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“Christ Lives in You”

Colossians 1:25-29 NLT


Woodbury Baptist Church

August 3, 2008


(Tell something funny that happened to me this week or this month) It is an honor and privilege to stand here today as your next Pastor. This is a critical time in the life of your church as you decide who will be the next person to guide it. Saying goodbye to Frank presents its own mix of emotions—loss at seeing him leave and anticipation for the future. When I interviewed for the Interim position I was asked what excited me about coming and I answered “seeing the person you choose to lead you as a culmination of the interim period.” None of us know how long that will take, but we trust that the right person for the position is out there and we will pray for the process no matter how long it takes. Be patient. Trust your leaders. Trust God.


Many of you are probably wondering who is this guy who will be our Pastor for the next few months. I am married to my wife Willie Love-Winter, she kept her maiden name and hyphenated it saying she doesn’t love the season but loves me. We have been married thirty-three years and have two sons, Justin 32 and Jake 31. Jake lives in Oakland, California and our son Justin has a son Cody who’s 9. We recently took a cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate my parents 60th Wedding Anniversary. There were twenty of us including my three sisters. It was our first cruise and we had a great time. (SHOW SOME PICTURES OF PARENTS, IMMEDIATE FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, MOM & DAD IN LIFE JACKETS)

I went to Seminary late in life graduating at the age of 48 after careers as a locomotive engineer and electronic technician. I was on staff at Woodland Hills church in St. Paul as their Care Pastor, Spiritual Life Pastor and Associate Community Pastor. For the past 17 months I was Interim Pastor at Woodbury Community Church and saw them through a transition similar to yours.

Ministry Passions

I have three passions in ministry including prayer, spiritual formation (helping people become more like Jesus), and healing. I’m convinced that the interim period for a church can be a period when people grow and change. There are opportunities to look at things differently and challenge traditions. Opportunities to embrace and own our faith. The next few weeks I will be preaching on change and looking at what the Bible says about it.

Ministry Theme Verse

My passion for ministry comes out of Colossians 1. If you have your Bibles with you please turn now to Colossians 1 verse 25. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Colosse, a city in Asia and he is describing his ministry mission. This reading is taken from the New Living Translation.

25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect* in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

Paul was called to proclaim God’s message to the people, a message that had been kept secret for generations but NOW had been revealed. The secret was no longer hidden. What was that secret? Verse 27 spells it out: “And this is the secret: CHRIST LIVES IN YOU.” We have an identity crisis friends. If you are here today and you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ then this is radically good news. We need to know who we are if we are going to become the person’s that God intended us to become. The Christian life is discovering our true identity and living it out. Sounds simple doesn’t it? My goal as a follower of Jesus is to look like Jesus. It’s not simple because looking like Jesus is an inside job, not an outside job. Jesus continually confronted the Pharisees for doing all the right things, keeping the letter of the law, but not being changed on the inside—in their hearts.

This verse frees us to live from the inside out because the Holy Spirit lives in you. The key to living like Christ is to know that you and he are one. 1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. When you say yes to Jesus your spirit and his Spirit are joined.

Hudson Taylor, who began the China Inland Mission leaned this truth and it transformed his ministry. In the book Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret it tells of the impact this had on his life and ministry. Hudson had struggled to begin this ministry of outreach to the Chinese and he had experienced emotional and spiritual darkness along the way. But God broke through the pain and anguish to bring him into a greater realization about himself and about his relationship with Jesus. The book tells it this way: (read pg. 157).

Hudson Taylor discovered union. He discovered what it meant to have a personal Lord and Savior who never left him, was always with him, always there during times of trouble.

Growing Through Transition

My prayer is that this time of transition be a time not of stopping and waiting, but a time of moving and learning and changing. A time of understanding union, understanding that “Christ Lives in You.” God can use this time to do that if we let him.

RESPONSE TO THE MESSAGE: have congregation bow their heads and take time to answer the question “How can I grow through this time of transition?” Spend time in silence and close in prayer.


Today we are celebrating our union with Christ by taking communion. It is a time to recognize what Christ has done for us by dying on a cross, being buried for three days and rising to take his place at the right hand of God. Because he lives we too shall live.

  • Both of us stand behind the table with trays for bread and individual cups
  • I speak a few words about the bread and cup, then say the words of institution and ask a deacon to pray BEFORE we distribute the elements.
  • Music played during distribution of both bread and cup.
  • Deacons will distribute the bread, Carolyn and I will give them the bread after they come back up with the trays and I will lead the congregation in eating the bread (communal).
  • Deacons then distribute the cup, Carolyn and I will give them the cup and I will lead the congregation in drinking the cup (communal).
  • Sanctuary song played at the end of communion
  • Fellowship offering taken during singing of Santuary.

Conclude with the reading of the Benediction on the screen.

Make way to center door to greet people as they leave.


* Or mature.

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