May Is Mental Health Awareness Month!
It’s May, Mental Health Month, and the weather is finally turning nice. It might seem like a good time for spring cleaning – but not for your windows or your closet. You may have cobwebs and dust bunnies hiding in places you don’t even know about and they may be affecting your mental health.
Centerstone Solutions is sharing these 31 tips to boost your mental health:
Ways to Boost Your Mental Health
1. Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish each day. Try the free apps – Happier or Attitudes of Gratitude Journal or make your own journal using one of these tutorials.
2. Start your day with a cup of coffee. Coffee consumption is linked to lower rates of depression. If you can’t drink coffee because of the caffeine, try another good-for-you drink like green tea.
3. Set up a getaway. It could be camping with friends or a trip to the tropics. The act of planning a vacation and having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks!
4. Work your strengths. Do something you’re good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task.
5. Keep it cool for a good night’s sleep. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60˚ and 67˚ Fahrenheit.
6. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr. Think of something in your life you want to improve and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.
7. Experiment with a new recipe, write a poem, paint or try a Pinterest project. Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.
8. Show some love to someone in your life. Close, quality relationships are key for a happy, healthy life.
9. Boost brainpower by treating yourself to a couple of pieces of dark chocolate every few days. The flavanoids, caffeine, and theobromine in chocolate are thought to work together to improve alertness and mental skills.
10. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” -Maya Angelou. If you have personal experience with mental illness or recovery, share on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with #mentalillnessfeelslike.
11. Sometimes, we don’t need to add new activities to get more pleasure. We just need to soak up the joy in the ones we’ve already got. Trying to be optimistic doesn’t mean ignoring the uglier sides of life. It just means focusing on the positive as much as possible.
12. Feeling anxious? Take a trip down memory lane and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that’s geometric and a little complicated for the best effect. Check out hundreds of free printable coloring pages at https://www.justcolor.net/
13. Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.
14. Go off the grid. Leave your smartphone at home for a day and disconnect from constant emails, alerts, and other interruptions. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face.
15. Dance around while you do your housework. Not only will you get chores done, but dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body’s “feel-good” chemicals).
16. Go ahead and yawn. Studies suggest that yawning helps cool the brain and improves alertness and mental efficiency.
17. Relax in a warm bath once a week. Try adding Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress.
18. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.
19. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone – cortisol and boosts oxytocin – which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does or volunteer at a shelter.
20. “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when you bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.” – Henry David Thoreau. Practice mindfulness by staying “in the present.”
21. Be a tourist in your own town. Oftentimes people only explore attractions on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard.
22. Try prepping your lunches or picking out your clothes for the work week. You’ll save some time in the mornings and have a sense of control about the week ahead.
23. Work some omega-3 fatty acids into your diet–they are linked to decreased rates of depression and schizophrenia among their many benefits. Fish oil supplements work, but eating your omega-3s in foods like wild salmon, flaxseeds or walnuts also helps build healthy gut bacteria.
24. Practice forgiveness – even if it’s just forgiving that person who cut you off during your commute. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.
25. “What appears to be calamities are often the sources of fortune.” – Disraeli. Try to find the silver lining in something kind of cruddy that happened recently.
26. Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.
27. Send a thank you note – not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.
28. Do something with friends and family – have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend 6-7 hours with friends and family.
29. Take 30 minutes to go for a walk in nature – it could be a stroll through a park or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.
30. Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.
31. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.
Take time to explore who God is, how much He loves you and the peace He offers. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Developing a meaningful relationship with your creator and the lover of your soul will provide you with great strength when facing challenges. Spend time reading the Bible, and praying.
Mental Health Educational Resource Materials
We all experience times where we may not feel like we are functioning at our best. Whether you aren’t feeling quite like yourself, facing new challenges, trying to balance the demands of work and home or maybe life just isn’t as you planned. Or maybe you notice someone in your household is experiencing some of these issues.
Centerstone Solutions provides educational resources on many topics. If you see a topic that may be impacting you or someone in your household, take some time to learn more. If you recognize yourself or someone in your household as you review the topics, contact Centerstone Solutions. The EAP can help you or someone close to you identify issues that may be impacting one’s life and find strategies that will make a difference.
Take a mental health screening – Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the EAP to be connected with a professional who can help you address concerns.
