Faith, Hope, Love - October 23, 2022
Pastor Mike (00:00):
Do you see that there’s a missional component? We want God’s redeeming love to start changing what’s going on in our world. We wanna see hope, we wanna see a future, and God promises that it will be given.
Hannah Hunter (00:16):
Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with Gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of Digital Reach here at The Gathering Place in Palm Beach Gardens. As we’re celebrating our one year anniversary this week, Pastor Mike brings us a message on what it means to walk in faith, hope and love.
Pastor Mike (00:33):
So, I want to talk to you about a church that, that I’m familiar with, and maybe you are, maybe you’ve been familiar with it too.
It started like a lot of, a lot of churches where, um, there was a leader that came in the town and said, Hey, we gotta do something different. Things need to change. There’s, there’s problems in my community. Uh, people feel separated from God. And all of a sudden as people started hearing the, the, the teacher and the, the preacher basically, and they, they realized that, wow, there’s, there’s something here. It’s, it’s not what I’m hearing at my other religious gatherings that are in my city, because let’s face it, every city has a lot of big religious gatherings and, and, and there’s a lot of different expressions of religion in every city. But as, as people started to hear this teacher and, and the, and the preaching, and they started hearing the content of what was being offered, um, they said, Man, I gotta start inviting some of my, my relatives and some of my friends.
And, and actually the preacher went out and started inviting people too. And together they, they started doing some really good ministries. So their, their church life consisted of worshiping together their, their church life consisted of, of serving. But usually the serving was when their leaders said, Go out and, and serve and go do something like, you know, hey, there’s some hungry people, you know, feed them. Um, there’s some people that, that are, that are outside and, and, you know, maybe we should pay attention to ’em. But like most church people, they, they had a, they had a hard time with, uh, people that were different than them. Um, they had a hard time also be, sometimes we’re afraid to be around people that are different than them because they’re like, Hey, I don’t wanna be grouped with this crowd. But yet their preacher kept on pushing ’em saying, No, we gotta, we gotta keep pushing these boundaries.
We gotta connect with more and more people. They did things a little bit different and, and even to establish religious communities didn’t accept them, uh, they ridiculed them because they were, they were still small in number. So I saw had moments when they were doing really cool outreaches, They had a lot of people that were coming. And then other times, you know, uh, when it was, when the preachers started preaching something really hard, they, they were just like, Man, no one’s gonna to buy into this. Also, within the, within the group, I mean, they were, were all the people. They weren’t united about a bunch of things. Um, they had different political opinions. They, they, they went through trials. They, they had disagreements about each other. Um, people always, you know, at every church, there’s all these little power struggles about who gets to sit on that inner circle.
You know, who gets to sit on those, those band committees. But one of the things that characteristic characterize this, this group, this church, um, is that they were usually always in the place of just kind of learning, receiving. And usually the questions were, What’s in it for me? You know, what, what’s in it for me? How can I be blessed? How can my family, how can I get ahead? And yes, they did all these other good things on the outside because the preacher told them to, but inside there was still a mess. And, and so one day they, they gather together and they’re all, they’re all in one place. And even though they’re gathering together, you know, and this is their behavior, they’re always learning, always learning, always learning or being told what to do. And then there’s some that actually like, really believe, but they’re, but even though they have strong conviction, um, they, they still don’t get it.
And then, and then there’s those that admit like, Man, I’m not sure if I’m really bought into this place and the teacher does something different and listen to what he says. And we, and let’s read this together, Matthew chapter 28, verses 18 to 20, Let’s read this together. Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority and heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations that ties in them, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age. Now, every church has its founding based on this scripture and why this is so important, because everyone, you know, works on the, the teachings of Jesus. But, but what changes everything here is that Jesus makes a shift.
He has a bunch of people that are gathered together, the mountains, on the mountains. So Matthew, which is known as like the gospel of discipleship, if you wanna really know about discipleship, it’s Matthew’s gospel. He says that there’s a lev of them. And even though the under, under the, with the 11 together, there, there is some disagreement cuz it says, some are, some doubt it and some believed. And we also know just the disciples, you know, they still didn’t really get everything later. I mean, we, as we keep on reading, but at that point, some believed, some doubt it. And yet in the midst of all this, Jesus gives this, this shift to the church. He says, Now I want you to make a shift from constantly learning, constantly receiving, constantly being told what to do. Being a follower of me. Now I want you to make a shift and start raising up other followers and getting other people to follow me.
