MhAX Blog with Nick Costello
Evangelist, youth communicator, school assembly speaker, seminar and conference speaker Nick Costello tackles issues facing youth and young adults.
Nick Costello has experienced the glamorous rock star life millions of teens only dream about. Success didn't fulfill his search for inner peace, security and purpose in life. His bad attitude and fast lane lifestyle of sex, drugs, rock and roll nearly destroyed him. One night, Nick surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. God miraculously redeemed and transformed his life.
Today, he ministers as an evangelist, youth communicator, school assembly speaker, seminar and conference speaker. He's calling christians of all ages to an uncompromising walk of obedience to Christ. In public schools, he's equipping kids to make healthy, right life choices. Respected leaders say he's a "dynamic, relevant, passionate, challenging, inspiring communicator!
Visit Nick's website
When you look at people around you, what do you see? I'm not talking about their physical appearance or personality. Do you recognize their spiritual condition. Everyone you meet is either LOST or SAVED, going to HEAVEN or HELL. There is no in between!
Do you ever wonder if your friends are followers of Jesus?
Do you care if your lost friends go to hell?
Do you share your faith... give it away?
Imagine sitting on the beach with a hot date. You're all oiled up, got your favorite CD playing, not a care in the world except for the hot date you are drooling over. Suddenly, screams come from the ocean. You see a person frantically grasping for air. You realize they are in great danger and about to drown. The lifeguard has fallen asleep. YOU are the only one who sees the soon-to-drown swimmer. Are you going to do anything? I think so. You will throw them the life preserver sitting on shore or swim out and get them. You won't stand by and let them drown.
All around you are people in great danger, not of drowning in water, but in danger of spending eternity in hell!
You know their names. You play on the same sports team with them. They sit right next to you in class or in the lunchroom. You hang out together. You know they aren't a Christian and follower of Jesus, but has reality hit you that without Christ, they will go to hell? Imagine when you get to heaven and stand before God. He opens the Lambs Book of Life to see if your name is written in it. Behind you stands your best friend we'll call Bill. God sees your name and says, "Enter heaven with me forever." As you walk towards heaven, you turn and then hear Him say to Bill, "I don't see your name listed here. I don't know you. Away from me into hell forever." You watch your best friend being led into the agonizing torment of hell forever and there in NOTHING you can do.
How would that make you feel?
Now is the time for you to save your friends, a family member or somebody you come into contact with every day from sure spiritual death and offer them an incredible personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
NOW! TODAY! BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE FOR THEM!
You may say, "I'm scared, I don't know what to say, I don't know what to do, I don't know where to begin."
I'm going to help you in the next series of articles. Tell your Christian friends to tune in each month for lessons on how to rescue lost souls. Lesson 1 is simple. It begins by seeing lost people around you through the eyes of Jesus. When Jesus sees your classmates, He doesn't see students. Jesus sees hell bound, dying people. What do you see? Jesus has a passion and burden for the lost. PRAY this prayer every day, post it on your mirror, in your car, say it often and watch God change your heart.
Jesus... I want to give my faith away. Give me your heart of love and compassion for the lost. Give me your eyes to see them. Give me your passion and burden to tell them about you and show them the way to heaven. Break my heart for lost people all around me. Amen!
Have you ever heard anyone say, "He's running around like a chicken with it's head cut off?" Obviously, with no head, the chicken has no idea where it's going. Christians can be like that. They're busy going nowhere. They don't know where they're going. Maybe they're running around in circles. They have no direction for their life and never accomplish anything. Why is that? God tells you:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Prov. 29:18 KJV)
If you expect to get anywhere in life or accomplish anything, you must have a vision for the future, a goal, a list of priorities, a dream, something you are shooting for. Do you? If not, God says your life won't accomplish much. You will never become all God has designed you to be or to do. God sees you as important and wants you to succeed. Success means you have some goals to achieve before you die. God has some goals for you from His point of view.
"Seek first the
"For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become more like His Son." (Romans NLT) God knew you before you were even born and now as a Christian, God wants you to become like Jesus.
"Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. NLT) You don't live your life for your glory, you live it for God's glory and honor.
What is God saying to you your first goal in life should be?
All about Jesus!
Have you decided to make the priority of your life becoming like Jesus and living a life all about Jesus? That's your first goal in life. Now... write a few goals on a piece of paper. All my life I have set some goals for myself. Before I knew Jesus, I set a goal to become a rock star and accomplished it. With God's help, I accomplished my goal. Two years ago I set a goal for myself to write a book. It's a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of time and work. This year I set a goal to learn guitar and lead worship. I'm working on it every day. You may have some big goals and dreams.
"What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God." (Luke NLT)
Start with setting some goals in these five categories: Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, Social, Occupational. Pray and ask God to help you achieve your goals. Give Him freedom to change your goals or priorities. Persevere. Be patient. Never ever give up. Surround yourself with encouraging people, not discouragers. Spend time with jesus every day of your life. Do you really want to live your life running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Eventually, the chicken drops dead. When you have goals, dreams, priorities and future vision for your life, you may at times think you aren't going anywhere, but God is still doing something. I am convinced about one thing. Millions of successful Christians will agree with me. You can never fail when...
