I Don’t Feel Connected

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Connecting isn’t about feelings, it’s about faith! In this message we take a look at the importance of relationships and the cultivation of our hearts.

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Alright. Hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek. Wherever you are in the world, I am so glad you are here with us today. And we are in a series called Again. In Jesus’ name, it’s time to breathe again, believe again, and begin again. Because if we’re honest, over this past season there’s a whole lot of things in our lives that we stopped doing. A whole lot of foundational things, important things, significant things, and it doesn’t matter why we stopped them. What matters is what are we going to do about it now. You see, in a lot of ways, I believe that this is the most important spiritual year of your life. Because if you realize it, we are about almost to a year point in time when the whole COVID thing started and all kinds of things changed in our lives. And if we go another year living how we lived last year, then we’re going to have all kinds of habits, behaviors, beliefs and patterns get so engrained in our lives we may never get them out, and we’ll wake up 5, 10, 20, 30 years down the road and wonder, what happened to my life?

What happened to my family and my faith? So in Jesus’ name, let’s not just go down the road the world is going, let’s start doing some things again. In fact, this is why I love this verse, Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” We need to kind of look at own lives each as individuals, and examine our ways, test them and figure out, where have we drifted? Where have stopped doing the things that matter? Where have we tried to press pause in live because I hate to break it to you, pause works on your DVR, it does not work in life. There’s no such thing as neutral. You’re either moving forward or backwards. You’re advancing or you’re retreating. You’re increasing or you’re decreasing. So come on, in Jesus’ name, it’s time to again.

You say, again what? Anything that God tells you to do. One day, Jesus began teaching in a large crowd gathered around him. And as was his fashion, he was teaching the crowd in parables and stories. And he told them this story. He said, a farmer went out to scatter his seed. And as he began scattering his seed, some fell along the hard ground. And because it was hard, birds came and snatched that seed away and ate it. And then he scattered some seed along the rocky soil, and that seed, it took root and it began to grow quickly and it sprouted up. But because that soil was full of rocks, it never really got rooted, and so when the sun came out, the plant was scorched and it withered and it died. He said, then some seed fell along the thorny ground with thorns and thistles, and it grew up and it looked really good.

But the thorns and thistles grew up with it and choked that plant out, so it never bore fruit. And then, he scattered some seed on the good soil, and on the good soil it grew up and produced a thirty, sixty, hundredfold return. And he looked at the crowd and said, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. He then sent the crowd away, and later that evening the disciples and Jesus were gathered in a circle like they tended to do having a conversation. Mark 4, “When he was alone, the twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.” Jesus taught the crowd the story, now he’s sitting in a circle with his disciples and they say, Jesus, help us understand what you were saying. He says, okay, and he starts to explain it to them. He said, the farmers goes out and sows seed, the seed is the word of God. And the word of God lands on four different types of hearts.

He says the four soils represent four different types of hearts. Some is the hard heart. And when the word of God lands on that, it’s quickly snatched away by Satan because the heart is so hard it can’t receive it. And then some hearts are like the rocky soil, they receive the word, they get real excited about it at once, but the moment there’s any kind of inconvenience or undercomfortability, it quickly withers and dies. Some people have hearts that look like the thorny soil, and there the seed is sown and it grows, but the desire for other things, the love of wealth, the worries and cares of life create a divided heart and choke it out. And then some lands on good hearts. And that word produces a thirty, sixty, hundredfold return. And what Jesus tells the disciples is that there are four different kinds of hearts, four different types of soils, four different types of hearts, the hard heart, the rocky heart, the thorny heart and the good heart.

And so the question I want to ask you today is, which one of these is your heart? Which one of these is your heart towards God and his word? Is it hard? Is it rocky? Is it thorny? Or is it good? Come on, which one of these is you? The answer is all of them. The answer is all of them. You have all of these soils in your heart. And based on what God is saying to you, the type of soil that you have in that area determines how you respond. Like you might have a really hard heart when it comes to forgiveness, and you might have a rocky heart when it comes to gossip, you love the idea you get real excited about it. But then when you’re in that gossiping conversation and it costs you someth8ing, it quickly withers and dies.

