The Uncomfortable Church

All right. Good morning again. Keep doing this.

So today we’re going to kind of revisit the idea of comfort. And today our class is called the Uncomfortable Church. And really, this kind of hit home because I am an uncomfortable person.

I spend most of my life uncomfortable.

Now, I used to be more uncomfortable. I used to not fit in my clothes. Now I fit in my clothes.

I’m still uncomfortable.

I’m fidgety, and I’ve shared this. I mean, I’m moving around. I get in trouble. My wife does not like it. I get elbowed all the time. It’s embarrassing to hang out with me.

But that’s all right. But it’s not all bad. One of the things that I appreciate about living outside of the United States. For almost 15 years is the fact that every day of those 15 years, I was uncomfortable because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t look like the people around me. I didn’t sound like the people around me. I had a target on my back all the time because even though I was a missionary and if they would have seen my bank account, they probably would have deposited money into it. I was a Gringo, so I was a target. And so I had been assaulted at gunpoint, at knifepoint. I was assaulted at gunpoint one time with a bump and run in a car that was as old as Moses.

But it’s one of those things that it was like, this is kind of where you’re at. Every day, my life reminded me that I didn’t fit in. And I don’t know about you. Maybe you are uncomfortable. Maybe you are uncomfortable in social situations because you feel like you don’t fit in. And a lot of credit or a lot of time is spent on trying to fit in. I mean, Instagram is an entire platform on people trying to make their lives look perfect. And that’s one of the things I love about meeting in a cafetorium where we have to set up and half the time, things don’t want to work because we are far from perfect. This is an imperfect place for imperfect people to worship a perfect God. So this is all good things. But how does the idol of comfort undermine the mission of the Church?

Because we are here for a purpose right?

And I don’t know about you, but a lot of times the desire to get comfortable gets in the way.

And I know we’ve had a very. Difficult, I don’t know, week, year, month, decade. Life is hard. My heart is breaking.

I can’t watch the news. It feels physically impossible to watch the news because your heart breaks for everything you see. But a lot of times we get caught up into the I’m going to make a difference. I’m so fed up with the way. And we get on social media and we talk about what needs to change, as if we are surprised that there is violence and war and crisis and housing crisis and economy crisis. There’s race issues, there’s social issues, there’s justice issues, as if this is something new. See, I think Church, we forget that we live in a fallen world. I think we forget that the normal status for the world is crisis, chaos. And God has come through Jesus to allow us to offer relief. But so many times we get caught up in all the wrong things. I don’t like what I see. And so instead of offering Jesus, I offer my opinion.

I’ve given up giving opinions on social media.

They’re useless.

You know what? We can give a solution.

You and I have a solution for the crisis the world is going through, whatever that is. We have a solution for school shooting. We have solution for gang violence. We have a solution for social injustice. You and I have the solution. It’s in this room, but we get sidetracked because we’re uncomfortable with the fact that we’re living in crisis. You name your crisis and your crisis is going to be different than the person sitting next to you.

I guarantee you it doesn’t matter. We are not experiencing the exact same thing. And what affects you does not affect the person next to you. And what affects them does not affect you. Praise God. Somebody can help us. John 16, verse 33.

Says, I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.

So I want to take your goggles off and remind you it is not surprising, whatever you see that’s happening. It is not surprising that there is trouble in this world. There is not surprising that there are problems around us.

So as Christians, as disciples of Christ, as the light of the world, as living water to the community we live in, we have to decide that we’re not going to be surprised by the evil that’s around us. That doesn’t mean that we’re not hurt by it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t sympathize with it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize it, but we can’t be surprised by it.

Jesus said, you will have trouble in this world. So if you are looking for a comfortable place to be, you’re in the wrong place. Elon Musk is probably I mean, there’s trouble in the world, he wants to get off the world, go somewhere else.

But Jesus says there’s going to be trouble now. Trouble, God always saw opportunity.

Because what happens when you’re in a low spot? You tend to look for answers. I’m grateful. During the pandemic, several of us were able to, through the American Association of Christian Counselors, take a mental health coaching first responders class. A few of us went on to do master’s certifications in that. Orlando has actually started a mental health coaching Ministry.

And we have about 20 active coaches that are actually spending time with people.

Not only in our congregation, not only in our city, Christians and non-christians, but it’s reached churches all across the United States.

There have been people who have contacted because they’re dealing with suicidal thoughts, they’re dealing with major life crises. And thanks to this partnership, we have a Ministry that is prepared.

And if you are going through a hard time, I would like to encourage you to go to our website and you can actually go to and you can look up mental health coaching. And there it is. And you can actually sign up right there to have coaching sessions.

But the American Association of Christian Counselors is actually coming this Thursday and Friday to interview and film a documentary of our mental health coaching Ministry, which is amazing because we did not have any idea what we were doing. Eddie and Lepatic Francis, an elder in the church and Lepatic, is a licensed clinical social worker.

And they reached out to the American Association of Christian Counselors. We had 60 people sign up for the course, and some are still doing it, but we’ve had 30 people graduate the course so far, which that impressed the American Association of Christian Counselors.

They’re like, how did you get 10% of your Church to do this?

And then they’re like, and how did you get half of those people to graduate? And so we’re emailing them and we’re talking them. And how do we launch this as a Ministry?

And they’re like, we don’t know. We haven’t done that yet. But your brothers and sisters, we figured it out.

And so they called us and they said, hey, we like to interview your church and figure out what you’re doing.

It’s amazing to see that major organizations recognize the work of a few people that say, let’s put our head together and figure it out. We know people are hurting. We know there’s a need. What can we do?

And I share this because a year and a half ago, two years ago, when this conversation about mental health coaching started, everyone was like, sounds great. What do we do?

That’s kind of every Church project. I get uncountable emails and text messages telling me all the things the Church should do. Great. One guy over here. You know what we can do? Do something. And that usually is okay, we should do that. That’s great. Could you look into that, please?

That’s an uncomfortable conversation. I tell you, if you come to me and tell me you know what the church should be doing, that will be an uncomfortable conversation for you.

