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March 19, 2023 – Sermon Transcript

What If We Cared? - March 19, 2023

Pastor Mike (00:00):

What would happen if we actually gave a damn, if we actually said, you know what? That this is such a priority that I am gonna hunger and I’m gonna thirst because I want my world. I want this world that I live in to be a better place. I want the people around me to experience the goodness of God.

Hannah Hunter (00:17):

Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays of the Gathering. I’m Hannah Hunted, the director of Reach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. This week, pastor Mike brings us a message on spiritual discipline, has an expression of love, care, relationship, and faith.

Pastor Mike (00:31):

So, you know, here we are, we’re continuing our journey of Lent. And if you think about Lent, think of Lent as a journey because it’s basically journeying with Jesus to the cross. And it’s a time for self-reflection. It’s also a time of realignment for our hearts, um, because really we wanna make sure that our heart is attuned to the heart of Jesus, uh, because we know that you know the purpose of, you know, when people ask Jesus, who are you? What are you gonna do as the Messiah? Are you the Messiah? You know Jesus, you know, gave this type of message, you know, about saying that he is there to restore everything that was lost. And to me, that’s good news because again, there’s been things that I’ve experienced lost in my life. And Jesus says, I’m here to restore those things. Jesus talks about healing our broken world in such a way that the love of God is what truly reigns or what is really in control of this world.


And to me, that is, is really good news. And, um, and how did Jesus do this? He did this by choosing to be with us, to demonstrate that, that, that, that that real healing, real life happens when we are in right relationships and we have this right relationship with God. And so here we are, we’ve been on this Len journey, and, and here’s the news for this week, is that we’re halfway through lens. Can you believe that? We are halfway through Lent, but usually what happens in Lent is that, um, you know, we prepare for it. We, maybe we will take up some spiritual disciplines. We’re we’re thinking about it. You know, some of us will get ashes on our head. We do, we do all these different things, but then we get, we, we stall out a little bit <laugh>. And so today is kind of like a primer for our lenton journey to continue on, to continue on toward, uh, the cross.


Now, our mission here at The Gathering Place, and, and, and I stress this because this is why we exist, okay? This is why we do church, is to, to worship God, but also to understand that God is equipping you and me, all of us here, we are not equipped to sit. We’re actually equipped to be sent out and to extend God’s redeeming love so that, that we could participate in this great work of Jesus, which is to redeem or bring restoration to everything that is lost, to bring healing to, in our broken world, to demonstrate what, what life can look like when love rains. And also about being with people because Jesus is with us. You know, that, that, that is the, the heart of this. And, um, and so, you know, what if, if our mission is to extend God’s redeeming love, um, we have to really understand that it’s about healed relationships.


And this is such a big deal because, you know, it’s not about just, you know, being an expert about the law and knowing your Bible. Sometimes people think about being a Christian is also just about, you know, just being super holy for God or, or set apart. But, but really what God is calling us to is to participate together with the spirit of God in this restoring and healing of all things broken, especially relationships. And, um, and all of us, I think in some way or another, know about broken relationships. And we know what its feels like to be estranged from somebody, you know, to, to, to, to be disconnected. Um, you know, and, and we all long for, for restorations. And, um, and, and some of us, you know, maybe some of you right now might have a, a relationship that is broken and you say, God, I would do anything to just have that come back to be restored.


And if you have that kind of a feeling, I just want you to know that the heart of our God breaks even more for these broken relationships that are out there. And, and here’s the thing that sometimes we forget in the church, and that is this is that people matter to God. God really does care about people. And, and so because of our personal experiences, because of sometimes the, the past actions of the church or people that call themselves Christian, I want you to know that there is a lot of hurt out there. There’s a lot of mistrust out there, especially from people like us. People don’t trust us who identify as Christian. And there’s a lot of misunderstandings because of just practices and, and things that were said. And people have this misunderstanding about who is Jesus and about his people. And this creates this, this, this, uh, mistrust, this brokenness, this hurt and all that.


This creates a barrier for people who are maybe a little bit hungry to explore faith. It creates a barrier for people who are maybe, are actually considering or would like to consider, um, allowing the goodness of God to be a part of their lives. And this is why Jesus came to our to be with us. This is why he died, and this is what why he resurrected. And, and that was his whole purpose. But what breaks my heart is this, is that when I talk about this stuff about the need for right relationships and the need for, you know, people to know Jesus, like philosophically, I don’t hear anybody say, no, I don’t agree with that. You know, <laugh> like I, I don’t believe that Jesus came for the world. But if we’re really honest with ourselves and we really look at just our life practice, sometimes the message that we’re preaching is that we don’t care a whole lot about this.