Now the onus is on you. So every single religious, Christian religious movement has its origins and this text, this is, is what drives us. This is what, what what gives us our mission. And what we see is that you don’t have to have, like, you have perfect faith, perfect understanding. You could still be a part of the community and still receive this great commission. Now, if you go through church history, we see a lot of ways that churches started doing this. We see the early church, eventually we see the Eastern Church break up. They are, they’re all trying to do these different ways. Uh, throughout the, the Mediterranean, there’s all these expressions of Christianity. They all, they all hold on to this text, but they, they live it out a little bit differently. And even us as Methodist, we have our origins in this text because the Methodist movement was actually a renewal movement that was rooted in God’s love.
Fyi, this is a United Methodist church, okay? Um, but it, our origins are that, hey, we believe that God is called to do something, calling us to do something that is rooted in God’s love. It’s called to awaken our souls in such a way that our personal lives will be changed by God’s love through God’s grace. And not only do we just pray about getting saved so that we can go to heaven, but actually we believe that God’s grace changes our character in such a way that we take seriously what Jesus says, that Jesus can heal our whole body, our whole soul. All the broken stuff, all the junk that we have been taught that has those family tree things that we’re embarrassed about. Jesus says that I will set you free. And Jesus promises that he will change our world that we live in.
And so for us, with our Methodist heritage, that meant that we, we were praying and believing for God’s transformation in our cities, neighborhoods, towns, and communities. And so basically John Wesley and a few of his friends said, You know what? Our church is dead. Our church is overly religious and nobody’s going to our church. We need to go outside and go where the people are and give them some good news because all they think is that we have bad news where judgmental, we we are, we are divorced from the real pains of society. And the other thing was that they were convinced that God’s grace was already wor working both in and outside the church. And so what they were called to do was, does this speak the good word, connect where God was already at and trust that God would do something that’s greater than what they could do by their own hands.
And that is how the Methodist revival started and, and just burned across the United States toward the end of John Wesley’s life. And he, and he lived a while. He’s laying on his death bed and you know, his closest followers, you know, they’re, they’re worried about what’s gonna happen to the movement. I mean, he’s ready to die. And his last words that he utters is this, Best of all is God is with us. That was his last words. Best of all is God is with us. You know, every, every leader when when you’re, when you’re called to plant something or do something outrageous, you know, we realize that if it’s a God kind of vision, it’s bigger than us. And, and no matter how successful it is, I know like people like to, to idolize leaders, you know, even like big churches in this area, you know, they’ll, they’ll call, Oh, that’s pastor so-and-so’s church.
And they, they don’t even name the church they named the pastor. But, but, but the heart of a, of a true leader is like, No, no, no, this, we can’t point to ourselves. That’s not what servant leadership’s all about. We point to something beyond us because we know that at the end of the day when, when we are gone and our time is spent, we want the movement that God birthed inside of a heart to continue and go way past us. And if we just hold on to leaders or, or certain people or whatever, it’s gonna die out quickly. I think John Wesley knew this and that’s why he, he uttered those things. What’s most important of all things is to remember that God is with us. And then that what Jesus said on his very last words in Matthews gospel versus 28, versus chapter 28 versus verse 20 B.
And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age, Thank God the those that are part of our spiritual heritage got the message that it wasn’t about John Wesley. We were not, they were not called to worship traditions. We’re called to live with an awareness that God is with us. And when we know that God is with us, it changes everything. And because of that, how we understand God’s with us, we understand that that God’s grace is, I mean, it’s, it’s at work. It’s at work in people’s lives who do not believe it’s at work in those lives who are, who are being justified. It’s at work in those lives who are trying to be more like Jesus. Because the goal of all this is so that we can love and behave like Jesus. And so because of this, a lot of people that, that claim their spiritual heritage from the, from the Wesleyan revival, we have a, we have a lot of Wesleyan denominations out there, and the emphasis on all of them is in this personal and social transformation. And get, guess what? The United Methodist Church is one of the stewards of this tradition. So let’s fast forward a little bit to church history and go to Palm Beach Gardens around the start of this city and Palm Beach Gardens, several churches were started and one of them was a church called Trinity United Methodist Church.