You might have the thorny soil in the area of obedience. You look really good on the outside, but it’s not really fruitful. And then you might have good soil in the area of generosity. And you just get this, and you live it. And then someone else might have the exact opposite. They might have a hard heart on generosity, a rocky soil in the area of obedience, the thorny heart when it comes to gossip and good heart when it comes to forgiveness. The answer is you are all of these. I am all of these. We have all four soils in our heart. So the question is not which one of these are you, the question is how we create more of this soil in all the areas of our life.

Apparently, we like that question. We like the, how do I create this in my life. Are you ready for the answer? Relationships. Relationships.

See, it’s time to connect again. That’s what today is about. It’s time in Jesus’ name to connect again. You say, why? Because you can’t cultivate your own soil. You need someone else to cultivate the soil of your heart. I mean, what makes good soil good? It’s been broken up and broken down. And you can’t break up the hard parts of your heart and you can’t remove the rocks of pride and insecurity by yourself. And you can’t remove the idolatry and the desires of other things and the divided heart. No, no, you need other people in your life to cultivate the soil of your heart, so God’s word will get in there and produce a thirty, sixty, hundredfold return. You see, there is not a farmer in the world who would be content with only twenty-five percent of his seed actually growing fruit.

Why are we content of what we hear from the word of God actually growing fruit in our life? See, we don’t need more seed, we need more cultivation. And if you can track with me on this, the problem with the American church that’s been super exposed again in COVID season is we are gathered around consuming content when we need to be gathered around conversations that change us. The American church, we know how to receive the seed, we got to learn how to have cultivating conversations with other people. Come on, think about the American church, it’s seed, seed, seed, seed, sermons, podcasts, books, clips, videos, this, that, Instagram. Even your friend who doesn’t even really belief Jesus will post the word of God on their Facebook. I mean we know how to consume content. We’ve got to learn how to have conversations that cultivate the soil of our heart so it actually produces fruit.

Are you with me on this? Come on, I mean look at what it says. This is Jesus when he’s talking to them. Mark 4, one of the most significant chapters in the entire Bible. I would encourage you to spend a lot of time in this chapter. But here’s what Jesus is telling the disciples. He says the parable and then he’s about to break it down to them. And he’s told them, the disciples, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside,” the crowd, “who only hear the word of God preached, everything is said in parables that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding.” That’s terrifying. You know what he says? He says that the crowd, they come to consume content. They come to receive some messages. They come to just receive the word of God scattered on their life. And he says, that’s great, but guess what, they see but they don’t perceive, they hear but they don’t understand.

But you, you sitting here with me in a circle having a conversation where we’re cultivating the soil of each other’s hearts, you are getting the secrets of the kingdom of God. And it is producing a thirty, sixty, hundredfold return. See, we think the disciples walked around with Jesus and heard endless sermons. If you actually read the gospel, what you discover did this. He would teach the crowd something, then he would pull the disciples away and he would make them talk about it. The disciples lived in constant soil conversations with each other, constantly cultivating each other’s hearts, constantly uprooting the rocks and removing the thorns and thistles, and digging up those hard parts. That’s why their lives changed. And this is why we do our method the way we do here, we preach on the weekends the word of God to you and then our circles are all about taking it, breaking it down, breaking up the soil of each other’s hearts.

Because we can’t do this on our own. In fact, check out this next verse, 1 Corinthians, I love this. Paul, he says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” Come on, we all want to experience growth in our life, don’t we? And I think sometimes we read this and we’re like, okay, it doesn’t matter who plants or waters, it’s God who makes it grow. Yes, God makes it grow, but make no mistake about it, there must be watering and planting. And right now, planting is happening in your life. This very moment, if you’re engaged right now, things are getting planted in your life. You’ve got plenty of planting. My question for you is who’s doing the watering? Who’s doing the cultivating? Who’s digging it up? Who’s moving it around? Who’s pulling out the rocks? Who’s pulling out the thorns and thistles?

