The Difference a Decade Can Make
Ten Year Blessing Ceremony
The importance of Baptism.
Baptism pleases God the Father. (Matthew 3:16-17, NKJV) Heaven rejoices when someone gets saved! (Luke 15:7-10, NKJV; Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV) One of Jesus last commandments was to commission us to go make disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father,
Baptism expresses to the world you are not ashamed of Christ. (Mark 8:38, NKJV; Romans 1:16, NKJV)
Loyalty makes you stand out.
Not being ashamed of Christ brings power and blessing upon life. God is a Loyal God; He showed His loyalty by sending His Only Son Jesus to die for our sins. being loyal makes us stand out. (Jeremiah 9:24, MSG; John 15;13, NKJV) Loyalty is using difficult times to demonstrate our commitment and loyalty to God and to those whom He has called us to serve! Loyalty greatly determines our direction and destiny. (Genesis 39:6b-9a, NLT) Love is given; Trust and loyalty comes over time.
Disloyalty is very difficult to see. (Disloyalty is very difficult to see. (Matthew 26:19-23, NKJV; Luke 22:47-48, NKJV; Psalm 55:12-14, GW)
Disloyalty hurts greater the closer the person is to you. Forgiveness frees us from bondage to them and gives God an open door to them. (Luke 23:34, NKJV; Romans 12;17-20, NKJV; Romans 12;19, NRSV, TEV)
Celebrate those that have given financially.
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer: 00:00 Whoo, Amen? I want you to know something. If you saw the last song when they were singing, those were the names of the people that had been baptized. I’ve been to services before when they had names and they say in remembrance of these people now, those people usually were dead. Listen, all those people were dead and came alive. Amen? Whoo hoo! Man, It’s a great time to celebrate. We celebrate. We have a new campus in Alexandria. Amen?And say amen to Alexandria. We have got to celebrate. We’ve had 198% increase over all in the last 10 years. Amen? And I want you to know that all of these represent a church, but a church is the people and you apply the same principles to your life and you can have the same rewards. Amen? We had 767 but it’s more like 777 now guys, they all got baptized last week. Amen?
James Greer: 00:57 2,400 new members is more like 2,500 now over $400,000.00 was given to say yes. Thank you. Amen? I want to give you a couple of verses and then we’ll get started. In John 12:33 it says, when Jesus lifted up, he’ll draw all people to himself. What I want you to know, it’s going to be a celebration Sunday. It will probably go more to with your outline back here than it will in your book. But what I want you to know, everything that happened, I hope we’re lifting Jesus up. Amen. Because it said he is worthy of our praise. He’s worthy of our honor, and he’s worthy of our praise. But look, I wanna read a verse and then we’ll get to it. Psalms 27:13 said, I had fainted. I lost heart out of quit. It’s been a great ride, but also there’s a lot of times you want to quit and a lot of times you want to give up.
James Greer: 01:52 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. In other words, even during the toughest times of life. I said, no man, I want to see the goodness of the Lord while I’m still alive. Amen? And that was one of the wonderful verses that helped us get there. When I’m talking about 189% increase that counts as a universal principle that I’ve been trying to teach week after week after week, be not deceived. God is not mocked, whatever man. So with he shall reap. And then it goes on in verses nine and 10 of Galatians says, let us not grow weary in well doing in due season, we show reap. In other words, if we don’t give up, if we don’t lose heart. So many times, you all God’s blessings are right around the corner and you give up right before then. And man, God wants to bless you and he wants the next years, the next 10 years to be the best 10 years of your life, the best 10 years of my life and the best 10 years of of furthering God’s kingdom. Amen?
James Greer: 02:50 Then it said, therefore she have opportunity. Let us do good, especially unto the household of God. And so many of you all have done that, but it’s a process. And there’s something about a process that we have to go through. Most of the time before we ever get to the promise. I don’t usually like the process, I just like the promises. God’s promises are precious and they’re powerful. But we have to go through those. We go through processes at different times. I look back the last 10 years, whether you’re up or down and I’m talking about downtown, we’re processing, then we would spike. We’re going through some processing, training and wasn’t that sweet, Haley’s testimony, Amen? And not only is she doing it, she’s going through the process of training to help Richie help people in small groups be a coordinator.
