Baptisms, Faith, and Why You Need Others in Your Life

445128_29914509This Sunday was a beautiful Sunday, because it was baptism Sunday. There is something beautiful, special, and wonderful about joining with others as they commit to following Jesus publicly. There is something so moving about seeing and hearing people’s testimony and desire to follow Jesus.

 

And that’s what this Sunday was about.

 

But it was also about recognizing a key of faith: you can’t do it alone.

 

The only reason we had baptisms is because people invested in others. Is because people realized they can’t do faith on their own, and had others join their journey.

 

We often believe in our culture that it’s all about our own personal willpower, drive, and strength that leads to success. But not only isn’t that true, it’s one of the most damaging lies in our world. The truth is we are only as strong as those who are journeying with us.

 

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. And that is true.

 

And so on Sunday we looked at how we need each other. But we ended with a very personal but important question: who are you journeying with? Who is close enough to you to support, care, and miss you when you drift? Who knows your struggles and your strengths? Who are you journeying with, and who is journeying with you?

 

This question isn’t a light one, but a crucial one to our faith. If we want to not only start well in life, but finish well in life – we need one another.

 

So we gave a challenge on Sunday. That if you can’t think of someone who is journeying with you, to invite someone in. Ask for a mentor, find a spiritual guide, don’t go it alone – but go together.

 

So that was our challenge on Sunday, and it’s a personal one, but it’s a needed one. Because we all need someone.

 

 

 

Sermon Notes:

 

Big Idea: Journey with others

Teaching Points:

  • It’s not starting that’s hard, it’s finishing.
  • We think succeeding is about us, and our willpower. It’s actually about others, and who is journeying with us.
  • We need others to care for us, support us, and miss us when we start to drift.
  • We simply can’t do this thing called Christianity alone.
  • The friends you have will often determine the quality and direction of your life.
  • To think of one person you can invite to walk with you this year.

 

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What were your first impressions to the topic for today? Does it seem to you that growing older does limit your future? How would you answer the question “Who are you trusting to guarantee your future?” What do you believe your future looks like right now? What does your future look like with God involved? What does he want to do in your future?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today talk with your kids about their futures. Ask them what they want to do, and who they want to be. Today learn from your kids. Sense the enthusiasm, the belief, the sense of excitement and possibility. Learn from them, and seek to bring that into your relationship with God today.

 

Challenge for the Week: To think of one person you can invite to walk with you this year.

Baptisms and Walking with Others

772301_79279389This Sunday we are having Baptisms to end our series on “Finding a Fresh Start”. Could there be any better way to end talking about finding a fresh start, than seeing baptisms? That’s what they are all about – starting fresh. Saying I want to follow you Jesus, going down into the waters, and coming out confirmed in Christ’s death and resurrection.

It’s a beautiful thing.

 

But something we will learn this Sunday is this too, it is not an individual thing. Baptisms are a corporate thing, body-thing, community thing.

 

And while this distinction might seem small it isn’t. It is crucial and important. Because the truth is that while we can find a fresh start on our own, we can’t keep a fresh start going on our own. We need others investing and involved in our lives. Faith is a communal journey, not an individual journey.

 

So on Sunday as we see people take a next step, and see a fresh start we are also going to be reflecting on this question: “whom are we journeying with”? Because faith is passed on through others, sustained with others, and developed with others. So who are the others in your life?

 

That’s our question for Sunday, and it’s a good question for today too.

Cliched or Not it’s True : We All Need Each Other

1103018_28726094This week at church we are going to look at a clichéd statement that is absolutely true. We are going to look at this statement, “We need each other”.

Unfortunately this is something that is said all over the place. It’s said in companies, in advertising, in banks, in schools, in communities, and it’s applied to almost every situation. I’m not bemoaning that fact but sometimes when something becomes ubiquitous it also becomes meaningless.

Well come Sunday we want to restore some of the depth to that statement, “We need each other”. Because the truth is that statement is incredibly Biblical. There are over 50 references to “one another” statements in the Bible. Statements that direct us to the fact that we need each other, that we need one another, that we cannot get through life alone.

And this is so true, and obvious, but it is something we often fail to actually live out. So often when we are in difficulty and we do need others, it’s the time we shut others out. So often we get so busy that our commitment to “each other” is to pray for them when we happen to think of it; rather than deeply committing to another person and to journey with them.

So that’s what we are looking at on Sunday, the story of Ruth, and the power of journeying with someone.

But before we get there why not spend some time reflecting. Who has journeyed in your life that changed you? Who committed to you and changed you because of that commitment? Why not thank them, and then ask God this radical question that we will explore on Sunday: who should you be committing to?

Learning to Care for Each Other

Last Sunday was a worthwhile, but also a heavy Sunday. In our church family there is a family going through some real health challenges. But what struck me on Sunday wasn’t the challenges, but the connections. I saw people hug them, pray with them, share tears, and share hope with them. This is what church is to be – a body that cares for one another.

Surprisingly enough that was the focus of  Sunday’s service. That while the church is sent out; it is sent out together as a community of love. If we can’t learn to love each other within the church, we won’t be able to practically show love to those outside the church. So what I saw on Sunday was people practicing love. That was beautiful, even in the midst of difficulty.

Someone shared with me afterwards that what made them choose to part of this family at Plattsville was how people were honest, real, and cared for one another. What they might not have  known is they were actually quoting Jesus. Jesus says that the way we love each other will prove to the world that we follow Jesus (John 13:35).

So today and this week – make a practice – of practicing love. Put love into action and show it. Because love is meant to be shown. Here are a few practical ways from Scripture:

  • “Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
    • Who do you need to stop judging?
  • “Carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)
    • Who has a burden that you can help carry? What can you practically do?
  • “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
    • Who do you need to forgive today?
  • “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13)
    • Who can you encourage today? What can you say to them to build them up?
  • “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7)
    • Who should you accept today?

Which ones are easiest for you to practice? Which ones are hardest? Which one resonates most with you today? Which one can you put into practice today?

Because as you put it into practice you might be not only helping someone, but proving God’s love for them…

A Community of “One Another’s”

This week at church we are going to do something different. Different but deep.

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about how the church is to make disciples. That we make disciples through blessing, which literally means to give life to someone. And we also learned that we are sent to those in our Jerusalem’s, Judea’s, and Samaria’s. This is all true. The church is to make disciples, is to bless, and is sent.

This Sunday though we want to focus in on one last aspect of “being the church”. That’s being a body that loves one another.

Each week we gather to be re-sent out into our next week. But we also gather to care for one another. And this week we are going to do that in a practical and meaningful way. We are going to gather around communion tables, share blessing, share life, and pray with one another. We are going to support one another, because this journey of faith is not meant to be lived alone. Life is better together. And the church is at its best when it is active, moving, making disciples, and blessing people together. So this week the focus is on being together, healing one another, supporting one another, and loving one another.

A church that doesn’t reach out, isn’t a church. Yet it is equally true that a church that doesn’t love one another, also isn’t a church.

We are called to gather and to go. So on this Sunday we are going to gather to care.

The question is what do you need, care and support in? How can we help you? What can we do to love and care for one another?

Important questions…so let us know…because we are all in this together…