Intentional Community - Sep. 25, 20222
Pastor Mike (00:00):
Jesus is out there. I mean, Jesus said, this is the why, why do I exist? So that the loss may be found so that those who live a life, that they feel like they are orphaned alone, abandoned that they could be adopted.
Hannah Hunter (00:17):
Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sunday with the gathering. I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of digital reach here at the gathering place in Palm beach gardens this week. Pastor Mike brings us the message on the vision for the gathering place to be and intentionally invested and inviting community.
Pastor Mike (00:32):
Well, first all, I want to thank all of you for joining us at the gathering place. And you know what? This is a very exciting time in the life of our church, because I mean, I’m, I’m just looking back and just thinking about things and it’s like, wow, you know, less than one year ago, by the will of God, by the will of God, a congregation, a new congregation was birthed. And those who are part of that initial birthing process, you know, that it was on an easy labor, but less than a year ago, a new church was birthed and it was called the gathering place. And, and, and all we knew was that, Hey, it’s called the gathering place. And our mission is to extend. God’s redeeming love. That’s why we exist. So today’s talk is part of a larger message series that’s to help us think about a vision for this church.
Pastor Mike (01:36):
What happens when we live out our mission together, what do we expect to, to change in our lives? What is the heartbeat of this community? A question that you need to be asking yourself, if you’re saying, Hey, is this a place for me? And my family is you might wanna ask yourself, what kind a person, what kind of person will I become if I call this place home? And another question that we should ask ourselves is what kind of impact will we have on our community? If we come together. Now, our understanding of who is God and how we understand God’s activities in the world defines who we are as a faith community called the gathering place. So in previous talks, um, we, we talked about, you know, because of who God is, we are called to be generous to all. We’re called to be a community that is committed to be a place where people can belong.
Pastor Mike (02:44):
And for us, belonging means to be seen, to be heard, to be known, to be cared for. You know, we know that the scripture teaches us, that God says be perfect as I am perfect. And we see that as a, a spiritual and emotional maturity and spiritual and emotional maturity just doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even just happen by, by sitting in a church and, and praying. But, but it, it takes place through loving relationships, through relationships of accountability, through mentorship. And our goal is that when we can say, what does it mean to be spiritually mature? What does it mean to be emotionally mature? It means that that we could live and love like Jesus.
Pastor Mike (03:38):
Now, when I speak with people and I even reflect on my own personal beliefs and despite all the knowledge, I know the teachings that I’ve listened to, the things that I’ve studied, my personal experience about love and grace, sadly, and I I’m grouping on same with a lot of people that I encounter underneath the surface of all this stuff. There is still this belief and an angry and punitive God, there’s this belief that about being like about perfectionism and many of us still find our validation by our good personal behavior. In other words, when I’m behaving and doing what I’m supposed to be doing and all those good Christian things, that’s when I find my worth, that’s when I feel close to God. And a lot of it is still based on works. It’s still based on us. And, and, and we still, if, I mean, if you’re struggling with like, sometimes what I struggle with about this, finding my validation in my behavior. In other words, I feel close to God when I’m doing all the good things, but when I’m bad and, and we understand that there’s a part of our behavior that will grieve the heart of God. But, but sometimes we still see God as being angry with us. We still think that God’s gonna punish us.
Pastor Mike (05:25):
What about you? That’s sometimes I, I, I’m a pastor train in great seminaries, been mentored all these things, and I still wrestle with this. What about you? If anything of what I’m saying resonates, and you say, yeah, there’s a little bit of truth there. I don’t feel uncom. I feel uncomfortable admitting it, but it’s, it’s there. I need, you know, that this is a very unstable path to be on. In fact, it’s delusional because we have a false perception of reality and it, it actually cannot be anything further from the truth of the gospel. It can’t be, and here’s the truth. And I want you just to take a deep breath and then let it out. And I want you to receive these words. Here’s the truth. God is one father, son, and holy spirit. God is love. God is outrageously generous kind and merciful. You are made in the image of God and you are a child of God. And Jesus demonstrated God’s heart toward his children. God deeply loves you and is with you.
