Operation Christmas Child

Celebrating 25 Years of Giving Shoebox Gifts to Children in Need

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, has delivered 157 million shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world. We praise God for so many children whose lives have been transformed because of a simple gift.

Seedbed Church invites you to share and be a blessing.

Packing party will be on November 3 & November 18

What Goes in My Shoebox?

Start with a quality “wow” item such as a stuffed animal, soccer ball with pump, or clothing outfit that will capture the child’s attention the instant he or she opens the box. See our gift suggestions according to age and gender listed below for other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to fill the shoebox.

do not include Do Not Include

Candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

FAQ: Can This Go in My Shoebox? ⇢

⇠ Back to How to Pack a Shoebox

New City Catechism Online Study

The New City Catechism tackles the big questions of Christianity and provides devotional and theological insight to answer each question. In this course, pastors from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and members of the Gospel Coalition dig into 52 questions about the Christian faith.

Click here to view the online course

Introduction (by Tim Keller)

Question 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
Question 1. What is your only comfort in life and death?
Answer That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

These words, the opening of the Westminster and Heidelberg Catechisms, find echoes in many of our creeds and statements of faith. They are familiar to us from sermons and books, and yet most people do not know their source and have certainly never memorized them as part of the catechisms from which they derive.

Today many churches and Christian organizations publish “statements of faith” that outline their beliefs. But in the past it was expected that documents of this nature would be so biblically rich and carefully crafted that they would be memorized and used for Christian growth and training. They were written in the form of questions and answers, and were called catechisms (from the Greek katechein which means “to teach orally or to instruct by word of mouth”). The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 and Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms of 1648 are among the best known, and they serve as the doctrinal standards of many churches in the world today.

THE LOST PRACTICE OF CATECHESIS

At present, the practice of catechesis, particularly among adults, has been almost completely lost. Modern discipleship programs concentrate on practices such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and evangelism and can at times be superficial when it comes to doctrine. In contrast, the classic catechisms take students through the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer—a perfect balance of biblical theology, practical ethics, and spiritual experience. Also, the catechetical discipline of memorization drives concepts deeper into the heart and naturally holds students more accountable to master the material than do typical discipleship courses. Finally, the practice of question-answer recitation brings instructors and students into a naturally interactive, dialogical process of learning.

In short, catechetical instruction is less individualistic and more communal. Parents can catechize their children. Church leaders can catechize new members with shorter catechisms and new leaders with more extensive ones. Because of the richness of the material, catechetical questions and answers may be integrated into corporate worship itself, where the church as a body can confess their faith and respond to God with praise.

Because we have lost the practice of catechesis today: “Superficial smatterings of truth, blurry notions about God and godliness, and thoughtlessness about the issues of living—career-wise, community-wise, family-wise, and church-wise—are all too often the marks of evangelical congregations today…” (From Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, by Gary Parrett and J. I. Packer, published by Baker, 2010.)

WHY WRITE NEW CATECHISMS?

There are many ancient, excellent, and time-tested catechisms. Why expend the effort to write new ones? In fact, some people might suspect the motives of anyone who would want to do so. However, most people today do not realize that it was once seen as normal, important, and necessary for churches to continually produce new catechisms for their own use. The original Anglican Book of Common Prayer included a catechism. The Lutheran churches had Luther’s Large Catechism and Small Catechism of 1529. The early Scottish churches though they had Calvin’s Geneva Catechism of 1541, and the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, went on to produce and use Craig’s Catechism of 1581, Duncan’s Latin Catechism of 1595, and The New Catechism of 1644, before eventually adopted the Westminster Catechism.

The Puritan pastor Richard Baxter, who ministered in the 17th century town of Kidderminster, was not unusual. He wanted to systematically train heads of families to instruct their households in the faith. To do so he wrote his own Family Catechism that was adapted to the capacities of his people and that brought the Bible to bear on many of the issues and questions his people were facing at that time.

Catechisms were written with at least three purposes. The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel—not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth. The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted. The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counter-culture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life.

When looked at together, these three purposes explain why new catechisms must be written. While our exposition of gospel doctrine must be in line with older catechisms that are true to the Word, culture changes and so do the errors, temptations, and challenges to the unchanging gospel that people must be equipped to face and answer.

