Nothing is more important than this decision you are now making.
Not your choice of a spouse, your friends, or a career.
The moment you accept what Jesus did for you on the cross, you will go straight from death to Life.
You will instantly change your eternal destiny from hell to heaven.
You will begin to discover the amazing difference between having God with you…to having God in you, through the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
You will immediately become part of the Family of God – two billion people (and counting!) of every age, sex, language and ethnicity, worldwide.
You are about to embark on the most dangerous, exciting, terrifying, rewarding, mysterious, fulfilling journey of your life.
Because at some point in the weeks, months and years to come, you will begin to discover your unique purpose – the specific reason for which God shaped you in your mother’s womb and placed you on this planet, at this time.
Oh, yeah. It’s that good.
So. Are you ready?
Of course, Jesus knows you better than you know yourself. He already sees into your heart.
But He wants to have the joy of hearing you say it, anyway.
So here’s a simple prayer you can pray to Him right now, to give Him that joy and to make your becoming a Christian official:
(You know what? It would be really cool if you’d pray these next words aloud - with everything in you):
I admit I am a sinner. I confess that no matter how hard I try, I could never become good enough to save myself.
I believe my only hope for eternal life is You, Jesus – because of what You did for me on the cross.
I am so sorry for my sins! Please forgive me!
I believe You gave Your life for me when you died on that cross – just as You did for everyone else who puts their trust in You and in You alone.
I believe that because You are God, You didn’t stay dead. I believe You rose from the dead three days later, just as You promised You would. Thank You for the hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw You alive, ate with You, talked with You and even fished with You during the 40 days You spent on earth following Your resurrection!
Please come into my life, now, Jesus!
I turn my back on my old, sinful self. It is my intention to fully cooperate with You as You turn me into the new person You created me to be.
I know I will never be perfect on this earth. But each time I fall short, please help me get back on my feet, dust myself off and keep right on growing, until I reach full maturity in You.
In Your perfect way and time, please reveal to me the reason You put me on this earth. Please prepare me, equip me, educate me and empower me to carry out the unique assignment I will receive from You.
And when my time on this earth is through, please take me to live with You forever – along with all those who down through the ages have put their trust in You.
I trust You and You alone to do all of these things and so much more.
It is in Your Name above all names I pray LORD Jesus!
Welcome to the Family of God.
If you prayed this prayer, I invite you to E-mail me and let us know in the “Coment” section, below – so we can rejoice with you and begin to pray for God’s richest blessings to be yours!
You may be shocked to learn that according to the Bible, the angels in heaven are looking on and have just this moment erupted in celebration over your decision!
At this point, you may be wondering if you should feel any different. Depending on your personality, after praying such a prayer you may feel good, bad, happy, sad, thrilled, scared, fulfilled, disappointed, ecstatic, all of the above, none of the above…or exactly the same as you did before you prayed it.
But here’s the good news: What you “feel” right now is absolutely irrelevant. Your new life in Jesus is NOT a “feeling.”
It’s a fact.
If you exchange wedding vows and sign a marriage license, it doesn’t make one ounce of difference whether or not you “feel” married. In fact, most people don’t! But once that license is sent in by and duly recorded, your marriage is a fact.
You’ll be pleased to know that God works just a little bit faster than your local government.
The moment you chose to place your faith in Christ, you were IN! In fact, God knew the exact day and time You would choose to follow Jesus long before you were ever born.
The Bible says your name has now been recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
That’s exactly what a crowd of people once asked one of Jesus’ disciples named Peter, after he told them the good news about Jesus. His answer?
Baptism is an outward symbol of the invisible, spiritual miracle that has just taken place deep within you.
Since your first step after giving your life to Jesus is to be baptized, you’ll want to find a solid, Bible-believing church full of people who are sincerely doing their best to live out the Word of God they preach. Let them know you have given your life to Christ and ask them to baptize you. They will be thrilled!
If you already attend a Bible-believing church that lives out its faith, by all means, that’s where you should go. On the other hand, if you do not have such a home church, where can you go to find one?
Just about anywhere in the world! God has strategically placed His people in homes, cathedrals, storefronts and – in the most repressed parts of the world – in underground locations where God’s people meet to praise Him at the risk of their very lives.
