Impact the Church

Impact the Church

by Rev. Doug Gray

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up. Maybe we can think about that together for a moment.

 What’s one sign that you are growing up?

[Take responses from the congregation.]

 I think there’s a part of each of us that really doesn’t want to grow up—ever. You know, like Peter Pan, we kind of wish we could live in Neverland and just run around in the woods and play all day, and never grow up. In our passage for today, Paul talks a lot about growing up or maturing in our faith, and how we can have an impact on and through our church.

 First, growing up in Christ is normal. When our oldest, Morgan, was born she nursed for a while, and that was good, but when she started eating rice and baby food she started to put on wait and she slept through the night…and that was great! Did you ever try some of the baby food? Some of it’s ok…but some of it…nasty! Of course, the next big step was giving her small bits of the same food we were eating. She loved that! And I can’t blame her. Growing up is normal. Our diet and activities change too as we mature. In fact, a baby that never matures is a terrible, terrible tragedy. And it’s a terrible tragedy when we don’t grow up spiritually. What does it mean to grow up spiritually? What does it mean to be spiritually mature? Paul says it’s to be “like Christ in everything.” If you want to know what God wants the mature you to look like, to be like, to act like, and to feel like it’s Jesus Christ. Growing up into Christ is normal people for folks who follow Jesus do.

 Second, sometimes we go through times of great growth. Think back on your life for a moment. Can you pick out a time when you grew a lot as a person, perhaps in your relationship with God?

 [Take responses from the congregation.]

 What do all these times of great growth have in common? Intense challenge. In his book, Breathing Under Water:  Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, Richard Rohr writes, “Until you bottom out, and come to the limits of your own fuel supply, there is no reason for you to switch to a higher octane of fuel…You will not learn to actively draw upon a Larger Source until your usual resources are depleted and revealed as wanting. In fact, you will not even know there is a Larger Source until your own sources and resources fail you. Until and unless there is a person, situation, event, idea, conflict, or relationship that you cannot ‘manage,’ you will never find the True Manager. So God makes sure that several things will come your way that you cannot manage on your own.” God wants to use the challenge to make us like Jesus Christ. Jesus faced challenges too. before He was going to die a horrible death, Jesus knew what was coming. Would He trust God, or His own abilities? So Jesus took some friends, and

 “They came to a garden called Gethsemane and Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ ... Distress and anguish came over Him, and He said, “The sorrow in My heart is so great that it almost crushes Me.” Mark 14:32–34 (TEV)

“Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not mine!” Mark 14:36 (NLT)

That prayer is the heart of spiritual maturity. Jesus gets it—it’s not about what He wants…it’s about what God wants. Are you facing troubles in your life right now? Does it feel like they will never end? As you look into the face of that trouble, the real prayers are “God be with me! Show me what You want and help me do it. Use this situation and me for Your glory.” Then trust. God doesn’t promise it will be easy, but we don’t have to worry if we go in God’s way. The promise of the resurrection is that if we learn to seek and walk with the True Manager, there is new life on the other side of the challenge, a life with greater depth, inner peace and more profound joy.

  Dear friends, in every church’s life, the fellowship comes to a crossroad, a moment when God lays before them a real, intense challenge. We face one of those times of high adventure and great growth right now. For some of us, this Generosity Initiative seems scary, risky. We can’t see the whole road ahead, and it makes us anxious and worried. That’s ok. That’s normal. If that’s you, take a deep breath with me right now. We are about to learn how to walk by faith not by sight. For a lot of us, all the talk about faith and love is nice on Sunday morning, but we go back to the real world on Monday. Aha! Well, guess what? We are in the real world right now, and all that faith stuff we talk about in church? This generosity initiative is where we get to actually try it out for real. Because God wants to be for real in our lives, not just a Sunday morning thing. God wants to be for real in our lives, for us to grow in our trust in Him. Now we get to learn to trust God for real, with our money and our lives. We don’t have to see every step, just the next one. Then we pray, “God show me what you want!” And we step out the way God shows us. And then we look for the next step, and we do the same thing. That’s faith friends, and we are going to walk it together. We will hold hands as we go, because we will feel safer that way, because we will feel each other’s hope and bring God’s courage to each other. We will hold hearts as we go, because we are all going to be learning how to do this together, and we will have to be thoughtful of each other. Part of the challenge for us is that we are not doing this for ourselves, for our own egos, but for God. So we will have to listen to each other in love, because we all want to do what God wants, and we will all have our part to play. “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” By the way, I don’t really know exactly how all this will go, but I trust that God has given us this vision, of a bigger welcome, better community and deeper faith.

