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April 16, 2023 – Sermon Transcript

Space for Doubt - April 16, 2023

Pastor Mike (00:00):

In other words, if ayou are a train wreck and we’re a church of train wreck, and we’re just, and we’re just spouting out Bible verses and we’re judging people left and right, and we’re comfortable with hurting people to be right, it’s really hard to be this safe person.

Hannah Hunter (00:17):

Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with Gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of Reach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. This week, pastor Mike brings us a message on how we can experience and express our identity as a child of God and a person of worth.

Pastor Mike (00:32):

Well, again, I’m very happy to be with all of you today, and we’re actually at the start of, uh, it started on, on Easter Sunday, but a new series of talks about, um, vital life characteristics that will radically change and define all your relationships because I believe that God has called us to thrive and experience the abundant life Jesus promised. I mean, it’s not just about going to heaven, but actually Jesus promised us to be able to experience his kingdom heaven here on earth. Now, um, let’s be honest though, where, where does it all begin? How does it all start to take shape in our lives? Um, I believe that something actually happens to the quality of our relationships when we, first of all, I mean, it’s absolutely required to, to experience that, that reconciling relationship with God. In other words, when we learn how and that who we are in God, and we learn what God did for us, um, it changes everything.


When we receive God’s gift of salvation, it changes our identity. Um, and, and, but also, it doesn’t change just a moment. It’s a, it’s an identity that you and I are called to, to grow into. As my friend Wes, um, olds called, um, calls it my friend Wes, he says this, he’s like, you know what? There was a point in my spiritual journey, um, when I realized that God did something so radical that he didn’t just save my soul, but he gave me a whole new identity, a whole new personhood. And he said, you know what? I am, I’m a cog pal. And everyone’s like, what the heck is a cog pal? Well, a cog pal, is this the way he calls it? I’m a child of God, person of worth. And as you embrace your true identity, that you two are a cog, pal, child of God, and a person of worth, it will bring defining qualities or characteristics in your life that will permeate, that will transform every relationship that you have.


So take that down, cog Powell, person of worth. Now, I know that some people are listening or who will be listening, um, and you’re saying, you know what? I am just not there. You know, Ken, you know, Ken’s Jesus stuff really make a difference. So please don’t tune me out by what I just previously said. Um, it’s okay to be skeptical. And you know what? You have a right. Even those of us who are right here, right now, you have a right. Um, when we look critically at the, um, the track record of the church, when you look, when we look critically at, um, the what we see happening in the bigger church today, and sometimes, uh, what Christians do, or what people who say they know Jesus and they, and they claim to be a follower, Jesus. And then yet these same people have caused you a lot of pain and a lot of hurt.


I understand why you might be skeptical, and it’s okay. In fact, I I believe that today’s scripture lesson will give us hope. Um, listen to these words. Uh, you might just wanna write them down. It’s from John chapter 20, verses 24 to 29. Now, Thomas also known as dimus, which, which means the twin, one of the 12 was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, we have seen the Lord. But he said to them, unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I will not believe a week later, his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace be with you. Then he said to Thomas, put your finger here.


See my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting. Believe Thomas said to him, my Lord and my God. Then Jesus told him, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. So we know that Thomas was one of the disciples who followed Jesus, and yet he was not present when Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first Easter evening. But when he heard that Jesus had rose for the dead, he said, you know what? I can’t buy it. I’m not there yet. I I don’t believe it. In fact, as we’re familiar, he said, unless, you know, I could put my my fingers into those nail marks unless I put my my hand into his side, I will not believe. And Thomas had to experience Jesus before he was able to believe.


He had to see with his own eyes, and he had to actually touch with his own hands, the resurrected Jesus. And when Jesus appeared to him and invited him to touch his wounds, Thomas said, my Lord and my God, you know, sometimes we need to experience something before we actually believe it, especially those things that are just, you know, too good to be true. And this is especially true when it comes to faith, because I believe that right now there are many people today who are skeptical of Christianity and they doubt the, the claims or the truth claims that Christianity makes. Yes, they may might have heard about Jesus, but they have not experienced him for themselves. And I guess the question that we have to ask ourselves is how can they experience the resurrected Jesus for themselves? Maybe you have some doubts. Maybe there’s some things that you haven’t totally bought into yet.


