Our Church: Week 3 - Growing Up

Sermon Transcript

[Video]

[Lauren]: My name is Lauren Zahn and I have been at Grace for a little over a year; probably like 15 months. Before this church, I was not involved in any church. I didn’t even believe in God. I really wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t live a bad life. I just wasn’t seeking. I thought everything was okay. And I just had met a couple of hypocritical and judgmental Christians along the journey, especially in college and stuff. And I just thought, “If that’s what those people are like, it’s not for me. I don’t want anything to do with that.”

So, it just kind of drew me further away from the church, and I just thought, “I’m fine without it.”

I didn’t feel like I needed anything. Almost two years ago or a year and a half ago, my fiancé, Eric — we were thinking about moving down here and he decided he wanted to go to church. And I was like, “This is how we break up. I don’t want anything to do with that.”

So, I went and it changed my life. I remember I started crying. I was like, “Oh my gosh,” and I felt like, “Wow.”

After the first one, I thought, “Okay. I’ll go to the next one.”

Then I liked that one and I thought, “I’ll come to the next one,” until it just kept being like, “Oh my gosh,” and it was something I was really looking forward to every weekend. And then we started getting involved with young adults and I’ve started meeting people and making connections. I could feel God moving in my life just in how open I was becoming to things, because I was so shut off. First was like, “I want to buy a Bible. I want to get involved in a small group. I want to hang out with people who go to church.”

And I decided that I’m just going all in, and I decided to get baptized last April, and I really feel like it’s the best decision I ever made. Now, I just feel like a completely different person; someone who’s so much more positive and hopeful. It’s just so nice being around so many people who are also like that and being in a church that really practices what it preaches.

We are just trying to be intentional neighbors and I think that is exactly what the world needs. That, I think, is the only way to reach people. So, I’m really happy to be a part of that.

[Narrator]: It’s not just my church. It’s our church.

[End Video]

Well, good morning to everybody and good morning to those who watch via the internet and our mobile app. Haven’t you enjoyed the videos? They’ve been great, haven’t they? Thanks to all of those that shared. We’re going to try to do a better job of doing more things like that so that you could see some of things that are going on in people’s lives. And I think all of us realize there’s some really cool stuff going on, which is why we started this little mini-series, “Our Church.” The whole reason behind it, ultimately, was just to sort of say, “Hey, we need to pray about what’s next because we’re starting to get a little full in most of our services.”

I don’t know if you remember last week, I said, “Hey, we had record attendance the week before.”

We had 1,152 people. Last weekend, we broke attendance again. We had 1,175. And I’m going, “Man, where are we going to sit everybody?”

You know? It is what it is, and we don’t really have great answers. I’d love to tell you, “Hey, here’s what we’re doing.”

We don’t. We just asked everybody to pray. So, we want to continue to ask you to pray that God will give us a God-sized answer for what is next for us. But, when I put that together, I said, “You know, it’d probably be good, too, to once again re-up why we do what we do.”

Last week, we talked about the parable of the two sons, normally called the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” We sort of looked at that through a little bit of a different lens. And then I said that this week I would sort of talk about what that future church that I think reaches the next generation and has the heart of the Father would look like. So, I really get to share some vision. And I want to say up front that whenever you share your heart as a pastor, one of the things you realize, if you’re being honest, is that it doesn’t really make a difference what you think or feel. It really matters as to whether or not the church thinks and feels the way you do.

So, I want to say, up front, that when I share today, ultimately, this is something that we all get to participate in. We all get to go, “Okay. This sounds great,” or, “This doesn’t sound great,” or somewhere in-between, or, “Hey, he had a nice jacket, but his sermon stunk.”

You know? Whatever it may be. So, I want to talk about some vision and lay out what that looks like and what it looks like to be that church that reaches the next generation. So, to do that, I want to play a little game with you here at the beginning.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you’d get asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Come on. Everybody had that, right? Everybody. You still do it, right? What do you want to be when you grow up? At 41, it’s a little bit odd. But, the deal is, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

It reminds me of a story where this lady, a teacher, was teaching a school. She’d been talking about ethics and morality. So, she thought it’d be a great opportunity to see if some of that was sticking with her kids. So, she had a really rambunctious kid named Jimmy in the class.

