A little child shall lead them.
And a little child did lead Becki and me to Highland Baptist Church. Two little children. Our grandchildren. To give credit where it is due, I had attended Highland Baptist Church at our daughter, Erin’s, invitation to witness her baptism. Perhaps she knew what I was thinking, “but Baptist?” It was from Erin that I first heard the phrase, “Baptist, but…”.
A bit over three years ago, we were again invited to attend the baby dedications of our grandchildren. In my rural, fundamentalist background, I had never experienced a service like that. It had a profound influence on me. To hear this congregation pledge what can only be described as a covenantal relationship with our grandchildren. To promise to teach, to nurture, to sing songs with and to love them. And we began to fall in love with this church. So, it wasn’t long before we began to attend regularly. And as we began to attend, we came to realize what “Baptist, but…” meant. At least to us.
These grandchildren of ours would be given the Freedom to Be. To be who God has created them to be. And to be included, accepted and loved regardless of whoever they may come to BE.
Now, as I watched our grandsons grow from infants to toddlers to preschoolers, one of the things that I have noticed—and I’m sure that you have also noticed—if you have children of your own or if you work with the children here, sharing is HARD. Sharing is really hard. You may have just been given ten new Justice League action figures for your fourth birthday but sharing even one of them with your cousin is really hard! So, to Renee Purtlebaugh and all of you who work with these children to instill Freedom of Generosity, I thank you.
Now, it is obvious that I am going to ask you to think of that covenant made with these beautiful, precious children as you consider what will you share?
But there is one more thing that I have to mention. What is it that you love about Highland Baptist Church? There are so many wonderful ministries that this group offers. What do you love?
As for me, I love Friday Church. I’m not sure how I wandered into a Friday Church service, but I did. I can remember telling my wife, Becki, that it wasn’t pretty like this Sunday morning service is pretty, but it was the most beautiful church service that I had ever seen. The sharing of pain and hope, of strength and weakness, of brokenness and redemption. The Friday evening Exchange of Peace, the sharing of the peace that surpasses understanding will fill your heart with joy.
I love this congregation for its welcoming of those who have been made to feel unwelcome. For its nurturing of the broken in spirit. For its Freedom from shame. And I love it for its covenant to love and nurture my grandchildren and all of Gods children.
We all know Jesus teaching that where your treasure is there will your heart be also. If that is true, then where our heart is, where our love is, that is where we will place our treasure. If your heart connects to God as mine does through this community of Highland, then I invite you to share of the abundance that God has provided to each of us. I invite you to make a commitment to give financially this coming year to the work God will do through us.