Because you just added something to your to do list. But how do we do that? How do we get people who are volunteers to do things that they don’t have time or money to do?

If you figure it out, that’s my job. So I got to let me know.

How do we motivate? I mean, JJ has got to figure out. If he gives you a T shirt, he’ll get you do all kinds of crazy stuff for a T shirt.

Speaking of JJ, Today well, it’s Memorial Day weekend, and I thought, you know, there’s probably no better organization, worldly organization, getting people to do things that they should not want to do than the armed forces. And if you served in the armed forces, we recognize you and thank you for your service.

If you guys would stand up, I know we have, thank you for your service to Our country.

I look at and I said, I wish we had the structure. No, we’re not going there. But the efficiency, some people, you value the efficiency, get things done right? Some people say we never get anything done. It’s like, yes, but you don’t want to go there. Maybe you do. But one of my best friends in Chicago, he is a retired Marine and I asked him one time, his name is Estaban Delgado. And I said, how did the Marines get you to do things that you should not want to do?

He had two responses that were pretty clear and made me think. One was, they teach you that the mission is greater than yourself.

So he said, I would run to the front because I know that what we’Re doing is more important than my life.

So even though I value my life, I value the mission more than I value my own life. And he said, the second thing is I was taught to just do my job.

Those are two things we can learn. I don’t think we need all the top down structure, but I do think we need to learn those two things.

Because I think we do have a mission that’s greater than ourselves. But selfishness and comfort are the enemies of the mission. When I start thinking, I just don’t really want to do that.

And you can name what that is for some people that showing up on a Sunday. I don’t want to do that.

I got something better to do, really. Maybe you need to redefine what better is. See, the problem is if I’m at that spot, my mission is not that great. I’m not that excited about what I’m trying to accomplish. So Church, I want to challenge us to take some time to re envision our mission. What are we truly trying to accomplish? Am I just trying to make my neighbors think I got it all together?

I mean, sadly, that is a lot of the goal for a lot of Christianity. I just want everyone to think my life is together. I just don’t want to look that crazy. I don’t want to be the religious nut, but at the same time, I want things to go, okay.

And then what is your job? What is my job? I love this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Says, Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. I don’t know what your life’s work is, but I know you should do your best. But sometimes we get into trouble. Bill Belichick is famous to saying, do your job. Now, it could be seen a couple of different ways, but what Paul says here is I planted the seed, Apollo’s watered it, but God has been making it grow.

So Church, we need to learn to do our job. Paul didn’t do Apollo’s job, and Paul and Apollo did not do God’s job. See, our job as Christians is simply to plant and water.

That’s all we’re responsible for. God makes it grow. I had a really good conversation with a brother this past Wednesday. Who was in a very difficult headspace because he had put on himself things that were not his job, things that he can’t control. And I think that’s what happened to a lot of us. We think, oh, I gotta be fruitful for God. I have to be productive. Well, your productivity is not in your hand. It’s in God’s. Now we are responsible for doing the things that will allow God to work through those.

My grandparents, my great grandparents, my great grandparents were all farmers. And every summer I had the privilege to go and work on the farm.

If you have never worked on a farm, I would encourage you to just do that for a minute. Farmers are the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and they’re not nice about it either. But one thing I know is that my grandfather never expected to harvest something he didn’t plant. Why is the Church not growing? Well, have we shared our faith? Who do you talk to about what God is doing in your life?

And I think what happens is we’re not that excited about what God’s doing our life because we have crisis.

And we think that if God were in our lives, we’d have no crisis. And because we have crisis, God is not present. But if we read our Bible, God was always present, especially in the crisis.

Not especially in the crisis. He was present all the time.

But you see him doing more work in the crisis because we have to throw our hands up and say, I can’t do this. I can only do what is required of me. Sometimes we think our job is that of the Holy Spirit.

Let me do the Holy Spirit’s job. John 16, verse eight. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. And we think, oh, it is my job to convict others about where they’re at with God. Actually, that’s not true.

It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict others about sin and righteousness and judgment. It’s the Holy Spirit job, not my discipleship partner’s job, not my mentor’s job, not my preacher’s job to convict myself. Personally, to be convicted by the Holy Spirit about sin and righteousness and judgment.

But sometimes we take it upon ourselves to do the Holy Spirit’s work, and we get upset when people do not have the right conviction. Has anyone ever gotten frustrated and given up on a person? You know why? Isn’t your job.

Your job is to continually present the person to God. Your job is to continually bring the scripture forth. Your job is to give opportunities to work the soil so that the Holy Spirit will actually convict the person about wrong.

But we get frustrated. And I don’t know about you, but frustration. Frustration leads me to bad places.

I become an unbearable person. I also become introverted when I’m frustrated.

I think one of the things that happens is a lot of us just kind of give up, and that’s what and we have plateaus. Have you ever experienced the spiritual Plateau? Oh, I’m just not growing. I might as well just give up. Well, that makes sense.

It’s bad. Let me just stop trying so it gets worse. That’s what we do. We have plateaus. So I’ve shared a little bit about my health journey. I tried to get healthy about seven or eight years ago. I was pretty sick of where I was. And I don’t know, Wendy thought would tell me I was running too much because I would go every day and run about five to 7 miles. I would run half marathons. It was winter in Chicago. I would stop running. And then it was kind of cool because the steam would just come off of you. I said it was called the Angry Bench. That’s where people went to go cool off outside in our yard. It was just kind of one of those park benches. And so that was the Angry bench. It was famous in our neighborhood.

So I would sit on the Angry Bench and just watch the steam come off of my body.

I would run 20 to 30 miles a week, count every calorie I had, and could never get below 225 lbs.

You know what I did? I stopped trying. You know what happened? I made it to 265 lbs.

We do the same thing spiritually. Oh, this is hard. I can’t do it. I’m not going to do it and then it gets harder and worse. Because we stopped doing our job. That’s a sad situation. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. We get stuck and we have to figure out how to get unstuck. If you feel like you’re not growing in your faith, that’s okay. I love Paul because Paul says it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. When he writes, Timothy, let everyone see how you’re progressing in your faith. He says nothing about being perfect in your faith. It’s just one foot in front of the other.