Pastor Mike (07:07):
That is the truth, the ultimate truth, and many of us need to be awakened to this truth again, and it’s not dependent to experience. This is not dependent on your personal behavior. It’s not dependent on your present circumstances of whether you’re wi or losing in life, or even how you feel about yourself, or maybe what you even think about God, none of those things change this eternal truth. And this truth, we find it throughout the scripture or the Bible, which is our source. One of our primary sources of authority at the gathering place. Let’s take a look. If you have your Bible to, to first Corinthians chapter four verses 14 to 17, we’re gonna be just focused on two places in the Bible. And this is the first place today in today’s talk.
Pastor Mike (08:08):
I have it on the screen. I, I like, I think let’s just read this one together. I am writing this, not to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children, even if you had 10,000 guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers for in Christ Jesus. I became your father through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you to imitate me for this reason. I have sent to you, Timothy, my son, whom I love who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ, Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. So, you know, I’ve been reflecting on last week’s message, which, you know, this was a big, this scripture text was a big part of it. And here’s something that, that just God kind of put right in my face. You know, the, the corporate world uses the word mentorship, mentoring, right? I mean, we, we we’ve hear that a lot. You know, about my professional mentor. It’s always at a professional level when it, when, usually when we think about mentoring, but I, if you listen and reflect on what apostle Paul is saying to the church that is in Quoin, he’s not speaking to the church as a CEO.
Pastor Mike (09:38):
You know, he, I mean, yes, in, in every church, in every organization, there’s the business aspect of it. You know, we have to practice stewardship. I mean, that’s there, but Paul is not speaking from the position of like a legal term. Like I have a legal right over you, but he noticed that he uses this family language. You know, there’s a high degree of intimacy, familiarity, closeness, and relationship. I mean, that’s, that’s what I see when, when, when Paul writes this and what Paul wants is for all of us, all of those who identify as a follower of Jesus Christ to model this kind of life, that, that he modeled for others, we’re, we’re called to participate in this. And, and, and the reason why Paul knows this and practices, this is because this is what was taught to him. This was like the very basics of the faith Christianity 1 0 1, because Christianity 1 0 1 is foundational because Christianity 1 0 1 I believe is, I mean, it’s a, it’s a way of life.
Pastor Mike (10:49):
It’s actually living out the teaches of teachings of Jesus. And Paul practiced the way of Jesus. He did his very best to practice the way of Jesus in every part of his life. And he invites us to do the same. Now, a lot of us have a, a caricature of who apostle Paul is, but I want you to know that that Paul is not just one of the great teachers of the church. He is not just a theologian, even though many of our theological understandings come from some of the things that he wrote, he is more than an expert in the Jewish law. And he was not just an evangelist. We see that he was one that understood that he was sent, he was sent out with a purpose. He, he lived on mission and everything that he wrote. Now, this is the part, the lens that you and I gotta put on, because a lot of times when we read like writings of the scripture, especially the letters of Paul, we, we, we read it from a teaching perspective, you know, a holiness perspective, you know, the, the rules of what I have to do to live a holy life.
Pastor Mike (11:58):
But I wanna challenge that just a little bit, because everything that Paul wrote was from the perspective of being on mission and equipping the church to be in mission together. That, I mean, that, that was his focus. Like he was equipping him to live out God’s mission. So what does that mean? Now? The things that on the list are, are not things that are bad and if you’re doing it, that’s okay, but that’s not the end all be all. Okay. So it’s not meant to be that, you know, that you’re gonna be some kind of armchair theologian Paul’s teachings are not meant just for the academy. It doesn’t stop at our Bible studies, but it’s meant to be lived out while you are answering Jesus’s call upon your life while you are called to be on mission. And so, to me, that is like the main unifying characteristics that, that connects us with what Paul is writing about.
Pastor Mike (13:01):
You see, because we encounter, I mean, here’s some of the basics, right? We encounter God through knowing Jesus. But then the other thing is once we encounter who God is, and God’s spirit fills us up, you know, we are sent out God’s spirit sends us out. You know what? The first thing you gotta do is when you get sent out, you know what you gotta do. You gotta catch up to where Jesus is. Cause I’m telling you, even though Jesus is in your heart. And even though he is in this church, Jesus is out there. He’s out in our neighborhoods. He’s out in our communities. He’s out where the hurting and broken are. That’s where Jesus is, is. So we are called to be sent down. We’re called to be on mission. And what did Jesus do? I mean, Jesus said, this is the why, why do I exist? So that the loss may be found so that those who live a life, that they feel like they are orphaned alone, that they could be adopted and most important. Let’s just put it in a simple way that everyone has an opportunity to be welcomed home. And that will be long for a place called home home.
