Have you even been invited to a party but couldn’t go? Maybe you had something else scheduled only to find out through social media or from friends how much fun the party actually was. How did that make you feel? For me, usually the first emotion is regret. Then I try and justify in my mind why it’s ok that I missed out on all that fun. And finally, I’m just sorry that I didn’t make the right decision by accepting the invite. All those emotions because I simply missed an invitation do something fun.
In Romans 1 verse 6, the apostle Paul is writing his opening remarks to the churches in Rome and he tells them that GOD has called each one of them to belong to Jesus Christ. If you look up the word “called” in the original Greek it’s the word kletos which means “to be called or invited.” What I love about this word kletos that Paul uses is that we are not forced into a relationship with Jesus, but we are invited. Invitations are normally not sent out to unwanted guests, but to people we love, cherish, and want to celebrate with. That is the same motivation that Jesus has when He invited us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus is wanting to spend time with people He loves and cares for. If you are a Christian today, then that’s the love you are sharing in with Jesus. A love that invited you even when you didn’t deserve an invitation. A love that the apostle John describes like this:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. -1 John 3:16 NLT
Invited to experience real love. And that invitation is still being sent out today. Maybe you find yourself reading this and you want to experience that love. Maybe you’ve seen the invitation, but haven’t RSVP’d to the party. Let me help you with that. Today is your day to come in and celebrate with the King. Let’s pray a simple prayer together:
Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. I realize that I have sinned and I need a savior. Thank you for inviting me to come into your love. I accept your invitation today.
We have all been invited. Nobody is left out and since we’ve been invited let’s go out and tell others about this great invitation. The love of Jesus is for everyone. Your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, everyone is invited. Let’s not keep this invitation to ourselves, but let’s share it with the community around us. It’s time to party!
If you’ve ever stood in the line at Starbucks you know what it’s like to be labeled. The coffee giant labels each one of its white and green cups with the specific order of each coffee consumer. Some are as simple as, “coffee, black” others can be as complicated as, “grande, iced, sugar-free, vanilla latte with soy milk.” Both are essentially coffee drinks, but both are very different in their taste, appearance, and label. My Starbucks order is pretty simple, “grande, cafe latte, with soy or almond milk.” You can read more about my Starbucks experiences and orders in a previous blog post here. When it comes to coffee labels things can get complicated and in the same way when you mention the term Christian, things can get as easily complicated. Between denominations—baptist, lutheran, pentecostal, methodist, church of Christ, Catholic, worship styles—hymns, contemporary, hands raised, hands down, choir, live band, and Bible translations—King James Version, New Living, The Message, New International, Amplified, and my personal favorite New King James Version—things can get pretty sticky when it comes to being a Christian. But what does it really mean to be a Christian? When you dig down to the foundation of all Christianity, what holds the church together and what does a person who calls themself a Christian actually look like? This post is not about church attire, worship styles, or even your preferred Bible version, but more about what the core of Christianity is.
When I was 9 years old I gave my life to Jesus. I remember the little church we attended and being asked one straightforward question, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of GOD and that He died for your sins?” With my simple “yes” I was welcomed into the world of Christianity and all its different traditions, denominations, and unfortunately arguments. But through all the noise of doctrinal disputes, hermeneutical interpretations, and theological examinations, what being a Christian actually means is having a real intimate relationship with Jesus. That is the only label that truly matters and its the only label that we should allow to stick. Jesus is the reason we came to be a Christian. Romans 5:8 says, “But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is why we are Christians and that is why we want to have an intimate relationship with the One who gave everything for us. One of the most famous scriptures in all the world sums it up like this, “For GOD so loved the world (thats me and you!) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. For GOD so loved you, before you cleaned yourself up, before you had your act together, before you knew you needed a Savior He loved you in the before. And He gave everything for you. Can you imagine sacrificing one of your children for someone else? How about your only child? I know I couldn't! But that is what GOD did and that is why today, more than 2.2 billion people around the globe declare that they are Christian. But here is another reality check for you: our planets population is 7.53 billion individuals. That means that more than 5 billion people are destined for an eternity separated from GOD if we don’t do something about it. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There is no other way to GOD except through Jesus and as Christians we have the answer that the world is looking for. Since the beginning of time, people have been looking for the secret to everlasting life. During the time of the conquistadors, they searched for “The Fountain of Youth.” Today, researchers look for it in medical advances and artificial technology. Why such interest among people who don’t know GOD? Because deep down they fear what happens after death, but that is why Jesus came. The writer of Hebrews says this about Jesus, “That He, by the grace of GOD, might taste death for everyone.” Jesus has already experienced, tasted, and defeated death for all 7.53 billion people living on the planet today and the billions more to come. With one simple answer, each one of those individuals, no matter what they have done in the past, or where they were born, or how they grew up, or even how old they are now, can make that decision to give their life to Jesus Christ. The question is, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of GOD and that He died for your sins?”
If you’d like to make Jesus the Lord of your life, click here to learn how to do that and pray a simple prayer with Drew. If you made that decision today or recently and would like us to pray for you, click here to connect with Valerie and Drew.
Over the next several weeks and months, Anchor Movement is going to focus on a series called “Back to the Basics” where we answer and define what it actually means to be a Christian. We want to answer some of the questions that new and old believers have in their walk of faith. Some examples include, “How to study the Bible,” and “Why should I go to church.” If you have a question you’d like us to answer or explore on the blog, go to our connect page and leave your response or visit our Instagram page here and leave your response in the comments.