We also want to welcome those who watch via the mobile app, internet, we welcome you as well. I hope these messages speak to you.
We're starting a new series and, you know, I want to say up front: The reason I like to series as a pastor is because I believe that as a church, we're called to reach the unchurched and the unchurched is a large people group. It's people who don't know Jesus, people who used to go to church but don't go to church, people who got burned by religion. Just people who are not attending or in a relationship with God.
We want to reach them by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ. And so, when we get together here on Sunday and Saturday evenings and we gather as believers, what we want to do is I was to equip you to be able to be those intentional neighbors that reflect Christ so that we can do what we're called to do which is to reach the unchurched which is why I do series.
This series is going to be really a great one. It's going to be fantastic and I think you're going to all enjoy this. We're going to talk about distractions. I think all of us are keenly aware of distractions in life. In fact, one writer said that life is just one distraction after the other and most us can say "amen" to that because, in many ways, it is.
And we know about these distractions. Bills and work and performance and all of these things. But, a lot of times, the things that we think are distractions are what I call symptoms. They're the symptoms of something deeper on the inside and what we do is we focus on the distractions that are here rather than looking at some of the stuff that's on the inside. And so today, what we're going to talk about is something that maybe you wouldn't think about. But, that's the whole idea of this series.
The series – here's the big idea so that we can all take this away. This right here: Is that we're going to look at the things in our lives that we often overlook that rob us or keep us from living out God's best.
Over the next five weeks, we're going to look at things that we often overlook because we focus so much on symptoms and oftentimes we don't look at the root of these things. And that's what we're going to do over the next five weeks. And so today, we're going to deal with something that many of us probably will get when I say this, but we don't think about it often. Some of the things in our lives that distract us from God's best are people. You know, and that's a tough thing to talk about because here, we're a church.
We love everybody. Is everybody welcome at Grace Community Church? Absolutely. Do we care what you've done? Where you've been? Absolutely not. We want you here. We want to reach you. We want to love you. We want to tell you about the goodness of God. But, as you become a Christian and as you start to walk out things in your life, you're going to find that sometimes, some people can drag you down and some people can build you up. It doesn't mean we don't love all of them, it just means that we need to be aware because we oftentimes overlook this.
I've met people that say, "My finances are out of whack." And then what I do is I find out they're trying to hang around with a group of people that make more money than them and they're trying to run with them and they're depleting their finances. So, it wasn't the finances that was the issue. It was the people that were the issue. Sometimes in relationships I get a husband and a wife or a young couple that's thinking about getting married. They'll get together and we'll start talking and we find out that some of their issues in their relationship aren't necessarily all fully them, it's the people they're talking to outside of the relationship that are creating some issues.
So, what we want to do is we're going to take a passage today and there's going to be a lot of distractions in this passage. I think you're going to love the passage. I think you're going to enjoy as we work through it. And then we're going to do some take-homes at the end. And my guarantee is is if you'll really listen, I think you'll leave differently than when you came in here. Sound like a pretty good plan? Everybody there? Okay, great.
So, here's what we're going to do. To do this, I guess I won't be able to take the whole passage and work through it, I'm going to give you a little bit of a background story. Some of you may know this story, some of you may remember this story. Some of you may be new here and maybe you came in from First Friday and you're sort of trying to figure this thing out.
"Why are they doing what they're doing?" Just listen in and see if some of this stuff speaks to you. I think it will. So, we're going to join this story in the middle of the way but I need to give you the backstory before we get there.
In Mark 5, Jesus has gone across the Sea of Galilee to another side and then He has returned back to where He came from. And, as He gets back to the side of the Sea of Galilee where He had set out from, there's a huge crowd on the beach there. And, as He gets out of the boat and the crowds there and everybody's sort of hanging around, we hear that a guy named Jairus who is a ruler of a synagogue – and to give you an idea, a ruler of a synagogue is sort of like the leader of a synagogue. He's the one that's got the financial wealth. He's the guy that's really got it together.
