Alive Wesleyan

What's Your Intention? - Huddle Up - Week 1

August 12, 2019
Alive Wesleyan
What's Your Intention? - Huddle Up - Week 1
Chapters
Alive Wesleyan
What's Your Intention? - Huddle Up - Week 1
Aug 12, 2019
Alive Wesleyan
Show Notes Transcript

Do you have any porch people in your life?


Church attendance has been cut in half since the 1950’s.


We want to reach spiritually hungry people and introduce them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and an active role in healthy Christian community.


Speaker 1:
0:02
Oh Jesus, thank you for this beautiful place and this opportunity we have to laugh, to celebrate and to just rejoice in who we are in you and who you've made us. Thank you for the small group. We just seen the different small groups in the way they're celebrating. And Lord, this just grateful. My heart is so grateful. Thank for these incredible kids. And um, what a blessing it was this week to care for them and the opportunity we have to care for students in our, in our schools that don't have shoes. So, um, thank you for that Jaime. Deep in your cross. I pray in your name. Amen. Have I could give you one little bit of encouragement, a related to the shoe thing. So, um, when we found out of course there are kids that are coming into our schools that don't have shoes, that was like, okay, that's not allowed.
Speaker 1:
0:44
We will fix that ourselves. But here's what I want to tell you. You go buy an extra pair of shoes or what you would buy for your kid. Right? That's what we want to give them. We want to give them a blessing. We want kids to be blessed by these shoes, not like us to feel good because we spent six bucks on a pair of shoes or something, you know, go buy what you would buy for your kid. You can afford it. I promise he say, Tom, I can't do that. And given the church, okay, don't give to the church. Take it up with God. You just go and buy extra shoes for them. Because we want these kids to say, man, that that church really, really blessed us. And actually Steph is working where our people will actually be able to go and give those shoes away.
Speaker 1:
1:23
So be a part of that. So let me tell you what's going on during, during the blitz, the London blitz of World War II, World War II, 1940, 1941, uh, the Nazi Nazi Germany was bombing London. And the strange and unexpected discovery was made during the bombings and w and there's a made by Canadian psychologist and this is what he, this is what he discovered. The rates of depression during the bombings actually went down. They decreased. And then once the bombings were done, 1940 1941 the depression went back up and his conclusion was actually, this is groundbreaking. He said his interpretation of the phenomenon was London discovered a sense of community as they huddled together against the unknown, despite the rise of social media where we now have more friends and likes in any generation prior who liked what we had for breakfast or like the latest thing our children did.
Speaker 1:
2:27
A strange dynamic is being studied because what we're discovering is people are more connected than they ever have been before, but they're actually lonelier today than they have ever been before. So our culture is more connected, but we're lonelier. So what that means, let me just be clear, your social media isn't cutting it. It's not working. You may think you're loved and feel loved because of how many lights we get for whatever we said or quote or meme or other words. I don't know what I'm talking about, but it's not actually meeting the need that we all have. Church attendance has been cut in half since the 1950s Robert Putman wrote a book. It was earth shattering when it came out and we all actually read it. It was called bowling alone in which he promoted. It isn't just the church that it's experiencing a decline, but all kinds of community type events are declining.
Speaker 1:
3:19
Everything from softball leagues to Bowling Leagues, to elk lodges or Masonic, whatever it is, we're all experiencing decline. And here's what he concluded. He suggests there is decline in all forms of community that require commitment. And I would say that's probably true even in my life. Am I okay here if it's gonna require a commitment in Mu Theresa May appointed a loan limit loneliness minister in the UK. And the reason she did so was because of the discovery that there were 9 million Brits, roughly 20% of the population who identified as lonely. And in her announcement, Theresa May said, for many, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life. Get this in the u s loneliness rates are even higher. Statistically, we will learn that 35% of our population reports chronic loneliness. Only 8% of people in the u s recorded. They have had a conversation with their neighbor within the last year.
