Showing items for 'Zach Baum'

Showing items filed under “Zach Baum”

For Young Adults: Developing Firsthand Faith

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If you are a young adult, you are probably finishing up some kind of school or beginning a new career. You may have grown up in church like my wife, who felt like going to church was “what you did” and rarely thought about what she would do when given the option of how to spend her Sunday mornings.

Once she was in college she knew she wanted to have a strong faith, but she didn't know exactly how to live that out for herself. She and I struggled for a while to find our place in the community of Christ, really until we came to understand how important it was to build real and honest relationships with other Christians and to serve alongside them.

To find your place in the community of Christ, you have to get to know what that community looks like. Start by joining or starting a connect group for young adults (like SMASH, Real World, or YMP). Connect groups are where you can build close relationships with people who will understand what's going on in your life and will encourage you in your walk. You will need those relationships when dealing with the ups and downs that come along with college or starting a career.

You may feel a little lost as you transition from being part of your parent’s church activities to having your own church activities and relationships, but trust me when I say that you are not alone. There are many people just like you who are looking for others to connect and share life with. So look around and find some people who are prayerfully going to Jesus and asking him to lead them into developing a community like that described in Ephesians 4. Invite people to join you if you have to!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

- Ephesians 4:11-16

 

At this stage in life you have a lot of new time and freedom. This is the best chance you will ever have to serve in different areas of the church and find where you fit best.

If you are thinking that you want to have a Christ-centered family that does great things in Jesus name, you don't have to wait. That was a big “aha!” that encouraged me to get more active serving. I realized that I did not have to wait to be the head of the family that God wanted me to be--that I could be a part of something whether my family was just me, or me and my wife.

Here at Severn Run we are lucky because there are many teams and ministries where you can serve throughout the year. This is also a great way of getting to know people outside your small group who will also support you and who you can bond with through serving. This is the mature faith that Paul describes in Ephesians 4, that we would each grow together and support one another as the body of Christ.

5 Verses To Give You Peace

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We all want to be at peace, but we allow many things to come between us and that peace that we are looking for. Let's turn to the Bible for answers to those things that separate us from peace. 

1) 1 John 3:1-2

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 

We should reflect on God's love for us and study it. God's love for us is not earned, yet he calls us his own. God is not of Earth and because we are his children, neither are we. This explains why we have so many problems with living in the world. However, we can find great peace in considering God's love for us and that one day we will be with him forever.

2)  Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

In Deuteronomy 31, Moses comforts Joshua telling him that the Lord goes before him, providing as he has promised. We cannot go anywhere God hasn't already been and where he hasn't already been working. We should be courageous because we trust that God is with us and he will not leave us.

3) Ephesians 2:14-18

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 

In Ephesians 2, Paul describes how Jesus has broken down the things that separated the Jews and the Gentiles and now they can come together as one community identified as followers of Christ. Disharmony among believers or between believers and non-believers can only be resolved through Jesus. If we work on improving our relationship with Jesus, drawing him near, then we will see improvement in our other relationships. We are all identified as children of God and by growing closer to him we will grow closer to each other.

4) Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 

A common barrier to peace is the desire for us to accomplish as much as possible in our professional life. Hard work does not have to be a bad thing, but we can begin to idolize our own success and forget to rest. When we rest, we are relying on God to take care of us while we focus on the blessings he has given us. It is important that we prioritize rest, where we do not worry about the future or struggle with our past but go to God and lay our burdens at his feet.

5) Colossians 3:15-16

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

Ultimately, we are our own barrier to peace. Sometimes we get caught in a place where we feel that someone or something in our life is keeping us from peace, but these thoughts are just wrong. The offer of peace is always there, we just have to be willing to soften our hearts and let Christ rule in our hearts as Paul wrote to the Colossians.

 

Jesus wants you to have peace because when you are in Him, you have all you need to live your life. He’s got this!

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How to Share Jesus

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How were you first introduced to Jesus? It’s a good bet that you learned about Jesus because someone shared with you. They shared their personal experiences and the joy that he brought into their life. That person shared with you because they knew the impact Jesus would have in your life. Something about that interaction stuck with you, and your life began to change.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus is at the center of everything when it comes to sharing the gospel. It was Jesus that commanded us to go and make disciples. It is his Spirit that fills us and overflows to others. It will be Jesus that convicts someone and transforms their life when they welcome him into their heart. The number one thing to remember about sharing is that it all comes back to Jesus.

He should remain the center of our conversation:

  • Ask what they think about Jesus.
  • Share your Jesus story-about how Jesus is real and relevant to you.
  • Talk about answered prayers, or how you’ve seen Jesus work in your life or the lives of others. 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6 

Prayer is always a great place to start. Pray for opportunities to share Jesus and know that they will come. We should also pray for boldness in those moments, as it will take some faith to act on those opportunities once they arrive. It can be uncomfortable to open up about your life and how Jesus has changed it. You have to make yourself vulnerable to describe the highs and lows of the walk with Christ, but what makes it uncomfortable is also what makes it so important. Those feelings of triumph and redemption are exactly what we need to communicate. That is real life and what sticks with someone long after.

