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so welcome friends my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting it’s it’s great to have you here uh today we have made it in 2020 to thanksgiving I am intrigued to hear what the different thanksgiving day sort of thankfulness statements look like this year it’s a little different than most years um and we’re figuring out those problems like can we have people over should we have people over should we travel should we not um and and I think that’s okay I think you know we’re wrestling with which of our neighbors is most likely to report us to the housing association I got flagged for the first time by hyland’s ranch housing association so I feel like a local now I feel like I belong uh they said that my fence is the wrong color um and I’ve been told to go and purchase highlands ranch brown and and make sure that it’s all taken care

of uh but you know there’s that that sense of like oh I’m not sure whether I should have people over or not all those different things and I think the great news is sometimes we think that God is with us when we’ve made the right decision and actually realizing that he’s with us as we wrestle through those things is an important step that God is there in the process of figuring out the right and wrong and all those different things um and so to to realize that is I think it’s helpful uh we’ve been talking for a few weeks uh this theme of directions it’s it’s something that I feel is helpful for any time we go through change whether that’s personal and that change could be like the grief of a lost loved one it could be a different job situation it could be a family situation any change has some lust to it and there’s usually some grief in that so it’s a personal

thing but it’s also a corporate thing like when organizations change when they go through something different uh when something happens like there’s a loss to that as well um and there’s some figuring out to do there so we walk through these directions with the idea that we look uh backwards and celebrate the great things that God has given the great things in that relationship the great things in that time of life and then in the midst of that we get to look upwards in the midst of struggle we get to look up and say God how are you present right now is it going to fix everything no is it going to make everything okay no will there still be some tension yes probably and will you feel ready to move on from that grief straight away probably not especially in that personal grief but eventually the joy is there’s this movement from

upwards to forwards it’s the idea that God has a new story to bring the some other thing to come out of that so we looked at this thing here we looked at this idea of like joshua in this community that we’ll look at in a second they cross this river they take some stones and they they put together this rustic altar as a celebration of we’re going into a new thing God you have been with us and we’ll remember that and last week pastor yvonne she did just such a wonderful job talking us through the idea of inwards and we’ll get to that in just a second because after forwards the the series takes a little turn I I asked the question for the first three weeks how can we experience God in change but the last two weeks the inwards and the outwards it’s much less individual and personal a much more corporate and community we

start to ask this question what kind of community is this so last week we talked about inwards who are we inwards now I think every community every organization has this organizing principle to it there’s something about an organization that will tell you exactly how the organization works or give you some idea at least so southwest airlines I have a pilot a friend who’s a pilot for southwest airlines he loves southwest he goes on and on about how just how wonderful it is apparently according to the ceo of southwest you can know how to run the company just as well as he does with just one piece of information if you know that southwest is the low-cost airline in the southwest that tells you everything that you need to know it means that when a smart intern does some research and she says right I’m going to go away and ask

customers what they want and she finds out that the customer she talks to would like a light caesar salad when they’re going from san francisco to houston uh she goes to the ceo and says this is what I’ve discovered our customers want a caesar salad and the ceo looks at her and says well hold on a second our customers chose us because we’re the low-cost airline in the southwest do they really want a light caesar salad what will that do to ticket prices will it lower them or will it increase them and she says well no it will increase them a little bit because we have to pay for the caesar salad and he said then the customers don’t want it they only think that they want it in actual fact that that whole thing is damaging to who we are as an organization you can now go away and be the ceo of southwest if that’s what you’d like to do

I’ve given you a new job opportunity at least if nothing else but there’s this idea an organizing principle is foundational to what we who we are as a group of people so last week yvonne looked at this idea of inwards who is south this community that we are part of for itself and we wrestled with this question is it about the me or is it about the we is it what I want or is it what we as a whole group of people need you might rephrase that a little bit like we’re supposed to be about me for my community the western church can be driven by this consumer tendency that says well it’s about what I can get out what are you going to do for me south what can you give to me and yet we would all say I think and we feel like the Jesus story would say well no it’s it’s not about that it’s about what can I bring it’s about how can I bring the gifts and the

resources that God has given me to this community of this is where I feel called to be if this is where I’m made to belong what can I do what can I bring and so that we walked through this process of like of surrender and walking back into grace and realizing that what makes us who we are isn’t who we are but whose we are and that when we figured that out realizing that we’re here for the the we and not the me it gives us this organizing principle to work with and now we get to switch to outwards which I would say for a Jesus community is the second organizing principle this second thing and so we’re going to start by reading joshua chapter nine I’m going to warn you guys this uh we switched to hour-long services to try and you know get 50 people in a room and fill up fill in fitting with the restrictions you guys are the last one so

