Exploring Faith

No matter where you are on your faith journey, you are welcome at CityLight. We know that growing in faith produces questions, and we hope this page can serve as a resource for you as you explore what faith in Jesus means. If you have further questions, please contact us!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FOLLOW JESUS?

Are you feeling drawn to faith in Jesus? At CityLight we welcome all people at varying places on their journey of faith. Your journey includes your parents, your life circumstances, your past faith/church experiences (whether good or bad), and your current struggles. These can all influence your view of God.

Where do you find yourself today on this journey? Do you feel like questions, or maybe belief, is stirring in your heart? Is there something in you that seems to be drawn to Jesus? Do you find on the inside a desire to know more? While following Jesus is a lifelong journey, this card is designed to help you identify where you are on the journey, and what the next step could look like.

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Obviously there’s a lot that could be written here. But to break it down simply:

First, we acknowledge our own personal brokenness. We often think we know what’s best for our lives, but outside of God’s light and life, we tend towards emotional and spiritual darkness. We end up slaves to our own pleasures, or ambitions, or the expectations of this world. The trajectory of what the bible calls “sin” is leading us toward spiritual death.

Second, we realize our need for a Savior. We understand that we can’t save ourselves from ourselves. This is the greatest news in the history of the world. The death and resurrection of Jesus paid the price to free us from the power of sin and darkness (a price we could not pay on our own) and to bring us into his light and life.

Third, we place our faith in Jesus. Many of us have heard the famous quote from the book of John: “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.” This is the good news: Jesus forgives us, frees us from our past, offers us new life, fills us with his Spirit, and adopts us into his family. This miracle happens by faith. Faith means that we step across the line and place our trust in Jesus. He offers us everlasting life by placing our faith in his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

This has nothing to do with how “good” or “bad” we think we are or have been. This is a FREE GIFT given from Jesus to us. All we need to do is receive this gift by placing our faith and trust in him. We trust Jesus to: forgives us of our past, empower us in the present, and to lead us for the future. That is why this is a big decision. We have decided to hand over the controls of our life to Jesus, and say that we will follow his leadership (because we know he loves us greatly and has good plans for us) for the rest of our lives.

If you are at a place on your journey where you’d like to make the decision to become a follower of Jesus we would encourage you to contact us!

HOW DO I BECOME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS?

Today can be the day you decide! How exciting is that? Becoming a follower of Jesus starts in a moment – with a decision. But it informs, and transforms, the rest of your life. It is the beginning of a new relationship with God, and a new life empowered, and led, by him.Romans 10:9 very simply says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Getting started basically entails this:

BELIEVE
I chose to believe that Jesus is who he says he is: God who loves me. I choose to believe that he is my Savior: that he died for my sins, and rose again, and now is in heaven – having taken my sins (and their consequences) upon himself, paying my debt, and placing on me his perfect righteousness and eternal life. I also chose to believe that he is my Lord: accepting his leadership, guidance, and empowerment to live a new life – a life filled by his Spirit to become all he has created me to be.

REPENT
I chose to turn away from a life lived for, and led by, myself. And to turn towards a life lived for, and led by, Jesus.

RECEIVE
I receive his free gift of forgiveness and salvation. I receive the filling of his Spirit to lead me and empower me.

PRAY
God I am a sinner. I am in need of grace and forgiveness. Right now, I surrender to you. I believe that Jesus died for me. I believe that Jesus rose again. I personally receive the free gift of your forgiveness for all my sins past, present and future. I receive new life right now. Cleanse me of all shame and guilt. Fill me with your peace and  your Spirit. I turn the leadership of my life over to you. Thank you Jesus, Amen.

WHAT IF I’M NOT SURE?

That’s ok! Hang out with us! Come on Sundays. Join a small group. Make friends. Get prayer when you want. Reach out to the pastors to meet and discuss faith and life. Listen, we know this is a big decision. There is no pressure. We believe that Jesus is drawing you to him, and loves you very much. We are honored to be part of this journey in your life. Please join us and grow together with us!