And what I’m saying is, is that, you know, we, we, we want to tell people about Jesus, but we don’t have this, this drive cuz we’re so afraid of just getting it wrong. And, and when we, when we do start to care, and we do start to show an s like, yeah, or get some conviction that yes, I gotta, you know, go and tell people about Jesus, we do it on our own strength and we try to do it our own way, and then we really screw it up. I mean, that, that’s when it gets like really bad. And actually that’s when we church people do a lot more harm than good. And we get too preachy. We, we talk more, listen less. Um, people feel like there are projects to be fixed instead of people to be loved. I mean, all those things happen when we try to do it on our own strength.


But here’s the the question I want to ask you and just, just do a heart check. And this is something that, that God has been, um, you know, just wrestling in with my heart is this is when was the last time you had a burden for the people around you and it caused you to really pray. And I, and I’m talking about the burden. I’m, I’m not talking about like, well, I I’m one about people who suffering, but I’m talking about this, this, this truth that’s been put out there today. That God loves the entire world and God desires goodness for all the world. And, and God’s like, Hey, if people can just connect with me, you know, if we can get our relationships right, you know, like, like so much of, of this, of this world, so much of our life can experience healing and life.


And, and I’m not talking about just the burden of pray. You know, I’m talking about, I’m not talking about our, our typical, um, you know, self-interest burdens of oh God bless me, or oh God, you know, help me God prosper me, okay, God, save my family. I mean that, that’s usually what happens too a lot when I start talking about, you know, let’s start praying for people to experience Jesus. Everyone just says, well, I got my prayers, I got my family. I want you to know that that’s good to be praying for your family, but that’s part of the promise of God, okay? Like that, that’s part of the promise that God gives when, when we put our trust of Jesus, that, that, you know, that, that God says, Hey, you know, you believe on believe in me, you and your whole household will be saved.


And so we can, we can take that to the bank. So I’m not saying to stop praying your, for your family, but what I’m saying is, is you expand what your definition of family is. Um, I’m talking about, you know, this burden when you actually begin to your eyes and to see the people around you, the people that you work with. Maybe it’s your neighbors, maybe it’s, I mean, do we even know our neighbors yet? Have we, have we met them yet? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do we, do we, um, do we see the people that we shop with? Do we, do we see what’s going on? Do we see their hurts? Do we, do we, do we hear their cries? Do we, do we identify with their struggles? Can we see that there is and some, a lack of love and joy And, and, and this burden, this burden at least that, that, that I experienced, and ask God to make it real and not just a job, but this burden is that, okay, God, when I look at these individuals, I, I love ’em so much that I know that if they could really find out who you are, if they can really find out that you’re not that mean God, that’s ready to, to punish and, and you’re not sending plagues on people, but you’re actually trying to heal the world, if they can really hear and see and experience who Jesus is, their lives will be so much better.


When was the last time you had a burden for the people around you that it actually caused you to really, to start praying for them in the book of Daniel? Okay, I’m just gonna give you a little, couple of disclaimers about the book of Daniel, okay? It’s a prophetic book. And for, for some people it’s a strange book. It’s confusing. It’s basically like the, the Old Testament version of the book of Revelation. So, you know, it, it, you know, there’s some, there’s some ground things that we need to, to take into consideration, okay? It talks about real historical events, but also there’s a lot of crazy vision stuff going on in, in Daniel, okay? Daniel has a lot of visions and all that that need to be interpreted by the Holy Spirit. Um, it’s, it talks about real events, but it also talks about future events.


And so, you know, here’s a little history lesson to kind of get us where Daniel is, is that the Israelites had this broken relationship with God, essentially, okay? Just to put it in simple, simple terms. And they were living in exile. So we, we, you know, as modern day Christians and people, we think people live in a spiritual exile. No, they lived in a real exile. And for them exile was, you know, their land was conquered. And, and the elites were taken from their land and taken to Babylon. And this is a big problem because part of their identity of being Israelites, identity of being God’s chosen people is heavily linked to the land. So if you’re removed from your land, that means that there’s a message going on. It’s like, whoa, is the promise broken? So not only were they removed from their land, um, Israelites were also taught that there was a place to worship, right?


