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The Role of Community in Your Spiritual Journey


This morning I want to begin with a very interesting discussion question. And I trust that you’ll be eager to participate with me. The question I have for you today is this: What is the role of donuts in your spiritual journey? You might not have thought about this before, but that’s what I want you to discuss for a few minutes this morning. What is the role of donuts in your spiritual journey?

Now, to help you in your discussion, you’ll notice that there is a pile of donuts over here on this table. I invite you to come and have a donut – or if you’re a little more healthy minded, there are some clusters of grapes as well. But here is the rule: You must share your donut (or your grapes) with someone else. You can’t eat a whole donut by yourself – you must find someone to share it with. And don’t just cut it in half and leave half on the table – you MUST share that donut with someone else. So please, come and help yourself, and then take a couples minutes to discuss: What is the role of donuts (or grapes) in your spiritual journey?

As strange as that question might seem, there is a Biblical point to be made – and we’re going to get into that in just a few minutes. But first, let me remind you what we’ve been talking about.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been going though this little booklet entitled “Your Spiritual Journey”. We’ve been asking the question: Where are you in your spiritual journey?

  • Some of us are just beginning. We’re still trying to figure out all this “God” stuff. It’s all pretty new to us.
  • Others have been at this for a little while, and we’re at the point where we’ve started to personally get to know the God of Heaven. It’s pretty cool.
  • Still others have been followers of Jesus Christ for years now. And little by little, we’re starting to become more like Christ – but of course, there’s still a long way to go.

But where ever you are in your journey – our goal has been to help you take the next steps forward. We don’t want to see you stalled out in your spiritual journey – we want to see you moving forward.

And that’s what brings us to our message today. And our topic isn’t really about donuts, but about fellowship. About Community. About experiencing life together. Coffee & donuts seem to be the Canadian symbol of community, so I thought that would be an appropriate way to start.

So I guess the real question today is: What is the role of community in your spiritual journey?

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What Does it Mean to be a Follower of Jesus Christ?


What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?  This isn’t a test. You’re not going to be graded on your answers. But I want to get your minds thinking in that direction. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

For the past several weeks we’ve been looking at this thing called “Your Spiritual Journey”. And we’ve been trying to answer three basic questions:

#1. Where am I in my spiritual journey?
#2. Where do I want to be?
#3. What steps do I need to take to get there?

We’ve been using Your Spiritual Journey Handout as a guide, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but there are two main headings in this booklet. There is “Searching” on the left and “Following” on the right.

And so that’s what has led me to the question you’ve just been discussing – what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

Because if the point of our spiritual journey is to move us from searching for God to following God, then its important for us to know exactly what it means to follow Him.

Is it simply that we’ve prayed a prayer and asked God to forgive our sins? Is that what this is all about? Does it mean we regularly attend church? Is that following Christ? Does it mean we’re trying to be more good and less bad? Is that following Christ? Or does following Christ mean something totally different?

Table of contents for Your Spiritual Journey

  1. Your Spiritual Journey – Introduction
  2. What if the Bible is True?
  3. What Do I Still Lack?
  4. What Does it Mean to be a Follower of Jesus Christ?
  5. The Role of Community in Your Spiritual Journey
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What Do I Still Lack?

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14

Twice in this passage, Paul tells us that he is pressing on. He has not yet reached the end of his spiritual journey – He is not yet perfect. So if Paul, the guy who started multiple churches, the guy who wrote over half of the books of the New Testament, the guy who was thrown in prison on many occasions for preaching the Gospel – If he still had to press on in his spiritual journey – don’t you think, that perhaps you and I have further to go as well?

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been talking about this spiritual journey that each of us is one. All of us are on a journey. All of us are either moving closer to God or away from Him. There’s no standing still.

So today I want to encourage you to press on. To take the next step forward in your spiritual journey. We’ve been using this booklet as a bit of a road map help us along. And I trust that over these pass few weeks, you’ve been able to get a good sense of where you are in your spiritual journey. Are you not interested in a relationship with God? Are you curiously seeking? Are you “searching assertively, making a faith commitment, experiencing new life, growing in community, or making disciples.” And where ever you are, the more important question is: “Are you taking steps to move forward? Are you pressing on?”