Like all churches, it started out with passion, I’m sure gathering people, trying to connect with the community. But somehow the church lost its vision. It lost its mission. It drifted, it got so inward that it started consuming itself. And eventually what came to the end of this is that God said, Enough, enough, This is not healthy enough. The church property, as you know, was sold to a non Methodist church and it fit their, their, their missional needs. And they, and yet they still valued part of what God was doing. Cause they still to this day are, are using the word Trinity. They just dropped the word United Methodist. It’s called Trinity Church. And in fact, today that church is, is celebrating their first service as Trinity Church, which is another offshoot of, of Christ’s fellowship. And we praise God for that. And we, and we bless that new work of God.
But something else was happening when, when God said enough, some people said, You know what, I’m going to another church man. I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t wanna deal with this stuff. I just wanna go to a church that’s established that, that will just, you know, meet my needs. I can’t carry it anymore. I just need to be ministered to, or I just need to continue doing what I like to do. I I, I wanna be a part of church that already has the programs, that has the music I like and all that. But among all that fracture, there are some people that said, You know what? We believe that God is calling us to do something different. We believe that God is calling us to birth something new. We believe that God is calling us to continue to steward this Methodist understanding of, of Christian grace, of God’s grace.
And we believe that we have something that is very valuable that would actually connect with a lot of people who are hurting and searching today. And we, and we said that, Hey, we’re gonna be a church that’s gonna continue the movement, continue our heritage, and also continue to be rooted like we were in the very beginning in Palm Beach Gardens in Palm Beach County. And so a year ago today, the gathering place was just birthed. I know, I know some of you’re thinking about this, like, okay, I mean the gathering place was birth this place. And you know, what I’m so excited about is because that we have something vital, something that is helpful to offer the world. And you know what? Just as our movement didn’t start with buildings and properties, it started when the buildings and properties were no longer an option. And that’s how the Gathering place did. And, and why, because we know that we have a mission.
And many of you have heard it over and over again, and I keep saying it until it’s burned into your mind, that we are called this church ex exists to extend God’s redeeming love. But what in the world does that look like when we are extending God’s redeeming love? It’s kinda like the same thing of like John three 16, right? For God so love the world that he gave, He gave Jesus. That’s what we are called to do. We are called to give Jesus. Is this another way of saying extending God’s redeeming love? But here’s what we hope that will happen. As people encounter God’s redeeming love that every single person, In other words, when we come together in a worship service like this, or when we are the gathering place somewhere out in the community, we are spreading faith, hope and love. Faith have it an understanding that God is in the picture, that there is a Christian heritage. That, that God revealed God’s self in the scriptures, that God is working in history in all people’s, God revealed God’s self in Jesus Christ and has made freedom available to all people. In other words, God has a plan.
So what do we want when people, when we talk about faith, we want people to know God at some level, that they take one step closer to awareness that God is. But then there’s another thing that happens. And this is the inside part of the church, okay? Cause again, you people are asking, what is this place? Where are we going? What are we doing? Why do we exist extending God’s redeeming love? What do you mean by that? Right? I’ve heard the questions, and this is just a very simple way of just putting this, is that we want people when you come here to know God, to have faith, but also not just to have faith, but we believe that as we worship together, but we also believe that worshiping together is not enough that we have to grow in small groups. Because that’s where life really changes for us.
That means that it’s not just a small group, it’s that could be just a Bible study, but we believe in life groups. In other words, really doing life together. Not a Sunday school class, but doing life together. And we believe that when we do life together in corporate worship and in life groups, you know, where we can actually share life, learn, grow, serve together. Here’s what happens. First of all, you become free. You don’t come become free by just sitting in a classroom. Go to a Christian university and do that, okay? If you want knowledge, go to a Christian university, go to seminary, go that. But if you wanna be transformed by Jesus, what you have to do is you have to be in a small community, a life group where people can know you and you can be known by others, and you can know them, and you can wrestle with the faith, wrestle with life, wrestle with scriptures, support and care for one another, and you become free.