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

If you have made the decision to follow Jesus, what comes next? Below are some helpful first steps!

 

PRAYER
Prayer is, at its core, just talking to God. We encourage you to start doing just that. Begin each day talking to him, continue a conversation throughout the day whenever it comes to mind, and end each day talking to him. You can literally talk to him about anything. He cares about you, and about everything in your life.

READING THE BIBLE
The Bible is the most influential book in human history. It includes hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled generations later; it’s internally consistent, historically accurate, and poetically breathtaking. It’s not simply good literature. The words written in the Bible are God’s words. Reading the Bible with the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit is an amazing way to learn about the God of the universe. Consider starting in one of the following books:

The Gospel of John: John was an eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He was also one of Jesus’ closest and most trusted friends.

The Letter of James: James was likely the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the church in Jerusalem. His letter to the churches is practical and powerful.

SMALL GROUPS
We believe that faith is not only an individual journey. Faith comes alive when we experience it together. We encourage you to find a small group that sounds interesting to you and join one.

SERVICE
Faith in Jesus inspires us to live not only for him, but for others. One of the best ways to grow in our faith is to serve others. At CityLight we emphasize two ways to serve: Partner Teams and Community Outreach. You can learn more about both on our website. We invite you to sign up, make friends, and make a difference!

BAPTISM
Baptism is an important step of obedience that shows others we have personally trusted Jesus for our salvation. When Christians are baptized, they are submerged under water to identify with the death and burial of Jesus and raised out of the water to identify with His resurrection. If you have questions about Baptism, keeping reading below! If you’d like to be baptized contact us!

WHAT IS BAPTISM?

Baptism is an important step of obedience that shows others we have personally trusted Jesus for our salvation. When Christians are baptized, they are submerged under water to identify with the death and burial of Jesus and raised out of the water to identify with His resurrection. We believe that water baptism is a public declaration of three important things:

1) You are a follower of Jesus Christ.
Those who accepted his message were baptized. —Acts 2:41

2) You are beginning a changed life in Christ.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. —Romans 6:4

3) You are part of a new family.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. —Galatians 3:26–27

WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
Those who are baptized are following Jesus’ example and obeying His command.  

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” —Matthew 3:16–17​

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” —Matthew 28:18–20

I HAVE ALREADY BEEN BAPTIZED. SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED AGAIN?
Your baptism should have signified you becoming a follower of Jesus, beginning a changed life, and uniting with a new family. If your baptism did not reflect this change of life, then you should be baptized again.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

The word “Gospel” simply means good news. What is the good news that Jesus came to bring? What is the good news that is mentioned here in this passage from the Bible?

Fundamentally, the good news is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that he rose again from death three days later. But what makes that such good news?

The story begins with God. God is real. He is in the room where you are sitting and reading this. He knows your name — in fact He knows the number of hairs on your head. Scripture teaches that God created this world. Everything we see. He designed it, and He made it good.

I’m sure it’s obvious to you that this world is no longer the good place that God originally created. Corruption entered in to the earth long before you and I were born and God calls that corruption sin. It brings pain, hurt, sickness, disease, fear, and ultimately death. It hangs all over every aspect of this world.

God is both good and just and this sin requires judgment. It was love that led Him to send His Son to die as a substitute and take away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ died for our sins and His death paid our debt. This gives you the opportunity to seek God and find God. Your sin is placed on the shoulders of Jesus and His perfect holiness is placed on you.

The gospel allows you to move from rejected to accepted. From empty to full. From broken and sick to healed. From orphaned to adopted. From distant to close.

Repentance is the process of changing your life purpose and following Jesus rather than following self. Belief is the process of trusting this good news as true and allowing it to rearrange you on the inside. It is not enough to know about God. Each of us must personally repent and believe in this good news (Mark 1:15).

When we do that, we are changed. Our affections, our desires, and our actions. To follow Jesus is more than a mental decision. It’s an inward transformation.

This is the best news in the whole world. Jesus Christ rose again. Death, the exclamation point of sin could not hold Him. He overcame the curse, and He did it for you.