She said, “Jimmy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” thinking that maybe the ethics and the moral thing she’d been talking about would’ve taken root.

And Jimmy goes, “I want to live somewhere between a bandit and a baller, and I want to have a wallet that’s this thick full of credit cards as I run around the world spending money, living wild, running loose, big cars, fancy hotels.”

And she’s like, “Thanks, Jimmy.”

And she’s thinking, “Do I get involved with this and try to correct him or do I just sort of let it go?”

So, she turns over to Sally, the Straight-A student in the class, and she says, “Sally, what would you like to be when you grow up?”

She goes, “You know, I’d like to be Jimmy’s wife.”

Anyway. What do you want to be when you grow up? You know, one of the things that we don’t do that I always think about is, “What do we want to be as a church when we grow up?”

And think about this for a second. You know, we meet back here in this commercial space. Most people that come in, if you were new today — I know you thought this, because everybody does — you pulled back here and you’re like, “Is this a church or is this a cult? Do they have any chickens around here?”

You do. So, when one day, God willing, we have a piece of land and a real building and all of that stuff, what do we want to be when we grow up? What do we want to look like? What is the church that we want to look like? I’d like to sort of share my heart and what I’d like to see. But, to do that, I want to get really real and raw here for a second with everybody.

We live in a challenging time, to say the least. Now, I don’t know. I think times have always been challenging. I like what Paul Harvey said. He goes, “In times like today, it’s good to know that there’s always been times like today.”

But, when you look at the information that we get today and all of this stuff, and we’ve have storms and all kinds of stuff going on, and we have complete destruction of islands, and then we have what happened last weekend with the mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s a time where all of us feel challenged. And we look around our world and we go, “Man, our world is so deeply divided.”

Everybody’s got their position. Everybody’s got their opinion on things. Nobody wants to talk to anybody. We have no idea how to have civil discourse anymore. We can’t sit around and talk and do the things that we need to do. Everybody silos off and factions off into different groups. And we look at that and we go, “Man, that’s not a good place to be. That’s not healthy for a country.”

But, oftentimes, we don’t think about this, but that division and those factions have seeped into the church. And you can see it on social media. People that love God and believe in Jesus are just absolutely at each other, almost calling each other non-Christians for positions that really have nothing to do with the Bible. They’re just positions that people have on different things and ideas. And we look at that and we go, “Man, what’s going to give?”

I mean, we just came to the table of the Lord and we all said, “We’re laying down everything, all of our stuff,” because what brings all of us together is we believe Jesus rose from the dead and we believe Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and that unity that Jesus talks about and that He says, in John 17:21 and 23 — in case you missed it in 21 — “Father, let them be one as we are one, so that the world may see.”

In other words, when the church loses its unity and factions off in positions and causes and all of that and we grab Jesus and use Him for all of these things and silo off, it’s not a good situation. So, what I want to do is — and I think we all agree on that. We all go, “Yeah. That’s true.”

And then, on top of it, we go, “You know what? But, if we just had one passage of Scripture. Just one. Not five. Just one where Jesus, once and for all, dealt with a mass killing or a terrorist attack or some government conspiracy stuff or whatever it may be. If we could just see what He would say about that, it would help us out because we don’t know.”

Well, the good news is He does. We might not have read it in Scripture or we might have missed it when we read it. We’re going to look at that and use that as the launching pad for, “How do we look like Jesus today? How do we live like Jesus in the world that we live in?”

To do that, I need to go back and give you a little bit of background, and then we’ll look at that text together and then we’ll make some comments about what the church that’s going to reach the next generation is going to look like.

Well, in Jesus’ day, it was much like ours. It was a time of unrest and turmoil. And one of the things that Jesus spoke to — He very rarely took on the political things. What He took on was the way people were trying to be the people of God. The people of God had divided off into factions. Most of you have heard of the Pharisees. That was one way of being the people of God.

“We’re people of God. We’re doing the Yahweh thing this way. We read the Bible. We read the Bible. We study it a little bit more. We have small groups. We stay away from the evil people. We don’t eat with the people that we shouldn’t. We read the Bible. We read the Bible. We read the Bible. We’re going to be the people of God.”