Pastor Mike (14:12):
Where, when I enter, they know me, they, they know who I am just like my son. I mean, when I walk in the room, man, he know, he knows who I am. He knows I’m his Papa also at home, you know where everything is usually or where it’s supposed to be. You know, everything is in place. You see Paul wanted everyone to know Jesus Christ and to find that they belong inside of God’s family, which we know God’s family is through the church. You see life was meant to be together, but Paul didn’t just get this out of thin air. This understanding it was taught to him and where I see some of the primary basics of this, of like when Jesus was found in the church is in some of Jesus’ last words. And so let, let us go to Matthew chapter 28 and let us look at these words and, um, I’m gonna go through them slowly. So we’re gonna go, we’re gonna start from verse 16. Now, many of us know this as the, the great commission, right? And it’s, and in some places, people, you know, they’re like, oh, crud, pastors. Talk about the great commission. I know what this means, but let’s look at it a little bit different.
Pastor Mike (15:34):
Jesus’ last words that he gave his disciples, according to Matthew’s gospel, Matthew 28, verse 16, then the 11 disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him. But some doubted, you know, I think many of us, when we think about living out the great commission we get, as far as verse 17, we don’t go much further than verse 17. I mean, to me, this is like the, the typical church throughout the week. Okay. The Christians were all together at one point time, they were enjoying Jesus. But then Jesus had to go because why, I mean, Jesus has to do God’s work. And we are like, ah, Jesus, why do you have to go then? You know, like, and all of a sudden, you know, we’re like maybe in a, in a real natural way, we’re in our church.
Pastor Mike (16:29):
Everything is great. Jesus is here. But Jesus is like, it’s time to go. It’s time to be on mission. You’ve been fed. You had your cup filled. You’ve been loved on and all that. But you know what? There’s other people in other places that need to hear this good news. And I must go, Jesus’ first big departing. We know that when he died on the cross, he said, Hey, I gotta go. This is why I was sent. And then he tells us the disciples, Hey, come back. So usually what the disciples do is they don’t do anything. You know, they just kind of like sit around and like wins Jesus, coming back. Maybe that’s been your spiritual journey lately. You know, you come to church, you get filled up. You love God, you get a hear of message. That’s hopefully uplifting. You say I’ve been in church.
Pastor Mike (17:12):
I encounter God. Then we go. And then we just kinda wander around picking our nose, wondering where we are, what our next step is. But then we are like, ah, Jesus said to meet us on this mountain. Where’s the gathering place to be. I gotta find that email. I gotta look on the website or maybe just wait for someone to tell me, or just show up and hope that this is at the I’m at the right meeting. And then all of a sudden they, they, we show up like, oh, okay, Jesus is here. What do we do? We worship? And in the midst of our worship, some people have doubts. And I want you to know if you are struggling with something, if there is something that, you know, like you see the promises in the scripture, and then you see that there’s a disconnect from where you live and you are struggling.
Pastor Mike (17:59):
You have some doubts and you’re worshiping Jesus, but you still have some doubts. All we know it’s it’s okay. It’s okay to have your questions. It’s okay to have your doubts. But then let’s, let’s try to move on to this. Because like I said, normally we get stuck with, we worship. We have our question and doubts and then we go and we, and we we’re the same people. And then we pick our nose and wonder where we’re supposed to do again and wonder around, do our own thing. And then we come back again and we hence the cycle repeats itself, typical mainline church USA, but verse 18, then Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven on earth has been given to me. You know, sometimes we have to be reminded again and again, that God is in charge that Jesus has this.
Pastor Mike (18:46):
I mean, he has everything under control and therefore you don’t have to be afraid. Now take a deep breath. You know, that, that big problem that you’ve been worrying about, that thing that’s been stressing out, maybe it’s the bank book, maybe it’s, you know, what’s going on in your kid’s school, maybe it’s what’s going on in your family. You know, all those things, maybe it’s what’s going on in our country or government. Maybe it’s, what’s the wars that’s going on in the world. Maybe it’s just this upcoming hurricane, all those things, take a deep breath and remember that God, Jesus has control has authority over all things. Doesn’t that make you feel good? I mean, it does this just sound like, wow, God’s in control. I’m not abandoned. God sees everything. God is in control verse 19, therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and of the holy spirit. Now let’s be honest.