You keep Jesus the #1 priority of your life!
Think about a tough decision you had to make. How did you make it? What happened as a result? Would you have done anything differently in making your decision? If so, do you know what that would be?
A Christian wants to know God's will when making decisions
A follower of Jesus wants to please God. God cares about the decisions you make and how you live your life. Much of God's will for you is revealed in his book, The Bible. For example read The Beatitudes in Matthew Chapter 5, The 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 or Galatians 5:22-26 and discover God's will. Ephesians 5:1 tells us it's God's will that you imitate Him, live like Christ. So, the more you know Jesus, the more you'll now God's will for living your life. Every Christian can learn these things and then allow Jesus live his life out through you, because you'll become more like Him.
How do you make decisions that please God?
There is God's will for every Christian, but also His specific will for you! You will have to make decisions about a job, college, marriage, work, friends, finances and more. Some decisions will be big, others small. They're all important to you. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." (Prov. 3:5-8) God is great. He sees all and knows all. He knows what's best for you. He'll never lead you astray. Trust Him, not your own understanding. Sometimes you can't see your whole life picture, but God can. You may not like what He is directing you to do, but you must trust Him. He's still directing you. God never directs us in the wrong direction. "Don't depend on your own wisdom." (Prov. 3:7) Rest in His wisdom, His understanding. "Be quiet and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
Pray. Trust. Ask Him what he'd have you do. Wait. Listen for His small voice speaking to your heart. Sometimes, it's a real strong impression to make a certain decision. Sometimes, God uses other Christians to confirm what He's put in your heart.
If you miss it... go the wrong way... God will get you on track.
"He will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:6b) He will direct your steps. He will give you success. You can't fail with God. You fail when you do nothing. God loves you. He will even use you where you are at if you end up somewhere that wasn't God's will for you because maybe you missed God. Pray "God, I'm here. I don't think it's where I am suppose to be. I trust you. use me while I'm here so I can glorify you. help me get to where you want me, be who you want me to be."
Big doors open on small hinges!
Remember to be faithful in the small things God directs you to do. Starting small is okay. I have rarely ever seen God start big. You may have big dreams, big visions or big plans, but God will oftentimes start with baby steps. Don't despise small beginnings. Be faithful where God plants you.
Tips to find God's will:
Pray, read your Bible and get counsel from other mature Christians you know and trust. God doesn't hide His will from you. Being in His will brings you joy no matter the circumstances. Knowing God's will is a step but step process. Allow your mind to be Spirit-controlled. Listen for His still small voice. Don't expect your problems to disappear even when you are in God's will. God will give you enabling, empowering grace to do his will. Be ready to wait. Be patient. Trust God.
To develop a deep relationship with Jesus you must learn how to get to know Him better. Following Jesus makes you a disciple. A disciple spends time learning about Jesus and from Him, as a result, willingly follows Him. A disciple teaches others, passes on what he or she learns from and about Jesus. Study the Gospel of John chapters 2:11, 6:65-69, 8:31-32, 13:34-35, 14:15, 15:1-8, 17:20-21, 20:19-22, 21:15-19 and learn the characteristics of a disciple.
If you follow Jesus down the road of discipleship, He WILL make a mature disciple of you!
To mature as a disciple, you need to demonstrate simple faith and total trust in Jesus. You must be willing to become a 100 percent-sold-out disciple, letting Christ fully live in and through you. Do not fear what anyone else thinks because you choose to live as a follower of Jesus. He is with you. You will bring honor and glory to Him. If you choose to follow Jesus it will cost you things like:
Your selfish pleasures
Ownership of your life
Your goals and plans
Your reputation and status in life
In exchange, Jesus gives you a life full of His benefits that you can't find anywhere else. His life will blossom in and through you. You will impact the world around you for Him. You will be His light in a dark place. You will make a difference because you ARE different.
Christ living His life in and through you makes you a disciple.
Ask God to continue to give you the desire to be His 100 percent-sold-out-follower. Ask Him to put to death in you, anything that keeps you from following Jesus. Ask Him to make you like Christ. Ask God to use you to help others become a disciple. Be patient. Persevere. Trust Him. if you mess up, get up, look up to Him and keep going.
Do you have any real close friends? I mean, someone you can tell anything to, someone who loves you no matter what, who isn't judgmental or critical of you, sticks by you in the good, bad and ugly times? Even one? If you can't name one and you are born again, you have one true friend.
Do you have a relationship with God? Is it a close, intimate one? It should be. That’s what He desires with you. God doesn't want to be some distant friend you rarely hang out with. He wants to be your very best friend, the kind of friend you want to cling to and always want in your life. However... you can't have a close relationship with God unless you spend time with Him talking with Him. Notice I said with Him not to Him. That's real communication.