Or maybe, you know, people that you, you want to share faith with. You want them to become a believer, but you know what? They have to experience Jesus for themselves. But how can they test the truth claims that the Christian faith makes? I mean, that, that’s, that’s a tough one. You know, Jesus said to Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen yet believe. Well, couple things to think about. First of all, you know, I love how Jesus doesn’t get alarmed or insecure when Thomas starts questioning these claims. Jesus doesn’t reprimand, um, Thomas, he doesn’t belittle him. He does, he doesn’t make ’em feel small. He welcomes it. But again, the thing I wrestle with is that we don’t have the luxury of calling down Jesus in bodily form right now to test the claims of the resurrection.


And yet, Thomas had to experience Jesus before he believed. And many people today, I believe, need to experience the church before they can make a confession of faith. <laugh>, you’re like the church man, that that’s a ludicrous plan. You know, you’re better off calling, calling down the bodily Jesus to make a good representation of it than to let people experience the church. If I look at some of the experiences I had in my church life and being with church people and being a, um, you know, just a repeat offender church person who professes Jesus and yet screws it up all the time, I’m only do we really wanna do that? Do we really want to have people experience the church and let that be the litmus test of whether Jesus is really alive? The answer is yes. Why the church? You see, Jesus called the church.


The church, the word literally means that the gathering of the kingdom, citizens, the church, is that promise that when two or more are gathered together in the name of Jesus that he is there. He called this crazy thing called the church. He said, this is my body. The church is the body of Christ. So if you want to have people to experience a, a living witness of the resurrected Jesus, they want to feel and experience the body of Christ. They wanna, they want to put their hands in some wounds. They wanna feel some the, the sides. And yet, see, okay, I wanna experience somebody that should be dead, but is yet alive. They need to experience the church. But the question as I’m still wrestling with this, and I wanna invite you to kind of go on this journey with me, is how would the modern day church or most modern day churches in the United States, let’s just kind of bring it here or here even in Palm Beach Gardens, react to an open skeptic like Thomas. How do you react when someone pushes on something that is so important to you? Especially when we’re talking about faith, when people say, you know what, I don’t buy that. I think it’s a fairytale. Or, you know what, I have some serious doubts. Like I, I can’t be this so naive and and simple like, you just to, to trust this. Where do you go? Where does your heart go? Where where does your head space go when you experience this?


You know, although many will deny what I’m about to say. All right? But we’re gonna push this just a little bit. I believe that what I’m about to say is actually normal for many people who claim to follow Jesus. And I, and I will even go as far as saying that it was normal for me. And sometimes it creeps up every now and then. Okay, so let’s, let’s have some truth, time. Our actions, the way we behave and the way the faith is prac is practiced and communicated many times, says that we think that it is our job to make people behave and, um, a certain way. We, we think that they, that they have to, um, believe a certain way. We think it’s our responsibility to convert people by teaching them to believe the right things. Like the my under the way I see it, right?


Um, we think that is our responsibility, that people need to know very specific Bible verses you. We don’t want ’em to know the whole Bible yet. Yeah, we do. We want the whole Bible, but there’s some verses that you definitely need to know and you need to memorize. And they are important and they’re essential to being a Christian to heaven, salvation. So they need to know very specific Bible verses. And let’s take it a step further. They need to align at least intellectually with some doctrines, some established truths. Cuz you know, we can’t have any heretics in the room, especially heretics in heaven. There’s no place for heretics in heaven, people that believe off or have a skewed understanding. We gotta make sure that people have a correct interpretation of the Bible, the right interpretation of the Bible. And we have to, I mean, we have to fight for that. Not only do people need to have, uh, the right interpretation of the Bible, we gotta make sure they’re reading the right translation of the Bible. We gotta make sure they’re having a biblical worldview. Why? Because they’re called to be holy people. We’re called to be holy. People set apart


Like Thomas people today need to feel Jesus. They need to experience Jesus. They need to see the body of Christ. I really believe that, that this generation needs to encounter Jesus in a very radical way, the living Christ, and then they will believe and all this other stuff that we make a very big deal about it. And, and yes, it, it has a place in our faith life. But, but what I’m trying to say is I think we got some stuff outta order. I think, I think we’ve been, we’ve been, you know, getting into some unnecessary arguments. I I think we’ve been, you know, you know, dying on the wrong hill. And I think that, you know what, we need to talk about a matter of heart. So what am I saying? We need to create a space, we gotta be comfortable with creating a space for questions and doubts.