James Greer: 03:36 If you never been in a small group, you want to be, she’ll be one of the ones that’s helping Richie find one. You’ve got Miranda, Rosette and Kevin that are going to serve service teams with Josh. You got Jennifer Woodriff coming on with Kayla and Carla. I think you all are starting today, another coordinator. But, it’s all the process you got to go through before you get to the promise. See, some of you are here today and you’re being processed and you’ll know you’re being processed. Abraham was processed. Abraham went 13 years of processing before he ,heard God speak to him. He said, Abraham, I want to bless you and I want you to be a blessing. But, God had to get some stuff out of Abraham. Like it doesn’t mean you before he could get some stuff, the right stuff into Abraham. Some of the processes getting our junk out of us where we can get God back in us.
James Greer: 04:25 But the one of the thing, it’s not an age thing. It doesn’t matter your age, your race, your economic status, anything. When God gets ready to use you, he will use you. In fact, Abraham’s the great example. Abraham’s the example of this. When God sees something that is dead, it has to come alive. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were way past childbearing, very late in life. But, when God said, Hey, you’re going to bring forth the child, he sent forth, God set forth his word, his seed and the things that were dead came alive and they bore a son named Isaac. Amen? So it’s never too late. Another thing I want to do, I want to give you a couple examples of how that’s happened over the years.
James Greer: 05:18 I mean, we have over at the Alexandria campus, Clarissa White. She plays the keyboard over there. Man, she rocks the house, but she’s also a principal at Arthur F. Smith middle school. And they just had a big poster. I saw it and said they just increased their SPS by one letter, which is a big deal there. And so they were all celebrating. But, I want you to know that didn’t happen overnight. What happened was, there were so on the right habits and the right prism in the kids’ lives year after year, and now they’re reaping the reward. Amen? And that’s what happened is, is, but if you’ll sow the right habits over a long period of time, you’ll get to increase, whether it’s financially, physically, spiritually, even intellectually, like she did. Happiness as a result of, so in the right habits over long period of time.
James Greer: 06:01 Did you all see young Abby singing? Hello? Yeah. Amen? She just got student of the year at Tioga. I taught her well, but you know, she didn’t get the student of the year because all of a sudden they’re going to do a student year and she started trying to be that kind of kid. She got student of the year because year after year after year, she was that kind of kid and then it came into play. Do you see what I’m saying? So we got to understand whatever you sow, you shall reap. But I want you to know you don’t have to give up. I’ve seen it in my life and my family’s life. Wasn’t many years before the 10 year anniversary that we started, that I fell out of the ministry. I thought it never happened to me. I wasn’t preaching. I didn’t go to church. I had dropped out, ran from God, if there’s such a thing. Where are you going? He’s everywhere. But anyway, and so I felt I’d never be back in the ministry.
James Greer: 06:48 Joel 2:25 says, so I’ll restore the years that the locusts have eaten and I’m so thankful. 10 years later, I’m sitting here and seeing what all that God’s done and how he’s restored. He’s not only restored the years of the locus see, he’s restored it and then some, and that’s what the celebration is all about. I don’t care where you’ve come from, God is in the restoring business. In your lives, your home, your marriage, this church, your finances. Every single area of your life God wants to bless. Amen? And then, man, wasn’t it cool seeing in those 767 or 777 people baptized. Amen? In fact, let me ask you this, if you, if you’ve been baptized at this church in the last 10 years, stand up.
James Greer: 07:37 Hey was that cool when you saw your name up there? Amen? All right, let’s hear it. Hey you all. We’re dead now. You’re alive. Amen? I mean, man. Next, next Cyrus. When we watch that, I’m going to tell them beforehand what’s happening where they can. Man, when I looked up there, I’ve seen my grandkids names. I was wanting to start clapping. Every time I saw a name. It was just fantastic. Baptism is so important and matter of fact, the Bible says, any man be in Christ. You’re a new creature. Old things pass away. All things become new. You become forgiven. You’re loved, you’re anointed, you’re appointed, you’re a Saint and you’re free from condemnation. God says he wants to do it. Why is it so important to be baptized? Well, first of all, what is baptism? It’s a picture of the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, you know what I love? Every time I’m back there, I think about when they’re going to wash off all that junk in their past and all things become new. You wash away all your sins from your past and you start a brand new life. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of baptism?
James Greer: 08:41 it’s not the same as when we do baby dedication. There’s nothing wrong with that. We do that, but that’s not the same is adult baptism or when you accept Christ, that’s more for, we come up and we have it and this good, but we’re dedicating that the parents will bring their children and nurture and admonition. By the way, if you’re here at any service, guess what? And you want to be baptized. We’ve got clothes and you can be baptized at the next service. Amen? So, all you’ve got to do is let us know. go down.
