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Stories from the Shadows: Tabitha

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All right. It's a mic working. Yes, she said yes. All right. Well, I'm a I'm a Pacer. So I'm going to leave the the chair back there cuz I like to move around a little bit. But if you guys don't know me, my name is Sarita, State and the TCG teaching team at almost a year ago to come up with our sermon theme for 2021. All year, we've been exploring stories from the Shadow and these are stories that we have been looking at people and places and stories in the Bible that don't always get top billing user. The stories of people who are in the shadow, people who story may be secondary or sometimes you told stories about people from a different perspective. So last week, Holly spoke very beautifully about Mary and often times. We hear the story of Mary and the context of Christmas, but she presented in a different way. That was very moving for me. Personally. She talked about how Mary had to accept it on and or reject the message that she received about being the mother of Jesus and how that Mary had to possibly deal with questions and fears and concerns out and face and all of any other crazy feeling that she must have been going through in order to accept this call in her life. I'm to be the mother of Jesus. Today, I want to present my last sign story on from the shadows and I'll be honest. I wasn't sure. What message I was supposed to share this about them dispersed. And in that I'm going to talk about tonight until a couple days ago as I studied and I read and I found some cool and interesting facts about this character. She was interesting and actually some of the things that I read were quite fascinating but I really struggled to feel it. Like I wasn't feeling inspired by the message and I feel like I figured if I wasn't feeling inspired by you probably wouldn't be inspired by either. So Thursday morning, just a couple of days ago. I frantically called message Christy in the morning. Yeah. I told her that I am not feeling inspired. I'm kind of panicking and I need some help and I'm going to tell him go to take my dog for a walk. And I'm going to pray and I'm going to meditate out in my walk in nature nature. Always inspires me and I am going to listen to some other messages and maybe I'll get some inspiration from that and we'll see what happens. If I don't get any information that I'm going to pop up at your house and raise, you are very luxurious Library. She has a beautiful life around books. If you've never seen her Library, it's kind of enzyme kind of a salad, but I went on my walk with my dog and I started walking and praying and listening and talking and in and pushing and pulling with God, and I found my inspiration. And so I'm hoping that what I have to share you guys fill it. As I feel it, too. so,

The last story from the shadows for 2021 for me is the story of Tabitha that she's also called Dorcas in the Bible. The story from acts 9 36 through 42, but we're going to hold off and started her story until a little bit later. I want to start by asking you all the question. I'm a teacher by the way. What does it mean to be a Christian? Like how you really just sat and thought about that like we're here in this space. But what is it mean to be a Christian?

We're going to kind of struggle with that question. Today. I'm going to challenge you to, to think about it into to ask yourself. Some people question that maybe you've been avoiding. I'm going to start with a metaphor, though. Have you ever had something that you really, really loved something that you cherished something that maybe it was something or someone or someplace or some group that you absolutely adored? You fell in love with this thing. Because what you saw and what you experience and learn from the scene was valuable to you. Then one day overtime, one day and or overtime. This thing was ruined it was painted by a scandal or stories of Shame and evil everywhere. You went. You heard people saying bad things about this thing that you really love. Your thing was in the headlines on the news, or maybe it was even written up in history as a stain or a blemish or negative mark. So, you decide to distance yourself from the sting? Your Z. You don't want to be associated with it anymore? Yes, I'm from that place, but I'm not like them. Yes, my last name is Jones, but I'm not of those do. Those are my relatives, but I'm different from them. Yes, I used to watch that or listen to that or thing that or talk about that or celebrate that but not anymore because you know, we think about them differently now.

But somewhere in your heart, you are still connected to that thing, your thing.

You miss that thing. You may be confused or have questions about your thing, questions that fell on answerable. So you sit alone separated from your thing.

You are searching for something to fill the void that has been left by the actions of this thing. Or you completely reject nothing, but you don't feel good about it because you still have questions about if this thing that you lost had value at some point or have value for you now. Or did it ever. This metaphor has been my experience as a black person in America and my experience as a Christian in this country. Growing up as a black person in America for me, meant being in places and spaces and among people who questioned and negated my inherent worth as a human being.

I grew up seeing and being taught one thing for my family and Inter-Community, but seeing and being taught something else in school on TV and media and in the larger community and Society. These things that we're being pushed out and Society were contrary to what I was being taught by my family and Inter-Community.

