Have you ever been asked to do something you have never done before and was beyond your comfort zone? Recently my daughter asked me to build a set of benches. I have never built furniture from scratch, so we spent time planning out the design and the materials we’d need. After the planning, the time came when I had to actually take the saw off the shelf and make the first cut. Then the second. And so on.
Since I had to build two benches, I learned from the first. Cutting the timbers for the second bench was not as intimidating because we had gained the confidence from the first.
Once we assembled the bench, we realized that additional support was needed so more material was bought and more cuts were made. We adjusted. It was a lot of effort but when we look at the final product, we are glad that we took the initiative to build these benches.
In the past year, Calvary Burlington has supported three missions trips for people who were going to places and doing things outside of their comfort zone. We also just completed a week of Forest Cliff Day Camp, where kids from the schools surrounding our church had the opportunity (some for the first time!) to hear about Jesus. These outreaches are all part of the disciple-making process.
The fall is upon us. Let’s get serious about our Lord’s command to make disciples. Let’s come out to Equip on the first Wednesday night of the month to learn more about the four core habits that help people grow (based out of Darryl Dash’s book). Get involved in Lifegroups to spur one another on to grow. Ladies, join the Tuesday evening Bible study to be built up in the faith. Men, start rubbing shoulders with other men through our monthly men’s ministry. Students, you have an incredible Wednesday night program to help you grow. Do one task in the church. Start serving in one ministry. Do one thing.
This fall, let’s build a bench. Start by making the first cut and go from there. If it works, you will have a bench. If not, ask others for help. Make adjustments. Buy more lumber. Just like I got better at making benches by doing, together we’ll get better at making disciples when we step out in faith and begin.
Peter Klahsen, Elder Chair
Spiritual growth isn't intended to be difficult, but it can prove to be challenging when you don't know where to start. This spring we bring you the series, How to Grow, based on the book by the same name. Each message will stand alone, but you can purchase the book to augment what we're learning on Sunday morning.
Each week we'll hear practical ways to get into the Bible and learn how we can apply it to the everyday moments of life in order to grow and thrive in our walk with God. We invite you to come, to learn, and to grow together.
As we came out of the house earlier this week, we were greeting by what I hope will be the last snow of the year. The temperatures are getting warmer and visitors are heading to the various Maple Syrup festivals with the promise of fresh syrup and pancakes.
Here’s a little window in your pastor - I love pancakes and fresh maple syrup.
There’s just something about the “maplely-sweetness” with a fresh cup of coffee that I love. I enjoyed accompanying Parker’s school class last spring to the sugar shack at Mountsberg. And while they didn’t serve pancakes, we did get a taste of fresh syrup.
An acquaintance of mine makes his own syrup. He lives on a piece of property outside London will a forest full of maple trees and he thought he would try his hand at making his own “maplely-sweet goodness”. But he is finding that the work is very intensive. He is not averse to hard work but did you know that it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of syrup? That’s a lot of trekking through the bush, hauling pails, and spending time boiling it down. Maple syrup is precious not only because of the taste but also because of the work involved in producing it.
This reminds me of the hard work of making relationships with people who don’t know Jesus….. yet. It takes a lot of time and energy to develop friendships and relationships that might eventually end up in some sort of spiritual conversation and gospel presentation.
Jesus said that we are to “make disciples” (Matt 28) as we are going about our life. But how can we be making disciples if we are not doing the work of being connected to people who might never know the powerful love of Jesus? I think we can become very complacent - and dare I say, spiritually lazy by just keeping to our safe little groups and never working, talking and sharing life with people who have never heard the message of Jesus. Jesus spent his time with people who didn’t know about God’s love for them – and he prioritized his time to be with those people and share the message of the Kingdom of God.
It might take less than a 40:1 ratio of relationships to spiritual conversations but the work is hard nonetheless. People need to know that they are loved and cared for before they will open up their hearts and minds to the significant questions that Jesus is asking us to ask of people.
So, let me close with a three questions to make us think today…
Are you committed to obeying Jesus command to “make disciples”? It all starts here… I talk a lot about this question here at Calvary but if we don’t believe it that we need to obey Jesus, then we can stop the discussion here.
But if you do believe it (and I really hope you do) , here’s a couple more questions….
Where are you intentionally finding time in your schedule to be with people who don’t know Jesus? This might require a change in your calendar and prioritize but it is worth it. Yes, it will be counter-cultural, especially when we need live by the ethics and values of the Kingdom, but we can live wisely without giving in to sin or unwise behaviour.
Are we asking people the right questions? It’s one thing to spend our time with people who don’t know Jesus but there is going to come a time where we are going to have to ask questions about spiritual life and eternity. Are you doing this? If we truly believe that issues of faith in Jesus are critical, we need to be asking these questions in love.
So, when you are enjoying your maple syrup this spring, think about the work that went into making it and then compare that work with working to build relationships with people who don’t know Jesus. By faith, when they do respond to the Gospel, the reward will be sweet and all the praise goes to Jesus to is at work in you and His church.
Pastor Aaron Groat
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.