The church I pastor is a member of the Willow Creek Association. We are more than 11,000 churches of many different sizes and denominations that hold an orthodox understanding of Biblical Christianity and share a deep passion to declare the good news of Jesus Christ. All WCA Member Churches have affirmed the central doctrines of the Bible reflected in the WCA Statement of Faith and also presented in the historic creeds of the Christian faith.
If you would like to find a WCA church near you, you may click here, type in your state or country and get a list of member churches nearest you: Find a WCA Church.
None of these WCA churches is perfect, including the one I am privileged to pastor. There are many good churches that do not appear on this list. I only provide this link to give you a starting place. If you ask Him, God will lead you to the right church.
When you find your church, attend faithfully and get involved! Although each church will use a somewhat different approach, every Biblically faithful church will go all out to welcome you, to include you in the life of the church and to solidly ground you in the faith of Jesus Christ.
In the church I pastor, we seek to accomplish this by focusing on these five to thrive:
My daily 1on1 time with Jesus.
This is where it all begins. Spend time with Jesus in His Word and in prayer every day. By far the most important thing you can do is – get to know Christ! Everything else is a distant second.
If you carve out some priceless 1on1 time with Jesus today, then whatever else happens or doesn’t happen, this day is an unqualified success. On the other hand, if you check off every item on your to-do list and fail to connect with your Savior today? Then by comparison, your day is an empty shell of what might have been. You will never know what He had in store for you that might have utterly transformed this very day – not to mention your entire future.
As I hope you have already discovered, this is the sole purpose of Lazaroo. It is the passion and purpose of my life to equip and inspire you to experience a daily, life-changing 1on1 encounter with Jesus.
With all my heart, I hope you will continue to let us serve you. If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to click the signup icon at the top of this page to receive your Daily Lazaroo.
But that is only the beginning in this adventure of knowing Jesus! I encourage you to return often to Lazaroo and dive deeply into the resources we are constantly adding, in order to inspire you to explore the bottomless depths of the Savior’ love for you.
1 Book for my 1 and only life.
The Bible is God’s holy Word. It is like no other book ever written. If you make it your goal to spend time every day absorbing its truths, God will use it to transform your life.
Go to your local Bible bookstore and select a good translation, such as the NIV (New International Version) and keep it near you, for constant reference, reflection and revelation. If you find yourself struggling to get as much from it as you hoped, you might want to try a paraphrase, such as The Message.
While you are in that Bible bookstore, you will see an amazing number of Bible study books for sale. Many of them are excellent. Ask a clerk for guidance and feel free to pick up one or two that look good. They can be of enormous help.
In fact, the very first book I urge you to purchase is Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life.” If you want an enjoyable, easily understandable crash course in Christianity, it is the best book (other than the Bible) I have ever read.
One caution: Never allow yourself to make the mistake of only reading books ABOUT the Bible instead of reading the Bible itself. No book about the Bible can hold a candle to the actual words of God contained in sacred Scripture. It is only as you stay directly in God’s Word for yourself that you will be able to judge whether or not the other books you read (not to mention the sermons you hear and the advice you receive from well-meaning friends, family members, leaders, teachers, pastors and counselors) are, in fact, true to the whole of Scripture.
Where should you begin reading? The Book of John is a great place to start. When you finish that, you might want to keep reading into the Book of Acts and straight on through to the end of the New Testament. For a change of pace, dip into Genesis, the Book of Proverbs, or the incomparable Book of Psalms.
Try reading a chapter a day and see how that goes. If you become enthralled and want to keep reading, go for it! If you find you need to read less than a chapter a day so as to avoid just skimming through, by all means, slow down and absorb!
The point is not to speed through the Bible’s pages. Your aim is to truly understand what you are reading and apply the Bible’s amazing truths to your life. Hands down, when you couple your prayer time with thoughtful Bible study, you are activating the fastest way to grow deep, strong and mature, as a Christian.
The incalculable power of God’s Word is why every Daily Lazaroo begins with a key passage from the Bible. The Lazaroo prayer that follows pours straight out of that Bible truth, applying the direct implications of that verse to your life. That is the secret of why each day’s Lazaroo is so powerful – its uncompromising faithfulness to the Word of God.
At the bottom of each day’s Lazaroo, I give you a series of Bible references you can click on to be certain that every word of the prayer you have just prayed is founded solidly upon God’s Word. When you reach the end of this page, you will find I have done the same thing by providing you with a number of clickable verses of Scripture for every key principle I have shared with you here.
Do not EVER do something just because I – or anyone else – tells you to! It is only safe to follow the advice of others when you can clearly affirm that what we are telling you is absolutely faithful to the Word of God.