I saw my mother and my grandparents, and my aunts and uncles and black community members, experiencing and expressing joy, and hope intelligent strand. Beauty Integrity, love generosity, and Grace. These characteristics were woven through the story that I was told about our history by my family, the people and leaders who, who fought and resisted and persisted, in spite of every opposition. That was put on them.

I didn't grow up in the bathroom. So these were my only experiences. So when I left the spaces of my family, that uplifted and honored honored, my identity and my culture, my blackness. I was bombarded with whiteness. And why does that did not allow for Blacklist to co-exist coexist with dignity, in school. I was taught that black people were slaves. Hardstop. That was it. I sat in classrooms, as one of only a few black children in class, where we studied and learned about white leaders and teachers and sinkers and inventors, who made great contributions to this country and to the world. And all that I learned about black people with that. We were brought this country from Africa as slaves as property as labor. There may been have, there may have been a time or two in my many years of school that we may have been told about Harriet Tubman to help free the slaves or Martin Luther King Jr. Peacefully. Help fight for civil rights for black people with his dream. But that was it. I was taught little to nothing about our contributions to society in the past or the present. I was bombarded with information with facts and dates that did not include me margin life me or undermined my identity. Outside of school, there were the constant images of beauty standards that were completely opposite of who I am as a black person. Black was not beautiful. I was been boarded with the news of poverty, drug gang, violence, and academic failure. Among black people, everything that I saw away from the shelter of my family and Inner Circle, was that Blackness was bad and whiteness was good. So, what was I to do with this?

Do I resist and lean into blackness? Or. Do I compartmentalize in? This is myself and blackness in order to be accepted by whiteness? Or do I reject Blackness completely in a simulator whiteness. These are the questions that I've had to struggle with as a black person in America.

As a Christian in this country, you may also relate to my opening metaphor. Maybe once you found Christianity, be something that was beautiful and valuable. You went to church, you worshipped, you prayed. You study the Bible. You were a part of a community of people who you loved and appreciated. You accepted the message of Jesus and the Bible you believed. This brought you Joy some peace and comfort and hope but then something happened. Something happened to you, something happen to someone. You loved someone happened in the world and it changed the way that you thought about your face. Maybe you felt some hurt from someone in the church. You felt rejected or someone, you know, was rejected. Maybe you heard about a Norse? All people who claim to be Christians, but also expressed hatred and bigotry and homophobia in Greece. Maybe at some point you just got fed up with the people who were calling yourself Christian. They were mean and hateful and you wanted no part of what they were selling. So what are you do? Being into that Faith as a Christian. Compartmentalize and distant yourself from Christianity, but hold on. To the part that you can. Reject Christianity completely because it's two, it has two out of her reputation and I just can't do it any longer.

What does it mean to be a Christian? Is it about what I believe or don't believe, is it based on what I do or don't do. Can I be a Christian by association? Maybe if I hang out with Christy or other pastors and leaders and people who call themselves Christians? That would make me a Christian too? What about going to church? If I attend church, two out of four, Sundays a month, that make me a Christian. What about during a pandemic online account? Can I be a Christian alone by myself, or do I need to be a part of a community?

Is it being a Christian inclusive or exclusive? I mean, is this a small club and only allowed a few people land or just a big club and everybody can be a part of? Are those Christians who say that they are Christian, but are mean and hateful and are they really Christians? And if I say that I'm a Christian, am I connected to them?

Here's the deal guy. I don't have the answers to these questions. I don't know and I am a professor who tells my students all the time that I am okay with. And I don't know. I know a whole lot of professors who feel like they have to have the answers to everything. I do not I am okay with saying, I don't know. As a matter of fact, when I got my PhD, I learned that the more that I know, the more that I know that I don't know. So I'm okay with not knowing some stuff and I don't know, I have questioned, you know, there's that there's a there's there's a saying that, you know, that's my ride or die friend. My friend says, reading is not ride or die. Because like, she got question. She's going to know where we going. Who's going to be there? How long will it take to get there? I got questions. I am not ride or die. But here is what I know to be true. At this particular moment, that Jesus is Central to my face. I have met and experience God through Jesus as presented in scripture. The Jesus that I have met and come to love has been good and faithful to me. And in spite of the shortcomings of Christianity, that he around me. I still love Jesus. I recently heard a person who left the church say, I love Jesus, but I don't like you're standing. I want to share with you all a video. It's a spoken word, poem, in the poem is called. I hate Christian. This video kind of talked about some of the things that we know, lots of people are feeling these days and I think this spoken word video, expresses it. Well.