Relationships develop through communication
To know him, to become His friend, for Him to become your close friend, it means you must communicate with each other. How can you develop that communication with God? I have learned a few simple things that work for me.
God reveals Himself through the Word of God, God's Book ... The Bible. Really, The Bible is all about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The more you read your Bible, the more you will know and understand God.
You must spend time in God's Book.
I have found when I ask God a question, if I wait a bit, He will answer me. How? Most often He brings to remembrance a scripture I read in His Word that was hidden in my heart. Other times, I hear this real small voice speaking to me, I get a strong impression to do or don't do something or God simply answers one of my prayer requests.
Early in the day is best.
Because I spend time with God at the beginning of my day, my mind is fresh and not yet consumed with everything I have to do. That's the best time to be with God. If that doesn't work for you, just make sure you spend time with God every day.
Have a definite place to be alone with God.
Whatever place you choose, whenever you pass that place, it will remind you that both physical and spiritual refreshment wait for you there because that's the place you are all alone with God. While you are alone, you have quiet time to also listen for His voice. Be patient. god is always speaking. We simply don't always listen or hear Him.
Anticipate meeting the One who loves you in a personal, intimate way.
It's your special time to be alone with God. He knows all about you. He doesn't care what you've done. You may have messed up some things. God knows and He still loves you. The reason you can come to Him when after you may have messed up and sinned is because of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for you. "So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. there we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." (Heb. 4:16 NLT)
Because of Jesus IN you... you can come before God, admit you messed up and sinned, find mercy, grace and forgiveness. God won't turn you away. Be open and honest with Him. He knows you anyway.
Speak, even sing out loud.
Hearing your own voice will help you keep your thoughts centered on Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. Tell Him how awesome He is. Thank Him in advance for answering your prayer. But... sometimes, God's answer may be NO, because He knows what's best for you. It's okay to be upset, too. Read the prayers of David in the Psalms. He got pretty emotional at times. I sing melodies to God I make up, praising Him, telling Him I love Him, need Him, thanking Him and more. It's just me and God together. Whatever you do, don't worry about making it complicated. Keep it simple.
Use a devotional prayer book to help you.
It's okay to pray prayers others have prayed. When I do, I simply say, "Lord... I pray this prayer for myself to you." Devotional prayer books also help you to learn to pray, suggest way to pray, what to pray for. You can also pray God's Word back to Him. "Lord, may this Word be true for me" and then pray the Bible verses. I love using devotional by Andrew Murray, a great man of God now in heaven.
What I have suggested is very simple and certainly not an in-depth study on prayer or talking with God. Grab a few books on prayer. Read them. You can learn how to pray, talk to God, hear His voice, sense His presence, deepen your faith, have prayers answered and grow in your intimate love relationship with God when... you spend regular, daily time alone with Him! He is always excited to meet with you!
You jump in a car and go cruising with some friends on a Saturday night. They have some drugs and alcohol with them. You want to be accepted by them but don't want to party. You're tempted. What would you do and why? Read Matthew 4 and you'll discover Jesus was tempted, too. The devil tempted Him three times. What was His response?
"The SCRIPTURES say."
Jesus used scripture He had memorized and stored up in His heart as His weapon against the devil and temptation. It reminded Him about how His Father God wanted Him to live. David asked, "How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules." (Psalm 119:9) God's Word can help you in any situation. Unless you tie scripture to your eyeballs or forehead to always have it in your face, the best way to have scripture ready is to keep it in your heart. Memorize it to your heart hard drive!
God's Word is ALIVE!
Look up Hebrews 4:12. It tells you God's Word is living and active. It can change your heart and life. God's Word has power, but you have to tap into it and use it!
God's Word is AUTHORITATIVE!
Read John 7:16-17. The Bible has authority because it comes from God who is King of the Universe.
God's Word is TRUE!
Why? Read John 8:40 and find out. God cannot lie. His Word is true. Jesus called Himself... 'THE TRUTH." You can trust it! If you want to know some benefits of God's Word read: Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 119:1-2, Psalm 119:97-105, John 14:21, 15:3, 15:14, Romans 10:17 and 1 Peter 2:2.
You can experience the benefits of God's Word!
Take these five steps. HEAR. Listen carefully to reliable preachers and Bible teachers. READ. Read the Bible consistently. Underline key passages and ones that speak to your heart or situation. STUDY. Dig into God's Word. Ask these questions. What does it say? What does it mean? How does it apply to me? What am I going to do in response? MEMORIZE. Get it into your heart hard drive. MEDITATE. Think about it. Personalize it.
Apply it to your life!
Make it real in your life. Live it out. Chew on it in your heart and mind. Choose to obey it no matter what. You'll need help. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, give you grace and strength to follow God's Word. Don't just learn it. DO what it says. Without God's Word, you'll be powerless against the Devil's army who will assault you to influence you away from God. You'll have no Gospel bullets in your gun and only shoot blanks. he'll laugh at that! But He can't stand against God's Word or make anyone sin who uses God's Word against Him. Get in God's Word and get God's Word into you!