Summary: This is a Chrysalis Clergy Talk. It is used for both the boys & girls flight.

How many of you like to receive gifts? I’m sure we all do. Today I would like to talk with you about some of the ways we celebrate the gift of God’s presence with us.

Hello my name is Rev. Benny Anthony, and the title of this talk is “God’s Gift to You.”

What was the best gift that you ever received or gave? Usually the most memorable gifts are those that represent the care of the giver, a sacrifice of love for you. Even years later, such a gift serves as a warm reminder of the giver, rekindles love for him or her, and makes you feel nearer to that person. I have saved some of the letters that my mother wrote to me many years ago. Sometimes I’ll take those letters out and read them and when I do I really feel close to her even though she has been with the Lord for many years.

God gives us a number of special gifts that represent God’s love and presence in our lives. We call these special gifts by names such as sacraments or means of grace.

Sacraments are “sacred moments,” special acts of worship that Jesus gave to us by instruction or by example. They are means by which we remember and celebrate Christ’s action in our lives.

Through sacred symbol and drama, we represent Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and presence with us in the Holy Spirit. Even though many centuries have come and gone, He continues to minister to us.

Most churches recognize two sacraments: baptism and Holy Communion. Some churches consider other rites to be sacraments also.

God has given the church these special ways to remember God’s action in Jesus Christ, to experience God’s presence, and to grow closer to God. Each of these represents out connection with God.

Let’s take a look at God’s gifts to us:

1. Baptism—the sign of new life in Christ. Baptism marks the beginning of your spiritual journey. Baptism is symbolized by water. With the sign of water, baptism reminds us who and whose we really are: God’s royal children created in His image. In the baptism of infants and children, we celebrate God’s unconditional love and promise for their lives.

When adults are baptized, we celebrate both God’s unconditional love and their spiritual rebirth. In that sacred moment, they accept God’s grace, come to faith, are cleansed of their sins, and become new persons in Christ.

2. Confirmation—a rite marking growth in Christ, progress on the spiritual journey that began in baptism.

Confirmation is a sign that we are taking responsibility for our own relationship with God. The church celebrates and confirms God’s work of grace taking hold within us. We dedicate ourselves to Christ.

In baptism, God says, “You are My child. I made you. I love you forever.” In confirmation, we respond, “And you are my God. You made me in Your image. I will live in a way that shows your truth and love.”

3. Ordination—a rite marking God’s call to special responsibility for Christ’s ministry as a pastor.

Not everyone experiences ordination. But every Christian is called to ministry. In ordination, the church affirms the fact that all Christians are ministers and are given gifts that equip them for ministry.

Ordination celebrates that God sets people apart for special service in the church community to preach and teach the Word; to administer the sacraments of baptism and Communion; and to care for the church’s life of worship, nurture, and ministry.

4. Daily Disciplines—spiritual practices that help us live in God’s presence daily.

Scripture—Jesus embodied the Word of God. Daily reading of Scripture will help us to grow spiritually; will give us an inner awareness of God’s will for our lives.

Prayer—Jesus spent daily time in prayer to God. Prayer is living every moment with hearts open to God’s love and guidance.

Service—Jesus used His time and energy every day for service to others. He washed the feet of the disciples, freely gave to others what God had given Him. If we get but never give, we become like stagnant water. Acts of giving make us channels for the flow of love to others.

Regular meeting with spiritual friends—Jesus didn’t live in isolation but shared His spiritual life with friends. Regular attendance at church, meeting with our friends provide us with a place to share our joys and troubles, listen to God, and help each other live in truth and grace.

5. Healing--All of us experience a need for healing, physical, emotional, mental, or relational. God wants us to be whole. To receive healing in our lives, we do whatever the Great Physician asks us to do: forgive, let go resentment, change priorities, change our lifestyle, and obey our doctor.

Christians use oil as a symbol to represent the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. In ancient times, oil was used regularly for bodily healing.

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