Speaker 1:
4:32
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in a famous interview said these words. During my years of caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes. It was actually lonely in this. And he later called loneliness the great pathology of our lives today. And of course, loneliness produces all kinds of health problems. One study says that a chronic loneliness is equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Not sure how they figured that out, but another study says chronic loneliness is actually worse than obesity. And the overall impact of a lifespan, a anxiety, depression, crippling emotional illness can often be traced back to too chronic loneliness. Welcome to alive.
Speaker 1:
5:22
If you are not thoroughly depressed by now. Um, you know, I've, I've done a terrible job so, so Tom, why in the world are you doing this incredibly poor and discouraging introduction to the huddle up series? Well, I guessed amidst all the loneliness trend. When I read statistics like that, I wanna I want to fix it. I want things to be different. Now I understand. I can't speak to the whole world. I understand. I can't speak to the whole state or the whole country and those, that's probably a good thing. But as far as the community that I have an opportunity to be a part of, I'm saying, why don't we just fix that? Why don't we call it out and say let's be different than everything around us and let's make sure nobody goes lonely. I mean is that feasible to even think about?
Speaker 1:
6:12
Cause I, I'm, I'm not that bright and I, I can see that. I could see ways we can fix this so that no one in this room would actually be lonely. I, I just want it to be different. And so I sort of want to throw down a gauntlet in this series and say things are going to be different here. The part that we touch, the part of the community we touch, we want this to be different. I want our family, our community. I want to be different and to buck this loneliness trend. I think we should stop it and fix it. And that's a pretty big deal for a church that has a mission statement like ours because this is, this loneliness piece flies directly in the guiding light for alive. It determines all that we do from money to programs to methodology, everything.
Speaker 1:
6:59
Here's our statement. We want to reach spiritually hungry people. We're not even saying we just want to care for Christians. We just want to care for people that are seeking something spiritually and our agenda is very simple. It's two fold. Just so you're clear. If you're just checking us out, you need to know here's what we're trying to do. We want everybody to have a personal relationship with Jesus and it doesn't all look like mine. It's all looks unique cause we're all different people, but one, everybody have a personal relationship with Jesus. But here's the second thing. We want everybody to have a an active role in healthy Christian community. Now, the reason those two agenda items are massive for us, from the children all the way through senior adults is because we think if a person would commit to a personal relationship with Jesus and an active role in healthy Christian community, we believe that we'll produce spiritual transformation.
Speaker 1:
7:56
And so if that produces spiritual transformation in the individual, then that can transform a marriage or a family or relationships, friendships, everything. Now when you're wired like I am, and I understand that not all of you are the most difficult part of that statement actually isn't the first part. It's not difficult for me kind of to desire a relationship with Jesus I have for a long time. And it sort of progressed. I mean, when I first had a relationship with Jesus, basically a pastor scared hell out of me. And so like I heard about hell and thought, well if that exist, I don't want to end up there. And so I kind of began a relationship with Jesus thinking, you know, I could kind of fix this and Kinda some fire insurance. And so that's kind of where I started. But as I grew in my relationship with Jesus, I actually want it to be more like Jesus, be with Jesus.
Speaker 1:
8:50
Because at that point in my life, I had piled up enough mistakes that I needed. Grace and I forgiveness is there, right with me so far. And so when I heard Jesus sort of offered those things, I wanted more of him. I said, look, if he can help me deal with some of the grit and shame in my life, I wanted to be a part of that. And then as I moved even deeper into my relationship with Jesus, I wanted to learn what it would actually be like to be like Jesus, what Christ likeness was all was all about. To be holy. Like Jesus is holy today.
Speaker 2:
9:22
Okay?
