Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Kill the Family

This past Sunday we concluded our series called The Family and I talked about How to Kill the Family. Here's a transcript of the sermon in case you missed it: 


The Family—Week Five

We’re kind of finishing up this series that we’ve been calling The Family this morning, and I want to ask you guys a question.  Who is your favorite villain of all time? 

(Darth Vader)

Darth Vader.  That’s a good one right there.  Somebody else—favorite villain of all time. 

(Hans Gruber)

I don’t even want to know what that is. 

[LAUGHING]

(It’s Die Hard!)

Oh, that’s right.  Die Hard?

(Yeah)

Oh, okay.  He was a good villain, now that you mention it.  Captain Hammer?  Arm and Hammer? 

(No!)

You guys just don’t even know.  I’m thinking like the Joker, you know?  Common villains.  You guys have been telling me random people.  Why do I even ask you questions?  It’s so funny.  We all love villains.  I mean for the most part.  Actually, some of you have that dysfunction where you like the villain better than you like the hero in the story.  I remember Levi, when he was younger, always wanted to be the bad guy, and I’m like, “What is he going to grow up to be, a sociopath?  I mean what’s the deal?”  I think that’s just the pastor’s kid.  But he always loved the bad guy and wanted to be the bad guy.  We all love villains, you know?  We especially love villains like… Matthew and I were having a conversation this week while we were sitting in CVS waiting for our malaria pills to be filled for our Haiti trip that Liz and I are going on, and I said, “Matthew, who is your favorite villain of all time?”  And he thought about it for a minute and he goes, “It’s got to be the Joker.”  I’m like, “Well, you’ve got to tell me why is it the Joker?”  He goes, “Because the Joker is like purely evil but feels no guilt or remorse.”  Like in Batman, he just loves… Heath Ledger plays a fantastic villain and we love his character; we love what he does.  

But the truth is, even though we love villains, none of us wants to be the villain, right?  And the reason why you don’t want to be the villain is because villains are known for bringing death and destruction, and none of us wants to have a reputation for bringing death and destruction, do we?  I mean we don’t want people talking about us going, “Oh yeah, they want to take us all out,” you know?  None of us wants to have the reputation of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or some of the fictitious villains that we hear around.  Even though we like them, we don’t want to be the villain. 

But here is the deal.  Today we’re going to talk about something that really maybe you don’t even realize or not, and that is that even though we don’t want to be the villain, we actually, without even realizing it a lot of times, play the role of a villain in a church family and can cause destruction and not even realize that we’re doing it, because we do certain things that are destructive and we just don’t talk about that stuff and we don’t think about that stuff, and so we’re guilty of playing the villain in a church family and we don’t even realize we’re playing the villain in a church family, which is why today we’re going to talk about… Actually, I don’t ever say the title of my sermon, but I like the title.  We’re going to talk about “How To Kill The Family” today.  And some of you got really excited when I said that, because you’ve got that one family member that’s been driving you crazy and you’re hoping you can go all Dexter on them and kill them without anybody finding out about it.  But I’m not talking about that.  What we’re going to talk about today, actually, is little things that we can do and things that we maybe we don’t even know we’re doing that can kill our church family. 

Now we all know that there are things that we can do to kill our immediate family or to destroy our immediate family.  I mean I’ve kind of made a list this week of things that people do to hurt their families—their immediate families—like addictions or affairs or selfishness or disrespect.  I mean those are destructive things for our immediate families.  Some of you are carrying around scars because you experienced things like that in your immediate family and it messed you up for a while.  Some of you are still recovering from things like that that destroyed your immediate family.  But here’s the deal.  There are things that you and I can do individually that can have a destructive effect, not only a negative effect, but a destructive and deadly effect on our church family.  And if you’re here this morning and you’re not a Christian, some of the things that we’re going to talk about today, the reason you’re not a Christian is because you’ve seen Christians do some of the things that we’re going to talk about today.  And I understand that, because here’s the deal.  We’re not supposed to act like that.  We’re not supposed to do some of these things that we’re going to talk about.  And if we could fix this—if we could stop doing these things that hurt our church family, that kind of rip our church family apart, that can kill our church family—if we would quit that, then we would be so attractive to people who aren’t Christians.  Actually, I think they would want to spend more and more time with us.  So we’re going to talk about that. 

