Come - I think I'm a Christian
Come – I Think I’m a Christian
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. THE MESSAGE
Are you a Christian? I ask that question several times a day. The first step in a walk with Christ is to come to Jesus and I like to start what I call Divine Appointments with finding out if people have actually done that. The answers I get are so interesting. My nephew Bill is traveling with me for 3 weeks. Sometimes he joins in the conversations and sometimes he prays for me while I’m talking and listening. He remarked that he’s surprised that question doesn’t seem to offend anyone.
“I agree Bill,” I told him. “I’m always expecting them to tell me to mind my own business. I think the trick is to pray before you speak and to ask the question when the Holy Spirit leads. In all the years I’ve done this, I’ve only had one person refuse to answer the question.”
Bill and I were getting gas when a friendly male voice at the gas pump next to me said hello. Since my pump was misbehaving, I asked the voice a question. “Do you know what this message means?”
“It wants your membership card. You can still get gas if you don’t have one but it will save you three cents per gallon if you do. I’ll loan you mine.” He walked over and scanned his card in.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
I told him a little about my story and what I was doing. He was fascinated.
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
“I think so,” he said hesitantly.
“May I tell you what the Bible says a Christian is?” I asked.
“Sure thing,” he said.
“A Christian is someone who has admitted they need Jesus, has confessed their mistakes, and has asked Jesus to be a part of their life. It is someone who believes in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.”
“Well,” he said. “I do believe in Jesus.”
“But,” I asked. “Have you specifically invited Him into your life?”
“I’m not sure,” he said.
“If you’re not sure,” I said, “When you get in your car, I want you to pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your life. Confess that you are a sinner and need Him. The next time you are asked that question, you don’t have to wonder. You will know you are a Christian. It really is that simple.”
“I’ll do that,” he said. “I do have a question for you.”
“Shoot,” I said. “I don’t know much but I usually give some kind of answer.”
“My wife says I’m supposed to do something called a tithe. I save my money and when I get 10%, I like to use it to help people. I don’t necessarily give it to a church. Is that bad?”
I gave him a short Bible lesson on the tithe. “I personally tithe my income because I want to be obedient but tithing isn’t a prerequisite for being a Christian. We become a Christian when we invite Jesus into our life. I tithe because I want to. I have occasionally used part of my tithe for a specific need but overall, I believe in giving it to the church. Your decision about that is between God, you, and your wife.”
“That helps,” he said. “My wife and I tried to go to church. We have an inter-racial marriage and in Georgia, we’ve felt a little uncomfortable in some churches.”
He was African American so I asked, “Is your wife Caucasian?”
“Yes,” he said. “We finally found a church that accepted us but then the pastor had an affair and stepped down. I figured we didn’t need that so we stopped going.”
“I’m sorry that happened,” I said sympathetically. “There is a lot of stress to being a pastor and unfortunately, I hear that story way too often. I believe in Satan and it makes sense to me that Satan would attack pastors. Most likely your pastor was fallen and not a fraud.”
“You’re probably right,” he admitted.
“As a Christian, we are to love and forgive them but that doesn’t mean they can continue to be the shepherd of a church. I’m glad he stepped down.”
“You’re right,” he said. “He stepped down but is still going to the church.”
“Then I admire him,” I said. “He did the right thing.”
I switched subjects. “I’ve found in the south that African Americans are more accepting of inter-racial marriages than predominately white churches,” I suggested. “One of the things I like about living in Phoenix is that people seem to be just people. In my church, we worship with all different races and I love it.”
“I haven’t found that to be the case,” he said. “The African American churches gave us a harder time than the white churches. The church we were attending was a blend racially and we felt comfortable.”
“It sounds as if you found a good church,” I said. “Why don’t you try going again? The pastor did the right thing by stepping down and I’ll bet God has sent a new person in to lead the church.”
“I just might do that,” he said. “I’ve heard the new pastor was good. I guess I can’t expect a church to be perfect.”
I gave him a quarter and a card. He looked at it as I explained it was a symbol of God’s free grace. “Don’t forget to pray that prayer when you get into the car,” I reminded him. “Ask Jesus into your life. You were my assignment from God this morning.”
“I suspect I’m going to keep this quarter forever,” he said as he left the gas station.