Sermon:  Is Batman a Christian?

Summary:  Christianity was never intended to be a "Lone Ranger" life.  Our Trinitarian God is 
inherently a God is inherently a God of fellowship and love and has constructed us to be that 
way.  Therefore, we need to make a commitment to carry out God's purposes as a unified 
people and not a bunch of individuals by being generous, specifically generosity in 
encouragement, time, and resources.

Know:  Christian fellowship is very important for spiritual growth and for carrying out 
God's purposes.  

Feel:  The desire or motivation to invest time and energy into such things as Life Group

Do:  Commit to being a part of a small group and commit to the well being of those in 
the group.

Text:  Heb 10:19-25

Scripture Reading:  Eccl 4:9-10

1.  Who pops to mind when you hear the word "Hero?"
	a.  Lone Ranger, Batman, Spider Man, Superman (most are loners)
`	b.  Contrast some of them to Bible Heroes
		-  Moses, David - Didn't work alone, Moses had 70, David his men
		-  Jesus - Did not work alone - Had 12
		-  Paul - Did not work alone - Always had others with him
2.  Being a loner may work for the Batman story, not well for Christians
3.  Relationship and community are important, it reflects the character of God
	a.  All God wants us to be and do is connected to his character
		-  God is the living God, therefore we honor life, not death
		-  1 Pet 1:16 - God is holy, therefore we are to be holy
		-  1 Jn 4:8 - God is love, therefore we are to love each other
	b.  He is trinity, the Father and Son love each other
	c. There is love inherent in God himself
		- Doesn't depend on us for God to have love
		- God is love whether we return love or not
	d. This type of godly love in our lives reflects God's character
3.  All of God's purposes in some way are relational
	a.  We are not self-contained autonomous beings
	b.  We need a relationship with God AND each other
	c.  Text:  (Heb 10:19-25)
		- After 5 chapters of how Jesus leads us to God…"therefore"
		- Grow in our relationship to God and each other.  How?

I.  Stimulate
	A.  What does it means to stimulate?  
		1.  Other translations:
			a.  RSV, ESV - Stir up
			b.  NRSV, ASN, KJV - Provoke
			c.  Holman Christian Standard Bible - Promote
			d.  NIV - Spur one another on
		2.  Eugene Peterson in The Message: Let's see how inventive we 
		     can be in encouraging love and helping out
	B.  We need to consider others
		1.  Greek:  
			a.  Not, "let us consider how to" 
			b.  But,  "Let us consider one another in order to…"
			c.  Eugene Peterson's paraphrase captures this idea
		2.  "Let me consider you" comes before "let me consider how too…"
		3.  If you do it backwards, may have opposite effect   
	C.  ILL:  I was reminded of Learning Styles at Jumpstart Youth Rally
		1.  Everyone has a different personalities & learning style
			a.  People often assign them animals
				- Bear - Analytical, gets down to business, to the 
				   point, facts, make good managers
				- Monkey - Fast, chases rabbits, loves interaction, 
				   tendency to talk a lot.  These are the idea people
				- Deer - Loves interaction, slow, likes to fix things 
				  even relationships
				- Owl - Slow to act, have to think everything through.  
				   Usually quiet
			b.  If goal is for learning, a good teacher "considers" their 
			      student & then how to teach them most effectively
		2.  If my goal is for brethren to grow in love and good deeds, then I 
		     need to consider them before any "how to"
		3.  What works for me, may not work for you
			a.  A lot of good brethren from my past didn't understand this
			b.  Felt like everyone should be exactly the same
	D.  Some of the things I have heard in years past growing up that shows 
	      the contrast between considering others, and only considering self…
		1.  Considering self - "I don't like all of these new praise songs, they 
		     are shallow.  I want to sing just the hymns"
			a.  Consider one other - "Look at how those young people 
			     praise God with such passion and joy.  
			b.  These  praise songs are great.  Many of them speak 
			     directly to God and come right from scripture.
		2.  Considering self - "Small groups, powerpoint, chairs instead of 
		     pews, where will it end? These changes are all no good at all!
			a.  Consider one another - Look at how many ways that God 
			      is working to touch the lives of people today.  
			b.  Things such as small groups has helped many others in 
			      spiritual growth
			c.  Kids are actually paying attention and remembering the 
			     lessons since we started using the multimedia format
		3.  Focus on self - "I don't want a Family Life Center.  Its really 
		     nothing more than a gym, and is all about being entertained
			a.  Consider one another - Look at all the great things 
			     happening in the Family Life ministry.  People are serving 
			     the poor, inviting non-Christian friends, and building 
			     bonds with other Christian friends.  
			b.  Great for our young people
		4.  See the difference?
			- I need to consider you, which means getting to know you
			- brings us to our next point….

