After 24 Hours...
Have you seen those infographics around like 'What happens one hour after drinking coke' or 'What happens to your body 24 hours after drinking Red Bull.' ??
This session is a fun session imagining what it's like 24 hours after becoming a Christian - 24 hours after inviting Jesus to be the boss of your life... We've provided a '24 hours after becoming a Christian' card which is just an example. It's not a definitive guide!!
There's also some space for your ideas as well.
Romans 10.8-13 - And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (from the New Living Translation)
24 Hours After Becoming a Christian (the funny version)
Believing in Jesus - The Gospel (The Good News)
The key verse from Romans 10 is really verse 10 which says, "For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved."
Here is a quick summary of The Gospel (The Good News)...
God made humans (each of us completely unique and amazing) and made us in a perfect world. But humans chose to mess up and go against God (this is called sin - sin is doing things that are against the will of God. God knows what's good for us and what isn't and sin isn't good). This meant things in the world starting going wrong because humans starting going wrong. Because humans messed up this sin put an impossible gap between them and God. The price of sin is death. So God wanted to do something to help make things right again.
So along came Jesus (who is both God and God's Son). He came to earth and lived a perfect life. He died on a Cross but what happened when he died on that Cross is that he paid the price for all the sins that humans have ever and will ever commit. After 3 days, Jesus rose from the dead, told his followers what had happened and then went back to heaven. (Heaven is where God and Jesus live and a perfect place).
Because Jesus paid the price for all the sin, God made a way for humans to be made right with God again. God did this because he loves us with a greater and deeper love than you can imagine. But the only way to get right with God is to believe in what Jesus did and accept it as real. (If you win a competition, you have to actually believe it, go and get your prize in order for you to be a winner). The same is true with Jesus. He has already sorted things with God but it only becomes active when you say yes! God then sends along the Holy Spirit (he's God and God's helper who lives in the spirit part of your being when you become a Christian). He helps you to be more like Jesus, changing us from the inside - out, rather than us having to follow a bunch of rules!
The Good News also means that when your body dies, you will go to be with God and Jesus in heaven for ever and ever. It's a perfect place and more amazing than you can imagine!
The way to make this Good News real in your life is to believe in your heart that you are made right with God and by openly stating your faith that you are saved. The words aren't that important, it's your heart and your actions that matter. Some people find it helpful to say something like this:
"Jesus I'm sorry for what I've done wrong. I want to change and turn away from living bad and doing bad things. Jesus, come into my life and help me become your follower. Fill me and flood every part of me with your Holy Spirit. I want to live for you. Amen."
(Amen just means you agree with what you've said!)
Being a Christian
In the Bible, we hear the God-stories of many people who came to know Jesus in their life.
In Acts 22, we hear about the life of Paul from his own mouth. He was a religious Jew and felt it was his duty to go around silencing and killing Christians. We read his story in Acts 9. One day as was going towards Damascus (in Syria) he was thrown to the ground by a blinding light and the presence of Jesus who asked Paul what he was doing and told him that Paul was really attacking Jesus. Paul's life was turned around completely and he went to the people who were not Jews and the people who were Jews and told them the truth - the Good News about Jesus.
Being a Christian means you are someone who has said yes to Jesus and are living for Jesus, for his way, his will, his kingdom, his love, his ways of doing and thinking things and for his benefit - which is really for the benefit of you and others! God helps you do this because we can't do this kind of thing just on our own. Instead, we do our bit and God does his bit. It's a team thing!
A great place to look and see if you're doing the will of God is the Bible. As you read the Bible and ask God to help you live right, God opens up the Bible to you and the Bible starts to 'read you'. It's nothing scary, it means that when you read the Bible you get an idea of God's ideas and flavours and check if you're living right ! If not, you can say sorry, stop doing the wrong things (with God's help) and start doping the right things with God's help. It's a win-win thing!
Or maybe check out Galatians 5.19-25 and see what advice Paul has for us there... Check yourself against the things that Paul says but don't be too hard on yourself (God isn't!) We're all a 'work in progress' and we all get things wrong. But over time God helps us more and more!
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
So what is your God-story?
How did God break into your life? Maybe it was dramatic, like the Apostle Paul in the Bible book of Acts. Or maybe your family is Christian and you gradually got to know Jesus.
Would you be able to say your God-story (or something that God has done in your life) to someone else?
Why not have a go with a friend at telling your God-story or a God-story of what God has done in your life, or maybe in the life of someone in your family... Take 5 mins to do this...
OK, now have a look at this...
Note that this is just an example of the kinds of changes that God starts to bring. It isn't a model guide for how things should happen!!
Then look at a blank version for you to fill in for yourself...
Remember - your God-story is unique and is just as amazing as anyone else's story. The more you can tell your story, the more you can invite others to meet with Jesus and experience a change for the better in their life.
And your God story is real evidence that God exists. Nobody can deny your story!!
My story is that God changed me from gangs, violence and even drugs into someone with a purpose who God has used in all kinds of amazing ways - youth work, DJ-ing, rap, worship leading and playing, speaker and someone who loves to help, encourage and serve others.
Only God can do this - God is real and alive today!!