Holy | Sacred | Set Apart
By NMC - November 3, 2016
Posted in Adult Ministry, Children's Ministry, Stories from NMC
Dedicate [de-di-kāt]: to set apart, to commit to a goal or a way of life
This Sunday we will celebrate baby dedication. Over 30 families will line the front of the Worship Center and Connection. They will hold sleeping newborns and wriggling toddlers. They will be prayed over and encouraged, and publicly, these families will acknowledge that they commit to raising their children in Christ.
In our tradition, baby dedication is a benchmark. Benchmarks fill the Bible. They are moments to pause and identify with Christ. They are public declarations. They are ways to stand on our beliefs, our convictions and our faith. They mark moments when we set aside our ways and take up Christ’s.
There is immense beauty in baby dedication. By dedicate, we mean consecrate. We mean that these babies, these parents and these families are consecrated to the Lord. It brings to mind Scripture like Romans 12. Do not conform. Be separate. Let the Lord renew your mind and keep you holy.
Of course this isn’t just a charge to parents and families. This is a command given to all of us. In John 17, Jesus prayed passionately for believers. “They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” (John 17:16-19 NLT)
Whether you are dedicating a child this Sunday or not, there is a deep calling for all of us as Christ followers. It is so important that Jesus spent time pleading for us before the Father. “Make them holy.” Set them apart.
In our lives and in our culture, the pressure to conform, to blend in, to cause the fewest ripples is immense, especially when it comes to living with Biblical values. Most certainly, this is seen in hot button issues. But what about subtle, everyday decisions we make? What about the things we say and do that are automatic? Are we a holy people in the small decisions?
Busy. Busy. Busy.
Being busy isn’t a sin, but in many cases, it is a conscious decision. Our culture is one that prides itself in getting things done, in running from one thing to another, in signing our kids up for lots of activities. We save family dinners for holidays and family reunions instead of a Tuesday or a Thursday night. Vacations are our time to rest, but even then, it can be difficult to fully disconnect. This is normal for our culture, but it is counter to what Jesus did. His schedule was holy; it was set apart. He worked hard for the Gospel. He travelled and healed and met with people. He was busy. But there is a beautiful phrase in the gospel. “And then Jesus withdrew to a quiet place to pray.” Even in His busy schedule, Jesus rested. Even as God Himself, He made time to commune with the Father. He spent time with his disciples, investing in them and building those relationships. He disconnected from His world on occassion. He slept. He rested. And He rested with the Father.
Does your schedule reflect that of a person who is choosing daily to be “set apart?”
Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Sabbath is more than a day of rest. It is about worship. It is about recognizing our humanness and weaknesses. It’s about recognizing our deep, deep dependence on the Father. The Sabbath was given to us as a gift and as a command. Next to commands like don’t murder and don’t commit adultery, we see this command. It’s not by accident that it comes after commands to flee from idolatry. In our self-sufficient world, we can become our own idols, but the Sabbath destroys this. It acknowledges that we need God. It sets us in a posture of worship. We need Him so desperately that we will say no to work, to getting things done, to making things happen for ourselves. Does your Sabbath exist? Does it reflect a posture of worship and dependence?
Does your Sabbath reflect that of a person who is choosing daily to be “set apart?”
We consume. It’s our nature, and our culture has taken this consumption to a new level with a seemingly endless list of things we can consume. What we consume affects our minds, our hearts and our bodies. It affects the things we say and the things we do. As our culture becomes more comfortable with things clearly spoken against in the Bible, are we choosing to consume them? Do we consume things that Jesus commanded us to flee from? Is our consumption conforming us to the culture around us? It can be difficult to identify everything we are taking in. But look at one thing you consume, and have the courage to ask tough questions. Is your mind being shaped by TV shows that celebrate values counter to Jesus’ values? What words are you consuming in books and articles? Would you repeat them aloud?
Does your consumption reflect that of a person who is choosing daily to be “set apart?”
This Sunday we will dedicate babies in all of our services. But the idea of being set apart isn’t just for them or for their parents. It is for anyone who is a follower of Christ.
Does your life reflect that of a person who is choosing to daily be “set apart?”
Take a Step
- Check your schedule. Is there time for the Lord? Time for your family? Time for friendships? Time for rest? Is your schedule so crowded that you disregard the Sabbath?
- Check your consumption. Focus on one thing you consume regularly. Ask some tough questions about it, and set small goals that will help you change your habits.
- Check in with friends. Do you know someone who is dedicating their child this Sunday? Check in with them to find out how you can walk alongside them.