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Jesus Over Everything Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-19

By Stuart Mains

April 2, 2023

Thank you for checking out this sermon. If you are moved by what you hear and are in the Boston area, consider visiting in person!

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Well, it's great to be with you again. Darryl Owens was going to lead that time of restoration, but he is sick and so that's why you're seeing me two times. But you get to see me again, so hopefully that's not too discouraging. But it's good to be together. I want to tell you I love you. I love coming to church. I love being with you. After I said I love you, there was not a response back. But I want you to know that even though you didn't say it initially, I still feel it okay? So that didn't go away. That feeling still there. But I love this church. I love being a part of this church. If you're visiting our church for the first time or the unteenth time, you came to an amazing place that is family and hopefully you felt that whenever we have fellowship times, it's hard to get everybody back to actually sing the songs. Everybody loves talking to one another so much, but we are such a tight knit family and I couldn't be more grateful to be a part of it. I love how much you love my wife and I I love and feel how much you love our children and I cannot wait to see what God does over the years through our partnership.

But I deeply, deeply love you and I'm so excited to be a part of this church. Let's start off with a word of prayer. Dear God, we thank you for the community that we have. God, we know and recognize that you are an amazing, amazing God. As we were just singing. God, you are a God that does things and sees things and understands things that are so far beyond each and every one of us. God, thank you that you placed us here. God, your word says it's not by chance that we're here. God, thank you for the ways that you constantly show yourself to us, the ways that you make it known that you exist, that you created all things. God, we thank you as we celebrate Palm Sunday as the world awoken to the idea that you are the King, you are Lord over all things God, we understand that just like the people, our hearts can be fickle in one moment. We're worshiping you as King and as Lord, and then a couple of days later, you're being crucified. And yet, God, we recognize that you truly are Lord, and we pray, we desire to lift you up in our lives in ways that we can only imagine. We love you in Jesus name, amen.

Amen. Today is Palm Sunday. How many of you know what Palm Sunday is all about? Raise your hand if you know what it's about. Yeah, we as a congregation don't traditionally celebrate Palm Sunday. It's something that is a little bit rare for our fellowship. But as I'm here, we're going to celebrate it every year. Amen. You guys got to lighten up a little bit. You guys are a little low energy right now, but it is a time of celebration. We'll read a passage of Scripture that describes it and talks about it. But this idea and the concept of Palm Sunday is all about Jesus being recognized as King above all that, really, to this time, he had shown Himself, presented Himself to different people we know with the Samaritan woman at the well, he said, yeah, it's me. I am the Messiah. And throughout the time that he was here in his ministry, he would reveal that he was, but it wasn't necessarily a total culmination or obvious thing to the world at large until this one moment when he came in as King over Israel. And so this idea of the Triumphal entry, the Palm Sunday is that they used and they celebrated that he was King as he came in to Jerusalem. We'll read that in a second.

But, you know, Jesus, the idea of Jesus and the concept of Jesus is something that each one of us has our own perspective of who Jesus is. And if you zoom in to certain parts of the Scripture, you'll have different understandings of who Jesus is. Some of us have grown up in churches, and we think of Jesus as a radical person. We think of Him as crazy and wild. We think of Him as someone that is really just out of touch. Other of us think of Him as someone that was more the one that held the baby lamb, the you lamb, right? That he was this peaceful guy. He was tender and he was soft. He was someone that never really got upset. He was always at peace. I don't know if you know those people that are just I don't want to pigeonhole people. They don't all probably eat at Whole Foods, but people that eat Whole Foods that do, like yoga and meditation and essential oils and talk in low voices, and that kind of we kind of have that that version of Jesus, that he was an essential oil kind of Jesus, right?

He was kind of a granola version of Jesus. And then still others of us have the scholarly version of Jesus, that he was a rabbi. And if you know anything about culture, you knew that he had to go through rigorous training memorization of the entire Old Testament. Right. He knew God's words and what the prophets had said. And so you have more of this kind of stiff Harvard type version of Jesus. I recognize we have people from Harvard, and I don't think you're all stiff. I just think some of you are okay pictures and you tell me what you think it is. What do you think you're looking at right now? Okay, I hear a loud carpet. Do I have anything else? A toothbrush. Do you say a tostada? What did you say? Josiah. Not tostada a josiah. You think that's Josiah? That's not good.