Everyone in 1 well-led Life Group.
Many churches have grown quite large. Some offer great teaching, preaching and public worship opportunities inside big rooms that gather together scores, hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of people. If you find yourself inspired to draw ever closer to Jesus through participation in this form of public worship, I encourage you to take advantage of it every chance you get. Build it into your weekly schedule and move heaven and earth to keep placing yourself in that uplifting environment.
But don’t stop there. To become everything Jesus created you to be, you’ve got to deliberately place yourself within the warm, loving protection of a small group of believers who are committed to living out the Word of God in their daily lives. In my church, we call them, “Life Groups,” because this is where our members do life together.
As you grow in Christ, you’re going to have a gazillion questions. In most large worship settings, there’s just no opportunity to raise your hand, ask questions, dialogue back and forth and deal with every issue you and everyone else needs to wrestle through.
Not only that, it’s entirely possible to attend a large church for years and never get beyond surface “hellos” with the people among whom you are worshiping. What if you experience a health crisis, lose your job, or are have to face a huge problem in your family? Who’s going to know to pray for you and be there for you during this challenging time? By the same token, you don’t know how many hurting people are struggling to be strong behind the polite smiles of those seated around you.
Small group is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you share your life story…where you hear the life stories of others…and where all of you help each other enfold your stories into the Story of Jesus.
Small group is where you go to know and be known…to love and be loved…to celebrate and be celebrated…and to be there for one another through the trials, hardships and sometimes brutal episodes of life.
Typically, Christian small groups meet in homes, restaurants, or in offices and factories before or after work. Most meet weekly or biweekly. There may be four or five people in your group, all the way up to ten or twelve.
When it gets much bigger than that number, it’s not a small group anymore. Really good groups tend to grow too big for everyone to truly stay in touch with one another. At that point – as tough as it is! – the wisest plan of action is usually to choose a well-grounded leader and apprentice…and birth another group.
About once a year, I’ll stand before my congregation and hold up a bunch of bananas. I’ll break off one, strip down its yellow jacket and take a bite. Then looking out over the people who are gathered there, I’ll smile and say –
“It’s the banana that gets separated from the bunch that gets peeled.”
Don’t let that happen to you! Ask your pastor or church’s small group director to help you find a small group that is right for you. Then do everything in your power not to miss a single week.
Each 1 serving Jesus by serving 1 another
You will never reach your full potential in Christ if all you do is study the Bible, pray and meet with other Christians. It’s great to talk the talk. But there comes a time very early in your Christian life where it all means nothing unless you walk the walk.
You’ve got to get some skin in the game. You’ve got to serve.
You do this by helping the poor, serving in your church and community, giving your tithes and offerings – in short, any outright action you take in order to please Christ.
But the most amazing thing of all is that when you serve others out of obedience to God’s Word…Jesus receives it as service directed to Him, Personally.
How personally does Jesus take it? He promises to reward you with eternal treasure in heaven for everything you do for Him. Everything. Jesus even promises to reward you, if all you do is give someone a cup of cold water just because he or she belongs to Him!
My relationship with my unchurched friends here and in the 10/40 window.
Why are you a Christian? Because somebody told you about Jesus.
You’ve got to return the favor.
You’ve got to make it your lifestyle to tell people about Jesus. I’m not talking being a salesperson (unless you are one!) or coming across judgmentally or obnoxiously. Instead, look for ways to share your faith gently and respectfully. It’s the greatest way you could ever love anyone, because trusting Jesus is their only hope of missing hell and going to heaven.
One of the best ways I know to do this is to whisper a silent prayer before you enter any setting in which unbelievers may be present – business meetings, restaurants, grocery stores, family gatherings – wherever.
Tell the Holy Spirit, “Lord, I’m available. If there’s anyone I’m about to encounter who needs a word from me about You, please help me know who it is and what You want me to say.”
Sometimes you’ll simply invite them to your church. At other times, you may say something that brings favorable attention to God, like, “Wow. God sure gave us a gorgeous day!”
But from time to time, the LORD will give you the opportunity to share a tiny sliver of your faith. At other times, He will very clearly give you the opening to tell someone how you came to put your trust in Jesus.
Here’s the thing: Don’t let Satan intimidate you by suggesting you aren’t qualified to tell somebody else about Jesus! You don’t have to be a Bible expert. All that is necessary for God to use you in this amazing way is for you to simply be willing to share how you came to Christ.