Speaker 1:
9:23
I don't know how to say this is I, I just want to be with Jesus. Um, you know, and I'm riding the tractor at the farm. I just like being with Jesus. He and I are listening to David Allen Co yesterday. It was amazing, you know, just enjoying the music and we were enjoying the smell of the grass and the Lord, thank you for making this grass. Could you slow down the growth a little? You know, just kind of having this conversation with him. Because here's what I've learned now this point in my life, if you remove Jesus from Tom, then Tom doesn't really know who he is and I'm not sure I want to. So that's the easy part for me. But it's the second part of a lives mission that is a more difficult for me because my instinctive reaction is never to run towards people. So when I'm at Walmart and I see you in an aisle,
Speaker 2:
10:19
okay,
Speaker 1:
10:19
don't take it personal. It's just kind of with the way I'm wired, you know, I was like, Oh and then I cut bye. See you. I'll try to, oh I didn't know I did. I saw you two hours over, but I wasn't going to tell you. Or like Lisa needs cooking wine. Well then I'll walk up, hey, can you buy me some wine? Cause you know, you never know what people are gonna think. So would you buy that for me for, for Lisa or this is for medicinal purposes. You know, could you buy this one for medicinal here by this whole cart? You know what I mean? Whatever it is, you know, you deal with your issues, I'll deal with mine. Okay. But when life is hard, when, when it's difficult for me, I want to hide in withdrawal when I'm going through a tough time. The last thing, I'll pretend I'm not home. If you come, okay, I'm, you can knock on the door, see my car, hear the music inside and I'll pretend like I'm not there. I might even turn the dogs loose on you. Okay? Because I want to be alone. When I'm emotionally bankrupt or sad or hurting or grieving or carrying a heavy load, I naturally default to getting alone somewhere. Even within the context of my marriage. I do that and this creates a problem for me and it's a problem I hope everybody can relate to.
Speaker 2:
11:29
Okay.
Speaker 1:
11:30
I don't do well in longterm isolation. I'm in as good for awhile. It's good that Tom is by himself for a while. I don't know why I'm speaking about myself in third person. Apparently I'm having a breakdown right before you, you let go. No, you let go. You're like go back and wait and wait.
Speaker 1:
11:59
That was funny right there. I don't care who you are. That's funny. I know I'm going to get an email, but that was funny, so it feels good in the moment to be alone. It even feels right to be alone, but I follow this practice for long enough now in my life to learn. I do not thrive when I'm alone. I survive. I'm surviving, which is valuable, but I'm not thriving. Can you relate to that at least a little bit? Apparently as a society, we're learning the exact same lesson. We are not engaging and thriving with one another. We are surviving by scanning through what we're doing on social media and it's making us lonelier. That's a problem that we need to fix. We're not doing well. Our society listen is not thriving in our isolation. Respectfully, you are not thriving in your isolation. You might be surviving because Jesus is easy. This part is hard,
Speaker 1:
13:30
are rugged individualism, which I value to a certain degree is creating some problems in our emotional and spiritual wellbeings and it is. You were talking about you're not an anomaly to the statistics and neither my and for a church that is deeply committed to spiritual transformation of all ages, to a personal relationship with Jesus and an active role in healthy Christian community. This is a cause for huge concern because what we decide to do with this topic will impact the platform that we just celebrated. Do you understand that? Come on. Do you understand what we do with it?
Speaker 1:
14:26
Now? Let me get even more personal. For many listening to the sound of my voice, what you decide to do with the topic of this series will determine a great deal about your life over the course of the next year. For some, it will determine whether or not you are even here within a year's time. I've seen it happen for decades now. For others, it will determine your spiritual hunger. It will determine your spiritual apathy. It will determine whether you're reaching out for help within the next year. Um, and feeling totally alone, totally isolated and totally depressed and this will impact friendships and marriages and families and all kinds of community and I think we ought to do it different. So a couple of weeks ago, Beth gave this great message on the story of teeter and what I would like to do is revisit one of the portions of the story that she told.
