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John Beckett

Hi, my name is John Beckett and it's good to meet you. You and I are both on a journey through life. Mine has involved many challenges — but also some life-changing lessons. Now, I would love to help you on your journey, especially to learn from my greatest discovery — who God really is and how to know Him.

John Beckett

Businessman and Author

My Story: The Early Years

John during his years at MIT.
John during his years at MIT.

My desire to know who God is began early in life. It was a rocky and unrewarding road at first.

I was born in Ohio in 1938. My father, Reg Beckett, had recently begun his own manufacturing business, in the basement of our home, making products to help people heat their homes. He worked very hard but managed to find time for family.

Following high school I decided to follow my dad into engineering, and was able to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Though church didn't top my list of outside activities, I regularly attended Sunday morning services in Boston.

I now realize I was searching. I believed in God, but had many unanswered questions. Especially the most important ones: Can I know God personally? How do I have a relationship with him?

I met Wendy Hunt during the summer following my freshman year. She and her family were warm, engaging people who enjoyed life and spoke easily of a close, personal relationship with God. Their vibrant faith just didn't square with my rational, logical approach. I kept searching for answers.

After graduation, I began working in the aerospace industry in the town where I'd grown up. Wendy and I were married a year later, and we began a family. A few years after this, my dad asked me to join him in the family business. It was a big change, but I sensed it was the right thing to do.

Nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen. Read a little more of my story now.

Next: Trials to Breakthrough

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The Beckett home — where the business began

Trials to Breakthrough

Reg Beckett's sudden death was a huge shock to all who knew him.
Reg Beckett's sudden death was a huge shock to all who knew him.

Facing Tragedy

The business challenges and personal tragedies that I was about to face were overwhelming. One chilly winter morning, police found my dad slumped over the steering wheel of his car, the victim of an apparent heart attack at age 67. Typical of my hardworking father, he was on his way to work. As difficult as it was dealing with the loss of my dad, I was immediately thrust into the huge challenge of leading the family business at age 26.

I couldn't believe what happened next. Only a few months later, in the middle of the night, our factory burst into flames and nearly burned to the ground.

These two events were overwhelming. I had always been able to depend on my own strength and abilities, but now my confidence was deeply shaken. I wasn't sure where to turn. God seemed so far away. Where was He?

One of the Beckett companies makes gas combustion equipment.
One of the Beckett companies makes gas combustion equipment.

Finding God

Some said getting closer to God required a leap of faith, but I wasn't ready for such a bold step. What held me back? Months passed without answers. But quietly, again and again, I sensed God was bringing me closer to Him. Small things happened to encourage me. Someone would give me a helpful book, or I'd hear a speaker who would answer a key question.

The breakthrough came when I finally realized I actually did need to take a leap of faith. For the first time in my life I let go. I said to God, God I don't believe I need to have everything figured out. I trust you, and I want to be fully yours. I give myself to your care.

What followed was amazing. I experienced a new kind of peace, certain that God had accepted me just as I was — my intellectual barriers, my sense of unworthiness and all. I hadn't earned it. I didn't deserve it. But he took my cautious step of faith and, in return, welcomed me with open arms. He was no longer distant. Though there was much I had yet to understand, I was convinced I had finally connected with God in a new way.

At this critical time in my life, I understood very little about the profound change that was taking place. Now, through insights gained from the Bible and personal experience, I understand how one enters a relationship with God and where to start the process. It would be my honor to share that with you now.

First, we have to understand — what is sin? Continue on to find out.

Next: What is Sin?

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Our fire-ravaged factory

What is Sin?

This fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the earliest known copies of Genesis, dated to 100-1 BCE. Source: Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.
This fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls is one of the earliest known copies of Genesis, dated to 100-1 BCE. Source: Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

Where Did Sin Come From?

The word Genesis means "beginnings." Genesis is the first book of the Bible, where we get a glimpse of what it was like at the dawn of human creation. God made the first man, Adam, and gave him a wife, Eve. They walked closely with God. God loved Adam and Eve and they responded warmly to that love, taking great delight in the openness, trust and companionship they experienced with their creator. Life was deeply satisfying and free from stress. They lived in Paradise.

But, sadly, this Paradise was short-lived. What happened next had huge consequences. We learn from the Bible that Adam and Eve were tempted and disobeyed God's clear command. God held Adam accountable when he rebelled and chose to walk his own way. This is the first evidence of what the Bible calls sin. The result was that not only Adam, but all who were born after him inherited a fatal defect.

Shortly after sin entered the human race through Adam, God foretold the coming of one who would remedy the fatal defect and save us from sin.

The Remedy

Mankind's nature ever since Adam has been ruled by violence, greed and jealousy. The Bible calls this sin. The continuing result of Adam's sin is a break in every person's relationship with God.

Gratefully, this is not the end of the story! Shortly after sin entered the human race through Adam, God foretold the coming of one who would remedy the fatal defect and save us from sin. He was God's own son. His name was Jesus. As God's perfect representative in human form, he alone had the capacity to deal with the issue of sin.

Our Capacity to Change

Jesus was like Adam in certain ways. Both were born free from the defect of sin. Both were tempted and capable of sin. However, here the two took radically different directions. While Adam gave in to temptation, Jesus did not. He led a perfect life and was an example of how each person should live.

