This email came into Living Waters yesterday:
"I met a man at the gas station the other day. He gave me a trillion dollar bill. Made me think about my life. Thanks, George"
I wrote back, saying:
"Dear George, Thank you for writing. I'm glad that someone cared enough to hand you a gospel tract. I hope you read the back and that you have made peace with God by repenting and trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior."
He wrote back today, with this:
"I read the back... Repenting is what I got from the message. I think it is my time. I would like to talk to that man again. Is there a church in my area? Lakeland, Fl."
Dear George, great to hear from you again. When you say, "I think it is my time" you are right. The time is now. And Jesus said, "Whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37b).
Come to the Lord today, George, and cry out to Him and ask forgiveness for your sins and trust in Jesus Christ. And read your bible daily. Today is the day of salvation. You may not have tomorrow.
As for a church, I'd recommend visiting 9Marks, which has a church finder. Type in your zip code, and see which churches are near you. The churches listed on 9Marks subscribe to good doctrine. http://churchsearch2.9marks.org/
In addition to that, The Master's Seminary posts a map where you can find Master's graduates that are pastoring churches in your area. Just because a pastor graduated from Master's doesn't mean he's solid, but chances are good that he is. At the very least you'll know he received solid Biblical training and the church where he serves would be a good one to check out. http://www.tms.edu/AlumniMap.aspx
And I would highly recommend that you get plugged into the Ambassador’s Alliance Fellowship online and meet other people who evangelize and perhaps you will find someone who knows of a solid church in your area. Once you have joined and become an "Associate Member" of the Ambassadors' Alliance you can use the MAP feature to locate individuals living near you. http://ambassadorsalliance.com/app_associate.shtml
Below are some wise words from a good friend (Todd Friel) which I think might be of help to you in your search for a solid church. I'd encourage you to read it all.
And last but not least, read "Save Yourself Some Pain":
God bless you!
How to Find a Good Church
Almost 25 questions that will save you a lot of Sundays - Todd Friel
Looking for a good church? Join the club. Church-shopping can be a long and painful process.
To shorten your search, call the pastor of the church before you visit and ask the following
questions. This might save you a lot of Sundays.
1. What is man's biggest problem, sin or self esteem?
Seeker sensitive and felt-needs churches focus on man’s hurts and problems. The Bible says
that man’s biggest problem is sin.
2. What must a man do to inherit eternal life?
Repent and trust is the Biblical answer. If the word “repent” is never used, say, “Thank you.”
3. How do you deliver the salvation message?
Ask the pastor to describe specifically what he says. Does he encourage people to simply say a prayer? Does he tell people to ask Jesus into their hearts?
The salvation message should include: God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s response (hell), God’s kindness (Jesus on a cross), man’s response (repentance and faith).
4. How hard is it to become a Christian?
The “formula” is simple, doing it is not. It is not easy to believe.
5. How often do you talk about sin, righteousness and judgment?
Balance is key. This should not be the only emphasis, but it should be a regular emphasis.
6. How seeker sensitive is your church?
It is o.k. for a church to be “seeker aware” but seeker sensitive means that they lean toward
seekers and not the saved.
7. Who do you do church for, seekers or members?
“Both” is not acceptable. Church should be done for members and the unsaved are welcome to attend.
8. Do you dumb down your sermons?
If he says yes, he is probably not trying to wean his members from milk to meat. Answers like,
“We try to make our sermons accessible to everyone” are sermons that are not meaty.
9. What is your mixture of topical vs. expository preaching?
Topical preaching is fine, but if a pastor never or rarely preaches expositionally (verse by verse),
then you are going to be learning from the pastor and not God’s Word.
10. Do your sermons emphasize theology or are they just relevant?
Everyone should say their sermons are relevant, what you are looking for is if they teach
11. Describe your youth programs.
If fun and games is the major (and usually first) emphasis, you have a youth program that is trying to compete with MTV.
12. Describe your evangelism programs.
Don’t just accept, “We have an evangelism committee.” Dig. Are they serious about saving
13. What church growth model do you follow?
Hopefully they don’t have one. Churches should be reaching out to the lost, but churches that
are plugged into new church growth models tend to follow man’s modern ideas rather than the
14. How much do you give to missions and the hungry?
Again, this reveals the heart of the church. While most churches give to missions, many never
consider the poor.
15. Do you believe the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?
No equivocation allowed here.
16. Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation?
Jesus did (Matt.19:4).
17. Do you believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment?
Jesus did (Matt.25).
19. When you distribute the Lord's Supper, do you emphasize the need to examine
Paul did (I Cor.11:27-32)
20. Can a person who is living in a persistent lifestyle of sin inherit eternal life?
Sinners can certainly be forgiven, but practicing sinners cannot inherit eternal life (I John3:8,9).
21. Does your church exercise church discipline?
Paul said we should (I Cor.5).
22. Do Sunday school teachers, nursery, and youth volunteers fill out an application to answer questions about their core beliefs and salvation, or are all volunteers accepted because of a lack of volunteers?
23.What are the essentials of the faith?
Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Salvation through faith alone, the inerrancy of Scripture.
24. Do you have a cross in your sanctuary?
Many remove it because they fear it will turn off seekers. They should glory in the cross.