Connecting Point – May 17, 2023

It's obvious that God Is Up To Something in regards to our Church's ministry. In the past 4 weeks, we've averaged 750 more people per week attending our in-person Sunday services than we did during this time span last year. This is happening during the height of NOLA's Festival season, which coincides with Baseball, Graduation and Prom seasons. And it's also happening in spite of the fact that we've re-launched our Iglesia Celebration ministry from scratch. We had great responses to our There's A Script For That sermon series. And we had a terrific start to our Navigating The Challenges sermon series on Mother's Day. Since Easter we've had 216 salvations and 62 baptisms in our worship services. So take a moment to rejoice in what the Lord is doing in, for and through our Church's ministry, and to express our gratitude to the Lord for the privilege of serving Him alongside some of the finest people on our planet.

As I mentioned above, we had a great start to our Navigating The Challenges series on Mother's Day. In this new sermon series we're exploring some of the challenges that individuals and families are faced with in the closest relationships of life. In upcoming messages in this series we're going to be learning how to deal with the challenges of Marriage, Sex, Communication, Faith, Conflict, Singleness, and Divorce.

This past Sunday our message was about Navigating The Challenges Of Parenting - a helpful message for Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Teachers, etc. Here are some important points that we learned from Sunday's sermon that was based on Deuteronomy 6.

  • Physical, educational, emotional and relational growth are important for children, but the spiritual growth of children and teens must be a top priority of parents.

  • Challenges to "staying on the right path" (Proverbs 22:6) that Children face include: 1) separated households (because their birth parents haven't stayed together); 2) decreased time with parents; 3) the crisis of fatherlessness (many children today grow up not knowing their father, or being rejected by their father, or not having enough quality, encouraging time with their father); 4) more exposure than previous generations to wrong ideologies, moral depravity and ungodly influences via media channels and technology; 5) family addictions and violence; 6) more frequent bullying in today's culture; and 7) less education about and demonstration of Christian beliefs and values.

  • "When young people lack a basic Biblical/Christian belief system they are: 225% more likely to be angry with life, 216% more likely to be resentful, 210% more likely to lack purpose in life, 200% more likely to be disappointed in life, 200% more likely to steal, 200% more likely to hurt someone, 300% more likely to use drugs, and 600% more likely to attempt suicide." - Josh McDowell, The Last Christian Generation.

  • Good and godly parenting can make a great difference in the health, happiness, decisions and destinies of the Children we have in our lives.

In Sunday's sermon our Pastors and I presented 6 principles based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 that can help Parents, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, etc. to help their Children live strong, successful lives. To check out Sunday's sermon go to your Campus social media site, or click here.

God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us

We also learned this past Sunday that beliefs determine people's values and behavior, which is one of the reasons I've been sharing in our Connecting Point Blogs that we must embrace and lead others to embrace certain beliefs and values if we're to make a difference for good and for God in our world. I've said in previous Connecting Points that we must believe that:

  • God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us

  • Jesus Is The Only Son Of God And Savior Of The World

  • The Bible Is God's Word, Authority And Guide For Our Lives

  • The Holy Spirit Lives In And Empowers Christ-Followers

  • Christians Are To Live Differently Than The Rest Of The World

  • The Church Is Christ's Body And Primary Vehicle For Ministry

I'm going to conclude this series by saying that we must believe and lead our people to believe that Everyone will spend eternity either in Heaven or Hell. In our day and time, there's not much talk about heaven or hell, because people are so focused on what's happening in this life. And because a lot of people, even many professing Christians, believe that if people are good they're going to make it to heaven in the next life. But that's not what the Bible teaches.

  • Jesus said, "The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way." (Matthew 7:13)

  • Jesus also said, "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

In this past Sunday's sermon, we learned about the importance of sharing our faith 

Jesus' words remind us that the only way for people to make it to heaven is for them to put their faith and trust in Him, and then demonstrate that faith and trust in their lives. I read one time about a mischievous (I hate to say "bad") boy named Dylan. Someone asked him, "Dylan, how do you expect to get into heaven?" And he said, "I'm going to keep running in and out and slamming the door until the Lord says, "For heaven's sake, Dylan, come on in." That's not what's going to get people to Heaven. Your family members and my family members and your friends and my friends and your neighbors and my neighbors are going to have to surrender their lives to Jesus and become devoted followers of Him (John 14:6). And if they're not wanting and willing to do that, they're going to spend eternity, separated from God and from us, in that terrible place the Bible refers to as Hell. What that means is that we need to make sure that everyone we know has begun a relationship with Jesus, and even try to lead people we barely know (or don't even know) into a relationship with Him as well.

In this past Sunday's sermon, we learned about the importance of especially sharing our faith with the young, teenage, and adult children we have in our lives. Here is what I said about that.

Listen, Mom and Dad. I'm sure that you have some great goals in your life for your children - career goals, marriage goals, financial goals, and spiritual goals. But your greatest goal in life should be to win your child or children to faith in Jesus Christ. And then help them to grow to become a mighty or woman of God. So let me ask you a Question. "Do you know if your child or children know the Lord?  Have you asked them?  Have you told them why it's important for you to know Him? Have you told them how important your relationship with Jesus Christ is?" The reason I'm a Christian today is because my Mother fervently and faithfully witnessed to me. Here is something that amazes me. People make all kinds of plans for life. They make holiday plans, vacation plans, financial plans, educational plans, and plans for the security of their families. But they make little or no preparation at all for their family's eternal security or destiny. So here is another question I have for you. "How is Heaven going to be Heaven for you if your loved ones aren't there because you never told them about Jesus and about how important He is to you and about how important He needs to be to them?" Charlie Shedd in his book, "Promises to People" wrote to his children, "I promise that I will do everything I can to put your hand in the hand of the Heavenly Father." Would you be willing to make that promise to your children today? Would you be willing to do anything and everything you can to connect your children or grandchildren to the Lord? Would you be willing to pray in front of them? Would you be willing to get up and come to Church even on weekends when it's inconvenient to do so or you don't feel like doing so? Would you be willing to get involved with other Christians in a Life Group so they can see that other adults love the Lord and live for Him? Would you be willing to live a godly life before them? Would you be willing to show them that Christianity is fun?

75% of all people who have ever come to Jesus did so before the age of 15. Don't push them and rush them. But if you will talk about the Lord to them, read and explain the Bible to them, and bring them to church where they will be exposed to godly adults, teens, and children who will encourage them, it will be the best thing that you will ever do for them. May that, therefore, be a priority for all of us who have Children in our lives in the days ahead.

A Pastor was talking to a group of kids, and he was asking them the question, "Why do you love God?" He got a variety of answers from the children. But the one that he liked best came from a little boy. That boy said, "I don't know why I love God, Pastor. My grandparents love God. My Parents love God. My older brother and sister love God. I guess that 'loving God' just runs in my family." May that be said about every family at Celebration Church.

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Be sure to join us on upcoming Sundays in May as we learn about Navigating The Challenges Of Marriage, of Sex, and of Communication. These are "must attend" services for Singles as well as Couples. Be sure to encourage your friends and family members to come with you. And always remember that...

Jesus Changes Everything!

Gratefully Yours,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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