All right, that is actually go to the next one. That's pages of a book. All right, next one. Looks like a diamond. Could be salt. All right, what is it? It's a grain of sugar. Just one? Just one grain of sugar. All right, let's go to the next one. What is that? That gives me the heebie jeebies. I don't know about you, but that some kind of fiber of something. All right, go to the next one. Just stalk of an apple. Next. Now, when I looked at this, I thought this was a drone shot of like a forest. You with me? Like, it kind of like from the top looking down. Do you know what this is? You said someone said a flower. All right, next slide. It's a paintbrush. All right, next one. When I looked this initially, I was like, this better not be like earwax or something. What is this? It's a grain of sand. All right, that's it for those.

If you zoom in to any one story of Jesus, you miss the whole picture of Jesus. If you zoom into any one idea, then you don't have a holistic understanding. Jesus is both grace and truth. Jesus had a side to Him where he could have righteous indignation they call it. Righteous anger. Yes, Jesus got furious at times. We also understand that he was gracious, and he would at times infuriate the religious with his grace and his love and the way that he was kind and engaging with people that didn't seem to deserve it. Jesus had both sides of Him. And however you are coming in, I want you to recognize, because we're going to look at a passage of scripture here that can be confusing for people and it can be disorienting if you don't fully understand that we've got to take all the stories of Jesus to understand the man that Jesus is and was and how he lived on this earth. If you turn your Bibles to Matthew 21, verse one, we're going to read a section here from one to verse 17. So get ready for a little bit of reading here.

But it says, "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage," we'll go with that. I don't know how you say that, but that works. I looked up quite a few different times and I couldn't figure it out. Okay. "On the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, go to the village ahead of you and at once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them and he will send them right away. This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet. Say to daughter Zion, see, your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the foul of a donkey. The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest heaven. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, who is this? The crowd answered, this is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. Jesus then entered the temple courts and drove out" look at this change of pace. "Drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. It is written, he said to them, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers. The blind and a lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chiefs and the priests, teachers of the law, saw the wonderful things he did, and the children shouted in the temple courts, hosanna to the Son of David. They were indignant. Do you hear what these children are saying? They asked him. Yes, Jesus replied. Have you never read from the lips of children and infants, you, Lord, have called forth your praise. And he left them and went on to the city of Bethany, where he spent the night."

You see, we come into the story of Palm Sunday. It's a story where he is entering Israel. He's coming in behind the temple on the Mount of Olives, and he's entering into the city. And at that time, they start chanting, hosanna in the highest. Hosanna being directly, Save us or Save me. It was said only to a Lord or to a deity, to a god. Hosanna. Meaning, God save us. Lord save us. Why were they saying this? They were oppressed by the romans that had entered into Israel and had done all kinds of terrible things to them. We've talked many times in this church about the culture that was there, and there was a tension of, when is the messiah going to come and save us from this terrible life that we're living under the Roman government? And so as he's coming in, they're praising him and chanting out, hosanna hosanna. And he you see, to say it many times, this was what the prophet had said. This is what the prophet has said immediately, as he enters, though, into the temple courts, he comes in and sees what's taking place. He comes in and recognizes that immediately this place of worship was a place that they called a den of thieves. You see, in order to worship at that time, as God had decreed, you needed to sacrifice for your sins, and so you would come in. And this was during the festival of the Passover. So there were foreigners from all over the place here in Israel, and so they came into the temple in the outer courts, and they were exchanging money. Now, why were they exchanging money? They were exchanging money because they had a man made law in order for the temple to make more money, that said you couldn't buy a sacrifice with any coins that had a deity that was not the Lord on the coin. So if it had Julius Caesar on the coin, well, that money's no good. That money can't buy sacrificial things because that's an idol. It's a false god, and we can't have that purchasing these sacrifices to God. And so they exchanged the money, but they had exchanged the crazy exchange would get wealthy off of the exchange of the money. For every $1 that you give, it actually cost, it was $3 that you had to give for that $1 exchange back to you. And so just like going to a movie theater, trying to buy popcorn, that popcorn at the grocery store is like, fifty cents a bag, you with me? But then at AMC, it's like $11.75. And they try to tell you, right? They try to be like, yeah, free refills. Whoever is eating free refills on this gargantuan bucket, the campus ministry goes, yeah, well, we have 20 people eating off of this, so we definitely get free refills. But if anyone family is even having refills, I mean, it's crazy. It's so much popcorn, but $11.75 for really fifty cents, sixty cents of popcorn. In the same way they were exchanging this money, they were swindling them out of money. In order to worship God, you had to make this sacrifice, though.