Speaker 1:
15:21
I want to revisit the time when Peter's life changed to see if we can learn something about this loneliness epidemic because Peter was in a similar place that I've just described for many of us. He had kind of settled into this life. He was doing his nine to five. He knew his favorite places to eat out. He had adjusted to his income. He had his favorite team. He pulled four, he tried to manage credit and he tried to pay his taxes. He was at the point where he figured this is my life until I die. Then he bumps into Jesus and everything changes when he bumps into Jesus. And the reason everything changes is because Jesus has this very powerful call, very transformative idea. He bumps into Jesus and Jesus teaches this idea calling us to repent. It's a Bible word that means this. Rethink how you think about everything. So what if we were to rethink how we think about loneliness specifically
Speaker 1:
16:24
and this whole idea of repent, we, we, we, we say it's this one and done peace. But Jesus is still an incarnated mode. It's not one and done this call to repentance is all along one's journey with Jesus to rethink how we think about everything. To turn from what we used to think into something new and something life-giving. So Peter's part of the Jewish culture, he goes to Hebrew school and Hebrew school. You're taught the Hebrew religion of course. But then you're taught the math and the sciences and English, not really, but you know, Hebrew, all those kinds of things. And that kind of happens in at the end of Hebrew school. You're the the, the, the rabbis that are kind of up and coming select which students they want to study under them. Some get selected, some don't. Peter didn't get selected, so Peter goes, takes up the occupation or the vocation of a fishing. Now, the thing about Peter Fishing for a living is Peter was a terrible fishermen. Anytime you read the story in scripture of Peter Phishing, it always says, and Peter was fishing and he didn't catch a dead gum thing. I mean loosely translated, but that is throughout the pages of scripture. He never catches fish unless Jesus is involved. So apparently he's decided to do something for a living that is not very good at.
Speaker 2:
17:53
Okay.
Speaker 1:
17:55
We Find Peter on the shore washing out his nets after a day of hard work and night of hard work and little fishing success and he's very similar to me. Even though he's in the Bible, he's very similar to you. He has dreams of finding the right mate. He hopes to have kids one day and provide something for them that he didn't get. Jesus comes by. Peter's washing out the net and he asks to speak from Peter's boat. This is where we pick up the story. In Luke chapter five verse four
Speaker 1:
18:31
when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Peter has three names in scripture. I don't know why it's just confusing. Peter Simon and Simon Peter, all the same guy, when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, put out into the deep. That's Jesus speaking, put out into the deep. Now let me just pause this a moment. So the crowd had pushed on Jesus. Jesus didn't have anywhere to teach. Peter's over there minding his own business, Washington thing out thinking he's going to head to the local watering hole when he's done and talk about all the fish he didn't catch. Jesus says, Hey, can I borrow your boat? So Peter says, okay. So he gets him in the boat. He rose him out a little bit so that there's water between Jesus and the crowd and then Jesus can teach. That's what's happened. Then Jesus turns to Simon Peter and says, put out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. Simon Peter answered, master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything because I stink at fishing. But because you say so, I will let down the net. Now we don't know really why Peter listened to Jesus at this point.
Speaker 1:
19:35
I mean I know you're supposed to listen to Jesus, but Peter didn't know that Peter had just met the guy cause he's standing in his boat. Maybe it's because the crowd was there and you know the crowd sees Jesus. Tell Peter to go and Peter didn't want to say no because he'd be embarrassed. Maybe. Maybe it's because Peter was desperate and he knew he had bills to pay and so he decided he'd do. Maybe it was because he heard something Jesus said that indicated he should do it and I think that might be kind of indicated by the word master. I don't know. Maybe it's all three. Peter's at this point where many of us I think are going to be today. He's going to have a moment when he will decide and what he decides will determine what happens over the course of the next year. And actually over the course of his life, verse six when they had done so pushed out fish in the deep, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat. Y'all come on over here, there's a mess of fish. And so they came over and now filled both boats so full that the boats begin to sink. Now what's strange about this is how Simon Peter Responds,
Speaker 1:
20:54
when Simon Peter saw this, saw what? He's knee deep in herring or whatever they catch right there. I don't know when he saw this, he falls on his knees, which shouldn't say fish because they're both full of fish and these were sinking. He falls onto like the crappy, well, no, not the crappy. That'd be something there that is a fish, but it's not appropriate in this context. So Jesus, his knees, and he said, go away from me, Lord. I'm a sinful man.
