Celebrating a Good Day

This past Sunday we celebrated baptism as a church. It was a good day. Eight different individuals were baptized including two of my own sons. It was a good day. Here are some thoughts on why baptism matters and what has to happen next.

Baptism Message 9-12-21 

This is a good day. Even setting all of my incredibly proud dad feelings aside, today is a good day. Today we are celebrating the growth of the kingdom of God in as direct and practical a way as we possibly can. Today we have baptized eight individuals in obedience to our Lord’s command. Now, different faith traditions believe different things about baptism. I’ve talked with you before about what we as Baptists believe, but let’s just refresh that for all of our sakes. 

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 2:21-22

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever seen somebody be insulted without realizing they were being insulted? Jon Stewart, former host of Comedy Central’s popular series, “The Daily Show,” was well-known for doing this. He would send out “reporters” to do interviews with unsuspecting individuals which were then edited to make them look stupid at best. Well, Jesus wasn’t doing that here, but He was making an observation about some folks that wasn’t exactly complimentary. In doing so, though, He offers us a good reminder to not fall into the same trap they had. Let’s talk about it.

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Planting Seeds

God designed you to grow. And, when you’re growing like you should, you’ll be producing seeds that can be planted in other people that will affect the way they see and interact with and think about the world around them. The question is: Are these Gospel seeds, or are they seeds for something less savory. As a community, God designed us to be a place where people grow in Christ. Read on to see what this means for us, what it can mean for you, and what we should to about it.

Planting Seeds

I don’t have any corn growing in my front yard.  You can drive by my house any day of the week, any time of the day, and you won’t ever see any there.  It’s the weirdest thing.  It just isn’t there.  I like corn.  I love eating it.  I love it when we buy a whole bunch at the store, strip it off the cob, freeze it, and pull it out months later to enjoy.  Lisa is a wizard with those goodie freezer bags.  But there just isn’t any in my front yard.  There aren’t any green beans either.  That’s really too bad too, because it’s the one vegetable we’ve managed to be able to get all three boys to eat without much in the way of complaint.  I can’t tell you how convenient it would be to simply go out the front door and pick what we need rather than having to go to the store all the time for them.  Alas, though, the yard is bereft of beans.  And greens.  Now, I’m not much of one for greens myself, but Lisa likes cabbage.  You won’t find the first leaf of it in my front yard. 

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Growing Stronger

This past Sunday as we continued our conversation about who God made us to be as a church, the next key element of our identity is growth.  Keep reading to see how growing people has always been a part of God’s approach to humanity and how it is, could be, and should be fleshed out in our community.  Thanks for reading.

Growing Stronger

Growth is natural.  As it was nearing the first summer Lisa and I spent in Virginia, we decided we wanted to plant a garden.  Neither of us really had any idea what we were doing.  We got some help and advice from folks in the church who were themselves avid gardeners, but much beyond help with the plowing of a 30 by 60 plot in our backyard, we pretty much did all the work ourselves.  We planted way too much.  We wound up spending almost every evening and Saturday morning pulling weeds and picking produce (and trying desperately to give away the hundreds of squash and zucchini and cucumbers we had).  We canned more green beans than would fit in our meager pantry.  But, by the time it was all said and done, we had successfully grown a pretty nice garden.  Here’s the funny part, though, and if you’re a gardener you know this to be true: The work we did had almost no impact on the actual growth of the garden.  Sure, by pruning and pulling weeds and spraying for bugs and watering when it got dry we might have extended the life of the plants and increased the size of the harvest, but there was not a single thing we did to cause the garden to grow save putting the seeds in the ground.  Once they were in the ground and covered with dirt, the rest happened all on its own.  Again: growth is natural. Read the rest…