God’s temple, you know, they, they understood that God’s spirit was, was here. And this is a place to do sacrifices. This is the right place where you deal with your sin. This is the place where you get your relationships restored, all happens in temple. And now there’s no temple. So no land, no temple on top of that. Um, there. So there’s no physical relation with God. And then what’s happening to them while they’re in Babylon, all the elites, okay? And, and this is something that happens in, in, in many places in the world. When, when, when another, when another country or another power wants to influence another, a group of people, what they do is they take the elites, they bring ’em to the capitol, and they re indoctrinate ’em, okay? They, they teach ’em the right way of how to live. So, so not only are they removed from their land, not only do they have no place to worship, not only, um, you know, that they had this whole identity crisis.


Now they’re being pumped with a whole new re indoctrination of, okay, now this is who your identity me is. And that means that they are not having the opportunity to study the Torah and to understand the, the ways of God. Because you know what, um, they’re trying, they’ve been taken out of, um, Israel, they’re putting a Babylon. And now, now Babylon’s trying to get Babylon inside their hearts, okay? This is what’s going on with the people. No public study of Torah. There’s no word of God to renew their mind, only re indoctrination. And so this is what’s happening, and this kind of sets up the context for Daniel. And I’m jumping into Daniel chapter 10, verses one to three and seven to 14. If you want to read all the other verses, I admit there’s just a lot of descriptive stuff. You can read it on your own, but we’re gonna focus on these big things.


In the third year of Cyrus, king of Perge revelation was given to Daniel, who was called Belt deja. Its message was true and it concerned a great war to understand the message came to him in a vision. At that time, I, Daniel mourned for three weeks, I ate no choice food, no meat or wine touch. Bo touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. I, Daniel was the only one who saw the vision. Those who were with me did not see it. But that, but such terror overwhelm them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone gazing at this great vision. I had no strength left. My face turned deathly pale, and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep. My face to the ground, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.


And he said, Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, considered carefully the words I’m about to speak to you and stand up for, I have now been sent to you. And when he said this to me, I stood up, trembling, and then he continued. Do not be afraid, Daniel, since the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard. And I have come in response to them. But the Prince of Persia, um, of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me because I was detained there with the King of Persia. Now, I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future for the vision concerns. A time yet to come. Like I said, there is a lot of complicated stuff in this Daniel, um, passage.


And, and again, it has to do with a vision or a revelation that he has that definitely needs to be interpreted. But today, we’re not focusing on their vision and revelation, the meaning of that. We’re focusing on the practice of Daniel and how it can relate to us on our lenton journey, okay? That’s why we’re reading this Lenton pa, this passage of Daniel, Daniel had a burden for his people. He was concerned. It, it broke him and it broke him in such a way that he was actually in a place of mourning and a place of prayer. And what do we see Daniel did? He prayed for 21 days. Not only did he pray, we we see that, that he chose to do a thing that is formed to a lot of modern Christians. And that is a thing called fasting for him. The fasting was that I am not gonna eat any meat and I’m not gonna drink any wine.


So it wasn’t a total, um, total abstine of food. What it wa uh, what it was is, okay, I’m a choice meats, I’m not eating. So he kind of went on his vegetarian fast and then he did something even more different, which, you know, I’m, I’m curious to explore more. Maybe we can do in a Bible so time, but then he also faceted from using lotion, okay? But, you know, he is like, Hey, I’m not even gonna use lotion. You know what I mean? I’m not gonna even deal with like the, um, you know, no cosmetics anymore. Okay? So this is what Daniel did. Um, but what I want you to know is that this describes many, many people understand that this, this ex describes a, a spiritual battle. Um, you know, that, that this is a vision here. Um, you know, the New Testament talks about the evil one and, and the evil one, uh, or even some people call Satan or the adversary, um, you know, is, is, is said to be the prince of the power of the air.


Now, I want you to know, like, I personally don’t like to, to promote war or even use language of war because I, I mean, I think we live in a very violent culture as it is. But, but also we have to be honest with ourselves that the, the, the, the Bible and the context of the Bible uses war as an analogy a lot. So if we, if we cut it all out, then, then we, then we miss a lot of what maybe God’s trying to say to us. So I’m not trying to promote war, but what I am trying to tell you is that there is definitely some kind of a spiritual battle going on. Um, the reality is, is that why do we have to take things seriously? And that’s why the scripture was, you know, even using this extreme war languages is because there is a lot of brokenness in our world.