Speaker 3:
21:23
And Jesus said to Simon, don't be afraid from now on, you'll catch men. So they pulled the boats up on the shore. Peter left everything and followed them.
Speaker 1:
21:33
Every time I read this story, I marvel at Peter's response cause that wouldn't have been my response. But it's a pretty good indication that there's a whole lot more going on in this story than we actually read because Peter's response to the huge load to flow to fish wasn't [inaudible], which would be my response. You know, like, wow, we just, we fished all my cotton, nothing. But look what we've caught now my boat, your boat were all filled up. You know, let's do little local motion thing, whatever. And none of that. For Peter.
Speaker 3:
22:05
Peter catches his huge load of fish.
Speaker 1:
22:08
The boats are sinking and all Peter can say is, I'm sinful. Go away from me. Sinful is what I am. Sinful is all I am. Have you ever noticed that Jesus has never threatened by our sin, but it's always us. It's always us that puts in between me and Jesus. Jesus invites
Speaker 3:
22:33
this sinful man to follow him. Huh?
Speaker 1:
22:41
Man. Some of us need to kind of get this spiritual slap in the face because
Speaker 3:
22:46
Jesus doesn't say, well, Peter, when you joined the church, put a fish on your car, sorry, and serve in the nursery. Then you can follow me. He didn't say that.
Speaker 1:
23:05
In fact, he does even counter Peter when Peter says, I'm a sinful man, Peter says, Jesus doesn't say all. You're not that bad Jews. Yeah, you sure are. You don't go on right. See, it's just the church people that want us to get all cleaned up before we follow Jesus. Jesus invites this sinful person to follow him and he says, I'm inviting you into a training process to become something different, something better than who you are today. I see something in you that you don't see in yourself. Just follow now, just like all of us in this room, Peter had no idea the consequence of what it would mean when he said yes to following Jesus that day.
Speaker 1:
23:58
Peter had no idea that as a result of that decision, he would join a very exclusive club of just two people who walked on water. Jesus and Peter and that's it. Nobody else. Peter had no idea that he would actually be this fishermen who wasn't any good at his job. He would actually be the first one on the planet to look Jesus in the face and proclaim, wow, you're the messiah, son of the Living God. That will first did to do that with Peter. He had no idea that one day he would deny even knowing the guy who was standing knee deep in fish in a boat with him, he had no idea that one day he would stand in front of the very crowd of people who killed Jesus and say to that violent crowd, y'all just killed the son of God, and that's generally speaking a no, no,
Speaker 3:
25:00
and so you'd better repent
Speaker 1:
25:03
and as a result of the message Peter Delivers that day, scripture says 3000 men because in the olden days, the just counted. The men don't hold it against it. It's just culture. 3000 men. Then there's women and children on top of that all decided to follow Jesus. Peter had no idea. None of that would happen.
Speaker 3:
25:20
Any of that would happen. All Peter knew that day when he was standing in the boat with Jesus and he said, I'm a sinful man. Get away from me. All Peter knew was he wanted to be different. He was tired of being where he was. And so Peter let go of all his plans and he follows Jesus. So let me ask you a question. You all kind of have some idea of what Peter would do in the name of Jesus. You have some idea of who he would become. So how would you teach someone to be like Jesus?
