NEW LIFE IN
CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations on your decision to follow Christ! You have a new relationship with God and a new future. All of Heaven is rejoicing, and we are too. Often, after someone accepts Christ into their lives, they have questions, questions like, “what just happened?” or, “what do I do next?” That’s why this book and the accompanying videos were created. They are simply a place to start and get you on the right path with your new relationship with God. We’re excited for you and your new commitment!
WELCOME TO GOD’S FAMILY!
WHAT JUST HAPPENED? THE DECISION TO ACCEPT CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE YOUâ€™LL EVER MAKE.
YOU MAY ASK, WHY WOULD GOD EVER CARE ABOUT ME? God loves you. He has a plan for your life. He desires to personally know each one of us, inside and out. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. JOHN 3:16
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SAVED? As a result of sin in our lives, there was a gap that needed to be bridged between us who are imperfect and God who is perfect. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. ROMANS 3:23
“I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” JOHN 14:6
God’s solution was to send His son Jesus to bridge that gap. Jesus willingly laid His life down, paying the penalty for our sins, and three days later rose from the dead. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ROMANS 6:23 But God demonstrates his love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ROMANS 5:8 Accepting Jesus into your life means that you are saved from an eternity separated from God. Jesus Christ serves as that bridge by forgiving our sins and restoring our relationship with God. If you confess with your mouth 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 confessing with your mouth that you are saved. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ ROMANS 10:9-10
WHAT WE WANT FOR YOU. Just like anyone who is planting a garden, our hope for you as you begin your new journey, is that you grow and develop into a healthy follower of Christ. In the plant world, growing strong is dependent on a healthy root system that pulls in nutrients and develops the plant. The same thing is true of your new relationship with God. You need a spiritual root system, and we want to help you develop that so that you may grow spiritually. Read the parable below. Jesus tells why some plants grow and others wither away. MARK 4:1-10, 13-20 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around Him was so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in His teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
THINK ABOUT IT Examine your life. Which of the soils in that verse do you most identify? Will it produce a deep rooted faith? Are you putting yourself in environments where you can hear the word of God? What in your life do you need to change in order to ensure that you will grow in your relationship with God?
HOW DO I GROW? READ YOUR BIBLE We’ve established that spiritual growth is a necessary part of your relationship with Jesus. The catch? Growth is an intentional process. There is no other person besides you, who can be held responsible for the status of your relationship with Jesus. The good news is, there are several ways that you can grow spiritually. One of these ways is by reading the Bible, God’s word.
WHY DO WE NEED TO READ THE BIBLE? The Bible helps us discover and know God more. The Bible is one way that God communicates to us. The Bible contains wisdom. The Bible strengthens our faith.
5 TIPS TO SUCCEED IN YOUR BIBLE READING: • • • • •
Find a good Bible translation that you can understand. (Consider N.I.V. or N.L.T) Schedule a time each day to read. (Often if we don’t schedule it, it won’t get done) Use a reading plan. (Consider using the plan found on the next page or on our website www.thebridgeag.org/readyourbible) Take notes. (Keep a pen, paper & highlighter nearby to mark areas that stand out to you) Ask Questions.
31 DAY BIBLE READING PLAN DAY 1
Preparing for Jesus’ arrival
The story of Jesus’ birth
The beginning of Jesus’ ministry
A day in the life of Jesus
The Sermon on the Mount (Part 1)
The Sermon on the Mount (Part 2)
Parables of Jesus
A conversation with Jesus
The Good Shepherd
Jesus’ final instructions (Part 1)
The work of the Spirit
Jesus’ prayer for his disciples
Jesus’ betrayal and arrest
Jesus’ execution on a cross
Jesus’ final instructions (Part 2)
Jesus’ appearance after resurrection
Paul’s theology in a nutshell
Peace with God
Life in the Spirit
Life in the world
Our life in Christ
Unity in Christ
Living in Christ
Maturing in Christ
Trusting Christ through trials
Life in the Spirit
Life in Christ
2 TIMOTHY 2
Being strong in Christ
Struggles with sin
HOW DO I GROW? PRAY Another way to grow spiritually is to begin praying everyday. In order for you to build a relationship with another person, you need to talk to them. Without communication, a relationship dies. Prayer is just that, communication. Prayer is a simple conversation between you and God. It’s a time we can thank God, confess sin, seek wisdom, and ask for guidance in our lives. It’s a way that we can build a relationship with God daily. Unfortunately, we often make prayer much more difficult than it needs to be.