We can also share Jesus in our every day lives. If we have allowed Jesus to be in every part of our lives then he will always be on our minds and come up naturally. A friend once told me that she thought a coworker was a Christian, so she would often talk to her coworker about their beliefs and what Jesus meant to them. She did not become aware that her coworker had not known Jesus until the coworker told her they had only recently began attending church and accepted Jesus into their life. That's how quickly and powerfully Jesus can transform someone's life once he has been introduced.

As you prepare to follow the command of Jesus to “Go and make disciples,” you can do these things:

  1. Pray that Jesus will bring people into your life who are seeking him, and for your courage and boldness to share.
  2. Know how Jesus has made a difference in your life. Think of a time when you knew that Jesus helped you either in a time of peace, a time of trouble.
  3. Learn how to talk about how Jesus is real to you in your everyday life. Have you seen answers to prayer? That’s something to share. Have you had peace in a time of trial? That’s a story about Jesus in your life.
  4. Make new relationships, or start bringing up Jesus in your conversations with people you know.
  5. Be willing to help people when they are in need, this is part of sharing Jesus.
  6. Love well and believe big!

If you have experienced the love of the Father through the life of the Son, then sharing that love is a natural next step.

Who are you sharing Jesus with this week?

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I'm a New Believer - Now What?!

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So you are a new believer! Welcome to the family! You're excited to begin your walk and wondering… What's next? 

You may also be asking things like…

  • How do I become a part of the church?
  • How do I grow in my prayer life?
  • Should I get baptized?

Here's a good place to begin answering some of those questions.

 Grow In Your Personal Relationship with God

Just as we would develop our relationship with a spouse by spending time with them and being in constant communication, we need to develop a relationship with God by spending time with him and being in constant contact.

We communicate with God through prayer throughout each day as we seek guidance and assistance. It is also important to make “quiet time” a priority. A “quiet time” is a time we set aside each day to focus on discussing with God our triumphs, our failures, and our struggles. Many people also read personal Bible studies or devotionals during their quiet time. There are many great resources for these studies online.

You don’t even have to follow a plan to grow your relationship with God. You can simply read a few chapters in your Bible (the books of John or Matthew are a good place to start), and after you read, pray and ask God what he wants you to know from what you read. This kind of daily communication with God will help you grow in your faith and learn how to communicate with and listen to God.

Baptism

Baptism is an important symbol of our decision to declare Jesus as Lord of our lives. There is nothing magical about the personal experience, but baptism brings attention to what God is doing in our lives and that is what makes it such a critical step in a new believer's walk. We have a huge celebration when a new believer rises out of the water, and there is an even bigger celebration in heaven.

Join the Severn Run community

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

Throughout the bible, we are encouraged to connect with other believers. An easy way to begin connecting is to join the church. This simply requires attending a Membership Matters class one Sunday afternoon, where we discuss the passions of the Church at Severn Run and hear about all of the places where we can play our parts within the church.

A common saying at Severn Run is that “life is better connected”. This sums up the idea behind Connect Groups, where a group of believers share real-life together. There are Connect Groups covering all stages of life, often with multiple times to fit different schedules. Connect Groups give us the opportunity to grow into real and honest relationship with others. This happens through shared life experiences, friendship and encouragement during our walk with Christ.

Serve

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

The final passion of our church is to serve others. There is a limitless number of ways to serve, but what is important is that we find our gift. We find our gift(s) by prayerfully looking for different opportunities to serve and being willing to say “yes” to God when those opportunities arise. This may require us to step outside our comfort zone, but when we have faith, that is when God can really take over in our lives and do wonderful things.

Finally, finding a friend to help you walk through your new faith journey will help you tremendously. The Church at Severn Run is eager to walk beside you as you learn about God’s love for you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any help. You can call the office at 410-551-6654. You can email us at

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Growing in Faith

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Faith is believing in what we cannot directly observe. Faith is trusting in God instead of our own nature. In Hebrews 11:1, Paul encourages the Hebrews by describing faith and later goes on to provide multiple examples of people who showed tremendous faith throughout the bible. A common theme in these examples is that each person was able to do great things by putting their faith in God instead of putting their faith in their own abilities and circumstances.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Get Uncomfortable

Our faith grows when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones in his name, into an area where we are not in control. That is where God can take over in our lives. 

God has called us to do great things, but these things require having faith in him as they did for those described in Hebrews 11. This means pushing ourselves to get to know other believers through Connect Groups or maybe to start our own Connect Group. This means sharing our faith with others around the world so that they too may come to know Jesus. This means finding our place to serve within the church even though it is easy to just be served by the church. 

Each time I have made myself uncomfortable by obeying what I understood to be God's will in my life, it has been an awesome experience that has grown my faith. I have been terrified to put myself out there, being an intovert by nature, but I consistently felt God speaking to me so I said yes to him even though my nature pushed back. 

God has always given me the strength and the voice when I take the first step, just as Proverbs 3:5-6 suggests, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Jesus tells Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, from this we should understand that it will be uncomfortable when we push our human nature out and have faith in God. This is necessary so that when others see us doing the “impossible,” there can be no doubt that the glory belongs to God and it belongs to him alone. We too will know that it is only through God that we are able to accomplish these things, and this is how we grow our faith.

 

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