Normally, he's telling everybody what to do and where to go. The fact that Jairus shows up in the middle of this crowd is pretty significant because normally, he would send somebody to do his biding. But, he has shown up. He works his way through the crowd and he falls at Jesus' feet and he says, "Hey, listen. I need your help. My little girl is dying. Can you please come pray for her?"
Now, you've got to understand something. Jairus has waited quite a long time to get there. That's a hard thing for him to do to go to Jesus because, in Mark 3, we find the synagogue people, the Pharisees, the scribes and the synagogue people, they want to kill Jesus. So, here just a couple chapters later, for Jairus to have to come to Jesus, by himself, and fall down at his feet and say, "Hey, Jesus, will you help me?" That's a pretty significant thing.
But, how many know when your daughter's dying at home, you'd do just about anything to get some remedy, right? And so, here's what I'd like to say: Some of you today, you may be dealing – maybe not a daughter dying at home, but maybe there's some things in your life that are dying. And I want to tell you, maybe this is the day that you also need to get to Jesus as well. And we'll come back to that here in a minute.
So, he says, "Jesus, will you come?"
And Jesus says, "Of course I'll come."
So, Jesus gets with Jairus and they start walking towards Jairus' house. Now, you know that the Bible doesn't say this, but you know Jairus is going, "Can we step it up a little bit? Can we start walking fast?" You know, some of you all that do that physical stuff, that's where you start doing the power walk. But, He's got this crowd around Him, okay? And the crowd's pushing in on Him and you know Jairus is thinking, "Why is there a crowd? Why did this happen?”
And, in the middle of this crowd, just like Jairus has gone through a crowd and fallen at Jesus' feet, a very wealthy man, all of a sudden we hear that there's a woman that, for 12 years, has had this issue with a discharge of blood. And she starts working herself through the crowd.
The only problem is is where Jairus is like the religious dude and he's wealthy, this is a woman that's poor and spent everything that she has on trying to get better and everybody she touches along the way, she's making them ritually unclean according to the Mosaic Law. Which means everybody in that crowd could stone her. Not like they do in Colorado, but like physical rocks. Okay? I need to make sure because sometimes you don't know the people or people misunderstand you these days. We live in crazy days. Anyway, and those that are watching by the internet too, you can laugh. That was funny. I just want to make sure they're with us.
So anyway, the reality is is that she goes up pushing her way through that crowd and she grabs ahold of Jesus' garment. And when she grabs ahold of His garment, she's healed. Jesus stops in the middle and says, "Hey, somebody touched me."
They're like, "Dude, you're in a crowd. Of course somebody touched you. There's like bunches of people."
He's like, "No. You don't understand. Somebody touched me. Somebody really touched me. He stops, turns around and says, "Who touched me, because I felt something go out of me."
This lady falls at His feet and He says, "Your faith has made you well."
It's interesting. When she touches Jesus herself, she gets healed. But, it's when Jesus talks to her that she gets made whole. So, as He's talking to this lady, we're going to pick up the story now and we're going to watch all these distractions start happening. It's really cool the way Mark has done this. And Mark has done this so intentionally as he's written.
He starts of with Jesus has power over demons. Then Jesus has power over the weather. He calms the storm. Now, Jesus has power over sickness and disease. And, we're going to end this particular passage that Jesus has power even over death. Great stuff.
So, let's join in here in Mark 5:35-43. I'm reading out of the English Standard Version and you have all the scriptures up here so you can follow along.
"While he was still speaking..." – that's Jesus talking to the woman that has had the issue of blood for 12 years – "While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, ‘Your daughter is dead...’" – Now, you know when Jairus was walking with this crowd and this woman gets involved, you know what he's thinking. He's thinking, "This is great that she's getting healed, but could we hurry up? My daughter is sick."
It's interesting that you have two women, one has had an issue of blood for 12 years and one is 12 years old. You have a man who's very wealthy and a woman who's poor. Both worked through the crowd, both fall at the feet of Jesus' dead. These are really, incredibly great stories. And I just draw that attention to you as you read your Bible. Pay attention. There's a lot of stuff going on there. So, these people walk up and they say, "She's dead."