Who’s making sure that thing actually gets in there and begins to grow in Jesus’ name? Like some of you just need to hear this, I don’t water your seeds. I love you, but I can’t water your seed. Why? Because see, watering comes in small relational circles and conversations. This is planting, this is planting the best seed we possibly can. You have no idea the lengths that we go to to take these seeds with our teaching team and to everything we can to make sure they’re the best seed and that they get scattered into your life. But somebody’s got to do the cultivating. Somebody’s got to do the watering. Somebody’s got to do the fertilizing and God promises then He will make that thing grow. We got to trust the process is what I’m telling you. We don’t follow the process, and then we wonder why we don’t experience the growth that God promises.

It’s because we’re disconnected from each other and we need to connect again in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that? It’s got to be broken up and it’s got to be broken down. And we got to shift away we view the American church. And it’s not just — you are so good at consuming content. We got to get really good in cultivating conversations. In fact, look at one more verse like this. It says, “But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that actually strengthens the church.”

Knowledge, information content makes us feel important. This is why you will hear people if you’re in church for any length of time, they’ll be like, what we got to do is study all revelations. And I want to know when we’re going to talk about Daniel’s prophecies. If you don’t know what either of those are, that is okay. Don’t worry. They’re important, they’re in the Bible, yes we should do them, but what so many of us are looking for is knowledge that puffs us up.

Knowledge that makes us feel like, yeah, I know that. Who cares if you know it if it’s not growing? It’s love, relationships, someone caring enough about you and you caring enough about them to dig it up so that you can actually be strengthened and be fruitful in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that? This is important. This is like a — in fact, Jesus says, if you don’t understand this parable, how will you then understand any parables? Like this parable is an interpretative key to God’s disciple-making process in our lives. And I want to say this to you, so just like lean in with me because this is a little bit strong, but this is important. It is easy to say you’re a disciple until you’re actually discipled. It is easy to raise your hand and say, I’m a disciple until you actually start being discipled.

Until the word of God, the Spirit of God and the people of God actually start pressing on you, forming you into the image and likeness of Jesus. A disciple is a learner, someone who becomes like, someone who follows, someone who’s being shaped and molded into the image and likeness of God. And the word of God, the Spirit of God and the people of God are those three things that press us into that image. And we all say we are until it starts happening. Like catch this, the word of God, 2 Timothy, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for,” ready? “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Did you ever notice that three out of the four things the Bible says scripture is used for are about correcting you? Well, wait a second. I know the Bible is about giving us knowledge and information, so we knew all kinds of things. Well, sure, one of four is teaching.

The other three, rebuking, correcting and training are about forming you into the finished work of Jesus, who he is and what he does done. And I would just submit to you, those are strong words, rebuke, correct and train. Those don’t feel God. Okay, how about the Spirit of God? Go to the next one. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” Think of a guide. A guide tells you to speed up when you want to slow down, tells you to slowdown when you want to speed up. A guide will tell you to turn left when you were turning right. And tell you to turn right when you were turning left. The Spirit of the living God comes into our life to convict us of truth and the righteousness of God and show us where we’ve missed the mark and this is sin, it’s not a part of the kingdom of God, and you have a bigger life now with the finished work of Jesus. So He is there to correct and lead and guide us into truth. And then one more.

It takes a grinding wheel, the people of God, to sharpen a blade. And so one person sharpens the character of another. If you’ve ever walked with people for a long time, you know they can be a grinding wheel in Jesus’ name. Come on. I mean have you ever seen the process of something getting sharpened? You know what happens when that wheel is grinding on it? Friction, force. And pieces of metal are actually being broken off of the blade. Things are being removed and it’s not comfortable and it doesn’t feel great. But it’s part of the process of having your soul and your heart cultivated so you can become everything God has created and called you to be. See, are you ready for this? If you can’t be corrected without getting offended, you will never become mature in Jesus’ name.

