The Bible is filled with ideas. Some ideas are beautiful, others are challenging, some give us comfort, others bring a deep fear. But Christianity is so much bigger than ideas. I hope our journey through the Gospel of Matthew can convince you of that. We may be tempted to think that Jesus is all about ideas, but listening to Jesus means following Jesus. To follow is to move. Jesus’ ideas get us moving. His teachings change the way we think so that he can change the way we live. Consider how dangerous it would be for us to keep the teachings of Jesus as just ideas. Would that mean Jesus’ death and resurrection is just an idea? What about forgiveness? What about eternal life? If redemption, forgiveness and eternal life are just ideas, then we are all living a lie. But if it’s truth, then it’s something others will see in and through us.
That’s why we talk about our WaterLife. Our baptism is more than just an idea. It’s real. We are really given the Holy Spirit, really adopted as God’s children and really forgiven of all our sins. We are changed. So we live a changed life. Living our baptism means listening to the commands of Jesus and putting them into practice in our lives. It starts with humility and repentance. It continues by living according to God’s perfect creation in the midst of a broken, sinful world. This isn’t a faddish self-help tool. This is wholesale change. Our homes are more simple, we put others above ourselves, we practice heartfelt generosity, we even love our enemies. Do that and we’ll have stories to tell, stories that other baptized “WaterLifers” need to hear. But how do we do this? Where do we share this? Every Member a Ministry. Every Member a Group.
Live Your Baptism: Every Member a Ministry
How do you serve Jesus? We all have multiple vocations between our families, jobs and social lives. Our entire lives are lived in service to Jesus. What if Jesus suddenly came up to you and asked you how you were serving him. What would you say? What would be the first words out of your mouth? If the first words are, “I go to church,” or “I attend meetings,” or ” I go to Bible Class,” then you run the risk of your life in Christ being just an idea. Certainly these things are important, but God has made us to serve him. He’s given us gifts and abilities to serve him. So, what’s your ministry? Ministry is defined as service. Whom do you serve? Is your ministry to your family? Great! Is it to your coworkers? Great! Is it among the homeless? Great! Is it having neighbors over to dinner? Great! Is it visiting our shut-ins? Great! Is it mentoring new Christians? Great! (Matthew 25:31-46) Here’s what I’m getting at. When I, or anyone else asks you about your life in Christ, you should be able to talk about your ministry (or ministries). Talk about the people you serve. Talk about the successes and the failures. Talk about the joys and the challenges. Talk about making disciples.
Share Your Stories: Every Member a Group
But we hardly see each other and Sunday morning isn’t always the best setting for those kinds of discussions. That’s why I am praying that God will lead every member of our church into a group. We need to spend time together as Christians. We need to share our WaterLife with each other. We need to have a safe place where we can be vulnerable enough talk about the joys, challenges, successes and failures of our ministries. We need a place where we can pray for each other, encourage each other, challenge each other and sit at the feet of Jesus together as he shows us the way. Our groups can do that… but only if you come. We all live busy lives, but we wouldn’t even have these lives outside of the grace of God. Trust me, hanging out with other “WaterLifers” is a worthwhile way to spend your time.
Live your Baptism. Share your Stories. It’s more than an idea… it’s life.