Who Am I? Rewarded!?

This past Sunday was the third week in a row that we talked about doing stuff as part of our faith walk. No more talk about mosquitoes. That is SO last week!
Our noodling through the bible book of Ephesians brought us to chapter 6, verse 8. Which smacked us in the face with talk about REWARD. What is THAT all about?
Isn’t the Christian faith anchored on faith in Jesus, and the finished work he does for us?
Isn’t our connection to God a free gift, graciously given to us?
All true enough – and yet, there it is. Reward. The even more weird part of it all is that this same idea crops up again and again throughout the New Testament.|
WHAT are we to make of it?
You’re invited to download the podcast and study guide and share the journey as explore 4 levels of REWARD spoken of in the Bible.
At the end of which, I hope you’ll be able to confidently exclaim……”Who Am I? I am REWARDED!”

Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. FThen download the podcast, as well as the study guide, and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I? Rewarded!
Rewarded – The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

Who Am I? Gifted!

This past Sunday we continued our fascination with mosquitoes (you’ll have to check out last week’s podcast to see where that’s coming from). Remember – all it takes is one and you’ll know it! Yes, even li’l ol’ me can make a difference in this great big world.
Which was where we went this week – HOW does that work? WHAT kind of difference can I make?
Ephesians 1:15-16, and Ephesians 4:1-16 were our anchor points for the teaching – helping us celebrate a church community which thrives on thankfulness and appreciation; and learning that such a culture grows when people use the gifts that the Holy Spirit entrusts to them.
Gifts that WE ALL HAVE. Yup, every one of us.
So….
Who Am I?
I am GIFTED!

You’re invited to share the conversation we had by downloading the podcast.

Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. FThen download the podcast, as well as the study guide, and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I? Gifted!
Gifted – The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

Who Am I? A Saint!

“Hi, I’m Brian and I’m an alcoholic.”
“Oh, stink! I’m such a total loser!”
“Grandpa, watch me – I’m Spiderman!!

That’s how some people will identify themselves. Maybe at a support group meeting. Maybe in frustration when everything seems to be going wrong. Maybe in the middle of an afternoon of play. They take up a role and own it. They fill in a place and connect with it.

Who are you? What might be three labels that you’d easily slap on yourself to help identify who/what you are?

Here at KCRC we are on a journey through the Bible book of Ephesians. And as we sift through the material, we’re wanting to pay special attention to certain phrases that might help identify who and what we are as people committed to Jesus.

The crazy part is that the very first bit of ID information – right in the very first two verses of the first chapter of Ephesians – identifies believers in Christ as “Saints.”

Wait!!! Aren’t saints like spiritual superheros? If so, that’s certainly not me. I sink when I try to walk on water (except in mid-February, if you know what I mean.)

Join us as we explore this strange teaching.

Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. Flip to Ephesians 1:1-2. Then download the podcast and the study guide and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I – A Saint!

And here’s the study guide:

Who Am I – A Saint: The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

Who Am I – Baptised

Who are you, anyway? If someone asked, what would you say? Recently I pulled out a copy of my family tree, because it needs updating. Looking at the list of names there I see a long story, dating back to the 1400’s. All those names. And their stories – that’s part of who I am.
As are the places where I’ve lived, and the people with whom I’ve been so fortunate as to live and work and play alongside them. They are part of who I am. There’s way more, of course. As there is to whatever answer you’ll pull together for that question, “Who Am I?”

Over the next few weeks we’re going to take a journey at Kemptville Christian Reformed Church, a journey of seeing our identity as God would see us. We’ll wonder how the Holy Spirit might answer the question about who we are – each of us individually, and all of us collectively.

You’re invited to walk with us as we explore the identity we have as believers in and followers of Jesus. This week’s session is:  “Who Am I – Baptised” and takes us to the Jordan River, watching and listening as Jesus is baptised. It’s recorded in Matthew 3. Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. Then download the podcast and the study guide and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I – Baptised

And here’s the study guide:

Who Am I – Baptised: The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

Living In The Divine Embrace: Christ’s Life In Me

This past Sunday we continued to wonder about our identity as baptized followers of Jesus.  Particularly: how does that baptism show itself in our lives?

It continues our series, based on Robert Webber’s book “The Divine Embrace.”  Bob had a wonderful way of sharing the overarching narrative of God’s saving work for Creation, humanity, and me.  Glad we have time to explore this together as a church community.

The Scripture we used on Sunday was Ephesians 2:1-10.  We considered how “spirituality” is viewed, in our culture and in scripture.  We wondered about dimensions of baptismal spirituality.  And we reviewed some tips to protecting the health of a holy baptized life.

You are invited to listen in  by right-clicking on the sermon title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod:

Living In The Divine Embrace: Christ’s Life In Me

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

You may also download the study guide as a pdf:

