Introduction

             You are walking up a long and winding path. There is a slight nip in the air and a gentle breeze plays with your ankles. There are sparse wooded areas on both sides of you and a steep cliff drop off. You are panting and out of breath. You have a pack on your back and clutching your acceptance letter in your hand.
In the distance you can see the skyline of a city. A tall clock tower rises from the center taller than the other buildings around it. The clock tower sits at the center of the city surrounded by tall walls. The walls surround the inner city portion with four large openings that four roads run in and out. The walls are remains of the former settlement that protected the settlement from the savage wild country early on. They have since fallen into disrepair but were rebuilt as the town grew and stand as local historical monument.
You are on the outskirts of the city of Nowhere. Just of the interstate 50 in northern Arkansas. The small mining settlement was established in 1845 by founder Noah Where. The mine dried up about ten years later and the townsfolk knew that the town would die out as well if they didn’t do something so the leaders of the community banded together and formed an agricultural society to support one another to turn the barren land into a farming and cattle community. Now it is mostly known for its row after row of fields of corn and large beef and dairy cattle controlled by the portly Big D of Big D’s Cattle and his daughter Little D (though she is not)owner of Little D’s Dairy. A little further up the mountainside you can see a large rickety manor house sitting on a plateau. It looks like the upkeep hasn’t been a priority.
You are sure this is the place and can now see why the gas station attendant laughed when you asked for directions. The wind kicks up a little dust around your feet and you begin  to wonder why you came.
You aren’t entirely sure why you are here, It may have been about learning new survival skills, or to improve yourself. It may have been the promise of a new life or to get closer to a higher power, or just to finally lay down the baggage you have been carrying for so long. Whatever the reason you are here now.

Further study: (music)
Hearts lost in Nowhere- Alter Boys
You are Loved- Alter Boys

acceptanceletter

“It is recommended, but not required that you get a drawstring back pack, bandana, a lanyard, and puff keychain of your house colors for the activities you will be doing.”