If you can’t get corrected without getting offended, you will never become what God has called you to be. If you can’t have — seriously, if you can’t have a cultivating conversation about the soil of your heart, digging up some hard spots, removing some rocks, someone getting in there with the gloves on, the leather gloves and the thorns and the thistles and popping those things out without getting offended, upset, your feelings hurt, you will never become who God has called you to be. Why? Because he flat out tells us this is the process. And it doesn’t feel good. Come on, it doesn’t feel good to have someone come and pull pride out of your life, does it? It doesn’t feel good to have someone come and removing security out of your life, doesn’t it? It doesn’t feel to have someone come and tell you, hey, the way you are talking to people, it’s not okay. That doesn’t feel good, does it? And this is why the American church is often so immature.

Because someone tries to form us into the image and likeness of God, we get offended, we now make it about them. We pick up our sword and want to battle them, and all they want to do is sharpen our sword so we can actually go battle the giant.

And then we show up next Sunday and we’re like, give me more seed. You don’t need more seed, you need to go back and realize that something needed to be furrowed in your heart so this next seed that God wants to plant on your life could actually grow and produce fruit. Come on, look at this next verse. Proverbs 9, this is amazing. “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still.” Here’s my question, which one are you in this? Do you hate people who try to use the word of God to help you become your best or do you love them?

Are you a mocker or a wise man? When you’re instructed, do you become wiser still or does your pride double down? And you have to remember that God only cultivates soil through other broken farmers. So if you’re waiting for a perfect farmer to come cultivate your soil, you’re going to be waiting a long time because they need you to cultivate their soil too, usually not in the moment where they’re cultivating yours, but then maybe a few days later. Come on. See, for years I’ve tried to encourage you to connect with each other. You’ve been here — I mean we’re always like, come on, you have to get connected, you got to walk with — it’s time to connect, you got to do a lot with other people.

And usually we come out at it with this approach of like, you need community, you were designed for community, you need friendship. We all feel lonely. We want to be accepted. We want vulnerability, all those kinds of things. Those are all great, but they’re really shallow. Do you know why you need to connect again? Because you want to honor and value the word of God in your life to a point where you say, I want to do everything I can to be a disciple of Jesus and I need other people to cultivate this soil. That’s why you need to connect again. Not because you feel lonely, not because you want friends. That’s great. That’s a byproduct, that’s a bonus. We want to do it because we want to honor the word of God. In fact, this is why Jesus goes on in Mark 4, “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you and even more. Whoever has will be given more, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” You say, what does this — this is in his dis course on this. He basically says, hey, you need to take stock of what’s happening.

He says when I’m putting seed in your life, you need to steward it. And the way you steward it is by having other followers of Jesus in your life cultivating that soil so it gets in there. And if you take advantage of it and you use it, I will give you even more. This is why he says, the good soil produces thirty, sixty, a hundredfold return. Don’t ever be content with thirty. So many of us, we’re like I got that one. Like I got it. In my soil, I got thirty. Okay, that’s great. Let me give you some examples, it will be like this. You’re like, forgiveness, okay, thirtyfold return is you’ve been forgiven so one day you can go to heaven. Sixtyfold return is he has forgiven my wickedness and remembers my sins no more. A hundredfold return is not only has he forgiven me, but he has credited my account with the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and now I am just like Jesus. Everything that’s true of him is true of me. A thirtyfold return of the presence of God is God is with me.

Sixtyfold return is the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me. A hundredfold return is of all the places in the universe that God could be, He has come to make His home in me and He has filled me to the measure of the fullness of God. Thirtyfold return is I’ve been adopted into God’s family. Sixtyfold return is I am a beloved son or daughter. A hundredfold return is I am His beloved son or daughter in whom He is well pleased even when I do everything wrong. Come on. One more, forgiveness. Thirtyfold return is I need to forgive that person because God told me to. Sixtyfold return is I need to forgive that person so I can live in freedom. A hundredfold return is I want to forgive that person because I want to be a part of what God is doing in their life. Are you with me on this?