Speaker 1:
26:08
How would you prepare someone to follow Jesus even as you all know, follow Jesus to the point of death? How would you train them up? How would you build that kind of commitment? So what would Jesus his plan be to shape Peter into someone different that he desired? What process would Jesus use to prepare Peter for the days ahead and all the challenges he's going to encounter with his life? What books would he have to read? What classes would he have to attend? How would Jesus get Peter Ready to speak to the thousand 10,000 at Pentecost? Because if you read the story Amelie, when Peter Decides to give up everything and follow Jesus, he finds himself in a community of 12 guys. That's the next step. A community of people that he would do life with, a community of people that he would experience spiritual transformation with what I call porch people if you will,
Speaker 1:
27:19
and this community was just as jacked up as any church small group I've ever heard. There is people in the group who are always took the best seat at the house. Don't point. There's people in the group and they compare themselves with each other. There's good people in the group that always promoted themselves. There's always someone in the group who's really messed up. There's one in the group, Betsy really messed up, but you don't find out later until the end that want and then you let go home and the group was like, I knew that guy wasn't right. Just like your small group. One exception, you may have a great small group leader. Peter's was better cause his was Jesus. And Peter, when they're sitting around having a discussion about Bible study or maybe the sermon series questions, you know, Peter could turn to [inaudible], hey, when you wrote this, what did you really mean about this? I think it's something significant for us as a congregation, community and society that struggles with loneliness that Jesus is preparation for. Peter began by getting him into a group. Maybe I'm not the only one that doesn't thrive in isolation.
Speaker 1:
28:44
Peter begins a process. Listen, no microwave here. This is a crockpot journey. I don't even know if people know what crockpots are anymore, but like you get five of them when you get married and um, now somebody actually marketed and said, you don't have to have a crockpot. You can have an instapot, which is a lie. It's not instant. I promise you it's still got some crock to it. So the [inaudible] instapot instapot is actually a crock just to let you all know before you get one. Unfortunately, some of you heard, the only thing you'll remember from this message just there. That's, that's what, this isn't. Take two pills and call me in the morning and I'll be like Jesus and neither is your experience in mind. We get into community of people. There will be times you drag yourself to that community because you don't want to be there. There'll be this temptation to drive away and talk poorly
Speaker 3:
29:42
about the community because your expectations are off. There'll be this temptation when it gets tough and difficult to say. That's why I don't want to be in a small group. And that's fair. What you're saying is you would rather survive, not thrive. And I get that. I truly get that in the video shoot I did with the Clemson coaches. One of the things that Adam Smotherman said really stuck with me.
Speaker 2:
30:12
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
30:13
Cause Adam's a big guy. Um, he and I lived very similar.
Speaker 2:
30:19
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
30:25
I asked him, I said, dude, you just say set my question cause I asked you how much you pressed and, and you didn't tell me. You said not enough. I said, so tell me how much do you press? He said auction, I'm only, I don't know if Adam's here cause I could get beat up after the service. So, but he said, you know, I, I, I uh, I only do about three 80 now cause I pulled my
Speaker 2:
30:43
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
30:44
Ursula major whenever I don't know something
Speaker 2:
30:52
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
30:52
and I was so out of it, I didn't know which part to grab to empathize with what he had pulled, all know, knows. I just said, now I'm only doing three 80 said, yeah, me too.
Speaker 2:
31:03
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
31:04
what are you kilogram, what does that, what is three 80 what is that? Well one thing he said that was really powerful to me when I said, how often do you work out? He said, we don't call it working out. We call it training.
Speaker 2:
31:18
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
31:22
I wonder how many Christians are working out
Speaker 2:
31:25
but not training.
Speaker 3:
31:29
We're working out as if this is just part of the recipe of my successful life. I have my nice comforted house with a very padded, lazy boy and the largest screen television I can afford. I have a security system to make sure nobody gets in and violates my comfort area. And my isolation and then I go to church. I get what I want at the church I want. Then I come home and I process it alone because I'm working out. I'm not training for anything.
Speaker 2:
32:03
[inaudible].
Speaker 3:
32:04
I would suggest that following Jesus is actually about training because every story I read in scripture of anyone who decides to follow Jesus,
Speaker 2:
32:16
okay,
Speaker 3:
32:16
was called to do more than they ever could imagine they were going to do
Speaker 3:
32:22
healthy Christian community porch people is where we're training for what lies ahead and small groups are where you discover the people that will be there, come with May in your small groups that God is preparing you and fortifying you and using you for how he will use you in the coming days just like you did for Peter. You see, in church world, we learn in these rows. That's where we learn truth, but it's primarily a one-way dynamic. We actually change and train in circles. People often come say, Hey, I visited your church and I tell them, no, you didn't. You visited a worship service. Our church actually meets in circles.
