Well, first of all, at the end of the service, I’m going to do something very hard for me. I’m actually not going to be at the front because I have this throat thing going on, and I’m trying to get my voice all the way through the day. So, I’ve got my Throat Coat Tea down here and my Fisherman’s Friends. But if the Spirit is doing something in your heart, Jim’s right here, and John’s right over here, and John right there. There are lots of people who would be happy to pray with you. And also, if you sense the Spirit doing something in your heart this morning, I would love for you to email me, or if you have questions about the message, email me, and I’d love to interact with you that way.
So, let’s pray. Father, thank you for this time. Lord, we commit it to you. We offer it all to you. We submit it all to your beautiful Holy Spirit in Jesus’s name. Amen.
So, I just got back from a trip. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve got this throat thing. We went to Scotland, England, Kenya, Republic of Georgia, went through Qatar, other places. And I was representing you, visiting our missionaries and partners. It was actually a very surprising trip because I was not ready for the incredible ways that I saw God working out there. I wish I had time to tell you about all of them. Actually, as I was traveling, I kept thinking, I wish all the elders were here. And I actually started making this plan in my head how I’m going to get all the elders out there to see what’s going on because it’s so encouraging. But by the time the trip was over, I wasn’t thinking about the elders. I was thinking about all of you. I want to get a bus and get all of you in it, hopefully waterproof, and we’ll go across the ocean because it’s amazing what God is doing. I’ll give you one example.
Our first stop was in Scotland, where I went to see some friends that I haven’t seen for twenty-five years. They’ve been in Scotland, kind of beating their brains out because it turns out Scottish people right now are really hard. They have been working very hard and seeing not much result, humanly speaking, until about three or four years ago. They came in connection with several Iranian immigrants, who had gotten out of Iran for economic reasons. They were still nominally Muslim. As they interacted with them, many, many of these Iranian people started coming to Christ. And it was kind of an avalanche. It was something they’d never experienced to the point that they were meeting in their flat, which is like an apartment. They had seventy Iranian converts in their apartment, which isn’t very big. They would make a meal every time that they would gather to worship, and people would be sitting in the bathrooms, eating because there was no room. And finally, God provided a church building that opened the doors, and here’s a picture. There are now more than two hundred fifty Iranians, Afghanis who have come to Christ. They are passionate, they are unified. The Iranians are writing this incredible Persian worship music that is so rich and deep and haunting. I want to play some for you, but I don’t have time. If you email me, I’ll send you a link, and you can go listen to it.
There’s a teaser, but what’s happening here in Glasgow is, if it continues at the rate that it’s now growing, in three years, this will be what is called a “people movement to Christ,” a people movement to Christ. A people movement results from the joint decision of a number of individuals, all from the same people group, which enables them to become Christians without social dislocation, meaning they haven’t left their friend groups, they have not left their families. As they’re Zooming and Skyping, even back to Iran, they’re sharing the transformation that has happened in their lives. And so, this movement is growing exponentially. So, a people movement to Christ is technically when you have a thousand or more people in one people group or one hundred or more churches, usually house churches, in one people group that have come to Christ.
Now, I got very interested in this. I hadn’t really thought much about it or heard much about it, but when I got back, I did some studying. I got on the interwebs and found that there are actually people who study these people movements to Christ. There are three people in particular who have studied at a very deep level, and this is what they found. As they looked at church history from the 7th century of Christianity to the 18th century of Christianity, there were not any of these people movements to Christ that we know of. In the 19th century, there were two. In the 20th century, which for those of you who weren’t paying attention in school, that’s the 1900s, there were actually eleven. From the year 2000 through the year 2012, there were sixty-nine recorded people movements to Christ.
Want to guess how many there are today? A thousand. A thousand. One guy estimates eight hundred; one guy estimates a thousand; one guy estimates thirteen hundred. It’s a little bit OF difference in definition, but roughly one thousand people movements. One thousand instances where more than one thousand people in a particular group came to Christ without losing their social connection, which is amazing. And most of them are in the Muslim world. Anyone know where the greatest number of these is happening right now? Yeah, I heard Iran. In Iran actually are the most people movements to Christ in cities all across Iran.