A JOINT ADULT AND CHILDREN’S CATECHISM

New City Catechism is comprised of only 52 questions and answers (as opposed to Heidelberg’s 129 or Westminster Shorter’s 107). There is therefore only one question and answer for each week of the year, making it simple to fit into church calendars and achievable even for people with demanding schedules.

It is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer. This means that as parents are teaching it to their children they are learning their answer to the question at the same time, albeit an abridged version. The adult answer is always an expanded version of the children’s answer. In the adult version the children’s answer appears in color to differentiate it from the longer adult answer.

New City Catechism is based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism, giving good exposure to some of the riches and insights across the spectrum of the great Reformation-era catechisms. The hope being that it will encourage people to delve into the historic catechisms and continue the catechetical process throughout their lives.

It is divided into 3 parts to make it easier to learn in sections and to include some helpful divisions:
PART 1 = God, creation and fall, law (20 questions);
PART 2 = Christ, redemption, grace (15 questions);
PART 3 = Spirit, restoration, growing in grace (17 questions).

As with most traditional catechisms there is a Bible verse that accompanies each question and answer. In addition, attached to each question and answer there is a short commentary and a short prayer taken from the writings or sayings of past preachers to help students meditate on and think about the topic being explored. As far as possible a commentary and prayer has been included from the same preach
er in each of the 3 Parts so that students can become familiar with their style and work. Those quoted in all 3 Parts are, in chronological order: John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Richard Sibbes, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Abraham Booth, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, John Charles Ryle, C. S. Lewis, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and John Stott. Students are therefore able to read 3 commentaries and 3 prayers from each of these preachers. John Owen and Richard Baxter have been quoted in Parts 1 and 3. John Bradford, Heinrich Bullinger, Thomas Brooks, George Whitefield, Charles Simeon, and Francis Schaeffer feature once with a commentary and a prayer from each.

In the children’s version the questions and answers are accompanied by the same Bible verse as the adult version. In addition the prayers from the adult version have been adapted, modernized, shortened, and simplified for children.

Also included in the adult version is a further reading section. In order to make this as manageable as possible suggested readings are drawn from only two books: J. I. Packer’s Concise Theology (published by Tyndale) and Donald Macleod’s A Faith to Live By (published by Mentor or Christian Focus).

To accompany all this written material there are also short video commentaries from some of the council members of The Gospel Coalition and the pastors of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. As with the textual commentaries from historic preachers, as far as possible, a video commentary from each of the current preachers has been included in each of the 3 Parts. Those featured in the filmed commentaries are, in alphabetical order: Thabiti Anyabwile, Alistair Begg, David Bisgrove, D. A. Carson, Mark Dever, Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, Joshua Harris, Kent Hughes, Timothy Keller, John Lin, Crawford Loritts, John Piper, Juan Sanchez, Leo Schuster, Stephen Um, and John Yates. The hope is that the textual and filmed commentaries provide complementary insights into the theme of each particular question and answer.

THE USE OF ARCHAIC LANGUAGE

Although it may make the content seem less accessible at first glance, the language of the original texts has been retained as much as possible throughout the commentaries and prayers.

When people complained to J.R.R. Tolkien about the archaic language he sometimes used, he answered that language carries cultural values and therefore his use of older forms was not nostalgia—it was principled. He believed that older ways of speaking conveyed older ways of understanding life that modern forms cannot convey, because modern language is enmeshed with modern views of life.

As an example, Tolkien points to a passage in The Lord of the Rings where members of the Fellowship are choosing weapons and the (archaic) wording runs as follows: “Helms too they chose.” Some (wrongly) class the wording as an “inversion”, since normal order is “They also chose helmets” or “They chose helmets too.” But, Tolkien comments that modern English has lost the trick of putting the word that one desires to be emphasized (for pictorial, emotional, or logical reasons) into prominent first place, without the addition of a lot of little “empty” words. The much terser and more vivid ancient styles often convey gravity and meaning in a way they would not were they modernized. (See Tolkien’s letter to Professor Hugh Brogan in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, published by Houghton Mifflin, 1981.)

