Have a Date with God
Would you like to have a great date with God – a living personal relationship with Him that will endure forever – even after your physical death?
If your answer is yes, I have some good news for you. God loves you, and He wants you to have a great date with Him. But the Bible tells us there is a problem. God is holy and righteous, and we have all sinned, sinned, and sinned again.
Throughout human history we humans have tried to overcome the problem created by our different natures – that God is Holy and we are sinful. Some try to overcome their sin problem through religion, others through trying to live an ethical life. But no matter how hard we try, we still fail, because God is Holy and we just can't stop sinning.
The biblical word translated sin means, “missing the mark or falling short of God’s standard.” The Bible clearly states that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God“ (Romans 3:23) and “The wages of sin is death ...” (Romans 6:23). So our sin blocks the way to God! With R standing for religion, E for ethics, and sin the blocker, it could be diagrammed like this:
When I shared this with a college student who was a philosophy major, and told him that the Bible tells us that, “God is absolutely holy and righteous,“ He responded, “There is no such thing as an absolute.” So I asked him, “Are you absolutely sure of that?” He chuckled and replied, “I guess I am not.”
To clarify this, I asked him to assume that pluses represent good things and minuses represent bad things or anything short of perfection. That God, being Holy, He is all pluses and no minuses at all.” He said, "O.K., we can use that as a definition."
When it was pointed out that every man falls short of God's standard of right and wrong, that "All have sinned," he agreed, that even if we set our own standards of what is right and wrong, we would a still do things that we know are wrong. So pluses were added above the words Holy God and minuses under the words Sinful Man, and the diagram looked like this:
The obvious next question was, "What would happen if God, who is holy (all pluses), overlooked man's sins (many minuses) and allowed man to come into fellowship with Himself?" The student took one look and responded, "If God were to overlook even one minus, that would be a minus and God would no longer be absolutely holy.
This explained an important teaching in the Bible -- that there are some things God cannot do. The Bible tells us, "God cannot lie" (Titus 1:2), and "Your (God’s) eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor." (Habakkuk 1:13). So God cannot overlook man's sin. His holiness demands that He condemn man's sin. As Romans 6:23 explained, "The wages of sin is death."
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He made it possible for man to have fellowship with God. But God did not do this by overlooking our sin. Our fellowship with God is not made possible because of what we do or do not do. Rather, it is based on what Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, did for us on the cross. Jesus is God's solution for your sin problem.
With a cross, representing God's free gift of eternal life (that was purchased for us by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross) is added to the diagram, it looks like this:
Religion and ethics can be defined as man’s effort to get God's approval. When God sent His Son, who became a man when He was born of a virgin, it was God reaching down to us. But God did not violate the demands of His Holy nature and overlook man’s sin. Through Jesus, He fulfilled those demands, and demonstrated His great love for us.
In the Bible's Romans 5:8 the apostle Paul told us about God's love. And yes – it is worthy of a celebration. “But God proved His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
To understand how God accomplished this, we go to the Old Testament, a set of documents written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. They are books in the Bible, the all-time #1 best seller. (It has two major parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each has many books, and the Bible is often called, “The Book of Books”).
In these sacred Old Testament scriptures of Judaism, when a Jew sinned, he was commanded to bring a lamb that was perfect without any blemish to the tabernacle or after it was built, the temple. (Remember, God's holy nature demands perfection). He laid his hands on the head of the lamb, prayed, and then killed the lamb. The priest would then take the blood of the lamb and sprinkle it on the altar.
When a Jew laid his hands on the head of the Lamb, it pictured two things. First, it was a picture of identification. It was proclaiming, "God, I want You to see me and this Lamb as one!" I identify with this Lamb. Second, it was a picture of transference. He was saying, "God, all that is true of me is true of this Lamb and all that is true of this Lamb is true of me."
If all that is true of you is true of the Lamb, what will happen to your sin if you lay your hands on the head of the Lamb? The answer is obvious – your sin will be transferred to the Lamb! Then the Bible explained that the Lamb must be killed. God, being absolutely holy, always dealt with sin in an absolute way.
The complete verse in the Bible's Romans 6:23 reads, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Both the Old and New Testaments in the Bible explained, “The Life is in the blood” (modern science agrees) and that, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (This is from both the Old Testament's book, Leviticus chapter 17, and the New Testament's book, Hebrews chapters 9 & 10).
is what theologians call "the scarlet cord of redemption"
that flows throughout the Bible. In Isaiah Chapter 53, a chapter
speaking prophetically about the promised Messiah, whom God
promised in the Old Testament. It reads;
we like sheep have gone astray;
Hundreds of years later, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world!" These words are in Handel’s great musical classic, “The Messiah.” It's about the prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus, “The Messiah.” This irrefutable evidence tells us that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the Son of God, the Messiah, and your Savior.
