Jump In The Hole!
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 94 · 6 months ago

Jump In The Hole!

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What is the best way to grow in your faith? What happens when tension arises? Do you pull away or do you roll up your sleeves and jump in? JUMP IN!

Today's message is all about how God has gifted you to do something specific that is unique for you, to reach the people that are uniquely placed in your life, and our church, like the Organization of the church, wants to help you to do that. And yes, there are endless opportunities to get involved at church. You know that right. Maybe you saw one of these serving cards with the packet that you receive today. There's all these different teams that you can join, the worship team, the family ministry team. You know, there's different ways that you can get involved and if you are not on one of these teams, you should be. Sign up join a team. It's important. It's important to the Ministry of the Church, it's important to your own spiritual well being and all of that. So it's a really important thing to be involved on a team and being engaged in serving in some way, shape or form in and through the church. And it's fun. There you go, but it might be even more important to love and serve and care for the people in your life that may never actually come to connect those church. They may never come through the door and a greater opens the door and you get to smile and welcome them and say hi and learn their name. They may never do that or may you you have, you know, family ministry, our kids ministry. You know they might never come to church, but you have a unique opportunity to serve them, to reach them, to love them, to care for them, and it is special in my heart in the in creating this new church, that we want to help you to do that. You're not just a part of this thing that makes it all happen like we want to create an organization, the movement that helps you reach the people in your life. All right, that was deep to do. We can't start there. We can't start there, but that's where we're going. We're going. We're going to start here. Okay, we're going to go back up a step. It's going to tee up our scripture this morning. How many of you want to grow in your faith? Raise a hand. You're you're awake this morning. Couple of you? All right, that's good. You want to grow in your faith. You've come to the right place. Our Church wants to help you grow in your faith. It is a really good, a really positive thing like that's amazing that you want to grow in your faith. You want God to strengthen your faith absolutely and he's usually going to use a group of people to help you to do that. But I think it's important to remember, or to know or learn for the first time that you're probably not going to grow in your faith the way that you think you are. So like, for example, if you were to fill in the blank and say I know I'm growing in my faith, when and you had a blank and you could fill in whatever on that line. What would you write? And maybe you want to write it down, maybe you do. or You would say like I feel like I'm not growing in my faith because I'm missing out on whatever, like fill in the blank. What? What would you write in that blank? Maybe you would say I feel like I'm growing in my faith the most when I'm listening to good sermons or when I am attending a good Bible study or when I'm learning Hebrew and Greek words. That's when I really feel like I'm growing in my faith. Or maybe it's when I'm praying for somebody else or or when I see God do something incredible in somebody's life. It's like wow, that really builds my faith. Or maybe it's when somebody shares an incredible testimony and you're...

...like that's just incredible, like wow, God is God is amazing, and all of those things. If those were some of your answers, all of those things are really good things that God will use to grow your faith. But I like to remind US I've taught this before, because I think it's so important that we need to grow. We absolutely need to grow beyond me. Growing beyond me, because I think the best way to grow in your faith is to help somebody else build their faith. The best way to grow in your faith is to help build the faith of somebody else. And now you're like that's counterintuitive, because how can I ever help somebody else grow if I'm not growing? Ah, that's where we get confused. That's where we miss out. We feel like we need to get somewhere or be something, and that's just not true and you're missing out on what God is trying to do in your life. We need to grow beyond me, because this is how this is how it works. Okay, this is how it works. It starts with the me phase. Everybody saying me, me, phase is an amazing phase. It's God is at work in your life. Your life is changing, like you think totally differently than you used to think. Your desires are different, they're changing, like you're not doing things that you used to do. You're old, maybe sinful habits that you were trying to kill and stop doing. You've stopped them. Like there's literal, tangible things in your life that have changed, and it's amazing. It's amazing to be in this season, to be in this space, to see God at work in this way. He's teaching you things and your life looks different. It just like everything about it, is just different. Maybe you just came to faith in Jesus. Maybe God's just doing a great growth spurt in your life and it's just incredible and you're in this me faith, but eventually you will end up in the next phase, which is the not me phase. Everybody say not me, because the more that you grow in your faith, the more your life changes, the more aware you people around you and you start to look and see who that's weird. They're dealing with with that that's strange. Like I thought we were in a church, I thought we were in a community, that we were growing in our faith, that we were serious about our faith, that God was transforming lives and he's doing that for me, but what's wrong with that person? The Not me phase, and it's interesting that oftentimes the things that we recognize about the not me the other people that haven't grown where you're grown, they're often the very areas that God is working in your life at because that makes you most familiar with them. And now you're seeing it for the first time in somebody else's life and it's like Oh yeah, because God is doing that in your life. That's how that's how it works, and God is changing us, he's transforming us, and we become more aware of maybe other people that aren't where we were or they are where we once were, like just a couple months ago you were doing the exact same thing that they were doing, and now maybe you've taken a step and you're like wow, and you're looking at them and like why, why are you still there? But that was just you three months ago, a...