For this reason, except in cases where the words are no longer in common use and are therefore incomprehensible (in which instances they often have been replaced with ellipses) the language and spelling of the original authors has been retained throughout the commentaries and prayers. Occasionally this is also true in some of the questions and answers where the more poetic forms aid memorization.

HOW TO USE NEW CITY CATECHISM

New City Catechism consists of 52 questions and answers so the easiest way to use it is to memorize one question and answer each week of the year. Because it is intended to be dialogical it is best to learn it in pairs, in families, or as study groups, enabling you to drill one another on the answers not only one at a time but once you have learned 10 of them, then 20 of them, and so on.

The Bible verse, written and filmed commentary, and prayer that are attached to each question and answer can be used as your devotion on a chosen day of the week to help you think through and meditate on the issues and applications that arise from the question and answer. Note that some of the prayers are not directly addressed to God but are more exhortational in nature. As you read these prayers you can make them your own by praying the petitions to God or by taking the statements and turning them into petitions and prayers. For example if the text says: “I love the Lord for he heard my voice and heard my cry for mercy.” You can pray: “Lord, I love you because so many times, you have heard my voice and my cry for mercy.”

Groups may decide to spend the first 5—10 minutes of their study time looking together at only one question and answer thus completing the catechism in a year, or they may prefer to study and learn the questions and answers over a contracted length of time, for example by memorizing 5 or 6 questions a week and meeting together to quiz one another, discuss them, as well as read and watch the accompanying commentaries.

For families, it is intended for parents to help their children memorize the children’s answer and then for parents to learn the longer, extended adult answer themselves. Parents will have different ways of approaching the memorization process depending on their children and their particular circumstances—so there are no prescribed times of day or particular devotional practices attached. When and how parents use the catechism can be as diverse as during family devotions, at the breakfast table, as part of a longer study including comprehension questions and praying, or as a fun memorization time with flashcards and drills.

MEMORIZATION TIPS

There are a variety of ways to commit texts to memory and some techniques suit certain learning styles better than others. A few examples include:

  • Read the question and answer out loud, and repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Read the question and answer out loud, try to repeat them without looking. Repeat.
  • Read aloud through all Part 1 questions and answers (then 2, then 3) while moving about. The combination of movement and speech strengthens a person’s ability to recall text.
  • Record yourself saying all Part 1 questions and answers (then 2, then 3) and listen to them during everyday activities e.g. work-outs, chores, etc.
  • Write the questions and answers on cards and tape them in a conspicuous area. Read them aloud every time you see them.
  • Make flashcards with the question on one side and the answer on the other, and test yourself. Children can color these in and draw pictures on them.
  • Review the question and answer at night and in the morning. For children spend a few minutes at bedtime helping them remember the answer, then repeat at breakfast the next morning.
  • Write out the question and answer. Repeat. The process of writing also helps a person’s ability to recall text.
  • Drill the questions and answers with another person as often as possible.

A BIBLICAL PRACTICE

In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes, “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (Galatians 6:6). The Greek word for “anyone who receives instruction” is the word katechoumenos, one who is catechized. In other words, Paul is talking about a body of Christian doctrine (“catechism”) that was taught to them by an instructor (here the word “catechizer”). The words “all good things” probably means financial support as well. In this light, the word koinoneo—which means “to share” or
“to have fellowship”—becomes even richer. The salary of a Christian teacher is not to be seen simply as a payment but a “fellowship.” Catechesis is not just one more service to be paid for, but is a rich fellowship and mutual sharing of the gifts of God.

If we re-engage in this biblical practice in our churches, we will find again God’s Word “dwelling in us richly” (Colossians 3:16), because the practice of catechesis takes truth deep into our hearts, so we find ourselves thinking in biblical categories as soon as we can reason.

When my son, Jonathan, was a young child my wife Kathy and I started teaching him a children’s catechism. In the beginning we worked on just the first three questions:
Question 1. Who made you?
Answer. God
Question 2. What else did God make?
Answer. God made all things.
Question 3. Why did God make you and all things?
Answer. For his own glory.