But this guy’s never going to get right side up by himself. And that’s why we talk about Cypress. That’s why we talk about Covenant relationships. That’s why we talk about mentorship, because we can’t do it on our own.

But how many of us are by nature lone Rangers. I am naturally an independent person.

I kind of like the way I do things. Pretty sure I know the best way to do it almost all the time. And I’m right almost none of the time. Love you too, baby. It ain’t easy, but we’re doing it. Philippians three, verses 13 and 14, brothers and sisters. I don’t consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. You know, when we were taking the mental health coaching course, one of the things that one of the things we spent a lot of time on was defining the role of a mental health coach.

And one thing was things that are important is to put limitations on what you can and cannot do, because as a coach, you are not a licensed professional, so you cannot do certain things.

And one of the professors said it this way. The difference between coaching and counseling is coaching is future focused. Counseling is past focused.

I think Paul was a pretty good coach. He’s like forgetting what’s behind. I don’t know about your yesterday, except for the fact I know you can’t change it. You cannot change what happened to you yesterday. Now, I’m not discounting the need for counseling in situations, but that being said, you cannot change what happened. You can change how you process it. You can change how you deal with it, but you can’t change what happened. There’s a lot of Christians that live in the past regretting the things that happened. I appreciate that Paul didn’t.

Paul had trauma in his life. First of all, he murdered people. I think there’s trauma there. He was a violent man. Even once he was a Christian he was an impulsive man.

I mean, do you remember in Acts? They’re walking around and this demon possessed woman starts shouting behind them. These are the men. These are prophets of the most high God. And she’s telling the truth, but she’s annoying the heck out of him. And he basically just turns around, would you be quiet? And then cast the demon out. Like can’t deal with you.

She was telling the truth. And then he ticked off the owners because that’s how they made money. It was a mess.

His friends abandoned him. His brothers on all sides wanted to kill him. He was shipwrecked. I mean, he had a lot going on.

Crisis after crisis after crisis. It doesn’t matter where I’m at today. What is gone is gone. But I can forget that and strain towards what is ahead. What’s ahead for us? What’s ahead for us individually, what’s ahead of us as a Church? I want to encourage us to really catch a vision. I know we have a vision conference, so maybe we feel like that word is a little overused right now since the conference has gone on and on and on. But do we have a vision? Vision for what God can do in our lives? Do we have a vision for what God can do within our Church? Do we have a vision for what God can do within our community? We should probably dream about those things and we should probably continue to press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ. I think sometimes we get sidetracked. I don’t know. I get sidetracked. I’m pretty sure I have ADHD because I will start a project and then 3 seconds later, you know what? This looks good too.

I will start reading a book and as I’m reading the introduction, go and find another book. That is not healthy, but that’s the way my brain works. I need brothers and sisters that will help me to press onward.

You need brothers and sisters that will help you press onward. We need to get a vision.

We have a vision statement. We’re going to be living water for Central Florida.

What does that even mean? Where do you live? What’s your neighborhood? Do you know your neighbors? I annoy my neighbors. Every time I see them, I make them talk to me. Sometimes I’ll go take the trash out and Wendy will call me, where are you at?

Brian was outside. Talked to Brian. We have to continue to press forward. So if you’re stuck, maybe you’re like the little tortoise. You need somebody to give you a hand. I love tortoises. They’re as slow as I’ll get out. I can relate. They need lots of help.

They get in a bind, they are the most useless animal. I know, PETA is going to come in. I’m going to get in trouble. It’s bad.

We got to go to the beach and help them because they got problems. I can relate.

I like it. Today my challenge is get a vision for what God wants to do in your life and be willing to be uncomfortable so that you can get past any Plateau you’re in.

And if you’re visiting us and you’re like, what in the world are you talking about? Why don’t you come and study the Bible?

Because I think what we have learned is that it’s not about the really cool concert experience. It’s about building community of faith and having people that you can count on. I love we were at Steve Eaton’s birthday party last night and we were talking to Pam. And one of the things that she said that was really great to Wendy, she’s like, you know, we love how Nathan and Holly’s girls love you guys. You’re like extra grandparents to them. Okay, I have to grow the beard out. But it’s like we are family and that’s great. I mean, I love Bill and Laura. They are parents to me. I lived in their home. When I was a teenager, I had no idea what was going on in my life.

I was 20, I had no idea what was going on. But those are relationships that are provided. What I want to encourage us to is are you willing to get uncomfortable? Are you willing to do the things that take you out out of your comfort zone and move you towards the vision that God has for you, for your family and for his Church? God bless.

Living Water – Washed in the Water of the Word

So we’re going to continue in our Living Water series. And today our main scripture is in Titus chapter three. And we’re going to try to unpack a little bit about that. But we’re also going to spend little bit of time at the Last Supper because I think this is kind of a really cool type.

And if you understand, we see Jesus showing us something through the Last Supper that isn’t necessarily obvious, but it really comes into flesh out what we’re talking about. And we’ve been talking about living water, and we’ve talked about the importance of being the hope of the city we live in. But part of that is we need to wash ourselves first. In order to be useful, we have to be clean. We have to be prepared.

And I’m glad you’re here today. I pray that this is helpful to you. The study was very helpful to me, but I want to open up in Titus chapter three, verses four through seven.

But it says For when the goodness and loving kindness of God, our Savior appeared, he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior. So that being justified by His Grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Today we worship God, and this is a worship service. And we talked a little bit about that a couple of weeks ago. We are actually here to worship God.

I love the fact that we can study the Bible. I love the fact that we can bring practical use to the word of God. But truly our reason to be here is to worship God. And we do that because of his loving kindness. We do that because he saw in us something that we don’t necessarily see in ourselves.

We do that because he gives us hope when we’re hopeless.

It says we’re not deserving of this Grace because it’s not something that we’ve earned. It’s not something that we can work for. It’s not something that we can attain through our own efforts, but it’s through his mercy. And it’s God in his mercy has washed us by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. And that’s really what we’re here to celebrate.