...year ago, whatever. And so we have to when we enter into this phase, and we, I think we all go through these stages. It's the me phase the not me phase. If you're in the not me phase, you got two choices, two main choices, and the one choice in the not me phase, you naturally move to the not for me phase. Everyone's say not for me. So you're looking around, you see the people aren't where you think they are, and so your finger starts pointing at the community, at the church, saying, well, something must be wrong here, because I'm growing but they're not, and so therefore there's a problem and maybe I have to go find a different community, a different situation, a different church, because I have to go find something that will help me growing my faith because, I mean, it's not working because other people aren't where I am. And so, like, there are legitimate reasons to find a different church, for different community to be a part of. Absolutely, like, this isn't the first church that I've ever been a part of. Right. This is actually my fourth one. I grew up in a church in Wilmington, Delaware. I went to college and got involved in a church there in Annville, Pennsylvania. Shout out to Annville, and then I came down to Lancaster and did a church planting residency here for you about a year and a half and we launched out to start connect US church. This is the fourth church, and so, yeah, there are absolutely legitimate reasons to look somewhere else, but do not, do not make a change like that when you are in the not me phase. That is the worst possible time to make a decision like that, because there's a lot better place to be than the not me phase. Don't be stuck there. Now that you're aware that it exists, don't be stuck there. Grow beyond me. Grow beyond me because you are growing in your faith. You absolutely are. Whether you recognize it or not, God is at work in your life. He uses people, he uses situations to grow your faith and you notice things about other people. It's natural you do so. Now you have the opportunity to love them, to serve them, to care for them, to use your gifts and abilities to lead them to also grow in their faith. You don't need to go somewhere else where people are growing. You help people grow because you realize that you were once in their position, and maybe it was relatively recently. You once where you once were, where they were, and now you have the opportunity to help bring them along, to help lead them to where God has led you. And this is where God really grows your faith and really stretches your faith, because God is not going to work in their life the same way that he's worked in yours. It's going to be different, which is an amazing growth thing in your life, because you experience one thing, but now you see God working in in a totally different way in somebody else's life. Wow, God can do that. Yeah, that's amazing, and it's also going to give you the opportunity to love somebody, to serve somebody. God's going to teach you patience, because God's not going to do it in your timing, as much as we would like it. He's not. He's going to do it in his timing, and so we got to be patient. We got to learn how to build relationships, to forgive one another...