You see, many Christians view doubt as something that harms one’s faith. It’s something that should be avoided. You know, faith and doubt don’t mix. I mean, I mean, we, we we’re kind of taught that, or at least we teach that implicitly. And if a Christian finds themselves doubting God, the solution is simply to replace a doubt with faith. But I want you to consider that it’s not that simple. If you’ve experienced doubt in your faith, which all of us I think have, I mean, you know that this doubt is real. But the reality is almost everyone who experiences some kind of doubt at some point in their faith journey. So we understand everyone has this, but, but despite everyone, you know, experiencing, having this period in their life where they have some doubt, where they question God, do, do we say, God, do you really care God? Are you really there? You know, you know what I’m talking about? You have that crisis of faith when you hit the wall. Um, despite all this stuff going on, we rarely feel comfortable talking about our doubt. And we feel real uncomfortable even acknowledging, you know what?


I have some doubts too. We we’re afraid to say that it makes us look weak. Maybe we think it makes Jesus look weak. You know? Cause how can we defend Jesus if we have some doubts, you know, something is wrong. And then when we talk about doubt, we brush it off with some really short answers. That excuse what’s really going on. You know, you shouldn’t doubt there’s some things you just shouldn’t question. You can’t question that you know, what the Bible says is true. You know, just, just believe it, accept it. And we, and we downplay this pivotal peace of the faith journey.


You know, the Bible does quite the opposite. The Bible actually like highlights doubters. It seems that God has more tolerance for doubt than most churches Look in the scriptures, check it for yourself. And so therefore, we should not deny or fear are doubt, but actually create space where it can be properly expressed and voiced. Faith is often seen as the opposite of doubt. But I really want to invite you to consider that that perspective probably needs to be flipped. You know, the opposite of faith, you know what it is, is certainty. And you see where there is certainty when you can put your hands in the wounds, when you can touch and feel when there is this certainty, you don’t need faith.


You see, the opposite of faith is certainty. The theologian, Paul Tillich puts it this way, doubt is not the opposite of faith, but it’s one element of faith. It’s part of our faith, it’s part of that struggle and the way to experience the body of Christ where doubt is welcomed in a genuine way, just like the early church is a commitment from the body to be this emotionally and spiritually safe congregation. Because when I, when I look at the early church, I mean, and, and right in the very beginning I’m like, how did they get this part right? I mean, they got, they screwed up everything else, but they got, they got this one, right? You know, they didn’t kick Thomas out of the meeting. They didn’t jump into an argument. They allowed him to just voice his concern. They allowed him to share to, you know, when he, I mean, look at this.


We see that we have these two events that, like Thomas, I mean, this is an inner circle. People, disciples are hiding from their, for their lives cuz they don’t wanna be crucified like Jesus. They don’t know what’s going on. And at their very first meeting when they say, Hey Thomas, you, you missed it, man. Jesus was just here. He said, peace be with us. It’s gonna be okay. And Thomas says, man, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe it. Now if you are concerned about your own survival, you would never invite Thomas back into the inner circle, you know, cuz he is not reliable, he’s not serious. You know, you would kick him out, you’d keep him out. But, but what does the disciples do? The disciples, they allow him to come back. They allow him into the inner circle. And Jesus appears and he says, Hey, peace be with you. And then Jesus doesn’t reprimand Thomas for his unbelief or his doubts. He says, here, come on man, check it out. Feel it. I wonder what the, the church, what this church will look like if we really got a hold of this. And we said, you know what, we’re, we’re okay with this because, you know, this is God’s work. It’s God’s job. And again, and you use it in this, this modern terminology to really try to break it down. I really believe that we have to be emotionally and spiritually safe congregations.


So what is emotionally and spiritually safe congregation? It’s one where individuals feel safe, loved, and empowered to grow and thrive in their faith journey. So they feel safe, they feel loved, and they’re actually empowered to grow. It is a community where people can be vulnerable, share their struggles and doubts, and still feel accepted and loved. It might be nice to be at a place where you can just be you and you can love God. And then you can ask some questions. Or you can be in a place where it’s okay to say, you know, I’m hurting. I’m confused a little bit. I’m not having a great week. My mo my month stinks. Things are just a wreck.


You see, in an emotionally and spiritually safe faith, community members are actually encouraged to express their emotions and feelings. Now listen to this. Hold on to this one. They’re encouraged to express their emotions and their feelings without fear of judgment or condemnation. I’m a pastor and I know a lot of you and I’ve spent time with you and, and I don’t know how this happens, but I don’t know, it’s just the, the power or something else. But sometimes people are afraid to be them, them, them true selves around pastors or even among, you know, in the church. So they’ll say, you know, like, who will pray? And they’ll say, well no, I’m not really good at praying. So, you know, you should pray. You know? Um, so I don’t know if it’s just like Tim being timid or it’s just like, well, it’s your job.