there’s no other service to come afterwards so all the stuff that I cut out in the first two services because I’m hopeless at crafting a 30-minute service I’m just gonna unleash it so if we need to back in some panera bread or something like that we’ll just we’ll sit here we’ll do church together and and all the staff that have been here since like seven o’clock really so let’s start with this we’re going to read joshua chapter 9. we’re going to take this passage today as as almost like a springboard we’re going to go back and ask whether this what we see this joshua community doing here is really what they were made to do and who they were made to be are they really living by their principles so for some of you that love to really deep dive into a passage and go word by word this sermon’s going to look a little different to that this is a

fascinating narrative but actually I think it’s more helpful when we look at some of the other stuff going on around it so here we go joshua chapter nine now when all the kings west of the jordan heard about these things the kings in the hill country in the western foothills along the east entire coast of the mediterranean sea as far as lebanon they came together to wage war against joshua and israel however when the people of gibeon heard that joshua had what joshua had done to jericho and ai they resorted to a ruse they went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn out sacks and old wineskins cracked and mended they put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes all the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy then they went to joshua in the camp at gilgal gilgal and said to him in the

israelites we have come from a distant country make a treaty with us the israelites said to the hivites but perhaps you live near us how can we make a treaty with you we are your servants they said to joshua but joshua asked who are you where do you come from they answered your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the lord your God for we have heard reports of him of all he did in in egypt and all that he did to the two kings of the amorites east of the jordan and our elders and all those living in our country said to us take possessions for your journey go and meet them and say to them we are your servants make a treaty with us this bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you but now see it is dry and moldy these wineskins that were filled that we filled were

new but see how cracked they are and our clothes and sandals are worn out from the very long journey the israelites sampled these provisions but did not inquire of the lord then joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath three days after they made the treaty with the gibeonites the israelites heard that they were neighbors living near them so the israelites set out and on the third day came to the cities gibeon kerepheth bethshar and kirith jerim but the israelites did not attack them because the leaders of the assembly had sworn and oath them by the lord the God of israel the whole assembly grumbled against the leaders but the leaders answered we have given them our oath by the lord the God of israel we cannot touch them now this is what we will do to them we will

let them live so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath who swore to them they continued let them live but let them be woodcutters water carriers in the service of the whole assembly so the leader’s promise to them was kept then joshua summoned the gibeonites and said why did you deceive us by saying we are we live a long way from you while you actually live near us you are now under a curse you will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God they answered joshua your servants were clearly told how the lord your God had commanded this servant moses his servant moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you so we feared for our lives because of you and that is why we did this we are now in your hands do whatever

seems good and right to you so joshua saved them from the israelites and did not kill them that day he made the gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly to provide for the needs of the altar of the lord at the place where the lord would choose and that is what they are to this day let’s pray and we’ll jump into this uh Jesus thank you that you’re present with us thank you that as we open this book that you’ve given us we believe you breathed on it by your spirit it comes alive God make us to be alive in new ways for those of us that are here and feel afflicted may you we be comforted for those of us that are comfortable may we be afflicted teach us your ways show us your paths that we can walk in them thank you that you’re present here as we do that amen so we can talk about that and miss that there we go so one of the

interesting things about this whole text and how it works is this group of people that approach joshua and ask essentially keep us safe we want to make a treaty with you on some level we want to become connected to you and then the reaction of the people as God allows them to do that or as they are allowed to do that there’s this shock and horror that these outsiders would become insiders one of the things I’ve noticed about the church as a whole sort of worldwide is this the two principles that we’re talking about over these two weeks inwards and outwards we tend to latch very much onto the first one the inward one as we wrestle with some of this whole is this me for my community or my community for me as we wrestle with what it is to care for each other inward the one tendency that we have is to become less and

less focused on the outside now if you happen to be listening and you would say I’m an outsider to the Jesus story I’m not even sure I buy into it and you’re kind of talking about me as though I’m not listening or not there that is true to a certain degree the truth is you are welcomed into this Jesus story it is open to you but this Jesus story this church thing has always been about reaching outsiders when I was chatting with elders at south about coming on board here as a pastor one of the things they asked me is do you have any non-negotiables or do you have any things that you’re unwilling to surrender on and the one thing I said was this I do not and cannot stand to be part of a church that doesn’t reach unchurched people so if you don’t want to do that then I’m really not the person for you because to me that is our whole point every