Man, that's tough. I mean, Jairus has just gone to Jesus. He's trying to get Jesus to get to his house to heal his daughter and, all of a sudden, these people come up and they say, "She's dead." Well, Jesus knows these people are a distraction and we're going to see this in a minute.
So it says, "They're dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?"
See, you know, if Jesus is only a teacher, then you really can't do anything. But, if He's the Lord God Almighty, He can even raise the dead. And, you know, you can imagine, Jairus is thinking, "Jesus is taking time to stop and talk to an unclean woman and, because he's talked to an unclean woman, my little girl – and I'm a ruler of a synagogue and I'm a religious dude – has died because of this unclean woman."
And these people come along and say, "Hey listen, man. Don't worry about it, Jairus. It was great that you came out here. We told you not to come anyway. But, you came out here on your own, you got Jesus, you got in the crowd, stuff went on, a little bit of a distraction or whatever, but your girl is dead. You don't need to trouble Jesus any further."
Let me tell you something. There are going to be people in your life that will come up to you and tell you that that dream God gave you, that relationship God gave you, that business God gave you, those ministry callings that God has given you, they'll come up to your life and they'll tell you, "It's done. It's dead. It'd dead. Don't even trouble Jesus anymore. It's dead." But, Jesus knows these people are a distraction. Let me show you how I know that.
"But overhearing what they said..." – Jesus overheard this group of people, and what did He say? He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Don't fear. Believe. Don't listen to them. Jairus, they're going to distract you. If you stop right now, you're going to go home and bury your little girl. But, if you keep going with me, if you keep following me, you don't listen to these people that are distracting you, you're going to see something great. You're going to see something and believe."
Now, let me tell you something. There's people in the church that are going to heaven that love God that will be distractions to you and me along points of our lives that will tell us, "Give up. Don't push any further."
And Jesus says, "Man."
When you get to that place of not believing that Jesus even has power to resurrect stuff, what happens is you start fearing. But, when you know that God can take marriages that are done and restore them, can take finances that are done and restore them and can take family issues and restore them and all of this things. When you believe God is a God of resurrection, you move into the area of belief and no longer fear. Don't let people distract you. These people were distracting Jairus.
So, it's even better. Here, look at this:
"And he allowed..." – so, now they start going again – "And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James."
That passage always just was like, "What is going on?" Can you imagine if you were the other nine? That's rough, isn't it?
"Only three of you are coming. The other nine, y'all get to stay."
"But, Jesus. I thought you loved people. I thought you cared about people."
"Yeah, you guys are staying. Only three are going. No one can follow me except these three."
Did you ever ask the question why? Why did these people get to go? Why did the other nine not get to go? I want you to hear this because this is important. The reason they went is because, when you look at what Peter, James and John were, these were the people that were the most receptive and these were the highest capacity people in his twelve. See, sometimes, if you want to go, you've got to grow.
See, sometimes, Jesus says, "You can't handle this right now."
That's a tough one, too. When you're like, "Hey, Jesus. Tell me what's going on." He's like, "You can't handle it right now. I'll tell you later when you grow."
We go, "But, I thought you were fair!"
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God is fair. It says He's just. That's good preaching right there. People on the internet were going, "Woo!" Y'all are going to get it here. It's alright. But, the fact of the matter is is the reason Jesus takes these is because the other nine can't go. They're going to be a distraction to what He needs to do. And that's tough. I have a tough time with that because, you know for me, I'm a high mercy guy. I'm a high compassion guy.
I'm like, "Man. Bring everybody in. Everybody can come. Everybody." But, I'm going to tell you something. It's taken me 20 years to learn this. Sometimes, you've got to put the right people in the right positions because the wrong people will keep it from happening. And that doesn't mean God doesn't love them and it doesn't mean that God doesn't want to save them and it doesn't mean that God's not gracious for them or any of those things.