To set the stage, I want you to open up your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 1.  If you don’t have a Bible, we’re going to put just one verse up on the screen.  You can pull it up on your Bible app on your phone, because we’re going to look at something that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that was kind of a warning for them.  I don’t know if it’s a warning—just kind of a correcting statement to them—that I think is so relevant to us as kind of a warning, kind of a preventative statement that he says.  And before I read that, let me tell you a little bit about the church in Corinth because it’s important that you kind of know what’s going on in that church. 

Some of you are messy, but none of you are as messy as the people were at the church in Corinth, because what’s interesting about the city of Corinth—it was this melting pot of people from all over the world; it was a major trading city; and a bunch of pagans and then all of a sudden these pagans heard about Jesus and they became Jesus-followers.  So what you had is a bunch of Jesus-followers who were pagans before they were Jesus-followers, who made up the church in Corinth.  And since that was the case, all these pagans came to the church with a bunch of weird beliefs—a bunch of messed-up beliefs—and a bunch of very strange behaviors.  For instance, in the church in Corinth you had a guy who was sleeping with his mother-in-law and there was a group in the church who were like, “That’s kind of cool.”  I mean they were a little messed up, you know?  You had another group in the church, whenever they would gather together for worship, like they would treat the communion table as an all-you-can-eat buffet.  And there were others who would come and get drunk off the communion wine, which is why we serve grape juice, because I’m afraid some of you would get carried away, you know? 

[LAUGHING]

But seriously, that’s what was happening in the church in Corinth.  And then you had these other groups who were fighting against one another and talking bad about one another.  And you had one group saying, “Well, we follow Paul” and another group saying, “We follow Apollos” and another group saying, “I don’t know who we follow, but we don’t like any of them!”  And there’s all this stuff going on in this church.  I mean it’s just a messy, messy environment.  And it was to this messy church that Paul writes the letter of 1 Corinthians.  It’s really a fantastic letter that you should read, but I just want to read one verse out of chapter 1—it’s verse 10—because I think Paul writes something that we need to listen to.  It’s kind of a warning to us of what could happen if we don’t make sure we get rid of those things that can kill our church family. 

Look at what he says in verse 10.  He says, “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other.”  Now let me stop right there for a minute, because we need to think—what gives Paul the authority to appeal to the church in Corinth?  Well, what gave Paul the authority was that Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, which means that Jesus appeared to Paul face-to-face.  If you know the story, Jesus appeared to Paul while he was on the road to Damascus, turned his world upside-down, and he goes crazy.  But Jesus personally, face-to-face, called Paul to be an apostle, which means that Paul had the right and had the authority to actually command the Corinthian Christians to get along.  Paul had the right and the authority given to him by Jesus.  I mean it’s one thing for somebody else to say, “I’ve got authority,” but when Jesus gives you authority, I mean that’s pretty impressive, right?  Paul had been given authority by Jesus.  So he could have commanded the Corinthian Christians to get along.  He could have kind of powered up and puffed up and got all mean and bad and said, “You know what?  Get along or I’m coming to take you out.”  He had that authority from Jesus to do that.  But instead, what we see here is Paul does something completely different.  As he tells these Corinthian Christians who couldn’t get along to get along, to live in harmony with one another, he does that with love, because like we said, he begs them—he pleads with them—to get along.  He begs and pleads with them to live in harmony as a church family. 

And then he says this—the next sentence—he says, “Let there be no divisions in the church.”  Now we read that and we’re like, “Let there be no divisions?”  This is a church that’s full of divisions.  I mean all kinds of different people from all kinds of different backgrounds that had all kinds of weird, different beliefs filled the church in Corinth.  And Paul says, “Let there be no divisions in the church.”  The Greek word for “division” there is the word “schemata.”  We get our English word “schism” from that, and it means “to tear or to rend or to rip apart.”  So basically, what Paul is pleading with them to do is to stop ripping apart their church family—stop tearing apart their church family—that their church family is too important for them to be ripping it apart, because that is exactly what they were doing; they needed to stop it. 