So part of this whole concept is we need to connect with each other so we actually get a hundredfold return because we need someone else to call, some plant, some water, it’s God who makes it grow and we need to connect again because of our value and our love for the word of God and our desire to be a disciple.

If you’ve been here and you’re like, I’ve heard you preach Mark 4 before, you never heard me say that before. And if you’re already sitting and you’re thinking, I’ve heard this one, let me just encourage you, that’s not good soil. The video is not frozen. It’s not good soil. Because good soil believes there is always more fruit to come out of that truth, so I need it more in my life. Just for whatever it’s worth, a little asterisk, do you understand how arrogant it is to show up at a circle and be like, we heard this on Sunday, I don’t want to talk about it.

That means you have a full — you have a hundredfold revelation of that thing. That’s literally what you’re saying. I’m just saying, it ain’t none of us got a hundredfold return of anything of the kingdom of God. Why? Because there’s always more. Of the end of his government, there will be no end. It like continues to increase. There’s more. Are you with me ? Come on, we got to connect again. And I know some of you are like, okay, connect, what does that mean? I know it’s a subjective, mushy, feely word. And that’s the problem, it’s subjective. You can have one person and they’re surrounded by a thousand people and they say, I don’t feel connected. And someone else who literally sits down with two people and say, I feel the most connected in my entire life. Here’s what I want to encourage you with, connection is not about feeling, it’s about faith. Connection is about positioning myself in the body of Christ by faith regardless of how I feel. Feelings are good indicators, they are terrible guides. So it doesn’t matter what you feel, by faith, are you positioning yourself in the body of Christ?

Now you are the bod of Christ and each one of you is a part of it. Think of the body. I don’t care how my forearm feels. If it’s connected to my elbow in my hand, it’s connected. It doesn’t matter how it feels. By faith, it’s positioned in my body. And what’s happening, life is flowing into it and life is flowing out of it. So what does it mean to be connected? It has nothing to do with how you feel. Biblically, it means that you are connected to other people in this church and the life of Jesus is flowing out of them into you, and it’s flowing out of you into them. That’s it. Feelings got nothing to do with it. And if you by faith position yourself in a circle on a team with other people, have a coffee, accountability groups, whatever you want to call it, I don’t care, that’s great. The life of Jesus is flowing into you from them and it’s flowing out of you into someone else. And the feelings will follow. We spend way too much time trying to make this thing about feelings.

And that’s why we don’t grow. This is why the American church just goes from church to church to church. I couldn’t get connected is the number one thing. Some of you are here today, that’s literally like, it’s you’re like new with us. Okay. Then great, let’s break the cycle. Don’t look for feelings, position yourself by faith. Come on. And some of you, you’re like, yeah, but I got hurt before. I know. Sometimes the body hurts the body. Sometimes I accidentally bite my lip. Sometimes I trip over my own feet and skin my elbow. The body hurts the body. But the body heals the body. And if the elbow removes itself from the body because it got hurt, it ain’t never going to heal. It has to be connected so it can heal. Romans, go to this next one. “And so it is in the body of Christ for though we are many,” we’re so different from different background and perspectives and places of this world, “and yet in Jesus we’ve been mingled into one body in Christ.”

This means that we are all vitally joined to one another with each contributing to the others. It says nothing about feelings. Vitally joined because we need you and you need us contributing to the others. That means you’re connected if the life of Jesus is flowing into you from someone else and out of you into someone else. Feelings got nothing to do with it. You want me to say it one more time? Feelings got nothing to do with it. The feelings will follow if you position yourself by faith. Come on, it’s time to connect again. It’s time to connect again, not because we’re lonely, not because we need friends. But because we want to honor God’s word in our life. And it doesn’t matter why you disconnected or why you feel disconnected. Come on, this last year, do you understand how demonic it is, Satan’s number one play is to divide. So he spent the entire year trying to divide. Everyone from everything, not just in the church, the whole globe, I mean the whole thing.