Take the Mental Health Screening https://screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/screening-tools)
The Symptoms of Anxiety Aren’t “All in Your Head”
Man standing in front of city skyline People tend to think of anxiety as purely a “mental” or “emotional” problem. But anxiety can affect both the body and mind. Therefore, persistent anxiety can produce a variety of emotional and physical symptoms.
When to Seek Professional Help:
A few of these symptoms now and then are normal, but the greater the number and frequency of symptoms, the more likely you are suffering from debilitating anxiety.
Common physical symptoms of persistent anxiety include:
Muscle aches and pains
Stomach upset or pain
Common emotional symptoms of persistent anxiety include:
Depressive symptoms like feeling sad or “down”
Difficulty falling asleep
If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP and you or someone you love is suffering from symptoms of anxiety, please call us at (800) 766-0068 for a free, confidential evaluation.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Use
Americans spend over $60 billion dollars a year on one drug alone. That’s $7 million dollars per hour. You won’t find the U.S. Coast Guard intercepting it. This drug may even be hiding in the back of your refrigerator. Liquor, beer and wine contain alcohol – our society’s favorite “DRUG.”
Only in the last 20 years has alcohol been considered a drug like cocaine and marijuana. Drugs act on the human body and have predictable effects. The main reason people use drugs is simple. It makes the user feel good for a short time.
Over two thirds of the adult population in America drinks occasionally. Half of junior high school children have tried alcoholic beverages.
Most people think of themselves as social drinkers, but there is a fine line between social and problem drinking. Eventually, problem drinkers do and say things that hurt and endanger others at home and at work.
There is no reliable way to predict who will become alcohol dependent. It is a disease much like diabetes, a lifelong condition, that can be put on hold with proper treatment.
Here are some of the signs of alcoholism to look for:
The drinker begins to carry or be near a supply
The drinker may drink alone
Blackouts may occur (Periods of time are not remembered)
He/she drinks more and faster than others
Drinking causes serious problem (D.U.I.s, absenteeism, accidents, abusive outbursts, inappropriate behavior)
The drinker denies/rationalizes obvious problems
If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP you or someone you know has one or more of these symptoms, we can help. Left alone, alcohol use will become worse. Before that happens, please call us at (800) 766-0068. It’s free, confidential and effective.
Changes in the workplace
It is important to be physically and emotionally healthy to be productive at work. We owe it to ourselves and our families to keep ourselves fit to tackle the challenges at work.
Here is a checklist that can help you decide if you have issues at work that could cause problems for you.
Do you agree with any of the following?
I am having problems getting along with my co-workers.
I can’t talk to my boss without getting upset.
I dread going to work in the morning.
I am afraid I will be fired from my job.
Sometimes I can’t concentrate at work because of the problems I have at home.
I have missed work and have been late for work a lot this year and that’s not like me. I never miss work.
The long hours at work are getting to me. I’m tired all the time.
If you agreed with one or more of the above statements, you may need help. If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP, call us at (800) 766-0068 for a free, confidential evaluation.
During any six month period, nine million American adults suffer from depressive illness. Depression causes emotional suffering not only for those with depression, but also for those who care about them.
Clinical depression is intense and longer lasting than “the downs” you feel from time to time. Clinical depression can be chronic with mild to severe symptoms. A seriously depressed person can cross the line into psychosis or become suicidal if not treated.
Depression is treatable. Counseling can be helpful in assisting you through hard times like a broken relationship, death of a friend, or loss of a job. It may also help to make lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, reducing or eliminating caffeine and nicotine use and maintaining a healthful diet.
In more serious depressions, medications called antidepressants can be extremely helpful in relieving the symptoms of depression. Most professionals agree that counseling is important, along with medication, to help you put your life back together.
A depressive illness is not a sign of weakness or something that can be wished away. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or even years.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:
Uncontrollable crying or irritability
Ongoing sad, nervous, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in normally interesting, pleasurable activities
Sleeping too much or too little
Increase or decrease in appetite
Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide
Decreased energy or fatigue
Physical problems that aren’t responding to treatment such as headaches, nausea, or chronic pain
If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP and you or someone you love is suffering from symptoms of depression, please call us at (800) 766-0068 for a free, confidential evaluation.