Yet what’s very fascinating to me and what really has gripped my imagination as I’ve thought about this over the last few weeks since this trip, is how many of them are there currently in America? None. Zero. And I don’t know about you, but that bothers me. I mean, first of all, like, we’re number one, right? We’ve got to be number one. But I mean, we’re number one in Bibles. We’re number one in churches. We’re number one in compelling preachers and teachers. America has got to be number one, right? We’re number one. We have more books about revival than the rest of the world put together. We just don’t have it. And I started asking myself why. Why is it that God is moving in such a profound way in places like Iran and China … Morocco, many other places in the world? And as I looked at the Scripture and as I looked at history, I found that there is a profile of the kind of places that experience these people movements to Christ. They’re typically places where there’s a lot of misery, a lot of poverty, a lot of disruption. And it makes sense, right? Because when people are in those kinds of conditions, they tend to open their hearts and their minds to different ways of thinking and being and living.
And there’s also a profile of the kinds of places where there has never been a people movement to Christ. And it’s what Jesus describes in Revelation 3:15-16. Let’s read it.
“I know your works: you’re neither hot nor cold. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither a hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say …”
Now this is the profile.
“I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing you’re wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”
So, not surprisingly, where people have a lot of wealth, a lot of stuff, and feel very self-sufficient and satisfied, it’s very unusual. In fact, I don’t know of any instance of a people movement to Christ, which makes sense because when you say, “I have need of nothing,” it also means I don’t have need of Jesus. That’s part of it.
Laodicea shared two water sources. Laodicea had no natural water source; so, they had to pipe in water from two cities — one, Hierapolis that had a hot spring. They had surplus water. So, they took the water from Hierapolis and piped it to Laodicea. And then Colossi had a beautiful, fresh, pure, cold spring. They had surplus water, and so, they piped that water. And so, if you were in Laodicea when they put all the water in the reservoir, when you drank it, it was nasty. You would not want to drink it. What’s worse than tepid water, part of which is from a hot spring? And that was a metaphor. The water is a metaphor for the way the people at Laodicea — in the church, not out of the church, the people in the church in Laodicea — were living. They were in the church, but they were obsessed with material things … in the church, but functionally obsessed with material things. And therefore, Jesus said, “You’re not hot for me, and you’re not hot for the world. I wish you were one or the other.”
“For you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.”
So, this group of people … It wasn’t like they had some deep, dark, secret sin. You have to understand, people. They were not, to our knowledge, drinking or smoking or chewing or “doing the coochie coo”-ing or “going with girls that do”-ing. It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t bad like that. They just loved the things of the world. And Jesus said, “I want to spit you out of my mouth.” In the midst of their wealth and stuff, they’d lost sight of something that is most important. And it’s kind of interesting, he says, “Because you say.” They weren’t hiding it … that was my secret thing. No! Have you listened to Christians talk lately? I don’t mean on Sunday morning when we’re on our Sunday mode. I’m talking about the rest of the week when we’re being ourselves. What are we talking about? I don’t know who you talk to, but most people I talk to are mostly talking about amassing wealth, buying stuff, and becoming more and more self secure. We talk about comfort. I don’t hear people talking a lot about Jesus.
In fact, I was at a party a few weeks ago, and it wasn’t someone from our church, because no one from our church would ever talk this way. But I was talking to this guy. He’s in another very good church. I liked him. I mean, I really liked him. And he was like, “What are you doing? Well, we’ve got some rentals and we’re, you know, we’re gonna …” Okay, and what else? “And well, we got this YouTube thing, and we’re trying to monetize it.” And it’s like, “Okay.”
And I always kind of like to ask, “And then what? And then what?”
He’s like, “Well, we’re going to get more rentals.” And then, “Okay …”
“And then we’re going to get self-sufficient.”
“And then we’re going to play games.”
And I thought yeah, that’s what we do, right? That’s what I hear Christians talking about … how do I become more …? And you know what? There’s nothing evil about any of it in and of itself. There’s nothing evil about providing for yourself or investing wisely. There’s nothing evil about playing games, nothing evil about being a social influencer or whatever you’re doing on social media. That’s all great. The problem is that we have become so attached to these things. We’re so attached.
Well, in the midst of all this, surprisingly, we hear a knock. We hear this voice in the back of our head saying, “There’s something about this that’s not right.” With all our wealth and stuff and security, in my experience, for most Christians, I know there’s kind of a deep sense of boredom and sadness and a niggling, nagging suspicion that something about this is not right.
Well, it turns out that the world is not enough. That’s not just a James Bond title. The world is not enough. You know, when I travel, I often think of Anthony Bourdain. There are two kinds of people — people who get him and people who don’t. And I got him because the life he lived was really the life I dreamt of living when I was eighteen. That was exactly who I wanted to be before I came to know Jesus. So, I feel a kind of connection to him. He was living what was my dream life before I found the Lord … or he found me.
