Just Live It
JUST LIVE IT! This was the theme for Our Metropolis of Boston Summer Camp this year. Today finishes up its six week summer camping program, where around 650 kids from around the Metropolis, and even from around the country, took part. We even had 17 kids from our Church go.
It’s a great week of FUN, FELLOWSHIP AND FAITH. Each day the kids have services morning and night, have Orthodox Life sessions, Sounding Board sessions on contemporary issues, devotionals, and meditation time all intermingled between lots of games, swimming, canoeing, and special evening activities like campfires, a talent show, a dance, and other special times of fellowship.
The beauty of these camps is that it gives our children an opportunity to be with a camp full of Orthodox Christians (100 campers were there this week) in fun fellowship. Whereas many of our kids go to schools where they are often the only Orthodox Christians, or they are one of only a handful, it’s great for them to see that there are many other Orthodox Christians their own age who also take their faith seriously. Here they see other kids reading their Bibles, going to Confession, doing service oriented projects, listening to the many college age counselors lead devotionals and offer little sermonettes. Here their faith becomes “something cool” because they see so many peers and young adults doing the same thing.
The theme for this year’s camp was “JUST LIVE IT.” (Show Camp T-shirt with play on Nike’s “Just Do It.”)
JUST LIVE IT
Just WALK It
Just TALK It
Just TEACH It
Just PRAY it
Just GIVE It
Just SHARE It
Just LOVE It
“Be Doers of the Word, and not just Hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
How do we live out our faith? It’s not enough to simply call ourselves Christian, or to identify ourselves with our Greek Orthodox heritage! How does our faith affect our lives?!? How do we live our lives? Or does our faith even affect how we live?
In last week’s sermon, I highlighted how the goal of our Christian life is TRANSFIGURATION a radical transformation in life, a fundamental change that brings out the divine image of Christ that is deep within each and every person. This means the way we live - the way we walk each day, the language we use when we talk with others, the way we treat both those we love and even those we hate, what we do with all that we have and how we share God’s gifts and generously give to and serve others – the way we live reveals what we truly believe.
Once again, I want to ask us – “How many of us allow the Gospel to challenge our worldview? How many allow the Holy Spirit to move within us to fundamentally change our character? Do we truly come here to church to learn how to live, to be inspired on the way to live, and to find the tools that will help us fulfill a Christ-like life? Remember, we are called not simply to be “hearers” of the word – agreeing with some statements of belief - but we must allow what we believe to guide how we think and direct everything we do in our lives.
So HOW do we open up our hearts and minds more to God, allowing Him to transform and transfigure us anew? Here are a few steps we have to take seriously if we want God to change us!
1) Become FERVENT PRAYER WARRIORS. We have to connect with God daily, in a consistent and disciplined manner. Communing with God shouldn’t depend on how we are feeling. Our private prayer, along with our community prayer, needs to be intimate, authentic, regular, and disciplined. Therefore, in cooperation with a spiritual father develop a prayer rule you will try to follow every day, and make community worship something each, every Sunday!
2) CONTINUALLY STUDY AND LEARN. In any profession, a specialist must constantly be studying and learning new things in his field. We never know enough, and always can learn more – whether with Holy Scripture as well as in other spiritual readings. God is infinite and our quest for God’s knowledge is an unfathomable wellspring of life! Constantly learn and grow.
3) We must surround ourselves with CHRIST-CENTERED FELLOWSHIP. The Bible says, “Don’t be fooled, bad company ruins good morals.” We are all influenced by those who surround us. What are the voices we most often hear? Who are the people who influence us? Surround yourself with friends who spiritually nourish us, support us, challenge us & guide us.
4) Participate regularly in the MYSTERIES/SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH. This means going to HOLY COMMUNION frequently as well as going to HOLY CONFESSION regularly. Both of these sacraments are tools you can only find in the Church, and they will nourish and help us in your spiritual transformation!
5) Make the SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF FASTING a core part of your life. Follow the weekly fast of Wednesday and Fridays, as well as the seasonal fasting periods, so that we can learn self-denial, self-discipline and an absolute reliance on God.
6) Become a GENEROUS STEWARD of all that God has given us. Jesus said that where our treasure is, our heart would be. Therefore place our treasure at God’s disposal. Become a generous tither, offering back to God and those in need from the first of all we have. And give of our TIME, of our TALENTs, and of all we are to others! Let us make SERVICE to others a central part of who we are!
7) Learn to SHARE YOUR FAITH with others – first through your life of love and also with your words. Accept the responsibility of acting as an ambassador of Christ. The more we try to share, the more we will have to learn about our faith, and the more we will feel responsible.
8) Finally, NEVER BECOME CONTENT with your spiritual journey, and think that you are fine. Our walk with God, and our transformation in His likeness, is a never-ending process.
Just Live It! May each of us open our lives so that God’s Spirit will fill us and thus transfigure us in living out a Christ-centered , as we are not only “hearers” of the Word, but “doers” as well!
Facing Our Uncertain Future
Love Until It Hurts
Our Orthodox Faith