Today I want to look at the story of the rich young man as found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, to see an important crossroads in his spiritual journey. 

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Your Spiritual Journey – Introduction

To start us off this morning, I need everyone to stand up.  I need everyone to stop moving for ten seconds… Become completely motionless when I say go. Ready…. Go.

Ok thank you, you can all sit down. That was a good effort, but you all did terrible. Not one of you came anywhere close to being completely motionless. For example, almost everyone of you continued breathing. Your lungs expanded and contracted with air several times. I saw you. So you were not motionless.

Now some of you went the extra mile and you held your breath. Very good – but still, you were a far cry from being motionless. While you were standing there, your blood was flowing through your veins and arteries at a speed of about 1 foot every second. That’s a lot of motion!

Also, if you had breakfast this morning, you had food moving through your digestive track at about 2 miles per hour. So while you thought you were standing still, the breakfast within you was on the move.

But that’s not all. Every atom and every molecule of your body is in constant motion. The nature of atoms is that they are always moving, vibrating, colliding with each other. In fact, its the movement of atoms that cause us to feel heat. When something gets hotter, it means that it’s atoms are moving faster. When something get colder, it means that it’s atoms are moving slower. So as long as there is some heat, there is some movement. That means, that unless your body temperature has dropped to -459º Fahrenheit, (which is what they call absolute zero), if you are not that cold, then the atoms in your body are still moving.

The fact is, we simply cannot remain motionless. It’s physically impossible. We are always moving. Even if we discount all those tiny motions that happen within our body that we just talked about, we are still in motion.

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What Is A Christian?

What does it mean to be a Christian? What’s Christianity all about? And forgive me if that seems to be a silly question to ask in church on a Sunday morning. After all, don’t we all know what Christianity is all about? What it means to be a Christian? Why, just last Sunday we talked about how Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on a cross in our place and how because of that, we can be completely forgiven of our sins if we choose to accept God’s forgiveness. The Bible tells us that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and if we believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian? Being saved? Having eternal life? Being forgiven?

Well, yes. Accepting Christ as our Saviour does mean that we are saved, that we’ve been forgiven, and that we have the hope of eternal life. But what does that really mean? I mean, how does that affect your life right now? What difference does it make? Is Christianity merely a ‘get out of jail free’ card for when you die? Is it just a ticket to heaven? Is the Christian life about collecting heavenly airmiles by our good behavior so we can cash them in for a bigger mansion when we get to heaven? Is that what Christianity is all about?

Or does God have something else in mind? Is there something more to being a Christian than just being saved?

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Eatin’ That “Christian Food”

This devotional is a rehash of an earlier post, Livin’ on Strained Carrots. That devotional was written for grades 7 thru 12 and this is a re-write for grades 1 thru 6.

Today I want to teach you guys something very important. The thing I want to teach you is pretty easy to do, but there are lots of grown-ups that still don’t know how to do it. In fact, the thing that I’m going to teach you is so important, that if you learn how to do it today, and you start doing it – you will never be the same! Do you want to know what I’m going to teach you? I’m going to teach you how to feed yourself.
Before you tell me that you already know how, I want to play a little game.

Game:

Three contestants blindfolded, guess what object they hold. If they are right, they win the object.(Pop, Smarties, and baby food)

Imagine that it’s Christmas time. Christmas day, actually. All of your relatives have arrived and it’s time for the feast. There’s a big turkey (or ham or whatever your family usually eats complete with all the trimmings. Name a few of the things you would have at your Christmas meal…
So there’s all this food just waiting to be eaten, someone asks the blessing on the food and everyone digs in – except you. For you, your mom or your dad opens a jar of baby food and starts feeding you that stuff.
How would you like that? No way! That would be gross. And besides, you’re not a baby anymore! You don’t need your parents to feed you – you can feed yourself!
But you know… you couldn’t always feed yourself, could you? When you were a baby, you had to be fed by your parents. You had no teeth and all you could eat was baby food. But aren’t you glad you grew up and learned how to eat regular food all by yourself?
Today, I want to show you how you can grow up as a Christian and feed yourself spiritually. If you don’t know what that means, that basically means that I want to show you how to be really good friends with God.

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