First, recognize our giftedness in humility. One day, a highway patrol woman pulled over a car for speeding. As the officer was writing the ticket, she noticed several machetes in the car. “What are those for?” she asked suspiciously. “I'm a juggler,” the man replied. “I use those in my act.” “Well, show me,” the officer demanded. The juggler took out the machetes and started juggling them; first three, then more until he was tossing seven at one time, overhand, underhand, behind the back, putting on a dazzling show in the breakdown lane of the highway and amazing the officer. Just then, another car passed by. The driver did a double take, and said, “My God. I've got to give up drinking! Look at the test they're giving now.” The thing I find interesting is that for the guy who is good at it, it’s no big deal to juggle the machetes by the side of the road. The officer and the other driver think it’s amazing, but for the person juggling—meh, no big deal. Paul talks about how we have gifts God has given us—things we are so good at, we just do them and God blesses them. Are you good at taking care of things? Are you good at organizing? Are you good at teaching? Maybe you like to cook or make people at home. Every person is gifted by God to be a blessing in ways that others on the outside will look at and say, “Wow! That’s incredible!” Each one of you brings some unique things to our life together.

 Second, understand our need to grow together. Paul writes, “The gifts he gave were…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Paul is clear that we are not going to just grow up in Christ, but that we need to grow up together. We want to know and grow with each other, to understand what makes another person smile, and to do things together. At the same time, we are meant to all reach “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Not just one of us, but all of us together. In the 1950s, a group of scientists was studying the Japanese monkey on the island of Koshima. “Scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. An 18-month-old female…found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.” For several years, one by one, family by family, the monkeys learned how to do this new thing, though a few never gave up eating sandy sweet potatoes. And then one day—and it seemed to happen overnight—it just became the way things were done. It seems that the community came to a tipping point, and one more monkey learning how to live like that, and suddenly, everyone was doing it—and not just on this island, but on all the neighboring islands as well.[1] When one of us matures in Christ, it makes a difference for all of us. But I don’t just want all of us to grow up in Christ because I’m your pastor and pastors want that for their churches. No, I want that for our church because as we mature in Christ, Jesus will be able to make a greater impact on our lives, our families, our community through each of us. Something remarkable happens and Jesus can be clearly seen in us in a way that’s contagious. We need to grow together.

Ten years ago, could we have imagined that God would have brought 20 kids to our Sunday School? Ten years ago, could we have imagined that a 100 people would come to a party at the church? Ten years ago, could we have imagined that we would have our own youth group, and send out missionaries?

For the last four years, our fellowship has been praying about what God wants to come next, dreaming with God about how the grace of Jesus Christ could make an impact on this community. Over the last two years, in particular, haven’t we felt the energy in our fellowship rising? Haven’t we felt God’s Holy Spirit with us when we worship—moments of transforming power and awesome holiness? People in our neighborhood are starting to get it because of God at work in us—that they are loved, that they are welcome, that God wants to show the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ in a way that changes people. But our church’s building is not ready for all these high-energy dreams. Our kitchen isn’t ready for the prime-time hospitality of Jesus Christ. People who use our bathrooms do not leave them singing God’s praises! Jesus came to serve the last, the least and the lost, but if someone has a wheel-chair, we leave them sitting in the entryway, using a second-rate entrance to the basement. As a fellowship, in conversation after conversation, we have recognized that God wants more for us. Our building needs to better reflect the welcome of God. And now we stand on the threshold with a chance to Impact the people of Squantum for Christ, not just for this year, not just for two years, but for decades to come!