...and to learn how to understand each other. And it's all going to be a part of a process, along next steps, process that we're walking alongside each other, doing life together. That's what it means to grow beyond me. That makes sense. Do you think we can do it? A couple confident people, are you go? Maybe some honest people? Yeah, I think we can do it. I think we can do it if you have your Bible. I want to show you this in your scriptures today. Turn with me to acts, chapter six. Acts. Chapter six is where we're going to spend most of our time this morning. If you were with US last week, you'll notice that last week we were in acts chapter five, and so today we're just continuing the story of the early church. And as you're turning there, remember the words are on the screen and we'd love to send you home with a Free Bible if you would like one. Take One. We would love to give you one. And again, as you're turning there, I want to catch you up. Last week. Act Chapter Five is sort of like the church was just getting started and the people, the leaders, the religious leaders, the people in charge of the community where the church was getting started, they were furious at the church. They put the church people in jail and God would get them out of jail, and so they said, well, that Gail's not work is so we just might as well kill them. You remember what the Church was doing that made everyone so mad and wanted to kill him? Taking care of people, loving people, healing people and telling them about Jesus. That's what made the religious leaders, the leaders of the communities, so mad, so upset. and onto the scene stepped a very well respected pharisee. His name was Gamilile, and Gamiliele stood up and said look, guys, if what they're saying is true, then there ain't nothing you can do to stop it. Because remember these other guys, these other Messiah figures, they kind of came and collected a bunch of followers and then they died and and then all kind of stopped. But this Jesus Guy, who these people claim is still alive, if that's true, there is nothing you can do that's going to stop this movement. So you might as well just not even try. And so we looked and here we are, two thousand years later, that the movement has continued. There are many more believers than they were two tho years ago, two thousand years worth of people who believed in Jesus, who've come to faith in Christ, who've grown in their faith, and it's just been incredible to see what God has done and we love that and we celebrate that. But with growth comes growing pains and when more people get connected to a church, when more people get connected to the body, things change a little bit. And so this is a pivotal moment in the church, as it's growing, as more people are coming to faith, as the churches getting started. This is a very pivotal moment. And so here's how it goes. Says, as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek speaking believers complained about the Hebrews speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. And so the twelve called a meeting of all the believers and they said, we apostles should spend their time teaching the word of God, not running a food program and so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and full of the spirit and wisdom. We will give...

...them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time and prayer and teaching the word. And everyone liked this idea and they chose the following Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip Procerus, the canter tim in par menace and Nicholas of Antioch and earlier convert to the Jewish faith faith. And these seven men were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. And so God's message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem and many of the Jewish priests were converted to so the results of their decision were incredible. The Gospel, the message would continue to go forth, people would continue to be saved, and even the hard to reach people were being saved and believing in Jesus, like the Jewish priests. That's incredible, like they were a part of a religion, a religious system, where it was their job to do the temple sacrifices just right, like it had to be perfect, it had to be exactly right. There was this whole temple system that they had to follow, that they had to do, and this Jesus guy showed up and was like this isn't going to be a thing. Pretty soon your job is going to be over. And and so these people, these people believed in Jesus, owed Jesus. That's amazing, that's huge and I think we want connectors church to also be able to do this, to reach people who are hard to reach, for the Gospel to be spread and people to believe in Jesus, even the hard to reach people, like maybe the skeptics or the atheists or the people from different religions, maybe the hard to reach people could be the business owners and managers, doctors and lawyers, maybe they could be college professors, government workers, media personnel, or maybe they could be people that don't have a place to live or don't have a car to drive. Maybe they speak at different language or have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, whatever the case may be, so many people have so many different difficulties that they face in life and the Gospel is for them to like every single one of them. The good news is for and nobody said Amen to that, because it's true and it's incredible and it's amazing. Right, it's for all those people. But then they believe in Jesus and they get a part of the church and maybe they get connected to this local body, and now the church changes shape a little bit. It shifts a little bit because the church is who it's you. It's not the building, it's not the Organiza, the church is you. So when you get more use a part of the church, things shift a little, and when things shift it's natural. People don't like it. Hit, we like normal, steady. We don't like it. And so look, the people didn't like it. Right, the believers rapidly multiplied and there were rumblings of discontent and maybe you feel like you're left out of a decision that you once were a part of making, or maybe you feel like the focus has shifted. It used to be you,...