So you have these people in this courtyard, guilty, feeling all kinds of stuff about their sin, recognizing that they're there. I don't know how you are with travel, but I'm not great with travel. If they've traveled from all other parts of town to come into this, they're stressed out from travel, especially if you got kids when you're traveling. Oh, dear Lord, help us. They're coming in, they're trying to worship God. What would you feel coming into worshiping God and having that exchange rate be what it was? Then you finally get the two pigeons or whatever you're going to use, and then it's just pandemonium and loud sounds.

Nothing about it was meditative, nothing about the spirit of what was happening was this very overly worshipful moment. It was loud, it was intense, it was full of anxiety. Jesus comes in after seeing authentic worship of these people chanting hosanna, laying down their cloaks and palm leaves before Him as king, and then he comes into the place that is His Father's house, where there's supposed to be great worship, and all he sees is anxiety, stealing, religiosity, problems, issues. There was nothing to be found as to what he would expect to happen in God's house. So he comes into this situation and in other versions of God's scriptures, it says that he made a whip. We don't see it here, but he definitely I believe that the Gospels give us a full picture. So you've got Jesus now making a whip, flipping over tables. What must that been like? This isn't the ewe lamb Jesus that just is soft and fluffy anymore. He's flipping tables. Coins are going everywhere. I'm sure the animals were going nuts. He's taking a whip. I don't think it doesn't say anything about Him whipping people. Amen. But he's whipping tables.

I mean, this would have been a wild scene. Your version of Jesus, if you saw Him do this, would have probably been flipped on its head. But what made Jesus angry? What made Jesus angry like that was inauthentic worship. What made Jesus infuriated was when the worship of God was not authentic worship. When it was about so many other things other than a connection with God. When they're laying down the palm leaves and the cloaks before Him and he's riding on the donkey colt, he's not going, no, stop doing that. What are you doing? It was the right order of things, it was the right time, it was the right things to even say and share and praise. And yet when he saw what was happening in the temple, he flipped out.

We're looking at two concepts here quickly. The first thing is we must have authentic worship over sacrifice. Authentic worship over sacrifice. As Jesus is interacting in this way and flipping these tables, what these people were trying to do was go and sacrifice to God. What they were trying to do is connect with God. But there was barriers, there was a disconnect, there was an inability to be able to do it because it had become so man focused, so money centric, that there was no place for God anywhere. When it comes to our worship, God expects us to sacrifice. It's not that I'm saying we need to worship over sacrifice. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that we're not going to have to sacrifice. But the reason that we sacrifice matters. When my children obey me and listen to me, it matters why they do that. The last thing I want. You ever seen the movie Get Out? The movie Get Out is all about these guys that their brains are replaced and they are constantly trying to give cues to other people that they are not themselves, and that something's really off. And so it looks like everything's just fine, but then every once in a while, they just stare at somebody. It's a freaky movie. If you're not in the thrillers, don't watch it. But it's just kind of like, yeah, I'll go along with whatever. And then every once in a while, they just stare at the main character. Or the Stepford Wives. You ever heard of Stepford Wives? All the campus goes, what are you talking about? But the rest of us understand what I'm talking about. Where it's just pleasantville, where it's just the wives are obedient. They do exactly whatever they're supposed to do, and they cook, and they're just prim and proper, and they never step out of line.

