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Vision Series: Together on Sundays

1 Peter 4:7-11 CSBTrey VanCamp | August 28, 2022


Until recently, disciples of Christ Jesus always valued and treasured the weekly gathering of the saints. It was a consistent place and time to habituate our minds, hearts, and bodies toward a community of love, joy, and peace through the acts of worship, service, and communion.

But with the advent of the internet, do we really need to be together in person to accomplish these functions of the church?

Looking to the wisdom of 1 Peter 4:7-11, we learn the grace of God is poured out on the saints when they gather together to stay alert, love each other deeply, and open up their hearts without grumbling. By humbly using our gifts to serve one another in the church, we reject the lies from the world that community must be entertaining, idealistic, virtual, and tribal.


You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


Glasses are killing us.

In his book, The Three Pieces of Glass, Eric Jacobson points to the three enemies that the modern age has destroyed us. And yet it is going undetected. The first piece of glass that is killing you is the smart. The typical user touches their phone 2,617 times a day, averaging out about two and a half hours per day.

Now the younger generations can be on their phones up to eight hours a day. It’s interesting too. We actually call them users. why it’s because it’s an addictive drug that demands your attention and your consumption, friends, glasses are killing us. The second piece of glass is the TV screen. The average Netflix user spends 3.2 hours per day, watching Netflix.

I like to argue, this may have come out when the office was still available on Netflix. So those stats will be changing, but the consumers, by the way of Fox news, CNN, and the. Are known for putting even more hours than that. I know of a story of someone who had those old school TVs. Remember those back in the day where it’s like this wide in the back and this person watched, I believe it was Fox news.

So often even when she turned off the TV that. Logo on the bottom left was still there because of that story. They now move that logo around so they don’t burn somebody’s TV screen. So we have the smartphone, we have the TV screen and the third piece of glass is the windshield. Just this last week I was working out in my garage.

And I saw one of my neighbors come by. And so we were chatting and he was moving to Tennessee and I asked him why, because it’s so humid there. And he goes on to say for him, he spends two hours a day in traffic. Can you imagine doing that in math? What does your life look like? If two hours, every day you are sitting in a.

It’s very typical for this congregation. As I speak with you, it’s very easy for us, especially cuz of Ellsworth road. Amen. We spend at least one hour per day. When you count the round trip. Now some of this is unavoidable. You need a job. So don’t just quit and say whatever. I don’t need this anymore, but I want to ask, are we considering what these pieces of glass are doing to our souls?

and I think they’re damaging for several reasons that you and I may not recognize. Sure. They’re spreading disinformation. They are the culprit for a lot of our depression. It’s the number one reason why we are living in an age of distraction. In fact, every sermon I preach, I’m terrified that you’re bored.

I have to keep switching it up because we are so used to everything happening quickly. But I actually think one that goes super unnoticed for most of us of how glasses are killing us is they are killing our relationships. Smartphones Rob you of being present in the moment with a friend or with a spouse.

The TV screen has replaced dinner with friends, with the latest news or Netflix binge. The windshield has taken all of our energy. by the time we get home, we just want to turn everything off except the TV and just rest as much as we can before getting ready for the next day. I wanna ask you, how are glasses killing your relationships?

It may be slowly, but it is Shirley. First Peter four, it addresses what I think we need to get back to and living life together. The title of my message today is together on Sunday. So we’re actually a third of the way through our vision series that we’re leading all the way up to fall break in the queen Creek school district.

And so we’ve been talking about what does it mean to follow Jesus as our rabbi to not just be Christians, but to be legitimate students, apprentices disciples of king Jesus in. Area of life. And so for the last four weeks, we’ve built the foundation to transformation, right? We said, okay, what does it mean?

We are saying every week we are formed by Jesus together for others in the last three weeks, we said, okay, we are formed by Jesus’s love by Jesus’s life. And by Jesus’ leadership. And that is the most important part of the puzzle, but I’m here to tell you, I still think there’s more to it. If you want transformation, if you want your life to change from the inside out, you cannot skip formed by Jesus, but friends.

You need the together and you need the four others. And so allow me these next three weeks starting tonight, we wanna talk about what it means to be. now this takes a lot of intentionality because if you were just to live and breathe and just do life, this is what’s happening by default. By default, we are formed by the enemy in tribes for self.

