Day 1

What does a Relationship with Jesus look like?

Welcome to Next Step, a seven day journey of beginning your relationship with Jesus. We are so thankful we get to journey with you on the new adventure you’ve said “yes” to! We can’t wait to see you grow, walk alongside you, and get to do life together.

The first question you may be asking is, “what does a relationship with Jesus ACTUALLY look like?” We want to focus our first day of devotions together to answer that question.

For each individual, the day-to-day with Jesus may look different. After all, God talks to us in so many different ways and each relationship is so significant and genuine. One thing that’s for sure, is that God wants to be part of our daily lives, he wants to be involved and welcomed into your every day. It’s important that we make time for God to build a relationship with us. Making time for God can be through things like a daily devotional, studying the bible, worshipping, spending time praying, or just having some quiet time and reflecting on God and his goodness. Beginning each day or ending each night by spending time with God is essential to growing a relationship. He wants to spend time with you.

Here’s a challenge to try today -spend 10 minutes with God, take just 10 minutes in the day to read a devotion, the Bible, and pray. Here’s an outline for an idea on how you can spend that time: Open up in a prayer thanking God for his love and grace, then spend some time praying for those you know who don’t have a relationship with God. Then read the Bible. For today, read John 3:16-17

John 3:16-17 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Now that you’ve read through these verses, take some time to think and reflect on what you just read.

Making this habit of daily life with God will set you on a great course for growing a relationship and foundation for the rest of your life.

Day 2

Grace.

Grace. It’s one of those words you might hear Christians use a lot right? It might be a word that confuses you though. We insert it into passing conversation and small talk as if it’s somehow a menial or mundane topic in our faith. In reality grace is one of the most pivotal realities to grasp in our walk with Jesus. Grace can be incredibly difficult to comprehend and understand in a short time, but that’s only because our God and his love and his sacrifice so exceeds what we could imagine or hope to learn. That sounds hopeless but I urge you, never give up on understanding what grace means in your experience with our Heavenly Father.

The Bible really helps encompass what grace can mean to you as a Jesus Follower:

In Romans 8:1-2, Paul writes these words… So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Paul is saying that because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross He paid the ultimate price for the sins of humanity. He has removed our separation from Him that we would experience otherwise. That means that Jesus has paid the price for yesterday’s sins, today’s sins, and tomorrow’s sins in full. Now, here’s where things get murky. A lot of people read that and they think wow, that means I can keep on living my same old sinful life and Jesus just covers it all with some kind of divine credit card?! 

But what this should mean for us is wow, my heavenly Father paid the price for my very existence and because of His sacrifice I am now compelled to live a life that glorifies who He is, not only for me, but for everyone that I encounter! And yes, we could just keep on living with the same sinful patterns, and in all honesty we will always mess up, we will always sin, we will always fall short. However, God and His grace will still be there with open arms. 

Imagine a home, where the child is missing from that household. Would the parents sleep, knowing their child is missing? Of course not, they are in a constant state of readiness for the homecoming of that child. Did you know God is a loving father who wants all of his kids to come home? No matter how far you’ve wandered, the money you’ve spent, the mistakes you’ve made, he’s waiting at home for you ready, hoping that one day you’ll walk through the door.

On the night before He was crucified Jesus told his disciples, There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" -John 14:2. The next day he would pay the ultimate price, and the doors of the Father’s house would swing wide open; ready to welcome in anyone who would come.

Grace is the reality that God is just waiting for you to come home to him. Scripture says that this earth is not our true home, but if we’re still here, we may as well extend the grace we’ve received to all people. A home can only truly be enjoyed, when all have arrived. You have been received grace freely, so you can give it freely.

Day 3

Prayer.

Have you ever lost power to your phone because your battery ran dry? Have you found yourself searching for a power source to plug your phone into at gas stations, fast food restaurants…even department stores. Getting a “charge” is a key to staying connected with your mobile device. Prayer is sort of like that. Prayer is your connection with God. Talking to God charges your spirit so to say and keeps you connecting to this awesome God that so desires a relationship with you.

Can you imagine becoming friends with someone and then never talking to them? It would be hard building a relationship with someone without finding some way to connect. Our heavenly Father created prayer so we could talk with him and he could connect with us.

