Biblical Messages

To Infinity and Beyond!

In this worship gathering, we hear a message from Titus 1.5-9, carrying on our theme of the character of church leaders, focusing on their theological and biblical growth, work as a team, and care for the congregation, particularly for those who have strayed away from the fold. You can watch the message below, or the entire worship gathering below that.

Biblical Messages

How do I grow?

In this worship gathering, we hear a message about the importance of growing in our faith. There are many ways and many tips that could be shared, but what we hear in this message are some foundational notions that help us understand the importance of not remaining static in our faith journey. It’s based on Galatians 5.13-26, and you can watch the message below, or the entire gathering below that.

Encouragement From The Word

Choose growth!

I have known a number of people who used the early period of the pandemic to take up a new hobby.  My wife, for example, took up paper flower making, and what she has created is one of the best examples of art imitating life that I’ve ever seen!  (You can see for yourself if you like.)  

People made the best of a difficult situation by stretching themselves to try something new.  It’s a healthy part of human existence:  it’s growth.

Like plants – the real ones, not the ones my wife makes – we have two choices:  we can grow, or we can die.  There is no in-between.  True, our skeletons stop growing when we are young, but our skin never stops (if you’re not sure about that, consider how dusty your house gets!).  And our minds never stop growing either.

The same should be true of our faith-walk with God.  When we make a public profession of faith in Jesus, that is not the end of the journey; it’s just the beginning.

Challenge yourself to grow in Christ, while there’s still some time this summer!  Borrow a book from your church library.  Watch a video series on RightNowMedia (hit me up if you need an invitation).  Read your Bible daily.  Talk to God in prayer.  These are all ways you can grow your faith.

Doing this will increase your faith, increase your discernment skills, and strengthen your witness for the gospel.  It’s worth the investment.

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us.  We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Colossians 1.28, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

Position yourself for growth

If you’ve been a follower of Jesus for any length of time, you know the importance of growing in your faith.  So often, we get the notion in our minds that we have to work at it – and while there is some truth to that, we need to understand that it’s not our job.

I’m fond of the definition of spiritual formation given by the late Robert Mulholland, who taught New Testament at a seminary in the United States.  His definition of spiritual formation is that it is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.

When we come to faith in Jesus, it is not the end of a journey, but the beginning. When we begin our relationship with God, we submit ourselves to the process of being conformed – it’s not our job, but that of God the Holy Spirit living within us.

And we are being conformed to the image of Christ – as the apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth, “the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3.18, NLT).  That’s our goal – not to be “better people” or “more moral”, but to be more like Jesus.

Why?  For the sake of others.  We don’t grow in faith for our own sakes, but so that the world God made and the people God loves may benefit, and glimpse more of his goodness through us.

The work is God’s, but we are invited to be willing instruments.  Position yourself for growth this year.

Encouragement From The Word

Get growing!

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know:  it’s important always to be learning.

Like many of us, when I was younger, I thought I had it all figured out; I knew everything there was to know.  But one applicant at a company had a different slant on it.  When the human resources director asked him what he expected to be paid, she said, “You certainly expect to be compensated well for a beginner.”

The applicant replied, “Well, sure.  Work’s a lot harder when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

It’s true that work is harder when you don’t know what you’re doing.  And one of the challenges of being the church today is that every week, we aim to hit a target, only to find that it has moved.  Culture is changing more rapidly than the world has ever seen.  And if God’s people are going to be effective in reaching others for Jesus, we need to be aware of the culture into which we’re speaking.

The challenge, for some, is that they get so sucked in by the culture that they become indistinguishable from the culture, and lose their voice to speak into it. We can’t give up the truth of the gospel – which is, by nature, counter-cultural – in favour of popularity.

(Besides, churches can’t compete with other organizations in the popularity department. And they usually have better coffee.)

As the people of God, we are charged with the responsibility of steady growth, learning more each day about what it means to follow Jesus in our changing times. The question is, What are you doing to learn and grow?

Sunday morning alone won’t cut it; we need involvement in a small group (what we at St. Paul’s call LifeConnect Groups) and some sort of service outlet, whether it’s helping the youth group or in kids’ ministry or perhaps some community group – these help us grow in Christ.

What are you doing to learn and grow?

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God” (Hebrews 6.1, NLT).