But here’s another thing that happens in your freedom. We don’t just get free for freedom’s sake. What Jesus does is when he sets us free, and this is the prayer that I’m praying for all of you who are sitting here right now, is that not only will you discover freedom, but you’ll discover your purpose. And, and that means why do I exist? Why am I, I’m even a part of this church. There’s a, there’s hundreds of of wonderful churches in this community. Why this place? And once you understand your purpose of why you exist, why did God make you the way you are? Why did God put you in the family that you were birthing? Why did you experience all those things that you experience? You know what happens then? You have this faith. Now things are starting to make sense. And once you have that, you have hope.
And hope is so important because see, hope does something in science to say, You know what? The world can be better than what it currently is. Hope tells us that God has a future for us. That God has a future for Palm Beach Gardens. Hope tells us when we, when we encounter somebody, that they lost their family, they lost their job, they lost their health, They are alone. Hope says that you know what, you’re gonna be okay. And we have some substance and confidence that you will get through it. Hope. Extending God’s redeeming love is bringing faith, building faith, being to step by step, stone by stone in people’s lives and offering hope. And the other thing is love.
If we’re not motivated by the love of God, if we’re not motivated, because you know, in a way that we realize that we have received so much love and grace from God, if that’s not moving us, we don’t wanna do ministry without the love of God. And, and, and just being grace filled people and realizing that, you know what? The only reason that we’re able to stand and do what we’re able to do in this life, the only reason why we we have breath inside of our lungs is because of the goodness of God. And we’re called to love people. People don’t earn love. They’re given love.
Matthew chapter 18, verse 19 and 20 says this again. Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my father in heaven. For where two are or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them. You see, so many times we Christians, we, we waste the gathering. We waste the gathering on useless talk. We waste the gathering on just our, our own selfish ambitions. We waste the gathering just to say what’s in it for me? But Jesus says, When two or three are gathered in my name, here’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to agree on some things. We’re supposed to see the world a little bit differently. We’re supposed to be called to see that faith, hope, and love. And when we start agreeing, what are we supposed to do?
We, we, we ask for it. Do you see that there’s a missional component. We want God’s redeeming love to start changing what’s going on in our world. We wanna see hope, we wanna see a future, and God promises that it will be given. So what happens when we gather, cuz gathering is a huge thing, okay? And there’s different types of gathering. There is a church gathering like this. And again, we want everybody with no matter what your Christian experience is, whether you’re brand new or whether you’ve been in the faith all your life and been nurturing the goodness of the church, you know, we want you to have faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ. We want you to have that. We want you to, to have a sense of your calling and purpose. We want you to be free. And so what we do is when we gather, here’s what needs to happen.
We gather and we worship and we connect with God. Cuz if we’re worshiping man, or some idea or some agenda, then, you know, just join a political party. We’re here to worship God. But also as we gather, this is something so important. Again, I go back to what we read about in Matthew in the very beginning. It’s a place to belong. And you know what that means? That you don’t have to believe every single thing. You don’t have to know every single tenant. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to memorize what, you just gotta know that this is a place where you can belong, that you can be received, that you can be cared for, loved on, that you can be yourself and not be ashamed. There’s nothing about shame that’s categor categorized in Jesus’ ministry at all. It’s exact opposite.
Jesus resisted shame. It’s a place where you can grow. We, we, Christians are really good about growing all the time, right? We want to grow, we wanna be fed, we wanna be fed, we wanna be fed, we wanna be fed. But here’s the reason why. This is the part that we gotta make the shift. We, we grow and then we are empowered to live out ministry. We are empowered to go forth and to do the work on. In other words, we are equipped, We are, we are not only just empowered, but we are sent out. And another thing that happens when we gather is this, is that we realize and, and you gotta ask yourself, do I really believe this stuff or not? Or is it just words, Word games with me. Do we really believe that God is at work in every single person throughout the entire world?
And if we do believe that, then that means that we can go out and trust that God is at work with people that maybe even have a different creed than us, that maybe don’t have any creed at all. But you know, if they’re doing kingdom work, we can partner our network with them because God is at work in their lives. So when we gather, we should be gathering for worship. We should be gathering for belonging. We should be gathering to grow. We should be gathering to empower. We should be gathered so we can be sending people out and we should be gathering. So we could be networking, expanding the connections. But here’s the thing, and I’m trying to move on. I’m really trying, Kathy. All right, so
The Gathering Place (24:34):
Pastor Mike (24:37):
It matters where we gather and how often we gather.
