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Live out your faith, share your hope

Built on a Rock
Pastor Nita Parker, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Hills

John 12:44-46: “Then Jesus cried aloud: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.”
Greetings! As I read this text, I was thinking of all the people who have been baptized, confirmed and learned about Jesus in our area. Where are they all? Why are our small towns getting smaller and our large cities getting bigger? Where are our children, and what are they doing?
Being a baptized member of the body of Christ does not end at the walls of our churches. Being a baptized member of the family of God means we take what we learn within the confines of a building and live it out in the world.
Living out our faith is what Jesus is asking each of us to do. Whoever believes in Jesus must believe in the God of life!
This past week we celebrated 150 years as a worshiping community of faith at Bethlehem. We marked that celebration with some impressive decorations that had real meaning.
One was the beautiful flock of doves that hang from the rafters of our church. Each dove is inscribed with the individual name of a person who was baptized in one of the three churches that make up Bethlehem Lutheran Church and the date on which that person was baptized.
Though many of the people have passed on to heaven, when they were alive, they lived out their faith sharing the love and the light of Jesus to many others in many other places.
Jesus is the light that illuminates the world with his love and moves us all from darkness to light.
Kathy Troccoli sings a beautiful song called, “Take your Candle, Go Light Your World.”
“There is a candle in every soul,
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold;
There is a spirit who brings a fire,
Ignites a candle and makes His home.
So carry your candle, run to the darkness,
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world;
As I listen to this song, it reminds me that all we do is blessed by the Savior. All that we are is a gift from God. When we baptize babies, it is to help them grow into adulthood, full of life and love, full of the Holy Spirit. When we do our job, when we teach and encourage and are blessed by the little ones, we need to be happy when they take their light and go out into the world to share that light with others!
That is the plan, that is the hope! That is God’s goal – sharing the life of Christ with everyone we meet!

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