your next step

‘Tis the season! There’s nothing like the Christmas season. The joy of children anticipating the big day. The buzz of the mall. The slightly cooler weather. The office parties. Re-connecting with friends and family. The kids home from school. Maybe throw a little travel in there, too.


And, of course, the gifts! Perhaps you remember your favorite gift as a child – that special doll (or action figure!). Or maybe it wasn’t a toy, but a sentimental or incredibly thoughtful gift. Or, if we really want to take it to the next level, think about those life-giving gifts that people have given: like adopting a child or donating an organ.


Gifts like those, those life-giving gifts show us what Christmas is all about.


This season, we at Cypress Church are aiming to walk the familiar paths of the Christmas story while taking special note of the amazing gifts that were given by the key players of the story…and also the gifts that were given to them – and us – in Christ! This is a true story that can inspire us to give this life-giving gift of Jesus to others and even to give of ourselves as we serve God. This kind of gift-giving can be encouraging, uplifting, and transformative!


We would love for you to join us in this kind of a life-giving Christmas!


To help, we’ve some resources available for you at our church lobby's Welcome Table. For a great overview and understanding of the origins and meaning of Christmas, check out the Christmas in Three Words booklet. If you need God to speak to your heart, An Even Better Christmas shows us how the love of Jesus revealed at Christmas can fill our hearts and souls. A life-giving Christmas, rather than a life-depleting one, is available to us in Jesus!


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While these resources may have some answers to your questions, the biggest question can only be answered by you. Only you can answer “Do I believe in Jesus as my own Savior?”  


The truth is that we all have something that holds us back from the life-giving joy Jesus wants to gift to us. We all have done things we should not have done, and we have all not done the things we should have done. The Bible calls that sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The reality of this moral debt, this sin, is that it has a nasty price on it – death, the ultimate defeat. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).


Death means we’re unable to accomplish God’s vision for our lives, with no chance of a relationship with God, and no entrance into Heaven when we die. It is the opposite of thriving. Sin puts us in a big dilemma. This sin-condition goes from bad to worse because there is no way for us to cancel or pay this debt on our own. We can’t work it off, can’t do good to counter it, can’t buy our way out, can’t give sacrificially enough, and church attendance won’t erase it, either. The Bible is clear: we can’t win this one on our own. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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But God, through His grace provided us a Savior: Jesus, who is the only available solution. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). “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)


Jesus came to earth to reconcile us to God. Through his death Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. To receive the benefit of what Jesus did on the cross and receive the gift of salvation, we need to believe. Belief is more than having a mental understanding that Jesus died on the cross for our sin. Saving faith means recognizing we are sinful and need someone to rescue us. That Savior is Jesus. It is also making a commitment to follow Jesus’ way of life as part of His family forever. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Instead of being estranged from God due to sin, we can be adopted into His loving family of followers forever! To be a child of God is to live life God’s way, which is explained in the Bible. We have the ultimate example of it in Jesus.


Do you agree with these truths from the Bible? Would you like to follow Jesus? If your answer is “yes,” then let God know through a simple prayer like this:

Lord Jesus, I know I am held back from making room for you because of sin. I am a sinner, and I know this sin stops me from living the way you intended me to live my life.  I recognize this sin holds me back from relating to You and keeps me out of Heaven.  I know I need a Savior and I believe You, Jesus, paid the penalty for my sin.  So right now I ask You to forgive my sin, and I accept You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.


If you just prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God! Your sins are forgiven and you are now free to follow God’s way of life. You have secured the greatest victory possible – a relationship with God! This is the life you were created to live (look up Psalm 139). If you made a decision to follow Jesus today, we’d love to know and celebrate with you! Please email us or call us at 714-952-3001 (our office). We have some materials to send you that will help you thrive in your relationship with God!


How do we grow in this relationship with God? The next step is to begin reading the Bible and praying. Some good places to start reading are the Bible books of James and Mark. To start, read a few verses and ask yourself what these verses say about who God is and how He wants you to live.  Some days you may have answers, some days you won’t, but keep reading. The more consistent you become, the more you will grow in your relationship with God and discover the great joy of a close, personal relationship with Him.


It’s also important to attend church regularly. If you live in our area, we would love for you to come to one of our church campuses in Cypress, Los Alamitos, or our Khmer ministry (times and locations). Wherever you attend church, get involved in a small group Bible study soon. Here, we call them Life Groups. If you are interested in joining one, view our open groups.


We are so happy that you want to investigate Jesus and wrestle with what it means to find room for Him in your life. He can give you the best Christmas ever! We are praying for you!

 - Pastor Mike McKay