Pastor Mike (19:46):
There are some people that take this scripture to heart, man. And they, and they, they live it out. I mean, and, and you probably encountered these people, you know? I mean, they, as soon as you, you get ’em man, they’re, they’re trying to tell somebody about Jesus. You know, they’re trying to give you a Bible. They’re trying to give you a track. They want you to come to the point of decision, you know, and, and we make, we meet these kind of people. And we, and when we, we hear that word go and make disciples, that’s usually what comes to the mind of a lot of Americans that I encounter. And we have a hard time with this.
Pastor Mike (20:24):
We don’t like to do this because again, we have so many negative connotations of people that are going and making disciple. You have that person that’s going door to door. You have that person that that’s interrupting you, or maybe preaching at you or protesting you at your, at your football games. I mean, I remember, or on your, your college campuses or standing on the corner, or maybe they’re they’re coming in the workplace or, or they always show up at the most awkward times. And you’re saying to myself, I don’t wanna be that pushy in personal insincere, religious and awkward person. So let’s look at it a little bit different way. Let’s look at, and, and, and with the lens of what, what we read from Paul’s writings and Corinthians, and let’s think about this from the family perspective. Okay. So work with me now, this let’s just run with me on this one. How do you become part of a family?
Pastor Mike (21:25):
Think about how the, how you became part of your family and what you define as your family. So the first place where we know a family, like how did you, how did you become part of your family? Hmm. You were born into it. You know, that, that, that’s the, that’s the first place where, where we become part of our family. And again, when I, when I’m thinking about family and how to become part of the family, I’m talking about like a, a real member of the family, not like family, cuz you know, there’s people that we like and hanging out with that are like family, but I’m talking about a full member of the family. There, you have the full benefits. You have the rights, you have the inheritance, you have the decisions and yes, you are born into it. Some people are adopted into it. Some people are married into a family right now. I was going through this list. Is there any other way to become part of a family other than being born to it, adopted into it or married into a family?
Pastor Mike (22:28):
If there is, let me know. Cause I, I really like, I went blank on that one, if there’s anything be beyond that. But basically even if you are born into the family, there’s this expectation, you know, like when a, when a family is expecting the birth of a child, they’re preparing for it. Right. And they’re, and they’re welcoming to it. But also you’re invited into that family. There’s a re there’s a receiving, there’s an invitation to say, come join us. Be a part of this family. Now for people who identify as a Christian, we know that being part of God’s family is to experience a spiritual rebirth, right? We call this, you know, being born again and it’s symbolized in baptism, but unless we’ve been raised in the church, unless you were like, you know, born and you were raised in the church and you were baptized as an infinite and you were raised in the church.
Pastor Mike (23:26):
Most people encounter church through some type of invitation. So it’s either gonna be, you know, from the invitation of a website or a personal invitation or whatever, but it’s always through an invitation. So let us do something a little heretical. Let us exchange the words, go and make disciples and actually say, go and invite people. Now, remember, I’m talking about, this is important for the vision of the gathering place, about what we are being about. Because I believe that this go and invite people is much more aligned with Jesus’ command than what most of us are currently doing. Because you know what? We are far more her and disobedient when we choose to not invite people. And we say, well, I won’t invite anybody, but I’ll be polite. We’re really good about being polite. And we stink at inviting, okay, I’m cleaning up my language.
Pastor Mike (24:26):
I’m being sanctified as we speak. But um, many churches are very good at being polite when the unexpected guest shows up. And so here’s what I’m talking about. Okay. In churchy language, it’s like when the new visitor comes right, when the new visitor comes, if a church is like, you know, wanting to grow and, and bring a new people, we realize that we have to be polite. There’s a hospitality factor. Okay. We want people to feel welcomed. We want them to feel at ease. We want ’em to feel at home. And that means actually noticing new people. It means taking an interest in them. And, and, but, but here’s the problem while that’s all good while it’s all good to welcome new people. And, and when they show up to actually say hi to them and get outta your little click, I mean, that that’s good, right?
