Lakeside Bible Church currently has a sports outreach ministry called "Contact Sports" where members of our church make contact with members of our community through sports. The outreach method is one of relational evangelism and every week there are new people showing up to play ball with whom we are making contact for the glory of Christ and His Gospel.
Right now, we have had about 25-30 players on average each week since January. And without fail, we see new faces every week! It sure makes me thankful for those few Lakesiders who show up to play week-to-week!
We recently had a new visitor whom we were able to minister to. The night had ended and we walked with him to the door. The conversation went from basketball to church to personal beliefs. It was time to make "contact" that would last well beyond the experience of one night of basketball.
We asked him questions about his past church experience, his story of growing up, and what he is really after in life. He had answers for everything and sure enough, out of the heart the mouth speaks. He shared several statements that helped us get a sense for where he is at:
"I'm young still so I know I have a lot more of my life to figure these things out."
"I definitely believe that God exists because why would my life be so hard if there wasn't a plan for all of it?"
"You know, all I really want is to have happiness, peace, and joy in life."
"Hell, if in fact it exists, sounds like a terrible place and I don't want to go there. I hope I don't."
"I just believe that there is truth in every religion out there; I just decide for myself which things are right and which things aren't."
He ended up talking a bit more than we were able to respond, but it was well worth the night to be able to share with him the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ!
The main takeaway I keep replaying in my head—and that we were able to share with him—was this...how can you have happiness, peace, and joy in life when you aren't sure if you are on God's good side or His bad side?
Every day you look at your "good" works and make a judgment call as to whether you'd go to hell or heaven if you died in that very moment. What if you died doing something really bone-headed? What if the Lord comes back before you are able to make things right with someone you've wronged? What if you could have done more good than bad and it's time to give an account?
How can you have happiness, peace, and joy in that way of thinking? You can't.
You CAN however know for certain that if you died today that you'd go to heaven and not hell. Don't believe otherwise; it's a lie Satan would love for you to believe. Here is the thing though, eternal life is not given to those who make their life better, who try to help people out as much as they can, who learn from their mistakes, and who really mean well in their heart.
No. Eternal life comes through Jesus Christ. His work. Not yours. His perfection. Not yours. His life. Not yours. His love. Not yours. His obedience. Not yours. His efforts. Not yours.
You can know you would go to heaven and not hell if you died today because Jesus paid it all. If you accept His payment for your sins on the cross, then your past and present and future sins are ALL atoned for. Your sins have been punished with the full weight of the Law-giver Himself. Jesus paid it all.
It is finished. Fear death no more. Smile at tomorrow, knowing today that you are saved by faith in Christ alone. That's good news!
Will you join me in getting the Word out about Jesus? We need more to go. We need more to actually speak up. We need more to step out in faith and do what we've been created and commanded to do.
You are not really living until you are fishing for men as a faithful follower of Christ.