One day, a highway patrol woman pulled over a car for speeding. As the officer was writing the ticket, she noticed several machetes in the car. “What are those for?” she asked suspiciously. “I'm a juggler,” the man replied. “I use those in my act.” “Well, show me,” the officer demanded. The juggler took out the machetes and started juggling them; first three, then more until he was tossing seven at one time, overhand, underhand, behind the back, putting on a dazzling show in the breakdown lane of the highway and amazing the officer. Just then, another car passed by. The driver did a double take, and said, “My God. I've got to give up drinking! Look at the test they're giving now.” In this one story we capture the problem churches—including our church—have faced in the past, and also the solution God intends. One reason some people don’t come to church is they are afraid people are going to ask them to do something really hard, perhaps something they don’t want to do—don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to juggle machetes! The solution is to change how we think about ourselves and God, to stop for a moment and rethink why we are here and what we are hoping for. Think about the juggler in our story: for the juggler, what the officer has asked is really easy, a demonstration of something the juggler not only knows how to do but loves to do. I believe that’s what God desires of each of us, living out our spiritual gifts in a way that we think is normal, but others look at and say, “Amazing!” But more importantly, we will be growing—deeper in our relationship with God, wider in our understanding of what it means to serve, stronger in our desire to walk with God.

Part of me wants kids, but a bigger part of me never wants to do homework again. — Matt Donaher

My best friend in high school and I meant a lot to each other. We double-dated, played pranks, went on youth group trips, stayed up all night talking together. But when we went away to college, that was almost the last time we saw each other. It’s not that we ever stopped liking each other, but we just grew apart.

Going from being a teenager who lives at home, to a college student who may not live at home but still relies on her parents for most things, to a grown woman who actually has to take care of everything on her own can be a rough transition. We all experience a hiccup or two along the way, but growing up is part of life, and you can’t just pick and choose which parts of being an adult you like and which ones you don’t. There comes a point where it’s time to ditch the excuses and grow up.

1. YOU STILL REGULARLY ASK YOUR PARENTS FOR MONEY.If it happens once in a while when you’re just starting to get on your feet and figure things out, that’s no big deal. But if you need help from them every month just to pay basic bills, you might have a problem.

2. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO BUDGET. If you have a decent job and make good money but you somehow end up in the hole every month anyway, there must be a reason. Prioritizing your spending money is what adults do, so if you haven’t figured that out yet, there’s no time like the present.

3. YOU CAN BARELY BOIL WATER WITHOUT BURNING IT.Sure, you could eat out every day, but it’s probably a lot healthier (and a lot easier on your newly implemented budget) if you make the majority of your meals at home. You aren’t Carrie Bradshaw — it’s not cute that you keep shoes in your oven.


Rihanna Gives Her Younger Self Advice

By Connatix

4. YOU HOLD GRUDGES.Learning how to forgive is important to not only your own emotional well-being, but it will help you maintain relationships. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you can’t forgive and forget, you might end up pretty lonely one day.

5. YOU ACT ENTITLED.Millennials are always accused of expecting things to fall into their laps with little to no work. If you have an attitude and you act spoiled, people aren’t going to like you, and they won’t want to work with you. It’s as simple as that.

6. YOUR PRIORITIES LEAN MORE TOWARDS PARTYING THAN ANYTHING ELSE.If you’ve ever actually turned down a job you really needed just because it might interfere with your weekend social life, you need to do some serious soul searching.

7. YOU KEEP DATING THE SAME TYPE OF GUY EVEN THOUGH IT NEVER WORKS OUT.They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, and that couldn’t apply more flawlessly to your love life.

8. YOU GOSSIP LIKE IT’S YOUR JOB.Constantly snarking behind people’s backs isn’t a good look. You may think you’re being funny, but guaranteed the people laughing nervously at your jokes are wondering what you say about them when they aren’t around.

9. YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS ARE LIMITED TO TEXT-SLANG AND EMOJIS.Writing a professional sounding cover letter is almost impossible, and you actually catch yourself saying the word hashtag out loud. Time for a smartphone intervention.

10. YOU STILL CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK… A LOT.Whether it’s what you eat for lunch, the music you listen to, or the dress you wear out for your birthday, you always need a posse of followers to validate your decisions.

11. YOU HAVE NO SELF CONTROL.You’ll buy those shoes you can’t afford, have three more drinks than you should on a regular basis, and never think twice before starting fights with anyone and everyone. Your judgement seems to have a couple screws loose.

12. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE DRAMATIC AND CONSTANTLY IN FLUX.You’re all about the on-again, off-again relationships and fights with friends are a regular occurrence. No one ever really knows what your moods will bring, but it’s always a roller coaster.

13. YOU COMPLAIN BUT NEVER TRY TO CHANGE ANYTHING.If you want things to change, you have to get out there and change them. No one else is going to do it for you. And yet, you seem to be content complaining non-stop to anyone who will listen.

14. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH AUTHORITY.Would you say you still kind of have that stubborn mind set where if anyone tells you to do something you have a strong urge to do the exact opposite, just because? Who do you think you’re helping? Definitely not yourself, that’s for sure.

15. YOU NEVER TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.Even when you make a huge mistake, you’ll never admit it. You’ll rationalize, and pass blame until the cows come home. Nothing is ever your fault,— that’s your story and you’re sticking to it. But it actually takes a lot more maturity to apologize for your mistakes, and people would respect you a lot more for it.

15 Signs It's Time To Grow Up

·       by Melissa Dixon


·       – on Aug 10, 2016


·       in Girl Talk

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Everyone has to grow up at some point in life but in order to make a change, you have to realize it is time. You can’t rely on everyone else to take care of you for the rest of your life. If you can relate to these signs that it’s time to grow up then you need to take a good hard look at your life and decide that it is time to make a change. Everyone around you probably already knows and have maybe even discussed how immature you are behind your back. Put their gossip to rest by making a change and grow up already. It may take some time and will definitely take a lot of effort but once you decide to make a change you will be well on your way to becoming a responsible adult who makes good decisions. Take this opportunity to stop acting like a child and start adulting!


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15You Don’t Have a Job

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Having a job isn’t the most fun part of anyone’s life but it does pay the bills. As an adult, you have to take more responsibility for your own life by paying your own bills and taking care of your own needs. You can’t rely on other people to take care of you forever and once you get a job you will gain more respect from those around you. Create a resume or start filling out some applications and hit the job trail right away. This is one of the most important steps in becoming an adult and taking care of yourself. You don’t have to love your job but you do have to do your best, work hard, and before you know it you will be on to bigger and better things. Once you build up some experience to put on your resume you can look for something that pays better or a job you actually look forward to each day.

14You Spend Most of Your Time Playing Games

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How do you expect anyone to take you seriously if you spend most of your time sitting in front of a computer playing games or staring at your smartphone? If you are always holding onto an Xbox controller how are you supposed to live your life? Your time just flies by when playing games and before you know it your life is going to pass by too. Get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air, enjoy things in the real world instead of always being in virtual reality. Don’t waste all of your time staring at electronics when you can head out and have some real life experiences. Life will pass you by if you don’t get out there and live it like you were intended to. Call up some friends and head out for a day in the park, life experience will help you grow up faster than a day spent playing video games.

13You Never Have Your Own Money 

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One of the most annoying things for most people is being hit up for money constantly. If every time you reach out to your friends or family you are asking for a loan or handout they are going to stop taking your calls. Why should they have to work hard for their money just to hand it to you? People in the real world have to work hard all day in order to afford the luxuries that have come so easily to you. Make your own money and then you will appreciate the hard work your friends and family have put in while giving you handouts whenever you ask. You will appreciate every dollar you make after having to work hard like everyone else. Your family and friends will begin to respect you once you earn your own money especially if you make an attempt to pay everyone back that you borrowed from over the years.

