Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Notes for Sunday Message; April 28, 2013; Sacrament of Baptism

Acts 10:44-48; Eph 4:1-6; john 21:1-14

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010

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Last time that I had a privilege to bring a message to our community we baptized Nathan L.

By being baptized and by participating in the Sacrament of Baptism we publicly declare, “I believe the way of true life is the way of Jesus. I am committed to being his follower, making him Lord of every aspect of my life, and allowing the Holy Spirit to live in me so that the Living God can live through me.”

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Baptism makes a statement that we want to partner with God in the renewal and restoration of all things.

Today is a special day in the lives of Casey and Johnathon E. They are getting baptized today. The Gospel reading that we heard today happened sometime between Easter and Pentecost. It happened less than 50 days after Jesus died on the Cross.

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The Disciples were grieving; their teacher, their leader and the heartbeat of their life community was gone. Life seemed hopeless. Think about your own feelings and emotions when someone you care about very much is no longer a part of your life. How did you feel?

To make things worse, the Gospels are clear that although the disciples were maneuvering for a position of authority while Jesus was alive(“Jesus let one of us sit on your right and another on your left” (Mark 10:35-45) / “Jesus, who among us is the greatest?” (Matthew 18:1)), none of them were ready to assume leadership of the community that Jesus started. And without Jesus’ leadership, the community started to fall apart. Without clear leadership the community lacked a sense of purpose and clear understanding of its mission and “where there is not vision the people perish” (Prov 29:18).

When we don’t know what else to do, we usually do what we know. Not knowing what else to do, Peter decided to go back to what he did before he met Jesus; Peter went back to fishing. Thomas, Nathanael, James and John decided to go with him.

There they were getting their nets out of the water when someone called to them from the shore, “Any luck last night?” (John 21:5). They recognized Jesus when he instructed them to throw their nets into the water once more and this time caught a lot of fish. Something like that had happened to them once before; when you have a chance during your daily devotions check out the beginning of the fifth chapter of Luke.

By instructing the disciples to throw their nets into the water once more, Jesus helped them to remember their new identity as “fishers of men”.

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Most of us gathered here today were baptized at one time or another. We tend to think of baptism as an event that happened at a specific place and at a specific time. The truth is that the event of baptism is the beginning of a life of baptism. Through baptism, as individuals we become members of a Christian community called to link our lives with the life of Jesus.

The event of Baptism is the “when” and “how” where we make a public statement that we want to link or connect our lives to the life of Jesus (I am the vine, you are the branches…)

The life of Baptism is a journey. It is the journey of learning about God, learning about each other and allowing ourselves to be tools in God’s hands.

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All of life is baptism. Whether we like it or not we always face challenges. These challenges help us to grow, these challenges provide us with the experience of God’s Grace and Mercy and these challenges refine us into better human beings and better Christians. John Wesley called that process “Going towards perfection.” I think of that process as a life of baptism. A Life of Baptism means that God is always creating new possibilities in our lives out of the stuff that seems like a dead end. We are always on the verge of new life, every day we become something new that we were not yet yesterday.

Stuff happens in our lives; some good stuff, some bad stuff, some things that are neither good nor bad. That is life. And when we are lost, when we are uncertain about what to do next, Jesus is as close as we are willing to let him into our lives.

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Loving and Gracious Lord!

As I enter the water to bathe, I remember my baptism and I am grateful.

Wash me by your grace. Fill me with your Spirit. Renew my soul.

I pray that I might live as your child today and always and honor you in all that I do.

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{Sacrament of Baptism}

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