But then look at what he says.  He says, “rather” or “instead”—instead of tearing one another apart, instead of ripping one another apart—instead of that, “Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”  Paul is basically saying, “Instead of tearing one another apart, instead of talking about one another behind each other’s back, instead of fighting over who is going to get communion”—it’s ridiculous, we think, but that’s what they were doing—“Instead of doing all these things that cause divisions, start thinking like one another.  Start having the same purpose.”  Now when we think “thinking like one another,” we think “cult” and “drinking the Kool-Aid,” don’t we?  That’s what we think, because we’ve seen so many weird things.  You think those people who show up at your door dressed in the white shirts and the ties, and they all have the same thinking process and they don’t seem to ever think on their own.  That’s not what it’s talking about here.  It’s not talking about having no thoughts of your own.  It’s talking about intentionally submitting your thoughts to a same kind of belief system where Jesus is the head of the church—he goes on later to talk about that—where Jesus is the head and you all think alike because you had the same purpose, the same goal.  That’s what he tells them to do. 

Well, I just think this is an incredible verse.  Actually, I came across it a couple weeks ago when I was doing my daily Bible reading and as soon as I read this verse, I paused, and I started thinking, “Okay, Paul says let there be no divisions in the church.  What are some things that could cause divisions in our church family here at Hub City?  What could cause divisions among us?”  And I started to make a list and then I said, “You know what?  I’m going to ask our leadership team.  What do they think are some things that could cause divisions in our church?  What do they think are some things that could really kill our church family?”  On Monday night, when we met, they kind of came up with a list, and I wanted to share their list with you—some things that I think if we’re not intentionally working against could kill our church family.  Look at what they shared.  I just used some of the ones that they mentioned. 

The first one is selfishness.  Now we know that, right?  I mean none of us like to be around selfish people.  They drain you dry, right?  I mean why?  Because they’re only thinking about themselves.  And some of you, right now, you’re thinking about yourself.  You are that person, you know?  Selfishness though—we know how damaging selfishness is to relationships.  We do not want to be around people who are selfish.  It’s the same in our church family.  Selfishness, where we think only of ourselves—where we think solely about ourselves—leads to all kinds of problems.  All kinds of problems.

Another way that we can kill the family—a lack of love.  A lack of love.  And you know why that can kill our church family?  Because Jesus says that the thing that should characterize us as His disciples is our love for one another.  Actually, Jesus, in His letter to the church in Ephesus, in Revelation, said the thing that He had against them is that they had lost their first love.  They had lost the love that they had for one another and the love that they had for Jesus.  He rebukes them for not loving one another.  And later on, in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul really says that if you don’t have love for one another, then anything and everything else you do is completely useless.  Like we could have had 10,000 or 20,000 people at Movies in the Park, but if we can’t love each other, then that’s just a waste.  It’s just a waste of time and a waste of space.  That’s how important love is.  A lack of love—it can kill our church family.

I’m going to give you another one.  Gossip.  This actually, I think, is the number one thing that destroys church families.  Gossip.  You know what gossip is, right?  It’s talking about something or someone instead of talking to someone about something.  That’s what it is.  And here’s the truth.  We all do it, don’t we?  We all do it.  I know that you’re going to go home and you’re going to talk about me, you know?  That’s just how it happens.  It’s cool.  But what happens when you talk about someone or something instead of to someone about something is we unintentionally—we don’t mean to do this a lot of times—we drive a wedge in between the person we’re talking to and the person we’re talking about.  It happens all the time.  We’re influencing the person we’re talking to about the person we’re talking about and we’re driving a wedge.  It divides.  It rips apart.  Gossip is dangerous, man.  It’s dangerous. 

Here’s another one—another way to kill a family.  Not prioritizing the family.  Think about it.  If you have an immediate family and you have an absentee dad or an absentee mom, you can’t have a healthy family with an absentee dad or an absentee mom.  It leads to dysfunction, right?  It’s the same in our church family.  If you have a church family member who is absentee… And here’s the tension is to think, “Well, I’m just one person and there are 100 people here.  One out of 100 is not that big of a deal.”  Actually, it’s a huge deal, because each one of you has a specific part to play in our church family, and when you’re not playing your part, the whole family suffers.  That’s why this not prioritizing the family could be very, very dangerous.  

