The thing nobody told me. (It's the second most critical thing of all.)
What is wrong with the people in the Bible? Don't you just want to shake them sometimes? Seriously, people of Egypt! Five seconds ago you were being oppressed by Pharaoh, God comes in and rescues you, parts the Red Sea so you can escape, and today you're making a cow out of gold and saying it's your god. Really?! We'd never do that...right? Wrong. I grew up in a very traditional church. Lots of routine, stand up, sit down, say this after the reading of scripture, say the other thing after the offering is taken, follow the order set in place. I realized routine can be a problem as I'm wondering if I paid my electric bill halfway through reciting the Lord's prayer. As routine plays out, around 6th grade, we took a class to prepare to be baptized. At the conclusion of the classes, we were asked if we wanted to accept Christ. Everyone else was saying yes so I didn't even think about it. I just did what everybody else was doing. I just followed the instructions and a nod and a dunk later I was officially a Christian. That's what THEY said. Okay, now what? Well, you do stuff. You teach Sunday School, get on some board, and go to circle meetings where the primary focus is on what the snack is and who is making it. That church eventually closed. Gee, I wonder why? Like the people of Egypt we had forgotten the second most critical thing. 1) Jesus saves. 2) We are supposed to KNOW Jesus. Nobody ever told me that. Now, don't make the mistake that many so-called Christians and churches have made. Knowing who Jesus is doesn't mean you know him. Here's how I see our evangelizing: A mom (or dad) brings their child to the window. "Look, off in the distance, there's Jesus. He's God's son sent to save us! Do you believe that?" "Yes!" says the child. "You have shown Him to me so I believe." Mom's so excited, "Oh, I'm so happy! Hey, let's go to the mall and see Santa." And we think the Egyptians are goofy? We forget that there is another step beyond believing. It's knowing. We need to say to that child of God, "Now that you believe in Jesus, it's time you meet Him." So, how does someone get to know God? I think this is something that seems so straightforward but I continually see how few people really understand it...or just don't do it. You get to know Jesus by spending time with Him. You can do Bible studies, go to Sunday School, read books about him...all good things...but, the biggest way you truly know Him is to sit alone with Him. Pray, listen, ask Him questions, tell Him your fears and your joys. Here's the biggest key: Do that every day. I recently listened to Jim Caviezel (that's the guy who played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ) make a good analogy. "You can't be an olympic athlete by practicing once a week." He goes on to instruct, "You have to take Jesus into your life everyday. It's who you are. He's a part of you. He wants to be with you all the time." Hang with Jesus all the time. Then you will truly know Jesus. And your life will be far beyond anything you can think or imagine. Make sure you tell everybody.