Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 9/3/2022
Re-reading old journal entries of mine during this month, I was going through a lot. I was tired and exhausted from the pace of life. My mind was bogged down and muddled.
I had a well-earned promotion coming up at work. The end of the fiscal year was within 30 days, so I had my best month-to-date in January. Producing 3x my average sales performance, which was astounding but grueling.
I was trying the dating scene going back-and-forth on the various apps trying to find connection. It didn’t really work. A couple conversations, but nothing beyond that. I was also mustering the courage to ask out my now wife on a date, but wasn’t ready yet.
Ministry was tiring too. We had survived the holidays and were moving into the slow season of church. My body ached too from training for USS Nationals, which is one of the biggest Strongman shows of the year. All-in-all, I was worn out.
I remember that David Margosian was almost too sick to teach the first value in our sermon series (2), so I began prep for it. I think he had a cold or something. At the last second, he said he was good to go and taught but I had already worked some things out. I took those ideas and scattered them throughout this message and other messages in the series.
Ideas like “Church isn’t just 4 walls per se, but is with those we walk with day-to-day.” or even the simpler “Jesus always went after the willing, not the worthy.” There were a lot of interesting, but untapped concepts from those notes. I especially liked this one:
“The Kingdom of God is a people, not a place… Artificial growth is committees, but organic growth is communities… Too many of us are focused on ministries and not the mission of Jesus. We would rather have a comfortable life, instead of a life that crafts godly character.“
That was all from that incomplete sermon and more, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Focusing on this though, I really enjoyed the prep because it was similar to our first value as a church. So I took those previous concepts and tweaked them for our second church value, which is the one I taught on this night (3). Here’s what I actually taught and my notes for this sermon:
- Reunion Values -> the why behind what we do
- Tonight, we’ll continue w/ Value 2
- Therapy day is the one time a month I engage with my feelings because I’m a robot.
- Therapy -> First Memories
- Jack (One-ear, Transformers, etc.)
Transition To Main Point
- Everyone is an outsider somewhere, but not when we’re with God.
- For every group that excludes, God’s always including you.
- No matter where you go, you will always be a child of God.
“We are children, perhaps, at the very moment when we know that it is as children that God loves us- not because we have deserved his love and not in spite of our undeserving; not because we try and not because we recognize the futility of our trying; but simply because he has chosen to love us. We are children because he is our father… before we loved him, he loved us.“Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat (P. 135)
Matthew 9:36-38 (ESV) + Mark 10:13-16 [small groups]
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”“Matthew 9:36-38
- 2nd Value = We befriend and uplift those the rest of the world has given up on.
- Jesus befriends and uplifts outsiders that the world gave up. We dare to care for those outsiders.
- Find the people that don’t belong anywhere and include them in your life somewhere.
Why It Matters
- If Jesus in his greatest loving act brought you in when no one would, then the least you can do is befriend the lonely and uplift the unloved.
- Jesus saw everyone and we need to see them too.
- I’m thinking about a lot of friends who used to be alone, but I could go on-and-on about that.
- Who can you befriend and uplift?
- Find them and friend them.
- This is what Jesus did and does.
- Do likewise.
This was personal for me. I really believe in this value whether or not I’m apart of this local church. It means something. To be there for the destitute. The downtrodden. The outcast.
I think that conviction was conveyed in the delivery of this sermon. I recall the emotions I felt from the audience in the room. They had a visceral connection to the message I believe because of God’s great love for them. Shining through every letter of this sermon.
I hope they still know they’re loved. I know I need the reminder every now and again. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.