Grow up! – Maturity is defined by what you eat…
(This series of posts is a follow-up to a sermon preached at Cross and Crown on October 15 by Pastor Mike Geiger. The video to that sermon is found at THIS LINK.)
“Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
What do you crave? I have to say that it is much easier to crave the food that is not so good for me. At our pastors’ conference earlier this week the snack table was filled with chips, candy bars, rice crispy bars, and coolers of soda as well as water. There was a bowl of grapes and a cooler of water. Inside I wanted to load up on the things that weren’t so good for me. I will admit in the afternoon I broke down and ate a Baby Ruth candy bar…it was good and I haven’t had one in a long time! But I wanted another…
Don’t you wish when you ate a handful of carrots you would crave more of that? Don’t you wish when you had a green salad, you’d want another one later in the day? Craving things that are good for you is part of growing up. I hate to admit it, but I still struggle to crave the food that is good for me.
Spiritual maturity is very similar. The world around us has so many other things we “crave.” We love to watch hours of TV, Netflix or YouTube videos. We can spend hours cruising through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. We dream about the weekend to head to the ranch, the ball diamond, or to the backyard BBQ. At face value these things aren’t inherently bad…it’s just not feeding our faith.
Spiritual maturity comes when we crave “pure spiritual milk.” This “milk” is the basic truth that Jesus loves you by living for you, dying for you and rising again. It is perhaps the clear teachings of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is realizing the mercy of God that reaches out to us to ensure us we are forgiven, loved, and secure in God’s love.
But spiritual maturity doesn’t stay with the basic truths of God’s love, but digs in deeper so that we can help to teach others the truths of Jesus. “…become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)
So here’s a suggestion. Consider how often you are “eating” something from the Word of God and working to put it into practice. Perhaps a start is to get the “Verse of the Day” from biblegateway.com. Perhaps getting a daily devotion from “whataboutjesus.com.” Begin to “taste and see that the Lord is good” once again and realize that healthy spiritual food, like healthy physical food, brings greater energy, healthier emotions, clearer perspective, and much more.
Return regularly to the “pure spiritual milk.” Eat solid food so “by constant use” you are being trained to “distinguish good from evil.”
What do you think? What have you found helpful to grow spiritually a little every day?
What benefits do you have when you are growing in the love of Jesus and his Word?
Thank you to the many for the MANY donations to help those in need.
Donations were given from those in the church, the surrounding community and even mailed in from others outside the area.
Since the Hurricane we have had several waves of supplies that have come in. We wanted to let you know the donations have been given.
As we heard of needs, we were able to respond with the supplies that you all brought.
First, while we anticipated being able to gather and take them to our sister churches in Houston to assist them in offering support to their communities / neighborhoods, the call came to partner with the Georgetown airport who was flying in supplies to numerous shelters in Beaumont, TX. The need there was significant as many of the homes there were 100% flooded and many were in shelters days after the storm. We took several loads of cleaning supplies, food, diapers, hygiene items, blankets and more to the airport to be flown in. We also with a wonderful variety of support were able to take about 1000 PBJ sandwiches over with lunch sides that were able to be taken directly to the shelters. We pray they were helpful and found homes with people who were blessed by them.
Second, as additional items continued to come in …. while we thought we would take those to Houston, we heard again of planes going to Puerto Rico to help the devastation that has occurred there. So we have taken the remainder of the supplies to a drop off site in Austin and they will be flown there this week. Rudy and Humberto from the Puerto Rico Community Center in Austin, were very grateful for supplies.
Thank you all for your time, donations, prayers and support to reach out and care for those in need.
Prayers to share – September 2017
Please pray for our synod’s ministry work… (www.wels.net)
Hurricane Harvey –
Ministerial Education – Lord Jesus, you have called us to send workers into the harvest field of the earth to make disciples of all nations, and we know you go with us. Thank you for blessing our ministerial education schools – two preparatory high schools, a college of ministry, and a seminary – so that our church body has the pastors, teachers, staff ministers, and missionaries needed to serve us and others. Amen.
Atlanta, Ga., Mission – Lord God, as Christians gather to start a new congregation in the city of Atlanta, we pray that you would use this church to welcome the community to the wonders of your gospel. We ask that you would unite the members in Atlanta for the work you have given them and embolden them to proclaim the truth of your salvation, that there may be a resurgence of believers there. Amen.
India – Almighty Father, you have graciously entrusted us with your Holy Word and commanded us to go out into all the world to make disciples of all nations. Bless our efforts as we proclaim the gospel in India and address the needs of the people there. Let this also be an opportunity for us outside of India to reflect on the things we take for granted and to be reminded that you are truly the “one thing needful.” Amen.
Chattanooga, Tenn., Mission – Lord Jesus, in recent years you have worked to grow a community of believers in Chattanooga. Please bless the work of this body as they prepare to incorporate as a congregation, and watch over them in the years to come as they proclaim the gospel to their neighborhoods. If it is your will, let this congregation grow and prosper, that it may serve as an anchor point for many more congregations in the years to come. Amen.
We want to help too! Right now we are serving as a neighborhood collection site, taking supplies to the Red Cross and Relief Centers.
Here is a list of items you could gather and drop off to help:
How can we help with Harvey Relief & Recovery?
(updated Sept 31, 2017)
As prayers and news continue for those on the Texas coast, especially in Houston (America’s 4th largest city) is need of support to recover from Harvey2017. While there are many areas along the coast, the supplies we are gathers are to help Houston.