All of those things are true. But sometimes, if you want to go, you've got to grow. Sometimes, you've got to be the one's that are willing to go further than the other ones to get to go with Jesus. And so, He doesn't allow the other nine – so don't be the other nine. Be the three. Okay?
So, let's continue on.
Mark 5:38, "They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue..." – we've got more distractions going on in this passage – "They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly."
Now, I don't know that I would've called that a commotion. I mean, if I would've walked into a house where a 12-year-old girl had just died and people were weeping and wailing and all of that stuff, I would have probably thought that was normal. Wouldn't you? You'd probably think it was normal. He calls it a commotion. This is interesting. So, look what He says here. This is great.
"When he had entered the house, he said to them, 'Why are you making a commotion and weeping?'"
Can you imagine the – sort of separate yourself a little bit from this – Can you imagine there's John and Sally? Let's pick those names. John and Sally have a 12-year-old girl that has just died. Can you imagine if the pastor walked into the funeral home where everybody is crying and he walked in and said, "Hey, why are you guys crying and creating such a commotion?"
Everybody would be like, "What?! What are you doing?"
He says, "You guys are a distraction."
The young adults got this word. It's called the "feels." These people are all emotional. They've got the feels going on, but they're not seeing the full picture. And, sometimes, people that are just all bent in emotion, they can't see the bigger picture. All they can see is what they feel. And here's the reason I know they're emotional, because they're going to go from weeping and wailing in one second to laughing in just a second, okay? They're all over the board.
Jesus says, "Look, man. You guys are creating this commotion. You guys are a distraction. This child's not dead. This child is sleeping."
You know what they do, right? They laughed at him. They're like, "Dude, we know what dead is. We know. Dead is dead. Like... is dead. And you think she's sleeping? Yeah, right."
So, what does he do?
He kicked them all out. You go, "Man. Jesus kicked everybody out of the house?" Isn't it crazy, when you read the Bible, some of the things you'll see? He put them all outside. He says, "You can't be in here. You all are a distraction to what I need to do."
And you see this the whole way. You've got Jairus' people are a distraction, some of the disciples are a distraction and the people here that are weeping and wailing are a distraction because, what Jesus is doing, He is absolutely laser-focused to what God's best is. Not only for the mom and the dad and the little girl, but even for the three that can handle what's going on.
"He puts everybody outside, he takes the father and the mother and those who were with him and he went in where the child was."
This is a man that will not be distracted. This is a man that even told people, "Hey, look. If you go into a house and you say, 'Peace be on it' and they don't want it, you do the Taylor Swift and you shake it off." Right? Shake it off. Sometimes you've got to move on. Doesn't mean God doesn't love them. Did Jesus love the people that He put outside the house? Absolutely. If those people outside the house would have come to Him and said, "Jesus, can we accept you? Can we follow you?"
He'd have said, "Hey, absolutely. Man, I love you guys."
But, the fact of the matter is that right now, they needed to be outside because, for God's best to happen, He couldn't bring in those people who would have been a distraction.
So, He goes in, "Taking her by the hand and he says to her, 'Talitha cumi,' which means, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise.'"
Now, I just want to take a little side note here. This is not really part of the passage, but I want to focus here on this. This is Aramaic here, this "cumi." The Hebrew word for "rise" is "qum." Transliterated, it would be "q-u-m." Okay? That word is used in the Old Testament and I always – the translators of the Bible are so focused on grammar that sometimes they don't understand literary forms. When it says in Isaiah that the grass withers and the flower fades but the Word of the Lord stands forever or endures forever (which is what most translations say), the word there is "qum."
"The Word of God rises forever" is the way that should be translated.
See, physical things can die, but the Word of God can't die. Go back in the Old Testament. Remember when Moses has the tables of stone that have got the Ten Commandments on them; the Word of God? Remember, he comes down and he shatters them and then he goes back up? Some of y'all think there was 15, right? You watched that Monty Python film where he says, "I give you the 15" and he drops one. "I give you the 10." Yeah, that's why you've got to read the Bible because, man, you watch Monty Python and you'd be thinking that's the way it is. You know?
