Christ Search 2017-13

                                                                        Christ Search 2017-13


There are many ways to find Jesus Christ, or getting close to Jesus in life.  It is a trip or an experience of a lifetime. It is an ongoing journey that does not stop, although it probably does have a beginning, but not an end.

It could be like an adventure of life that we set out on, where we do not know the outcome, or the destination, but hope for the best.  A walk in the woods, a tour of a multi-room house, a visit to a strange city, or numerous other examples of something unknown at the time.

Where are we in our adventure of life with Jesus?   Well, it can take many twists and turns, many rooms to explore and stones to touch and find out where we are in our quest to finding Jesus Christ. Some, if not all of us, are on different paths in our quest. This is normal!

The old saying, take two steps forward and sometimes one step behind comes to mind. I don’t think anyone gets to a point where we go towards a goal and stay there, because there is usually another challenge to overcome or a setback that occurs.

Let me say this about our journey, which I acknowledge that I have a source for my thoughts. I believe we are at various stages for finding Jesus. 

Some, do not believe or are unaware that Jesus was real and a factor in our lives. I will say those that have this unfortunate place in life have not yet experienced an awakening and can look forward to the first door to pass through in this journey.  I will call this as being Unaware of Jesus. They will be surprised on what they can look forward to when they do become aware.

The second group would be after awareness occurs, comes the Exploring Christ segment of life.  This is where they DO have a basic belief of Jesus Christ, but are unsure of Christ and His role He has in their lives. I can remember being a member of this group and it was a rudimentary and uncomplicated life that I led at the time.  There was NO challenge in life regarding Jesus, for me at the time, but I did exist with a somewhat belief that there was a Son of God, just had no definite ideas about it at the time.

I finally had a beginning of an understanding that I was Growing in Christ and that involved a larger feeling of belief that the guy Jesus was something to consider in my life. I had the beginnings of a personal relationship with Jesus and a commitment to trust Him as a Savior and an inkling of learning what it means to be in somewhat of a relationship with Him.  I started to be aware of my everyday actions and what it meant to me and those around me. I realized that when I sinned, there was a God and His son that knew what I did at the time. I also started to understand what the love of God meant and that Jesus Christ died for my sins.

I want to believe that many people are at this junction in life and again, this is normal.

Then life evolved to where I became Close to Christ. Wow!!  This is where I started to depend on Christ daily in my life and to see Him as the one that is assists me in everyday experiences.  I began to turn to Him for guidance for issues that I was facing, asking Him for help, letting Him know my concerns, my fears, my joys, my daily thoughts of who I was and why I exist. This was in a quiet way, private to myself.

Guess what!  This is where I started to realize that my two steps forward in life, sometimes has a step backward in life.  I do NOT stay in the same room of life all the time.  There is always a door going somewhere, and at times, the door leads to a place I do NOT want to be in.  That is the way it is, and I have begun to live with this, as a life experience, that needs to be lived. (make sense?).

Several years ago, I had an experience that I call “The Happening”. This is where I met Jesus Christ, heard the Holy Spirit and saw the Glory of God.  I have written and told some about this and will not dwell on it now.  But, it did change me.  The neat thing is, we can ALL have an experience like what I had then; really!!!!!!

I, in my lifetime, went from being what I was called “a heathen” to a believer of God and Jesus Christ. Ok, that happened to me, so be it.  But, we can all have a telling experience with finding Jesus, and mine occurred to me and I own it. Let me continue.

The last room, or turn in life, or whatever it can be called, is where I became Christ Centered. To be honest, I feel that I go through this door and become this way at times, but am not sure I stay there very long, I am sorry to say. BUT, I feel that this has happened to me and that is good.  Here, I identify that my relationship with Jesus Christ is the MOST important relationship I have in my life. I want to fully surrender myself to Jesus and His agenda by subordinating everything to His will and desires.  It WOULD be great if I lived my life there always, but that is not the case, unfortunately.