God washed us so that he could make us useful. God cleansed us. If you go to Ephesians five, and we don’t have time to unpack that scripture as well, but we use it in marriage counseling all the time. And I love that Paul at the end of Ephesians Five, he says, well, I’m talking about marriage, but really talking about Christ in the Church. And when he talks about the husbands, he says, Christ washed the wife, cleansed her through the word.

And that’s what it is. Jesus cleanses us through his Word.

We experience that cleansing through baptism. When we’re baptized, God cleanses our lives. And then we also have a type of cleansing every time we come together to take Communion and we will take Communion today. In the moment we were baptized, we became his children, and then we became heirs to eternal life. Isn’t that awesome?

We become part of an incredible family. Not because we deserve it. And I don’t know about you, but there are times when I have been blessed in my life in ways that I do not deserve. And it makes me a little uncomfortable.

And I think sometimes as Christians, we get into the mode, well, we do deserve it. We’re good people. And we start getting comfortable. And I pray that we could live our lives a little uncomfortable, that the people around us, when they see us, would be a little uncomfortable.

People are uncomfortable around Jesus. And he was the most accommodating person that anyone had ever met. He had loved like no one else. But they just didn’t really want to be around him. They wanted to be around him, but they really didn’t want to be around him.

He just didn’t know what he was going to say, what he was going to do, or how he was going to challenge you. Wouldn’t it be cool to be salty like that?

Wouldn’t it be cool? I don’t know what’s coming out of this guy’s mouth. I don’t know what the challenge is going to be. That was Jesus.

Paul encourages Titus to be ready for every good work. Now I ask us, Church, are we ready for every good work? Sometimes we are a little reluctant to serve. Have you ever felt that? Kind of hoping I don’t get tapped on the shoulder that nobody asks me to do something? I’ve been there.

But the Church needs to be ready for every good work. Look what it says in Titus three, verses one through three. It says, remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish disobedient, led astray slaves, the various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. We could end the sermon right there.

Paul is a reminder of how to live. And I think that’s a good reminder for us, because I think in today’s day and age, it’s easy to forget these things. It’s easy to just become as jaded and ornery as everyone else.

You know what happens when you’re just like everyone else? Everyone’s comfortable around you. And remember, people weren’t comfortable around Jesus. They shouldn’t be comfortable around Christ followers. They shouldn’t be comfortable around his disciples.

But when we’re just like everyone else, we’re dismissed just like everyone else. So I’d ask us to reflect on our own lives. How submissive are we to authority in our life. Do we buck it? Do we fight against it?

How obedient are we? Facebook fans, do we speak evil of no one and avoid quarreling?

Are we gentle?

Do people see us as gentle? Not weak. Gentle?

We studied it out a couple of years ago. But the idea of meekness isn’t one of weakness, it’s an idea of domestication the wild animal. All of the things that voice in my head, everything that I want to say, I process and take captive and present it through Christ. But do we actually do that or are we just without filter?

Because it’s easy to say, Well, I’m just being honest.

God wants us to be honest, right? Would you rather me lie? Paul says take every thought captive and submit it to Christ. So if your honesty is not Christlike, you need to dominate it, you need to change it. You need to make it submissive to God.

And I love what he says and I love how the ESV translates it. Show perfect courtesy. Those of you who drive on I four. Show perfect courtesy toward all people. I read a book a couple of months ago now, but called Unoffendable. It was a great book.

I highly recommend it. But he said some things. It was one of those books that it’s a really quick and easy read, but a very difficult process because in one of the chapters they’re like, well why don’t you just take the slow line just because. I don’t know, you ever get to the grocery store and you start sizing up the lines?

Do you get upset when your line that you thought was going to be faster is now slower?

Did you ever have any choice thoughts for the person in front of you that has 7 million coupons? I was in Publix one time. I saw a woman go away with three baskets of food and $20. I mean, I stuck around because I’d never seen anything so amazing in my life. Her cart started like $700 and she left and they gave her money.

I’m like, I didn’t think that was true. I thought that was just something that people on TV said. I actually saw a person do it. I’m like, I came home, I said, Wendy, we’re going to coupon.

Then I realized this is hard work. It’s like a full time job. We no longer coupon.

But Paul reminds them this is how God expects us to live. And then he reminded them of how they used to live. Foolish, disobedient, lead astray, slaves to their passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy. Hated by others and hating one another.

My prayer is that we actually are people that used to live that way. My fear is that we may still live this way and we’ll never be the Church we need to be if we do not repent until we are people ready for good works. And you know what angry people aren’t ready to do good.

People who are steeped in their passions and pleasures. They’re not ready to do good. If our life is about ourselves, if selfishness is my God, then I’m not ready to be what God needs me to be. If I’m foolish, if I’m hurtful, if I’m angry, I can’t be the fountain of water, of living water that God wants me to be, and neither can you. So a lot of times we think, oh, I have flaws. That’s fine.

We all have flaws. I have one or two maybe. I haven’t seen them. But Wendy might know. Jesus purified us so that we might be living water for central Florida. He redeemed us.

He made us his possession so that we might be zealous in continuing his work. But I ask, are you zealous to continue Jesus work today?

Those are those points in a sermon you go amen. And everyone says Amen.

But then we get upset if they don’t sing the song that I like or they sing the song that I don’t like. I’ve been that person. I mean, there is a song in Spanish that I absolutely hate. I told my song leader, you and I can’t be friends if you sing this song. It’s true.

It disturbs my spirit.

I don’t know if I have to sing this song I don’t know if I can be a Christian.

You know what? The problem is not the song. It’s me because I made Church about myself. I’m here to consume, and it’s got to be what I want, the way that I want. You know what? I’m not that important. God could take me out. Church would go right ahead. I mean, there’d be hopefully a little crying and maybe a Memorial or something, but you guys would meet next Sunday.

I’m not that important, but neither are you.

So why do we make ourselves the center of Church?