One day Kathy dropped Jonathan off at a babysitter’s. At one point the babysitter discovered Jonathan looking out the window. “What are you thinking about?” she asked him. “God,” he said. Surprised, she responded, “What are you thinking about God?” He looked at her and replied, “How he made all things for his own glory.” She thought she had a spiritual giant on her hands! A little boy looking out the window, contemplating the glory of God in creation!

What had actually happened, obviously, was that her question had triggered the question/answer response in him. He answered with the catechism. He certainly did not have the slightest idea what the “glory of God” meant. But the concept was in his mind and heart, waiting to be connected with new insights, teaching, and experiences.

Such instruction, Princeton theologian Archibald Alexander said, is like firewood in a fireplace. Without the fire—the Spirit of God—firewood will not in itself produce a warming flame. But without fuel there can be no fire either, and that is what catechetical instruction is.

Timothy Keller, October 2012

Click here to view the online course

New City Catechism website

FEATURING

TIMOTHY KELLER
Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 along with his wife, Kathy. During these years of service, he has led a diverse congregation of young professionals that has grown to a weekly… Read More

D.A. CARSON
Dr. D.A. (Don) Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is one of the most respected New Testament scholars in the world. He is currently Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and co-founder and president of The… Read More

KEVIN DEYOUNG
Kevin DeYoung is Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. He blogs at The Gospel Coalition and has authored or co-authored numerous books including Just Do Something and The Hole in Our Holiness, as well as the… Read More

JOHN PIPER
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina… Read More

KENT HUGHES
Rev. Dr. R. Kent Hughes (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Kent has more than 40 years experience in pastoral ministry, including youth… Read More

JUAN SANCHEZ
Dr. Juan Sanchez is Senior Pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds an MDiv, a ThM, and a PhD in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to… Read More

JOHN YATES
Dr. John Yates has been the Rector of The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia, since 1979. John is married to Susan Alexander Yates. John has written or co-writen a number of books including How a Man Prays for His Family, Building a Home Full of Grace, Character… Read More

JOHN LIN
John Lin is the Lead Pastor at the Downtown campus of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, John grew up in Boston and moved to New York City in 2002. Prior to working at… Read More

STEPHEN UM
Dr. Stephen Um (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is the Senior Minister of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition, and is Associate Training Director for Redeemer City to… Read More

THABITI ANYABWILE
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as one of the pastors at Anacostia River Church in the Washington, D.C. area. Thabiti holds BS and MS degrees in psychology from North Carolina State University. After a few years as a practicing Muslim, Thabiti was… Read More

LEO SCHUSTER
Leo Schuster is the Lead Pastor of City Church in Houston, Texas. As an ordained pastor, Leo’s ministry has reached from Texas to New York City. He started and led two college ministries in Dallas, founded and pastored Christ the King Presbyterian Church in… Read More

DAVID BISGROVE
David Bisgrove is the Lead Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church: West Side in New York City. David has an MBA and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and previously worked in healthcare finance and administration. Later, he… Read More

LIGON DUNCAN
Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology. He attended Furman University (BA), Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv, MA), and the University of… Read More

ALISTAIR BEGG
Alistair Begg is the President of Truth for Life Ministry and the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, a position he has had since 1983. Alistair has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of… Read More

CRAWFORD LORITTS
Dr. Crawford Loritts is Senior Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He has served as a national evangelist with the American Missionary Fellowship and the Urban Evangelistic Mission, as well as Associate Director of Campus Crusade… Read More

MARK DEVER
Dr. Mark Dever serves as the Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Mark holds a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from… Read More

Pentecost Sunday

 
The Holy Spirit came on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover. The disciples of Jesus were praying together in an upper room. Jesus had just ascended to heaven. He promised that the believers would receive power and would be His witnesses in all places. When the Holy Spirit finally came, everyone in the room experienced the great manifestation of God through signs and wonders. They all experienced genuine transformation in their life. They received God’s power and spoke in many languages. The empowered church became bold in testifying about Christ as the only way to salvation. Everyday, the Lord “added to them those who were being saved”. (Acts 1-3)

Pentecost reminds us of the following:
1. The church is central in God’s plan for mankind. Jesus died, was buried and rose again to redeem His people, the church.
2. The Holy Spirit empowers the church to grow and to be a witness and channel of blessings to all people, nations and cultures.
3. The Holy Spirit helps us, individual Christians, to become mature, holy and to live fruitfully and victoriously.