That you can do. In fact, you can do that better than anyone else, because you were there!
If somebody asks you a question you can’t answer, welcome to the club. I get asked questions like that, too. All you have to say is, “Good question! I don’t know the answer, but I’ll sure do my best to find out, or point you to someone who can.”
But don’t let your witness stop with the people who live near you. Your heart for lost people needs to extend to those elsewhere in the world who have not yet had the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
You may have noticed my reference to “the 10/40 window” in our church’s “1to1” statement. “The 10/40 window” is shorthand for the portion of the world’s population that is least-reached by the good news of Jesus. It is a narrow band on the world map that extends from Africa to Japan and from 10 degrees to 40 degrees above the equator. It also happens to contain the majority of the worlds’ poorest of the poor.
Our church feels a powerful calling to focus most of our missionary efforts on this part of the world, where the need is so great. Currently, we have established orphanages, schools, medical facilities, farms, businesses and churches in places like Myanmar, Afghanistan, Japan, Hong Kong and Mainland China.
However, your church may have been directed by the Holy Spirit to focus its efforts in different parts of the world from those God is sending us. That’s great! God loves the whole world, not just part of it.
I urge you to pray for your church’s missionaries and to give generously to the spread of the good news of Jesus into the countries God has laid on the hearts of your leaders.
One of the great ways to share the love of Jesus Christ globally is to go on a short-term mission trip and offer yourself to serve in whatever way you are needed. These trips are often made up of a small group of people from your church and usually last only a week or two.
Yes, it will cost you money and time. Yes, there are hardships and risks involved with getting on a plane and walking into the needy lives of people immersed in a culture and language that are absolutely foreign to you.
But oh, is it worth it! When your long-distance love suddenly becomes up-close and personal, you will never again be the same.
And in those eye-opening, mind-expanding moments, your heart will begin to beat as one with God.
There’s so much more I want to share with you – and LORD willing, that is exactly what we hope to do in the weeks, months and years ahead, through Lazaroo.
I know I have to bring this time of teaching to a close. But I’m finding it extremely hard to do so. I feel a little bit like Jesus did, when He told His followers –
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
The reason you have to be shrewd as a snake is that there is a snake – a “great serpent,” the Bible calls him – lying in wait for you.
I’m talking about Satan.
I know it’s currently in vogue to believe in God while attempting to deny the existence of Satan. But you can’t have it both ways. Either God is a liar – and He isn’t! – or the devil is real and you had better be prepared to do battle with him.
The Bible is chock-full of warnings about Satan. Why? Because he is real. He is extremely deceptive. He is a liar. And he is powerful.
The good news is that Satan is not ALL-powerful. God is infinitely more powerful than he. But Satan is strong enough to attack you and do his best to back you off of the decision you have made to follow Jesus.
Satan is furious that you have given your life to Christ! In one instant, you have switched sides and become his sworn, eternal enemy.
Satan is a bad loser. From this moment forward, he will do everything in his power to make you regret the decision you have made and try to make you doubt its reality. Failing that, he will attempt to distract you by making your life as difficult as it is within his power to do.
Years ago, I attended First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida on a Sunday morning, when Dr. Jerry Vines shared this insight:
“A man once told me he didn’t believe in the devil because in all his years, he had never run into him.
“I replied, ‘You aren’t likely to run into Satan so long as you and he are going the same way!
“But if the day ever comes when you trust Christ, turn your life around and start heading in the opposite direction, you can be certain you’ll run into the devil almost immediately.’”
With this Biblical principle in mind, think about what you have just done: You have repented of your sins. To “repent” means to do a 180-degree turn and head in the opposite direction. What does that mean?
You and Satan are about to have a head-on collision.
I’m not telling you this to frighten you. I’m telling you this to prepare you.
I want you to be fully armed and ready for the spiritual battle you are about to experience. Although God will give you welcome periods of rest and recuperation, this battle against Satan and all his forces of evil will continue, largely unabated, throughout the rest of your life on this earth.
Why does God allow this to go on?
To make you a strong, mighty warrior in Christ.
The only way to build physical muscles is to provide them with resistance, which is what you do when you lift weights. That is exactly how you will build “spiritual muscle.” God tells you to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Satan’s chief battlefield is your mind. He will suggest to you a mixture of clever temptations, doubts, twisted logic, suspicions, fears, partial truths and outright lies.