Here’s another one.  We did a whole series on this a few months ago.  Not forgiving or not overlooking small things.  As Christians, we really should be habitual forgivers, right?  I mean we have been forgiven by God for all of our sins.  And since we have been forgiven, we should continually be dishing out forgiveness to one another.  But instead, what we do a lot of times is we hold onto grudges.  But bitterness and resentment and unforgiveness—man, that can kill a church family.  That can kill a church family.  Some of you have experienced that in a church family.  You know how dangerous that is. 

Let me give you another one.  Disrespect.  And really, when you think of disrespect, the way I define disrespect—it’s how we talk to one another or how we talk about one another.  Disrespect, a lot of times, has to do with tone.  If you are a parent and have a teenager, you know exactly what I’m talking about, because they can be saying all the right words but their tone is so disrespectful that it’s not… They’ve disrespected you even though they’re saying the right thing.  It’s how you say stuff.  Have you ever thought about how you come across to people?  I’m always fascinated by listening to people and listening to them talk to one another.  People can come across so mean and they don’t even realize it a lot of times.  They don’t even realize they’re being disrespectful.  We’ve got to do some self-assessment here.  Are we doing that?  Actually, did that picture come through, Clay, that I had on the notes?

(Yep)

It did?  Okay, put it up there.  It’s up there.  Thank you.  This was on Facebook.  I don’t like most of the stuff on Facebook, but I thought this was cool.  10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion.  90% are due to the wrong tone of voice.  When I saw that as I was working on this sermon, I thought that was a great description of what it means to be disrespectful to one another.  How we talk to one another is so, so important. 

Look at the next one.  It’s unconfessed sin.  I don’t know if you realize this or not, but did you know that your individual sins impact the entire church family?  Did you realize that?  Like you thought they were secret.  We think that a lot of times.  But our individual sins actually have an impact outside of our individual lives.  And your individual sins can impact the entire church family.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect and never sin to help out your church family.  Not at all.  What it means though is that we need to develop a habit as followers of Jesus where we’re confessing our sin and repenting of our sin, because the truth is all of us are sinful, right?  We sin all the time.  I’ve had a little anger this week.  Not towards Jason—I don’t have any anger towards you—just the whole situation.  You know the stages of grief?  I feel like I’m working through the stages of grief.  One of the stages of grief is anger and I promise you… Some guy cut me off… Actually, I was driving to Movies in the Park last night.  No lie.  And this punk teenager in a little sports car pulled up behind… I’m such a bad person.  I’m sorry.  But he was riding my bumper like—I’m not lying—that far from my bumper, and I… If I wasn’t going to Movies in the Park, I would have slammed on my brakes.  I had the projector in the back so I knew it would mess up the projector for Movies in the Park.  But I was just angry with him for riding so close to my bumper when there was no reason for him to.  And I’m usually not like that, you know?  So I had to say, “God, I really need to confess that as a sin.  It’s okay if that person gets in an accident in the next five minutes, but God, I just confess my anger as a sin.”  Just being real.  But the thing is all of us sin, right?  I mean that’s just stupid.  I know.  But we’ve got to develop this habit of confession and repentance so that we don’t let unconfessed sin get in the way of our family, because it can kill our church family. 

And the last thing is unrealistic expectations.  This is true in every area of life, right?  I mean when Liz and I had premarital counseling, the only thing I remember from premarital counseling was the advice that the guy said—the pastor, his name was Bob.  Bob said, “You know what?  Okay, lower your expectations.  If I can give you one piece of advice, just lower your expectations.”  That is fantastic advice because here is the deal.  Most conflict that Liz and I have has to do with unrealistic expectations.  It does.  It just has to do with unrealistic expectations.  And I think a lot of conflict in churches comes about because we have unrealistic expectations.  Like some people think that they’re looking for a perfect church, and there’s no such thing as a perfect church.  So having unrealistic expectations can kill a church family. 

Each one of those things on that list can kill a church family.  That’s why we need to guard against those things.  And when we do that we can do what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:10.  I’m going to read the verse again and look at what he says one more time.  “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be…” how many divisions? 

