Summary: Even in the midst of all that is happening around us, we can remember what Christ has done for us and be thankful. (Remember our Baptism Service)

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“Remember and Be Thankful…”

Matthew 3:13-17

(quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)

Wakelee Church ~ January 16, 2005

Theme: Even in the midst of all that is happening around us, we can remember what Christ has done for us and be thankful.

Introduction –

12,000…15,000…35,000…60,000…72,000…over 100,000…over 200,000…

As AnnMarie, the kids, and I spent the last couple of weeks driving to and from Florida, my ears heard the numbers, but my mind could not get a grip on the sheer number of those affected in South Asia. Whole villages…gone. Whole families…killed. Millions of lives tragically affected.

In what seems to be the greatest irony…the very thing that they needed the most the South Asia…good, clean water…is what destroyed them. In mere seconds, an earthquake far off shore began the domino-effect of cascading water that would physically effect those on shore.

And over this past week, we’ve seen nature in its most radical forms in our own country. Mudslides in California…flooding in Indiana and Ohio…and even a 50 degree day failing to a 15 degree day, fog in our area causing major traffic accidents across the Midwest.

And with these entire events happening, I turned to my worship planner for this week to see that we’re to talk about remembering and being thankful in the context of Jesus’ baptism. I also turned to our United Methodist calendar to see that United Methodists are celebrating Human Relations Sunday, partially in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King. And, if that weren’t enough, evangelicals across the spectrum this week, are remembering that fateful decision by a supreme court back in the 1970’s, which showed that we as a nation are willing to put the Sanctity of Human Life in jeopardy, as we allow our mothers to abort their children.

But in the midst of all of this, I want you to hear the voice of God that is simply telling us that God is in control even in the midst of these radical days.

God doesn’t create the unrest, but he still cares. In fact, thanks to Adam and Eve’s decision to have the knowledge of good and evil, we will have even more unrest before Christ comes again.

But even in the midst of it all, God is still in control. And because he is, we can take our cue from Dr. King, and know that we can deal with the tragedies of today, remembering where we’ve been in the past, as we are thankful about the opportunities we have for the future.

Even in these trying days, we can remember and be thankful.

And these days are no different than the days when Jesus was baptized. Evil leaders, natural diasters, and greed and death, ran rampid as John the Baptists shouted so all could hear, "Repent...and be baptized."

What was different was Jesus. And when he came forward everything changed...for John...for those who were watching John...and for us.

Jesus was baptized to set things into motion. This morning as we prepare to remember our baptism, it would be good to look at what happened when Jesus came forward.

I – When Jesus was baptized, he came to bring meaning, a sense of happiness.

John didn’t want to baptize Jesus, but Jesus told John that it needed to be done in order to “fulfill righteousness” – to bring some sense of order, to start the redemption process, for you and me.

Let me ask you a question…are you happy this morning? A recent study done by Harvard psychology students asked that question to a thousand people. And the results they found astounded them…

They found that it takes three things for people to fully happy…

1. It takes positive emotion. Those who have empathy and can feel a true warmth about

themselves and others are on their way to happiness.

2. It takes engagement with one’s surroundings. Those who continually attempt to reach

out to their neighbors and their world are on their way to happiness.

3. But the last finding is what astounding them the most…happy people have a meaning in their life…that meaning comes from spirituality…and for most of the people studied…that happiness came from a relationship with God.

The Today show had one of the psychologists who oversaw the study on just recently. Katie Couric asked, “what is the most important finding you found in this study.”

The answer was this, “We never knew that happiness was tied so close to spirituality.”

Just to let you know, your pastor upon hearing this, yelled at the TV… “DUH!!!!”

Christ came…and was baptized…to bring meaning to our lives.

II – When Jesus was baptized, God announced his presence to the world.

In the midst of all that baptizing John was doing, not once had God audibly spoke. Can you imagine the scene. Thousands of people had come to the hillsides from their cities and their towns to see this character named John.

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