What do I mean by that, by the enemy we mentioned that last week or the last three weeks, what is the enemy? We believe the scriptures say the enemy is the world, the flesh, and the devil. Remember we talked about the status games that the devil plays with us. We talked about the habits that consume our flesh, and we talk about the narratives that are driven by the world.

And I really hope last week you worked through that exercise in our together practice of identifying an emotion. Thinking about the lie behind it, and then picking a verse. If you didn’t do that last week, there’s grace upon grace, but I ask you to do it this week. I think it’s so helpful for your soul, but I wanna point out also, we’re gonna talk a lot about tribalism these next three weeks, because that is our definition of community today.

And it is a sad picture of what community. Could be today. I believe we’re not so much together as we are tribal and that’s to our detriment. Let me draw your attention. David Brooks, he has a great book called second mountain. He has this quote about tribes, I think is so crucial for the modern age. He says, tribalism seems like a way, seems like a way to restore the bonds of community.

It certainly does binding people together, but it is actually the dark twin of C. Community is connection based on mutual affection, tribalism, in the sense I’m using it here is connection based on mutual hatred. Have you noticed that we’re getting together? Not because we love each other, but we agree. We hate those guys that is tribalism.

In fact, churches have learned to grow, not by saying we’re all about Jesus, but by saying we’re not about those. and that is tribalism. And I believe eventually that will lead to all sorts of despair. Its not the design. God has us, but there’s more to this quote. He says, life is a battle for scarce resources and it’s always us versus them.

Zero sum the in justifies the means politics is war ideas are combat it’s kill or be killed. Tribalism is community for lone. Narcissists friends by default, you and I are formed by the world to flesh the devil. And we naturally find community through its dark twin called tribalism, and it’s killing us.

And not only that are, we’re not doing it for the sake of someone else. We keep pursuing hope in this for the sake of self. If there is no, God, of course we should just spin for ourselves. Resources are scarce. Let’s just make it all about me. But I think I hope we’ve seen more and more. If you live life long enough, you realize, man, if you live life just for yourself, it’s not worth living, but the way a Jesus has something better.

And that’s why we’re saying by design, you and I are formed by Jesus together for others. Amen. This is the idea that is the engine behind everything we do at our church. Let me show you this graph, just to show you, if you were to think what are like the baby steps here of following Jesus of being a faithful member, we each come up with nine steps for you.

This isn’t okay, you achieved all of it. This is a never ending cycle because you can go deeper into each thing, but we have like at least nine objectives for you based off of scriptures. We’re convinced this is a life that leads to transformation, not just for yourself, but those around you. We’re formed by Jesus again, by his love, his life, his leadership together.

How are we together in three ways on Sunday? In groups and as a family. So that’s today is on Sundays. And again, in a few weeks, we’re gonna talk about what it means to be for others. We’re gonna get really practical there to be for others in your own neighborhood to be for others in the workplace that God has you in and to be for others all around the world, because we serve a global God.

First Peter chapter four. Okay. This is what we are hoping to do for your soul. And man, it takes a lot of intentionality to do this because the world is making us do the exact opposite. So first Peter’s just some context. The Postle Peter is writing to the church and calls them scattered strangers. He says scattered because there’s persecution in Rome.

And it has sent the believers into different regions around the world. For Peter he’s writing specifically to what we would call modern day Turkey, but not only are the Christians scattered, the Christians are strange. Why are they strange? Just look to your neighbor, say you’re strange, right? The world.

saw them as strange because they, the Christians live by design. Instead of by default, when they were given evil, they repaid it with good. They were different instead of hoarding their money, they gave it away. They were different. And so let’s pick it up first, Peter four, he’s trying to encourage a broken down church.

Who’s going through persecution, but they know they need to stick together and Peter’s giving the encouragement how to stick together. Verse seven says the end of all, things is near therefore be alert and sober minded. For prayer. I wanna highlight just a few words in each verse, be alert. This means again, to live life by design, to understand your surroundings.

I love it. First, Peter five, the very next chapter he has the same line says be alert and so reminded why? Because your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring line, looking for someone to. Matt’s our series. We’re saying, look, don’t be formed by the world to flesh the devil. They will devour you and you don’t even have to do anything about it.