12All of Your Friends are Starting a Family

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Everyone you went to school with is getting married or having kids or hitting both of these milestones. It seems that every time you log into social media there is another engagement notification coming up or a new baby picture posted from one of your friends. You may decide that you don’t want to get married or that you do not want to have any kids but that doesn’t mean you should spend the rest of your life sleeping on your mom and dad’s couch. If everyone around you is buying their first house or moving out of their parents home to their first apartment it may be time for you to do the same. Your parents would be proud of you for getting on with your life, after all, they raised you to become an adult someday -they don’t want you slacking off and hanging around their house until the end of time.

11You Sleep Until Noon

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If you are staying up late every night and sleeping until noon every day, you definitely need to get a grip on your life. Unless you are an emergency room doctor that works the midnight shift, you need to adjust your schedule and start living a normal life. Most jobs at entry level positions are going to require you to start your day in the morning and sleep at night. Changing your sleep schedule can be a tricky thing at first but after a few days of waking up extra early, you will be able to go to sleep at a more normal time at night. Getting your schedule in check is a big part of growing up, sleeping all day will only lead to your life passing you by. Wake up a decent time and start looking for a job, you will need to keep better hours in order to keep a good job anyway so start getting your schedule on track now.

10You Party Every Night

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Going out with a group of friends and partying every night is a good sign that you need to grow up. Not only is this harder to do as we age because our bodies can’t handle it after a certain point but in order to get up in the morning for a real job, you may have to spend a few nights in each week. Try to reserve the weekends for partying and enjoy quiet evenings at home during the work week or at least lay off the drinking the night before you have to head to work. Nothing says you need to grow up more than getting fired from a job for being lazy due to a hangover. Even if you think you are slick and getting away with it, the people around you can tell when you come in sweating alcohol out of your pores and avoiding doing any work when possible. Get some rest before heading to work and make an effort to keep your job, that’s what grown ups do.

9You Can't Even Cook

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If you eat like a five-year-old, constantly shoving chicken nuggets and fries into your mouth you may want to learn how to cook. The older you get too the more your body will hate you for eating like there's no care in the world. You can’t always rely on mom to cook you a homemade meal when you are in need of some actual nourishment and nutrients from your food. Head to the store and pick up some cookware, a cookbook, and a few basic grocery items. You can even google recipes that have step by step instructions for beginner cooks so you can’t mess it up. Start basic and cook yourself a grilled cheese sandwich paired with a bowl of tomato soup. Start keeping basic cooking supplies stocked in the refrigerator like butter, milk, and cheese. Have spices on hand, pick up some meats and veggies and before you know it you will be making meal plans like a real adult.

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8Your Eating Habits Have Never Changed

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As we age unfortunately it is important to pay more attention to our bodies and lay off the junk food. If you eat cookies for breakfast and cake for dinner every day it will catch up to you soon. As we get older our nutritional needs change and we start to pack on the pounds due to slower metabolism as well. Try a protein shake for breakfast and skip all of the junk food as meals, your body will thank you. Over time your child-like taste buds will adjust and you will actually enjoy eating more healthy options. You may even start to crave a fruit salad instead of a handful of cookies for breakfast. Pack your lunches to include healthier foods so that you aren’t tempted to swing through a drive-thru for chicken nuggets and ice cream. You may even get invited out on a real dinner date now that you enjoy eating at more upscale restaurants rather than yelling your order through a clown’s mouth.

7You Act as if You Are Entitled to Everything

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Everyone has to work in life to be able to afford both basic needs as well as luxuries. You can’t expect everyone to pay your bills and give you everything you have always wanted while they struggle to meet their own basic needs. When you were a kid that was acceptable behavior only on the grounds that you weren’t able to understand how the world worked just yet. Adults are held to a higher standard as they should be, and you need to work for what you want in life, nobody is going to just hand it to you. You have no right to expect everyone else to give you everything you want without putting any effort in yourself. If you work hard for what you want you will appreciate it more but feeling entitled to everything is only going to make you feel like you are constantly unfulfilled and want more.