Get off your butt lazy and start praying. I don’t know. But, but you know, like, like, but sometimes we’re, we’re, we’re so afraid to do and say the wrong thing, to look foolish. To not have that perfect thing that we, we hold back. And that’s not safe. That’s not healthy. But see, in this healthy environment that’s both healthy emotionally and spiritually, you’re encouraged to express your emotions and feelings and you don’t have any fear of judgment or condemnation. And then we, when it gets really deep, you’re encouraged to explore the, your belief, ask questions and then seek the answers. Seek the truth without fear of rejection. To summarize this, there’s this culture of empathy where individuals are willing to listen and understand each other’s perspective, even if they don’t necessarily agree. Man, that raises the bar high. So in other words, it is a place, I’m gonna repeat this again cause I think it’s important. There is a culture of empathy where individuals, in other words, that whole congregation are willing to listen to and understand each other’s perspective, even if they don’t agree.


Now we’re talking a whole bunch of bs, aren’t we? Right? <laugh>, I mean, cuz like, this is hard stuff right now, you know, people are like, where do I see a church like that? Where do we see this? Now what do I want you to notice about those statements is this, pay attention to this. This is like the quality or characteristics of the body of Christ. This is what we should be striving for. This is what actually walking in love and humility looks like. And it’s more than reciting the list of the fruit of the spirit. You know, the spirit of the spirit that we’re all familiar with in Galatians chapter five, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, which Paul says, listen to this, Paul says, against such things, there is no law. So sometimes when I start talking about this emotionally healthy congregation and spiritual healthy congregation, and we start create, saying, we gotta create a space where people can be accepted, where they can share their doubt, where we can listen and try to understand each other even if we don’t agree with it.


Um, sometimes people’ll go like, oh man, that’s, you’re going in some murky territory there, pastor. Oh man, it’s gonna get messed up right now. You know, we gotta hold onto the truth. But Paul says, look, this is the fruit of the spirit. And it’s not something that the fruit of the spirit, it’s not something that we are supposed to just name and memorize and list. It’s, it’s, it’s called about who we are called to be. And Paul says, if you really want law, if you don’t have this stuff down, there is no law. This is the foundation. I wanna tell you something. This kind of understanding actually has some teeth to it. It’s hard. It will make you uncomfortable, it will bite you, it will get your attention. Now, this is not saying that that doctrine and Christian orthodoxy and proper biblical interpretation is not important.


I’m not saying that at all. On the contrary, this understanding is actually the foundation of all of our interpretation of scripture. You see, we read the Bible by relying on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, choosing not to get trapped into the spirit of the law, which a lot of people do. They get trapped in this legalism. But we read and interpret according to the spirit of who, of Jesus Christ. Why do we interpret it through the lens of Jesus Christ and no other? Why don’t we just go and just get a literal thing and go word for word and all that stuff. Why do we have to put on the lens or the mind of Christ? Because the scripture says that Jesus, the church says that Jesus, I say that Jesus, the Bible says that Jesus, he fulfilled all the law perfectly. He’s the only one.


And because he is the only one, he’s the one that we need to put the lens on. And we need to, and we gotta look through everything with the Bible through the lens of Jesus. All right, now let’s start getting personal. Okay? You see, we cannot have it emotionally and spiritually safe congregation unless we allow the spirit of God to claim our hearts and to transform our souls by being safe people both emotionally and spiritual. In other words, if you are a train wreck and we’re a church of train wrecks and, and we’re just like going through the motions and all that stuff, and we’re just, and we’re just spouting out Bible verses and we’re judging people left and right and we’re comfortable with hurting people to be right and we like to win our arguments and we like to defend the faith and fight culture and all that good stuff, it’s really hard to be this safe person.


I want to ask you right now, not just your actions, but let’s do a heart check. Ask yourself, am I an emotionally and spiritually safe person? Think about that. So an emotionally and spiritually safe person, they possess the qualities of empathy, compassion, respect, and understanding emotionally and spiritually safe people are actually good listeners. That, that, that’s like one of the, the requirements. You gotta be a good listener. And not only are they a good listener, but listen, pay attention to this one. They actually take time to understand other people’s perspectives and experiences. So they provide this non-judgmental space for individuals to share their feelings, their thoughts and emotions. They validate their experiences without dismissing or minimizing them.