He's doing the Sermon on the Mount and he's like, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and they're like [impersonating], "Did he say cheese makers? Is that what he said?"
See? You've got to pay attention. You've got to read the Bible. So, he's got those stone tablets that get broken because physical things can perish, but then they get written again because the Word of God can't be destroyed. Remember when Jeremiah, he has Baruch, his scribe? He tells him the Word of the Lord.
Baruch goes to the king and goes, "Here, man. This is what Jeremiah said."
The king is like, "Read that scroll for me." He reads it a little bit and he takes his knife and he cuts the scroll and throws it into the fire. The king don't like to hear the Word of God. Some of us are like that, right? We just cut it and throw it. "I don't want to hear that stuff." You know? So, he throws it in.
What happens? Well, Baruch goes back to Jeremiah and he says, "Hey, man. The king destroyed everything."
He's like, "No he didn't. Get out a pen and paper and we're going to do this again."
And he writes the same exact thing that God gave him before. Why's that? You can destroy the Word of God in physical form, you can't destroy the Word of God. That's why Jesus could be crucified in the physical form, but the word of God rises forever. It stands forever. Okay? You all can clap, it's okay. It's good.
So, "He takes her by the hand, he says, 'Talitha cumi,' which means, 'Little girl, I say to you, arise.' And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement."
I love that. I love the way Mark writes. "Man, immediately she got up. And I'm going to tell you, when your little 12-year-old girl gets up, immediately you're overcome with amazement, right?"
So, you see that. I mean, this is going on here.
And then he says, "And he strictly charged them that no one should know this."
That's interesting. Why do you not want to go outside and tell them that she got resurrected? I mean, see, if I were God, man I'd have been like the whole crowd inside, I'd have been, "Watch this. Boom! Ha ha! Watch that. See? Look how that worked."
That's why I'm not God. So, anyway. It'd be a mess if I was. Like, Chip Almighty. So, that'd be worse than Bruce Almighty.
So anyways, "He strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat."
He says, "Don't tell everybody because what they're going to do is, when you go out and tell them that she got resurrected, they're going to go, "Well, He was right. She was sleeping." They're not ready. They're not ready for that. It doesn't mean He doesn't love them. It doesn't mean there's not grace for them. They're just not ready. Sometimes people can be distractions.
And He gives her something to eat. Jesus likes doing that when you resurrect. He's like, "Eat. I resurrected. Give me some fish." He wants to make sure that you know that that's a real person that's really alive, okay?
So, here's the deal. Here's the take-homes. This is where we get serious. If you've got a notepad or your iPad or Android pad or lily pad or whatever it is that you like to write on or your phone notes or whatever. This is where you want to write these things down because these are things that will help you in your life. These are some practical take-homes.
First one. We can get distracted from God's best by people of unbelief.
And let me tell you something. It's not just people outside of the Church that are people of unbelief. Oftentimes, it's people in the Church that are people of unbelief. They have enough belief to get to Heaven. They're going to Heaven. They love God. But, they don't have enough belief to also believe some of the other things that God says.
And, what they'll do is say, "Nah. Hold on, now. Don't get too crazy, tiger. Don't get too into that thing. Calm down a little bit. I mean, I was watching Discovery Channel and there was some way the wind blew and I think they walked through where the Red Sea was like three inches. So, don't get too crazy."
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Stop it. If Jesus can raise from the dead – and I believe that He did –then I believe all the other things are possible. Okay? And so should you.
Paul says it this way, he says, "He can do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think." Okay? Sometimes we'll get distracted by people that start filling our minds with stuff and whatever and here's what happens: Jesus is overhearing what they said. He says, "Hey, man. Don't fear." Because, see, the more unbelief you have in your life, the more you give in to fear.