6You Never Take Responsibility

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If you are always blaming things on everybody else and not taking responsibility for your own actions or decisions you definitely need to grow up! It’s nobody else's fault when you mess up in life, it’s about time to start taking some responsibility for your own actions. You can’t keep blaming other people for your problems and this is certainly not the way to try and fix them. If you never take responsibility for your own actions then you will never be able to change your ways. Your friends and family are probably extremely annoyed at your lack of owning up to your problems and if things don’t change they may never take you seriously. Start taking responsibility for both the good and bad things in your life and work on fixing what is wrong rather than blaming everyone else for your own shortcomings. Own up to your own mistakes and then you can start to take pride in that things that you are doing right.

5You Have Never Paid a Bill

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If you have made it this far in life without paying a bill, chances are your free ride is about to come to a screeching halt soon. Nobody wants to support an adult when they are fully capable of taking care of themselves. Supporting yourself financially is a big step in life and it is definitely important when you are transitioning into adulthood. Take pride in your hard work and buy your own things instead of letting other people foot the bill for you all of the time. You will appreciate everything a little more that you earn with your own money rather than taking things for granted because they have come so easily to you in the past. Once you start to earn your own money and begin to pay your own bills you will start to respect other people's hard work and not expect them to pay for everything anymore.

4You Still Throw Temper Tantrums

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There is nothing more embarrassing than an adult throwing a temper tantrum! Just being in the presence of someone who is clearly an adult but acting like a toddler can make everyone within a mile radius uncomfortable. You clearly have a lot of growing up to do if you are throwing temper tantrums as an adult and this behavior is extremely unhealthy as well as unattractive. Get it through your head that you are not entitled to anything and create your own happiness. Don’t rely on everyone else to make you happy because this is only going to lead to more temper tantrums when you don’t get your way. Learn to be in control of your emotions and take deep breaths to get through the rough spots until you can get a handle on the situation. Being in control of your actions starts with being more aware of your feelings and the triggers that normally would cause temper tantrums.

3You Don't Clean Up After Yourself

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Everyone makes a mess in their daily life but usually they take responsibility and clean up after themselves. There is a famous saying that some people use when talking about a coworker who doesn’t clean up after themselves at work: Your mother doesn’t work here, so clean up after yourself. The problem with that is that it implies that it is your mother's job to clean up after you and that is just not the case. Even when you are living at home or visiting your family you can’t expect your mother or father to follow you around cleaning up your messes forever. Clean up after yourself and even offer to lend a hand to others to help them clean up. Your parents would appreciate it and it definitely is a big step in growing up as well as a great way to build a little character by helping others out.

2You are Unreliable

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If you are always late to every event you attend or never call your friends back when they leave you messages, you are unreliable and it has probably been noticed by everyone you know. It can be really annoying for those around you to deal with your unreliable ways and if you don not change them soon you may lose a friend in the process. Saying you are going to meet up at a certain time and not showing up even if you had the intentions of going doesn’t just make you unreliable it makes you a liar. Try a little harder to leave your house early or make sure to not over-schedule to the point where you are having to cancel plans constantly. This is not a good behavior to continue to have and it will constantly cause problems for you as an adult in the real world.

1You are Always Complaining

Don’t be the friend who is impossible to please and always complaining about where you hang out or what you eat. Not only is it unattractive but it is extremely annoying. Nobody wants to be around someone who is always a downer and brings the rest of the group down with them. It can ruin everyone's good time to be around constant complaints and criticism. Try to be a little more positive and be the one to keep everyone's spirits up. Go out of your way to compliment your friends on their appearance or their choice of activities to enjoy together. Put a positive spin on everything and you will begin to see things in a more positive way. It won’t be long before you feel happier and don’t have any criticisms at all. Before you know it you will not be the one who is known as the constant complainer.

[1]Ken Keyes, Jr, The Hundredth Monkey, 1984.