II.  Congregate
	A.  This is a must if you are going to consider one another
		1.  Can't get to know each other if you don't ever get together
	B.  What specifically is this passage talking about?
		1.  I always heard it as a text to enforce worship attendance
			a.  Usually was quoted as "Do not forsake the assembly"
			b.  Whenever there is an assembly, you better be there
		2.  There were those that were there at every assembly, but nobody 
		     really knew them
			a.  Came in just before worship, left at the end of closing
			b.  Were they obeying this passage?  They thought so
		3.  Text does not say not to forsake the assembly
			a.  It says not to forsake assembling together as a habit
			b.  Not specifically about a worship service
				- Focus of worship service not on fellowship
				- Focus in worship services is worship
			c.  Context:  Hebrew Christians used to be strong
				- Used to be a close knit, dedicated group
				- Waiting and waiting for Christ to return, grew tired
				- Many of them had grown weary of it all
				- Text says NOT to give up getting together
		4.  In other words, spend time together!
			a.  This is why we have Life Groups
			b.  Spend time together
			c.  Do things outside regular meetings, have fun
			d.  Share your lives together
	C.  ILL:  One of the metaphors is a spiritual house
		1.  1 Pet 2:4-5 - You are "living stones"
			a.  A lone brick doesn't make a house
			b.  A pile of bricks doesn't make a house
			c.  Stones stacked and fitted together with mortar
		2.  Heard about a guys walking by a building site
			a.  A brick wall was half way up
			b.  A man was there, stealing some bricks
			c.  Where did he take them from?
				- Not from the wall.  Why?  They cemented together
				- Taking them from the pile of bricks
		3.  As living stones, we need to be cemented together
	D.  Together, we draw strength from each other
		1.  I've heard stories from the past of this congregation
			a.  Used to do stuff together
			b.  Had fun times together
			c.  Worked toward common goals together
		2.  That's not just the past - more of these times are coming
			a.  Some of us are experiencing this right now
			b.  Others of us still need to get off of the brick pile
		3.  There are new bricks to put into the building
		4.  Question for myself - Am I a brick in the building, or in the pile?
			a.  In what way am I?
			b.  If I am a contributing living stone, then I can do the third 

III.  Motivate
	A.  The word the text uses is "encourage."  What does that mean?
		1.  Some synonyms:  support, advise, embolden, urge, impel, goad, 
     		     instigate.  Idea is to motivate each other to be faithful
		2.  Antonyms:  Discourage, dampen, dishearten, mock, humiliate, 
		     denounce, deject
		3.  We want to motivate, not dampen
	B.  Need to do the first 2 points in this sermon (Prov 27:17)
		1.  You cannot be sharp alone
			a.  Iron cannot sharpen itself - It needs help
			b.  Can wish for it, can talk about it, can know how,
			c.  But until get together with other iron, nothing will change
		2.  It has to be intentional
			a.  Just the act of getting together will not do it
			b.  Talking about it will not do it
			c.  Have to actually do it
		3.  May not be comfortable
			a.  Iron against iron sharpening doesn't sound pleasant
			b.  It may hurt 
			c.  But the alternative is worse
	C.  ILL:  My own experience
		1.  Grew up in active youth group, spent a lot of time together
			a.  We did lots of fun things together
			b.  I brought some friends to Christ
			c.  Went to York College as a Bible Major
				- If we were close as Youth Group, closer at York
		2.  Joined the Air Force
			a.  Within 4 months, I had completely flipped
			b.  I went to church in Biloxi, but never connected
			c.  I fell away and became the typical party animal 
		3.  What happened?  I Wasn't sharp
			a.  I used to think it was because I didn't maintain fellowship
				-  That is only partially true, there was more to it
			b.  It was the nature of our fellowship
				- Very little sharpening going on
				- Did a lot of fun things together, were good friends
				- Didn't go any deeper than this
			c. We didn't challenge or motivate each other spiritually
				- In school, when we acted as stuck up as everyone 
				   else, we didn't steer each other back to Christian 
				- When friends got caught with girlie magazines at 
				  York, we ignored it & didn't say anything
				- We didn't motivate each other to live as a Christian 
				  at all times
		4.  This is probably why I kept people at an arms distance
			a.  Not physically, but spiritually and emotionally
			b.  It was okay for me to teach others & point out their 
				- But I was pretty private about myself
				- I couldn't handle people doing that to me
				- Pride kept from being sharpened by another
			c.  I didn't want to take risks or be vulnerable -- it was pride
			d.  Even though I knew scripture, I didn't know God
	D.  I am convinced that spiritual growth can only happen in community
		1.  God not focused on an individual, but on the "people" of God
		2.  Consider Jesus - What if all he ever did was preach publicly? 
			a.  What would have become of his disciples?
			b.  His main focus was that small group
			c.  A lot of intentional sharpening was going on
			d.  His disciples shared their lives, mistakes, etc. and grew
		3.  We need to motivate, but it has to be mutual
		4.  This is why we do Life Groups
1.  Review: stimulate, congregate, and motivate.  (Invitation)  
2.  Practical steps to doing this:
	a.  Get into a Life Group
	b.  Be honest & open & loving
	c.  Be dedicated to both your and your brother's spiritual growth
3.  Challenge is for you Teens, Parents, Adults, Seniors, for all of us.


Small Group Notes:  Is Batman a Christian?

Summary:  Christianity was never intended to be a "Lone Ranger" life.  Our Trinitarian God is 
inherently a God is inherently a God of fellowship and love and has constructed us to be that way.  
Therefore, we need to make a commitment to carry out God's purposes as a unified people and 
not a bunch of individuals by being generous, specifically generosity in encouragement, time, 
and resources.

Text:  Heb 10:19-25; Eccl 4:9-10

- Who was your favorite childhood hero?
- What do you see is the greatest difference between Jesus and that hero?


1.  What points does the writer of Hebrews summarize after he says, "Therefore?"

2.  What does this text specifically tell us to do?  

3.  What part do Christian brethren play in these instructions?

4.  The text literally says, "let us consider one another in order to stimulate to love and good 
deeds."  Why is it important to consider another person BEFORE considering "how to" stimulate?

5.  Does it appear the assembling here is talking about worship services, or is it talking about 
something else?  In what kinds of "assembling" does encouragement, motivation, and stimulating
 to love and good deeds take place?


6.  What has made it hard for you to consider others?

7.  What are some ways you can "stimulate" someone else to grow spiritually?

8.  What is God leading you to do right now?


Pray for the Life Group
Pray for the We Care Seminar
Pray for each other by name