See, when you believe God's got the world in His hands and He's in control, you ain't worried about what's going on in Washington. When you don't believe God's got in under control, then you better do something about it. Better get some of that freeze-dried food and go to wherever. Don't fear. Don't fear. Believe. Man, when you get ahold of God's got resurrection power, remember when – I've said this to you before, but I'm going to say it again – remember those old cowboy movies, you know?
The Indians are on one side – and I'm not, if anybody thinks I'm trying to be like politically incorrect by calling them Indians and Cowboys, then you're missing the whole point. I know we live in a sensitive world, okay? I actually have Cherokee Indian in my blood so I ain't saying nothing wrong. So, there you go. I want to make sure because everybody gets sensitive to this stuff. I'm just talking about the old cowboy movies, okay? Indians are like on the ridge and the cowboys are down in the ravine and then they're getting ready to come.
And the old sheriff's like, "Man, if the troops don't get here and the cavalry don't get here, we're going to die. They better get here by 12 o'clock." And right at 12 o'clock, as the Indians come over, the cavalry shows up and saves 'em, right? Remember those stories? We've seen them. Yeah. You know those stories.
The beauty about God is that at 3 o'clock when you're laying dead because you got killed, He can still raise you up. See, that's resurrection power. So, don't get bogged down by people of unbelief.
Secondly, we can get distracted from God's best by people who have given up after a valiant effort.
I can't tell you how many people I've watched believe God with dreams and hopes and all kinds of stuff. Relationships. They're fighting, they're fighting, they're fighting. And they get to a place and they give up. Jairus goes and shows up. Big deal for him. Falls at Jesus' feet. Big deal for him. Starts walking with the crowd. Big deal for him.
But then the people come and say, "Hey, man. She's dead. She's dead, man. Why trouble the teacher anymore? She's dead." And the give up after a valiant effort. Let me tell you something. Hear me and hear me well. If God has spoken a Word to you about what He will do, He will perform it no matter what hell comes against you. No matter what people come against you. No matter what goes on. When He says to a little shepherd boy, "You're going to be my king", it don't make a difference that Saul throws spears at him and Saul chases him into the caves and everybody is against him.
If He says that you're going to be a king, it may be 10 years, it may be 20 years, it may be 30 years, but let me tell you something: You'll be a king if God has called you to be a king. If God's called you to have a child like Abraham and Sarah, let me tell you something. It may take a long time. It may take 5 years and 10 years and 15 years and 20 years and 25, but if God has said something to you, He will do it. Don't let people come along after you've made an effort to get to a certain place and you quit. Don't stop trusting God and give up after a valiant effort. People will distract you from that.
Thirdly, we can get distracted by God's best by bring the wrong people.
Man, this is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way for so many times because I'm a charitable guy. I'm a guy that's just like, "Everybody come on. Everybody get in here. Let's all get in here together." But sometimes, the wrong people can just be the wrong people at the wrong time. You know? And sometimes, you don't need to go out and listen to your boyfriends and girlfriends that you like in your little group and they tell you, "Nah, man. You don't wanna do that for her. Man, you don't want to do that for him."
And they're getting you. It's just the wrong people at the wrong time. That's why Jesus said, "No one can follow me except these three." He knew He had to take the right people at the right time and sometimes that's the way it is. It doesn't mean God doesn't love them.
It doesn't mean you walk out of here and get to go, "Ah, okay. Good. Finally, Chip's preaching some judgment on people. I like it. He's been preaching grace for five years and now we're going to get 'em!"
No. That's not what I'm saying. God still loves all those people. I'm trying to get God's best for you in your life and sometimes you've got to separate yourself from some people to get God's best.
Fourthly, we can get distracted from God's best when we're unwilling to sometimes put the crowd outside.
What does Jesus do here? They laughed at Him but He put them outside. I think people are going to laugh at you. I mean, people that you go in and say, "Hey, look. Me and my wife, we're trying to get this together and I know there's been some issues and I know there's been some stuff."