OH, one more thing!!!  I believe that each move forward to become Christ Centered has a cost!! Crap, you say?  Well, nothing was promised to be easy and perhaps we just don’t want to pay the price of growing closer to Christ or even centered with Him. Maybe the commitment is too much, the extra effort, or any more involvement is not what we want to do. That may be the case, but if you do, I would like to hear from you and give you my advice on how to accomplish your goal . Perhaps we want to just stay in the same plateau where we are with Him and not reach outward. Guess what, He still loves you regardless! He will always love you, regardless. That is the nature of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

OK, so I have told you where I feel my journey of life, finding Jesus Christ, has been.  Do NOT compare your life with mine. We are ALL on our individual trip of life. Some include Jesus and some do not. Some are so-so with having Jesus Christ in their lives and that is up to them. I only really care of how MY life is like with Him and hope your life also does include Jesus as part of your life in some way. Where you are in which room or turn, is up to you and my prayers are with you.., regardless.

May the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with you,

Den Betts

Getting Closer to Jesus Christ 2016-16

                                          Getting Closer to Jesus Christ 2016-16

If we believe in Jesus Christ, we could do many things that would allow us to get “Closer to Jesus” in a way that would solidify our relationship with Him. Why use the word solidify? I do so; to say we could make our unity with Jesus stronger or to be reinforced in the process of our living as a Christian.

I can only express my own trials of doing so, to give others an idea of what it is like to do this. First off, it is NOT easy! It is a process to a degree. We are all, in some way, in different stages of being closer to Jesus.

I remember an exercise a number of years ago called REVEAL. This was something that was put out by a religious group, for many churches of different faiths to participate and find out where the church as a whole belonged, and, where as individuals at the church were in their relationship with Jesus.

I remember a chart that showed “stepping stones” for where each person was in life. Remember, we are ALL in various stages of growth and maturity:

Stages of Steps

First was a stone called “Exploring Christ” where people in this group had a basic belief in God, but they were unsure about Christ and His role in their lives.  I wonder how many of us have this way of thinking. I would think that a new member or a younger member would normally fit in this group, without any criticism at all about them.

The second stone was “Growing in Christ” and people in this group have a personal relationship with Christ. They had made a commitment to trust him with their salvation and for their eternity, but they are just beginning to learn what it means to be in a relationship with Him. I believe countless number of people are balancing on this stone, clinging and hovering at this junction of their lives.

Another group and thirdly, were those people that were “Close to Christ”. These folks depend on Christ daily for their lives. They see Jesus as someone who assists them in life. They turn to Him on a daily basis; they look to Him for help and any issues they face on a regular basis. Quite a number of people belong or believe they belong to this group and stand on this stone.

Lastly, the last stone are those that are “Christ Centered” and these people identify their relationship with Jesus Christ as the most important relationship in their entire lives. They see their lives as fully surrendered to Jesus and his agenda, subordinating everything to His will and His desires.  Actually, this stone is not crowded and probably the percentages of people on this stone are few or very low.

So, where do we belong on these rocks of life? The thing is, sometimes we change our position in life and where we stand. We move forward and backward and it depends on circumstances just where we are in our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. So, the stones or rocks remain in place, but we skip from one to another.

A Simile

I remember reading about Teresa of Avilla. She was a Roman Catholic nun who lived in the 16th Century from 1515 to 1582. She wrote an autobiography and what was called “The Interior Castle” which described SEVEN rooms in a mansion, which really somewhat parallel what the FOUR stepping stone segments.  If you get a chance, read about Teresa and her mansion with the SEVEN room concept.

I bring this up because Teresa of Avilla suggested that people go from one room of spiritual growth to another and sometimes back track to the previous room or to others they left behind. This is normal and the stone positioning is not linear and one way. Ultimately people in general tend to move toward a relationship with God and Christ. But, as individuals, their pathways can be very non-direct at times. Birds head south for the winter, but not necessarily in a straight line path and people do not take giant leaps from one stone to another in their faith either; it is a slow process at times with many ups and downs in the journey.

Where are We ?

I will leave you here to contemplate what I have stated. Think about it and try to understand where you are in life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. As you think, realize the following in your thought process of living as a Christian.

Now, in the Christian life the same stages of growth seem to apply for growing to Jesus Christ. People seeking to understand God and his plan come to a point of responding to the invitation to be born into God’s family. With the right nurturing (1 Peter 2:2), a newborn Christian becomes a spiritual infant. Jesus taught his early Kingdom converts and helped them grow into young disciples. He invited them to follow him and he would make them “fishers of men.” They had a time to learn and grow and begin to serve. Ultimately, as he was leaving this earth, he prepared his men for maturity by inviting them to remain in him.(John 15:7-8).These men went on to reproduce their lives and see many other new believers trust in Jesus and grow to maturity.

God’s Peace be with you,

Den Betts