This idea of just being controlled into doing what God wants you to do is not what we're talking about. The idea of being controlled into doing something in your relationship with God is not what we're talking about. We're talking about you having an authentic worship before God that says, I want to worship you. I want to connect with you. I want to do whatever it's going to take. And if it takes sacrifice, sure I'll do it. But that's not the emphasis of my walk with you. But too often we have this idea that our sacrifice or the things that we do are going to be the means of our relationship. And so we have this concept or this idea of, I've got to do all this stuff in order to connect with God. And God is saying time and time and time again, yeah, I understand sacrifice is necessary, but it's not about the sacrificing. It's about relationship. It's not about just doing the right stuff. It's about connection with me.

There are more people studying the Bible right now in the downtown region that are investigating their faith in trying to figure out what it means to be a disciple and if they are a disciple yet or if they still need to become a disciple. This has been one of the most inspiring times in years, seeing people come and say, I want to get my act right with God, and I want to know what I'm doing. But the number one thing that we face as we're trying to help you become Christians is to stop making it about all the stuff you're supposed to do and make it about relationship with God. Make it about connection with God, about loving Jesus Christ above all else. About Him being the priority of your life, him being the emphasis of your life. If he is the emphasis, then what comes out of you is sacrifice. What comes out of you is authentic worship. What comes out of you is of course, I want to please and give to God. And yet too many of us are worried about the stuff that we're doing or not doing, saying that's disqualifying our relationship with God and from us connecting with God. And God's going, I want to have a relationship with you. I could care less right now of all the stuff you're doing. If you don't have a relationship, even if you're doing all the right things, it still is not what I'm looking for.

In Hosea 66, the Prophet Hosea is a whole story written about the relationship that God wants to have with his people. But he feels like his people are cheating on him, like a spouse cheating on their husband or wife. And so he's saying, I want a connection and it feels like you're cheating on me. He describes in Six Six, for I desire mercy, not sacrifice. An acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. He's saying, I want mercy, I want connection, I want love. I want to know you. And people made it all about the stuff they were doing.

This becomes a trend for many of us. If we've been around the church for any length of time, the stuff that we do becomes all that we are as Christians versus the relationship. I was talking to my wife. I love going to Starbucks. And I love normal pike place. Now, if you are a real coffee connoisseur, you scoff at me. Brian Fisher is a connoisseur of coffee. He's like, it's burnt and the undertones are disgusting. That's kind of how he rolls, right? My wife worked there for three years. She's like, nobody really comes for pike place like that's the disgusting, burnt, normal coffee. I was like, Why? I do every day. That's pretty much how I roll. But the reason I like it is because I drink it almost every day. And I love it so much because it's comforting. It's what I do. It's the flavor that I expect to get. Is it good? I don't know. I think so. But everyone's telling me how bad it is, but I like it. The other thing that people get into is kombucha. That got a sigh. Kombucha is an acquired taste. The people that love kombucha who shop at Whole Foods, no, but the people that love kombucha swear by kombucha. I mean, you want to talk to someone that comes off like an evangelist. Talk to someone that likes kombucha, they're like, Try it. You smell it, you're like, this is going to make me vomit. But through consistent use, they actually like it. Beyond that, they crave it and they desire it. If you continue to worship God in the wrong ways, you will start to crave it and desire it, but it will not fulfill you in the way that authentic worship should.

And so you start to do this, and this becomes worship. Showing up, just showing up. Just showing up to church. I show up to church. That's my sacrifice. I got up. You don't know what I was doing last night. I was up to like 03:00 a.m. I can't believe I'm here. My eyes are bloodshot, but I'm here, okay? I'm here and I'm ready. And that becomes worship for you. Just being around church, disconnected, falling asleep, yawning a lot, not hearing what the word of God's saying, but here. And so I showed up. And I'm not here to beat anybody over the head. I'm happy that you're here, but that's not the whole thing. Showing up is not exclusive worship of God. Sometimes you can be in the presence of God and never worship Him. You could be here and not truly have a relationship with God at all. But you get the acquired taste of this is what I do.

I've been watching as different members of the congregation have gone through their own struggles and decided to walk away at different times. What is the number one reason people walk away? They don't have a relationship with God. They have relationships in the church and they have a relationship with the church. But the relationship with God is distant and missing. And so when times get tough or the people are messed up and they walk away, then this isn't for me. Or the church, guess what? Made with a bunch of normal humans does some stuff that it shouldn't do. Wrongs you in some way. Does a weird sermon that makes you feel weird. You're like, I don't know about this whole thing. This thing is crazy. And yet if you have a relationship with God, you go, that was a weird sermon. Or that was a weird thing that happened at church or that was weird. Whatever. But I love God and I'm honoring God and I'm trying to have a relationship with God. So yeah, that wasn't great, but I love Him.