good thing about my life has come from this Jesus story and so to say that it’s not about pulling more people into that story just didn’t fit with who I am now the truth is churches all over the world struggle with that tendency we’re supposed to be outward reaching and we become inward looking but the funny thing is that’s always been a problem that’s not a new thing that’s always been there because this joshua community that we’ve been looking at they were made to be outward focusing there was a story back in their history that should have said to them you’re supposed to be for the world it’s not just about you it’s supposed to be about something bigger now just like every organization might have organizing principles so every country has stories or every nation has stories that kind of reflect who they are kind of inform who they are

so if I were to say to you guys the date september 15th 1775 that should ring some bells there’s this story about revolution and all those kind of different things and I’m being born in a different country my kids and I have some interesting debates about just the health of that resolution of revolution and whether an appropriate approach was to throw a wonderful thing like english tea into a an ocean um we disagree a little bit there’s a there’s a brokenness there but that’s a story that says something about who america is as a nation june 19 1865 the day of the emancipation it says something about who we want to be as a nation we say that we don’t want people to be treated differently because of the color of their skin these are stories that hopefully they inform who we are they say something about who we are now just like us this

people had stories that reflected or informed who they were supposed to be and maybe one of the central ones was this one this is the story of a guy called abraham or abram check out what God says to abraham the lord had said to abram go from your country your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you I will make your name great and you will be a blessing I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse it’s abraham centered abraham said it it’s all about him it’s all about his family and then there’s this moment where the story takes a little twist and this is the next line and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you suddenly the story isn’t just about abraham and his family suddenly the story is bigger and broader than abraham and his family

suddenly the story is the whole world abraham’s relationship with God I would say is on some level the same as fixing a crack on a windshield so when I first moved to or first visited america to visit laura I was just horrified to see that people tolerate cracks in their windshields in quite the way that they do when I first met laura she was driving around in a 1990 honda civic and it had cracks the entire breadth of the windscreen I was shocked that this was legal apparently in michigan everyone’s just fine it’s okay it’s a thing that happens when you hit minus 20 minus 30 people just continue to drive I don’t know if denver is the same way but the crack doesn’t start big right the crack starts small and it slowly spreads out and suddenly there might be that moment where the whole windscreen shatters but it doesn’t usually happen in a moment

usually it happens over time and what we see in the early part of the bible in the early genesis stories is the ways that humanity is cracking and to start with God does these big story things he talks to the whole world it’s the stories that were familiar with maybe like the flood and the tower of babel but then in genesis chapter 12 this passage we just read everything switches and and suddenly it’s one person suddenly it’s abraham and abraham you will be the means by which I will reach the whole world you’ll be the means that will start to mend the cracks so that the whole thing doesn’t splinter abraham starts off like every one of us very selfish very egocentric it’s all about me my young little son jude sat here during aaron’s time of worship in the second service and just repeatedly repeatedly yelled about how delicious his snack was now

he’s cute so he can get away with it he’s young so he can get away with but but repeatedly yelling oh it’s so delicious I’m so happy is not something you can do as an adult in a worship service just to give you a heads up if anyone’s thinking that that may be in their future he’s egocentric and slowly he’ll be learning to become broader than that he’ll become what all of us become which is ethnocentric abraham and his family are ethnocentric it’s about them but God in this passage is beginning to say well it’s going to be bigger than that you’re going to be geocentric abraham your story isn’t just going to be about you it’s going to be about the whole world so the best way for me to help explain this is my beloved michigan wolverines if you cut me I bleed blue and yellow I’m very contentedly pro michigan football think for a second about

how you might describe the experience of watching football and see how it informs this abraham story I’m going to cast you guys over here you guys get to be michigan fans you guys are michigan you guys are the good guys and you guys in the middle I’m sorry to say uh you guys you guys are ohio state so I’m sorry but that’s who you are for now and then you guys over here you’re the officials nobody likes you guys you’re just the you’re the enemies of everyone and so think about what happens football is tribal it’s ethnocentric you guys cheer for your team you cheer for your team there’s go blue there’s go bucks it’s very much focused on I want my team to win and on some level the other team are the bad guys now we all know in this case ohio state are the bad guys but generally it’s very subjective so you see this idea that like

