SERMON TITLE: “Developing Spiritual Strength for Life’s Challenges”
SERMON TEXT: Acts 2:22-24, 37-42 (Children’s Sermon: Mt. 3:13-17)
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: January 12, 2020, at First UMC
Lilla and Killian’s mother Sarah Randall contacted me in early December to tell me that the kids wanted to be baptized. As we started talking about possible Sundays to do that, it seemed like today would be a good fit. Because of the traditional Christian calendar, this second Sunday of January is the most common day for churches everywhere to read the story about Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. Baptism for any of us is a pretty big event, but to be baptized on the same day that Christians around the world are celebrating Jesus’ baptism—that’s pretty cool, don’t you think?
Of course, any time we talk about Jesus’ baptism or baptize anyone in our congregation, such an act is a great time for all of us to recall the baptismal vows which either we made for ourselves or our parents made on our behalf. Any time a child, youth, or adult is baptized in our church, that sacrament of washing away sin and initiation into the community of faith provides an opportunity for each of us to renew our own commitment to God.
In worship this month, we’re talking about developing strength for the inevitable challenges life will throw at us. Last week, we talked about how—while we might not know everything that’s going to happen to us in this new year—we certainly know that every challenge in life is easier if we’re physically healthy and strong. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll explore relational strengths and skill strengths. Today, though, as we recall and reaffirm our own baptisms, I want us to look at the baptism story in Acts chapter two, and see how we might go about developing spiritual strength for life’s challenges.