But more than his life, his death and resurrection (when he was raised from the dead) form the basis for our personal capacity to change. The story of Jesus is so important, please take a moment to review just what happened in his birth and life.

Read on to learn how Jesus saves us from sin.

Next: Who is Jesus?

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Adam and Eve hiding from God (Genesis 3:8)

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, whipped and nailed to a cross. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, he is led like a lamb to the slaughter.

The Life of Jesus

Man is born sinful. We cannot escape our sin. But there is good news! As mentioned, in the beginning God creates the first man and woman. Almost immediately they give in to sin. Then after thousands of years of preparation, at just the right time, God visits and plants his seed of life into a young virgin girl named Mary, who is engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. A son is born, Jesus, the Son of God himself.

As a young man, Jesus goes to work in Joseph's carpentry business. Although he faced the temptations each of us faces, he grows up living a perfect life.

At about age 30, Jesus leaves his trade to begin sharing the message of his heavenly father's kingdom. Tens of thousands follow him, scores are healed, and even the dead are brought back to life.

Religious and government leaders see him as a great threat. They collaborate and arrange his death on trumped-up charges. Jesus is betrayed, arrested, tried, whipped and nailed to a cross. Though he could have called a huge number of angels to rescue him, he does not. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, he is led like a lamb to the slaughter. He dies.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem—possible site of Jesus’ burial
The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem—possible site of Jesus’ burial

Jesus Saves Us

On the cross Jesus says, "It is finished." Jesus is talking about not only his own human life, but the problem of sin. Jesus has become God's remedy. He satisfied God's requirement as "the perfect sacrifice for sin."

Jesus is buried in a tomb which is sealed. Three days later, to the great surprise of even his closest followers, Jesus is raised from the dead. His disciples find the grave empty and are shaken to the core. Jesus then appears to them and to hundreds more. He comforts and reassures them by telling them that these incredible events have been at the very heart of God's plan.

After 40 days Jesus goes up into heaven where he is reunited with God, his father. The father then gives his son the supreme high honor of headship over everything on earth and in heaven. Jesus is made both Lord and Christ — positions he holds today. "Lord" refers to his rulership, and "Christ" refers to his capacity to save. He and he alone becomes the savior of mankind. From this place of authority, Jesus invites us to become his followers — new creations!

Who can say this is not utterly amazing! I doubt the human mind can fully take it in. What kind of love is this — a father sacrificing his only son? Yet this occurred for one critically important reason — so you and I can reestablish the kind of personal relationship with God that he intended from the beginning.

Now, we will look more closely at believing in God.

Next: Believing in God

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Believing in God

What Does it Mean to Believe?

The key in applying these truths is to believe them and allow them to shape our lives. Let's look more closely at the concept of believing as it is used in the Bible. The word "believe" is used more than 200 times!

Believing is not wishful thinking or unfounded hope. It is not about earning a relationship with God. It is not about doing good deeds or just being a "good person." We do not become believers simply by joining a religious institution, by following tradition or by being born into a Christian family.

In the biblical meaning, believing engages the depth of our hearts, not just our minds.

How Do We Believe?

Believing is to place our confidence in someone or something. It is an action word that involves making a conscious decision. We choose to believe — or we choose not to believe. Both involve a decision.

In the biblical meaning, believing engages the depths of our hearts, not just our minds. When we believe, we link the realities mentioned earlier with a commitment to anchor our hope in the person of Jesus.

When we believe, we are responding to God's love towards us. That love is so profound it embraces all he has done for us and all he expects of us. Jesus passionately wants us to be complete in our relationship with him.

How do we take this leap of faith and begin to know God?

Next: Begin Now

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Begin Now

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

Begin Today on Your New Journey

First, understand that we are separated from God. The chasm separating us from God is both wide and deep. It's the result of our inheriting a fatal defect at birth. Because of this we have lived our lives independently from him. The Bible emphasizes this stark reality: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Which is exactly why we need a savior!

Second, understand who Jesus is, and what he has done for us. Jesus bridged the wide gulf that separates us from God. He came to earth as the Son of God. He was born to a virgin. He led a sinless life, died and was buried. He rose again and later went up into heaven where he became both Lord and Christ.

Jesus, and he alone, is qualified to be the remedy for our sins. What he did totally satisfied God's requirements. In the apostle John's words: "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).

We begin our new, personal relationship with God when we repent and believe.

Repent and Believe

Finally, repent and believe! We begin our new, personal relationship with God when we repent and believe.

To repent is to say to the Father, God, help me. I want to turn toward you and away from the life I've lived on my own. I am sorry for who I've been and what I have done and I want to permanently change. I receive your gift of forgiveness for my sins.

To believe is to affirm for ourselves the reality that Jesus is the Son of God, the One who died for our sins, and to receive him as our Savior and Lord. This is emphatically promised in John's gospel: "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

Begin Now

Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your savior? If you would, you can pray a prayer to God like this:

Jesus, I need you. I repent for the life I've lived apart from you. Thank you for dying on the cross to take the penalty for my sins. I believe you are God's Son and I now receive you as my Lord and Savior. I commit my life to follow you.

Did you pray this prayer?

Yes

or

I still have questions.