5 TIPS TO SUCCEED IN YOUR PRAYER LIFE: • • • • •
Schedule time to pray (consider adding prayer to your already scheduled Bible reading time) Be yourself when you pray. (God created you and knows you better than anyone else. Don’t pretend to be someone else. Be Honest and Humble) Have a plan before you begin your prayer time. (Spontaneous prayers are great, but to keep focus while you pray, consider making a list of prayer points.) Develop a pattern for your prayer. Consider the P.R.A.Y. Acronym. PRAISE. (Begin by praising God for all He has done) REPENT. (Tell God about your sins, be specific, and ask for forgiveness) ASK. (Ask God for the things you or others need, physical, emotional, etc.) YIELD. (Spend time quietly listening to God.)
HOW DO I GROW? GET CONNECTED Spending time with other Christ followers is crucial to growing spiritually. God did not intend for us to do this alone. That is why He was passionate about establishing the Church.
“Let 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 10:25
CHURCH IS A WAY FOR BELIEVERS TO BE: • • •
Encouraged Held accountable Serve one another
All of these reasons are crucial in our spiritual growth, which is why getting connected into a local church is vital to our relationships with Jesus.
THERE ARE A VARIETY OF WAYS TO GET CONNECTED: • • •
Attend one of the Sunday Services Build relationships in one of our Connect Groups Choose to serve at the church
HOW DO I GROW? WATER BAPTISM Celebrate your new life in Christ by participating in baptism, as Jesus commands. Baptism is a visual declaration of the decision you’ve made to follow Christ wholeheartedly. We are not baptized in water to be saved. We are baptized because we have been saved. When we are baptized by full submersion in water, it is visually symbolic of our new life in Christ. When we go under the water, that old person that we were, who was bound by sin, and who has died is buried with Christ. When we come back out of the water, that is symbolic of the new life that we have chosen that only comes through Christ and his resurrection.
CHOOSING TO BE BAPTIZED: • • •
Reminds those around us that we have rejected sin and are choosing to follow Chrsit. Is a way of asking your church family to help hold you accountable regarding your new life. Means that your church family gets to celebrate with you regarding your decision.
NEXT STEPS HOLY SPIRIT As you’ve already read, your decision to embrace and read the Bible, spend time daily in prayer and be connected in a local church is vital to your spiritual growth; however, there will be times in your life as a Christian that things don’t go the way you plan. Maybe you keep struggling with sins, or perhaps you just need a little extra guidance and wisdom. This is why we need the Holy Spirit. When you were saved, the Holy Spirit became an active part of your life and now serves as a guide to you. By embracing the Holy Spirit as our guide, He will then equip and empower us to live a life of faithfulness towards God. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. GALATIANS 5:16 The phrase “live by the Spirit,” simply means that we choose to walk behind our leader, aligning ourselves with God. As a result, the Holy Spirit not only guides us but also empowers us to overcome our sinful nature.
THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US: • • •
Fight against sinful desires. (Galatians 5:16) Makes us aware sins that we must veer away from - leading us to repentance. (Galatians 5:19-21) Helps us to exhibit good character that empowers us to be better witnesses for Jesus. (Galatians 5:22)
The Holy Spirit’s involvement in our lives is essential to the success of our relationship with Christ. During your Bible reading, prayer time, connectivity to church and your day to day routines, the Holy Spirit is able to lead, guide and direct your life. As you go through life, never forget that God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is with you. Choose daily to walk in step with Him.
FINAL THOUGHTS You have now read through the material in this booklet, and our hope is that you are now ready to not only continue this new journey with Christ, but also have great success in it as well. We hope that we have been able to put you on track to having an incredible relationship with Christ, a journey that will last for a lifetime. If you have questions, please let us know. We’re your church family now and are always here to serve you.
Have you accepted Christ? This is the starting point for your new life in Christ.