And they're going to be like, "Man, just get out of that thing. Just get out of that thing." Sometimes, you've got to put the crowd outside. And you've got to go, "No, no. This is what God has called me to do. This is where God has me to be." Sometimes that's in your business, it's in your relationship with your sons and your daughters, it's in all kinds of things. It may be somebody at work; and employee.
Sometimes you've got to put people outside. That doesn't mean you don't love them and that doesn't mean when they show up at your house at 2 o'clock in the morning and say, "Hey, can you help me out and pray for me" that you say, "No, you've got to stay outside." But, sometimes, you've got to put people outside to see God's best.
And fifthly, and this is the big one here, we get distracted from God's best by forgetting that the mission is bringing resurrection power to others.
One of the things that we have in America, and you can see it throughout all the bookstores, is everybody tells you you've got to get yourself right before you can get others right. You hear that all the time. And, what we've done is we've created a narcissistic society that continues to try to get self-right. Can I tell you something? As long as you're trying to get self-right, it ain't going to work. Because, you know what Jesus says?
He says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and God will take care of all of the rest."
See, we really live when we get outside. Think about this for a minute. Think about God. God lives as a Trinity. Who does Jesus talk about? The Father. Who does the Holy Spirit talk about? Jesus. Who does the Father glorify? The Son. God, in His essential community, is not even self-serving. It's about the other. That's why Jesus can wash feet because it's about the other. Life is given when it's not about you but when it's about something outside of you. And see, we want to live.
We want to be in God's abundance. We want to be in God's Kingdom in fullness and joy and all those things that the Bible talks about. But, what we're doing is we're trying so much to get it within ourselves that it's never going to be there. Our completion, our righteousness, our joy, our peace comes from Jesus. Not from you and me. And, it's when we forget this that we stop living. And that's why we want to reach the unchurched.
I'm going to tell you this right now. When you're out there at one of those rides you think, "Ah, what's the big deal about one of those little rides or little bouncy houses?" And somebody comes up to you and they say, "So, you're with the church?" You know? And it's like, "Yeah, that's what Grace is."
And it's like Jeff Foxworthy, "Here's your sign."
"Yeah, I'm with the church."
And they say, "Well, is this free."
And you're like, "Well, yeah. Of course it's free."
"Why are you doing that?"
"Because we want to show you God's love. We want to help you out."
And they say, "Really? Will you pray for me?"
Man. Let me tell you something. When that moment happens and you start doing that, that's when you start living. That is when you start living. When we remember that the mission is bringing resurrection power to others. God gave you and me His resurrection power so that we could go and take it to others. And when you get bit with that and you understand and you start loving people and pouring into others, you'll start finding out that God takes care of you like you could have never even imagined.
So, some of the symptoms in our lives are really the result of people. And that doesn't mean that God doesn't love them and it doesn't mean we shouldn't love them. But, it does mean that if we want to live out this thing and see God's best, sometimes we have to take an inventory that people can be distractions.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You so much for Your love and Your mercy and Your goodness and Your kindness. I thank You, Lord, that You have loved us so much and given us so much grace and that You do love everybody. But, Lord, sometimes in our lives as we try to become all that You've created us to be and we try to live out this thing that You've called us to be, sometimes we have to understand that we get distracted. And, some of those distractions can be people. And, Lord, the opposite side of that is sometimes we can be the people that distract others.
So, Lord, I pray that You would speak to all of us today. Help us to chew on this. Help us not to get judgmental or critical or push people away because that's not what we're called to do. But, help us to understand that there are times and seasons that people can distract us from becoming all that You have called us to be. And, help us to know how to work through those things so that we can experience Your best in our life.
So, Lord, I pray that as we leave here today, that You would watch over us and protect us. I pray that You would lead and guide us. And, I pray that You would continue to help our church be the light that You've called us to be, shining brightly in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Bradenton for Your glory. So, Lord, I pray that You would bring us back safely till when we meet again. And, we thank You for all that You're doing in Jesus' name, and everybody said, "amen."