And this is important for the gathering place in place because if we, if we just focus on church services and life groups, we’re missing something. I mean, we, we need this. We, we need this stuff. I mean, this, this is what fuels our faith. But we also have to have an outside component and gathering. We have to be intentional about gathering outside and with people who don’t identify as this is their home church. Because, you know, there’s still people out there that don’t have a place where they can belong. And when we gather, when two or three gather, we can say, you know, we can agree that this person belongs, that they have a place, they have a place with us, that we can share life together. Here’s the challenge that we have, and I really want you to hear this. Statistics say that about 80% of the people in our community are non-religious. Many. That means they have like no religious affiliation at all. Many people, that means they don’t have any kind of church experience. So for those of you who are raised in the church, many people never even don’t even know what you’re talking about.
So they don’t know the hymns that you like to sing. They don’t know about your Christian camps, They don’t know about your, your favorite Christian author. They don’t know any of this stuff. They don’t see how it’s relevant. They don’t see what it means. And another large group of people have walked away from the church. They were part of the church, but they chose to leave the church. And why is this, this is so important is because 80% of the people that we live around us, let me say they don’t know what faith is. And when it really hits the fan, and, and they work so hard to build a life,
To try to find happiness, to try to find, let’s even go beyond happiness, but real peace and everything starts falling apart. You know, I, I think about, I think about the woman that, that that tried so hard to, to have a family and then, and to have her husband run out on her. I think of the, the man that, that that was raised by a household where all he saw was abuse, alcoholism. And he says, I don’t wanna be like my father. But yet all of a sudden he drifts back to that people that are caught in addictions and they don’t know how to get free, and they’re trying to get free people that, that did all the right stuff. You know, like I’m, I’m talking the outside stuff. You know, they, they went to school. They, they, they, you know, they, they didn’t get caught up in some kind of addiction to me.
They’re, they’re generally good people, but at night they’re scared to death because they, they realize that if anything changes, you know, their whole life can fall apart. So all they do is they, they work hard and they, and they try to make the picture perfect life like they’d see on TV or what’s modeled on social media and, and they want their kids to go to the best schools and all that. And yet, even though that they spend their whole life doing this, they’re, they’re devoid of any kind of relationships. They don’t know their kids. And even when everything tries to be perfect and they try to know their kids, their kids still do all things that they shouldn’t be doing. And they’re, and they realize that they’re out of control, that really, there’s very little in this life that we can control. And I’m telling you, it’s a scary world out there without faith, without knowing that there is a God that actually cares.
You don’t know what it’s like. Many of you don’t know what it’s like to wake up one day and think that there’s nobody there that’s fighting for me. But there are people that wake up every day and say, You know what? Why am I alive? Does anybody care? I’m sick and tired of, of beating kids at, I see these kids that I hear that, that the only meal they get is at a public school or the household that they live in is not safe. Or people, they hear about church all the time. But, but we, we think we’re so cool that we just talk ourselves into like a coma because we have all this like religious talk and people that are really hurting feel like they can’t even come to us and, and share. And then when they do share, we hurt them even more. What do we do with, with, with parents who, who are, who are, who have children that, that maybe are, are gay or struggling with their sexuality and all they hear in church or what they read in the Bible, there’s no place for them. What, what do, what do they do? What does a parent do and say, what I failed or, or what does the kid do? What about people that you know, I mean, you unplanned pregnancies, You, I mean, you have, you know, right now we’re, we still have race issues in this country.
We have, we have so much bigotry that we have learned to tolerate and accept, and we have all this racism out there. And then when anyone tries to adjust it, they try to politicize it. And you know what happens is we don’t do anything. You know what this is? This is living without faith. But even most more concern to me is that that means that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have any hope for the future. Can you imagine living life with nothing to hope for? Can you imagine living life without knowing God’s love? And what I’m saying about not knowing God’s love, I’m talking about this like having an understanding that, that God’s mad at me, that if there is a creator, I must have done something wrong, or my parents have done something wrong, or I don’t deserve it. Because that’s what, 80% of the people, of our neighbors, whatever, that, that’s what they experience. And this should prick our heart. This should get our attention. And here’s something else that’s so important. When you talk to this, 80% most will say that Christians are not safe people, most of them will say that they’re not even open to have any kind of questions. That they’re very narrow minded, that they reject differences.