I will tell you guys that I am a jinx on technology in my classes at Missouri State. When I teach this happens to me literally all the time.

The parents disowning their gay son.

I hate Christians.

This common phrase rarely escapes, the prison of my mouth, but that stirs and stews in the crock pots of my mind when I see you. You know who you are, not all Christians, but those few. The parent disowning, their gay son, the pastor of blaming school shootings on the unrepentant, sin of their congregation.

Budding Bible knowledge to bully the seeking Soul who now, thanks to you who feels that. They have no place with God. But every time I see you, I find myself. Apparently reassuring. I'm not that type of Christian. The Stereotype turned way too loud and I can't find the off switch for your help. I turn down your judgment pain. If I play it backwards, I swear on here your hypocrisy speaking. Clearly merely want to tear off the label all together. Just called me a friend of Christ, believer, spiritual person, anything to get away from an association with a nation of the nominations without coordination, is lack of integration event. Substantiation. Where is your grace? Who's the last place? You looked into? And simply said, it's okay, but your Facebook debate is more important, right? What will the world do if they don't hear from you on how I can't vote? Due, still be a believer. Flaming deceiver bearing a name that you profane with every Samaritan who you step over a Pharisee is going to see the least of these. When you and me profess to believe the same thing. We married the same dude. We wear the same ring.

Han Solo friend. Brother. Sister wife. I take back what I said before. I do not hate you. Not because I don't feel it but because that doesn't help anything or anyone. Don't hate the believer. Hate the judgement hate the Distortion. Hate the foolishness, but I do not hate you.

I love you. And I wish we could talk about that word, maybe agree on what it means and what it looks like for both of us to act on it. I see you.

And we need you.

That was something I saw that I'm like, I got I got to share that with you guys. So there are a lot of people right now who once called themselves, Christians who are now, dismissed them distancing themselves from that label because let's be fair Christian in our culture are not selling it. Well, it's not a good look at all in the video. I hate Christian the poet outlines clearly, why? So many people want no parts of being associated with Christianity and it makes sense. I agree. But he also ended with a a call for us to rise higher from hate because rest of love which is Central to our face. So today I want to talk about reclaiming Christian and let me be clear for me. The label of Christian is less important than our hearts posture towards God. And our heart towards people, whether we call ourselves followers of Jesus disciples of Jesus. Believers. If not the point that I want to really focus on whatever we call ourselves. What does this mean for? How I live my life?

While we are all gathered here together in this building at to TCG. I know for a fact that we are not all sold on being Christian.

I know that some of you guys have questions including me yet. We are here. We're seeking something. We're hoping for something. We're believing something. We're trusting something and at the same time, we're doubting were questioning and we're resisting. While I do not have all the answers to our questions. I want to explore to you with you all today. A model in scripture for what being a Christian might look like. And now that we've we are now we will turn to that story that I talked about earlier of Tabitha is also called Dorcas in the Bible, Acts 9 36 through 43. I'm going to be reading from the New Living Translation. There was a believer in Joppa name, Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time. She became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room, but the Believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Atlanta. So they sent two men to beg him. Please come as soon as possible. So Peter returned with them and sit and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coat in the clothes that Dorcas or Tabitha had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room. He knelt and he prayed turning to the body. He said get up Tabitha. If you opened her eyes, when Peter saw went, when she saw Peter, she sat up he gave her his hand and help her up. Then he called the widows and all of the Believers and he presented her alive to them, the new spread throughout the whole town and many believed in the Lord. That is the reading of Acts 9 36 through 42.