Pastor Mike (25:16):
Something is still off. Something is still wrong because it doesn’t really follow the example of Jesus. You see, Jesus was always on the move and people were following. They were listening to him and they were bringing to Jesus, people that they knew that needed something. You know, in other words like when, when people were following Jesus, they were hearing what Jesus offered. They were seeing Jesus work. And when they encountered this, they said, you know what? I gotta go. And I gotta bring my neighbor. I gotta bring my, my mother-in-law. I gotta bring all these different people to Jesus because they need Jesus too. Jesus has something that they need. And you know what? I believe that this is the very first step in making disciples it’s as we are going. And we’re doing our life that we are inviting people.
Pastor Mike (26:16):
We’re, we’re bringing people to Jesus. We’re not just going, we’re not just leaving church, but we’re bringing them. But here’s the thing. We’re inviting them to meet our family. We’re invited in to say, Hey, this is an important part of my life. And then of course, that hospitality must follow. Then of course, you know, we worship together. We learn together. We serve together, but they decide if they wanna be a part of this particular family or not. Do you see the difference? The old way that a lot of times we do stuff is that we just hope to God, that someone just stumbles into our place. And then we hope to God, maybe this is the pastor prayer. I hope to God, my people will actually be nice to the new person, you know? And that, that, that’s just like a silly way of expanding God’s family or, or being a mission with Jesus.
Pastor Mike (27:13):
But what if we said, what if I’m just gonna start inviting people into my life? What if I’m gonna be, you know, inviting them to, to what’s really important to me and invite them to participate and do life with me, let ’em see it for themselves. And then let them decide. Cuz I’ll be honest with you. If you really wanna know what’s important in your life, you show me where, where you’re pointing people too. You know, if, if you, if you’re loving your spouse, you’re introducing your spouse to the people that are important to you. If you’re, if you’re, you know, if you’re proud of the university, I went to, what do you do? And you’re a recruiter for your university. If you had that great experience for it, if you’re proud of your workplace and you know that your work is doing a great thing, you’re gonna stand out and you’re gonna advertise for your work cross ministries.
Pastor Mike (28:05):
You know, if you’re proud of what cross ministries is doing, you’re gonna advocate for it. If you are embarrassed and, and shamed about your own church and you don’t value your own church, you’re not gonna invite anyone. But here’s another thing. And the United States, we’re really good at making acquaintances, but we have a hard time of developing like real meaningful friendships. We have too many walls up. We like to keep, keep people at the arms linked, you know, keep ’em far apart, but how do we move somebody from like that relationship? How do we move it from being just an acquaintance to actually a true friend. It begins by inviting them into your life step by step. So I’ve been with you now for about nine months. So that means I’ve been living in Palm beach gardens for about nine months. And you know, I’m making new friends, even outside the church.
Pastor Mike (29:04):
And so one of the new acquaintances that I have is, is rabbi fel Strauss from local synagogue here. And we started hanging out together and you know, and, and he’s a, a rabbi from the reform Jewish community here. So he is not a Christian, but you know, we, we, we made some connections and every time we meet, we share more about each other’s life we share about what’s important to us. What do we highly value? So I invited him to some things that were important to me and he went and, and one was a Christian event this past week. And then after all later on, we were talking again and we started talking about the Sabbath and we know that Monday is the, I mean, well, Sunday night or tonight is the start of Russia, Sean, the Jewish new year. And we started talking about Sabbath and all that.
Pastor Mike (29:56):
And he’s always talking about Sabbath, you know, and me like, that’s part of my spiritual thing. So I’m like, we were like kind of on the same wavelength on, on Sabbath and you know, working from a place of rest and all this kind of stuff. And he says, Mike, you just gotta see it. You just gotta call him just one time to see it. Now he’s the assistant rabbi. He’s like, you know, he’s, he’s like, well, this Sabbath, you know, he goes, I’ll be given the message and leading the service. And he’s like, why don’t you come to Shabbat? If you can’t, that’s fine. But, but I would love for you just to see and experience what I’m talking about. Cause unless you experience it, you, you don’t really get it. So this past Friday I went to Shabbat and, and it was the coolest experience because first of all, it changed something in our friendship.