But three years ago, it all came crashing down. And when people who have everything that we can imagine wanting, humanly speaking, take their own life, it’s kind of shocking, right? It’s kind of disorienting to us. And the thing of it is, I went on IMDb, and they have a list of all the people who had everything, who have taken their own life. The list is vast. It’s page after page after page.
But, you know, it’s not only the rich and famous who are in despair. Christians seem so unhappy and so irritated and so discontented. Too many Christians sit in churches like this next to a person and think, I don’t think I can stay married to this person one more week. Too many parents think I don’t think I can take this kid one more week. And you ought to hear what your kids are thinking. We have the same fear loops, the same success scripts and success paths. We reach for the same things as the world to medicate our pain and heal our boredom and make sense out of our lives.
So, let me ask you this morning, what are you anxious about? What do you really care deeply about? What do you lie awake at night and toss and turn about? What do you obsess about? What do you micromanage about? What do you think you need to be okay? Those things are our attachments or, as we used to call them in church world, our idols. Because those are the things that we look to functionally, really, not when we’re in church speak, not when we’re in our Sunday best. Those are the things that we look to for our happiness and our security and our identity. Let me just give you this quote. It’s a little bit long, but I think this is so helpful for us to understand the world we’re living in right now. This is Anthony de Mello. He’s not a believer, but this is so profound. How do we form attachments? Listen to this.
“First, there’s contact with something that gives you pleasure: a car, an attractively advertised modern appliance, a word of praise, or a person’s company. Then comes the desire to hold on to it and to repeat the gratifying sensation that the thing or person caused you. Finally comes the conviction that you will not be happy without that person or thing…. If you look carefully, you’ll see that the one and the only thing that causes unhappiness is attachment.”
Is it any wonder we’re so unhappy? It’s not a mystery. “The one and only thing that causes unhappiness” [This is not a Christian] “is attachment.”
“It is composed of two elements, one positive and the other negative. The positive element is the flash of pleasure and excitement, the thrill that you experience when you get what you are attached to. The negative element is the sense of threat and tension that always, always accompanies the attachment. Think of someone gobbling up food in a concentration camp. With one hand, he brings the food to his mouth; with the other, he protects it from neighbors who will grab it from him the moment he lowers his guard. There you have the perfect image of the attached person.”
You see in the midst of our attachments, Jesus is knocking and he’s saying, “Let it go; there is so much more.”
“I counsel you buy from me gold …”
Real gold, not the fool’s gold of this world.
“refined with fire, so that you [may] be rich, [real garments] white garments so that you may clothe yourself and … your nakedness not be seen, [real security] to anoint your eyes so you [may] see” [Revelation 3:18].
Jesus is always offering us the great exchange. We can exchange the things in this world that the advertising megalopolis — wow, I said that word. That was amazing. Megalopolis. I’ll bet you can’t say it five times fast. I mean, do you realize that every moment of your day you are constantly being bombarded by a lie that says that wealth and stuff and security will make you happy? And it’s the lie that has been told since the beginning of time in the Garden. But we fall for it because it’s powerfully presented to us.
But Jesus comes, and he knocks on the door. And you know what’s surprising? He’s not coming with a stick. He’s coming with lunch.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
Who’s knocking? The One who came to rescue us from our attachments, the One who came to free us to be our true selves. And what does he want? Does he want you to open the door so he can whack you upside the head because he’s mad at you? If anyone opens the door, what’s going to happen? So many of us have lived in a penalty box for so many years because we have a nagging sense of failure and shame and guilt. And the last thing we want to do is open the door to Jesus because he’s going to bring a two-by-four. But what Jesus says, surprisingly even to the people at Laodicea, to the worst people. They may be worse than us!
“I stand at the door knock.”
And what I want to do is I just want to be with you. I want to be with you. Listen, if you’re a believer, you are not Jesus’s problem, and you are not his project. You are his son. You are his beloved. Being the beloved is the core truth of our existence, and every hour and moment of the day, Jesus is calling us out of this stupor of deception. It’s so unsatisfying. It just makes us mean and angry and disappointed. And Jesus calls us. It’s like the smell of bacon cooking in the morning. It’s like hearing the birds singing outside the window after a long winter. It’s like someone who is unspeakably dear that’s been away for way too long, and you hear their voice in your house. It’s like catching the scent of the sea and remembering, remembering that life is infinitely more than collecting T-shirts or Legos or investments or whatever else we’re collecting. We are such a collecting people.
