How do you personally connect with God?

If God feels more like a concept, theory, or religion than he does a personal relationship, then we are missing what God is all about!

[23] For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

Each and every one of us deserves things… sometimes positive, sometimes negative.

Sins like pride, selfishness, drinking, bitterness, and more deserve certain consequences. Truthfully, our sins earn death for us. But the gift of God is grace.

[21] At one time you were separated from God. You were his enemies in your minds, and the evil things you did were against God. [22] But now God has made you his friends again. He did this through Christ’s death in the body so that he might bring you into God’s presence as people who are holy, with no wrong, and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty.

Colossians 1:21-22 (NCV)

What have my sins done to my relationship with God? And what price did he pay for this relationship with me?
God paid this price a long time ago with Jesus.

[6-8] Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Romans 5:6-8 (MSG)

While we were of no use to him, when we were not ready, God put his love on the line in hope to have a friendship with you and me.

He had no idea if we’d even care. He just hoped that we would respond. He showed us an expression of love.

Am I letting the experience of the cross touch my heart?

Sins are very personal to our relationships.
Our sins hurt others.
They separate us from others.

If sin is personal to us, then the grace and mercy that come with the mercy of the cross will be too.

The Cross Is Personal

[3] He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering. People would not even look at him. He was hated, and we didn’t even notice him. [4] But he took our suffering on him and felt our pain for us. We saw his suffering and thought God was punishing him. [5] But he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds.

Isaiah 53:3-5 (NCV)

He had you and I in mind.

[36] “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” [37] When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” [38] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [39] The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 2:36-39 (NIV)

What do I need to do to repent?

How do I respond to the love of God?
The cross reveals the true condition of our hearts.

We all have a choice to make.

[14] For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. [15] And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)

Am I letting God change me?
Grow me?

[1] As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. [2] For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV)

It’s time to grow.

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