And so when, when there is a real problem, we’re not their first choice to come to, we earn that reputation, we earn that. And I believe that God has something more. We have to work really hard to earn their trust. And that means unconditional love. And maybe, maybe if we, we, we just start loving and going out there and try and, and try and allow Jesus to do some work inside of us. Maybe, maybe some will, will actually accept, accept one of our invitations. But then there’s another problem. And I gotta name this Christians, those that are not part of the 80% do not believe this text that I just read. And surely I’m with you always to the very end of the age. There’s a fear in Christians that if we, we we, if we, we put all our energy and all our hope into going out, that we’re gonna be left behind. Who’s gonna take care of me? Who’s gonna nurture me? How am I gonna grow? Who’s gonna sit and pray with me? But nowhere in the gospel do I see that nowhere. What I’m speaking to you is saying that, I’m saying that we’re called to gather together. And as we gather together and worship and as we gather together in our life groups
That we, we deepen, we get faith and we know God and we, and we become free. And that mean, and that freedom, that means that we, we care for each other. We support each other, we accept each other, and we accept the new person. And together we, we discover what our purpose is, and then we, we go out. So that’s why, as long as I’m your pastor, I’m gonna keep the mission right in front of us because it’s, it’s no, it’s, no it, I’m gonna be clean today. Um, for God so loved the world that he gave his only son, we’re called to extend that redeeming love. What does it really look like? Let’s be a community that when you’re gathered together, when you represent, when you come together, you, you understand you represent Jesus and more locally. You know, that’s what, this is what the gathering place is when we come together and we, and that means that whoever is around us, that we’re gonna go out of our way, Christian, non-Christian, the 20% or the 80% to make sure that they belong. We’re gonna go out of our way to make sure people are accepted. So that means if that means we have to open our eyes, and even in, in a gathering like this, if we see somebody that is just sitting by themselves and not talking to anybody, that we’re gonna say, Excuse me ma’am, I’m so happy to see you, my friends that I, that I see every week in all my other weekly activities. But I need to go say hi to that person and I need to show some interest.
We gotta be a place of people that are not afraid to have questions, to be questioned. And we gotta be okay if people don’t accept the answers that, that we’ve accepted and we can still receive and accept them. It’s calling us also to allow God’s grace to work in the soul of the person so that we can be whole or well, or, or really to reflect the life of Jesus so that we could be a safe person. Now, I don’t think any church at all, and beach gardens as opposed to what I’m saying, but this is where the rubber meets the road, okay? We see in Jesus’s life, right, in Jesus’s teaching, what, what he taught, right? I mean, we know it, but one that stands out to me a lot is the, the prodigal son. Okay? And to me, maybe that prodigal son is at one of those, the 80% that, that we just named. But when you’re planning worship or even planning on what type of church that you like to attend, this is the question question that we need to be asking ourselves. For us who are planning to do Christian worship together, What would Jesus do to welcome, I mean, to give a really good welcome to both the Christian and that 80% that doesn’t know God at all.
What changes would he do to make the people and on top of the people that had no church experience or the people that, that, that didn’t grow up with the hymns and songs we liked, that don’t know our prayers and all those things, What would Jesus do to make them feel like the most honored guest in the room? So normally what we do is, like we say, we’ll do that on the outside, on the inside. It’s all about us. When we come in worship, it has to be all the time. Author and my personal friend, um, he’s in my covenant group. Michael Beck says this, he says, The church should be a place where wounded people can come and be made. Well again, not with flashy miracles, but by finding a safe place where they can un bandage and bear their wounds in a community of love and forgiveness. You see, wherever we go, wherever we gather, there needs to be the evidence of faith, hope and love. And that requires commitment. We gotta make a commitment in such a way that we believe that what God is calling us to do here at the Gathering place, it actually matters. Cuz this is the heartbeat, this is the vision for this church. And I’m asking you to, to be committed to promoting and getting the word out. Because you know what? People need to have the have the opportunity to know that there’s something they can believe and hold onto. They also need to know that there is a future. And they also need to know that God’s love is unconditional.
