“Hudson why are my arms so long?”

Today I want to talk a little bit about a picture my son Hudson drew. Because it’s really meaningful to me, but also revealing of something to me too. Here it is:

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He drew this during his quiet time, came and gave it to me, and said, “Daddy that’s a picture of you and me hugging.” Melt your heart type of stuff as a dad.

But it got me thinking – when did we stop doing this?

When did we grow out of doing this?

We so often take the closest relationships to us for granted, rather than cherishing them. That’s what Hudson was doing. He was trying to show me that our relationship matters to him. He was trying to show me that he loves me. He was trying to show me that he thinks about me and appreciates  me. When did we stop doing that for others?

So often our tendency is to neglect or take for granted those closest to us. We don’t send thank you notes to our spouses, but we do to our employees. We don’t send flowers to our parents, but we do to our friends or new potential clients. What I’m saying is that somewhere along the way we maybe have lost something that kids seem to intrinsically know. That relationships are to be appreciated. Appreciated through gifts, cards, thoughts, actions, flowers, and of course, drawings with long arms and hockey stick feet.

So my challenge for all of us is this: to learn from the kids around you and appreciate your closest relationships – and here is the key – make sure they know it. Do something special today for them and appreciate them.

Because sometimes a little thing, like a drawing during quiet time, can just make your day.

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

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

 

And that’s what this Sunday was about.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Sermon Notes:

 

Big Idea: Journey with others

Teaching Points:

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

 

Adult Discussion Questions:

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

Discussion Questions for Young Families

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

 

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

Learning to Care for Each Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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