Seedbed Church needs the Holy Spirit so we could fulfill our mission. The Holy Spirit who empowered the early church is the same Holy Spirit who is at work among us. As a church, we have already seen so much but the best is yet to come. We trust God to see more people getting saved and becoming part of the church family.
This Sunday, we will remember and celebrate Pentecost. Let’s hope for God’s special blessings as we gather for worship.

Help the homeless. Share your shoes

Faith Works

There are about 26,000 homeless individuals in the city of Los Angeles alone. There are still many others in neighboring cities including those in San Gabriel Valley where Seedbed Church is located.

A recent survey gave this sobering statistics on homelessness in Los Angeles

  • The average age is 40 - women tend to be younger.
  • 33% to 50% are female. Men make up about 75% of the single population.
  • About 42% to 77% do not receive public benefits to which they are entitled.
  • 20% to 43% are in families, typically headed by a single mother.
  • An estimated 20% are physically disabled.
  • 41% of adults were employed within last year.
  • 16% to 20% of adults are employed.
  • About 25% are mentally ill.
  • As children, 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused
  • 33%-66% of single individuals have substance abuse issues.
  • 48% graduated from high school; 32% had a bachelor degree or higher (as compared to 45% and 25% for the population overall respectively).

(Source: Institute for the Study of Homelessness & Poverty at the Weingart Center)

How can our faith matter to them? God says in His Word that "a pure and undefiled religion" is loving our neighbors as ourselves.

We believe that the church exists not only for ourselves but also for others that they may experience God's salvation and His provision. Jesus said, "whatever you are doing to the least of my brothers (and sisters) you are doing it to me as well".  As a church, we endeavor to reach out by distributing blankets, food, toothbrush & paste and scriptures to our homeless neighbors.

We cannot do the work by ourselves alone. We need people who are willing to go a second mile to reach out. Would you be our partner? We are accepting donations in kind (blankets, clothes, shoes, socks and bible) or in cash toward the purchase of those items. This year, we aim to have two distribution dates, one in summer and another in winter.

IMG_5596

Contact us if you would like to know more about partnering with Seedbed Church.

 

 

Help us make a difference

Your gift of $10, or $20 or $25 or any amount will be used in helping our homeless neighbors.

Support Seedbed Church

Thank you for prayerfully considering to support this worthwhile cause.

The Season of Lent – A Time to Reflect and Celebrate

What is Lent? In the Christian calendar, it is a period commencing from Ash Wednesday and culminating on Easter Sunday. This is the solemn season in which Christians reflect on the suffering and death of Christ. Many churches practice the imposition of ash on the forehead of the believers as a reminder that “we are dust and to dust we return”. Some churches don’t practice the imposition but they encourage the faithful to observe the lent through meditation, prayers and bible reading. Palm Sunday is the Lord’s Day immediately before the Easter Sunday. It is the celebration of Christ’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem and the beginning of the holy week. This event is described in all four books of the Gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Maundy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper in which Jesus had the last meal with His disciples following the washing of their feet. It was also at this time when Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, betrayed Him in exchange of thirty pieces of silver coins. Good Friday marks the crucifixion and death of Christ. Easter Sunday is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead – victory over death and sin. It is a signal for a new beginning.

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day…” Luke 24 vs. 26

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer and die? The fact of the matter is that we are sinners. It doesn’t matter how big or small our sin is. Sin is a sin. It harms us in many ways. It destroys our worth. It corrupts us even more. It harms our relationship with God who created us in His image. It offends our holy God. Because of our sins we are separated from God. Nothing, by our own power and ability, can restore that broken relationship with God. There is no amount of human kindness or goodness that can remove our guilt. And for one, we really didn’t care about being separated from God. That is how calloused we have become as a result of our sins. 

