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Baptism Weekend…and Beyond

CBC Family: Don’t know if you knew or felt the weight of what happened this past Sunday, but we had several of our friends in our community get baptized. I know it’s one of those things that “just happens” every year but I wanna lay down some foundation and also some expectation for us as we move forward.

1. Testimony: Its crazy to think that these people who were baptized on Sunday were willing to confess to hundreds of strangers their sins, inadequacies, and vulnerabilities. They got into the water and professed that they needed someone to save them from their sins and to something much bigger than themselves. Christians, this should constantly remind you of your own testimony (how Christ grabbed you from your former life). This ought to bring you back to hope and embolden your passion to see others saved as well. Non-Christians, this should get you to think and really examine all of this. Is this just a hoax where people again are duped into some futile religion? Or perhaps this might simply confront your own soul. 

2. Membership: When they decided to take their faith public, they also consciously decided to join the local body of CBC. They all knew prior to baptism what CBC had to offer. They knew (maybe not fully) the strengths and weaknesses, potential, historical struggles, and lineage of this church on 900 Brogden. For the most part, they understood that membership is not cheap, nor is it easy…there are requirements, accountability, and participation. Yet they still decided to commit their lives to growing with, serving, loving, and correcting the local body at CBC. Members of CBC, your role is to take your membership seriously as well and come alongside these new members and coach them towards growth. Show them the areas in which they can grow in this church and serve alongside of them. 

As we continue to baptize more people, our hopes and dreams are still tied to the Gospel. At the end of the day, may our foundation still be the Gospel as it progresses into the universal church and practically take its form in the local church. Let us, as a body, encourage these new members toward holiness and growth. 

The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.
Cyprian, Treatise on the Unity of the Church, 6.

"speak the truth…"

We had a chance to study Ephesians 4:25-32 this past Sunday as a youth group. We are still going through this idea of community and this passage does a great job putting the hands and feet to this idea of community. However, we got to verse 25 and we had some explaining to do. 

The verse says this: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (ESV)

Just looking at it, seems pretty simple - don’t lie, tell the truth. But the laws of hermeneutics stopped me and started asking me questions. 

1. What’s up with the “therefore”? So the saying we use all the time is “what is the ‘therefore’ there for?” And as a good student, I simply just look at the context just before 25 and I read that Paul is pleading with the Ephesians to “put off your old desires” (22), “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (23), and “put on the new self” (24). In essence, Paul is saying “Hey Christians, live like Christians…if you really are a Christian.” And this is key for the next part that says…

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(re)defining “community” for CBC Youth & Leaders: Part III

As we continue to move on with (re)defining community, I always want to remind us about the first and foremost thing - the Gospel. It is because of the Gospel that we even have community. So in a sense, I am talking strictly to the family of faith here. If you need more info, please go back and reread Part I. 

Community Doesn’t Happen Over Night: I remembered talking with one of my leaders a while back and it kinda went like this, “I just don’t think this whole community thing is working out…i mean i’ve been trying to plug in and it just doesn’t seem like anyone cares or it just seems like it’s all failing.” And I could see the frustration and on some level resonate with them. But very gently I responded by asking, “well…how long have you been “working” at this?” To which they answered, “6 months.” And all I responded was “I’m proud of you for working through it these last 6 months…but honestly, community is going to take the rest of your life to develop.” 

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Ministry Never Stops

This was a random conversation about an upcoming parents meeting with one of my 8th graders tonight (unsolicited mind you): 

8th grader: “i suggest typing up parts of the book Think Christianly chapter 3 for the parents…cause it teaches a lot about equipping the next generation” 
8th grader: “do u want me to do that?”
Never accept the lie that our youth don’t know anything. Don’t believe that they’re unwilling to learn or they don’t care. Continue to disciple and equip these youth for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. #ministryneverstops

hashtag christisenough

#hashtags track the frequency of words or phrases. Sometimes It’s used to add on what people really want to say. Other times it’s an excuse to be funny or insulting. But for others, it’s a simple reminder. 

I want to remember that when i’m surrounded by good food and good company that #christisenough. I’m thankful for all those many blessings but He is my portion. 

I need to remember that when i’ve given my all and i’m just exhausted and there’s nothing left #christisenough. He is my strength and my source of power. 

And on those days when I want to quit. When it seems like i’m all alone and nobody follows or trusts or encourages. When I “feel” like it’s not worth it anymore and my heart fails…#christisenough. 

#hastags are useful and they serve its purpose…but as you’re living life and it’s going well or life is beating the crap out of you…trite, empty, catching sayings won’t be enough. Do you really believe that #christisenough? Life will surely test this simple hastag and it was separate those who find it catchy from those who truly live it. 

CBCWR2013: Recap

#community: Our prayer for this retreat was that our youth and leaders would understand what real biblical community looks like. From the messages to small groups to the worship…we learned that “community” comes from the Gospel. The Cross creates a people - one priesthood, one baptism, one faith. 

#favorite moments: 

1. During one of the corporate prayer sessions we had split up between middle school, underclassmen, and upperclassmen. I had asked the counselors to stand up and spread their hands over the youth and pray for them. And I wish you could have seen what I saw. It was like the the counselors were protecting these youth and shielding them. And the counselors were praying that each generation would equip the next generation. 

2. It was after one of the messages where the sermon was over the Gospel that changes us. And our worship team (which was made up of two churches) get up and sing this song called “All Glory Be to Christ”. When the lights, acoustics, and the perfection of the singing all joined together…it was unbelievable. I was just sitting in the back and watching our youth and leaders all together singing to our King and all i could do was smile and join them in worship. 

3. At our final farewell we wanted to do a last prayer. So we had the ACC youth get in the middle of the room while the SWCBC youth surrounded them and lastly the CBC youth surrounded them. It was a picture of how each church is praying, protecting, and encouraging each other. It was a perfect ending to the retreat. The challenge was for the youth to take what they’ve experienced and bring it back to their respective community. 

4. There was no countdown. There was no ticker for the new year. Instead, we ushered in the new year with worship. Ending 2013 and starting 2014 with unhindered worship was simply amazing. And what made it even better was that you’re doing this with family. 

#what now?

1. Reflect and Respond: Take some time and remember what God showed you this retreat. What were some lessons he revealed to you? What did you learn about yourself? Go over your notes and ask yourself, “How should I apply this truth?” But also, if you have unfinished or unresolved things, don’t wait till later but do it now. So if its that you have to disciple, confess, repent, or work…then go do it. 

2. Plug in: After a retreat about community, it would only make sense to go back and develop this community back at your church. It will take work. It will take effort. At times you’ll succeed and at times you’ll fail at it. But remember, that the Gospel continues to anchor us and provide the sustaining power to actually see it accomplished. CBC youth & leaders, let’s get to work and help each other out to really build this community. Let us commit to one another and not stop. 

May the Lord challenge us to grow and grow all the more this year…

How did you do it?

How did you do it? How were you so patient with those that never seemed to get it? How did you disciple those that wouldn’t trust you? How did you pursue their hearts day after day? How did you walk with those who blatantly rejected you at times? How were you never rushed or anxious? How did you love people when they ignored you, belittle you, or even offend you?

How did you do it? How did you take so much blame without letting it crush you? How were you able to balance grace and accountability so perfectly? How did you shield yourself from pride and despair in this fallen world? How come you never gave up, rebelled, or gave in? How did you set this example for me even when you knew I was going to question everything?

How did you do it? 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

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