I was visiting with a young woman with whom I had lost contact with for several years.  

As we caught up about her family, work and faith she said, "I'm a pagan."  

It surprised me. I never had anyone tell me that before.  

After our conversation, I asked myself, "What does it mean when she calls herself a pagan?"

According to the Pagan Federation, it is "a follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion." In simple terms, it is someone who believes in many gods and goddesses and deification of nature.  The religion has a number of distinctions such as nature worship, rituals, spells, magic and exploring the supernatural.          

In October, pagans celebrate one of their most sacred events -- Samhain.  

When Americans are trick-or-treating on Halloween, pagans worldwide will be honoring their ancestors through various rituals believing the supernatural veil that divides this world and the next can be crossed.  

Many experts say paganism has grown from a few thousand to upwards of 1 million since 1990.  Books, television shows, movies such as the Harry Potter series and the Internet have helped expand paganism among women and our youth.                  

The religion reveals a spiritual searching that has been common to the human race for centuries.  

Many have traveled the path of paganism seeking rest for their soul through the supernatural only to find emptiness at each turn.          

Only Jesus can satisfy the longing of the soul.  When he gave his life as a sacrifice on a cross then rose again from the dead a few days later, he ended the need for a man-made system of spiritual rituals.  

Once a pagan jailer was in a desperate place when he pleaded, "What must I do to be saved?"

That question was followed by a simple answer: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31  

No longer do we need to bear the burden of trying to do or say the right thing to find rest for our soul.  We just need simple faith combined with surrender wholly to Christ.  

We need to yield our allegiance to him, who is Lord of all creation.  If you do, his gift of rest for the soul and adjoining mission of service will be yours.  

Discover his gift, and may Jesus be your hope for today.      

Clint Decker is president and evangelist with Clay Center-based Great Awakenings Inc. cdecker@greatawakenings.org