Discipleship is ultimately about the encounter. The life with Jesus is not ultimately about information, though it involves information. It’s not ultimately about doctrine or theology, although that’s part of it. It’s about an event, an event that is offered to us every moment of our lives, including right now. Jesus described it like a treasure. A man is in a field, and he digs up a treasure. I don’t know if he had a degree about treasure-ology, but he saw a box full of money, and he went and sold everything. It’s an event. It’s about a man who was searching for pearls, and he finds one pearl that is superbly excellent, and he sells everything he has, and he buys it. It’s like the seed that’s always falling on the ground. Jesus is in the world re-seeding the world with truth and light and love, and that seed is always falling in our hearts. Are we receiving it?
When we do, our vision clears. We come out of the stupor. It’s like when I met my wife. Everyone had told me about my wife. All kinds of people said, “You’ve got to meet this girl.” Actually, the girl that we went to visit in Scotland is the one who introduced us. I love her so much because I remember the first time I saw my wife. I’d heard a lot about my wife, but then I saw her face. And then I’m a believer. You know, it’s one thing to hear about Jesus, to talk about Jesus, to study about Jesus, to read books about Jesus. And it’s another thing to live in an ongoing encounter with Jesus Christ. And that’s what the table represents.
It’s like the day Zacchaeus heard Jesus was coming. And he left his pride, and he ran. And he climbed a tree. Who climbs trees when you’re a businessman? He did. Guess what Jesus said before he even repented? Jesus said, “I’m coming to your house. I’m going to eat with you.”
Or like the day that Mary heard that Jesus was coming to her house, and Martha cooked a dinner. Mary went and got the most precious thing she possessed and took it in and broke it. She broke it. She poured it out on Jesus.
Or like the day the rich man met Jesus. And he was moved, his heart was moved toward Jesus. But he went away because he had great riches.
Or like the day the woman with the issue of blood saw Jesus coming and she said, “I’m going to go for it.” She grabbed the hem of his robe, and her life was changed forever. It’s an event. It’s an encounter.
You know, I talked before about the fact that there is currently no people movement to Christ that we know of in America. But there was one in our lifetime, in my lifetime, and it was called the Jesus People Movement. How many of you have heard of the Jesus People movement? You don’t have to raise your hand. That’s just rhetorical. But you should go back and study it. It was in the ’60s and ’70s. In the ’60s and ’70s, a whole generation of young people basically just checked out. They were completely unimpressed with the establishment, as they called it, because of the Vietnam War, because of racial injustice and a lot of other things. And they just said, “We’re out.” So, they turned en masse to sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and they just went off the reservation, grew their hair long, and my parents were pretty sure it was the end of the world as we know it. It was the worst thing that had ever happened.
But a funny thing happened in these … they called them hippies. If you’ve ever heard of Woodstock, that’s kind of like the quintessential moment. And a funny thing happened in the midst of all of this. They … wow! surprise, surprise! … found out quickly that all those things that they looked to for happiness weren’t doing it either. They became very disillusioned with everything, and in the midst of that, some of them found Jesus Christ, and they became obsessed with the Jesus of the Bible. They read the Bible, especially the Gospels, voraciously, and they fell in love with Jesus Christ, and they were radically changed. They started writing new music, and they got off the drugs, and they started telling everyone they knew. The one thing they didn’t do was cut their hair or clean up very much.
And so, most churches, the vast majority of churches in America said, “Yeah, we don’t want that.” [Throat Coat Tea break] But a few churches actually welcomed them in, and one of those churches was very close to where I grew up in Southern California. It’s a pastor named Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel. Chuck Smith is more like Peter Hubbard than almost anyone I’ve ever met because Chuck Smith loved to just preach verse by verse. I mean verse by verse by verse. Week after week after week, he would preach his favorite book. One of his favorite books was Romans. So, when the Jesus People movement started, Chuck was a young pastor in a warehouse in Costa Mesa, and he basically said I don’t understand it; I don’t know what this is; I see God working; come on in.
When that happened, he had about sixty people in his church. And I don’t have time to tell the whole story, but it got to one point at the height of the Jesus Movement, just in Chuck’s church, where, on average, two hundred young people were being saved every single week. Can you imagine if two hundred people were saved here every week? What would we do? And five hundred on average were being baptized every month. It was the greatest thing ever. They went down to the beach in Huntington Beach, and you would just see this vast crowd and people being baptized in the ocean. It was crazy.