Well, the Sadducees said, “No, no, no. That’s not the way you’re the people of God. If you’re going to be the people of God and we’re going to do this kingdom thing, we need to get involved in politics. That’s what we need to do. We need to be politically motivated. We need to make sure that we’re constantly involved in politics. That’s the way we’re going to be the people of God.”

Well, then there were the Zealots that said, “No, no, no. Both of y’all are wrong. The only way that you’re going to enact change is you’re going to have to protest and you’re going to have to be willing to do some violent activities to get this thing done.”

They carried little knives in their cloaks and they’d stab people in groups and create all kinds of uproar. And they were the people of God. And then there was another group called the “Essenes.” They were like, “All of you all are wrong. All of you all are going to hell. We’re going off into our caves and we’ve got our freeze-dried food.”

They didn’t have that back then. But, “We’re going to go in our caves, do our thing and hang out and watch you all die and then we’ll come and see what happens after we pick up the pieces.”

And all of these people really thought they were being the people of God. That’s what it meant to be a follower of Yahweh, because they had their causes and they had their positions. Jesus speaks to that. In Luke 12, He’s speaking to a group of people and He says to them, “You know, you guys are really good at looking at the sky and realizing when it’s going to rain. You’re good weathermen. But, what you can’t do is you’re not really good at discerning the times. You’re not good at this. In fact, let me tell you a story. If you’re on your way to the magistrate with your opponent, because you both have your cause and your position, you know what you ought to do? You actually ought to figure out a way to reconcile rather than go plead your position. Just get together and get along, because if you lose — and you may lose because you may have thought your position was better than someone else’s. You may be wrong in the position that you’re holding, and it’s not going to be pretty.”

And, of course, the flip side would be true too. Even if you win, you still lose your brother. And one of the things that Jesus was trying to say to His people, who were all trying to be the people of God, is like, “When you get in a position — like, maybe you’ve locked arms with a Sadducee and you’ve locked arms with a Pharisee — and you go, ‘Yeah, you know what? I think the Pharisee’s right on this issue, you’ve just left that brother behind. You didn’t lead. You left someone.”

When you go out here, “Oh, I’ve got this position. This is the position. I’m going to let everybody know this is my position,” — when you do that, you leave somebody behind. And Jesus says, “Listen, here’s the way it works: The way it works is we’re supposed to be the people that bring people together. We’re supposed to reconcile. We’re supposed to put people above all those positions and everything else.”

And right as those words are coming out of His mouth, we introduce Luke 13:1.

It says, “There were some present...” — just in case you thought it as maybe a different time — “...at that very time...”

In other words, Luke’s making sure that you and me know that as Jesus is speaking these people step up and they say, “Hey, what about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices?”

“Jesus, this is great. It’s great that You want to do the Kumbaya. It’s great that You want to have everybody come together. That’s all great. But, Jesus, here’s the way the world works: Pilate slaughtered all kinds of Galileans on their way into the temple to offer sacrifices to Yahweh, and their blood was mingled with all of those sacrifices they were bringing. This was a terrorist attack. It was a mass murder. It was government conspiracy. Jesus, we love what You’re saying, we love all this great stuff about whatever, but this is a position we need You to weigh in on. We need to know what You think about this, Jesus, because we love the idea of the Kumbaya, but that doesn’t work. We love the idea of coming together, but we have positions and we have stuff.”

And here’s the beauty of it all: He answered them, which is great. Because, for you and me in the world we live in, we actually have Jesus weighing in on things that matter to you and me right now. And, of course, what He didn’t say is, “Yep, this was a heinous and atrocious crime and we need to voice our opinion on ‘JerusalemBook.’”

They had JerusalemBook before Facebook. I don’t know if you know that or not. No, He didn’t do that. And, by the way, that comes out of the TJV. That’s the Tom Jones Version. Just want to let you know that. If you’re new, that’s our executive pastor. I like to give him a hard time every once in a while.

No. Actually, what He said, is shocking. Get ready to be put back in your seat for a moment, because you’re going to go, “What in the world is He saying?”

His answer is shocking. And it was shocking to them. Because, see, in their world, they thought, “If you do good, you do good, you do good, you do good, you’ll be blessed. If you do bad, you do bad, you do bad, you’re going to be cursed.”

So, if you do good and do good and do good, God will be on your side. You’re on the right side. Your position is the right side. You’re the right way. You’re doing the right thing. And if it’s the bad position, then things that are bad will happen to you. And every once in a while, something would happen where that didn’t work. But, by and large, that’s the way they thought.

