Today's message based on Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11
Whenever we begin any kind of project, there are several things that need to be done.
First you have to have an idea or concept of what you want to do.
The foundation of any undertaking is what inspires the whole thing all along the way.

Second thing you need to do is have a plan and put it into place.
Come up with an outline or set of directions, like putting a grill or bicycle together.
You’d better have a good reason to vary from the plan or blueprint or it can all go awry.

Then, the next most important thing is to get started on the project.
There are millions of ideas and plans that are lying dormant all over the world.
That’s because people get inspired and start to map out a strategy,….but that’s it.
The whole thing dies on the drawing board because the getting started never happens.

Philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Mary Poppins have stated this fact.
What’s the saying ?…. ‘Well begun is half done’.
Or,… ‘a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step’.
So making that first effort and taking that first step is so important to the whole thing.

This morning, we heard of some projects and their simple but important beginnings.
We heard in Genesis how God went about doing the creation of the world.
He had an idea or concept of the world and a plan of how to make it all happen.
So the first step he took was to create light and separate the darkness from that.

With the story of Jesus’ baptism, we also have the same sort of thing going on.
The idea was to bring forth the ministry of Jesus, who will be the ‘Christ’, or Messiah.
The plan for that began at creation and then continued through the Hebrew people.
The blueprint then calls for the prophets to proclaim the coming and purpose of Jesus.
Which, as we heard recently, involved the birth in Bethlehem.
Then, along comes Jesus; all grown up and ready to implement his part of the project,.
This leads to the first step; the first action on Jesus’ part.
Jesus goes into the desert where John is baptizing and he submits to that himself.

Now, we’ve got to remember why so many projects fail to get off the ground.
As we said, it’s failure to take the first step or to even start and begin the project.
While a concept can be great and have the best laid plans of mice and men,…
neglect or laziness can be why we fail to begin a project.
But there’s another reason why we often don’t take that first step.
It’s the fear of making a commitment to something that can sometimes freeze us.

In all sorts of endeavors in life, be they social, professional, or health related,…
accomplishing something involves that crucial aspect of taking the first step.
And the leap of faith towards that requires usmaking a commitment.
Whether its a marriage or relationship,….a career move,….or growing in faith.
We all need to make that significant commitment that leads to the first step of starting.

That’s why they say “well begun, half done’ or ‘a journey begins with the first step’.
Because that hurdle of making that start is so vital to the success of anything.
But before that making committing is vital to taking the first step.
Whether its committing to an exercise program or embarking on a new healthy diet,…
beginning a new savings program or starting in a new relationship with someone;…
we have to make that commit to that leads to the first step in carrying out the plan.

This holds true for spiritual matters too.
The idea of coming to worship regularly requires a first step of doing that.
But prior to this you must commit in your heart that you’re going to do that.
The concept of being more diligent in a regular prayer life demands a beginning.
But for that first step you need to convince yourself that you are committed to it.
The idea of engaging in more righteous behavior in life has to start somewhere.
But you have agree with yourself that this is the way you are going to go.
The concept of practicing more forgiveness to others, must begin with an initial act.
But before even attempting that effort we must acknowledge that we will do so.

Jesus does just that in his willingness to be baptized by John.
His baptism is the first step that soon leads to the carrying out the plan of his ministry.
But before the first step towards doing that ministry, he first committed to the idea.
Committed in his heart and mind that this was what he would do, come what may.

Yet he does not do this alone for, as we hear, the Holy Spirit of God is with him.
He begins with the help of God’s Spirit, but he also knows God approves of his work.
Just like in our own Baptism a first step was taken towards our life in faith.
God, the bible would say, had a plan for each of us prior to that first step.
But a commitment was crucial, by either us or our parents before a first step mattered.
And then the Holy Spirit comes to help us and God’s approval is made known to us.

The same can be said for us for the rest of our lives in whatever good things we do.
So, come up with an idea of some good thing to do in the coming year!
Lay down plans or an outline of how you might accomplish that plan.
And then…..take the crucial first step of that journey you’ve begun.
But first,….before that,…..take a prayerful moment to commit to the idea.
Then, God’s Spirit will help you the rest of the way and he’ll approve of your plans.

Amen.