I want to spend some time going through a well known scripture, but I think there’s some word pictures that are not easily caught on. There’s a little bit of typology that is really special, really cool. And I think as we prepare for Communion, it may change the way we see some things. Open your Bibles up to John 13, verse one.

It says now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Now it’s important to understand that the end here is not a measure of time. He loved them to the end of their days, of his days. That is not what Jesus is talking about. That is not what the scripture is saying.

He is talking about extent.

He loved them with his utmost. He loved them beyond measure. He loved them completely. And I think sometimes we think that God loves us for time periods. We’re kind of finite, and we think, okay, he loves me because I’m doing well, but I blew it.

He doesn’t love me. And we get into these cycles. But the Bible says that when Jesus knew his time had come, he loved his disciples completely. I pray that you feel completely loved today.

And then during the Supper, when the devil had already put in the heart of Judas, Simon’s son, sorry God in Spanish to portray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from the Supper. Now, when I was studying this out, this was the AHA moment. What was happening here? What Supper was this? This was the Last Supper, right? And we know what the Last Supper is because we celebrate Communion every Sunday and we talk about it.

And Jesus tells his disciples, as he hands them the bread and he hands them the wine and he says, Take my body and my blood and do this when you’re together as a Memorial to me. So Jesus rose from his Memorial. So basically, he rose from his death. They were celebrating his death at this dinner, and he rose from his death. That’s an incredible resurrection picture because he’s giving them an idea.

He’s showing them what needs to happen after the resurrection. But I think sometimes we don’t get it.

So I think we have to pay attention. What did Jesus do after he rose from the Supper? Verse four says he laid aside his outer garments and, taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a Basin and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He laid his garments aside. He took his shirt off. Then he took up a towel and he girded himself. He tied it around his waist as if it were a belt. So he took his garments off and dressed himself in the garb of a servant.

But do we understand what he was doing?

We have to know that this was more than a physical act of washing. We have to know because in the next verse, Jesus explains to Peter, he came to Simon Peter and said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? Who said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? Jesus answered him, What I’m doing, you do not understand now, but afterwards you will understand. It was not clear what Jesus was doing because washing feet was something that happened every day.

Peter didn’t understand because there was a deeper meaning. He rose from the Supper. He took a towel, he girded himself. After that, he poured water into the Basin and began to wash the disciples feet, wipe them with the towel that he had put around his waist. Well, let’s think about it for a minute.

What did these guys been doing all day? They’ve been walking around Jerusalem right? Before there were paved roads and sidewalks. It was pretty nasty. And they wore sandals. I don’t know about you.

One time I wore sandals to, it was Six Flags. And I got home and my feet were so disgusting, I swore to myself, I will never wear flip flops or sandals to a theme park again. Because it took a scrub brush and a good minute to get my feet back to a state that I recognized them.

So I can’t imagine what their feet looked like. I think they were probably approaching the house, and maybe they started to think, we don’t have any slaves here. So who’s going to get to wash the feet before we go up for dinner in the house? And maybe Peter was saying, It’s not me. I was just in the amount of Transfiguration with Jesus and all the top guys. Ain’t me.

Thomas probably doubted it was him, too.

And then, as they may have been discussing that, Jesus grabbed the towel and put it around his own waist. But what was the towel?

Washing the disciples feet. Washing the disciples feet was a form of preaching. In the morning, when you expose yourself to the word of God, you’re pouring water into the Basin. You’re getting ready to wash. The water is what washes your feet. But then what does he do?

He dries their feet with a towel that he had around his waist. And the Greek word for towel is Lenty. And it really is just linen cloth. But in the Bible, linen is a picture of righteousness. Look at Isaiah eleven, verse five.

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waste and faithfulness the belt of his loin. So Jesus wrapped this linen, this belt of righteousness around him, and he’s washing the disciples feet, but he’s drying them with righteousness. So we need to wash ourselves in the water of the Word. But then we need to apply the Word, and it needs to become righteous living in our lives. And that preaches Church, that preaches when you make a stand for what is right in this world, that preaches without saying anything.

Look at Acts three, verses 19 and 20. It says, Repent, therefore, and turn back that your sins may be blotted out. That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

So a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had to postpone for the second time our men’s camping trip. Not everyone loves camping. I love camping. When I was single, I would take two weeks a year, and I would just go and hike and camp for two weeks. You know what is not common when you’re camping?

Bathing. Bathing is not common with camping.

And things like deodorant are actually not even helpful because they usually smell like things that bugs like. Flowers and stuff.

I love camping. But you know what’s awesome? When you get home? That shower.

That’s the way I look at this scripture. It’s like, man, times are refreshing. I remember. I remember coming home from camping, just a couple of days with the guys. And when he’s like, okay, go directly, put everything in a garbage bag and go directly to the bathroom.

You stink.

That’s what happens if we don’t expose ourselves to water, right? We stink.

I wonder if we’re stinky right now, how much we’re exposing our lives to water. The word.

I’ll admit there are times I’ve been a Christian. Now, on the 15th of this month, it will be 30 years. In that 30 year stretch, there have been times when I just have not felt like reading my Bible and I got stinky.

And maybe a better word is dusty. I think it works biblically. Dusty works better. They didn’t expose their feet. Their feet were dusty.

Well, if you remember Genesis, chapter three, dust is the food of the devil. The Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field on your belly, you shall go, in dust you shall eat all the days of your life. If we don’t expose ourselves to the consistent cleansing from the word of God, the devil will eat us alive.

I don’t want to be dusty, but Peter still didn’t get it. Verse eight, Peter said to him, you shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no share with me. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. You got to love Peter.

Peter was all or nothing. There was no Gray area in Peter’s life. He’s like, I’m walking on water. I’m sinking right now. He’s like, I’m going to die with you.

Jesus says, you’re going to deny me three times in the same chapter. I think sometimes we’re like that. We’re gung Ho. We’re going to save the world, but we can’t get out of bed.

He says, well, not just my feet, but also my hands and head. And then Jesus said to him, verse ten, the one who has bathed does not need to wash except his feet.

But it’s completely clean and you are clean, but not every one of you. For he knew who was to betray him. That was why he said, not all of you are clean.

