After a few weeks of deliberation I finally checked out a church that a friend* told me about. It was so good and the message came at such a good time. I didn't plan on taking notes but I did and so this post are my thoughts of what the pastor dude said that I think is very applicable to my own young adults group** at this time.
I want to say that why I thought this was a timely word for me is because of the emphasis on community and fellowship in the context of pursuing God and holiness. I think this is timely for us, as a YA group, because as summer approaches we need to really put one another above ourselves. We need to be family, which is the first of four points that was discussed.
Put relationship before results, people before product. and connectedness before collectiveness (as in, it's the quality of the people you invest in and not about the quantity of people you know). Are you a consumer or a contributor? This is important to note because family is who you're stuck with, and no matter what may arise you have to be there for the family. A common example is dining at a restaurant; you can feel free to critique the place: was the food cold? Did the server ignore you? Was the room too dark? You can complain and go somewhere else, but dining with your famil doesn't really allow that. If your mom or dad cooks something, you can't just send it back to the kitchen and get something else. More than that, it's expected that you will help out with the dishes and setting-up or cleaning up the table. Everyone is actively involved.
In church we have areas that need to be done (stage set-up/tear-down, clean up, lights, etc). Most of the time it's waiting to be asked to do something, but maybe Love tells us to actively see if there is something we can do to help out. We come to church and receive, but there are those who are also working behind the scenes. Let us remember them as we look for opportunities to serve, not only on Sunday mornings but also in our times together throughout the week. This is what a life lead by love looks like, right?
Another point about family is the connectedness. I was told a long time ago that "no man is an island" and we are not meant to be alone. Luke 8:29 offers a suggestion that it is not healthy to seek solitude. Is there someone we haven't seen in a while? Text them, ask them what's up and how their week is going or just let them know that you thought of them. You'll be glad that you did! Love lets others know they are not alone.
This was an important one because although we share in the big events, we need to remember also that the little things in life need to be celebrated. Our words need to be encouraging, and not just when situations are dire but also when things are well! Let us rejoice in others' successes. Did someone win Rolll Up The Win? AWESOME! Let's celebrate. Maybe too many of us think that some things are not worth celebrating, I thought this way, but reading scripture I get a fresh perspective on rejoice in everything. Paul says again, rejoice! Something I remember when I was just a kid was having family get-togethers Sunday afternoons, and everyone would bring a food item and share all we had with each other. That was fun!
Also to keep in mind when having fun: Rules before relationship will result in resentment, but relationship before rules produce results. Therefore, it is important to establish consequences before they're crossed. (or maybe this paragraph belongs in the next point...hmmm)
Say whaaat?! - It's not a question of if there's going to be a fight but when. How we deal with conflict is key in relationships, important to confront conflict head-on; too often if we have a problem with someone we will tell other people instead, and what happens is we may resolve the issue with that person but now everyone you told still thinks there's conflict. A chattering fool comes to ruin, so when a problem arises between you and someone you need to be frank with them. Frank is your friend when you do it with the right heart, in the right time, at the right place. think of to who's benefit this is going towards (for the family). Reconciliation. We are called to make peace. A solid point on Responding vs. Reacting that I want to dedicate a post to later (hopefully that happens - stay tuned!)
Something that I'm applying in my life is to bring solutions, not problems. What this means is if there is something that you don't like or want to complain about, be sure to include how you are going to improve it. A line I remember from the film Up In The Air is "it's only a problem if you have a solution." - The last thing I wrote down is we need communicate. Communicating is listening to the heart of the individual and not talking first. It is not about #winning an argument.
The final (and maybe funnier) point was... Forgive
Anyway, this sermon came at the right time because I've been meditating a lot about what our group should look like. I want to share with you this sermon that has really got the ball rolling in this area of loving and encouraging each other. Are we going to put God and his kingdom first above everything else?
Thanks for reading all this (unless you just scrolled to the bottom, you lazy :P But that's okay! Because I know you are going to at least watch this vid from Francis Chan, who is challenging me to really go all out. Love it!
So. Let's not just be hearers of the word but doers, too. What do you say???
*Shout out to Dalini (who, BTdubs, makes an excellent usher BUT has yet to set up a Twitter account)
** Shout out to the Woodvale crew who made it out that night too, this post is for you! (and that rhyme was free, a gift from me!) - Actually I wrote it with all my YA fam in mind and heart, so please be sure to let me know your thoughts!