A life or death situation

Being an Australian, it’s not often I face life or death situations. In fact, it’s pretty rare.
In a country so safe, a lot of young people think they’re going to die when they choose to. I can understand why. I don’t see people dying in the streets or war tearing my nation apart. It’s not a common occurrence to have your car held up at gun point, and often the unspoken expectation is that we are guaranteed our full life expectancy. In many cases this is true with our public health system having the crisis of too many people living too long.

But every day we face a life or death situation that a lot of people are completely unaware of. And it starts and ends with a choice.

If you live in a Western nation, the chances are you’ve heard about God and Jesus, and this thing called ‘the gospel.’ But what actually is it? What does it mean when someone says they are a Christian? What does this man Jesus, or the person of God mean for you? Why should you even care?

Here are some verses from the Bible and a bit of explanation to unpack what it means in a simple way. You can decide for yourself whether it applies to you.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John‬ ‭3:16‬

That’s the first thing. God created you and loved you before you were born.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven (except Jesus) given to mankind by which we must be saved.”Acts‬ ‭4:12‬

I’ve heard more than once before that there are many ways to heaven and all religions are essentially worshiping the same God. It sounds nice, but it’s not true according to the Bible. A relationship with creator God is available to everyone because God’s word says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21),” but there are not multiple routes.

Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).”

One day as Jesus is travelling with his disciples (followers) he asks them, “Who do people say I am?”

They reply, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asks. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answers, “You are the Messiah (Mark 8:27-29).”
It’s a question to ponder.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

A lot of people say that they’re a good person and so a good God wouldn’t send them to hell, but God doesn’t rank sin on a scale. That’s a human tendency. And his definition of good is perfection.

Even Jesus himself says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good — except God alone (Mark 10:18).”

But salvation is not based on your “good deeds” or brownie points, but your relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.

“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Jesus Christ in his physical body (Jesus dying on the cross). As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault (Colossians 1:21-22).”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).”

In this unequal exchange we give Jesus all our dirty laundry and he gives us a whole new life and right standing with God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).”

It’s that easy. The gospel is simple enough for a child to understand.

“Each of you must repent of your sins (turn from them and think differently) and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

Choosing Jesus means a new way of life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).”

So many people think that they have to say no to everything from then on or that Jesus steals your fun but the Word says that it’s Satan who comes to steal, kill and destroy, but that Jesus came so that we could have LIFE, and have it in it’s fullest measure.

Whether we like thinking about it or not, we will all die one day and stand before God’s judgement seat. With Jesus, we are completely justified. Without him, we stand alone. It’s completely up to us.

This free gift of salvation is available to everyone but only through one means. You have to believe in Jesus and give your heart to him to receive it. I can’t make the decision for anyone. You have to choose for yourself.

So who do you say Jesus is?



The Tourist or the Traveller

The tourist or the traveller. The onlooker or the connecter. Touring is seeing things from the outside. A big double decker red bus to take you past Big Ben and the London Bridge. Take a picture, tick another thing off the list. Sometimes even underwhelmed because of all the hype. A portrait of you (and 35 other people) in front of Buckingham Palace. 
Travelling is experiential. 

While touring is really fun, what I’d trade it for in a heart beat is relationship. In order to get “inside” a country you need to connect with its people. People are what make me come alive, and who would have thought that a family I hadn’t seen for nine years (and had only known five days before being apart almost a decade) would touch my heart so much in the span of an afternoon. 

If all you’ve ever done is see the sights, and not taken the time to engage with the people, you’re missing out on the best part of travel. 

Because people take a little piece of you, and they give a piece in return. Not even the top attraction can do that. It’s amazing to find that sitting on the train back to London I’m thinking more about the contents of a poem written and published by a little girl in Grade 4 than all the sights I saw yesterday. 

It doesn’t take long, but extraordinary people can touch your heart in the briefest time together. Whether it’s having tea and cake at a strawberry cafe or having to go to the bathroom in the forest on the way to visit Roald Dahl’s grave (England, what do you have against bathrooms?) or strolling along a village street in the rain with a dripping dog that currently looks like a (cute) rat and smells wet, it all counts. 

There’s nothing wrong with double decker buses, or walking tours or theme parks. They’re all lovely. But tomorrow, next month, they are gone. People crowd into your heart, in ones and twos, to stay, and to keep it warm. They line the walls to make us strong, and soft, just as we should be.