(None)

“…no divisions in the church.”  And then read this last sentence out loud to me.  “Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”  Actually, let’s all read it out loud this time, okay?  Here we go.  “Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”  Now we read that and we’re like, “Well, that’s really good.  Thanks, Paul.  Appreciate that.”  But the question is “How?”  How do we do this?  How can we be of one mind, united in thought and purpose?  Well, thankfully Paul tells us in another one of his letters. 

In the book of Ephesians 4:2 we read this.  Look at what Paul says.  And really, he’s telling us how we can be united.  Instead of working to kill the family, how can we work to bring about health in our church family?  Look at what he says in verse 2:  “Always be humble and gentle.”  Now that’s a fine sentence, except for the first word, right?  “Always be humble and gentle.”  We want other people to always be humble and gentle, but we don’t really want to be humble and gentle all the time.  But Paul says, “Always be humble and gentle.”  But what does it mean to be humble?  What does that mean?  A lot of times when we think of being humble, we think that we need to think bad about ourselves or think less about ourselves like, “Woe is me”—that’s being humble.  That’s just another form of pride really.  That’s not being humble.  Being humble is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.  And the reason you’re thinking of yourself less is because you’re thinking of others, which is why in another one of his letters Paul kind of defines for us what humility is.  Look at Philippians 2:3-4.  He says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble”—and here it is—“thinking of others as better than yourselves,” to which we write, “But they’re not better than me,” right?  I mean how often do we think that other people are better than us?  We don’t.  We think we’re better than other people, don’t we?  It’s something we have to intentionally do.  That’s why he says, “thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests”—which is what we often do—“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”  That’s what it means to be humble.  So he says, “Always be humble.” 

But then he says, “and gentle.”  What does it mean to be gentle?  Well, I think that being gentle, it’s like this.  When we speak to other people in a way that doesn’t make them feel worthless and like crap.  Like you have all… When we speak to one another and we add value to their life, that’s what it means to be gentle, even if we’re saying something hard.  Like you’ve had both experiences before in your life where someone who was in authority over you speaks to you—whether it’s a boss or a teacher or a parent—and they speak to you in such a way and they correct you in such a way that makes you feel good about yourself even though you just got corrected.  They make you feel good about yourself.  But you have others that speak to you in such a way and you walk away feeling horrible about yourself.  You feel worthless.  That’s not being gentle.  But being gentle is being able to speak to others where you add value to them, saying hard things to them but in a way—that goes along with the tone—that makes them feel good about themselves.  Actually, this is such an important thing that in the book of Proverbs, Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, said this about it.  In chapter 15:1 he says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”  Now we know that.  We’ve experienced that.  Some of you experienced it at work this week with your boss when they were harsh to you.  But some of you experienced it in a way where somebody said something kind of hard to you but they said it in a gentle way and you weren’t angry about it.  That’s how Paul says we need to act. 

Well, he goes on:  “Always be humble and gentle.”  And then he says, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  Now we want other people to be patient with us, right?  I mean honestly.  And we want other people to make allowances for our faults, don’t we?  I mean don’t you want someone to make allowance for your faults?  We do.  But we don’t want to do that to other people so often.  But Paul says that we need to be the ones that are patient with other people and we need to be the ones that make allowances for one another’s faults, which is exactly… I’ll go back to Proverbs and read something else that Solomon wrote.  In Proverbs 19:11 he wrote, “Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.”  I love that.  They earn respect by overlooking wrongs.  This is the same thing that Paul says, that we, as a church family, if we want to be healthy, we need to cut each other some slack, right?  And you know why we need to cut each other some slack?  Because we need people to cut us slack sometimes, don’t we?  We all mess up.  We all do dumb things.  We all say things we wish we… I mean if I haven’t made you mad yet, just hang out at Hub City a little bit longer.  I probably will, you know?  I’ll probably do something to upset you, say something dumb.  Some of you are mad because I said “crap” earlier, you know?  I’m going to do something to upset you.  I guarantee you.  I promise.  That’s why we need to make allowances for each other’s faults—because we’re all faulty; we all make mistakes.  And you know, when we do that, it keeps us from holding onto grudges.  It keeps us from coming to that place where we don’t forgive others. 