There is a lost world and many people are held captive. And for Daniel, that was a very real thing. And, and so basically when the Bible uses this war of language, it’s more of a rescue operation. It’s, it’s trying to do everything possible to say, Hey, we have to do something very radical and drastic. This is not normal and we have to make a pivot to get things right. But for us as Christians, okay, I’m not telling us to go enter into some holy crusades cuz you just read your history books and you know how we really screw that junk up, right? We’re not supposed to do that. But the scripture teaches us that we’re not called to be, you know, it’s not a, a political crew crusade. It’s not a physical crusade, but it says that the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God and pulling down all these spiritual strongholds out there.


In other words, we have a spiritual battle to do. Now I know for a lot of us with this modern western mind, and we like to do a lot of our self-help, and, and we read, we read books and we educate ourselves and we have Google to help us. And, and, and now we have AI that can write, you know, all kinds of stuff for us and tell us what we need that we think we need to know. Um, you know, we think, okay, does something like prayer and fasting really matter now all the good? It’s almost like that same question. You know, what’s the answer? We like Jesus. You know, yes, we know that that really matters and that’s the answer. But is it part of our lifestyle? Do we live in such a way and do we see that, that this need for people to experience the goodness of God is so great that we are burdened to pray or even take another step to fast?


Um, the question that you know, I want you to consider is, does, does prayer and fasting really matter? Why prayer and fasting? Does God really need it? Does God need us to pray? Does God need us to fast? Does God take delight in us fasting? And and I think the answer is yes and no, because this whole restoration and healing project that’s, that’s happening in our world, there’s this, it’s God’s mission, it’s God’s work. It’s God’s power that accomplishes all this. But one of the mysteries of life is this, is that God chose to, to not just do the mission himself, but to invite us to participate in it. God invites us to partner. I mean, maybe it’s, it ties to our being made in the image of God, but God’s like, you know what? Even though I know that you like 99.9%, let’s just say a hundred percent of the time, you have the tendency to screw it up, right?


I mean, when it’s put into our own hands, we a hundred percent of the time screw it up. God says, you know what? You’re my partner. I want work with you. I, I I I I want to, I want to go and deal this incredible endeavor with you. And we’re like, God. Like, like why? I think because of one thing. Because the, the, the situation is so serious. I think people need to see a living testimony, a living witness of the goodness of God. And when I’m saying a living witness, it means like if you just take a step and say, look, this is me when I do it all on my own, this is me. When I do it all my own, you get dang shingles and all this kind of stuff, right? You know, I mean, this is me. When you do it on your own and God’s like, and this is what happens when you surrender to my grace.


This is what happens when you trust me. This is what happens when you, when you, when you realize that when you’re at the end of your strength and power and you turn it over to me and you just allow my life to flow in and through your life, um, this is what happens. Our lives are called to be a sign of hope, a sign of peace, a sign of love. Our lives are a sign. And so does prayer and fasting matter. Absolutely. Another thing is our words and our prayers matter. Here’s something I I mean this, you know, this whole space time thing and how prayer works, I mean, I I’m always puzzled by this, but but if we’re just taking this, a simple literal reading of this, right? Like, what if our words like really mattered? Like what if there are really like, you know, legions of angels, thousands of angels that, that are out there to, to accompany us on our mission, right?


And so what happens if, you know, we notice this, that as soon as Daniel, the first day he says his prayer, you know, that you know that the help is on the way. The help is on the way. It, it gets dispatched. But what what is revealed to us in this vision is that while the help is on the way, there was some detours, the help experienced some obstacles, they helped experience some, some challenges. And, and I wonder what happens to many of our prayers when we, when we, when we have that moment where we pray in faith and we’re like, God, I trust you with this. I give you, you know, my dreams and my desires. I surrender ’em to you, God, I I give you that family situation, God, I give you that work situation, God, I give you my, my health. I give you my dreams and visions.


I give them all to you and the prayer, and they, and those answers are being sent on the way. And then all of a sudden the afternoon comes after, you know, morning worship, life hits us and we’re like, oh God, you can’t do anything. Oh, God is not gonna work. Oh, everything’s gonna be the same. I mean, I wonder, you know, how much you know of the, of the prayers, do we actually undo by our words? And, and if anything that we can see here is that, you know what? When we, when we have to pray, um, you know, we have to be faithful in our prayers and consistent. Another thing about prayer and fasting is it humbles us cuz we’re choosing, put ourselves in a weaker position, even like, you know, with the fasting. And I, and I understand, I mean, look, we all have, you know, we have to be careful of medical conditions and all that.