There have been a lot of different ideas about how to pray to God that you may have heard about at one time or another. To keep things simple, we are going to define prayer as just learning to talk to your heavenly Father, just like you would talk to another person over a cup of coffee together at Jeremiah’s. If you’ve never really prayed before, you can start by talking to him like he’s right there. Tell him about how you feel, what your day was like, the things that make you afraid and the things that cause you to feel immense joy. Take a moment even right now as you are reading this devotional to stop and spend a few minutes learning how to connect with him. He’s so pumped to just get your attention and start building a friendship between the two of you. 

Jesus spent some time trying to teach his disciples how to pray in the first books of the New Testament. 

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation. ” Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Luke 11:1-10 NLT

Jesus gave us a little bit of a format help us as we learn to pray. He also encouraged the disciples not to give up, even if they don’t feel like they are hearing anything. Keep talking and connecting with God, bringing your needs to him, sharing your highs and lows with him. Remember, it takes time to get to know him.

Here is another outline that might help you pray:

Spend the first minute Praising God —Tell him how awesome it is to get to know him. Reflect on how grateful you are for his Unending LOVE that welcomes you home.

Spend the second minute asking God to Forgive you —Sin will always be a struggle. The awesome thing is that you don’t have to do anything to receive this forgiveness, just ask for his forgiveness. God’s Son, Jesus, died on the cross to cover each and every dark moment and sinful choice that we could struggle with. 

Spend the third minute asking God to help you FORGIVE others —There is such power in not holding onto bitterness or the strife of others. Forgiving others sets you FREE!

Spend the fourth minute asking God for anything you need —Maybe you need Courage to face the day, Hope in a place you feel hopeless, Healing for your body. You can also take this moment to pray for anyone else you may know that has a need. 

Take a minute to Listen —I know it might feel weird, but take some time to just sit in a quiet place and listen. God may speak to you, by reminding you about something you read in the Bible, or heard during an Experience during the weekend. Maybe a song we sang in worship will come to mind. You probably won’t hear an audible voice, and that’s ok. Sometimes when you pause to listen, God speaks to your heart.

Take the final minute and just start to THANK God —Thank God for all he is doing and going to do. Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to connect with God because it puts your FOCUS on the good things in life rather than just on what you or I would just complain about. 

Look at that… you have started your journey into the power of prayer. Take the next week or two and just focus on taking a few minutes out of your day and see if your passion to connect with God grows. As you grow in your connection with God, reach out to ask one of our community group leaders, a 2911 pastor, or a friend you trust to pray with you— ask them to pray for you to grow in this new relationship with God.

 

Day 4

God's Word.

Today let’s look at one of the greatest, tangible gifts we have- the Bible. Why is it important we know and study the Bible? GREAT QUESTION!

The Bible is the word of God. It is 66 books complied into two testaments, the old and new, making up one entire book. The Bible is full of history, old laws, new laws, prophetic words, the story of Jesus, letters to cities that were changed by the love of Jesus, and hundreds of songs/hymns/praises to God. The Bible is alive and ready to teach us what it means to follow God. It was written over a span of more than 2,000 years, and it is STILL relevant to us today. But how?

While God used people to write the Bible to specific places/churches/people at a specific times, it also was written for us. The Bible might seem big and often daunting to people to read, but it can be simple to read and understand when you have help. That’s what this seven day ‘New Believers’ study is here for! We want to help you get on a good path and start in reading the Bible. What we like to suggest for any new believer is to start in the gospel of Mark. Mark was actually written for the new believers when it was originally written! How perfect.

We have a daily devotional posted where you can read through the book of Mark with us. The daily devotional is called SOAP. The name SOAP stands for Scripture —read a chapter of the bible, Observation —observe what is happening in these verses, Application —ask how you can apply what you read to your own life, and Prayer —talk to God. We encourage you to jump over to that for some time in God’s word today, here’s a link to it: SOAP- the Book of Mark.

After this devotional (or even today!) we want to challenge you to start reading through Mark with the plan given (or if you find a plan of your own).

We are with you! God is with you! This new journey is so exciting!

Day 5

Community.

Community —why is it important?

Something you will hear around 29:11 is that “community is crucial to your growth,” and that statement is absolutely true. Being involved in a community that shares the same values and beliefs is not only crucial to your growth, but your day-to-day life as well. Community becomes like family as you begin to do ministry together, grow together, learn together, study the word together, and pray together.