So so we see here that Tabitha story is very short. It's just 77 versus. So we're going to have to go back a little bit to get a little bit more context about what's going on here. Jesus had come. He died was resurrected and he left here. Those who have been with him and travel with him and saw him live and saw him love, they saw him kill people. They saw him perform Miracles. They were listening to his teachings and he was challenging the status quo. He was challenging culture. He was challenging belief and he was even challenging the law. These people were told in Matthew 29 and 19 to go out into the world and make the Disciples of every nation. So this make me ask a question. What are disciples? In the story of Tabitha. She's called the disciple in the version that I read. They called her a Believer, but in the original Greek, she's called Mathis Tria, which means a learner, a disciple, a follower of Christ. At the term, Christian wasn't even really used in the early church. Those who were believed her. They would have called themselves followers of the way, but they weren't or just some other words that meant disciple, but they were calling themselves Christians so much. So Jesus was commanding his disciples in that earlier, scripture in Matthew, his disciples and who were the people who had learned from him to go out and make those who will follow Jesus and his teacher teaching. So, when I was working on my Master's doctoral degree, my master is not sorry, at the Ohio State University. Have to tell the story. I was, I started reading the works of a Julie Washington who was a professor at the University of Michigan, who was studying language and literacy development. African American Children, sound familiar. I started following Julie, presentations at conferences. I wouldn't go up to her at conferences and say hi. I'm sure you're trying to take from Ohio State and I love your work. I was like really fat and really over her. And I did this like one two, three times every every year for about 3, to 4 years ago, into competition, following her cry. On, take from Ohio State, and I love your work and about the fourth year. It was the year before I was graduating with my PhD of going to these conferences. We were in Chicago. I think it was November of 20 2010. Godzilla 2001. And I went up to Julie Washington at a conference as I always did and listen to her presentation. And it went up to her and I said, and she said, you're serious, state from Ohio State and he loved my work. I said, yes, I do. If he says, when do you graduate? I said I graduate next year. She says, okay. Let's go to lunch instead. She took me to lunch and we made a plan for me to go to on Michigan and study with her for two years at the post office when I finish my degree. I am clearly a disciple of Julie Washington. I have found myself in my teachings, in my research and the way that I do things with regards to language and literacy with African-American children, based on the work of Julie Washington, which I studied, and I read and I followed and I value it. I went on to have my own doctoral student at Florida State at the professor, my one and only doctoral student who I took from beginning to end Lakeisha. She followed me from her back for master's degree through her PhD. And I actually once she finished her pasty. I sent her to work with Julie's Washington. My mentor as a pet. Stock in Georgia, and I went to listen to La Quiche at her first National presentation. And you know what, she sounded like me. She became a disciple of Sherita, State and so now I have shared my discipling from Julie to my doctoral student Lakeisha and we all share a language we stall sarapath, we're all doing work on language and literacy in the community, and we share that that particular path. I think about that with regards to what it meant mean to be a disciple of Jesus.

My iPad close. What it means to be a disciple of Jesus Tabitha and ask. It's called a disciple, but how did that happen? Well, the disciples went out and share the message of Jesus. Those people have been walking with him, probably with him and seeing what he was doing. They went out and share this message and she heard that message and she believed that message and she accepted that message. And this message was initially only to be shared among the Jews though. It was Jews were being transformed by the life and lessons of Jesus. But we can go back in this particular lesson about Tabitha and look a little bit further back in act and I'm to ask 8 and see that there was a period of great persecution for those who who chose to follow the way. These people who chose to follow the message of Jesus were being persecuted. Ask eight, and three says saw was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house dragging out men and women to throw them in prison.

However in the beginning of Acts which is where our story about Tabitha is we learn of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus. He had an encounter with Jesus and he was changed in that moment. He became Paul, the Apostle ordained to take the message of Jesus to non-jews non Jews or Gentiles Midway in chapter 9. The same chapter that we hear about. Tabitha. We find another of Jesus's followers traveling to from place to place place preaching, the Gospel of Jesus to Jewish Community, Peter had walked, and travel with Jesus modeling his ministry after Jesus teaching, and preaching, like, Jesus, and finds himself anointed to perform Miracles, like Jesus. It's, at this point in chapter 9 of Acts that we come into town, but the story, a 64 introduced to this Jewish woman with two names, living among both Jews and Gentiles Tabitha is described as a disciple, likely one of the converse Play of Jesus Through the fast-growing early church that has spread like wildfire Fire by the disciples. She had learned about the way of Jesus from the disciples. She heard the message. She believed it and she chose to live a life that would honor Jesus. But what we learn from scripture is that she was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor specifically. We know that we know that she had a heart for the widows. We know that taking care of the poor and widows was common theme in Jesus's teachings and we seeing Tabitha story her commitment to this kind of service.