Image courtesy of CrossWalk


But our God is a loving God who does not want us to remain in this hopeless condition. He took the initiative to save us. While it is humanly impossible to be saved from sin and the penalty of it, God provided the only way, Jesus Christ. 
Jesus died on the cross fulfilling the righteous requirements of the Law to remove our sins, to appease God’s holy indignation, to satisfy God’s just requirements to release us from condemnation. It is the moment in which Jesus opened for us the way to God’s holy throne through his atoning death by willingly giving up his life and shedding His blood for us – a sufficient sacrifice once and for all. He declared on the cross “It is finished!”, meaning, the transaction to release us from the captivity from sin is done with. Who can match that show of love? Regardless of the gravity of our sins, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” John 3 :16
All that God requires us to do now is to acknowledge that we have sinned and ask for His forgiveness and trust Him for our salvation by opening our hearts to Him. There is no need to inflict pain on our body. No need to try hard to earn God’s favor by our own moral standards. God’s salvation is a free gift that we must receive. The meaning of Lent is God’s abundant grace made available to you and me.
This is why Lent always ends with celebration. It is a celebration of our new life and restored fellowship with our Creator.

assurance of salvation

How can I know I am saved?


We can know for sure that we are saved.  Jesus promised it. The Holy Spirit testifies about it. God’s word affirms it if you received and trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

  • If you believed (trusted) Jesus Christ and have been born again John 3:3, you have eternal life. John 3:16
  • Jesus promised that we became children of God when we received Him. John 1:12
  • The Holy Spirit assures us that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
  • We crossed over from death to life when we believed Jesus as our Savior. John5:24
  • The Bible affirms that we have life when we have the Son of God (Jesus Christ). 1 John5:11-13
  • Our salvation does not depend on our ability to follow God but on God’s ability to keep us from falling Jude 24 and complete what God has started in us.  Philippians 1:6.

Does it need a “special feeling” or emotion to be sure about it? No, the basis of our assurance is the promise of God in His word and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in us, not our emotion. Our emotion, which changes depending on circumstances, is not a reliable gauge of our assurance of salvation. If one sincerely received Christ and trusted Him as Savior and Lord, regardless of emotional state, is saved.
Am I still saved after falling into sin? God word declares that “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth 1 John 1:6. Also, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”1 John 1:8-9. The first passage tells us that a person is not saved, in the first place, if he deliberately lives in sin. He is not a true believer. A person who genuinely received Jesus Christ does not continue in sin. But the next passage teaches us that we cannot claim to be sinless even if we are saved. Yes, Christians also make mistakes and, sometimes, commit grievous sin but because he has a seal of redemption which is the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13-14 which he received at the moment he received Christ, he is still saved. Nothing and no one could take us away from our Savior John 10:28-30. When we sin, God is not happy and we need to confess our sins (to God) to receive forgiveness and cleansing of our unrighteousness.
I backslid, do I need to received Christ again to be saved (again)? No. You do not need to receive Christ again to be “saved again”. There is no such thing as “saved again”. If a person received Christ, then he was born again, became a child of God and therefore saved eternally John 3:15-16. If he backslides, he will lose the joy of God’s salvation but not the salvation itself. He would lose the joy of Christian fellowship and the intimacy of his relationship with the Lord. His faith could become weak and his lifestyle could become like of those who do not know Christ. The Holy Spirit is grieved when a child of God lives this way but will continue to convict the backslider until he returns to God. The parable of the prodigal son Luke 15:11-24 is good biblical lesson that teaches that our God waits for the backsliding child to awaken, confess his sins and return.  God welcomes that child back to Himself.
Is the assurance my license to do anything I want (including sinning), since I will not lose my salvation? The assurance of salvation is not a license to sin. Rather, it is a great motivation to be like Jesus Christ in His character and righteousness. No true Christian will use his salvation to justify unrighteous and immoral life. Romans 6:1 1John 3:7-9.

Online Bible Study: All of Life as Worship (John Piper)

Worship is what we were created for. Worship is not just on Sunday, but happens every day, all the time and in all of life. What is true worship? Why do we do it? How do we do it? What can we do if we don’t have it? In this 4-part course, John Piper, teacher and Founder of DesiringGod.org, explains how our being satisfied in God is necessary to show God’s worthiness and to sustain sacrifices of love—a life of worship.
https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Training/Course/View/8654
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About the  Author:

JOHN PIPER
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (Th.D.). For six years, John taught Biblical… Read More

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

Our true story begins with a loving and powerful God making us the crown of his creation. God formed us in His very own image - beautiful and without blemish. He made you and me for a truly wonderful purpose. He placed everything around us for our enjoyment. God established a truly intimate fellowship with us.  He gave us leadership over all other created things. But something went awfully wrong - a really bad and sad thing. We broke off our relationship with God. We took Him out of our life and ignored Him. Something - called sin - made this gap between us and God humanly impossible to bridge. You and I have been warped by sin. Corrupted and marred to our core, our way of life, thoughts, tendencies, choices and desires bring us further down.  

