There are so many views of what a Christian might be.
For some, Christians are invaders from the planet Nerd, who've come speaking a language nobody really understands and seem to want to bore us all into helpless submission!
To those people, becoming a professing Christian is about as desirable as being mutated into a Mr. Bean clone.
But being a Christian is becoming a follower, a life-and-death disciple of the One who not only changed the history of the world, but is still changing the story of individuals the world over. Joan Osborne said, "What if God was one of us?" I'd like to meet Joan and tell her, "Hey, good news! God's already answered your question - he's already been one of us!"
You see, that's who Jesus really was. For a little while, God put on human form like you or I might put on a coat. He showed himself to us in a way we could really comprehend. Jesus was God "incarnate" (in the flesh). He always claimed to be God's Son and to have a special role in saving the world. He backed up his claims with his teaching and his miracles.
Not only did he give us the most profound wisdom on how to live this life to the max, with peace, fulfilment and contentment - and put so simply that even a child can grasp it - he backed his teaching with his life!
More than anyone else before or since he showed us by example what the Kingdom of God on earth might look like. More than anyone else he reached out to the poor and oppressed, he touched lepers (the AIDS victims of his day) and brought instant healing to people suffering with incurable diseases - with just a word or a touch.
On several occasions, he even raised the dead! And similar works are being accomplished by his followers in many parts of the world tody, as they teach and pray in his name. He could still a storm, walk on water and feed thousands with a few handfuls of food!
But great though all of that is - and remember, he did it in just 3 years - it's not the major reason the world was changed by him. He died on a Roman torture rack, a cross. Historians have said that this was one of the most gruesome of all man-made ways to die. It involved many hours, sometimes days, of indescribable suffering and public humiliation. For a man hanging on a cross, death could not come swiftly enough!
Yet Jesus allowed - yes, allowed - himself to be nailed to a cross among thieves. He had prophesied his own death, and the method by which it would come, many times during his ministry. And on each occasion, he'd told his followers he would lay down his life willingly, as a substitute for humankind. He was our "stand in" on that cross. He took the death we deserved before a holy and righteous God.
We had turned our backs on God and his plans for the earth and for our lives. We had slammed the door on the One who made us to enjoy relationship with him. As the songwriter Randy Stonehill has it, "We are all like foolish puppets, who desring to be kings, now lie pitifully crippled, after cutting our own strings."
The punishment for our rebellion should have been death and eternal seperation from the presence of God - from his compassion, his tenderness, his blessings and his favour. But Jesus took that upon himself. He died in our place.
And he rose again from the dead! This was no "con-job" - it is historical fact. Not even his enemies could deny it - and his followers laid down their lives preaching the fact.
The greatest evidence for his resurrection though, is not found in history loone, but in the changed lives of people of all ages, all races, all cultures the world over. Only Jesus Christ can bring eternal hope, meaning, peace and forgiveness into our lives. Only Jesus can reveal what God created us to be.
You can find that out for yourself right now. You are not a "monkey who got lucky", or the chance result of some evolutionary accident. You are not a cosmic orphan in a meaningless universe. God made you! After checking out this site or others like it, or having seen something very different in friends who are Christians, you may be ready now to commit your life into God's hands, and to begin the great journey of his plan for you as an individual.
Here's how to start (and some Bible references to check out - all from the New Testament):
Admit that you need help from above, that you are a part of God's fallen world in need of salvation (Romans chapter 3 verse 23)
Admit that only Jesus, the holy Son of God, could save you - that none of your good works or intentions is good enough to get you through. (Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 to 9)
Confess, in prayer to God, that when Jesus died he did it for you, to make you right with God again. Simply tell God that you accept his gift of salvation through Jesus and what he did for you on the cross (Matthew chapter 20 verse 28).
Ask God to forgive all your failings and to make you pure within (1 John chapter 1 verse 9).
Thank God that Jesus' tomb is now empty - he DID rise from the dead: it's a historical fact! This is a sign that God accepted his sacrifice on your behalf, and that Jesus IS trustworthy, so he WILL keep his promises to you! (John chapter 11 verse 25)
Commit yourself to finding God's plan for your life and fulfilling it to the max, leaving old, harmful habits behind. (Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, and Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10).
Live life to the max, in Jesus' power! (2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17).
Well, now we're family, you and I. So, see you in heaven, if not before!