Just if you ever step back and look at how demonic the whole thing is, all he wants to do is separate. And what happens when you’re separated from people you even love and feel connected with and enjoy in life, you become skeptical, and fearful, and insecure and jaded. They’re talking about me, they don’t believe this anymore, and why are they acting like that, and I saw they posted on this person’s Facebook, why didn’t they post on my Facebook, I posted within 30 seconds of that person posting, and they liked that one but they didn’t like mine, they must not like me anymore. It’s exhausting but it’s true, isn’t it? I’ve watched over the season with all this stuff, I’ve watched people who love each other totally pick up an edge against each other because why? Because the distance of the demonic of the season made them insecure, and fearful, and offended and afraid. We got to connect again in Jesus’ name whether online or in person, it doesn’t matter.

Is the life of Jesus flowing out of someone into you? And is it flowing out of you into someone else? That’s what matters. Are you with me on that? Real quick, this is real fast. Here’s what you do. Because some of you are like, what do I do? Just ask God. Ask God to help you get connected. You do not have because you do not ask God. The reason we don’t ask God to help us get connected is because we don’t think it’s that important. We’re more interested in consuming content than conversations that cultivate our hearts. The gift of the body of Christ is probably one of the most underappreciated gifts God has ever given you. So ask him for it. God help me position myself in a way that I can get connected and eventually feel connected because the feelings will follow I promise you.

Second thing is stop looking for yourself. One of the reasons we don’t get connected is because we walk around looking for ourselves.

Listen to me, the world only needs one of you. We walk around and look for someone who grew up where we grew up, we likes what we like, has the same hobbies we do, went to the same university we went to, is in the same grade we are in. I like their spouse, they like my spouse, their kids are cool, my kids are — I mean like we literally are like walking around looking for ourselves. And then we wonder why can’t I find another me? It’s hard to get connected. Because there’s only one of you and we’re thankful for that.

Come on. The body is not made up of one part, thank you Jesus, but many. If you’re a foot, you don’t need another foot you need an ankle. If you’re a forearm, you don’t need another forearm, you need a hand. If you’re a shoulder, you don’t need another shoulder, you need a chest. Come on, you got to look for people that are different than you. Listen to me, don’t look for friends, look for followers of Jesus. We walk around looking at, could I be friends with you?

I don’t know. That’s dumb. Look for people who are following Jesus. That will be amazing to be connected with. Don’t look for community, look for commitment. Look for people who are committed to God. Don’t look for happiness, look for holiness. Look for people who are going in the direction you want to go, that’s who you want to be with. Not the person you went to college with, not the person who likes the team that you like, not the person who likes the same coffee shop you — that’s all great. Bonus, brouhaha, like cool, I have no other dorky words to even throw into that for you other than it’s not going to work. It’s an old thinking that’s got to go. Come on, listen to me, Gen Z-ers, you need Boomers. All our students just shrunk back. Ready? Boomers, you need Gen Z-ers.

Single people, you need to be around married people. Married people, you need to be around single people. Immature people, you got to be around mature people. Hey mature people, the whole point of making disciples is about being around immature people. Look at the disciples, they couldn’t have been any more different. Peter was bold and brash, and believed everything. Thomas was a skeptical doubter who believed nothing. John had an anger problem and unleashed fury. Bartholomew never talks once. Come on, Simon was a zealot and wanted to overthrow the Roman government. Matthew was a tax collector who worked for the Roman government. If they were looking for each other, they weren’t going to find it. But they started saying, I want to position myself in the body of Christ and believed that I need somebody and something that’s different than me to help me be my best. Don’t walk around looking for friends, look for people who are following Jesus and position yourself in their life.

