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THE JOURNEY

Date: 
April 2, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 9: 18-23

THEME: Faith is a journey, not a destination… “Every journey begins with a single hop!” (Kermit)

INTRODUCTION

  • Confirmation Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the year to preach… the Confirmation Sermon is my favorite sermon of the year to preach… I love the opportunity to talk to our young people…
  • During our final class I asked the young people what they thought my sermon should be about this morning… they came up with several pretty good ideas… and then, with a little bit of prompting, they suggested that I preach about “the journey.”
  • Since mid-October, Cindy and I and the eight mentors have been on a very exciting journey with the members of this year’s Confirmation Class… actually Cindy has been journeying with most of them since they first began walking and talking, which is one of the reasons they are such a responsive and responsible group who feel very much at home at the Dennis Union Church.
  • One of the things we have stressed with our Confirmation Class is that faith is a journey – a life-long journey – and the journey is different for each one of us…
    • Faith, like life, is a journey, not a destination…
    • Words for the Journey is the title of the book we used in our Confirmation program this year… the book is a series of letters written by two U.C.C. pastors to their own teenage children about the faith journey…
    • Faith does not come all at once, like a bolt of lightning out of the sky…
    • Faith is much more than answering, “I do, with the help of God,” to the questions on the bulletin insert…
    • Faith is much deeper and life-changing than an intellectual belief in God…
    • Faith is trusting God with your life… let me repeat that – faith is trusting God with your life.
    • Faith is saying “yes” to God and seeing what follows… once we say “yes” to God our lives will never be the same again…
  • Today you (the confirmands) have joined the church – today you have become a part of the body of Christ officially…
    • The church is not a building… the church is a living, breathing community of faith… it is people, you and me, and many others… we are the church together…
    • If we are serious about our faith, we are all seekers on a journey…
  • The sermon this morning is very, very simple – perhaps one of the simplest sermons you will ever hear… today I want to tell you four things about your faith journey…

THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END

  • The first thing I want to tell you is that you are at the very beginning of the journey, not the end…
    • Confirmation is not a graduation… it is a commencement – just the beginning.
    • You have not arrived… you’re just taking off…
    • As Kermit the Frog says, “Every journey begins with a single hop!”
    • Confirmation is one step, one single hop, on your faith journey…
  • Your parents and grandparents nurtured you through the crawling stage and “baby steps” of your journey, but now it’s time to develop a faith of your own that will sustain you throughout your life…
  • Life is challenging and the road is not always smooth… you will need a faith of your own to sustain you… faith is like a toothbrush… everybody needs one, but it’s not good use someone else’s…
    • From this point forward, your faith will come through experience…
    • Your faith will grow as your relationship with God develops…
  • I encourage you to keep learning… keep growing… keep your mind open… listen for God’s voice in your life…
  • You are at the very beginning of an exciting, life-long journey - an adventure with God.

OTHERS WILL JOURNEY WITH YOU

  • The second thing I want to tell you is that you’ll meet all sorts of people on your journey – many will be good and some will not be so good…
  • I’ve climbed Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire at least 50 times, enough times to know that along the popular White Dot Trail there are some climbers who will knock you over on their rush to reach the summit, and there are others who will reach out a hand to help you around the biggest rocks and offer an encouraging word when the trail is steep….
  • On your faith journey you will encounter good people who will keep you pointed in the right direction and encourage you to grow… but sadly you will encounter others who think that faith is a bunch of hogwash and they’ll try to knock you off the path…
  • Choose the right people to follow on your faith journey…
    • It matters incredibly who you follow…
    • It matters incredibly what you believe…
    • It matters incredibly what you do…
  • I encourage you to follow folks who are true Christians because they seek the best in others, they are compassionate, caring, and forgiving…

BUMPS ALONG THE WAY

  • The third thing I want to tell you is that there will be “bumps” along the way…
    • As you read the Bible it becomes quite evident that the journey is not easy…
    • Your future is not neatly planned out for you…
    • I trust that God has a purpose for your life, but not a plan... there is a difference between a purpose and a plan…
    • There are no guarantees in life…
  • Don’t get bent out of shape by the bumps along the road… the bumps, if you face them as you should, will build character, courage, and faith…
  • There will be times when your fears get the better of you… lean on your faith.
  • There will be times when your doubts block your way, but doubt is not the enemy of faith… doubt is the companion of faith… sometimes our doubts help to deepen our faith and our relationship with God…
  • There may be difficult times along the road when you want to cry out, “Why me, Lord?” or “This isn’t fair. What did I do to deserve this?” – remember that God promises to give you comfort, not to keep you comfortable. (JRH)
  • I encourage you to trust God with your life…

YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE

  • The fourth and final thing I want to tell you about your faith journey is that you will never walk alone…
  • Once you say “yes” to God, you will always walk God as your partner…
    • From this day forward you will never be alone… God has been with you to this point in your life… and God will continue to be with you as you walk into the future…
    • When things are going well you may not acknowledge God’s presence, but God will still be with you…
    • When life is especially tough, you will appreciate God’s presence in your life…
  • I encourage you to be in conversation with God every step of your journey…
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the journey…

CONCLUSION

  • Jesus said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
    • The cross is not about burdens…
    • The cross is about commitment and the opportunity to be a light shining in the darkness…
    • The cross is about seeking peace and the wellbeing of others…
    • What it means to take up your cross daily may be different for each one of you, but the meaning will become more clear as your faith journey continues. (JRH)
  • Faith is indeed a journey and we are seekers on that journey…
    • Your journey takes a single hop forward today…
    • May your journey continue well beyond this day…
    • Remember, it is your actions that will show others what you believe and who you believe in…
    • And as folks look at you, may they always know that you are Christians by your love…

 

Sermon Seeds

  • Words for the Journey – Martin Copenhaver and Anthony Robinson – Pilgrim Press – 2003
  • Faith As A Journey Not Destibation – a sermon by Joy R. Haertig (rbucc.org)

 

Worship Bulletin