Christ’s Life In Me – Study Guide

Remembering My Baptism Identity: Q/A thoughts from the KCRC community

This past Sunday we wondered together about our identity; who am I, anyway?
What defines that identity?
And, bottom line, we discovered our identity rooted in our baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Three great questions were submitted – two during Q&A, and one later via email.
As well, some of you fed back some interesting and helpful responses through comments and emails.
1.  “I was reminded of the phrase, ‘The Spirit hovered over the waters’ from the story of Creation (Genesis 1:2).  Is this an image of the Holy Spirit hovering over the re-creative waters of baptism?”
Thanks for raising this.  You are definitely following along the lines of thinking and imagining presented by Tertullian, the ancient Church Father, and his baptismal teaching & praying. Recall how he understood the use of water for baptism to re-present God’s life-giving creative action as in the first creation, the flood, crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan, and more.  Baptism is more than just a human testimony and action to a decision and commitment that I make.  It is a powerful sign and seal of God’s saving work in me, us and Creation.  Life is in him – alone.  His power.  His care.  His grace.  Alone.
        The Spirit hovered over the chaos and void and “birthed” Creation order and beauty.
        The Spirit hovered over Jesus as he descended into the baptismal waters of Jordan, empowering him for ministry.
        And, yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is hovering, filling, empowering the action of baptism with sacred presence and grace so that we may grow and live within the holy embrace of God as followers and siblings of Jesus.  It is sacred action, filled with Sacred Presence.
        Can we rebel and resist?  Of course!
        Does the act of baptism effect the change within our hearts and lives?  No.  That is the mysterious, sacred work of God’s Spirit.
        Is regeneration automatic?  No.  As all through Scripture, believers are called to dedication and response.  In Old Testament Israel believers were called to “circumcise their hearts” (eg Deuteronomy 10:16)  That is, accept and believe what the outer act on their bodies symbolized.  So also we are called in Romans 6 to live out what our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus symbolizes.  Our whole life.
        Which drives us to our knees, praying daily and desperately for the power and presence of the  Holy Spirit to pour like living water into our minds and hearts every day, re-creating us more and more into image bearers of our Lord.
So much we could say on that – THANKS for raising that thought!
 
2.  If one has not been baptized, but has made Public Profession of Faith, is that the same thing?
Great ask.
In short, “No!” they are not the same.
We profess Jesus publicly over and over.  When we come to Christ we profess Jesus, and then are baptized in response.  Then, over the years, we continue to re-profess faith in Jesus.  But baptism marks our membership in the holy family of God.  That seal is applied to us once, and only once.  Either at the time of conversion – or when we are born into a home of believers.
So, if we have professed faith in Christ but not been baptized, the next step would be to explore becoming baptized.  Why wait?  Why NOT receive the sign of our adoption into the Royal family of heaven?
3.  Having the baptismal font near the exit of the church building is a good reminder of our baptism as we head out into the world.  Any suggestions, though, for M/T/W/Th/F/Sat on what to do to remind ourselves of our baptismal identity?
Glad you pointed to the need for such reminding.  We’re only headed out the church building that one moment of the week.  The challenges and temptations that seek to derail our baptismal living face us all week long.
Martin Luther is said to have made it a habit to look in the mirror each morning to say, “Brother Martin, remember your baptism.”   We might do this – perhaps with the aid of a little sticky note on the bathroom mirror.  What else could we do?
Let’s begin by admitting that for many of us this is totally new turf.  Not sure about the rest of you, but I was NOT raised to think about my baptism.  Once in a while someone would ask when I did my first profession of faith.  But never about my baptism, and how that affected the way I viewed my identity.  Which is a shame, really, coming from a faith tradition that says it values the covenant between God and believers, and that the key sign/seal of that covenant is baptism.  Really, in my own little head baptism was something that new converts received, and the children of believers received.  And then, once done, we move on, leaving baptism on a dusty shelf in the recesses of the mind, whether baptized as adults or children.
What a shame!
We have much to learn and recapture in grounding our identity in baptism – in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus poured onto and into us, washing us, and re-birthing us! Please re-read Romans 6:1-14, which calls us to a life of obedient discipleship.  Notice the anchor point of that passage – baptism!
Were you baptized as an adult?  Remember!!  And prayerfully, submitting to the Spirit’s presence and power, recommit daily to live out that baptism identity your whole life.  If you are not intentional about it, one day the memory of that baptism will fade, and with it, your sense of identity in Jesus.
Were you baptized as an infant?  Remind yourself that you were baptized, at a time when you were helpless and unable to save yourself — just as in the helplessness of sin, Jesus rescued and saved you!  Recommit daily to live out that baptism identity your whole life.  If you are not intentional about it, one day the fact that you were baptized will fade from consciousness, and with it, your sense of identity in Jesus.
So….
Besides dipping your hand in the baptism waters as you leave the sanctuary on those Sundays when the font is at the entrance to the world, what ELSE can you do?
1.  Seriously consider the sticky note idea on your mirror.  Or on the cover of your laptop. Do like Luther.
Here are some other suggestions which you submitted:
2.   “I’m going to let the water run over my hand after I brush my teeth, and give thanks for Christ washing me.”
3.   “I remind myself of my baptism identity in Jesus when I come daily to God in prayer, study his word, and help our community – these things remind me that I am a child of God.”
4.  “Interestingly, a few days ago I decided that this summer I’m going to start out every day with changing the water in our bird bath instead of waiting until it’s scummy with algae!  Well, there’s something like a baptismal bowl about a birdbath.  I’m going to try to let this activity remind me of my baptism.”
5.  “If we didn’t have a dish washer now I’d try to think of my baptism every time I washed dishes.  It was in 1976 while my hands were in the soapy dishwater washing breakfast dishes that the Lord gave me a huge longing for his joy in my life and then he flooded me with it–a joy that lasted for months!  It was a taste of heaven. Maybe I should go back to washing dishes by hand again :-)”
6.  “For me it begins with grace said traditionally at meals – an opportunity to remember we receive all things from God, received with gratitude.  I tend to begin my meal first with a sip of the juice or water by my plate.  For me that is a remembrance that it all begins with the cleansing power of Jesus.”
Thanks to all who  contributed to this conversation in faith.
And to all of you for tracking along with our faith journey at Kemptville Christian Reformed Church.
We will pick it back up again next Sunday, May 18.  Hope you’ll be able to join in – either in our Sunday 10am worship service, or via the podcast that’ll be posted on pastorkensnotes.com.
In the meantime, if you have some thoughts to add to this conversation, love to see your comments on this blog post.