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.