After such a beautiful introduction of this woman named Tabitha also known as Dorcas and the scripture. The next verse says she got sick and died and her body was prepared for burial and that's all we end up hearing about that part of her life. Then in verse 38. It says, then the Believers again, those followers of Jesus. More. These are more of his disciples. These were people who were clearly her friends. People who cared about her. They heard about this preaching teaching miracle-working, disciple named Peter, who was ministering in the city, not too far away. So they sent some men to go and get him and bring him back to Jaffa for Tabitha steak. And I started to think like she's dead. They've prepared her body for burial and they have to go travel to the city and I don't know how long it take, but they were traveling. I'm sure not very fast. Like what were they anticipating? What were they expecting to happen? When with bringing this this creature, this teacher, this disciple of Jesus back to the house of Tabitha. I think they were thinking about what Jesus did what they heard and knew about Jesus and they believed that his followers could do the same thing. So they were hoping that that would happen. Peter obliged and went with them to Joppa to the home of Tabitha into the upper room. Verse 39 says the room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coach. And other clothes that Tabitha has made for them. Now. This is a testament of her face, her character and her service. He's whittled. We're not just, just caring for Tabitha's deceased body nor were they just morning for her death? They were also there with pride showing Peter and the others of clothing is having the made for them. This was about their love for her as a person as a friend, not just about what she did for them. But what she meant to them. Peter was likely moved with compassion. He asked these widows to leave the room and step out of the room for a minute. He gets out of his knees and he prays that he turns to the body of Tabitha and command her to get up. He was remembering his life as a disciple of Jesus where he has seen and heard Jesus through this before. Scripture says that she opened her eyes and got up, people, Peter calls, back into the widowed, the will to come back in and the Believers to come back in and see her alive and imagine how those widows felt. They were more than people who were being served by her. They were her friends and she have been resurrected. Verse 42 in the story says, that the news of this miraculous were spread throughout the town and many believed many believed, many believe any became followers of Jesus because of what happened to Tabitha mini believe they became Disciples of Jesus, because of the story about this woman, who served widow's by making clothes for them.