It’s not a question of do we need to bathe? We bathed when we were baptized into Christ’s blood. God cleanse us. So we don’t need another bath. But Jesus says to Peter, but you do need to clean your stinky feet.

The spiritual bath was baptism.

First Peter three, verse 22 says, God’s patience waited in the days of Noah. Marshall shared the scripture last week while the Ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons were brought safely through water baptism, which corresponds to this now saves you not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with Angels, authorities and powers having been subjective subjected to him. Now we’re saved in baptism but we are constantly stepping in the mud and we need to wash our feet in the word. I don’t know about you, but I blow it all the time. Maybe you have an easier, better walk with Christ than I do.

But I blow it all the time. I tick my wife off all the time.

Sometimes not even on purpose.

No. Okay. I’ll try not to be humorous.

That didn’t work? Okay.

I was trying. But we need to wash our feet and we need to wipe them with righteousness. We need to decide to repent and live correctly before God. Verse twelve when they washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place. He said to them, do you understand what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord and you’re right for I am.

If I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I’ve given you an example that you should do just as I have done to you.

Our teacher and Lord is sending us to pronounce his gospel to those around us. Starts here. We need to wash each other. We need to confess and pray and help each other to be righteous. But it doesn’t stop here.

It doesn’t stop with the Church. From here it goes into all of central Florida and eventually into all of the world. We can be living water for central Florida if you and I decided to wash ourselves and the word of God. Right now we’re going to pray for Communion.

Who God created you to be

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads or happy Alpha Omega Day at our house, because today is my parents’ anniversary and our youngest daughter’s our youngest child’s birthday. So it was the beginning and end of both of my immediate family. So it’s Alpha Omega Day. So it’s great to be together. It’s it’s a very emotional time to to be together, um, you know, it’s great. We got back last night from youth camp and Wendy and I had the privilege of directing the youth camp.

We had an amazing time. We have absolutely amazing children. I need an extra hand. This is our camp. And that’s their cabin. That is when they weren’t sure if they wanted to be there, that that was the first day of camp. We got some we got some people that were like, I don’t know about this. They hadn’t been in the same room with with that many people with no masks for a very long time. Those kids are amazing.

And it’s just as we think through the future of our church, the future of of of our state, we have an amazing group of youth. Up, thank you a stand would be awesome. I don’t need my notes, I just need another hand. Thank you. And we wouldn’t have been able to do it in the middle there you see, Marshall said that him and I were there, but Wendy and Sean were also there and they worked at least as hard as we did.

I will tell you this. I have never been more grateful for a four o’clock service in my life. Because if service would have been at 10:00 this morning, I would not have been there. It was, everything hurts right now. Everything hurts. Things I didn’t know existed hurt. I have dodgeball injuries, I have water war injuries, thank you, LeMelle. But we had not only it was us, the Meads the Overstreets also we had an incredible Mike and Cindy, our executive director, have done a great job for many, many years.

They are the OG Morrises to camp, even though Robin is the OG Waterboy at camp this year, they are the OG Morrises, but also the Morrises 2.0. They kept your kids wet and and happy all all weekend activities. And then I didn’t have a camp picture. I had to go back to Christmas cookies to get a picture of Donna because they were just too busy to get their picture taken at camp, keeping everybody healthy. So that was that was great.

So thank you so much, parents, for sending your kids, trusting us with them. I know you enjoyed the week off, but but we’ll we’ll leave it at you trusted them with us. It was great to have your kids. Campers, thank you so much for pouring your hearts into the camp. You guys were amazing. We got some pictures there. We had actual real worship at camp. We went beyond just the kids songs and the kids were were worshiping, had actual Bible Bible study.

And to prove that, we’re going to actually go through pretty much one of our Bible classes just just to see what they they were receiving as far as spiritual spiritual meat. But thank you to all of all of you who donated your time, your money, your energy to make the past week incredible. I can speak to the youth camp side. They had me so busy I barely saw the teen campsite. I hope we get a chance to to get some of the kids from teen camp to share their experience in the next couple of weeks.

But it was just an amazing week with all the kids. Our theme at Youth Camp was camp app. Where application is everything and our theme scripture was in Matthew seven, verse twenty four, it says, therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And we talked about it. The overarching theme of camp was safety. And it was appropriate because we’ve talked a lot about safety, especially for this this year’s camp.

We talked about staying safe from covid. We we talked consistently about staying hydrated and safe from dehydration, staying safe from injury by listening. But Jesus talks about safety in Matthew seven, and he says the way to remain safe from calamity and we can read the rest of the scripture in verse twenty five says the rain came down the storm, the streams rose and the winds blew. And beat against the house, yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock, but everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house. And it fell with a great crash, you know. Jesus says that if we want to be saved from the calamities of life, we have to put his word into practice, and that’s why this year’s camp, we talked about application, but that’s also a great lesson for us, because it is easy to hear God’s word.

It is easy to read God’s word, but not practice God’s word. And we’ll watch a quick video. You know, application is everything, you know, we talk about it and it says an app can can log your exercise, but it won’t exercise for you. You know, and I shared, I was sharing, we were talking and I said, you know, I appreciate I get on Facebook and I watch Jamie Morris and and all that she does her beachbody exercises and she encourages everyone to do exercise. And I was I was at someone’s house the other day and said, yeah, I have all the beachbody beachbody stuff I have P90X. I used to watch that all the time and I never got any thinner from it. I learned all Tony Horton’s jokes, I mean, I knew the timing of everything. But I, you know, from my couch, never really got any fitter. Don’t we do the same things in the Bible sometimes?

Oh, man, I know, I know what the preacher is going to say. I saw the scripture already, James. One twenty two. I know what he’s going to say. And we start because we’re on a couch and we can talk through and we know about it, and that’s why we talked about each aspect of our life is like an application. And the kids learned about different applications. They learned about trust and they learned about confession.