Chances are that substance use will touch your life and the lives of your spouse, parent, child, or a friend. Over 22 million people have tried cocaine and 5,000 will try it for the first time every day. One in four Americans has tried marijuana; about 16-20 million people are frequent users of pot. There are millions of Americans who use prescription and over the counter drugs and millions of individuals who use more than one drug at a time.
It is difficult to know who will become dependent on drugs, but it is easy to see the effect of drug use in the workplace. Drugs affect employees’ judgment, performance, and safety levels. This affects all employees, drug users or not.
How do you know if you or someone you care about is chemically dependent? A dependent person can’t stop using drugs or alcohol. This use hurts the user and all those around him or her. Take this assessment. The more times that you find yourself answering “yes,” the more likely that you have a problem.
Answer “Yes” or “No” to the Following Questions:
Do you use drugs to deal with stress or to escape from problems?
Have you been unsuccessful at trying to stop using your drug?
Have you been arrested because of your drug use?
Do you have trouble having fun at social gatherings when you can’t use alcohol or drugs?
Have your family, friends, or employer ever said that your use was a problem?
Do you do things under the influence that you would not normally do?
Have you ever thought that you might have a problem with drugs?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a chemical dependency problem.
A variety of programs exist to help individuals gain control over self-destructive patterns of chemical dependency. These programs range from self-help groups, to outpatient educational groups, to intensive outpatient programs, to residential programs. Family support is helpful throughout the recovery process. Many programs require that family members or those who hold a significant place in your life attend programs with you. Sometimes it is hard to decide for yourself which program is best suited for you. A trained professional can help you reach the program that is best for you.
If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP contact us at (800) 766-0068. It’s free, confidential, and effective. The professionals at Centerstone Solutions can help you find the most appropriate and cost-effective treatment available.
Parent / Child Issues
Almost all parents want to do what they can to help their children grow into healthy, happy, responsible adults. Parenting is one of life’s most important and difficult tasks, yet we receive little formal training or education to prepare us. Having a positive self-image and self-confidence can influence the quality of your child’s life. If your child feels good about self and confident in abilities, she/he will tend to feel good about others as well.
When children have low self-esteem, or are troubled in other ways, they may have difficulty communicating their distress to adults. How can you tell if your child is experiencing stresses that are pushing coping skills to the limits? Be sensitive to the following signals from your child:
Any change in sleep habits such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, nightmares, or wanting to sleep more than usual
Frequent irritability, negative attitude about many things
Overreacting to small daily frustration with crying or anger
Sad expression, never or seldom laughing or smiling when with playmates
Withdrawing from friends, family; not wanting to attend activities previously enjoyed
Increase in physical aggressiveness with peers, adults, or animals
Loss of appetite or overeating in ways not typical of the child
Behavior problems in school, falling grades
Frequent physical complaints (stomach aches, head aches) for which the doctor finds no medical cause
If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP and you observe any of the above behaviors, you and your child may benefit from a consultation with an EAP professional. They can assist you in developing an appropriate plan of action for you and your child. Please call Centerstone Solutions at (800) 766-0068 for a free, confidential evaluation.
Fifty years ago, the term “stress” was not a typical topic of conversation. Today, “stress” has become a household word. We talk about stress at work or stress in our families, as if we know what the term means. Yet, stress is a very misunderstood concept.
One popular myth is that stress is “all in your head.” In fact, stress may begin with our attitudes, but the end result is purely physical. Our body tells us we are under stress long before our head understands what is happening. We find ourselves eating too much or too little; our sleep is disturbed; our heart races; our blood pressure increases. Regardless of the source, it all adds up to the same thing – stress.
How is health is affected? Stress actually lowers our body’s natural resistance to common viruses. Also, stress (in combination with other health risk factors such as high cholesterol, hypertension, being overweight, smoking, and drinking) can increase the risk for coronary heart disease. This is serious business!
Stress also interferes with our ability to function. High levels of stress affect our concentration at work. Have you ever wished you could accomplish more but your mind was “elsewhere?” Chances are stress was the culprit.
Remember, if you don’t learn to manage the stress you have, the stress you have will manage you.