Where is your relationship at this morning? Is it authentic worship? Is it connection? Is it an ability to say, you know what, I have got a lot of things going wrong in my life, but I'm going to be here. I'm going to praise you. I'm going to have a relationship with you. Despite what I feel or think, I'm going to connect with you. That is the sacrifice that's authentic worship to God. Desiring relationship over sacrifice.

The second and final thing is authentic worship over appearance. Authentic worship over appearance. In Matthew 21, verse 18, immediately after. And you've got to recognize when these Jewish authors were writing the Gospels, what they were doing is they were putting stories together. In American literature, oftentimes not oftentimes, almost all the time, we take the idea of chronological order very seriously. We expect things to go in a timeline, chronologically, and that is of the utmost, sometimes, importance to us. In Jewish culture, the author at times would do it chronologically, but in other times would try to help make connections to the point they're trying to make by how they put the stories together in order. You with me? So the author Matthew, he wrote the triumphant entry, right? This idea of real praise, he immediately afterward, he put this story of Jesus clearing the temple of inauthentic praise. And then look what he follows it up with. In Matthew 21, verse 18, it says, "Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, may you never bear fruit again. Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. How did the fig tree wither so quickly? They asked." And then he goes on and talks about faith. Why did Matthew put those three verses in there? It feels weird. It feels like disjointed, right? You have triumphal entry. Then boom immediately into the temple. Then boom immediately into a fig tree that bears no fruit. I believe that Matthew is trying to tell us something. I think that he's trying to help us recognize and understand what authentic worship is, what inauthentic worship is. And what are some signs when inauthentic worship is at work, the fig tree is supposed to bear what? Figs. Fruit is a fig fig fruit with you. But it's figs. It's not just any fruit. It's not oranges. It's figs because it's a fig tree. If you are worshiping in an authentic way, you will bear fruit that you expect to see. A true worshiper has things coming out of them. We could call it figs or fruit coming out of them. That only happen if there's real worship. We know in Galatians five, he talks about fruits of the spirit, this idea of patience, love, gentleness, kindness, right? All of these qualities that pour out of you. It's not a passage about willing yourself into being those things and white knuckling it no, it's the opposite. It's saying when you have authentic worship, when relationship with Jesus Christ is clear and connected, your obedience to Him because of your love for Him, it's obvious then what comes out of you is all of that fruit of the spirit. If you're not patient, if you're not kind, if you're not loving, if you're not generous, all of those things are products of what you're putting in. He withers the tree fast because he says, similar to John 15, if you're not bearing fruit, if you're not bearing fruit, there's a problem with your worship. If you're not bearing fruit, there's a problem with how you have a relationship with me. Many of you are here today and you have a version of a relationship with God, but there's not fruit being bore out of your life. There's not spiritual fruit coming out of your life. Yeah, you have Godlike qualities because he made you. So, yes, you have Jesuslike qualities, but it's not bearing fruit. It's not coming out of you. It's not obvious to everyone around you that, whoa, there is something drastically different with that person. And we're wondering why our lives in so many ways are withering spiritually. And it's because we don't have a true relationship with God. We don't have a true authentic worship with God.

Amos five, verse 21. When's the last time you looked at Amos? There it is. Amos five, verse 21. Look at what God says to his people that were off, that were spiritually off. "I hate, I despise your religious festivals." These are festivals that he commanded them to do. "Your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings, ingrained offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Listen to this. Away with the noise of your songs. I will not listen to the music of your harps, but let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream." What is he saying? He's saying, I want your heart and I want a relationship with you. But if you're not going to have real relationship with me, then the things that you do are stinky. They're a stench. Again, this may not be the version of God that you've had in your mind of who he is.

Is God gracious? Absolutely, abundantly gracious. But he has standards, and his standard is, I want your heart, I want relationship with you. Isaiah 29, verse 13. "Lord says, these people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based merely on human rules they have been taught."

