Instead of focusing on moving each word to English, thought-for-thoughters examine the whole sentence and do their best to move it over as an easily understood unit. That is, they rearrange the order of the words so that it makes the most sense to a modern English-speaking audience. They’re going for the meaning, not the exact wording. (SOURCE)
Paraphrase translations aren't necessarily interested in understanding the word-for-word or thought-for-thought of the passage. A paraphrase rewords the Bible into plain or modern language. It is the author's interpretation of God's Word, using imagination and literary skill, rather than an actual translation of the biblical text. (SOURCE)
* So which do you use?
Personally, I stick with word-for-word translations. I want to know what GOD said, not what an author interprets God saying.
My favorite translations are the ESV, NKJV, and HCSB.
My three favorite Bibles are listed in this chart below. I use each of them every day, and they have served me well. I would HIGHLY recommend the Life Application Bible for new Christians. It is essential.
3. Simple Scripture Study.
As I mentioned above, I've been saved forever. But a traumatic car accident in 1998 left me feeling abandoned by God. It was at this time that the Lord became MY God, and not the God of my parents and mentors. He became real to me. You can read the story of that testimony HERE.
As I began to see Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, my hunger for His word grew. You have a responsibility now, as a new Christian, to nurture your relationship with Jesus. Just like any relationship, it takes conversation and daily time together.
In 2016, I began the Inscribe the Word Scripture Study and it has helped thousands of men, women, and children to spend time daily writing the word and hearing God speak to their hearts. All of our plans are found free on The Felicity Bee. Each one is themed and can help you commit to spending time daily in the Word. If you don't like to write or journal, you can still use the plans and read the Word each day.
Just open your Bible and begin to study the Scriptures. God will talk to you in a still, small voice and He will make Himself known to you.
4. Tools for Prayer.
Prayer is an essential part of your walk as a new Christian. Your heavenly Father longs to talk to you. He wants to hear your voice as you talk to Him. For so many, prayer is seen as giving God a laundry list of wants and needs. That isn't necessarily prayer.
While in our prayer time, we may ask God for our hearts desires, prayer is more about just talking to Him; thanking Him for who He is and what He's done for you. And that all sounds great, right? But how silly you may feel looking up at the sky or just talking to the wall. I get that. I totally do. Sometimes, I write my prayers. I have a journal, and I jot down my prayers to Jesus.
I developed daily prayer prompts that may help you learn how to cultivate a prayer life with your Savior. These may get you started in learning how to pray.
This post may also give you some great insight into prayer.
5. Praise and Worship Music.
As a Christian, it is so important to fill our ears with truth from the Word of God.
Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable--if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise--dwell on these things."
For me, the fifth essential tool for new Christians is a good playlist of Praise and Worship music. Music that lifts your heart and encourages you to sing a new song and a hymn of praise to your God. (Psalm 40:3)
When you are at the gym, commuting, or cooking dinner you can turn on some good praise and worship music and listen to the Word of God through the lyrics.
If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, I've said that praise and worship are at the core of who I am. There is POWER in praise. I would encourage you to find a playlist and begin to worship.
I believe that these Five Tools are essential not only for new Christians but for those of us who have been saved a while. Sometimes, we need to remember where we started and we need to get back to that place.
If you are a new Christian and you have questions about your Christian walk, feel free to email me, and I will do my best to help point you in the right direction.