Third thing, go first. It doesn’t matter, this verse. But basically here’s your point is you have to go first because Jesus always went first. The only reason you have a relationship with Jesus is because he never stopped going first. He knocked on your door, he showed up in your life, he invited you out, he told you his heart, he shared with you his secrets, that’s the only reason you have a relationship with God. You never went first. He always went first. So now let’s take that example and go first. You start a circle, you make a phone call, you be vulnerable, you be authentic, you don’t give up, you send that text, you invite somebody over, you go to the coffee shop, go first, go first. It’s like I tell my kids, if you want to have friends, you have to go first. Stop waiting for someone else to go because they ain’t going to go. They ain’t going to go. You go first because you know that you need this in your life so you can be a disciple of Jesus.

And the last thing is simply this, try again. Don’t let the pain of the past keep you from what God has for you in the future. Some of you, you got so heartbroken in the past by people. Don’t let a heartbreak of yesterday keep you from the love that God wants to release into your life today. Some of us, you need to hear this, some of you are like, oh, ten years ago I was connected in this church and another church, we had this group, it was like me and Billy, and Susie, and Tommy. It was amazing. And I haven’t felt connected like that in ten years. Okay, I hate to break it to you. Billy moved on. Susie’s life changed. Tommy moved to another state. And you’re still sitting here talking about the glory days. We laugh at people that talk about the glory days of like high school sports.

Okay, we need to challenge each other on talking about the glory days of church life. Oh man, there was a Sunday school class at my church and fifteen years, it was — we did coffee and bundt cakes. It probably weren’t even bundt cakes fifteen years ago, that’s the point. It’s how ridiculous it is. We project things into the past that weren’t even there. It wasn’t even that good then. So move forward into the future. We waste our future because we spend the present trying to recreate the past. The past was great. Celebrate it, thank God for it, it’s time to stop grieving it. I know the season has been hard. I know there’s been relational transitions in your life. Everything from work to school to family to church, I get it. Grieve it, process it with the Lord, but don’t miss what God is doing now because you want to sit there and hold on to a dead thing when He’s offering you a new thing.

It’s time to breathe again. It’s time to believe again. And it’s time to begin again. We got to connect again, not because we need friends or because we’re lonely, not because we need a place to belong or a people to be vulnerable with. All those are true and they’re great. We need to connect again because we want to see the word of God, produce a hundredfold return in our lives because Jesus says, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The problem is the truth usually lands on the hard parts of our heart. And I need someone in my life to dig up those places of pride, to remove those places of insecurity, to pull out the roots of fear, so that I can be set free in Jesus’ name.

I need to be stretched so I can grow. I need to be wounded so I can be healed. And I need to be offended so I can be set free. That only happens when we connect again to the body of Christ in Jesus’ name. So close your eyes with me. Come on, what’s the Holy Spirit saying to you today? And the question that I’m asking you all through the series is, and what are you going to do about it? God made us for community. He made us for relationship and connection. And those things get so disordered and broken, and been out of shape, and we live with this fear and this brokenness and this pain.

And some of you are here and, yes, somewhere, the body wounded you, but it’s the body that’s going to heal you. Come on, based on what the Bible says, would you say you’re connected? Is the life of Jesus flowing out of someone into your life? And is it flowing out of you into someone else’s life? That’s the definition. Is there a place where you’re knowing and being known, and accepting and being accepted, loving and being loved, contributing and being contributed to? And if we will by faith just position ourselves into those spaces regardless of how we feel, and regardless if we think we could connect with those people or not, you’d be amazed at how the Spirit starts to unite and release life.

Come on, what’s God saying to you today? Try again. Get in a circle. Join a team. Come early, stay late. Invite somebody for coffee. Have somebody over your house. Because in Jesus’ name, I want every area of my heart to be good soil, and I know I can’t do it on my own. So Holy Spirit, we just invite you to come and connect us as the body of Christ, at every campus and online, wherever we are in the world, would you connect us?

Connect us again Lord and may we honor and steward your word, and may we take the steps necessary to cultivate the soil of our heart so we can be free in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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