James Greer: 09:27 So, let me give you the first reason to be baptized. Because it pleases God the father. When God’s son, Jesus Christ was baptized in Matthew 3:16 it says this. And when he had been baptized Jesus, he came up immediately from the water. I don’t know how you can come up unless you go down. Amen? And he immediately came up from the water and the whole heavens were opened to him and he saw a spirit of God descending like a dove upon him. And guess what it says after that? And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying, this is my beloved son who I’m well pleased. It pleased God the father when his son was baptized and it pleases God the father when you’re saved and when you’re baptized. Amen? So, that’s one of the reasons. Not only that, the things that please the father here on earth, you ready? There’s usually rejoicing going on in heaven. In fact, it says in Luke 15:7 it says, I say to you that likewise, there’d be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than 99 just persons who don’t repent. God said, man, there’s all this joy is going on in heaven.
James Greer: 10:20 If you drop down to verse 10 it says, listen, you ready for this? Likewise. I say to you, there is joy in the presence of angels. Joy in the presence of what? Over one sinner who has what? Why do you think there’s joy in the presence of angels have never been lost and saved you all? They don’t really know what it’s like to be lost. They know to praise God for his honor and his glory and for who he is, but it says in the presence. But, the people in heaven that know what it was like to be lost and saved and be in heaven, they’re up there singing and shouting. They’re having a praise ceremony every time somebody comes know the Lord. Amen?
James Greer: 11:09 Second reason, first because it pleases God. Second, it shows you’re not ashamed of Christ. I mean, it is. I mean, I wear a wedding ring. It displays that I’m married. I mean, but if I never would bring my wife out in public, we’d probably have a problem. Where’s your wife? I’ll bring her out, I’m kind of a little ashamed of that. That’s like he said, Hey man, I’ve accepted Christ, but I’m ashamed to get baptized. There’s something wrong with that relationship, period. I mean that going public with our faith. It’s one of the reasons we get baptized. And Mark 8:38 no, it says, whosoever is ashamed is me in my word and adulterous generation. The father also will be ashamed of him. So, it’s one of the ways that we say we’re, we’re not ashamed of him. In fact, Romans 16 puts it a different way. I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for as the power of God to salvation, to everyone who believes that the Jews and the Greeks. See, I believe sometimes that not being ashamed of God. Are you ready? I can prove it to you. Even the great commission, it releases the power of God in your life, in the life of people around you.
James Greer: 12:26 Okay, third, third, I want to celebrate those that have been at Journey Church the last 10 years, 2,412 and I want to say I was going to preach a message on loyalty because if you could stay here with I’m pastor for 10 years, you got to be loyal. Amen? But, I had to skip that. I got up this morning, I scratched all that out. Bless Daisy’s heart, she has to read to them in the mornings. But, what I want to do is I do want to celebrate for a minute before I go forward. If you’ve been a member of Journey Church in the last five years, stand up. Amen? I mean, that’s just unbelievable. Amen? How about the last 10 years? 10 years stay standing if you’ve been there for 10 years. Whew wee. Amen? Okay. Listen, I can’t believe that there are that many people here.
James Greer: 13:09 If you came, wait a minute, if you happen to come now, if you happen to come from the original Lee Heights and you came over here with us, would you stand? Look at that. Huh? you all are tough. Okay. You’re ready? One more time. One more time. I don’t know if they’re here yet, but if you are one of the original ones when we went to Lee Heights, I know that’s been many years ago, and if you were here, one of the original ones at Lee Heights, when I went there, you all stand. Whoo. Amen. Praise God.
James Greer: 13:46 I appreciate you all. You all are tough. You all are loyal. you all are faithful. I thank you so much. Loyalty makes it different. Loyalty stands out, so I want to thank you. I can’t just believe there’s that many people. Thank God it’s good. Do you know every one of those people have a name and God cares about every name? I mean, it’s just not a number. Those are actual people, lives that God’s changing. Now this is not in your notes, so I want to talk about it. We’re all celebrating what God’s done, so let’s celebrate God’s love. Because it was because of God’s love that we’ve had whether it’s the 189% increase, whether it’s 777 baptisms, o 2,400 new members, or whether it’s the financial giving, it’s all a result of God’s love. We know one of the most famous verses in all the Bible says, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.
James Greer: 14:37 We know one of the most famous verses in all the Bible says, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have what? Everlasting life. But, what I want you to know that God’s love, it’s wide. It’s long, it’s deep and it’s high. You ready? God’s love for and you is wide enough. No matter where we are in the world, he’s going to be there with us. I don’t care where you’re at you, there’s no place you can hide from God. I’ve tried it. He just finds you. It’s kind of like what? I don’t want to confess my sin like God doesn’t know it already, but God got, listen, I won’t. You know, God’s wide enough to be with you wherever you are on vacations, God with your work, school home, a jail, wherever. Yet God is still there with you. Just look for him. Amen. He’s long enough to last a lifetime. Thank God, because the day it seems like in today’s life there’s so many relationships are together one day and gone the next day and even a human relationship, couples breaking up, but let me tell you what, you cannot even reject God’s love.