Here is a simple checklist to assess when your stress levels are too high:
Irritability and frequent signs of anger
Obsessive worrying that interferes with job performance
Sleep disturbances caused by concern over minor problems
Fluctuations in weight caused by erratic eating habits
Frequent or prolonged minor illnesses causing you to use more sick days than you would like
Overuse of alcohol or drugs to relax
If you have any of these symptoms, your stress levels may be dangerously high. If Centerstone Solutions is your EAP, please call us at (800) 766-0068 for professional, confidential consultation.
Just a Bad Week or Depression? How to Tell the Difference
by Dawson McAllister
Life can be difficult and saddening. Whether you’re grieving, dealing with a tough relationship, or just feel like you have the blues, it’s easy to feel weighed down. I can remember many times when I felt isolated, ashamed, or lonely and had a tough time tracing it back to a specific cause.
Sometimes that feeling of heaviness can last for a while. But how do you know if you’re just having a bad week, or if there’s something more going on? What shifts our mental state from “feeling blue” to a depression diagnosis?
How do you know if you’re just having a bad week, or if there’s something more going on?
What are Your Symptoms?
First, it’s a good idea to know some specific clinical depression symptoms so you can be more aware of when you’re experiencing them.
Feeling sad, weepy, or empty (and often unable to explain it)
Significant weight loss or gain within the last month that seems unconnected to dieting
Insomnia or sleeping too much
Thoughts of death, dying, or suicide
Plans of suicide
Losing interest in or not enjoying your favorite activities
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Feeling guilty without reason
Along with showing specific symptoms like these, people with diagnosed clinical depression experience them regardless of circumstances in their life.
If your symptoms are so strong that they negatively impact your life (your grades, your work performance, or your ability to get out of bed or get moving in the morning), it’s definitely time to seek help.
Another way to recognize that yours are depressive symptoms is knowing how often they occur, and how long they last.
If you’ve been experiencing 5 or more of these symptoms almost every day for 2 or more weeks, it may be time to visit a doctor for a mental health screening. Depending on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms, any of several solutions might be recommended.
What are Your Options?
Talk Therapy: Discussing depression with a mentor, therapist or other mental health professional is a great way to understand why you feel the way you do and to make a plan for managing difficult thoughts and feelings.
Medication: Medication can help manage the physical side effects of depression and other mental illnesses. If you’re prescribed medication, it’s important to take it exactly as directed and not start (or stop) without a doctor’s supervision.
Nutrition and Exercise Plan: Sometimes what we eat and drink can affect our energy levels, which might impact depression symptoms. Your doctor or nutritionist can help you plan meals and snacks that work best for you.
Prayer: Faith is a great way to remain strong and hopeful when struggling with depression.
Medication: Medication can help manage the physical side effects of depression and other mental illnesses.
What’s the Next Step?
While everyone’s experience of depression is a little different, there’s always hope. You don’t have to receive a formal diagnosis to get support when feeling isolated, lonely, or sad.
Understanding depression is tough. But managing it (and living a healthy, happy life) is possible. Especially with people in your corner. We are here to support you, pray for you, and cheer you on every day. You can reach out; we’ll be here as soon as you do.
If you are struggling with depression, no matter the cause, to find out more and get help, check out our free eBook on Depression!
Are You Depressed and Emotionally Exhausted? – EP 26
There Is Hope for Depression
(this is a radio show video streaming link)
Overwhelmed and Depressed
Have you noticed there are many people who struggle with deep emotional issues? They are often sad and miserable and can stay that way for months, even years. These people are depressed. Depression is described as a prolonged unexplained sadness which affects everyday life.
If you are depressed, you may feel trapped beneath emotions of overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. Maybe you lack the motivation, energy, and strength to face life’s many challenges. The good news is there are many people who have won this debilitating emotional battle.
Join me as I talk with Samantha, Melissa, and Cody each who are in some way seeking to cope with their depression. I’ll also speak with Dustin who is creatively reaching out to people he knows are depressed.
Samantha is 17 and just transferred to a new school. She knows a few people but can’t play sports and feels she can’t be herself. She just reunited with her real dad and her step-father doesn’t know.
Most who are depressed are carrying too heavy of a load and over time become increasingly drained and weary. Because they are downhearted, it is difficult for them to identify what’s depleting their emotions. It’s like their emotional batteries are slowly but surely being drained.
Samantha has big issues draining life from her. She needs to identify and prioritize big things that are pulling her down. For example,
She transferred to a new high school. That would be a big adjustment for anyone, let alone someone at 17 and in their senior year.