Help is needed in three ways if you would like to make a difference:
Pray – Pray for those affected and displaced due to the damage and impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Serve & Give:
- donating supplies for relief efforts
- volunteering to serve on a relief team
- providing financial support
For volunteering or financial donations
- Volunteer or Donate – see details here:: https://holyword.net/event/hurricane-relief-how-you-can-help/
- Abiding Word Lutheran Church in Houston: http://awlcs.org/houston-flood-relief/
NOW – Fri. Sept 9th, Cross and Crown is serving as a drop off site for Austin area. We will take supplies to our churches in Houston that are able to distribute them to the community or the Red Cross, shelters or other relief groups who are in need. We are focusing on collecting through Friday, Sept. 8th and then collection efforts will shift to Houston churches and area as it is able to be a staging and distribution center. Any supplies that come in however, we will get to an organization that has needs.
Supplies can be sent or dropped off at: 3800 Shell Road Georgetown, TX 78628
DROP OFF: There is a LARGE GRAY/GREEN COVERED BOX by the front door (under a covered entry should the box be full) – supplies collected and put inside daily.
Note: Churches and other groups desiring to put together a large collection, please see the note on the bottom of the page.
WHAT SUPPLIES TO DONATE:
- NO CLOTHES!! PLEASE DO NOT DROP OFF CLOTHES. There are other organizations that are better equipped to handle the volume that comes with clothes.
Consumable items (frequently asked for by shelters and those displaced from their homes):
- Water (each person needs 1 gal a day)
- Hygiene Items (soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary pads and tampons, etc.)
- Diapers and Wipes (Texas Diaper Bank also collects cash donations)
- SEALED AND Unused Baby food/formula
- Pet food
- Hand sanitizer
- NEW underwear/boxers, socks
- insect repellent
- paper towels, garbage bags (huge black outdoor strength)
Cleaning supplies (these could be put together as “house kits”) (per texas help doc for homeowners)
◆ Air freshener, 8- or 9-ounce can
◆ Bleach, 82 ounces (or mixes for mold and mildew that are disinfectant)
◆ Bucket, 5-gallon, with lid
◆ Cleaner, household, 12- to 16-ounce bottle
◆ Clothes pins, 50
◆ Clothesline, 100 feet
◆ Detergent, liquid laundry, 50 ounces
◆ Disinfectant dish soap, 16- to 28-ounce bottle
◆ Gloves, latex, 2 pairs
◆ Gloves, work, 1 pair
◆ Masks, N-95 rating, 5
◆ Scouring pads, 5
◆ Scrub brush
◆ Sponges, 7
◆ Towels, cleaning, 18
◆ Trash bags, heavy-duty, 33- to 45-gallon, 24-bag roll
Other clean-up supplies to consider: heavy duty razor blades, tools to pull up carpet, cut sheet rock, etc.
- towels, pillows and blankets
- small stuffed animals or blankets for children who are displaced
- travel games, crayons and color books for children in shelters who have lost their home
CONSUMABLE FOOD: (things that can be eaten without cooking)
- power bars, granola bars
- crackers, peanut butter, jelly
- nuts and trail mix
- individually wrapped snacks
Hygiene Care Bags (can be prepped in One Gallon zip locks)(for shelters)
- Nail clippers
- Contact solution/contact case
- Hair brush/comb
- Hair ties
- Small pack of tissues
- Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
To get an idea of what those returning to their homes are advised to prep for and might find helpful,
this is an informative document to understand what those in recovery will need and be doing
Giving blood will be helpful. Find a giving spot at www.weareblood.org or www.redcross.com
Friday Sept 1 from 2:30pm to 6:30pm
Georgetown Parks and Recreation
1003 N. Austin Avenue
Georgetown, TX 78626
CHURCHES LOOKING TO HELP AND COLLECT
WELS/ELS CONGREGATIONS looking to collect large pods and truck loads of supplies should contact Rich Warnecke, with Christian Aid & Relief (CAR) to understand what the needs are. Georgetown is not a staging or distribution area as we are still 3 hours from Houston. Our congregation is collecting supplies, knowing there will be a need in Houston. We will be taking supplies to our Houston’s churches (i.e. Friendswood or Woodlands) or giving our collection of supplies to the Red Cross, a shelter or another organization where they can be used. Those who desire to send a smaller box of supplies to add to our supply collection are welcome to do so PRIOR to Fri. Sept. 8. The “pod” that was referenced is really our fellowship hall – we do not have a “rented outdoor pod” rather are collecting in the church and using trucks once we have a load to take. We are collecting during this time that the road are still impassable into Houston, and anticipate they will open up in Sept and will start to take things over. The “center” for need and collecting things will likely shift to the Houston churches as they understand their congregation needs and ability to serve the community. Currently Andy Retberg at Good Shepherd in the Woodlands has agreed to be a staging area for Houston as they figure out what the needs will be. Again, if you are collecting a small amount of supplies (few boxes), you are welcome to add them to our collection if that is convent for you… otherwise it is best to contact Rich in order to get direction on when, where and what is needed in Houston by the churches there as the needs become clear.
There is a TON of support out there. PLEASE follow this path. Direct ALL inquiries from people who want to help to RICH. He has the infrastructure to manage it. Plans will be reviewed and adjusted along the way — especially a week from now when the pastors and CAR meet in Houston.
We praise God for His grace through this storm and how He has spared great damage to many of our churches. We continue to pray for those still tonight in harms way and displaced by the storms. We ask for wisdom and guidance as we seek to support recovery and restoration efforts.
Thank you all for your prayers, love and concerned for our WELS family on the Texas coast. Blessings