And I remember one of my friends, Lori … I got a picture. It’s an old picture. Did you put it there? There it is. Lori is the girl in the middle with the bunny ears over her. These were my friends. We were so cool. Lori and her family were very into the Jesus Movement. You can tell. And Lori’s mom was very good friends with a group that was very formational called the Second Chapter of Acts, and she really introduced me to these people — Keith Green, like this whole world.
And there was one particular group that we really loved called Love Song. Love Song … If you can go Google or … the music thing. What did you say? Now, see, that’s what you say because you’re young. YouTube! It’s on YouTube! It’s not Spotify. I don’t watch Spotify. Do you watch Spotify? Okay. I’m young at heart. You can go on YouTube. Just look it up — Love Song. Their songs are ridiculous. They are so stupid. And I remember one time, Lori and I went into a concert with Love Song, and the power of the Spirit of God was so thick … It was about a venue about this big. When you walked in the back doors, it was literally like a strong wind was blowing out. I literally physically had to lean … and I wasn’t even a Christian yet … I had to lean against that wind to get into the building. And people were … I mean, go listen to their songs — they’re so stupid. And young people all over this room were on their faces, and they’re weeping and they’re bringing their drug stuff and putting it on the stage. It was amazing.
I remember Chuck Smith talking about the first time he met this group. They came to his church, and they rolled up in their Volkswagen vans because all these groups had Volkswagen vans. And they said, “Hey, man, we got saved a few weeks ago. We’ve been writing Christian music. We want to play it in your church.” He’s like, “Okay, why don’t you play a song for me?”
“Okay, man.” So, they go out to the van; they get their instruments; they come in, and they play this song. And Chuck Smith said that the Spirit of God just came down. He was just broken with this song. He said, “That’s great. He said we have a youth meeting tonight. Come and play.”
“Oh, man. Well, we got a guy. He’s still doing weekends for a hash charge. So, I don’t know if we can come tonight until he gets out.”
This is what was happening. But the Spirit of God was moving, and two million young people were swept into the kingdom of God, and tens of thousands of them are pastors and congressmen and all kinds of influential people today in America. This was a time when they were just hearing the knock of Jesus. And I’ll always remember that anything that they believed Jesus was calling them to do, they just did it. If they saw a guy walking by with no shoes, they took their shoes off and just gave them to him. It was comical sometimes. Sometimes they were three sizes too big, but they gave him the guy their shoes. They were radical and relentless, relentless in witnessing.
But they just didn’t cut their hair. So, a lot of Christians said, “We don’t want that. And you know what? When I look at our culture today, I see Gen Zs, and they’re checking out, too. They’re not turning to drug, sex, and rock and roll the way that generation did. They’re turning to other things. But they also feel a disaffection with the establishment and our obsession with material things. And this is a generation that’s ripe to meet Jesus Christ. But they’re not waiting for us to tell them how stupid they are and why they’re wrong. They’re waiting for us to tell them who they are and introduce them to the Jesus who loves them.
Surprisingly, life with Jesus is so much more than we thought. The table, the table tells us there’s more. Jesus is constantly inviting us, all kinds of people, to make the great exchange. And this is what it means, people, to attach ourselves to Jesus and not to money, stuff, and comfort. Like the woman at the well, Jesus said,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked, and he would have given you living water.” [John 4:10].
Jesus is saying to us, “If you only knew. If you only knew.” You think this garbage is going to make you happy and satisfied? If you only knew. He’s always knocking. Jesus said,
“Because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them … And we will come and make our home” [John 14:21, 23].
Make our home. It’s not just an idea. It’s not just a philosophy. It’s not just a set of morals. It’s not just Bible stories. It’s not just refraining from bad things. It’s being at home with the God of heaven. Jesus said,
“My sheep hear my voice … and they follow me” [John 10:27].
For me, the vast majority of time that I hear him, that I hear his voice, is when I’m reading the Word, when I read the Word with a heart that’s not just looking for information or a thought of the day, but saying, “Jesus talk to me, talk to me and I give you my “yes” before I ever read it. I give you my “yes.” And sometimes he talks to me through a friend a lot of times, through a song, through a sunrise. Sometimes he just talks to me.
A while back I was over at Universal Joint. This is something that happens to me not infrequently. It seems to happen a lot in restaurants for some reason. But I was over there with a couple of my kids and three of their friends, and I just felt like Jesus had something to say to me. I noticed our server. He seemed to be struggling. I said, “Jesus, what do you want to tell me about this man’s situation?” And so, he just started downloading ideas and thoughts and words into my mind. And I said to this young man, “You seem to be really, really down.”