The New Testament also proclaimed this when Jesus was quoted. He said, "...the Son of Man (his favorite name for Himself) came not to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for the many" (Matthew 20:28). Later, when He died on the cross, Jesus' last words were, "It is finished!" These were the same words that were used in that day to write across the face of a bill, "PAID IN FULL!"
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He was the perfect, sinless Lamb of God. On the cross, He paid in full the penalty for your sin, making it possible for you to have fellowship with God. But not on the basis of your goodness. Rather, on the basis of a righteousness provided for you through Jesus Christ dying in your place – as your substitute.
Properly comprehended, there is no boasting in Christianity. The Bible says, "For by grace (unmerited favor) have you been saved, through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not by works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I see myself as one who has violated God's law and I stand guilty because of my sin. But I can hold my head high because the penalty for my sin has been paid in full. I am forgiven through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and I can enter God's presence and have an eternal date with Him, when I go to be with Him.
In the Bible's II Corinthians, chapter 5 verse 21, the Apostle Paul recorded, "For He (referring to God) made Him (referring to Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." That's good news. My sin was transferred to Jesus who died in my place, satisfying the demands of God's holiness and justice, and because of His love, His righteousness is imputed to me as a free gift.
Remembering the diagram with the pluses and minuses, this tells everyone who has trusted in Jesus as their Savior, that when God looks at us, He does not see our sin (our minuses). All He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ (all pluses) that are imputed to us. The Bible's Old Testament book, Leviticus, and the New Testament book of Hebrews, both shout: “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”
This is really GOOD NEWS – that the sins in my life that blocked my way to God (my minuses), have been replaced by Jesus Christ's righteousness (His pluses). So with the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to me, and to you if you have trusted in Him as your Savior, the diagram now looks like this:
When Jesus spoke to a man named Nicodemus (in the Gospel reported by John, in chapter 3), He explained that every man must have two births to have eternal life. You had a natural birth, but you also need a spiritual birth. Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God... Ye must be born again!"
After explaining the need for a new birth, the Bible explained the why and the how; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
The Bible's book, First John, also recorded, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life..." (I John 5:11-13).
The word gospel means "good news." It's "good news" that through trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can be "born again" and have a date with God that will endure for eternity. Best of all, it's absolutely free. All you have to do is place your faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, in your place and for your sin.
If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, let me challenge you to place your faith and trust in Him right now. God loves you. Through a simple prayer, you can trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and have that great date.
The important thing is not the words you pray, rather it's the attitude of your heart. Think of yourself, right now, as having your hands on Jesus Christ's head, and pray something like this: "Lord, I confess that I have sinned against You. I thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in my place and for my sin. Jesus, I ask you to come and live in me as my Savior and Lord. God, I thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life.”
If you have any doubts about your personal relationship with God, you should make this prayer, your prayer, right now! If you just made this prayer your prayer, pray again and thank God for sending Jesus to die in your place, for hearing your prayer, for forgiving your sins, and for giving you eternal life.
The Bible explains in Romans chapter 6, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Water Baptism is an outward and visible testimony of the spiritual baptism that united you with Christ in His death burial and resurrection when you trusted in Him as your Savior. It will be your public declaration that Christ is now living in you. A Bible believing church in your community will consider it a joyous privilege to baptize you.
NOTES: The preceding is from the first chapter of the eBook, You can have a Great Date with God – He has Spoken – His Tomb is Empty. The following chapters in this book have solid Christian evidences that validate the reality of this Good News. The eBook is a good gift for skeptics and loved ones who are church dropouts. Information about the author and all of his books is below.
Click here to for the Amazon link for the author's eBooks. Amazon Prime members can borrow and read them at no cost, and Amazon will send them as gifts, and include a personal note, for only $3.00 a gift. More information is below.
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America will only be as strong as its churches
George Gallup has found that America is now ”a nation of biblical illiterates,” and Christian pollster George Barna has concluded, ”The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy.” When Americans are questioned about their religion, several studies have found that the fastest growing segment is those who reply, NONE.
