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Thursday, March 26, 2015

03252015 - Wednesday of Lent 5 - Green Bead - Growth

Sermon Audio

March 25, 2015
Growing in Christ!

Heavenly Father!  We are unable to make things grow, but by Your divine favor You not only cause plants to grow, but You raise us up as Your children.  Inspire us to grow, in grace and the ability to share it with others of what Jesus Christ did on Calvary.  For Jesus died in order to set us free and this was out of His love for each and every one of us.  AMEN.
Robby Gallaty, an author and church expert in discipleship wrote a book entitled, “Growing Up: How to be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples”.  In this book his main thesis is that we Christians are to be disciples of Jesus Christ and we are called to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and share this relationship with others.

From the outside looking in, it is clear, Robby is right, that is what we are called to do, but as happens with a lot of us, then demands of our job, family, school, expectations and other things not only overwhelm us, but we become numb.  Our numbness is not only to the voices we hear that bombard us on television, radio, the internet, but even from our children, family, friends and even here in the church.  We become numb to the need of growth in our lives as Christians and then become numb to the meaning and implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But this is why we celebrate Lent, to remember Jesus willingness to go to the Cross for us and especially why tonight we have a green bead on the salvation bracelet.  The green bead we have tonight is to remind us that we are to be “Growing in Christ”!  Just as when the wheat is planted in the fall or corn in the spring, just as will happen shortly, the seed outside of dirt will not sprout and grow.  But once planted into the ground with the right moisture, depth, warmth and sunlight, sprouts from the cover that protects.  And once it sprouts it sends a root deeper into the earth and a sprout that emerges from the ground and the seed grows as God intended.

This is a perfect metaphor or explanation of what we as Christians are called to be as we are “Growing in Christ”.  When we wear the Salvation Bracelet and explain our beliefs to non-believers and believers, the green bead is to remind us we can “Grow in Christ”.  We grow when we come to hear the Word of God that tells of the offer of the free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.  God feeds us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ that tells what He did on Calvary.  And our growth is aided by God’s gifts given to us of His Sacraments from the Altar, His Word from both the pulpit and lectern as well as being surrounded by others who are here to “Grow in Christ!

Just as wheat and corn grow best in a ‘stand’ when planted with other seed.  We as Christians grow best when we are surrounded by others who want to grow as well.  Hence why we are here tonight to learn about the salvation bracelet’s green bead symbolizing ‘growth’.  Our individual growth is not dependent upon others, but only made a reality by God and His gifts of grace to and for us.  For God like Paul says, gives the growth that we have and this is a gift from God for all of us.  And the growth offered is limitless unlike corn or wheat.  If I were to engage one of the farmers they would say, a wheat plant can have approximately 20 to 50 kernels of wheat in one head that can be harvested.  So to, one Christian who grows in their faith and shares it can have a larger kingdom impact.  This is why God calls us to “Grow in Christ!”

For the salvation bracelet with the many colored beads is a tool to help us to “Grow in Christ” and in our faith and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not only a gift, but a real opportunity for us to wear our faith on our wrist, and also engage and grow in our faith on a daily basis and share it with one another.

Recently, I heard a Christian author tell how he engaged his faith with his family.  It wasn’t only by sharing the stories of faith around the table at dinner or before bedtime with the kids or dragging them to church, because the pastor was the ‘expert’.  They as a family understood that living their faith wasn’t just a one-time experience.  They were out to dinner locally and saw an individual who was different than they were and they invited them to have dinner with them. 

After engaging in small talk about the latest scores from the NCAA and the weather, the individual asked about why they invited them to join them for dinner.  This opened up an amazing opportunity for the family from the children to the parents to share their faith and the impact it had of inviting this stranger to join them in a meal.  This is the opportunity that the salvation bracelet can have of helping us to be bold with our faith and sharing it with others even over a meal at McDonald’s or Arby’s.  It is the opportunity that God can use to plant the seed of the Gospel of Salvation, water it, but especially made it grow and have a kingdom impact as we grow in our faith and life as disciples of Jesus Christ.

This is the opportunity we have when we fully understand how the Green Bead symbolizes our “Growing in Christ”.  When we combine all the beads of the salvation bracelet the salvation story not only is planted firmly in our lives, but we can grow in grace, understanding and belief that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all mankind and share it.  And God has purposely planted us here at Emmanuel in order that we can grow in our faith and be enabled to share it with others.  For God wants us to ‘Grow in Christ’ and have a kingdom impact in sharing what Jesus Christ has done for each of us on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind.  Including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who are “Growing in Christ” when we share what the Green Bead of the Salvation Bracelet really means.  AMEN.

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