3 Questions That Changed My Life

Heads Up!  Note from Bob:

Today’s post is going to be just a bit different than normal.  Today – one day before Good Friday and 3 days before Easter – may I share with you the story of “3 Questions” that led me to become a “Follower of Jesus?”  Please know that if you would prefer to not read any further – no offense will be taken.

3 Questions that Changed My Life!

Tomorrow is Good Friday – the day over 2000 years ago when Jesus – falsely accused – was sentenced to the most cruel death ever invented – death by crucifixion on a cross!  That day Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of every woman and man who had or would ever live.  After he died he was taken down from that cross and laid in a borrowed grave through the generosity of a friend.  The day after the Sabbath – on the first day of the week – 3 woman came to his tomb to anoint his body and they found the stone that had covered his tomb rolled away and the tomb was empty.  An angel appeared to them and said, “He is not here – He is Risen!”  That was of course the first Easter – the day that millions of followers of Jesus will celebrate this coming Sunday.  Of course this Easter will be very different for almost all of us – gathering online in church services all around the globe!  But a Celebration it will be!

This story did not touch my life until the fall of 1967 when I was a freshman at the University of South Dakota – home of the Coyotes!   One Monday evening a group of fraternity men from Iowa State, who were involved with Cru, joined us for dinner at our ATO fraternity house.  Our president introduced them and invited us to join him in the living room immediately following our dinner to hear them share about a student movement they were involved in at Iowa State.  Every guy in our house moved to our living room.

The first 3 men shared their stories of how they had become Followers of Jesus at Iowa State.  It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard anyone my age share how they had made a personal commitment to trust Christ. I was so impressed with these men as they shared their stories of trusting Christ.  I thought – Wow – what courage they have to unashamedly share how they became “Followers of Jesus!”  I also sensed that they had a quality of life that I did not have.

As the final speaker shared “The Four Spiritual Laws” (copied at the bottom of this post).  He asked “3 Questions (highlighted in BLUE below) that Changed My Life!

Here were his questions and my answers:  (for context please read “The Four Spiritual Laws” below)

Which circle best represents your life?  The one on the left – the self-directed life.

Which circle would you like to have represent your life?  I was not sure!

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?   He explained that we could receive Christ  – right then and there by praying a simple prayer to invite Christ into our hearts!  He invited us to pray silently as he prayed out loud.  That night I prayed and invited Jesus to come into my heart!

Here is the prayer that I prayed that night:  Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.  Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.  Amen!   He shared that prayer is just talking to God.  God is not concerned with your exact words – but rather with the attitude of your heart.

(I do remember as a boy – maybe age 8 or 9 – watching Billy Graham on TV and Billy inviting everyone watching to place their faith in Jesus.  He too invited me to pray a prayer to invite Jesus into my heart.  I guess I won’t know until heaven when my name was written into the Book of Life.)

A couple of weeks later a Cru Staff guy from Iowa State made a visit to USD and gave me a call.  We met for a coke in the Student Union.  He had an invitation for me.  He invited me to attend the “Cru Big 10 Christmas Conference” in Chicago that was scheduled for December 26, 1967 – January 1, 1968.  It sounded like fun!  I had never been to Chicago.  At Thanksgiving I shared with my parents that I had invited Jesus into my heart.  They were thrilled!  I shared with them about the “Cru Big 10 Christmas Conference” in Chicago and asked if the cost to attend might be my Christmas present.  They instantly agreed.

Early on the morning of December 26, 1967 I boarded my first plane ever in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and flew to Chicago.  The Conference was attended by about a thousand students from throughout the Midwest.  God used that week to change my life.  The speakers were incredible!  And the time I spent in a small group with a group of guys, who’s hotel rooms were near mine, encouraged my new found faith.

If you are a Dallas Cowboys Fan or a Green Bay Packers Fan do you remember what happened on December 31, 1967?  Yes!  That was the date of “The Ice Bowl!”  That game, the NFL Championship, was played in Green Bay on a icy field with a temperature of 13 degrees below zero.  Whenever anyone mentions “The Ice Bowl” I also remember exactly where I watched that game—of course in black and white.  I was in Chicago at the old downtown Chicago Sheraton Hotel (long ago torn down) attending my very first Cru Christmas Conference.

That evening was the final banquet.  I will never forget what the Cru staff member who spoke that night shared.  He said they did not have enough staff to send to all of our campuses (this was true for the University of South Dakota) and they were praying that God would call students on all of those campuses to lead ministries on their campuses.   And then he challenged all of us who were willing to do that to stand! I stood!  I can only smile now when I think of how little “Young Bob” knew.   Someone once said the greatest ability we can give the Lord is “availability.”  Whenever anyone asks me, “How did God call you to join the staff of Cru?”  I begin with the story of that final banquet.  That was the night I took the first step in a journey that continues to this day!  And all of that began on the day the Cowboys lost to the Packers in “The Ice Bowl!”