Pastor Mike (30:46):
Like I saw his eyes, like when he saw me walk in, you know, he, he was like, I mean, there was this joy that filled his heart and it was joy that filled my heart and our friendship just like went one step closer, you know, we’re, we’re moving beyond the acquaintance thing, you know? And, and it was clear to everybody that I was not Jewish. You know, I didn’t wear my, the yamaka, you know, I asked them, you know, all the things that, you know, the dos and don’ts before he arrived and you know, and he’s just like, no, you don’t have to wear that. Just come on in. But, but, so I come on in and at first, like people saw that I was, I was an outsider and they were polite with me, but then fel comes over and he is like, man, Mike, I’m so glad to hear.
Pastor Mike (31:26):
And I’ll say, he is like, I want to, I wanna introduce you to my friend, Mike. And he started introducing me to everybody and we worshiped together and he included me as part of his life. And you see, it helped me to see and hear him in a completely different way because he invited me into his world. And I’ll say this, if, if I didn’t have a faith or a place to belong, I’ll tell you one thing out of all the places in, in spiritual gatherings that I’ve been to in this area, that was where I probably felt the most welcome. You know why? Because he invited me, he accompanied me. He couldn’t sit with me cuz he was in the front. But, but he found someone to sit with and, and sit with me and it was fantastic. Let’s continue.
Pastor Mike (32:23):
So therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing. ’em in the name of the father and the son 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, teaching them to obey everything I can, man. You, I mean, this is big. This is heavy. But you know, this is how we, as the family learn our culture of our family, we, we learn what is normal. We learn. This is how we’re supposed to do life together by, by living in the teachings of Jesus and John 13, verse 34, you know, Jesus, you know, he, you know, remember he sums up the commandments in a couple places. You know, he says, you know, when they ask Jesus, what’s the greatest commandment, love the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
Pastor Mike (33:06):
And number two, love your neighbor. As I have loved you or love, love your neighbor. As I have, as you love yourself. Then in verse 34 of John chapter 13, he says a new commandment I give to you love one another. As I have loved you, not how you loved yourself. Cuz you know, we have a problem with love in ourselves. We have a problem with seeing ourselves. We know we see ourselves by our accomplishments. We see ourselves by the things that we have, the things that we do. Sometimes we see ourselves like we, we don’t even know who we are and we think, well, I’m a plumber. No, you’re not a plumber. You’re a human being. I’m not a pastor. I’m a human being. I’m a child of God. We have a hard time seeing ourselves. But Jesus says love one another. As I have loved you, as I have seen you, as I have heard you as I have been with you.
Pastor Mike (33:52):
So therefore you must love one another. And by this, everyone will know that you are my disciple. If you love one another. Now normally when we read this, we, we read this from an insider perspective and yes, there is an inspo insider element because the world’s supposed to know that we are followers of Jesus, by the way we love each other. Yes, but there’s war to it because on one side, yes. Um, it’s like literally this halfway because yes, we, we love people that are on the, from the inside perspective. But the other half is loving others on the outside, loving others who are on the outside as Jesus would love them. You see, cuz remember God’s love is expansive. Hence extending God’s redeeming love. I mean God’s love is so expansive and God’s love goes from this place to the, to the next person, to the next home, to the, to the next city.
Pastor Mike (34:50):
I mean it’s meant to, to grow. It’s meant to be multiplied, but here’s the thing. If you’re not expanding and extending, God’s love it. It has a weird thing happens in the life of the church. And that is if you’re not extending, God’s love you start regressing. You start getting really inward focus at first. It disguise itself with like holiness, you know and sanctification, but you can’t have real sanctification unless you’re going out and having this, this social transformation, unless you’re going out into the world because what happens is if you’re not having this integration of going out and communicating, re with people and meeting new people, here’s what happens inside you. You, you, you know, it’s like you get bored and when you get bored, you start getting in trouble and you start getting critical and you start getting closed off to people on the outside and you start judging people and you start trying to see who is more spiritual. And, and, and, and we don’t, we forget about Jesus as a standard because we know that Jesus would be, wouldn’t be sitting here, you know, with a microscope, looking at your moles, okay, Jesus, doesn’t do that kind of stuff. Jesus is outside helping, serving people. He’s connecting people with the love of God when you’re inside all the time, inward focus it’s about, okay, well, how can I make that person happy? Because I want that person to make me happy. And you have this like weird dysfunctional cycle that many churches fall into.