She loves sports but can’t play them this year because she changed schools.
Changing schools would be more than enough but there’s more going on in her life. She just reunited with her birth dad and her step-father doesn’t know a thing about it.
To make matters more complicated, she doesn’t get along with her step-father. In fact, they hardly ever speak.
She feels it’s her against the whole family.
Samantha has been hit with a double whammy, a lot of stress at her new school, and family pressures at home. No one should have to face that kind of exhausting stress. Is it any wonder she’s depressed? Samantha needs to turn to God like she never has before. Only He can give her the energy she needs to face her challenges. My prayer for her is as she reaches out for help, God will replenish all she has lost and more. He said in Jeremiah 31:25: “For I will refresh the weary soul and replenish all who are weak.”
Depression Setbacks, Don’t Give Up
Melissa’s been dealing with depression for about 7 to 8 years now. She was getting better but now is going downhill, since her therapist was murdered.
In any situation, where a person needs to change, there will be setbacks and even major roadblocks. In Melissa’s case, she was starting to make progress. Her counselor was truly helping her but then shockingly, was murdered. Now, Melissa wants to give up and throw the progress she has made away. Melissa should ask herself what would her therapist, if he were alive today, advise her to do? No doubt would say, “Hang in there, don’t give up. If you were making progress before, you can make it again.”
It’s God, who can reach down in Melissa’s life and give her the strength to seek help once again. The Bible says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b My prayer for Melissa is although there have been tears, even weeping, joy will come into her life, the kind of joy only God can give.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm30 Never Give Up
Worthless, Rejected and Depressed
Cody says he does alright fighting the depression back for a little while, but it always comes back. He’s felt a lot of rejection in his life. He first was rejected when he was 8 and his mom left him with his aunt. He doesn’t want to keep fighting and keep trying to prove he’s worth something to somebody. He’s tried to kill himself before, but his sister kept him from it 2 or 3 times.
As in Cody’s case, sometimes you get to the point, where you just have to hang on. You tell yourself, I’m not going to quit, no matter how hard it is.
Cody needs to give himself a break. He has a core belief that he’s worthless. He’s been blaming himself for this depression since he was a child. His mother, in her own dysfunction, helped drive that lies deeper into Cody’s heart by abandoning him when he was but 8 years old.
Feels Like He Doesn’t Belong
Now, after all this time, Cody feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere. Add to that heartbreaking issue, Cody also has financial problems which seem more than he can bear. He feels like a broken man and will need every bit of courage to overcome what has been pounded into him.
He already tried to kill himself and has thought about it a lot. Suicide is not the answer. Instead, may he find the victory over the dark clouds and may God touch his life and heal him.
King David cried out to God at moments of despair. He said, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Psalm 69:1-3) “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5)
There is hope! If you are depressed, there are people God has put around you who will help you!
Letters Helped Others with Depression
I got the chance to talk to an amazing, inspirational guy, Dustin. Dustin’s friend lost her brother in a car accident, so Dustin wrote her what he calls, “feel better” letters. When she got depressed, she could read one of the letters and feel better. Dustin has now written over 100 encouragement letters for others dealing with depression.
Dustin has his own struggles. He’s been homebound for 6 years because he has Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome where the collagen breaks down in the body and the joints won’t hold together anymore. Instead of being bitter towards God about his own struggles, he’s reaching out to others. What a powerful example he is. People who are depressed and reach out to help others find a whole new energy.
Did Today’s Episode on Depression Get You Thinking?
Jesus Christ said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)
I have to say it again. If you are depressed, there is hope!!! God is near to those who are crushed in spirit. He wants to heal your emotions. God wants to help you and He has put people around you to help you. Ask the Lord for help and strength and then look around and see who God has put in your life to help you. Also, check out our many resources for help with depression.
Resources for Help with Depression:
Check out my eBook: Understanding Depression.
Check out: Verses of Hope When Struggling with Depression.
Check out my blogs: Feelings of Depression, To Those Who Feel Worthless, and How Can I Find Hope?.
Need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, then: Chat with a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine.
Need prayer? I believe God wants to change your life and mine, through prayer. If you need prayer and would like to have someone pray for you, go to the ThePrayerZone.com and check it out.