3 1/2 years later when I graduated from USD I did not go on to Law School as had been my plan since high school – instead I joined the staff of Cru – because the greatest thing that had ever happened to me was being introduced to Jesus! And because I knew that the greatest thing I could ever do for someone else would be to introduce them to Jesus!

That was June 1971.  This coming June 2021 will mark 50 years on staff with Cru! Today my personal mission statement is “To Help Develop the Next Generation of Leaders for Cru!”

Sometimes when I am asked “How are you doing?”  (and the moment seems just right) I reply – “Better than I deserve – because what I  deserve is to spend eternity in Hell because of my many sins,  but because of what Jesus did on the cross more than 2000 years ago, I am forgiven and will be spending eternity in Heaven!”

Just to be clear – I am not going to heaven because I have lived a good life – I am going to heaven because of “Grace” – unmerited favor – Jesus paid my penalty – I am forgiven – not because of what I have done – but because of what He has done!

Please note that my life has not been without challenges – tragedies – hardships!  But through all these difficulties I have experienced the God of all comfort whose presence has been with me in the midst of heartache.

If you are not a “Follower of Jesus” my prayer is that as you read through “The Four Spiritual Laws” below, your responses to the 3 questions highlighted in BLUE below will also bring you to Jesus and you too will be joining millions of “Followers of Jesus” this Easter to celebrate His Resurrection!

Four_Laws (1)

Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws  that govern your relationship with God.


law_1

 God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

 God’s Love: “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, NIV).

 God’s Plan: [Christ speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).

Why is it that most people are not experiencing that abundant life?  Because…

law_2

Man is sinful and separated from God.  Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life. 

Man is Sinful:  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

Man Is Separated:  “The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).

diagram_1

This diagram illustrates that God is holy and man is sinful. A great gulf separates the two. The arrows illustrate that man is continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion – but he inevitably fails.The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf…

law_3

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

He Died In Our Place: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He Rose from the Dead: “Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.  After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

He Is the Only Way to God:  “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me’” (John 14:6).

diagram_2

This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. It is not enough just to know these three laws…

law_4

We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

We Must Receive Christ: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

We Receive Christ Through Faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth: (Read John 3:1-8.)

We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation: [Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

These two circles represent two kinds of lives:

twocircles

Circle on the left – Self-Directed Life: S-Self is on the throne.  Christ is outside the life. Interests are directed by self, often resulting in discord and frustration.

Circle on the Right – Christ-Directed Life: Christ is in the life and on the throne.  S-Self is yielding to Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan.

Which circle best represents your life? 

Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

The following explains how you can receive Christ:  You Can Receive Christ Right Now by Faith Through Prayer. (Prayer is talking with God)  God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.

The following is a suggested prayer: Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.  Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?  If it does, I invite you to pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

Note from Bob:  Thank you for reading my story.  

If you just prayed to ask Jesus to come into your heart – Welcome to God’s Eternal Family! This is the beginning of a new relationship with the God of all creation.  You will want to find out how you can now grow in your relationship with Jesus by clicking this link:  Yes, I just asked Jesus into my life…

If you are still giving careful thought as to what you will do with Jesus and need to ask some questions before proceeding then you will want to click here:  I may want to ask Jesus into my life, but I have a question I would like answered first  

Recommendation:  This Easter Weekend might be the perfect time for you and your family to view The Jesus Film – the most translated movie in history – available in over 2,000 languages.  Click “HERE” to download/view in English.  (Once there – near the bottom you will find a link that will lead you to all 2,000 plus languages)

 

 

 

Offer:  If you are not sure who Jesus really is or would like to know more about him, I would be delighted to send you, as my gift, one of my favorite books, More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, my former colleague of 24 years.

Josh, a former skeptic, is joined by his son Sean as they examine the evidence about Jesus. Is He really the Lord He claimed to be? How can we know for sure? More than a Carpenter investigates hard questions about the reliability of biblical records, the resurrection and the relationship between faith and science. They also address questions raised by today’s popular atheistic writers.

Please email me @ bob.tiede@cru.org with your mailing address and your complimentary book will soon be on its way.  (offer available for U.S.A. addresses only).

Happy Easter! 

He is Risen! 

He is Risen Indeed!

 

Bob Tiede

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.

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4 thoughts on “3 Questions That Changed My Life

  1. Laura Hartman says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Bob! Personal testimonies of God’s grace are always such a blessing!

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Thank you Laura for your encouragement!

  2. Jeff Swan says:

    I noticed you were playing pool with your fraternity brothers. Curious – what fraternity were you in? Although things can get out of hand in a fraternity, as I get older I have discovered that many of my Sigma Chi fraternity brothers are seriously pursuing a relationship with the Lord these days.
    Best regards,
    Jeff

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Hi Jeff – I was an ATO at the University of South Dakota!

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