there’s one side against the other but think about what happens if during the course of this game one fan on one side starts to choke on some popcorn they’re sitting away eating and suddenly something gets lodged in their throat suddenly they can’t breathe what happens in that moment to this rivalry now you might say on one hand like one less buckeyes fan it’s a good thing but in reality human beings are wonderful about putting aside petty differences in this moment where some crisis appears this thing doesn’t matter and because michigan values academics as well there’s probably some doctors in this bunch and so you jump out and you come across and you do the heimlich maneuver and you save the person who’s choking that’s what it is to have this bigger picture that’s what’s happening with this abraham story he’s

starting to be moved from being tribal to being geo starting to be moved from being ethnocentric to being about the entire world this is where the story was always supposed to go it wasn’t abraham and just his family it was the world the story was always supposed to be about the world the struggle is that this group of people seem to find it easier to focus on very specific laws instead of on the bigger picture things like the thing we’re just talking about so this is a law from a leviticus chapter 11. of all the animals that live on the land these are the ones you may eat you may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud there are some that only chew the cut or only have a divided hoof but you must not eat them the camel though it chews the curd does not have a divided hoof hoof it is ceremonially unclean for you

the hyrax though it chews the cud does not have a divided hoof it is unclean for you the rabbit though it chews the cud does not have a divided hoof it is unclean for you and the pig though it has a divided hoof does not chew the cut it is unclean for you you must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses they are unclean for you this group of people was brilliant at obeying these laws that were very very specific and about them very very individually and these laws taught them that there is clean and there is unclean they struggled with those lo they were great at those laws but then they struggled with laws like this when a foreigner resides among you in your land do not mistreat them the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native born love them as yourself for you were foreigners in egypt I am the lord your God

this thing this big macro thing that said it’s about bringing in the outsider that was difficult worrying about laws like this three verses before do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard that they could do but the big thing became harder and harder for them to focus on and so you see that all of this is being wrestled with when we talk about this joshua chapter 9 story are these guys outsiders that should be welcomed in are these guys enemies that should be killed or mistreated there’s all of these tensions that must play into this when the people of gibeon heard that what joshua had done to jericho and ai they resorted to a roost they went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn out sacks and old wineskins cracked and mended they put worn patches patched sandals on their feet

and wore old clothes all the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy then they went to joshua in the camp at gilgal and said to him and the israelites we have come from a distant country make a treaty with us this is a group of people that are outsiders that are trying to find a way inside when joshua receives them one of the fascinating things to me is his shock that they would try this ruse that’s his question why would you do this I always wonder what their answer would be because you were going to kill us if we didn’t do this it’s all about self-preservation it’s all about wanting to live and joshua almost taps into some sense of honor no you shouldn’t have played this kind of trick on us I wonder if this passage of scripture ever came up in any of the discussions on how to treat this group of people I wonder if any of the tensions

ever arose that yes we’ve got this command from God this land is ours that we’re going to march into we’re going to be given it there’s people that will lead us astray we have to be careful about them but yet also there’s this command that if a foreigner comes to you and tries to live with you you’ve been there how do you treat that person that person becomes an insider they’re not an outsider they answered joshua you’re so sorry I read this passage so joshua saved them from the israelites and they did not kill them that day he made the gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly to provide for the needs of the altar of the lord at the place the lord would choose and that is what they are to this day I’m so fascinated by how this story ends up the people are kind of pulled in they’re kind of part of the

the community but they’re also kind of not they’re given this weird place of honor they’re by the altar of God they’re involved in this whole process which was sacred to this group of people and yet they’re seen as second-class citizens it’s like this half-hearted middle ground that joshua and these people land in they they welcome the outsider in but not really it’s like this fringe sort of thing there was something about this idea that God gave abraham about reaching the whole world that was was revolutionary you might say that it was disruptive nobody else was doing this everybody else was just focused on this is about my tribe this is about me there’s a great arabic proverb that somewhat represent represents that idea the idea of it’s me versus my brothers me and my brothers versus my cousins me and my cousins versus the world does

that that sort of like that was the worldwide view of things were about us and our tribe everybody thought that way for God to say it should be about the world that was revolutionary but don’t you notice that sometimes something will happen in the world that’s revolutionary and then it sort of stops I always think about uber when I think about this uber’s this company that suddenly created taxes everywhere up until this point you either needed to be in a big city where taxes drove by regularly and you could flag one down or you needed a telephone number to call and the taxi would come to you and then uber came along and suddenly there’s taxi drivers all over the place and you can go on your phone and order a taxi or a service and and you’re set but what happens with companies that do something revolutionary is after a