It will just naturally happen. So he’s saying beyond guard. Be alert. What are you consuming? Who are you with? What are the messages? The narratives you’re believing sober minded sober means to not be intoxicated. So turn to last week, what we talked about, don’t intoxicate your mind with false narratives.

We fight lies with the truth. Amen. So we don’t just accept every thought that comes to our brain. In fact, we always look at it from the lens of scripture and it’s such a desire at our church. Not that we would think about S. hear me, but that we would begin to think scripture. It’s a bit of a difference there.

So be alert. So minded for prayer. I love this cuz I feel like Peter is recalling. He is dunking on himself. When did Jesus ask him to be alert? So reminded and to pray the garden of GSEM and what did Peter do? He kept falling asleep. He’s saying don’t do what I did. I learned my lesson. Stay alert. Be of sober mind.

And that is how you engage in prayer, which we believe is the only way to change ourselves. And our surroundings is through the power of prayer, but let’s look at verse eight together. The next verse that says above all maintain constant love for one another. Since love covers a multitude of sin, he’s actually quoting the Proverbs here.

What does it mean to maintain constant love? One definition I love of love. Is love is to, will. The good of another ahead of your own it’s to sacrifice is to want their betterment. And sometimes to love someone means that you don’t get the better end of the deal because you want them to. So in the world of psychology, There’s three ways.

You and I relate to people. I find this language helpful, but also pretty harmful because a lot of us do it. And it’s really negative. One way. It’s called enmeshed. Some of us, this is psychological language. We have enmeshed relationships. Let me give you an example. You see you walk by and you see somebody sinking in sinking sand.

What do you do? An enmeshed person goes, oh, no. Somebody’s in that sand, they need my help. And what do they jump into the sand and go we’re. Oh no we’re dying together. At least I’m helping you. We’re sinking together. At least you’re not alone. And so many of us that is our definition of love today.

We don’t try to help get them out of their situation or declare to them what went wrong and help them get out. Instead, we just jump in and we say, that’s love that’s empathy. We’re just in it with them and doing it with them. And that is not love that’s a miserable. So you have enmeshed, but the other word in psychology is detached.

So this is if somebody is seeing someone in sinking sand and they look the other way, they go you should have known that’s what sand does. And so you give a little bit of a lesson and you walk away. You think I’m not gonna help you. You’re dumb you, right? You did this to yourself. That’s called detached.

And what I have noticed sometimes as Christians, we have allowed this to be our definition of love, because we say we just love the truth. You just tell ’em like, it is tell ’em why they’re sinner and move on friends. We need to be a lot more loving and caring than that. Amen. So that’s why we’re not enmeshed.

We don’t jump into the sand with them. we’ll know, at least we’re dying together. We’re not detached. We don’t look the other way, inconvenience ourselves at all. Instead, what determined psychology is we are differentiated. What does that mean? You see somebody in sinking sand, they need your help, but you also know you don’t need to jump in.

You find a rope, you throw it to ’em, you stay on solid ground and you do what it takes to pull ’em out. You give them truth. You give them hope. You give them a way out and you stay with them until the struggle is done. That’s why he says maintain constant love. Friends to engage in a church together is to have your hands on a rope.

And you’re always pulling somebody outta something and you get some callouses. You get a little exhaust. But there is a joy in maintaining that kind of love. And I love this phrase since love covers a multitude of sins. One commentary says, be sure to see it’s not that love conceals sin. It covers it.

What that means is you and I to live in relationship, to dwell in unity, you and I have to just forgive. Nice. And this has been the hardest burden for me as I think about how can we be a church that dwells together so many times the moment conflict is introduced. We run and I’m beginning to believe more and more.

God is the one who allows the conflict because it’s an invitation to greater Christ likeness. It’s actually an invitation to deeper. Some of my best friends are because I played football with, and we just cried together because we ran Hills at 4:00 AM. You just go through things together, you tackle each other, you sweat together, you bleed together.

And there’s some sort of bond that happens. And friends, I believe as the church we’re called to do the same. Let’s look at the next verse. Verse nine. Now Peter says be hospitable to one another. Without complaining this word hospitable is hospitality. Of course it means pH Zia. pH filo is the Greek word for familial love.