What are the lessons from Tabitha's life about how to live in this life of a disciple, or believer or Christian, or whatever you want to call it? Whatever makes you comfortable. First thing you get to know Jesus and follow him. Tabitha was a Jew, the message of Jesus was not, was not what she had been taught and learned under Jewish law. Jesus challenge the Jewish lie and the cultural practices that came along with it. She was a woman likely, a widow and and or never married Jewish people who accepted the message of Jesus face persecution jail or even death in spite of this,. The chose the way of Jesus. This is just really came with questions of uncertainty that the message of Jesus was compelling enough for her to risk it all, but we cannot follow him. If we do not know him. I truly believe that those who see Jesus will find him. Ask your questions, express your fears, have your concerns, but if Jesus is who we say, he isn't who he says, he is that he can handle it and he will make you something to you. Number to use the gifts that have been given to you and help others. Tabitha's. Pallet was designing tailoring and stitching. She put that to good use making clothes for people who needed it. God, can use whatever it is that you bring to the table. Whether it's cooking and baking or organizing or cleaning, or speak and kind words, or sharing, or giving or sitting, or driving or whatever it is that you do, do it. Because it's the model of what Jesus gave us to do to love one another to take care of one, another particularly those who are on the outside on the margins, the widows the orphans. Those two were sick, take care of those people. You don't have to teach or preach or be a pastor in order for God to see you follow Jesus. What you have with the skill that you have with the talents and gifts that you have? God on Earth Tabitha sewing, he saw her. What she was doing with her heart in her mind and her time, her life became a springboard, a springboard for a Revival, from Stone. Clothes for widows. Number three, build relationships that will have lasting impact on others when Tabitha died. It was the Believers who was in her company that when it said, look, we don't accept that she's dead. We're going to go find that that preacher over in the next town and have him. Come back here back here because we believe in the god that she serves, and we are going to find the opportunity to bring her back. Build relationships with people who are believers, who can encourage you, who can uplift you, who can help teach you, who will be there to support you in your ministry, but also Bill relationship with the people that you serve. Don't got to be just transactional kind of thing where you give to someone at someone and it's just a one-time one-hit wonder, no build relationships with people. Get to know them. Get to know their stories learn to love them. People will be transformed through your love for them. Not just by your gifts to them. Let God use you to witness to others in the story Tabitha's life and her dad and her Resurrection similar to Jesus became the opportunity for others to get to know who this person of Jesus was. His story was shared. Her story was shared through her life, her dad and her Resurrection, as well as he is just an opportunity for people to come to be followers of Jesus, his disciples, who would learn his messages, how he lived his life, how he loved others, how he cared for others, how he challenged the status quo. So my brothers and sisters here today, I would like to challenge you to reclaim Christianity. Not just the name, but the spirit of Christianity. What does it mean to be a Christian? How do you follow Jesus? What about his life and Legacy? Will you Embrace while many face to droop Traditions offer path or road map to Faith? Love and Hope Jesus came in saying that he was faced with love and hope Jesus Proclaim to be both fully God and fully man, and whether or not you can embrace all of that it is, okay, come to him with your doubt. Come to him with your questions. If you seek him, I guarantee he will come to you. I have met and experience Jesus through the, through prayer, and meditation, and worship. I have met an experience Jesus, Through People in nature through physical and the supernatural in my life. I have met and experience using as a friend or father or mother a keeper a provider and protector. I do hate Christians. I hate some of the ways. Is, there would be good reason for us to hate Christians because of the way that they are, betraying Us in my face. And like this, the poet said, we are married to the same guy. We have both decided to follow Jesus. We are saying that we're falling. Same person that we are reading the same scriptures that we're trying to live the same kind of life. But how do we respond to that? Do we lean into it? I say yes. Lean into it into that your face lie and into the Jesus that you have to get to know for yourself. I can't tell you about him. You have to get to know him yourself. And when you get to know the Jesus that I know you will be compelled to live. Your life is certain kind of way. Earlier, I also have to talk about struggling with questions of my blackness about how I respond to that. Do I hate white white people? I do not, I don't hate white people. But I hate what whitening stuff in our society. We have the opportunity to live life differently. I have leaned into my blackness as a representation of what it can be and what it might be and what at Mike's. But there are other experiences. What I what I represent is not what all represent. We have to learn to love differences and in all of the possibilities of humankind. I am going to a close with just a kind of a call to action asking you guys to ask yourself. The Deep question of, what does it mean to you to be a Christian? What it means to me is not as important as what it means to you about. How you got your going to choose to live your life. How are you going to let Jesus impact your life. How are you going to let it impact the way that you live in here. For others. The story of Tabitha gives us a model about how to be disciple. She chose to follow Jesus in spite of any opposition. And in following Jesus, he found a place and a space for her gift and her talents for towns were used to care for others and to love others, which was a major command in theme of Jesus ministry. We can do the same thing. We don't have to be leaders up on the pulpit. We don't have to be preachers and teachers or pastors. We can follow Jesus with the simple things that we have in our life. I asked you today. How will you live your life? I can recycle the future. Or we just thank you for this message. We thank you for your word. We thank you for this opportunity to explore to question, our fears or doubts, our concerns and we thank you God for the example in Jesus of how to live and how to love and how to serve others. Thank you for the example and Tabitha. Let us learn from her life how to be better disciples, how to love and care for others. I just asked right now that you would let this message sit with us and stir our Spirits. Let us leave this place with a with your with your call to us. In our heart. Let us feel your presence. Let us back into you got cuz we know that you are backing toward. I let us respond to your beckoning voice as you call to us because of your love for us. Let us responding love and let it and we trust and believe that. When we call for you guys, you will respond with. Thank you. Amen.

Friends. Thank you, Sherry. For that word.

It was like ugly crying at one point in the back there.

Are you going to share? Just a little something with you kind of before we share the spinal song?

I think it's important to just call out in his face like this, that

Something. I, so appreciate about this community, is that There is no peace of this that we try to do for show for entertainment.

That's so often are weeks and our days of those of us who who called tcga, you know, a job, even though I don't think a single one of us would refer to it as that or a place where we just get to have some form of ownership. I don't even like that word. I don't even know what I'm trying to say with that, but

I think it's a really important to know that. So many times. This face means so much to us, but it's not the space that we pray for. Are there we prepare for hour after hour after hour.

So often are days to Rita's days, Christie's days. Bob's days. Days. Jerry's every single one of us here.

It's so often filled with just the trends. Work of loving, people of trying to fight for change of working alongside. So many of you to do those very things. And

My heart's really must be up here tonight during worship. I just want to share with you. This is not a space to me even wear.

I come up here to seeing and blow you away, cuz

It's so often when I say these songs with you. It comes from UPS that you swear. Some of you are so heavy on my heart as we share these messages.

Some of you are just.

Innespace word. Even if I don't know you very well. I love you and I love you because God loves you. And I'm proud of you.

As we sing this next song.

I am allowing them to take up that space in my heart because I hope. Did they get the experience of knowing Jesus Is My Friend?

And I hope we can be through the actions, but I get the privilege to do with them. Did you get the privilege of getting to love and act and care?

And so I'm going to challenge you with. We sing this last time.

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