But, but if you can humble yourself and say, okay, God, I’m gonna to, to just step back and take a lesser role so that I’m not relying on my strength and I’m not trying to get it done on myself. You know, it humbles us. And then here’s another thing. Prayer and fasting fulfills the promise that is in Matthew chapter five, verse six, A promise that, you know, we, that is lumped into the be attitudes, but a promise that you and I miss a lot of the times it says, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.


What would happen if we actually gave a damn? And if we actually said, you know what? That this is such a priority that I am gonna hunger and I’m gonna thirst because I want my world. I want this world that I live in to be a better place. I want the people around me to experience the goodness of God. I want the lies that have been told to be a race. And you know what? And I want the rights, uh, the, the wrongs that even I have done by my pitiful poor witness of just living a selfish, you know, self-involved life. What would happen if I say God, break me, change me, change our world. God, move in such a way that you know what, I am gonna hunger and thirst not for my own righteousness. Because we know Jesus is not talking about our own righteousness.


Cuz our own righteousness is like filthy rags. It doesn’t, it doesn’t line up. But if we hunger and thirst for the righteousness, the, the goodness, the holiness of God to come into every part of our lives, what would it look like? And there is a promise. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Happy are those who who crave and desire this as, as basically the essence of life. And the promise that Jesus gives is they shall be filled. Now, that is a promise for us. But do we take it seriously? Do we, do we hold onto it? I guess the question that with Astra, and I had asked myself this too, because when, when we, when we get more prayerful and we start humbling ourselves, here’s what happens and why it’s so important to us, we get more attuned to the voice of God.


And man, we need to hear the voice of God. Man, we, I mean we hunger for that. We, we need, we need some direction, we need some purpose, we need some, some power. And I guess the, the question that I asked myself and, and I, I was like, man, I mean this, this is coming honestly is like, when did this move me in such a way that, that I chose to fast? When was the last time you fasted, you know, Daniel fasted from meats. But you know what? And and also, you know, don’t fast the things that you don’t like, you know, I mean, like, I’m allergic to mushrooms, so I can’t do a mushroom fast. You know, that that doesn’t work that way, you know? But but, but when have we taken this seriously in our tradition, you know, the gathering place. I mean, we, we are a United Methodist church and we’re rooted in the Methodist and Wesleyan tradition and the, and the, and the Methodist tradition actually, like fasting in prayer was such a part of our lives that, that, you know, it, it was just our way of fasting every Wednesday and Friday, fasted every Wednesday and Friday.


That was like, and then later on, like we said, Hey, we wanna be more like the Anglicans and all that. So, we’ll, we’ll, you know, we’ll, we’ll definitely fast on Friday and, and, and, and then, and then fast on Wednesday when things really get screwed up, you know? Um, and no, I’m serious. Like this is Methodist history, okay? And, and how like Methodist would, would fast, um, you know, they would fa like on the Friday fast, they would start on Thursday at sundown, and then they would go to Friday at 3:00 PM That was like the thing. So Thur Thursday night to, to 3:00 PM on Friday, like, we’re gonna fast, we’re gonna pray and that’s what we’re gonna do. But what I caution you is this is don’t get fixed on the rules or what type of fast the purpose is. You gotta set aside some time and prayer and say, okay, God, I need this as, as part of my life.


I need this primer because I wanna be faithful. I wanna fulfill you. I want, I don’t wanna live for myself anymore. I wanna live for what you have. So don’t get fixed on the rules the day, try to avoid the legalism. But here’s another thing that’s so important about this prayer and fasting thing. It’s one of the ways that we claim our real authority that you and I have as believers in Jesus Christ. Um, and, and again, if we really understood how powerful this is and how this is how mountains are moved, I mean, Jesus gives, I mean, just look at the little references when Jesus says that this happens because of prayer and fasting. It’s always when they’re dealing with some serious stuff. But if we jump into Matthew chapter, uh, 16 verse 16, the 19, and this is like when, when Jesus and his disciples are traveling to the area of Caesarea, of Philippi, okay?


That means nothing to you unless you go to the Holy Lamb. But basically it’s a, it’s a, it’s a town or city that was named after Caesar. In other words, Caesar is God. And we named towns after the God, right? And then all of a sudden, you know, Jesus asked the disciples, who do you say that I am? And and Peter says this, Peter answered, and you are the Messiah. You are the son of the living God. In other words, Peter speaks this bold word of treason against the Roman Empire. And he says, Jesus, it’s you. You’re the Messiah. You are the real king. And then Jesus replied, blessed, I used Simon son of Joah for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my father in heaven. So understand this, let’s just pause real quick. There’s off the notes here.


