Below we have laid out the first three days of Begin21. There are 21 short chapters in this book. Read one a day for three weeks because it takes 21 days to form a habit. The first three days are included below. After you finish them on the app, download the entire PDF version of the book for free.
from the author
You’ve just taken a big step. Huge. Gigantic. Massive actually. And that can’t be overstated. Saying yes to Jesus Christ will be the greatest deci- sion of your life. But your choice wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a fluke, and it certainly wasn’t a coinci- dence. It was planned.
So were you.
God chose you even before you chose him. From the beginning of time, his plan included you. God had you in mind. He handpicked you. On purpose.
Then when you said yes to God’s offer to receive Christ, he responded freely. He welcomed you into his family. Arms wide open. He now looks at you and says, “That one is mine.” He’s given you a handwritten invitation, and you’ve accepted it. Now you’re a child of the one true God. Nothing can ever change your new status.
What did you do to earn this? Nothing. Nada. It was a gift. Jesus paid for it—with his own blood. It cost him everything to secure your salvation, and he has given you a new life. So you can stop worrying about looking backward. Your past? Behind you. Your mistakes? Erased. Your future? Secure. Eternity? Bonus!
Now it’s time for you to step forward into your part of God’s plan. I’m sure you have questions: How do I do that? What about tomorrow? How does this Jesus thing work? What’s my next move?
Those are great questions. And you’ll have a lot more as you grow as a Christian. But don’t worry. God didn’t put you on his team to let you fail. He won’t drop you. Or let you bomb.
Don’t let naivety trip you up though. Some days will be harder than others. Exhausting. Even dis- couraging. There’s no shallow end of the Jesus pool. You don’t get time to wade in or warm up; you’re in deep water right away.
So what should you do first? Simple. Find a mentor. Attach yourself to someone with more experience—a swimming buddy of sorts—who’s been following Jesus for quite some time. Age doesn’t matter. Just choose someone who isn’t a newbie.
Your mentor doesn’t need to do everything right. Nobody does. But they can certainly teach you the basics, as well as help you stay afloat. They’ll provide you with necessary help: encouragement, accountability, support, and, perhaps most importantly, friendship.
Watch them closely. Learn from their life. Follow their example. Hang onto them tightly if needed. Squeeze hard. Before long, someone will be holding onto you as their mentor, and you’ll be sharing what you’ve learned about following Jesus.
Companions like this are crucial in the Chris- tian walk. There’s safety in numbers. We help each other and watch each other’s back. But the real power to remain faithful, following Jesus for a lifetime, comes from him. You have his Spirit, so trust him for your strength. He actually lives in you now—and he’ll live through you too.
The next twenty-one days will be very import- ant for you to understand what you’ve jumped into with Jesus. To help you along, we’re giving you a simple plan to get your new life started. It won’t answer all of your questions—that will take time— but it’ll point you in the right direction.
Think of each day as a step, not a leap. Small but significant. Every page of Begin21 contains basic ideas that will help you:
- Develop your relationship with Jesus
- Live out your new identity in Christ
- Find your voice in God’s story
So hang on. Hold nothing back. This is going to be a thrill ride. Make Jesus your best friend. Your number one. Your rock. And he’ll transform your world.
Week one summary
Lives are changed through relationships, and relationships that change lives take time. It’s all about relationships. From the beginning of human existence, God made it clear that we were created for community with him. And with each other.
The Creator already knows you. He does. Inside and out. And he loves you for who you are. There’s no need for playing games. No pretending. You don’t need to fake anything with your heavenly Father. You can be yourself. Even on your worst days, God sees the best in you because he sees you through Jesus. When you try your best and fail, you’re still loved and still forgiven.
God wants you to know him too. He wants you to hear his heart, feel his love, learn his ways, and draw from his strength. On the good days and the difficult ones—every day and any day—he will never let you down.
But having a deep relationship with God doesn’t just happen. It takes real effort on your part. Get- ting to know God personally must be a priority. Jesus showed us how it works, so we’ll learn from him in the next few days. We’ll follow his example.
We also need relationships with others who fol- low Jesus. Having a mentor is a great way to start, but it’s only the beginning. There’s a much larger Chris- tian community out there called the church. You need them, and they need you (more on that later).
So we’re going to look at building our relation- ship with God and with others this week. Let’s start by thinking about what you already know about relationships. You’re closer to some people than you are to others. You feel safe and secure around certain individuals whom you consider close. More than likely, the people you know and trust best are those you spend time with most.
That’s the key to healthy relationships. Time. It’s a precious gift—but it’s limited. So it has to be used well. Invested. Not just spent. There’s a difference. Making an investment means putting something aside now to gain something better later. But here’s the twist: When you spend time with Jesus, you’re not giving up anything. You’re investing. So you’re gaining. Growing. Becoming.
