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I Feel Safe: A Letter to West Franklin

I Feel Safe: A Letter to West Franklin August 7, 2021

West Franklin Family,

Several of you heeded Dave Kruse’s encouragement to consider God’s goodness (based on his sermon last Sunday) and either turned in a card or sent in an email. They have been incredibly encouraging to read. In the middle of one of the emails sent in, these four sentences stuck out:

“Since being back in church I feel safe in that pew on Sunday mornings and it’s become the one hour that I don’t have to be on. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be strong. It’s the one hour that I can be tired and weak and vulnerable.”

My heart leaped when I read this. Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes! I cannot tell you how much these words encouraged this pastor.

Why?

We don’t have to be “on.”

We can attend worship on Sunday mornings just as we are. The only one required to be “on” is God. And if I understand Him correctly, He is always “on.” He doesn’t have an “off” button. The pressure is always on Him. He is the Giver. He is the One performing. We get to marvel at He and His works – not feel the pressure at anyone being impressed by us.

We don’t have to be perfect.

There is only ONE who is perfect, Jesus. He already has that title and owns the only gold medal available in that sport. Jesus is perfect. We don’t have to be. In fact, we can’t be. It is a useless exercise. We can go ahead and surrender the perfect moniker and just be who we are.

We don’t have to be strong.

Newsflash: we aren’t. Trying to be “on” and perfect and strong will wear us out. We aren’t designed to be these things. We are designed to be needy – needy of Another to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. One of the biggest and most devilish lies we constantly feed one another with is that we are “fine” and “doing great” without any need of anybody. Garbage. “We are weak, but He is strong.”

Tired and weak and vulnerable is a formula for God.

Paul said he experienced God’s power in his own weakness. In other words, we will never know the presence and power of God until we finally admit we are weak. Weakness and weariness and vulnerability open the door for God to enter.

SAFE

Perhaps my favorite line in the email sent in is that this member feels safe on Sunday morning’s. Able to be. Able to receive. Able to enjoy. Able to release the pressure valve of life. Able to be accepted and loved. Free to then accept and love.

West Franklin, I long for this for each of us. For anyone and everyone who steps on our campus Sunday morning’s. To be sure, I am eager for us to embody this posture toward one another and God throughout the entire week. But for now, I’ll take an hour.

Why is this such a big deal? It is how change happens. It is how transformation transpires. It is what precedes true worship. It is what forms genuine community. When we are aware of our state (weak, tired, sinful, vulnerable); we look to Jesus to rescue. When we experience His power (not our own), He is worshiped and praised and glorified. If I understand it correctly, this is church.

Tomorrow morning, my Bible will be open to Ephesians 2. We will take some time to look at God’s love. Like the one who sent the email, I hope you come empty. I hope you arrive needy. I encourage you to walk in painfully aware of your spiritual situation. You are welcome to come “tired” and “weak” and “vulnerable.” His power is made perfect in weakness.

Yes Jesus Loves You,

Pastor Matt

 


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