This next point is crucial:
Satan will do his best to disguise these implanted thoughts to make you think they are your own. He knows if you misidentify his ideas as your own, you are far more likely to accept them.
It is up to you to set a guard over every thought that pops into your mind. When an unbiblical thought occurs to you, God tells you to take it captive and make it obedient to Christ. How does this work in real life? Like this:
A real-life example
Suppose someone says something that really hurts you. Suddenly the thought pops into your mind, “Hey! This is how I can pay him back!”
That idea comes straight out of the pits of hell. But note how Satan attempts to hide his presence from you. He doesn’t say, “This is how YOU can pay him back.” Instead, he uses the first-person wording to disguise himself and make you think this is YOUR thought, not his: “Hey! This is how I…”
So how do you arm yourself against something that devious and potentially effective?
Stay on your guard!
That means you need to form this powerful, liberating habit:
Examine each thought that enters your mind.
Now let’s return to the thought that popped into your mind to get “revenge.” Even as you start to entertain the idea of “getting even,” an inner warning signal will go off:
“You know…for some reason, something about this revenge idea doesn’t sound quite right.”
That “warning signal” is from the Holy Spirit! Jesus promised He Himself would come to live inside you in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Because you now belong to God, the Holy Spirit is always with you, as your Guide.
Now you have two opposing thoughts to consider, don’t you? One says, “Get revenge.” The other says, “Huh-uh.” You know they can’t both be right. So how do you break the tie?
A great way to do it is to go to your Bible concordance and check to see if God’s Word has anything to say about revenge.
In the few moments that takes you discover: “Wow. Does it ever!” You’ll open your Bible and read:
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
“Whew!” you’ll breathe. “Close one. Thank You, Jesus.”
That’s when you need to get tough:
“Get out of here, Satan. I will NOT do anything to get even with this person.”
Can you see what you just did? You resisted Satan. And in that moment, you just got a little bit stronger.
Then you’ll give your attention solely to God:
“Jesus, I’m turning this entire situation over to You. You know the pain this person has caused me. They may have meant it for my harm, but I’m asking You to turn it around for my good.
“You know this person’s heart, LORD. You know what they did and didn’t mean to do. If mercy is called for, I trust Your judgment. After all, I’ve needed your mercy when I didn’t deserve it, times beyond counting.
“But if punishment is called for, I’m more than happy to turn the job over to You. You have the ability to punish them far more effectively than I could ever begin to do on my own!”
That’s your life, from now on. I’m not exaggerating. Check out the Scripture links below. From this moment your struggle –
“…is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ignore this reality and you’re toast. Accept it, lean into it, become adept at it, grow strong in it – and you will become everything Jesus created you to be.
As you can imagine, it really helps to have a good, working knowledge of God’s Word. You won’t always have your handy-dandy Bible concordance nearby. That’s one more reason for you to let the Daily Lazaroo ignite your 1on1 extended time with Jesus in the Bible and in prayer every single day.
Don’t forget to grab a copy of Rick Warren’s “Purpose-Driven Life” and read it cover to cover, ASAP!
I love you.
And along with many others in the Lazaroo community, I am praying for you every day.
Matthew 16:26; John 5:24; Matthew 10:28-33; John 14:16-20; Ephesians 3:14-15; Revelation 5:9-10; 2 Corinthians 11:21-33; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-11; Psalms 139:13; Acts 17:24-26; Psalms 139:1-6; Mark 9:24; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6; Colossians 1:19-20; Acts 3:19; John 3:16; Matthew 20:18-19; Romans 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Luke 24:14-38; John 21:1-14; Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 4:22-24; James 4:6-10; James 3:2; Proverbs 24:16; James 1:2-4; Ephesians 4:11-15; Philippians 2:12-13; Acts 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Acts 4:10-12; Philippians 2:9-11; Luke 15:10; Romans 8:31-39; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:19; Ephesians 5:31-32; 2 Timothy 2:19; Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 21:27; Acts 2:38-39; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Acts 17:11; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 10:42; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 2:46; Ephesians 6:7; Luke 12:33-34; Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 10:42; John 17:4; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Matthew 28:19-20; Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3; 1 Peter 3:15-16; James 4:13-16; Matthew 10:16; Revelation 12:7-12; Romans 3:4; 1 Peter 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Ephesians 4:26-27; Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 4:4; John 16:13-15; Romans 12:19; Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.