Pastor Mike (36:12):
But in order to really love people in order to really love Jesus, we have to model what Jesus did. And that is to love people on the outside and not just do the, the, I love you as an acquaintance and keep them far apart, but actually love and degree of actually be willing to invite them in our lives. When’s the last time you’ve invited somebody to be a part of your world. Now,
Pastor Mike (36:42):
You know, our spirituality is like probably whether we wanna admit or not one of the most like intimate parts of our being. I mean, it’s a core part of our identity and it’s, it’s very important to people, people, I mean, they, I mean, you see how people fight over religion, cuz religion’s very, very personal, right? And so sometimes I think it’s a hard jump for us to get to like the go and make disciples. And for some of us, let’s be honest. It’s, it’s hard for us to, to get somebody that we met on the street to, to invite ’em to church. Let’s just be honest. And the reason why is cuz we are, we’re pretty shallow in our relationships. So for practical application let’s to make a decision and say, you know what? I don’t wanna be shallow anymore. God desires every person to be a part of God’s family to know it, to feel it, to experience, to have the full inheritance of it. Okay. That’s that’s, that’s what God wants. Cause we want people to have the abundant life that Jesus promises, but it doesn’t happen overnight. So maybe your next step is to say, okay, think about all the acquaintances you have in your life.
Pastor Mike (37:54):
And how can I invite them into something a little bit closer?
Pastor Mike (37:59):
Maybe it’s the first that’s cutting your hair, that you see the same person over and over again. But maybe it’s just to, I don’t know, take one step closer invite ’em to an event, invite ’em to a ball game. I don’t know, invite ’em to something, but, but invite them so they can see that you’re more than that per you’re more than just a client. Maybe you work with somebody and you do the same thing. You all the same one shot, but maybe just invite and say, Hey, can I, can I join you for lunch? And then invite them into your world by maybe like, just ask us some questions about their life and maybe share some of yours, maybe have other acquaintances that are a little bit closer that you, that you know them a little bit better. And, and you know, they’re not maybe ready for church yet, cuz that’s a big step.
Pastor Mike (38:39):
You don’t, you know, maybe you don’t know what religion they are. Maybe they’re not religiousness. So you’re like, oh I don’t wanna put on, but maybe, maybe the next step is to invite them to alpha course and say, Hey, you know, come with me. You know, that means you go to alpha too. Okay. But bring in to alpha and say, Hey, I want, I wanna learn. I wanna be a part of that. You know, this, this is a place where we could talk about, you know, spiritual ideas you can hear from the Christian perspective. But also we could talk about the meaning of life and you know what? I want to hear what you have to say. And then there’ll be some people that you know, that you have, that you’re a lot closer with. And you can say, you know what? This place called the gathering place.
Pastor Mike (39:14):
God is making a difference in my life. Every time I come, I feel challenged. I feel loved. I feel like I belong. You should check it out and come and see. So here’s the bottom line about the vision? You know, like who will I become if I, if, if I say to the gathering place is my, my home church. So if this is gonna be your home, here’s what I believe needs to be part of the vision of this church. That every person that says the gathering place is where I belong. You are making a commitment, you’re making a commitment, a decision to invite, to intentionally invite new people into the family. Because I believe that this is a measurable outcome, a measurable way to say, okay, how are we? What’s another way that we can see are we actually extending God’s redeeming love. And you know what I mean?
Pastor Mike (40:11):
It’s it, the invitation is so different than just being nice to people. There’s a little bit more commitment there. It’s different than being compassionate to people in their difficult circumstance. You know, it’s, it’s not like you’re putting, well, here’s a bandaid. Here’s something leave me alone. You know? Like, I mean sometimes you know, like when we’re on the streets, you know, sometimes when someone comes to us, they tell us this really terrible story, but you just feel like I don’t feel safe around you. You know, here here’s something to, you know, okay. I, I have compassion. You have a hard life, but, but I don’t wanna bring you home with me. You know? So you give them something to go away. It’s, it’s more than that. It’s more than being in solidarity with people that are experiencing injustice. It’s inviting people to do life with you. And that’s what we’re called to do at the gathering place is to invite people to do life with us. Amen.
Hannah Hunter (41:11):
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 would love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday worship service at 1115, for more information about our community in faith, check out our website at thegatheringplacefl.org org. Thanks for listening.