  What Christians Believe

             You are probably asking yourself right now, why become a Christian, Why God, what does any of this have to do with survival. Well the answers are  Because it brings you forgiveness and new life, Because he is a loving father who can help you in every way, and everything to do with survival. You can’t survive anything without hope. The world can be a scary place. It seems to get worse everyday. Life can throw more crap at us then we can handle. We get bogged down by stress, worry, the demands of day to day living. We can learn to just get by and forget to live.
Maybe you’re not as bad off as some. Some people can get so weighted down they can’t see up. They get so down they can’t see a way out. Or they get stuck in place and out of fear or something else they can’t move forward with their lives.
Whatever the reason life seems to be missing you or you’re just seeking more from life. You are in the right place. God can help you move forward again. You are already taking those important first steps. He has something for everyone.
First off lets answer a few of the basic questions.
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Christians believe that the universe and all that it contains was created by an omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful Being we call God.
Who is God
He is the most important person to get to know. He not just God, but he is YOUR God. He is a personal God. Not some distant figure who doesn’t see you as one of a million people. To Him you are one. He knows you intimately. Personally. He knows the very number of hairs on your head. But not just the numbers of hairs, if one were to fall out, he knows which one. Whether it was number 134 or 32834. He knows because he cares that much about your life and what goes on in it. He loves you with a greater love than could be imagined. You are his. He knows how you feel and everything you feel. He cares. When you hurt he hurts and understands your hurt. He is a father. He is Your father. Here is a link to his love letter to you.
Okay, God is a spirit. He was first, and through him all things were made. At the beginning of the universe there was nothing. Science explains that the universe must have had a beginning. The big bang. God exists outside the known universe but at the same time is intricately connected to it. He willed it into being. He created it for his love to express his love. The stars in the sky, the earth, the heavens and all of creating bears his handy work.
God is aware of all things that go on in the universe and he cares very much for each life within it. He wishes to have a relationship with each one.
Yes bad things happen in the world, but that is due to peoples’ free will. People make bad choices which create bad outcomes that ripple out and effect other people. Sometimes those outcomes hurt good people who have no connection to those people. Our choices have far reaching consequences. God gave people free will, because he wants to be loved and love can not be forced. It must be given freely. You can’t choose to do good if doing bad was not an option.
God is omnipresent. he is everywhere and at any place at the same time. He is a spirit and not confined to spacial qualities.
So God is an all powerful, all knowing, ever present being who loves us, but hates evil acts. He loves us and wants to bless our lives. There is a tv series you can watch that gives a good depiction of God’s character. “Joan of Arcadia”. It also isn’t very preachy either. He doesn’t go around quoting Bible versus.
More on the hatred of evil acts. God is perfect holiness and righteous. He must punish the sinner, the Lawbreaker. The problem here is that everyone, EVERYONE, is a sinner. We are born with a sin nature and all are guilty. Sin is doing or saying anything that you know is wrong. Anything you know will hurt anyone else or yourself. Anything that goes against God’s law the Ten Commandments. The punishment for sin is death. But God in his mercy built for us a solution. That solution is Jesus the Christ.
Further study: (music)
Trapped- Springsteen
Who is Jesus and why is he important?
This is what Christianity is all about. Jesus was the one and only son of God. He was fully human born to a human woman, but also had the fullness of God’s spirit within him. He was the son of God and he was God. A hard concept to understand. He was the human incarnation of God. He was human and his will and God’s will were one. He was every bit God and God was every bit Jesus.
He was born without sin. Everyone (except Jesus) is born with a sin nature within us. That evil little bad part that tells us to do wrong. That lusts after earthly pleasures that kill the soul. Jesus was tortured, beaten, stripped naked, and nailed to a cross to be mocked because the early religious leaders at the time saw him as a threat to their power. He willingly gave up his life. He was beaten by roman soldiers with whips. They mocked him and shamed him. They spat upon him and ridiculed him. They stripped him of his clothes and cast lots to see who kept them. Put nails through his hands and feet and hung him on the cross to display before the community. This was his greatest act of love. He gave his life as a ransom for everyone who believes in him. He did this as a substitute for us. This was God’s plan to gain us back to him. Jesus, who lived a perfect life, would suffer and die to pardon us for our sins. All we have to do is believe in him and surrender our lives to him. That means to turn from our sinful lives. All who do will be forgiven and all can be forgiven. No one who truly wishes to change their lives will be turned away. Everyone can enter into a personal relationship with God.
This doesn’t mean that sin wont still happen in our lives, or that problems wont occur. It means that all our sins past and future will and can be forgiven and we can continue to move closer to God in our lives.
What does it mean to turn from our sins? Repentance.
The basic meaning of the word “repentance” is a change in mind which results in a change in outward actions.
Repentance is not always emotional, although at times it can be. Some may feel so bad for the things they have done that they shed tears and cry, but it is not always necessary for repentance. True repentance is a decision. True repentance is making that decision to change. To change your actions and live differently. It is a change in mind and behavior. An inner change that causes an outward change.
Just ask God to forgive your sins though Jesus. He always hears us.
                             To understand Jesus’s character there are two movies for you to watch. They are called  “The Encounter”. It is about five strangers who are stranded at a roadside diner during a storm and meet a genial host who says his name is Jesus. It is a powerful movie that i loved. I also loved the sequel “The Encounter Paradise Lost”. You wont be sorry you did.
So that is the long and short of it. We all have an evil side that sentences us to death and Jesus gave us freedom to be new again and to keep striving for that better life and bridges that gap for us to reach out to God to be our spiritual father. To be filled with the Holy spirit. As long as we are alive there will be temptation to sin and we may fall maybe even several times but as long as we are alive there is still hope. We can still be forgiven through Christ.
Further Study: (film)
The Last Sin Eater
(Music)
New Again-Brad Paisley
Never Give up on me- Jason Bates
An experiment for you to do.
Heartbeat
You will need a marshmallow and toothpick.
You place the toothpick into the marshmallow and put it on your upturned wrist. The idea is that you will see it move with your heartbeat. If we were still and quiet enough, we could see the toothpick twitch every time our heart would beat. This is because every time our heart beats, it pushes the blood through our body, making the toothpick twitch.
Look at it. This is your heart beating. This is your life. As long as you are alive there is hope. Things can get better. You are alive.
mar
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