while instead of doing more revolutionary things instead of being more outward focused they become very insular about doing their own thing and protecting what they have and I think about that when I think about abraham’s community and how it was supposed to be outward focused and it became inward focused and I think about that when I think about the church and I think about how it was made to be outward focused and it becomes inward focus there’s this temptation when things start to grow and get bigger to suddenly say at some point well we’re just going to protect what we have and I wonder as good as all the inward stuff is if that’s what happens when that’s our focus when it’s about about just south about just us about just the church I wonder if we lose something magic or something that we were given that that makes

us different to everything else in the world around us a few weeks ago I uh gave you this theo this philosophical problem theseus is both so if you weren’t listening or weren’t here that week I’m going to give you a quick catch up theseus’s boat is this philosophical sort of conundrum if theseus the great hero of old sails his boat around the world and during the course of his adventure he has to replace every single piece is it the same boat as when he left now a reasonable person will probably say well yes it’s the same boat he just changed pieces in and out but there’s another counter problem to that theseus is boat in a museum what happens if after his adventure theseus is short of money so he sells his boat to make some cash and he sells it to a museum who put it on display and then during the course of the next year a gang of

thieves break in every night and they steal one piece and replace it with a fake piece and rebuild the ship back in their hideout who has the real real boat the thieves or the museum and it’s kind of different ways of thinking about it that’s really just a jumping off point to give you my own theseus’s boat problem that I created for the problem of the church I started thinking about the church and and I thought about this idea theseus boat in a dry duck supposing theseus builds his boat in a dry dock and it never gets into the water is it a boat at all or is it just a house or a building or a structure that happens to look like something that might float is the moment a boat becomes a boat really the moment that it lands in the water and it actually floats and actually sails and I wonder if the church if it never actually does what it’s made to do

is it really the church or is it just a good social organization a good club that we get to belong to if it never does the outward focus thing which it was made to do if it never becomes an organization that reaches people and allows them to come to know Jesus if it never becomes a thing that changes the world around it and leaves it better than they found it is it really a church or have we just missed something we’re made to be outward focused there’s the picture I grabbed to turn theseus boat into a dry duck very poor uh technological work look at this early church this early church was incredible in its way of bringing in outsiders and making them inside us this is a conversation between God and a roman centurion called cornelius at caesarea there was a man named cornelius a centurion in what was known as the italian

regiment he and his family were devout and God were devout and God-fearing he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly and in the course of the conversation this is the reply he receives your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God now send men to japan to bring back a man named simon who is called peter he’s staying with simon the tanner whose house is by the sea and peter is as he said in the house by the sea and this is the conversation peter has with God as cornelius is sending his his friends to to collect him about noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city peter went up onto the roof to pray he became hungry and wanted something to eat and while the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance he saw heaven

opened and something like a large sheep being let down to earth by its four corners it contained all kinds of four-footed animals as well as reptiles and birds and then a voice told him get up peter kill and eat surely not peter replied I have never eaten anything impure or unclean the voice spoke to him a second time do not call anything impure that God has made clean this happened three times and immediately the sheep was taken back to heaven peter’s response is no God I know the difference between insiders and outsiders I know the difference between the unclean animals and the clean animals and I don’t break that rule I’m very clear on that important rule but then as you see this story begin to sort of develop peter is pulled into this Jesus way of looking at things again back in history the outsiders were always supposed to be

drawn inside it was always an outward facing community and that’s where peter is allowed to land that’s where God leads peter to land while peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision the men sent by cornelius found out where simon’s house was and stopped at the gate they called out asking if simon who was known as peter was staying there while peter was still thinking about the vision the spirit said to him simon three men are looking for you so get up and go downstairs do not hesitate to go with them for I have sent them there’s this moment where the two stories seem to connect in peter’s mind he’s sitting there wondering about what it means to see animals he thinks of as unclean being presented to him as clean and suddenly three men turn up that he sees as unclean and suddenly the connections fire suddenly he

realized this story was never about food at all and the truth is it never was about food even back in the old testament it was always about something bigger this is this moment where peter ends he finally arrives at cornelius house and this is the conversation that takes place while talking with him peter went inside and found a large gathering of people he said to them you are well aware that it is against our law for a jew to asso associate or visit with a gentile which wasn’t really true but God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure unclean so when I was sent for I came raising without raising any objection which also wasn’t really true he raised several objections but kind of convinced himself he didn’t but this is the moment that he arrives like this is the moment where he’s like ah this church thing is about outsiders coming