As you get to know him more, he’ll make changes in your life. But you won’t be losing out. You’ll just be learning to let go and make room for something new. God will fill those empty spaces in your life with something bigger and better: more of Jesus. He’s your friend. Hero. Savior. Get to know him. Soon you’ll see that you lack for nothing.
You’re complete in Christ.
Spend Time with Jesus
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” — Jeremiah 29:13
The Bible is God’s word. It’s a guidebook—an instruction manual—and every statement in it is true. God can’t lie. Ever. No, really. You can trust that he’ll always do what he says. This Bible verse from Jeremiah is an IFTTT (if-this-then-that) statement. It’s both a principle and a promise, and it’s one of the most important guidelines you can learn as you begin your Christian walk.
Did you know that Jesus himself practiced this IFTTT rule? Here’s just one example: “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” — (Luke 5:16).
Jesus’ example teaches us that it’s hard to have a good conversation in a crowd, whether you’re on a busy street, in a noisy classroom, or any place where you can’t concentrate. You can’t hear what people are saying, and they can’t hear you either. Most meaningful talks take place one-on-one in a quiet place, and they’re quite often planned. Inten- tional. They don’t just happen by accident.
The Christian life isn’t a religion. It’s a personal relationship with the Savior of the world. The more you get to know Jesus, the more you gain. You’ll find peace, strength, comfort, and joy.
So set daily reminders. Schedule time to spend alone with Jesus—just the two of you in a quiet place getting to know each other. Talk to him. About everything. Honestly. And listen. You’ll learn to recognize the sound of his voice. And no. Jesus will never stand you up. He will never betray you or break your heart. This is a safe relationship.
What causes us to hold back and be less than open and honest with people?
You can be honest with Jesus. Ask God to show up as you spend time looking for him. Notice the places you see him and the times he reveals himself to you.
Write down anything on your mind from day one. Talk openly and honestly with your mentor about these questions and comments.
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” — Luke 11:1
Jesus had students—and like you, they were handpicked. He saw their potential, so he invited them into his plan. Then he spent three and a half years training them in God’s ways.
But even though Jesus often withdrew from his protégés to pray alone, his destination wasn’t a secret. His pupils knew the purpose of his privacy. They knew the power of prayer, so they said, “Show us how it’s really done.”
Like all good teachers, Jesus modeled everything he taught. He passed on truths, tricks, and techniques. He didn’t hide his know-how. When his interns probed about prayer, he boiled it down to the basics for them:
“Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven. Give us today the bread of tomorrow. Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9–13).
There are many ways to pray. Jesus could have lectured on every variation, but he didn’t. Instead, he made it simple.
You don’t have to complicate it either. Just add prayer to your time with Jesus. Pray aloud or silently. Pray while sitting, standing, or watching Netflix. There’s no right or wrong way. Just begin with “Dear God” and end with “in Jesus’ name, amen.” The words in the middle are how you express your heart. Let them flow, and then take time to listen.
What have the prayers you’ve experienced before now been like?
If prayer is a form of conversation with God, what could he be saying to you? When you talk to him in prayer, take time to listen. Share what you’re hearing with your mentor.
Write down anything on your mind from day two. Talk openly and honestly with your mentor about these questions and comments.
Read the Bible
Every Scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness. Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you. — 2 Timothy 3:16–17
Everyone loves a good story. It’s fun to hear, easy to remember, and simple to share. The Bible is a good story—God’s story—and it’s true, not a fairy tale. It’s God’s words in print for us to read, remember, and retell. Generation after generation.
Some people think the Bible is just a bunch of rules—a book of don’ts, can’ts, and shouldn’ts. They believe it’s God’s way of keeping them from having fun or that it’s boring. But that’s wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible has action. Love. Blood. Mystery. Risks. It also keeps us safe, protecting us and saving us from suffering the consequences of poor decisions.
As we read about all the people in God’s story, we learn from their lives. We see their ups and downs, their fears and victories. And throughout the Bible we see how God shows his love for the world over and over again.
But how do you read it? Where do you begin?
Since you’re just entering the Christian life, it’s best to start reading about Jesus. The first four books of the New Testament (the second part of the Bible) are called the Gospels. These books are a great place to learn about his life and teachings. Start in the book of Matthew by reading chapters 5 through 7 (they’re pretty short). These chapters are Jesus’ first speech to a large crowd where he flips their understanding of God upside down.
Reading the Bible is like praying. You get the same outcome, since you’re hearing God’s voice and connecting to his heart. It’s relationship building—another way he created for us to get to know him.
Add Bible reading to your time with Jesus. Get a copy of your own, or use the one on WAVES app.
Where does your view of the Bible come from? What questions do you have about the Bible that you would like to have answered?
Read from the Bible today. As you begin to explore what the Bible says, find a safe place to ask questions that build your trust that God’s story is 100% true.
Write down anything on your mind from day three. Talk openly and honestly with your mentor about these questions and comments.