So they don’t say, okay, yeah, yeah, you believe you wanna be, but you’re, you’re still stupid. You know, they, they don’t do that kind of stuff. They validate it, they take it as real. They don’t quickly dismiss it. And here’s something else. These individuals are, okay, let’s think about church. All your previous experience about church, okay, hold on to it. Okay? The rollercoasters now going, taking a deep dive. They’re also able to regulate their emotions and respond to others in a calm and thoughtful manner. They know how to regulate their emotions. In other words, when, when a doubting Thomas or a skeptic gets in their face maybe gets a little offensive, really maybe gives a different point of view something that’s very sacred to them. In other words, when, when, when they go to sacrifice your sacred cow, you’re cool with having a barbecue with them, they’re, they’re able to regulate their emotions and respond in a calm and thoughtful manner. They don’t react impulsively or aggressively and they don’t use, um, emotional manipulation or cosson to get their way. I mean, how many times, like, I know I’ve been in that and, and I’ve been in these environments and I’ve been guilty of this, where, you know, people use the Bible and they just beat people with the Bible or they use a scripture in faith and they make you feel so small, they don’t do this. You see, safe people are, are authentic and genuine in their interaction with others.


Listen to this one. They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not and they don’t try to hide their vulnerabilities or flaws. Now they don’t just bleed all over everybody and you know, just like, Hey, look at all my junk and all that stuff. But, but they’re real, they’re honest, they’re transparent and they’re trustworthy. And by doing this, it creates a place, a sense of safety and security for those around. So when, when you’re around people like that, and, and I’m probably, if you think about it, you’ve probably been around people that are on both sides of the spectrum. The people that are on the, the the not safe thing, you know, you gotta watch everything you say cuz they might bite you, right? They might use it against you, they might hurt you. But then there’s this, these safe people that you can be yourself and you don’t feel like on the defense. You don’t have to count and choose your words.


Okay? So how do you react when God brings a Thomas in your life? I’m gonna just share a little bit about my journey. There was a large part of my faith journey where I reacted poorly and I admit by the grace of God, you know, things are getting better, I’m getting better, I’m becoming, you know, I can see that God is changing me, but I still struggle at times, and maybe you can relate to this, I’ll say that there are some people I respond to better than others. You know what I’m talking about? Like some people I can do, you know, I can do what this, what we’re talking about. And other people, man, the buttons get pushed and it’s like, ah, you know, like what just happened? I still struggle and I respond to some people better than others, but here’s what I’m really saying. Let’s, let’s rip the bandaid off, right? Shall we? Are you ready to rip the bandaid off? What I’m really saying is that I hide my brokenness or I’m better at being a hypocrite with some people than I am with others.


That’s what I’m really saying with some people. Oh man, I’m really good at covering it up. I’m really good at looking good and, and making sure things don’t bother me in this day level and all that stuff. I’m really good at being a hypocrite, you know, masquerading this, that, that inner war within the soul and some people I’m not, you know, it just comes right out, you know? And what, and, and the reason why I’m, I’m not trying to boast in this, but what I’m trying to say is, you know what? I need Jesus too. I still believe Jesus saves, I still believe Jesus radically transforms. I still believe that Jesus gives us a new heart. But I’m not gonna pretend that Jesus is already done with me. I’m still on the road to be, to be in sanctified. You see, when I truly make Jesus my standard, I realize how much I really need a savior and I begin to recognize how much grace has already been poured out in my life.


And when and when you get that perspective, when you realize like, you know, how much God tolerates our junk or tolerates my junk and how God sees all that stuff and still claims me as a child and still says, I love you and I’m not kicking you out, and you know what? You always have a home with me and you belong with me, and I’m not done with you. And I’m gonna walk with you through this. And even if you fall on your face a thousand times, if you say, daddy, I need some help. Can you pick me up? God’s like, I’m right here to pick you up. I’m right here to walk you, I’m right here to, to start baning those wounds. I’m gonna help you. You know, I’m gonna mend those broken bones. You know, those relationships, they can be transformed, those addictions that you have, those habits that you have, that shame that you’re carrying Jesus saying, you know what, I’m not done with you. I’m not abandon you, I’m not throwing you out. I’m gonna walk with you. I’m gonna hold on you. When, when you get a hold of that radical salvation, when you really get a hold that you are a, you know, this, this, this, this child of God, person of worth, that you are a cog pal, man, it makes you see people differently.


