I've been involved in a couple of missions over the last few weeks - first the UCCF mission to Hartlepool that I've mentioned previously on my blog, and more recently Oxford International Outreach with Friends International.
God is wonderfully kind and gracious. He has worked in amazing ways over this last month and it's been a privilege to be be part of displaying, proclaiming and winning people to recognise Christ's Lordship. How kind and generous is the King of Kings who would chose to use someone like me.
Over the two weeks of OiO particularly it has been a delight to hear of and be part of conversations with non-Christians from around the world who have been genuinely grappling with the life and claims of Christ, and in that to hear of people giving their life to him.
A useful session we had was a brief session on what to do if someone wants to give their life to Jesus. It was emphasised that it's important to remember that this would be done in the context of an ongoing relationship, but Al Gibbs, one of the team leaders, went through a few points that are useful to think about for someone who is at the stage of leading someone to Christ. So that's it's memorable when you're in the moment and you don't get all confused, it's presented as a mnemonic:
A - Admit: Admit that you've turned your back on God. He is the God who created you to be in relationship with him. He gave you good things but you chose instead to take the good things and turn your back on the giver of them. He is completely loving and worthy of your praise and worship, but you've given that praise and devotion to other things ahead of him.
B - Believe: Believe that Jesus is God, come to earth as fully man and fully God. He lived a perfect life and died a death he didn't deserve - the death of a criminal on a Roman cross. He willingly did this in our place. He took the punishment that we deserved for turning our back on him. Believe that there's nothing you can do that's good enough to pay the price for your rejection of God and to bring you back into relationship with him. Believe that it is only the free gift of forgiveness, bought by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection that will bring you back to God.
C - Count the cost: Salvation is solely through Jesus, but accepting the salvation means accepting a restored relationship with God, and it means turning your back on your old way of life and now living with Jesus as Lord. The desire to do this is given as we're given a new heart by the Spirit, and the power to do it is given by the Spirit, nevertheless becoming a Christian means stopping doing some things that you have previously done, as they neither honour God nor bring a true and lasting joy. This means giving up things that you currently may hold dear, but what you get in exchange is not something worse - it's a relationship with God, it's living how you were created to live, in a way that brings real, deep joy and hope and that has proven time and time again to be wonderful.
D - Decide: Decide to follow Jesus. If you believe and accept ABC, then you can pray to God, admit your need for him, put your trust in the death of Jesus on your behalf as the only way to bring forgiveness and bring you into relationship with God, and ask for his Spirit to help you to live for him.
Now the fun begins!