So we have to make a commitment to promote. We have to, when there’s opportunities to invite people, we have to make them invite. And we have to be very, we have to do our very, very best and model servant leadership and say, You know what? We wanna make sure that every guest feels like they’re the most honored person in the room. And that calls to be making real connections with people, getting out of our comfort zones, but also building trust. And the only way you can build trust is, is to make it commit and say, You know what? I’m gonna be a trustworthy person. I’m gonna be a safe person. If you’re prone to gossip or back biting and all that kind of stuff, then you know what, then, then work on your soul. Bring it to Jesus and say, You know what, God, I I I want to be, I want to be well. And I guess here’s the, the test, Okay, how are we doing in our public relations with people? When was the last time you were invited to an intimate gathering? Maybe it’s a family event or something by somebody that has no religious affiliation.
In other words, do people that that don’t have any faith at all, do they consider you a friend? When was the last time you had that kind of experience? Because there is an absence of faith, hope, and love. Our city is hurting, our government is hurting and broken the marketplace. Economics, I mean, people are just consumed by other things. It’s broken, healthcare is broken there, education, recreation, all these things can be redeeming and can, can be healed and made well. People in our city are hurting. They’re, they’re longing for safety, they’re longing for food, shelter, relationships. And I really believe that God’s redeeming love that is revealed in Jesus Christ is the answer. I know this is a very big vision and we can’t, you know, we can’t buy it. I mean, like we, I mean we can’t, you know, and I can’t do it at my myself self, but if we work together, I believe that we can get some traction if we invite other people to participate. I believe that we can make a real difference here. So here’s what I want you to do, is to take this card. And what I’m asking you to do is like the, the, the vision is this, that we, that this church exists to extend God’s redeeming love. What does that look like? We’re gonna be a community that where people can encounter faith, hope and love,
Where people are, where they know God, where they do life together and in doing life together to become free. They discover their purpose, but also we believe that we are called to be sent out to go and be where God is in our community. So I don’t need members, I need people that are gonna roll up their sleeves and say, you know what? I’m in. And, and, and, and realize that, hey, I have a pastor that’s me, that’s not perfect and is a working process and but is still gonna aim for this kind of mark. And if this is a church that you wanna be a part of, this is what we’re about. So that’s one. Uh, you know, I choose to be a partner, partner with us at the Gathering Place. No words, I’m in, I’m not a consumer, I’m a partner. Flip it over.
There’s some things that we identified in our church that, that, you know, we’re just starting mission really and, um, reviving it, you know, claiming some things. But we know that God has a lot more in store for us. Being a partner says, I’m not just being wait to be told what to do. Being a partner says, You know what? I, I’m, I’m in this, okay? I’m part of the mission. My eyes are are relevant too. And so I want you to take some time, and again, this card, I want you to hold it and, and I mean you can give it to me, you know, next week or whenever, but, but I would like to have all the cards in by November 13th, okay? And, and there’s a reason for that that’ll be connecting later on. But I, but I want you to pray over this and ask this, this question, What breaks my heart for my community?
I share like everything that I shared with you, those stories about kids and people and hung these are, this is what I found in my 10 months living in Palm Beach Gardens and my heart hurts and I wanna make a difference, but I can’t. But I know that together we can do some good. So I want to ask you, what breaks your heart in this community? Maybe there’s something that none of us are seeing, but, but, but God has allowed you to see and we need to be able to see it together. And then the other thing, you know, cuz I mean everyone says, Oh, let’s world peace. It all, it’ll be like, let’s get some practical stuff here. I mean, let’s, makes, I want action steps. In other words, where can we make a difference in the community? In other words, what can we do together to make a difference? So what breaks your heart? And then, you know, in religious terms, what is God calling us to do? Please don’t waste this opportunity. I said God is doing some amazing work in every church that gathers in the name of Jesus Christ. And I’m thankful for it. But
This is where we’re going. Will you partner with us? Let us pray.
Hannah Hunter (43:28):
Hey beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of Digital 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 1150. For more information about our community in faith, check out our website at thegatheringplacefl.org. Thanks for listening.