One last thing:
My podcast, our website, everything we do is entirely listener supported. If you’d like to help us to continue our work, please make a gift right now at our Give Now page.
Remember, whatever you do, Never Lose Hope!
Learn More About God
Have you tried everything to find peace and joy and still feel unfulfilled?
The God of the universe loves you and wants a personal, eternal relationship with YOU.
But why? Why would God want a relationship with you?
Well here’s the deal – He thought about you before you were born. Then he designed you. He created you in HIS OWN image. You are His, and He knows you personally and loves you so much. God accepts you just as you are. He’s not worried if you’ve messed up. He’s not waiting for you to get your act together. He just wants you to turn to Him and He will help you with the rest.
And yet, so many people turn their backs on God and that breaks His heart. He desires to fill you with purpose, value, love, and peace. He wants a relationship with you…BUT He won’t force it on you. God gives you a choice.
We know this from the Bible which is the oldest historical book on record and the best-selling book of all time, with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed throughout the world.
Before we go further – this is our prayer for you from the Bible:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
It is no accident you are reading this today. We believe God brought you here because He wants you to know He loves you. So please keep reading as we share God’s story of love and plan for salvation from the Bible.
Let’s start here:
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
Here are 4 Things we Learn from John 3:16
God LOVES the world and all the people in it. In fact, he loves us so deeply that he did something pretty extreme
He sent His son Jesus from heaven into the world. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth and died on a cross to pay for our sins.
We just need to believe this and then….
When we die we will live in heaven with God forever!!
Why did God need to send Jesus to die to save us?
God created us so that He could have a relationship with us. But then sin came into the world through Satan, and now all of us are sinners and our sin gets in the way of our relationship with God who is Holy. He knows we will never be able to live perfect, sinless lives on our own, but He still wants a relationship with us.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
So Jesus, God’s son, came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died a sacrificial death on a cross to pay the price for our sins. If we believe and accept that Jesus did this for us, we will be “washed clean” by Jesus’ blood.
Now when God, the Father, looks at anyone who believes in Jesus, He sees us as forgiven and pure through Jesus, and we are able to be in relationship with Him.
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22
“Christ never sinned but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
You are standing before a judge who has a huge list of all the crimes you have committed that are punishable by death. However, there is someone in the crowd who promises to take your punishment of death, and you will be given their clean slate. They are giving you something you don’t deserve. And that is what Jesus did for you. But just as you would need to ACCEPT the clean slate in court which you didn’t earn, you need to believe in and receive this gift from Jesus.
Everyone is Welcome
God loves everyone and Christianity is open to everyone. It is not narrow or exclusive…it is freedom and love.
Here’s another analogy:
Imagine two student clubs everybody would love to join. To get into the one club, you’ve got to do a bunch of good things. You’ve got to be an honor student, a nice guy and a great athlete. If you can’t meet the club’s high standards, you don’t get in.
Then there’s the other club. No matter who you are—great grades or bad grades, incredible athlete or horrible athlete—this club is wide open to you. And your dues have been paid in full by the club leader! That club is an example of Christianity.
Does the second “club” sound narrow to you? Actually, I think other religions are a lot more exclusive, because you must live up to all kinds of rules, and even then, you still can’t know if you’ve done enough. But Christianity says, “Jesus has met the requirements. The dues have been paid. Come on in!” (Lee Stroble)
Jesus is the only way to eternal life with God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) But that way is open to everyone!
How will becoming a Christian make a difference in your life?
First – You can rest assured in God’s unconditional love.
You no longer need to prove yourself or feel unworthy. God loves you and is FOR you! Read more about who God says you are here: Verses of Hope for Self-Worth
“This I KNOW: God is for me.” Psalm 56:9
Second – You have unexplainable peace.
Even when things are tough in life (and they still might be) you believe that since God is for you, He is never going to abandoned you and he is working all things out for your good, even if you don’t understand it all. You trust God and know that HE IS GOOD.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Third – You belong.
You are a member of the family of God. You are welcome here. There is great joy in finding other Christians to be in community with.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
Fourth – Your future is secure!
You are going to heaven! Don’t be fooled…heaven and hell are real. And as a Christian you have the security that you are going to heaven to live with God eternally. And quite frankly, heaven’s going to rock!! What a great thing to