One of my highlights every year is gathering in Las Vegas during the ICSC RECon for our annual RCN Breakfast Gathering. During the convention, professionals and leaders in the Shopping Center industry come together for fellowship, encouragement and inspiration. Last week I had the privilege of interviewing David Oakes, founder and Senior Principal of CESO Inc. David shared his inspiring story and how he leads his business based on the principles of God’s Word and Jesus’ teachings. At the end of the program, I took the last three minutes to share the message of the gospel.
In our information age, there are so many different personal faith stories, that I’ve found there is often confusion about the good news of Jesus Christ. My goal was to distill its essence to three minutes. Since the breakfast, I have received a surprising number of requests to share it again, so here it is . . .
God is the “master developer” of the world. He created and brought into existence the entire universe. God is the maker and giver of life. God is holy and just and righteous. God breathed life into man, and every human being became a living soul, made in His image and created for his purposes. But beginning with Adam and Eve, all of mankind has rebelled against God. Whether or not we realize it, we are all participants in the human race’s mutiny against God. Whereas God intended human beings to enjoy perfection in this world and a pure relationship with Him, our own sin and willful disobedience separates us from God.
The Bible explains that there is absolutely nothing we, as humans, can do to remove that separation and restore ourselves to a right relationship with God. For centuries many have thought that we can follow some kind of religious formula or activities to solve this problem; but no amount of good works or moral behavior can build a bridge to God. There is nothing we can do about the sin in our hearts. There is nothing we can do about the anger and bitterness we hold inside There is nothing we can do to remove the anxiety and stress. We do not have the power to bring anything that has died back to life. Simply put, we are lost and alienated from God.
However, the great story is far from over. Despite our stubborn, rebellious hearts God loves us. This great God possesses a kind of love we have never seen before, and out of that massive love, God Himself made the ultimate sacrifice. God the Son willingly came to earth in human form. Jesus lived a perfect, holy life, then died on a Roman cross, bearing the weight of our sin and satisfying God’s holy wrath against Sin. God Himself has paid the penalty for our Sin and opened the way for you and for me to be reconciled with him. Not only that, but Jesus did something that no other founder of any religion has ever done—not only did he die, but he came alive again—defeating sin and death once for all.
Ephesians 2:8 says that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” Romans 10:9 makes it clear that “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.” You can receive this amazing gift by placing your trust in Christ ‘s work for you—in Christ alone. Life with Jesus starts now and will continue forever. I know this because he turned this rebel into a worshipper.
That’s the gospel in a nutshell. If you are not confident that you have ever consciously received God’s astounding gift—which becomes ours by grace alone (unmerited favor) through faith alone (total reliance), I encourage you to reach out to someone you know to be a believer and ask them to coffee to discuss the gospel further. If you aren’t sure who that might be, I would love to visit with you.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving the world so much that you made the ultimate sacrifice to pay the debt for my sin. Thank you for making a way for me to not only to be at peace with you, but to have a relationship with you. Thank you for your workmanship that re-created me and calls me to serve your purposes. Thank you for assigning me to the marketplace to help create and facilitate places for businesses to operate, serve and thrive. Thank you for allowing me to participate in your kingdom work of making disciples. I am so blessed today.
“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John, the Beloved Apostle of Jesus (3:16-17, New Living Translation))