He said, “Yeah, I am.”
I said, “I just have this sense.” I said, “Sometimes I think Jesus tells me things. I have the sense that your grandfather is desperately ill. And that he’s been ill for a long time, and it’s very heavy on you. And I have this sense that this past little bit of time has been especially difficult for you. I have a sense his name is John. Is that right?” You said. “Yeah, his name is John.” And I said, “I feel like you drove to work this morning and there was some thought in your head like, ‘God, if you don’t do something today, I’m done.’ And I don’t know what that means for you, but I feel like God has a message for you.”
He told me what he actually had said, which I can’t repeat because it was rough. I said, “I just want you to know God sees you. He cares for you. That’s why he told me this.”
I had a great interaction with that guy. He didn’t become a Christian right there. He was serving a lot of tables. But I know God put a touch on that guy. Now, that may not happen for you. That may be beyond what you’re comfortable with. It happens to me a lot. But the point isn’t about that. But the point is that Jesus designed us to hear his voice. If we’re just going to go follow principles, we can be Mormons or Buddhists. We were made for relationship. We’re not primarily moral beings, although we are that. We are primarily relational beings, and Jesus is knocking on the door, and he wants to have a relationship with you. So, do you hear him?
This morning we’re going to have communion. As we transition to communion, if you did not get the elements on your way in, just raise your hand, and our team will bring those around. Raise it high if you didn’t get it. You can take out your packets now. This is not those little ones that you flip the top. This is Matt Nestberg size. This is Texas size. Go ahead and take them out. Hear that beautiful rustling sound. Maybe that’s the Holy Spirit. Or maybe it’s plastic. Go ahead and pull those out. Don’t eat them yet.
So, why did we do communion this way? Well, first of all, you all know at the original communion, Jesus did not say, “Okay, boys, break that bread up as small as you can get it, and give him a dribble of juice.” Okay, we all know that’s not … I mean I know that’s what we’re used to, but there’s a reason.
First of all, we want to remind you that Jesus is satisfying. So, if you are actually hungry and you eat that little piece of bread, guess what? You’re not more full. You’re more hungry. So, that’s what we’re thinking, okay?
So, this is what we’re going to do. In a moment, the worship team is going to sing a song, a whole song over us. You have plenty of time. We have the larger portion because one of the ways that we get to hear the voice of Jesus is just slowing down and turning off the noise and making room for him to speak. So, if you eat the bread … and if you don’t eat the whole piece, it’s okay … but as you eat the bread, it’s designed to give you time. And as you’re eating the bread, this is what I want us to be thinking about.
What is the Holy Spirit calling you to exchange for the life of Jesus? What are you attached to? Would you dare even right now to start saying, “Jesus, show me what I’m attached to.” It may be money; it may be security; it may be a person; it may be bitterness. Some of us are super attached to disappointment. We’re just really disappointed with somebody or something. We just live in it, and we relish it, and we kind of eat it. We have conversations in our head.
Some of us are attached to our shame, our guilt, our victimhood. Some of us are attached to names people have called us since we were very small. Jesus wants to take all of that away. He offers us something more. He has another name for you. And it sounds like “Beloved.”
So, as the group, the team is going to sing, then the first thing is just take time, eat the bread, and as you’re eating it, just say, “Jesus, what attachment do you want me to release?” But then when you release something, he always gives you something in exchange. Always. And so, as you release that attachment, say, “Jesus, what will you give me in exchange?”
And then when you’re done with the bread, then you can take the cup, and it’s a lot more juice. And the reason there’s a lot more juice is that I want to remind you that the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient. So, whatever you’re feeling — conviction or shame or guilt or anything about — I just want you to know that right now, right here, right in this service, Jesus wants you to know that you’re completely forgiven. If you ask him for forgiveness, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
So, this is our opportunity to make a new beginning. And every time we have communion, it’s our opportunity to make a new beginning. But this is our opportunity to say, “You know what? I’m just so bored and tired and sick of this burden I’ve been carrying, this burden of attachment. And right here, right now, everything that’s in me as I eat the bread, I’m saying, ‘Jesus, I want to be with you. And I’m leaving the attachment behind.’”
So, Father, now as we have this time, just in your own time. No one’s going to stand up here and tell you when to eat. It’s just you and Jesus. As we have this time, Holy Spirit, come. Holy Spirit, come. Fill this room with your presence in Jesus’s name. Amen.
3 Identical Services: 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., or 5:00 p.m.