...but now the focus, I was on somebody else. Maybe you're saying, man, I remember the days of connectors church, when we were meeting in Kevin's Sun Room. You bought me Duncan donuts every week, Duncan donuts, coffee, and I got to sit on your recliner like those were the days. We still got coffee, we sometimes got snacks and I even got your recliners. Come on, somebody right like I'm taking care of you, taking care of you. But things change when the church grows in number and there will be rumblings of discontent. This was the case the first church and their specific situation was that the Greek speaking believers complained about the Hebrew speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So this isn't even Jew gentile like. That was a huge thing that they solved a little bit later. This was within the Jewish community, the Jewish culture, the Greek speaking Jews and the Hebrew or air makes beak speaking, Jews and like. They got a lot in common, but they also had a lot of differences. The language was different, maybe where they grew up was different. If you were air make or Hebrew speaking, you probably grew up in the Jerusalem area, the Judea area. If you were Greek speaking, you probably grew up somewhere else, somewhere further away, and maybe your family moved to be closer to the center of the Jewish religion. So you had a lot of similarities, but they were very big differences in language and and maybe culture and maybe race and other things like that. And these people, the Greek speaking believers, were feeling a little left out. And nobody likes to feel left out right, especially when you feel left out over something you can't control, like the language you speak or the race that you are or where you were born, right those things. Nobody likes to feel that way. And if you've ever felt that way or if you've ever felt that way here, I just want you to hear me say I'm sorry, because this should never be. We do love you and if there is a thing that we could do, I could hug it out with you. After the service and you are welcome here. Right, you are welcome here, no matter who you are. I want you to know that you are welcome here. And so there was this issue in the leaders. They got together and they did something about it. And I love this because oftentimes in group settings, no matter what the group is, there's always rumbling and grumbling. Right, rumble rumble, rumble, grumbill, grumble grumble. There's always something to complain about. I don't like that, I don't like them. This is a mess. I don't like this, I don't like that. I can't believe they made that decision. Rumble, rumble, rumble, grumble, grumble grumble. But somebody, somebody stepped up to do something about it. The leaders stepped up and the twelve called a meeting of all the believers and they said, we apostle should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program and so the brothers is selected seven men who are well respected and full of the spirit and wisdom, and we will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend her time in prayer and teaching the word. And so the leaders got together and they decided that they were going to say no. Everybody tell your neighbor no, no, look, you said it no like. That's a powerful word, no, because when you...

...say no to something, you're saying yes to something else. So they say no like they've got some other important things to do that fit their gifts and abilities that they were going to focus on. They said No. But by saying though, it forced them to get somebody else involved, and so they chose seven men, and not just any seven men. They were well respected, full of the spirit and wisdom. Do these qualities characterize your life? Are You well respected, full of the spirit and wise? And, if not, or you're not sure, do you want to be? And if you want to be, what are you doing to develop these characteristics in your life? Good questions. If you want to talk more about it, let me know after the service. I would love to help you. I love to help you develop these characteristics in one way or another. Will figure out you need to you. But the best way, the short answer to a big thought like that, is to just simply do it in community with other people. Be With other people, spend time with other people, make yourself known to other people, and through that I'll develop these things and love Jesus. Just do that. You're on the right track. Then the next thing that we read was that the leaders gave these seven men responsibility, and that's what we want to give you here at connectors church, responsibility. Like we are at a stage in the life of our church where there are many amazing opportunities to do incredible things. So go and do it, like, just do it, and we want to help you do it. Like we need people to take responsibility for things, not just do things. You know the difference. There's like the task, things that need to happen, and then there's like responsibility. Right, there's the things that like just happen and then there's leading and responsibility for making sure things happen, responsibility for teams of people, responsibility for it all, not just showing up and doing some diffic right responsibility. And if we do this, if people take responsibility, then the apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word. Now, we're not apostles, but as a pastor, I could be doing anything, a lot of things, and our leadership team could be doing a lot of things, but we can't run a food program like we're leading the church and so with that comes talking to God, making sure that we are in step with God, making sure that we are keeping the vision that God has given us out in front of as many people as possible. This is why we're doing what we're doing here, it is, and then constantly evaluating. How are we doing with this right? That's that's the big picture stuff. And then notice how they made this decision. They had this issue. They chose these seven guys. They had to come up with this. How did they choose the seven guys? Did you catch it? Everyone like the idea. There was no sign from God, there was no special prayer meeting. They just kind of generally agreed this is the people we're going to choose. And sometimes we can make decision making so spiritual or we can make decisionmaking so business focused that we just get pushed to some extremes. It's like, talk about it, pray about it, be wise, make a good decision. And they...

