I Love My Church: People (Misfits)
August 2, Youth Team Meeting 7pm at the Church Hall
Turn on Recording
I Love my Church
I Love my Church
The church is the people of God redeemed on purpose for a purpose. Last week we discussed our purpose, our why. It is Jesus. Everything we do as a church, as Christians should find it’s source in Him.
Today we begin to see what a shared WHY can do. It’s the next reason why I LOVE MY CHURCH: the people. Our why, Jesus, makes us into the church.
Because of what Jesus has done I can say today I LOVE MY CHURCH, but it wasn’t always that way.
There was a time when I got very bored with Church and with God? I may have gone, but my heart was definitely not in it. I went out of obligation. I went because I was supposed to be there. Have you ever been there?
I grew up in church. In fact my parents were part of the founding families of the church I grew up in. My dad was the worship leader there for like 50 years I think. He loved that church, my mom loved that church. Me I had a drug problem. I was drug to church 3 sometimes 4 times a week. Eventually I was able to kick my drug problem.
So I left. when I got in high school, I just quit going. My dad gave me the choice I guess and my choice was to not go. Instead I went with my best friend to his church. His dad was the pastor and one of my football coaches so I liked being with them. I’d eat lunch with them after church too. It was more about being with them than it was being in church though that was very clear to me.
I just didn’t get it. I felt like a misfit in church. People would talk about Jesus like they knew him and I only knew about him. Eventually I just got tired of feeling out of place, so I quit going.
I would go back every now and then, but never felt like I belonged in the house of God.
Then one day, like turning on a switch, everything changed.
But returning when I realized what God had done for me. I saw myself as a misfit, but God knew I would be a perfect fit.
How he was taking the misfit Gary and shaping me to be a perfect fit.
That’s what God does, he perfectly fits his misfits in the church.
I felt like this box I had when we moved. When we started packing we were pretty intentional. WE had these dish packs for the fancy china and crystal glasses. We had other special boxes for things in the kitchen. But eventually we were left with bits and pieces that wouldn’t fill a box alone, so they got mixed in with other things. I labeled it odds and ends. It was full of perfectly functioning things, but I wasn’t sure where they belonged when we got to our new house.
Do you know where you fit?
Do you know where you fit?
Do you know how God wants to use you to connect with other misfits in Rock Hall, at your office, in your home?
Maybe pastor, but because of my divorce, God wont use me. I’ll just keep coming though. Maybe you didn’t have a divorce, maybe your issue is that you were:
Eat too much
We may feel like misfits, but Jesus welcomes us right in and we become a church of former misfits.
The Apostle Paul describes the church of former misfits this way...
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
You see when I talk about my church, i’m not talking about the building. I’m talking about you, y’all …and not just all y’all, but the church extends across time. The church includes the apostle Paul, the church fathers, even
Hiram Jones, the chairman of the first building committee of the Wesleyan Chapel in 1829 and the ones who constructed the one now in 1852.
I’m not impressed with what they accomplished, I’m impressed by who accomplished it.
I don’t know these men and women who have gone before me and you. But I do know one thing, they weren’t born Christian any more than I was, or you were.
Their families had issues just like yours and mine, and guess what, God did amazing things through them.
In the bible, Paul was a murdering zealot; David was an adulterer. Martha was an anxious work-aholic. Sarai had no faith. Jonah ran away from his call and got mad when God showed up anyway. Peter denied him and all the apostles ran away.
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God."
I love to hear stories of how God gets hold of people and changes and uses them. When I hear those stories or see those changes in people, it excites my faith.
What about you?
Some of you could tell those stories.
Marriage was saved.
Prodigal child came home.
Destructive lifestyle overcome.
We need to hear your stories. Our community needs to hear your stories.
Our community is full of people who don’t believe the change that you have experienced in your life is possible in their life..MISFITS. They haven’t experienced Jesus alive in us up close and personal.
That’s what my problem was. I didn’t believe it was for me. I didn’t think God wanted to work like that in me. To love me like that.
But scripture tells us in Romans 9:25 that is exactly what God is doing.
Hosea put it well: I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
That’s just one reason I love my church, because yall are a mess…i’m a mess, and Jesus loves us like crazy.
I used to be a nobody, living only for myself, but because of God’s love, I am somebody who now gets to live for others.
I love my church because he has taken selfish people and inspired generosity in them.
I love my church because he has taken hard people and softened their heart.
He has taken drunks and sobered them up, and now they are mentors for others
Gossips and made them listeners
Greedy folks interested only in getting rich and made them into servants
I love my church because when Jesus changes you, he changes everything.
A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
that’s right. When you come into a relationship with Jesus, Jesus doesn’t fix your life, he gives you a brand new one.
He takes your shape, what you thought was a misfit and by his grace perfectly fits you into his church.
You were a misfit but God has taken your SHAPE and made you a perfect fit for his church.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
This SHAPE is what Pastor Rick Warren has written about, describing how God seeks to use each one of us uniquely in God’s kingdom.
He has given each one of us unique spiritual gifts. You can find a list in Romans 12 or 1 Cor 12 or Ephesians 4. You can ask me to help you identify yours, I’d love to talk about it one day over lunch.
He also given you a heart for a particular people, place, or issue. Everyone of us has something that resonates with our heart. Some place that holds a special place in your heart, some group of people facing a particular issue is important to you.
He has also give you unique abilities. Some of you are numbers people, some of you are builders, some of you can sew, some can cook. we can’t all do everything, but each of us has unique abilities.
We also have unique personalities. Some good and some bad, but they are ours. Corny jokes, compassionate hugs, thoughtful gifts, and all are an important part of our shape.
Finally God has allowed us all to have unique experiences. Some bad, some fantastic. Some we try to forget, and some we treasure. They are ours and they are part of what shapes us for ministry in the church.
That no one else has had or ever will have a shape like you.
Many of you are serving God now, have been for quite some time even. I want you to first know why. And second I want you to know that you are serving out of how God has shaped you, not what the pastor asked you to do.
Yes Pastor but I am tired…you aren’t supposed to get tired, we get tired when we stop finding new misfits who need to know why they are the way they are.
Our community is full of misfits who need Jesus. In order for them to hear, we need to become a church full of people who know their why and know their shape for ministry. How has God shaped you for reaching new misfits? Are you?
When I was reading the history of the church here in rock Hall, I was struck by a statement in one of the books. They talked about a Heritage of faith. How they loved the generations past. How they loved the present generation as they built for the future. What they didn’t say, but was apparent by their work, was that they loved their future church. too.
Saved people serve,
Blessed people bless,
Healed people change, and
God's people worship.
By God’s grace, he has shaped us for right now. He has a place in the church for you and for me.