So, they say, “Jesus, we need You to weigh in on this, because, man, a lot of people have been killed. We need to know what You think about this. We need some political answers. We need some position answers, Jesus. What do You have to say?”

And His response is shocking; stunning. His response is, “Do you think that these Galileans that Pilate slaughtered were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way?”

You talk about a silent crowd. What is He saying? Well, sometimes we do think that our position’s right. And, because our position is right, other people are wrong and they should be the ones that suffer because we’re the righteous ones. Well, they did suffer. Were they worse sinners? I don’t know. And He grabs their attention. He doesn’t answer them politically. He answers them theologically. He arrests their attention for a second, and here’s what He says: “No. They weren’t worse sinners, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

This is not “believe in Jesus or you go to hell.” This is Jesus saying, “If you guys don’t stop doing it the way you’re doing it, if you don’t stop trying to be cause-oriented and you want to push your position down somebody else’s throat, what’s going to happen is you’re going to end up in the same fate that they did, which means Pilate’s probably going to roll in at some point, or somebody like Pilate, and you’re going to die too.”

And they did in 70 A.D., because they could not stop factioning and siloing off, trying to be the people of God and convincing everybody that their way of doing it was better than somebody else’s way of doing it.

And He says, “And, by the way, remember the eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them? Nobody did anything wrong at all, right? I mean, they were just standing there and the tower fell. Do you think they were worse offenders than all the other ones who lived in Jerusalem? Do you want to be so right that everybody else is wrong and so everything that goes on wrong is bad?”

“See, that’s what happens. We’re right.”

He goes, “No. I’m going to tell you again: If you don’t change your mind, if you don’t change the way you’re doing life — repent, metanoias, changed mind. If you don’t change your mind and the way you’re doing this, you’re all going to perish.”

And they did. What He’s saying, as clear as day, is simply this: If you don’t stop doing what you’re doing, the future isn’t pretty. What I can tell you is is if the church doesn’t stop doing some of the things that we’re doing and arguing the way we argue, we’re not going to be leading people to Jesus because the world looks at us and goes, “They’re just as messed up as we are. Why would I want to follow that guy?”

So, we have an incredible opportunity in front of us to say, “Hey, what’s it going to be when we grow up?”

Because, we have a messed up world and we’ve got to talk to that. We’ve got to look at that. Because, when all we do — and we do. It’s sad. You look at churches in America. There’s churches that take positions on whatever it may be, and that’s what they believe. And if you walk in and you have a differing understanding of maybe something about the way you read the Bible, they don’t want you there. You’re just not even a Christian. You’re out. And see, that’s because, when you lead your cause, you’re leaving people behind. Because, there’s a lot of people that don’t believe the way you believe.

And let me tell you something, just to enlighten everybody here: You can take whatever position you want to take. You can bring me 30 positions. I don’t care what you bring me. I can give you a Bible passage that will support what you want to believe.

So, what do we do? I’ve got five things that I think the church needs to look like, in my opinion, to reach the next generation. The first thing is that churches that reach the next generation are not going to allow Jesus to be hijacked for their cause. And we do it. We’re guilty of it.

“Well, the Bible’s clear here on this.”

“Well, it’s not, because it says, over here, this.”

“Oh, I hadn’t read that passage.”

Sometimes, it’s clear as mud. So, what we do is — and I want you to think about this — when we take whatever position it is, whether it’s theological, political or whatever it may be, and that’s your position and you let everybody know that’s your position and you fight for your position, what you’re doing is you’re telling everybody that Jesus and that position or synonymous, and that may not even be true at all, in any way, shape or form. We’re not leading with the Gospel. We’re leading with causes and issues. We need to start leading with the Gospel.

Let me tell you why we do it. The reason we do it is because, by and large, we’re good people who genuinely have been touched by Jesus and really want to help people. So, we want people to be where we’re at in our journey. What’s happened is over our lives, we’ve had things that have changed in our lives and we’ve come to see positions differently, and we want to make sure that we let the people that see those positions differently understand how we got there. Because, ultimately what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to help them. It comes from a good place, not a bad place. It comes from a good place.