A recent study by LifeWay Research found that 70% of young Americans who attended a protestant church regularly for at least one year during high school, stop attending church for at least one year by age 22. It also found nearly 45% will never again become regular church attenders.
Statistics from many other churches are not available, but they are probably similar to the Southern Baptists. Their baptisms have declined for eight of the last ten years, and they are now the lowest in 70 years. LifeWay's President, Thom Rainer, emphasized the problem when he commented, “While most churchgoers believe it’s their personal responsibility to share their faith, most never do.”
When some recent polls have asked Americans about their religion, the fastest growing segment in our population is people who respond, “None.”
These ominous facts shout:
America. We have some problems!
As an author, I have written several books that will attack the problems of biblical illiteracy, church dropouts, and Christians not sharing their faith. My books are all now available as eBooks through Amazon, can be borrowed and read at no cost by Amazon Prime Members, or purchased as eBooks from Amazon for only $3.00 a book. As eBooks, all can be read using a phone.
Before telling you more about them, let me share some background information that lead to my writing these books:
Three years after graduating from the University of Oregon, I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Christianity was declining in America, and Time Magazine even had a cover asking, “Is God Dead?” I wanted to help fulfill The Great Commission, so five months after becoming a believer, I enrolled in what is now Western Seminary.
Having majored in business and marketing, I liked Dr. Bill Bright's Great Commission strategy, “Win the Campus today. Win the World tomorrow!” So after three years in seminary, in 964 I joined his Campus Crusade for Christ staff (now CRU).
It was still a young ministry, with about 295 staff members, ministering on a few campuses in each of about 20 states. Over the next eight years, I ministered to college students, lead a staff team to launch its ministry in three states, and helped conduct what we called, Lay Institutes for Evangelism, in churches in several cities.
In 1972, I was called to be the pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bryan, Texas. Before I accepted the call, Bill Bright phoned and asked, “Are you sure you are in God's will leaving our staff?” When I told him I was called to pastor a small church (27 members) a few miles from Texas A&M University, Bill responded, “Good! You can reach the world from there.” During my pastorate, I lead its relocation to twin-city College Station, and laid a foundation for what became a multi-location church that is now committed to “Raising up next-generation leaders to reach our world for Christ.” www.grace-bible.org.
I had taught a college age class (in the summer after my second year in seminary) that took a group of college students all of the way through the Bible. That launched a series of Bible studies that I repeatedly taught while on CRU's staff, as a pastor, in home Bible studies, for student groups on the Texas A&M campus, in churches, and for weekend retreats. Those studies later became my first book, The Master Plot of the Bible.
For many years, I thought I made a mistake by self-publishing my books. I NOW believe God lead me in that decision (seven years before Amazon published its first eBook) so that I can now let Amazon Prime Members borrow and read them at no cost, and others can purchase them as eBooks for only $3.00.
The Master Plot of the Bible will help you understand the context for the books in the Bible, a Book of Books, that is really one book. As the first chapter explains, the word “plot” is part of the title because its definition includes, “an intelligently planned course of action designed to accomplish an end or purpose.” Applying that to the Bible, explains why God inspired over forty men to write these books over several centuries, and why God joined them together as one book.
Please click here and read the chapter summaries. In ten minutes, they will explain how this book will lay a biblical foundation that will help readers understand the Old Testament context for the Good News in the New Testament. I believe that understanding the Bible's plot will stimulate people to read this Book of Books, because understanding context improves comprehension.
The Master Plot of the Bible is not an end-all to biblical illiteracy. But it is a real good starter, will help readers understand the Bible, and will lay a foundation they can build on. It is now available as both a paperback and an eBook.
When I recently re-read this book, and it dawned on me that I have written a good book for churches to give to young people to help prevent church dropouts. Click here for info about giving it as Baptism Presents and high school Graduation Presents to those who did not receive it when baptized. The due diligence before giving this book to young people is the responsibility of each local church.
The imperative in the Great Commission is to “make disciples” by “teaching them.” Good teachers give reading assignments as homework. Pastors and other church leaders should click here to consider a printable flier to encourage their people to read The Master Plot of the Bible to help attack the problems of biblical illiteracy. In light of the reports by Gallup and Barna, every believer in every pew should be given this homework assignment.
My second book, As You are Going... Make Disciples, uses true stories to help believers learn how to share their faith with doubters and skeptics. In this book I use Jesus' teaching technique – telling stories. While the stories are entertaining, each one was selected to teach something about personal evangelism. I believe most Christians are not sharing their faith, because they don't know how, or don't know how to get started.