James Greer: 15:32 He is still going to love you to the very end. He loves you. He’s never going to stop loving. He’s deep. You know how deep he is. He’s deep enough to handle anything you ever go through in your life. There’s absolutely nothing too hard for the Lord. Now there’s something I’m learning about God’s love. God loves me when I get myself in trouble. Where it’s my fault or not. It’s so deep that God still loves me. That’s how deep his love is. It’s deep enough to look past any race, color, economic status, or political behavior or affiliation. God still loves you. God loves you if you’re a Democrat. God loves you’re a Republican. God loves you if you’re an independent. God loves you if you are nothing. Amen? God loves you and then he’s high enough. You know how high his love is? High enough to overlook or to forget all the faults and sins that you’ve ever done in your life. That’s what we’re really celebrating. We’re really celebrating God’s wide enough where we go, long enough. He’ll never give up deep enough, He can handle anything. And high enough he can forgive anything we’ve done.
James Greer: 16:27 Last I want to mention, I want to celebrate a few minutes about those who have given financially, because we couldn’t be here without that. This was like the say yes over $400,000. That was unbelievable. That’s just a blessing. Those that give on a week to week basis, those that give above their tithes. I’m not going to, man, I’d love to have them stand up. The problem is most of the people that really give and tithe and give, they don’t want to be known. But, God knows and we know, and we could not be here without you. And what I want you to think about the next time you write your check it’s the 700 and something names that you saw clicking over there, what you invested into, and maybe another thousand in the next 10 years, which we are invested in. Ecclesiastes 5 says this, said, God will keep you so happy that you won’t have to worry about each day. That’s my prayer. When you get right with God, it just keeps you so happy. God says the best investment in the world, the safest investment, 1 Timothy 6:19 it says, by doing this, by giving to God, you’re storing up real treasures for yourself in heaven is the only safe investment for eternity. and then there’ll be living in a fruitful Christian life.
James Greer: 17:57 So yeah, I mean, so it’s been everything. It’s been a great 10 years. I’m blessed beyond imagination, but I think God’s only began what he wants to do. Let’s don’t limit God for all he has to do yet. He still has exceedingly, abundantly above all we could think or imagine. I thought 10 years ago I prayed, Oh God, if we could ever get 300 or 500 people that would beyond our wildest imaginations, and now we’re scratching 950 and a thousand. I think God’s going to bring it to 1200 before you know it and I want you to be a part of it to celebrate the next 10 years. Amen? But as we get ready to close, I’m going to pray for you. this is where I’m going to pray. Stand up if you will.
James Greer: 18:39 Some of you just might need somebody to pray with you. The Bible says, listen to this in Matthew 18:20 where two or three are gather together, there he is in the midst. What a wonderful thing about this. Listen, if you came today and you need somebody to pray with you, there’s more than two people here. Therefore, God’s here. Amen? Some of you came with unbelievable burden and worries. That’s okay, because God almost commands you to come unto me all that labor and heavy laden and I’ll give you rest. So, when I give the invitation that that’s for you. Some of you may be visiting here and you know it’s time for you to come and join the church and help grow the next decade. Be used in what God’s doing? Because what we’re going to do first, we’re going to give an invitation and then we’ll give you the opportunity to give. So, you might be here and you want to get baptized. That’s okay too. You let us know we got clothes and next service we will baptize you. Amen? Some of you need God’s love. It’s wide enough to be with you wherever you go. When you leave here, some of your nervous, what you may have to go and wait to do he, he’ll be with you. It’s low enough. I don’t care what you did. I don’t care what I did. God loves you and he loves you right here. Today is deep enough. He’s going to handle anything you got to go through. Just lean on him and depend upon him is high enough to overlook our greatest sin. Let’s all bow.
James Greer: 19:23 God, you’re such an awesome God. I love you. I can’t praise you enough for what you’ve done, but God, I want you to do a work right now, this morning, right here in lives that need to make a decision, whether it’s to be prayed for, whether they need, and they’re in a burden. God, whatever it is you need to join, fall through and baptism. God recommit their lives, whatever it is, God, I pray right now that you do at work in those lives, and we’ll give you the honor and the glory in the praise. God. It’s in your name. We pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.