Speaker 3:
33:12
That's when you're really visiting our church. When you're looking eyeball to eyeball with someone else who's doing their best in this difficult, hard as heck life to confront their own loneliness and to help someone else in their loneliness. Listen, I think this is one of the most radical under taught transformative teachings Jesus offered and it will fly in the face of all of us and what I'm getting ready to share with you will be so offensive to you that you will reject it as not true. The problem you're going to have is, it's not me who says it, it's Jesus. I think this is one of the most difficult calls Jesus throws down. One day he's teaching crowds, pushed in around them. Mom and brothers show up and someone goes up to Jesus and whispers, hey, your mom and brothers are outside. They want to talk to you. They can't get in. Now Watch how Jesus responds. Who are my mother and my brothers?
Speaker 2:
34:27
Right?
Speaker 3:
34:29
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and he said, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother. Now if that flies all over you like it does me, then you have some indication of the work Jesus is still trying to do in you because according to scripture, the connection we form with each other actually begins to take priority, insignificance and importance over our very families. Wow. How does that happen? I don't know guys. I'm telling you that's, this is one of the most challenging thoughts in scripture for me. For Jesus. His community was his family.
Speaker 2:
35:32
Okay?
Speaker 3:
35:33
The number one name for God used in all of scripture is actually father Jesus calls his followers, brothers and sisters, he does it 342 times just in the new testament for Jesus, the type of community we are is to be family and in this family, nobody goes alone. Don't think I'm selling you a bill of goods. This family is as just as dysfunctional as probably the one that you're a part of. This family will be one of the most difficult things you engage in in your following of Jesus. But I have been looking for a loophole for several weeks now and I can't find one.
Speaker 3:
36:52
But I can tell you this, for Lisa and I, we have a lot of people in our lives. We're very grateful. A lot of folks we get to do community with. And that's, that's wonderful. So for us, the need for a small group isn't actually to to know more people or to have more friends. Does that make sense? And that may be true for some of you, some of you, what you really need right now is friendship. But for what Lisa and I need and our relationship is we need to have a small group where we can just be with those people and discuss the things of God, discuss our children and our families and do life together in a community. Does that make sense? And so being aware of that in your own heart and life might be part. So, in other words, I'm going to my small group, but I'm not necessarily looking for a new closest friend. Am I okay here? I have those. I like to trade a couple of men sometimes, but I do have them. I do have them. But there's something about my spiritual transformation and thriving spiritually that happens best when I'm in a dinner context with my small group.
Speaker 3:
38:12
I want to be different and I want our community to be different and I don't want to ever hear any of you were lonely. That's not a good thing for us. So, so Jesus, um,
Speaker 2:
38:33
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
38:35
how's I bow my head in front of these people? I want to tell you I'm not totally sold out to this whole small group thing over family. You're still a wrestling match going on inside of me. And yet I've lived long enough now to know that when my life gets in trouble, it's usually somebody in my small group that shows up first and that it meant something to me. They mean something to me. And so like they're going to help get me through when they show up with love, friendship, coffee decisions to go take a trip together that that matters to me. I need it. I just didn't know it was your plan for changing me.
Speaker 3:
39:40
And so lord, I pray that as a result of this decision making, we're all gonna do in this room. We're going to drive down this hill and we're going to say, ah, that was nice, but I don't want anything to do with it or drive down a hill and think, I wonder if we should do anything with that. My prayer is that we would just be a different place with different community. Not Large, not small, but just nobody goes alone. Nobody. And we joined in our dysfunctional small groups and we learned grace and mercy in that context. We extended often so we can receive even more portions of it. And as a result, we gather in this room, maybe a year, maybe two years, maybe five years from now. And we realize, wow,
Speaker 2:
40:29
you miraculously made us different. I wanna, I want us to be different in your name. Amen.