Though you went on your own way, God is still reaching out because He still cares for us and still has a great plan for you and your future. Here are the steps to getting into a relationship with God.

ADMIT THAT YOU NEED HELP

First, admit your spiritual need. It's hard to admit our brokenness but we know deep inside that there is emptiness that can't be filled by our achievements in life, money, relationships and even religion. We try to pretend that everything is fine. Deep within, we are sad. We try to hide in the crowd. But when all the laughters and noises have faded and you are alone by yourself, you sense that something is missing in your life. Blaise Pascal a mathematician and philosopher realized that “there is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”  There is this big issue of sin that we often take for granted or  deny. Sin is what causes us to miss our purpose in life."There is none righteous, no, not one" Romans 3:10. "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" Romans 3:23. Because of our sin, we are separated from God. "For the wages of sin is death.." Romans 6:23 Our best efforts are not enough to solve our condition. "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither, and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away." Isaiah 64:6 TLB There is no way we could help ourselves out of this spiritual mess but by Christ alone. 

BELIEVE THAT JESUS CAME TO SETTLE YOUR ISSUES

God loves you but He hates sin. He is holy and just and He dealt with our unworthiness. "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13 "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10 "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God..." I Peter 3:18. Jesus paid in full the price for your sin. The Apostle Paul said, "...the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20. There is no other way to be saved but through Jesus.

KNOW THAT THERE'S NOT OTHER WAY,  NOT EVEN RELIGION. IT'S ONLY THROUGH JESUS 

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. You don't need to add anything to what Jesus has completely done for you. Christ sacrifice for you is sufficient. What He wants you to do is not what many people think you should.

You don't need to be religious to be accepted. As a matter of fact, religion is not the way to be saved. It is not by good works either. Doing good is great but not enough to earn our salvation. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

What you and everybody else need is to make a bold step to turn to God. The Bible tells us, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" Acts 3:19. Repentance means changing our mind and returning to God. God invites you to turn to Him right where you are. His love will help you turn away from the things that create distance between you and God. He promise to give you a fresh start.

RECEIVE JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR BY FAITH

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. It is essential that you come to Jesus as you are. Don't try to "clean up your life" before you come to God. Instead, receive Him and allow Him to do the "cleansing." God will change you for the better. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" John 6:37. "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved". Romans 10:9. Receiving means surrendering to God and trusting Jesus alone for our salvation. It is an act of faith.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. 

Praying is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

"Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and acknowledge that you died on the cross to save me. Please forgive all my sins. I now receive you in my life as my Lord and Savior. I surrender to you my life. Change me and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen."

If you have prayed this prayer with all your heart, then you have received new life in Christ. 2 Cor 5:17 Your sins are completely forgiven and forgotten. Jesus took away your guilt. John 5:24. You have been born again.  You have received eternal life  1 John 5:13You have become a child of God. John 1:12. You have become a Christian. 

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Please let us know about your decision to receive Jesus. We would like to assist you in your new journey of faith as a Christian. Contact us.

All quotations are taken from New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

AHA – Awakening-Honesty-Action

We’ve all had an “aha moment” in our lives, an insight that changes everything. With everyday examples and trademark testimonies, best-selling author Kyle Idleman draws on Scripture to reveal how three key elements—awakening, honesty, action—can produce the same kind of “aha!” in our spiritual lives.
Three modern-day prodigals seek life apart from the Father, find themselves alone and desperate in their own distant country, and are faced with their AHA moment.
Join us every Sunday at 4 PM (after the worship) beginning as we explore AHA moments in our life and how we could use those moments to discover life at its best. This six-week small group study is open to all.