Before I talk about the content of the day, I want to just say something about the importance of gathering with good people. I discovered today as much as anytime in my life doing what I do, that people have a deep effect on how you’re able to execute.
I’ve been trying to figure out why The Gathering Nashville has been such a joy to me. Over the years, being a pastor hasn’t always been joyful or fun. And I’ve discovered two reasons. One is me; the other is them.
The “me” part I won’t bore you with, but the “them” part I think is important. The Gathering has been able to attract really honest, open, loving, enthusiastic, encouraging people. It’s these people who gather each weekend who inspire me to be at my absolute best.
When your job is to inspire other people, you fail to realize how much the people you try to inspire play a role in inspiring you back. Here is my point. If you’re not gathering each week consistently with people who lift you, love you, challenge you, and care for you, you’re gathering at the wrong place.
The day is long gone that Americans choose their churches on the brand label alone – Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Nazarene. We’re craving for gathering places where other honest, messy people gather around their common pain, but are kept together and moved forward by their common vision.
Our vision at The Gathering is to specialize in God simple, not church complicated. For us that means being honest about who we are as we gather. We are indeed the beat up, the broken, the betrayed, and yes, even the bored. We come together around a common belief that Jesus is our God and Savior; that He desires a relationship with us that will transform us from where we are to where we desperately want to be at the core of our being.
If you’re not gathering each week around people who will love you and lift you, who care for you, challenge you, and inspire you to be your absolute best, find another place to gather. Don’t choose not to gather, which is what a lot of people do.
So today at The Gathering we talked about going the extra mile. Here’s what we dealt with. There’s no way I can translate in this blog post what happened in the morning talk itself. So you need to go listen to it either here online, or subscribe to it through the podcast. But here is the main idea: life has a way of being hard on the lazy. It rewards lavishly and generously the diligent: bottom line, period.
So many people who use Christian language are basically lazy people using God as a crutch and an excuse. How many times have we heard people say, “I’m waiting to hear from God,” or “I haven’t seen the hand of God,” or something that keeps them immobile or inactive or even unemployed or unmarried because they are waiting for some big revelation that comes down from God?
Here’s all the revelation that you need. God intended for you to work, get married, and make a difference; that you raise children, pay taxes, and engage life with all your heart, mind, and soul. There. That’s all the goad you need.
So if you’re a person who’s accepted mediocre, I challenge you to embrace life on the extra mile.