If you are going to have authentic worship, it can't be just an appearance. There is a vibe right now in American culture, in Christian culture of revival and the idea that we should be worshiping God for days on end. There was a revival that took place, I believe it was in Kentucky for like 13 days long of nonstop worshiping God. I mean, that sounds awesome. There was one yeah, that was my wife. I know her tone of voice. That is amazing. That's not a bad thing. I'm not going to backhand that. So you can say, yes, it is amazing, right? But if it's all that it is, if it's all that it is, there's problems. God does want to start revival in America. He does want to start revival in Boston and in our hearts. But the way he starts revival is through connection. The way he starts revival is through relationship and so of course the fruit is going to be I'm going to worship you. Of course the fruit is that I'm going to have a walk that is edifying to all to see that I'm like Jesus Christ. Of course I'm going to have connection with you but it's not going to be sheerly just from doing church things. It's going to be because the relationship I have with you makes me want to worship you. We must recognize and not get the order twisted around.

Look what happens here as we close out. In Matthew 21 verse 14 through 15 it says "After he got all of those people out of the temple it says the blind and the lame came to him at the temple." Now where were the blind and the lame before this? Outside of the temple and he healed them. "But when the chief priest and the teacher of law saw the wonderful things he did and the children that were shouting in the temple courts, hosanna to the son of David. They were indignant." When he got out all of the garbage from the temple, that's when healing and real worship were able to be done in the church. It took him driving out the humanistic side, the performance side, out of the church, out of the temple in order for there to be true worship, true singing, true connection with God, true relationship, serving the people that needed him most. Not those that just wanted to be appeased by what they thought they were doing and hear how great they were and be puffed up by the compliments of the people around him. Instead he wanted to bring in the people that truly needed to be healed.

If you think about our church, God is doing something in this time. He is bringing people in to the church that can cause the church to feel uncomfortable with their lifestyle. He's bringing people in the church to study the Bible that you may not agree with their lifestyle, you may not agree with how they go about their life. Jesus had a temple full of people that were sick, that were hurting, that were disgusting to the rest of the world but in God's house they were welcome to come in to find healing. The beauty of the situation is God didn't say all the sick come in and I'm going to let you hang out in here but stay sick. That's not what we're trying to do either. We want to be a place that heals those who are hurting. But guess what? The people that come in have got to feel the love of Christ that says I can come in. I can have relationship with you and with God. Even though I'm not ready yet to finish all the work that needs to be done in my heart. Even though I'm on the road to getting right with God, but I'm not quite there yet. God's saying come into the house so that I can heal you.

How do you feel about letting the sick into God's house? How do you feel about allowing the people that don't see eye to eye on the things that you believe and think into God's house? Yes, we need to teach the truth. Yes, we need to hold to God's standard. Yes, we need to be a church that's willing to speak up in a world that is pandering to all the media and the teachings of this world. But at the same time, we must be so concerned with getting people connected to Jesus Christ in relationship that we understand that they are not finished products when they enter the door. Just like you weren't, you were not a finished product. And someone said I want to bring you in to our community to see what God is doing here. Jesus turned the tables over and he flipped the standard of what it meant to worship God in the temple.

It wasn't about performance, it wasn't about the sacrifice, it wasn't about the appearance of things, but instead it was about the heart and a relationship with God that out of the overflow of connection with Jesus Christ, they changed their entire lives and were healed. We must be a church that welcomes all to receive the healing that Jesus can provide. Let's say a word of prayer this time.

Dear God, thank you for who you are and what you've done in each and every one of our lives. God, whether we're already healed and have received and taste the grace that you can only give or if we are still on the journey of trying to figure that out. God, we recognize that this is a messy process to bring in people that need healing. God, it's a messy process to not worship with finished products. God, it's a messy process to be in relationship with you and not just make it about works or sacrifices, but instead to make it about connection to you. God, I pray that you would be with us as we become a church, as we are a church in so many ways, and become a church that opens our doors to help everyone be saved, everyone be healed, everyone to hear the message of grace, but also of truth. God, thank you for the ways that you call us to worship you over everything else. I love you in Jesus name, amen. Amen.

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