Anytime a person confesses Jesus as king or Messiah and as Lord, that is not something to do on theirself. That is by the work of the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus said, you as the Father reveals this to you again, you know, we can’t convert or fix anybody. This is the work of God and prayer and, and all that is a way that you and I participate in the work of God. So here’s what, what Peter, um, Jesus starts saying, and we get into some battle language here, okay? Just to warn you. So just, just hold onto your seat. We’re gonna get through it though. And I tell you that, um, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church. Church. And the gates of Hayes will not overcome it, okay? In the ancient world, the gates were the, the seat of military power.


They were the seat of where all strategic plans of, of any kind of military operation was always done at the gates. And, and Jesus says, the gates of Hayes are, the gates of death will not prevail over this why verse 19, I will give you the keys of the kingdom. This is authority, authority that a lot of Christians have and they don’t even know how to walk in it. He says, I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom. And whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven. And then Jesus does one of his weird Jesus things, he tells disciples, don’t tell anybody about this. You know, <laugh>, <laugh> another message for another day. Um, but anyways, <laugh>, why don’t we pray and fast is because this is how we start living into our authority.


Your faith actually matters more than you realize. And it’s not just to make you feel good and have hope. It is to change the world. It is to bring life. You know? Now let’s bring it home. How do we connect this Sunday’s faith? And what I’m talking about with Monday’s work, remember we at the gathering place, we’re gonna start loving Mondays. Cause this is the time to just get into our faith and to, and to do it. So guess what, guess what’s 21 days from now? Easter. Easter. This is, this is our opportunity to kind of live into what Daniel experienced and to have a burden for people, a burden for the people around us. This is our opportunity to maybe fast and pray. This is an invitation to fast and pray in such a way that you know what, that we want people to experience. Like what would their life look like? I mean, try to see people. And again, remember your family, they’re part of, they’re, they’re lumped into the promise. Okay? So go beyond your family. Go beyond who you’ve encountered this go into who you encountered this week. What would their life look like if they’re open to explore, just to explore Jesus?


What would the person’s life look like if they experienced the goodness of Jesus? That life and truth. So here’s how we’re bringing it home into practice is this 21 day prayer challenge. Remember last year we, we did the, the, the 1102 prayer time. And that was to, to break into, um, you know, our world have God’s spirit break into this world. We’re gonna do that again, but in a little bit different way. Here’s what I want you to do. We’re gonna keep this really simple and I want you to write this down, okay? Or I mean, cuz you’re not gonna remember it, okay? Write this down. Take a picture on the screen, do it, do whatever you can. Write down the names of three people you would like to explore faith, okay? So you’re not trying to convert them, you’re not trying to push the, all you want them to do is to be open to explore faith.


In other words, we’re praying that God, that they’ll be in a safe place where they can explore, that they won’t be judged, that they can ask any kind of question that they can, they can feel, you know, to be themselves. It’s a safe place to explore faith. So, so this God, I’m gonna be praying for three people. So that means it’s not, not a person that is a member of another church. No, I’m talking about somebody that’s living out there and does not know about the hope and good news of Jesus Christ. Set your alarm for 1102. Why 1102? He goes back to when the Jesus disciples and they said, Jesus teach us how to pray. And Luke 1102, it’s, you know, that’s where we see the Lord’s prayer. And 1102 is when, when we pray thy kingdom come. That’s what we’re praying for. Thy kingdom come and we’re connected to that 1102.


And then finally be open and expectant to see how God might use you. So all I’m asking you is just pray and some of you, God might be asking you to fast, and we’re just gonna put this in God’s hands. So let us pray. And we’re not doing music just yet. So you guys gonna sit down for a second? Okay? Sorry. Let’s pray. So, Lord, I thank you, um, for your goodness and how you love to heal and restore our world. But Jesus, we need to be a people of prayer. We need to be attuned to what you’re doing. And so, God, we ask that these remaining days of Lent, that you’ll help us to take this, these steps to, to align with your heart cuz you came to be with us and to show us that we’re not alone. And that you want to have that relationship with us and to heal and restore everything that’s been broken and lost.


So God, help us to be burdened for people. Help us to be willing to fast God. If we don’t, if we don’t have it right now, show us in this next day those three people that we need to be praying for, for the next 21 days. God help us, us to be delivered just to even just name them every day at 1102. And God, help us to unleash you, take you out of the box and trust that if it’s, if it’s necessary that you’re even able to use me, use, we ask this in Jesus now. Amen.

Hannah Hunter (35:56):

Hey 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 the gathering place org. Thanks for listening.