Most Gospel presentations are three point messages: 1. man is sinful, 2. Jesus died for our sins, and 3. You can receive Him as as your Savior by faith. I recommend a four point message (they are all in the presentation above), My second point is “Since God is Holy, He cannot overlook our sin.” (That's why Jesus is the only way – the most objectional truth in the Gospel to skeptics, and even to many believers).
I have shared most of the presentation in the beginning of this web page hundreds of times with young people who grew up attending church. (The last diagram is a recent addition). Many responded in the same way, almost word for word, when they said; “This is the first time anyone has ever explained it (the Gospel) to me.” When the Gospel is explained, the claim that Jesus is the only way is not objectional, because it makes good sense.
The eBook version includes a set of apps (that function like flash cards) for memorizing 130 Bible verses that focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The paper version had endorsements by Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Earl Radmacher, Oregon's Senator Mark Hatfield, and Young Life regional director John Wayland. Click here, and scroll down to read their comments.
Parts of of my first two books are in the shorter eBook, You can Have a Great Date With God – He Has Spoken – His Tomb is Empty. This book has just three chapters. Chapter one explains the Gospel (it's the same as the first section in this web page). Chapter Two presents rock solid evidence from Old Testament prophecies that Jesus was and is the Messiah, and that God has spoken. Chapter three presents compelling historical evidence that Jesus is our resurrected Savior.
This three chapter book is the one I encourage parents and grandparents to give to loved ones who are church drop-outs, and for all believers to give as gits to skeptical friends. Amazon will include a personal note from the giver, and send it anyplace in the world for only $3.00. Click here for a web page with suggestions for notes to loved ones and skeptical friends and associates. There is a Spanish translation of this book, that is included in the English version, and as a separate title.
My eBook Word Dynamics started as a computer program I developed for my Son, Rob. It is now a unique vocabulary builder for students who want to excel. Its thirty Chapter/Apps are used like flash cards. Each set has prompts, definitions, and sample words for about seventeen roots, prefixes, and suffixes -- building blocks for a comprehensive vocabulary. Most of these 500 word parts are Latin or Greek. When memorized for instant recall, they will help you understand many new words with fewer exposures, and give you a deeper comprehension of many familiar words. It's good preparation for SAT, ACT, other tests,and college class rooms.
All three chapters from You can Have a Great Date With God... are included in Word Dynamics, so you don't need to buy both eBooks. You could say, “The book is a lure, the bait is the chapters, and the hook is a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
As eBooks, these books can be read on a PC, Tablet, or Smart Phone. The first chapter in each of these eBooks can be read at no cost in Amazon's free trial. The complete eBooks can be borrowed and read at no cost by Amazon Prime Members, and each eBook can be purchased for only $3.00, from:
Please send the link to this web page,
friends in other churches
Fifty-six year later, and still trying
to help fulfill the Great Commission,
Bob Prall, M.Div. Author & Evangelism Encourager
PO Box 73486, Houston, TX 77273-3486
AN EPILOGUE: When I clicked www.amazon.com, and entered Bob Prall to be sure that all of my books are on Amazon. I was surprised that two 53 year old pictures of me were there with my books. (Vintage Photos offers them, and millions of other royalty free pictures for use in books and publications.) I won the Oregon State Amateur Golf Championship both summers between my three years in Western Seminary, and had previously played in the U.S. Open, played well in another PGA tournament as an amateur, and had won some other golf tournaments in Oregon and Washington. I think the Portland Oregonian newspaper sold thousands of pictures to Vintage Photos, and included two of me.
When I graduated from Seminary in 1964, professional golf and ministering on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ staff were both options. Playing golf for a living was appealing. But I knew; 1. Christianity was declining in America – a front cover of a Time Magazine had even asked “Is God dead?” 2. I was not going to be another Arnold Palmer. 3. I was called to evangelize college students. 4. When God calls, you better answer!
In the following years, I ministered to college students as a CRU staff member, and as the pastor of Grace Bible Church in College Station, Texas. That was before, during, and after the Jesus People movement erupted. I remember them as very good years, because I was part of the action when America had that spiritual movement that made the front cover of Time Magazine, a few years after it had the “Is God Dead?” cover. PTL
The teenagers who were part of that dynamic happening are now in their sixties. They are now the backbone of many churches in America. At 81 vintage years old, I have to sell books to pay my bills. But I would make the same decisions again in a heartbeat.