They lived or learned about forgiveness and encouragement. And each day we focused on the importance of applying those things in our lives. And James says in chapter one, verse twenty two or twenty five, says, do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says, like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do. You know, james says, do not merely listen to the word. We have to do what it says. You know. I mean, when you know, I appreciate teen camp, because when when I was that age, I was a listener of the word of God.

I was a hearer of the word of God, you know, my parents sent us, they wanted us to understand God. My parents were not really churchgoers. We would go on the special days. We would go every once in a while. When we moved into a new house, we we were members of a church for a short time. But we weren’t really churchgoers, but my parents believe that we should understand God, so they would send us to any church that would come and get us.

And so as a kid, I was Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, I mean, there were there were weeks I went to church on Saturday and Sunday. I went to Pentecostal churches, I went to Catholic churches. I went to all kinds of churches. I went to youth camp several weeks of the year. But I was not a doer I had heard so so even when in college, somebody invited me to study the Bible, I thought, oh, I’m I’m standing pretty good, I know all the Bible stories you want to talk about David and Goliath, I can do that. You want to talk about. About the three kings, I can do that, I even knew their names. But it says don’t just hear the word do what it says and it says anyone who listens to word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

And I think that is one of the biggest problems we have today. It is a lack of self awareness, it’s a lack of understanding. Because we don’t really see in ourselves what others see in us, you know, the incredible thing about a mirror. Is it reflects the truth? How many people really enjoy? I mean, there are people that enjoy looking at themselves in a mirror. There are people and that’s a whole nother serman. There’s people that maybe enjoy that a little too much.

But when you look in a mirror, what you’re really looking for are your flaws, right? When I get up in the morning and I get to the mirror, I’m looking for the hairs that are now growing out of my ears like this. Because I’m in my I’m I’m going to be 50 at the at the beginning of next year. And so now hair is growing in places it’s not supposed to grow. And I’m looking in this area back here where hair no longer grows, where it should be growing.

And I look at this over here and that over there and and I’m looking for things that I want to change. My wife wishes I were looking to see if my clothes match. Today, I’m OK, but she bought this for me. That there are people who know what I’m talking about. See, I am a proud ex owner of Garanimals, I wish they made Garanimals for adults. Adult Garanimals, that that could be a thing, I’m going to be a millionaire.

Guys everywhere, oh, my life just got so much easier. But a lot of times we think, OK, what what would happen if you if you said, oh, man, I’ve really got this huge glob of something on my face, which is very possible. I was just at a camp there. There is stuff that will take weeks to get off of my body. It is. It is embedded deep into my skin. What if I saw that and did nothing about it and walked away and forgot about it and and was surprised about it every time?

And that’s what happens so many times. Have you ever been surprised when somebody calls you out on a character flaw? I don’t know why, but every every time somebody accuses me of being prideful, it surprises me. Really? Me. That can’t be me. That’s what happens when you hear the word, but you don’t do it, you immediately forget who you are. But it says whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do.

You know, I want to encourage you today that we need to look intently into our Bibles. We need to look intently, not just to discover the stories, not just so that you can have a conversation about about the battle of David and Goliath. But you can have a conversation about who you are at the, at the center most point of your being. And you can understand who you are and who God created you to be. And that we can understand that God’s word gives freedom. And we can find that freedom by practicing God’s word. Now, you might be asking, how does that have anything to do with our, with with our theme of one baptism. And I love Marshall Marshall’s a very creative person, and so we’re sitting at camp. Knee high in children, he says, you know what? What we should do is we should. We should mesh camp with one baptism.

And immediately, I said, yeah, we can do that. Then I got home. And wanted to pass out and I got up some time, that was still morning this morning when I got up, but it was not as early. I’m a morning person. I was not a morning person this morning. I got up and I’m like, OK, how am I going to do that? I told Marshall I’d do it, so I got to thinking and one of the one of my favorite things we did at camp this week, and I promise I won’t make you do it, but I’m going to share a little bit.

One of my favorite things is we brought back one of my favorite parts of camp. It’s the silly camp song. Have you have you guys ever heard a boom chicka boom? I might make you sing it. No, I’m not gonna make you sing it. But it goes a boom, chicka boom, and then everyone else yells back. I said a boom chicka boom. I said, up, boom, chick, rocka chicka rocka chick, a boom.

Oh, yeah. One more time. Janitor style. I said a broom sweep, a broom. I said a broom sweep a broom. I said a broom sweep, mop a, sweep, mop, sweep a broom. OK, so you get the idea. So. I got a boom chicka boom into a church service, that’s amazing. So I thought, OK, what we could do is we could we could do one baptism app style.

And I OK, what would what would one baptism be, app style? And wow, you know what, there is a great story in the Bible. About baptism. And it’s in the Old Testament, which makes it even cooler because there was really not baptism in the Old Testament. But let’s open our Bibles up to Second Kings, Chapter one. And you guys may or may not know this story, if you have been hearers of the word, you may know this.

We’ll see what the application of this is. But it says in verse one is a Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Namans wife.

She said to her mistress, If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his leprosy. Naaman and went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. By all means, go. The King of Aram replied. I will send a letter to the King of Israel. So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter they took to the King of Israel read with this letter.

I am sending you my servant servant Naaman, to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy. As soon as the King of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, Am I God, can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send me someone, send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy, see how he’s trying to pick a quarrel with me? When Elijah the man of God heard that the King of Israel had torn his robes he sent this message, Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, Go wash yourself. And said, I thought that you would surely come out to me and stand and call in the name of the Lord His God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy

Are not abana In far, far the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel. Can I wash in them and be cleansed? So he turned and went off in rage. Naaman servant went to him and said Servants’ went to him and said, My father of the prophet had told you to do some great thing. Would you not have done it? How much more than when he tells you wash and be cleansed? So he will. So we went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times as the man of God told him, and his flesh was restored and he became clean. He became clean like that of a young boy. You know, Naaman is actually a type of baptism. Baptism is the anti type of. Of of Naaman’s story. It’s it’s a future it’s it’s a future deeper meaning of what happened. And and I love this story because because I am Naaman. At my heart of hearts, I am Naaman I’ve always got a better plan, if you don’t believe me, ask my wife. It’s ninety nine percent of our arguments.