It makes you be that, you know, and I want to give as much grace as possible to others.


I understand why it’s hard to trust the church. I definitely understand why it’s hard for people who are not Christians to trust the church or for people who have been had real hurt by the church to not trust the church. But we need to make a decision that you know, that we’re gonna be a safe congregation and we’re gonna be safe people, and we’re gonna allow this safety to affect us both spiritually and emotionally. And you know what if you don’t see it around you, or maybe you don’t have it around you as much as you like, you know, like there’s a lot of components in this that we’re gonna unpack in the, in other talks. And, and I can say from my own journey, like there’s some things that I saw other people have that I’d never had the opportunity, but I made a decision.


And I want you to invite, invite you to make this same decision to say, you know what, even if it’s not around me, even if, if even if though it didn’t arrive yet, I’m choosing to trust God and to live into it by faith. So in other words, even if you’re around a bunch of emotionally and spiritually unsafe people, maybe your house man, you’re just surrounded by a bunch of hyenas and you’re like, I need to be living with the lions, you know, um, lion King reference or anybody knows, but you know, like I I I just need something different. You know what? You gotta claim your identity and say, you know what? I’m gonna live differently. I’m gonna choose to take this road. I’m gonna choose to embrace Jesus. I’m gonna choose to, to welcome the Thomas’s around me and make Thomas feel safe.


And also, I wanna encourage you to actually experience the, the real body of Christ, the church for yourself. You know what, if you’re listening out there or if you even hear, you know, seek out a faith community, I mean, this is in your interest, okay, this is good for you, this is good for the whole world. But actually say, you know, look for a faith community that actually values and lifts up this kind of stuff. This is the stuff that we need to celebrate. This is stuff that’s part of our culture. You know, choose to model this in your relationships and I guarantee it will change all your other relationships. You know, it’ll allow you to see the love of Christ in action. And then, then, and this where it gets really exciting, one of the most exciting things is then you’ll be able to see how the power of God, the power of the gospel can change lives. Because that’s why we’re here. That’s why we exist, is to be instruments to be available so the power of God can change us and change everyone around us for good.


And then who knows, maybe just like Thomas, you might find yourself making one of the most profound, one of the most foundational statements that became the center of the Christian doctrine about Jesus. That Jesus is Lord and Jesus is God. He was able to say that because he was surrounded by people who are completely broken and messed up. We mean, just look at the apostles, look at their lives. But the spirit of Jesus did something new among them. You know, it was in that safe environment where Thomas was able to make that declaration and claim for the church. And I believe that that’s what the gathering place is all about. That is one of the reasons why we exist. That, that, that is one of the key stones of this church. Cuz I don’t wanna play church any other way. I don’t want to be, I I I don’t wanna waste my time.


And I, I’m sure you do. You don’t wanna waste your time just going through religious motions and playing the games and wearing a facade. Cuz man, it’s dangerous, it’s toxic, it hurts, and the hurt lasts for a long time. But Jesus came to make us whole. So the first step in experience in this kind of community is to allow to make you that safe person by experiencing his salvation, by being in communion with him. So I guess the last question, I’m gonna leave with you today, will you let Jesus into your life? I’m talking about like for real.


In other words, like, like put his standards up there and just let him in and say, Jesus, I’m giving you reign. I’m giving you control. I’m not, I can’t do it on my own. I’m tired of playing the mask and I’m tired of being a fake. Will you let ’em in your life for real. And then finally, after hearing all that you heard today, what is God saying to you? Like, what is your next faithful step? What are you gonna do? Let us pray. So love, so loving God. I pray, Lord, that we’ll not let these words just go by the wayside because they’re so important. It’s part of the kingdom.


And so Jesus, we confess where we, where in some ways, you know, we can see how you changed our souls, but we, there are some other places, Jesus, where we need some radical saving. And um, and we ask you to save us. We’re done hiding. We’re done covering up. We’re coming to the light and we’re gonna trust that you’re gonna heal us and, and make us new. And God, we’re making this our standard because we know that without this, without being that safe person and without making this church a safe place, God, that that is foundational for having good relationships in every area of our lives. And that’s what we want. So Jesus, we turn it over to you. Have your way in your name we pray. Amen.

Hannah Hunter (40:54):


Hannah Hunter (40:54):

Beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of reach here at the Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. Thank you for joining us this week. We love getting to share our journey in Christ and community with you. And if you’re in the Palm Beach area, we’d love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday worship service at 1115. For more information about our community and faith, check out our website at Thanks for listening.