...did, and they chose the following Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. We read more about him in the coming verses and act six, if you want to read ahead, Philip procress and the canter Tim and parmenace and Nicholas of Antioch and earlier convert to the Jewish faith. And these seven men were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So notice, then, who chose these people? Was it the leaders? Know, it was the people. The people chose these seven guys and they brought him to the apostles and the apostles confirmed the decision. And all throughout the book of acts we see these examples playing out, that some decisions are made by the people and some decisions are made by the leaders. And so, like your input into the church really matters and strong leadership of the church really matters, and there is a healthy tension between both of these things working together, both voices being heard, voice both inputs being received. And so when the Church cares for people and tells people about Jesus and functions well, the message continues to spread and the number of believers increases and hard to reach people are reached. It's just what happens. So rewind back to our first growth steps here. Okay, I want you and I want to help you apply what we just talked about. This major decision, this pivotal moment in the early church to this idea of growing beyond me, the me phase, amazing phase. You get saved, you put your faith and trust in Jesus, your growing in your faith. You're like life is great, life is changing, God is working in your life. You're excited about what God is doing, like it's an amazing place to be. But then there's like a legitimate problem, a legitimate concern. That happens because of the situation. Like you don't want anybody to be left out. You don't want anybody to feel like they're on the outside, right. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes to do that. And so now you're aware of something that you were never aware of before. There wasn't a problem before because there is maybe only Hebrew speaking believers, and now you got Greek ones, right, like now there's a problem, and so now you're aware of that problem. And the people that maybe used to do the food distribution, they could do it for that group, but now you got more and now they can't do it anymore. And like that's a natural thing to happen, right. The leaders got a lead, like they can't do everything. That's okay, like the church is designed to function where everybody's doing their part and playing their role, and so they could have, the believers of this early church, they could have, you know, made that choice where they moved from the not me phase to the not for me phase, like they had to figure out what was God calling them to do in this situation. There was a legit problem and maybe some of them thought, well, like this doesn't seem right, maybe I have to go find a different organization to be a part of, a different movement to be a part of. Or maybe they stepped up and they engage in this situation and made a difference in the live people that needed to be reached, that needed to be cared for, that needed to be loved. And this is the question for us today. This is the question for us today. Our Church, our local church, is not going to meet the needs of everyone. It just can't. There is...

...no local church that could ever meet everybody's needs. And there are people in your life that you are desperately praying for, that you are desperate to reach out to and you just want to love them and help them to get to know Jesus and all that, and like there are people in your life. So don't get stuck looking at the needs and the deficiencies figure out a way to be a part of the solution because, remember, the church is a you shaped whole. I brought a hole with me. You'll have to watch the live stream later to see the full effect of the illustration or come up after the service and see the optical illusion. But the question for us today is, are you going to fill the whole like you could be standing on the edge right you're looking in. I don't know, I'm scary, I don't know what's down there. I I'm going to hang out on the outside, I'm going to I'm going to run away to somewhere better, because they there do it better over there. or or are you going to jump in the hole? Are you going to get in? Are you going to get in with both feet and make a difference that only you can make? And some of you, some of you, you're here for the first time and you're like, that is crazy, I can't commit to anything. I don't even know who you are. I'm just checking this out, like I know. And that's why we have something called first step, where it's just there's no strings attached, there's just simple, it's easy, it's just come and say hi and have a little conversation, and that's you know, that's that's the first step. But there's others of you, there's others of us that you know that. You know that God is telling you that it is time. It is time to jump in the hole, stop sitting on the sideline, stop running away, stop seeing the thing and be like why don't they fix that? Why don't they do that? And it's like here, I am, here, I am I'm in, I'm here, I'm going to help, I'm going to fix it, I'm going to be a part of the solution, because the church isn't an organization. It's an organism, it's a live the churches in a building. It's you. And so we need you to step up, we need you to discover your gifts and abilities and use them. And let me tell you, you aren't alone in this process. Like there is a special place in my heart, and I've said this at the beginning of my message, for a church to come alongside of you in a very personal, very helpful, very encouraging way to help you discover your gifts and abilities and to help you to use them in whatever way, shape or form God has gifted you to do, because sometimes you can get on a list where every six weeks your name comes up and you get to serve that week and yeah, right, but that's what it feels like. It just feels like you're a cog in the wheel and it's just like this is just what happens and this is one of my thing is and what you know. But that's really not what we wanted to create here. I don't think we have done that. We want to say that you're a part of a team, there are people that care about you, that there's people that aren't want to encourage you, that it's more than just showing up and doing a task, like it is community, it is friendship, it is serving together and making a difference together. And if, for some reason you can't do it that week, whatever it is, guess what, it's okay.