Look at verse 3.  He says this—finishes up his instructions—“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”  What’s incredible about this verse to me is that what Paul commands us to do as Christians—as followers of Jesus—is to do our part individually to keep the church corporately united and at peace with one another.  We—each one of us—has an individual part to play to keep our church as a family united and at peace with one another.  And that word “peace” is a relational term—that we are relationally at peace with one another as a church family.  See, not only do we as individuals sometimes do things that could kill our church family, but we as individuals can intentionally do things that contribute to the health of our church family.  And that is exactly what I want to happen with those of us who consider Hub City Church our family. 

I came across a quote.  I got distracted and didn’t write down where I got the quote, so I’m just telling you I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I stole it from somebody else.  But I just love this.  It says this:  “Believers must sense the need for the health of the church and take personal responsibility for it’s maintenance”—I love that—“take personal responsibility for its maintenance.  This is such a needed truth in our day of individual rights and privileges and personal preferences.  Believers are personally responsible for the corporate health and vitality of Christ’s body.”  Christ’s body is just the church.  “This means you.  Only active submission to the good of the whole can maintain peace.”  That is a fantastic quote.  If you want that… Actually, some of you, you need to email me and get that quote and like print it out and put it on your dashboard to remind yourself of that.  I mean it’s so good, because we all have a part to play in contributing to the health of the family. 

So here’s what I want you to do.  In light of all that we’ve talked about, in light of what Paul says, where he says, “Don’t let there be any divisions among you.  Don’t rip one another apart.  Don’t tear one another apart.  But live in harmony.  Be united.  Be humble and gentle.  Always be humble and gentle…” In light of all that Paul says, I want you to do two things this week as homework, okay?  This is it.  And you might want to write these down to remind you.  The first thing I think you need to do in light of what we’ve talked about is that I think you need to repent and ask God to forgive you for the times you’ve done those things that could kill the church family, like maybe go back to that list that we mentioned—those things like gossip and disrespect and lack of love and unforgiveness and unrepentant sin and all that kind of stuff—and spend some time confessing that sin to God… confessing your part in the problem to God.  I really want you to do that.  I want you to be a people who habitually ask for forgiveness, because we all need it.  And I think we need to ask for forgiveness for those times that we have all done things that could kill the family.  That’s one thing I want you to do. 

But then the second thing I want you to do this week is I want you to commit to doing your part individually to make our church family as a whole healthy.  I want you to do that.  I want you to commit to doing your part individually so that our church as a whole, as a family, can be healthy.  And some of you, you need to think about whether you want to make that commitment, right?  I understand that.  But others of you, you’re ready to make that commitment today.  And so here’s what I want those of you who you’re ready to make that commitment today, here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to take your commitment card—your little connection card that’s in your bulletin—and I want you to pull it out, and on the bottom of it where there are some lines, I just want you to write a simple statement—“I commit to do my part to make my church family healthy.”  Here’s what I know about commitments.  When we make commitments, actually God grows us spiritually whenever we make commitments.  He does.  That’s one of the main ways He grows us spiritually—when we commit to do things.  And I want us to be a church family that’s committed to the health of one another.  And that happens when we decide to do what Paul says in these verses. 

So let me pray for us.  God, thanks for today.  Thanks for letting us talk about this.  I am so grateful for our church family and I really do believe we are healthy and I thank you that we don’t have the divisions like they had in Corinth, that you really are helping us to get along.  But we know that we have an enemy who is out to kill and to steal and to destroy, and that Satan wants nothing more than to destroy Hub City Church.  But we don’t want to let him do that.  So would you give us the wisdom and the courage to do our part so that we can individually contribute to the health of our entire church family?  Whenever we’ve done things that actually are damaging to our church family, would you convict us of that sin and help us to confess that sin?  And I thank you that you say that if we confess our sin that you are faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I just want to tell you thank you for this church family.  I really do love them and I want what’s best for them and what’s best for us so that we, as a church family, can bring as much glory and honor to you as possible.  We love you.  It’s in Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen. 















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