There’s a story in Mark 2 where friends carry a paralyzed man to Jesus so that he can be healed. Jump over to our SOAP Reading today in Mark 2 to read the story… This is a great example of community. Friends looking out for each other, carrying each other to Jesus when we don’t have the strength.

You may have noticed already that we have an abundance of what we call “community groups.” These groups meet monthly and you can be involved in one or several! We have community groups for anyone and everyone from young adults, single moms, young men, women, moms with young kids, bible readers, all the way to not-so-20-something’s! If you’re a human, there’s a place for you to fit here. We want to help you find where you belong, where you can plant yourself and grow. We have a Community Group Booklet posted online of all of our community groups: https://www.2911church.com/community-group-booklet , there’s a link to send a message to get connected as well. Find a group that you might be interested in and get connected!

Day 6

Share with Someone.

So now you’ve got some direction, some inspiration, and some encouragement in your new walk with Jesus. We couldn’t be more excited by your commitment and your desire to step into the most meaningful and rewarding life you could ever have. It doesn’t mean the road gets easier, but the road does gain purpose and it leads to one place: your eternal home with the One who paved the way.

Each and every one of us makes up and integral part of the body of Christ. Some of us are baristas, some of us are pastors, some of us are secretaries, administrators, custodians, each person has a purpose. Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean that we are all called to full time vocational ministry, but it does mean that our lives get to reflect the passion and love of Christ.

Whatever your situation, lifestyle or occupation, Jesus has called you to a life of full time ministry in that place! You get to spread the word that God has a Plan, Hope, and Future for everyone, everywhere you go!

Jesus has called us to plant seeds, to spread good the news! Tell someone this week about Jesus. The easiest way to tell people about Jesus is to share your story! Tell them how God has changed you and what it means to you! You don’t need scripture, you don’t need a platform, all you need is a heart that is bursting with the story of what God has done in your life. 

In Matthew 5:20 Jesus says that we are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and hide it under a bowl, instead they place it on a stand and it gives light to all in the house, in that same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.

Notice, that part where He says, “it gives light to all in the house.” Jesus has commanded very clearly that everyone needs and deserves a chance to hear and experience the love that he offers! Not that we would be glorified but that He would be glorified, he calls us to purpose and yet he places the weight on his shoulders so don’t feel burdened to “save” everyone!

I know we desire to see success in every endeavor but in reality we know it’s not possible, and therefore not everyone you share with will receive what you offer, but all you’ve been called to do is shine, so keep shining. And pray for those who deny the message of Jesus, don’t scold or berate them, that’s not our job, we’ve been called to love. 

As you step into your day, week or year I pray that you would shine for Jesus as he continues to mold and shape your faith and deepen your experience with him!

Day 7

Call to Action.

Today, you’re completing our Next Step Devotionals. We hope and pray that you feel like you have gained some tools to help you on your journey of getting to know who Jesus is and are beginning to understand what it means to have an authentic relationship with God. By choosing to surrender your life to Jesus, you have said YES to a heavenly Father who has been thinking about you since time began. You have chosen to spend eternity with Him which brings hope into not only the life you’re living right now, but for what is to come. Jesus, God’s Son, overcame death and the grave when he was resurrected so we could be with him forever.

Now comes the most challenging part of your faith in becoming a follower of Jesus… taking him into your everyday. The awesome things you have learned over the last few days can help you grow as new believer in Jesus. It says in 2 Peter 1:3 that, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” God has given us all we need to grow in our faith in him. Take those things you’ve learned and start to practice them as daily habits that will help you day after day. 

Continue on praying, reading the Bible, and diving into community. Maybe use our our daily SOAP Reading as a tool to read more of God’s word. You could even take the next seven days to re-read these Next Step Devotions to get these ideas ingrained in your life.

One of the greatest ways to grow as new believer is to find a friend to talk about all these exciting new steps you are taking in your life. We can help you connect! Step into a Start Here Session at church, to learn more about being a part of the 2911 Church Community. 

If you don’t have a Bible, let us know. Make sure you get a translation that you can understand such as the New International Version or the New Living Translation. 

We can’t wait to see you grow!