It's okay, like we're going to text you and be like hey, how you feeling? You know you're a little sick, like how's your family? I mean, we'll miss you, obviously, but that's okay. There's there's next week, there's there's next month, there's next season, whatever, you know, whatever, there's relationship. That's above just filling the task. And then the other special thing that I think is unique to what we're trying to create here at connect US church is that we want to have, it's always been a part of the vision to have a specific group of people to help you develop your gifts and abilities and get plugged into serving. Like we want to have a special thing where, like everything I just talked about, is like hey, we want to help you, we want to make this happen. And so we have a first step group, right. We have a second step group to help you grow in your faith, get you connected with other people, and this would be number three. There's there's only four, right, but this would be number three. We haven't started it yet, but it's in the works, it's in the progress, we're taking some steps and so hopefully it will be happening soon. And like the goal again, of this particular group is that you get to join and see what God is going to do in your life and have other people come alongside of you. We want to help you make a difference and we need you to make the difference that only you can make. So you're like, that's a lot. How can I do this? I know it's big. That's why there's a group that you should join. Right, we got to talk more about it. You can't answer all the questions and thirty thirty five minutes. The other place that we can turn is to the scriptures, and I just want to close today by Reading First Corinthians, chapter twelve. In this Paul, the writer of First Corinthians, he uses a metaphor of the body the church. You that you shaped whole, is a body. You are the body of Christ, and he says this. He says the human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some of us are gentiles, some of us are slaves, some of us are is free, but we have all been baptized into one body by one spirit and we all share the same spirit. Right, we're all different or all unique, but we have the same spirit inside of us that unites us. And yes, the body has many different parts. It's not just one part. This is head, shoulders, knees and toes. Time, if the foot says, everyone point to their foot or shake their foot. You know, wake up and paying attention. Right. If the foot says, I'm not a part of the body because I'm not a hand. Everybody hand. There we go. That does not make it any less part of the body. And if the ear, everybody point to their ear, says, I'm not a part of the body because I'm out an eye. Everybody points of your eye. Would that make it any less a part of the body? And the whole body were an eye, how would anyone here? And if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? And if the whole body were like me and dress like me and acted like me, then how could we accomplish anything? We'd be boring, yes, but our bodies. I added that part have many parts and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange your body would it be if it only had one part? Yes, Paul, very strange. Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, I don't need you, and they head can't say to the feet I don't need you. We need you, we need you, every part of us. We need you. In fact, some parts of the body that seemed weakest and least important, or actually the most necessary, and the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothed with greatest care. So we carefully...

...protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. Like you might feel overlooked. You're not in front of people with a microphone, but that shouldn't mean that you feel left out or overlooked, like you are so necessary and you are worthy of extra care and love and honor. And this makes for harmony amongst the believers, so that all the members can care for each other. And if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. So we celebrate together, we suffer together, we cry together and we party together, and all of you together are Christ body. Each of you is a part of it. We need you to use your gifts and abilities. That serving card. Remember that that serving card is a great place to start. Give something a try. Just show up and say hey, I'm going to give it a try. Plan to engage like it's not about attending something, it's not about really even doing something. It's a part. It's about being a part of making a difference in the big picture, in the hole, because when we do this together, when we all do it together, people are cared for with selfless love, Jesus is shared, lives are changed and amazing things happen. So let's pray. God, we thank you for your word. We thank you that you have gifted US uniquely to do something special that is unique to to me, and it's going to be different than the person's standing next to me. That's going to be different than the person sitting next to me, and that's what makes it beautiful. We don't all grow in the same way, we don't all use the same things. The gifts, the talents, abilities, passions, desires are all very different. God, I pray that you would help us to use those differences to make an extremely impactful difference in the lives of the people in our community, in our lives and our worlds and our family. And God, forgive us when we don't get it right, when we start looking around wondering what everyone else is doing. Lord, help us to step up and make a difference, to be a part of the solution and to be united, because we believe Lord Jesus, that your same spirit is within everyone who believes, everyone, whether they preach a message or not, whether they teach in the kids ministry or not, whether they lead a worship song or not, you live inside of them. You are at work in their life and help us to be united, help us to be together and help us to accomplish this great mission that you've called every one of us to do. We ask that you would do this now, in Jesus name. Amen.

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