Wendy asks me to do something and I say, sure, I’ll do it my way. Me, me and Sinatra, we got that going for us. You know, because I’ve always got a different way, and that was Naaman he’s like, he went and he asked for something, he needed help, he had a problem. And he went to the right place. He went to the man of God. He went to, in our case, the Bible.

But he already knew what he needed to do. In his heart he’s like, no, that’s not good enough. Wouldn’t it be better if I did this or that, I want to ask you and I and I need you to be honest. Have you ever done that? Have you ever just dismissed the Bible as too simplistic. Have you ever just dismissed the Bible as not good enough. Has the word of God ever just angered you because it did not give you the response wanted?

See, it’s not about knowing, it’s about doing. And I appreciate the servants of Naaman because they come up and father, that’s appropriate. Father’s Day father, they saw their lord as their father because he took care of them. He said, Father, if the prophet would have asked you to do something great, something difficult. Would you have not done that and and isn’t that kind of the way we go? I wish God, I wish God or salvation or church were more grandiose than it is.

And we get upset when things are not as flashy as they should be or as as grandstanding as they should be. But it was a simple command, go to the Jordan and dip yourself seven times and you will be healed. You know, it’s amazing how many conversations I’ve had with people about the Bible and they. They tell me well I know that, but they don’t do that. You know. It’s amazing we do that in all aspects of our lives, and that’s why that’s why this was so good for the kids, because the same way, you know, I was an expert on exercise.

Because in the past, I was an athlete, so I know all kinds of stuff about exercise. So people would talk to me and I’m grateful that I turn myself in at the beginning of the year and I’ve lost a lot of the excess weight that I had been carrying for for many years, but it wasn’t because of myself. Because I knew about nutrition and I knew about exercise, but I wasn’t doing any of those things. About two, two and a half years ago, I talked to all you guys, I said, hold me accountable.

I knew I needed accountability. And some of you did, and I brushed that off. And I shared last a couple of weeks ago, Jim Miner gave me a diet to control my carbs and I said, thank you, Jim. And I love Jim. I thought about that diet lots of times. That piece of paper is in the trash somewhere. Sorry, Jim. I’m sure I’m not the only one of his patients that ever threw that piece of paper away, but.

It wasn’t until I felt absolutely horrible. And going up the stairs was actually too much to ask. Wendy, could you go upstairs and get some- No I’m not going back upstairs. We have three flights of stairs in our apartment, I am not doing it. It wasn’t until then I said I got to do something. And that’s what happens a lot of times we don’t we don’t decide to apply the Bible until. Until something horrible happens to us or we feel so bad about something, but then what happens, a lot of times we say, oh God, I’ll do this, but as soon as we get out of the jam-

We’ll make great promises, God, if you get me out of this, I will do this and that and we do that. And he gets us out of the jam because he is a loving father, but then we go right back to the way we went before. If we were to do app style, baptism application of baptism, you know. I love I love these these two scriptures, and first, Peter, actually the scripture first, Peter, I’ve got two up here, but we’ll read the whole thing.

In first, Peter, chapter three versus eight through twenty two, it says, finally, all of you be like minded and sympathetic. Love one another, be compassionate and humble, do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, on the contrary, repay evil with blessing because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing for whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil on their lips from deceitful speech, they must turn from evil and do good.

They must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is going to harm you if you’re eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats, do not be frightened, but in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always, be prepared to give an answer for anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander, for it is better if it’s God’s will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. You know, it’s an amazing scripture. It just says we have to be prepared to give a reason for our faith, we have to be willing and prepared to share our faith. We must be willing to share with others what Christ has done for us.

But what if you shared the gospel, but you didn’t live it? If there’s no application, it doesn’t work. Peter says, you know. We have to do what is right, we have to stop doing what is evil, it’s not about knowing what is right, it’s about doing what is right. It’s about living the way that God wants us to live. Even if that causes us to suffer. And, you know, I had a conversation with one of the kids at camp about this scripture in particular, because he was having a hard time owning up to things.

It was. Lucas had done a great job talking about confession and one of the kids was having a hard time. And I said, you know, it’s better to suffer for telling the truth than to get away with it. And lie. And that’s a hard thing to do because most of us do not want to suffer. We don’t like it, and we avoided at all costs. Verse 18. This will lead us into communion, says for Christ, also suffered once for sins.

The righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God, he was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit after being made alive he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, to those who are disobedient long ago and God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it, only a few people, eight in all were saved through water. And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also.

Not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience towards God, it saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven, and is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him? You know, verse 18 says, for Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit.

You know, baptism would have no power if Jesus would not have overcome death. If he would not have put his life on the line for the unrighteous baptism would have no power. But verse twenty one says in this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also not the removal of dirt from your body, but the pledge of a clear conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism also would not have power, if he would, if Jesus would not have resurrected.

Baptism would not have power if you and I did not at the time of our immersion pledge to do what is right before God by faith. You know, I was baptized when I had just turned 20 years old. Almost 30 years ago. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I promise to God that I would do my best to live in a way that is pleasing to him. And I’ve kept that promise for the most part.

But I failed on that promise many times, but God’s grace meets me there every single time. And that’s what we celebrate right now as a community. As a body, as we take communion. The fact that as baptized disciples of Christ we’re saved. But as God’s children, that salvation is continual. Not because we deserved it or we’ve earned it, but we day after day pledge to live in good conscience towards God and towards our brothers, let us take communion.

Father, we’re so grateful. Personally, I’m grateful that we are able to meet together in person. Father fills my heart so much to be able to hug my brothers and sisters. To be able to see one another and sing together. God, I’m so thankful for the for the youth that were at camp the last week and the seeds that were planted in their hearts. God, I pray that that those seeds would blossom into just incredible servants for you.

But most of all, we’re thankful for the cross. And that your death on the cross rescued us. Please allow us, as we take communion, to think of Jesus’s body that was broken as we take the bread. And his body, his blood, that was spilled to redeem us. We love you, we’re thankful and we’re so thankful for this community of faith. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.