inside this is about the outward focus I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right we’re going to finish just by talking a little bit about john roblink I used to live in new york not far from niagara falls we would drive past it regularly it’s this incredible site one that my kids never got to see because they always preferred swimming in hotel swimming pools when we stayed overnight in niagara instead of going to see this incredible site john rubling was the first person to cross the niagara falls with a bridge he looked at this third this place and said a bridge is necessary up until this point people were being ferried across by the famous maid of the mist and he said no we can cross this we can we can make a bridge work and not just any bridge he

would only accept there’s a picture of john rubbling a two-story bridge that had freight trains growing going across the top and carriages and people walking in the the story underneath nobody else thought this could be done and he was convinced no it is definitely possible and so he won the contract and began the process of figuring out how to do this and what he discovered was this the hardest part wasn’t actually building the bridge the hardest part was getting anything across the river in the first place he just wanted to get a piece of string across this incredible span he wanted something that he could build on if he could get a string across he could attach the string to a chain and get a chain across if he could get a chain across he could begin to put a structure in place he could put steel across and but it started with this fact

that nobody had ever been able to cross this huge expanse with anything other than a boat and so he came up with this ingenious solution he hired kids from the local town to fly kites up in the air with the goal of flying the kite across the river and landing it on the other side if they could do that then he had his string which covered the span if he had his string he could put his chain across if he put his chain across he could build his bridge but it started with a string I think that this church thing that we are part of were made to build bridges across people that don’t know this Jesus person were made to build bridges to different parts of society that aren’t connected to us we’re made to build bridges with different nations different countries that aren’t connected but that’s who we’re made to be this abraham movement this moses

movement this joshua movement became very interested in how to keep people out how to build those gaps up how to make them bigger how to keep people separate and I would suggest that we’re made to cross them we’re made to cover those gaps we’re made to cross those incredible divides but starts with a string doesn’t start with a bridge it starts with the fact that you as an individual may be called to reach one person to pray for one person to love well one person I love hearing stories in south about couples and and people that are reaching people that are completely outside of this church world maybe you’re called to find someone that only you can reach maybe you’re called to join a ministry that’s already doing that to be part of something that that’s already existing it’s the the it’s not the string across the river but maybe

it’s the chain across the river you’re called to volunteer in something that you’re desperately needed in maybe you’re called to give new strength to something that’s been there for a long time but the truth is you are made to do something because we as an organization were always supposed to be outward reaching it was never just about us yes my community me for my community is true but that only works if it’s then my community for the world we are bridge builders changing the world that is what we are made to do and we always were so I’m going to invite the worship team to come back as we close out this third joyful service and uh we’re going to walk through the idea that there’s this there’s these these spiritual practices that I’ve given you each week we talked in week one about lament about the idea of looking backwards

is recognizing our grief and realizing it’s okay to not be okay week two is this practice of presence realizing that God is here with us in this moment week three is petition asking God what is next how might we move forward week four is confession it’s what it really means at its heart is saying the same as we get to say the same about ourselves as God is saying we get to say who we are and then finally I would give you this one I would give you imagination that’s what it took to cross the niagara river it took this incredible imagination that’s what it takes to cross those divides in our world it takes each of us having this imagination the theologian walter brugerman has this wonderful phrase prophetic imagination he says that the church is very good at one of two things for the most part we’re very good at doing the prophetic things

saying to society in the world around and know the world around us know that behavior is not good and then some parts of the church are very good at the imagination part they’re good at doing the part where they say this is how the world might look different but very few churches do the two together very few churches stand and say this is how God how man is made to live with God and at the same time saying this is how the world could look if you could only imagine it we’re called to do both so I’m going to pray for us as aaron and the team closest to worship father as we contemplate as we wait for you as we think about what forward looks for south and for us as individuals thank you for the inward focus that we have that we are a community that loves each other well we are here to participate not just to observe we care about this

community we want what’s best for it we’re willing to put aside the me for the we but you didn’t call us to stay insular you call us to go out to build bridges to change the world around us God for whatever you have for each of us here give us the imagination to see how you might work in the world help us to see the world differently than it is right now to dream big dreams to cross great divides and in doing so change the world around us amen

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