But, when we want people to be where we’re at in our journey, we are forgetting our journey isn’t complete, which means — listen to me — the position you hold today, whatever position it is you hold, you might not believe that two years from now. Because, something may happen that changes the way you believe. See, I’m scared to death that they’re going to resurface some Chip Bennett preaching from 10 years ago, and I don’t believe anything that I preached back then. But, I really believed what I believed back then, and it’s going to be ugly. But, that’s my point. I don’t mind to be vulnerable. I don’t mind to share my faults. We just need to be careful that we don’t miss the most important thing, which is telling people about Jesus rather than getting Jesus to be hijacked for our causes.

Which leads to the second thing of what churches will be that are reaching the next generation. They’re not going to lose sight of the mission. They understand the mission. Jesus understood the mission. Jesus is in Galilee doing healings. People are coming. All through the night, they’re bringing people in and He’s healing them and He’s doing the Jesus thing. People are getting delivered and healed and they can see again. All that good stuff. It goes well into the night.

Well, early in the morning, Jesus gets up. It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went to a desolate place, and there He prayed.”

He’s sitting there praying. Of course, the disciples get up a little bit later. They come looking for Him. They say, “Hey, dude. Everybody’s looking for You, man. We need to come back, man. I know You’re out here praying, but we need to come back here, man. We don’t really care that You’re praying, really. We just need You to come back here and do the Jesus thing, man, because everybody’s looking for You.”

And He says, “Hey, guys. I need to go on to the next towns. I’m not going back there. I need to preach to other people also. That’s why I actually came out here. I came out here because I needed to pray so that I could keep the mission the most important thing. We’re not going back to Galilee. We’re going to continue forward, because we need to tell people about the good news.”

I really believe the church that reaches the next generation is not going to be bogged down in siloing off and factioning and division and arguing and all of that stuff. I believe we’re going to put the mission in the place that it needs to be. And what I hope and pray is that Grace Community Church can be a church that no matter where you stand on whatever issue or whatever else, what we can do is lay all those things down at the foot of the cross and actually not preach causes, but preach Christ. Because, that is what we’re called to do. Right? Amen?

Third thing, and this is a little of a sensitive issue for people, it always is, is I do believe that churches that reach the next generation are going to recover what I call “true biblical giving.” There’s going to be an extravagance. Because, here’s what I see: The communities in our world are bankrupt. We all know — and this is not a statement, this is just a fact. Nobody can dispute this. We’re in a lot of debt as a country. So, we don’t have a lot of money to go invest in a lot of things, because we don’t even have any money. Like, if it were you and me and the bank account was overdrawn, we’d be like, “You can’t write a check.”

You know? So, who’s going to be able to step in and do this? It always should’ve been the church. We gave that up and then we started allowing other things to take the place. We need to step back into what we were called originally to do. We need to learn to be extravagant in our giving again and not do the things that we do.

Floyd McClung. I grew up under him when I was in college. He always said this, and it was a great saying. It’s funny, but it’s true. He goes, “Church, we’ve got all the money that we need right here in the building. The problem is it’s in your pocket.”

It was funny because it was true. But, the reality is that I believe that churches — and whether that’s us or not, we get to make that decision together. Not me. But, I do believe that churches that are going to reach the next generation and really have the heart of the Father, they’re going to figure out ways to do like the Corinthian Church did in 2 Corinthians 8. Paul says, “They didn’t have a whole lot, but they gave themselves first to God and then to us, and they gave extravagantly.”

I think there’s going to be a time and place where we realize, “You know what, man? I need to go all-in.”

And ultimately — and I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad — when we don’t give, it really comes down to a lack of trust. That’s really where it’s at. Let’s just be honest and move on. But, I do believe that churches that reach the next generation are really going to find ways to recover that true biblical giving.

Fourthly, churches that reach the next generation are going to learn to create venues for Gospel success. And what I mean by that is we’re going to figure out ways to put things together like Jesus did. What Jesus did is He said, “Hey, guys. I want you to go into the next town and I want you to do some really good things for all of them. Then, I will show up after that.”

So, I think that what they were doing is they were creating venues that are set up for Jesus to show up. I think that we’ve got to figure out ways to do that. The reason we do the things that we do at First Friday and the things that we do are so that people can get an example of grace and love in their lives before they hear anything else. You’d be surprised how many people have come here and have joined this church because of those events that we do.

And we want to try to figure out ways. It’s great, too, because if you’re out there, there’s people trying to hand people checks and money to pay for things. And we’re like, “No. We’re good, man. We’re good.”

They don’t understand it. And it goes back to sometimes we don’t even understand, in the church, what it means to receive God’s grace. We want to write a check, give something back or do something to feel like, “Okay, God. It’s good.”

But, no. It’s free. And we want people to see the love and grace of God and set up areas for Jesus to show up so people can see who Jesus is and it makes a difference in their life. And I think that a church that really reaches the next generation is going to do that.

And lastly, and I think this is important: Churches that reach the next generation are going to emphasize application of the Bible over knowledge of the Bible. Let me make this really clear so that you understand this: Spiritual maturity is not synonymous with how much Bible you know, but with how much Bible you apply. Spiritual maturity is application. In other words, when you look at the Pharisees, they knew the Bible better than anybody. But, when you look at the New Testament epistles, when Paul talks about being a mature Christian that really walks in all of the things that God has for them, it’s flowing in their life and working in their life.

And we’ve preached so much grace that we’ve made the word “do” a bad word. It’s a bad word. Listen, we should be people that do good works. We should be people that do good things. We don’t do them to earn our salvation. We do it because of our salvation. We do it because of what God has done in us. And when we say that we can’t be people — that’s okay. You can clap. It’s okay.

I want to hit this one home. I want you to hear it, because I’m passionate about this. When we say, “No, no, no. We don’t do that,” listen: The Spirit of God that rose Jesus from the dead, lives within you and me. Let’s not talk about what we can’t do. Let’s start talking about what God in us can do through us to impact a community. You know? And I think that you’re going to see that and you’re going to see places where everything that we do as a church really becomes, “Hey, let me not teach you four more Scriptures that you have no intention of doing, let’s figure out ways to see God work in our lives and see these apply in our lives so that people can see what’s going on in our lives.”

Because, we preach Jesus, but we also want people to see Jesus in our lives. Because, Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine so people can see so that they glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”

So, that’s where we’re at. And the beautiful thing about all of this is that y’all can go, “Yeah. He had a nice jacket, but I didn’t like it.”

But, the reality is that we’ve got to figure out how to redo this thing, because the church in America, the numbers on the traditional and denominational churches, every one of them are going down. And it’s sad, because many of us grew up in that and we love that. We love a lot of those things. And I do. Maybe some of you all think that I don’t. There’s a lot of things about the traditional church that I love. I love stained-glass windows. You probably don’t think that about me. There’s a lot of hymns I love. You probably don’t think that about me.

But, what I do know is that I’m not changing the Gospel, but I will change whatever methods we have to do to reach people because that’s what we’re called to do. So, it’s our church and God’s doing a lot of great things and we’re doing a lot of great things and you’re doing a lot of great things. But, I think that it’s time for us to really take a moment and pray and say, “God, we need to know what’s next. But, Lord, we also want You to create in us these things so that when we grow up we’re a church that’s pleasing to You.”

And I’ll end with this: Don’t you, somewhere inside — be honest with yourself. Somewhere inside, don’t you want to slide into heaven head-first and go, “Woo! What a ride that was, man?”

Seriously, don’t you? I mean, don’t you want somebody to have to pick you up as Pete Rose in? Pick you up and say, “Boy, what’s up?”

And then you hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Right? Amen? Let’s not be the church that slides back. Let’s be the church that slides in. Okay? You know what I’m talking about?

So, let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for what You’re doing here. What You’re doing here is special. You’re touching a lot of lives. I just pray, God, that You would keep us from deviating to the left or to the right. Help us, as a church, to stay focused on You and focused on the mission. Help us, Lord, to truly be Jesus in the world that we live in today.

Lord, I believe that as things may get darker, that’s when light shines the brightest. Help us to be a bright light in this area for You.

So, Lord, as we leave here today, I pray that You’d watch over us and protect us, I pray that You would lead and guide us. And I pray, Lord, that You’d bring us back safely to when we meet again. And help us, Lord, to continue to be the church that truly reaches the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ.

We love You. We praise You. We honor You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”

Give the Lord a big hand clap. See you soon. God bless everybody.