That’s why you get Philadelphia, right? Brotherly love. But Xenia actually means stranger. So this word hospitality, which is not just a new Testament concept, it’s in the old Testament as well. God always is telling us, take the stranger and make them into family. This is why we do the two minute pass the piece.

And some of y’all hate it because you don’t like talking to strangers, but we’re telling you follow the Bible. No, I’m just kidding. Right? take a stranger and make them family without complaining. The NIV and that’s the translation I memorized from. And I memorized this passage a couple weeks ago. It says without grumbling offer hospitality to another, without grumbling.

So in other words, it doesn’t count if you bring somebody over and you’re mad the whole time before and they come and then they leave and you’re mad the whole time sense. That’s called grumbling. That’s called complaining in the biblical text. It takes two steps to be hospitable. Number one is to open up your.

do that. It’s so great. The first week of together group, a few weeks ago, Tommy, we always do our low. And so our host was like, yeah, my low of the week is you’re here. And we were like, wow, thanks bro. I was thinking are we gonna go to another house? He goes, no, it’s just, we haven’t cleaned for three months.

Wow, it’s nice that we always have group. It keeps my house clean, but it’s been three months. So this thing has been chaos. So step number one, open your home, but here’s the second part. Open your heart. There’s no point in opening your home. If you don’t also open your heart and here’s, what’s so hard about opening your heart, you’re making it possible to get hurt, but time and time again, here’s what I recognize a wonderful relationship is only wonderful.

If it’s also wound. You can’t have a wonderful relationship. If it doesn’t have the potential to be a wound able relationship. I’ve given me my wife. We have some great friends here in this church. We like you. And man, it would hurt. I’ve shared some of my darkest secrets with some of you. I, not that I have secrets, but I shared just my life and it hurts when they leave. But so often you and I were so afraid of Judas, the. that we miss out on John, the beloved. So we need man. It’s so worth it to be wounded, cuz it’s worth it. When you get that wonderful relationship without complaining, don’t just host who you love the most.

Amen. Praise God. Right Spencer. All right. So verse 10. just as each one has received a gift. Use it to serve others as good stewards of the varied. Grace of God. We believe this at the moment of conversion, when you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the holy spirit gives you a gift to serve now.

Here’s, what’s great. It’s to serve the people in this room. every time we have somebody else who comes and joins our family becomes members. I get so excited because our potential for service has increased because you have a special gift that was given from God and God ordained that you use that gift both to minister to the church, but also to minister to the world.

It’s a beautiful. But here’s, what’s hard. You don’t recognize what that gift is right away. There is a process of discovery. And we’re gonna talk about that in your together groups this week. For me, when I was 13, I discovered my spiritual gift of teaching. Now, people weren’t listening then, but I at least figured out, okay.

Teaching is gonna be the goal, but that didn’t come at 13. That seems like that’s really like a short time. Wow, how lucky were you? But at that time, I up, it was a year and a half. Of me praying every morning and every night, God revealed to me my spiritual gift. It’s the one thing my dad said to do that I actually did.

Okay. When I was a teenager, I said, okay, I will pray each morning. And each night, God reveal to me my spiritual gift, but here’s an important part to know, what I did for that year and a half. I stacked chairs. Because we were a church plan in Santa Heights, elementary school, K through eight and every week, every Saturday I would unload the chairs by myself at 12 and after Sunday, other people would help, but we would stack each and every day, I wasn’t here going God revealed to me my spiritual gift.

As those people serve, I’m not ready yet. I don’t know my Igram number yet. I don’t know where I’m at in life. So you go do that stuff while I figure it out. I believe God reveals your gift. If you are a person who just sees a need and. and sometimes that need, you just feel it for a season, then he gives you something else.

But the scriptures are clear if you’re faithful with you, he’ll allow you to be faithful with much. And so some of us we’re frustrated, we don’t know our gift, but that’s because you’re not serving. And so every single gift. Is so important to the body of Christ. The Bible uses that body, me metaphor.

The elbow is nothing. If it’s not attached to the body, the eye needs the foot and the foot needs the thigh. And all of those things put together. Write this down. Look, if people are beneath you, then purpose is beyond you. Amen. Peter sand use that gift brother. Use it to serve others, being stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

And we have incredible people serving our church in incredible ways. And what I love to see is those people who put in all those hours, I used to say, sorry, and now I wanna say you’re welcome. And here’s why they have purpose. And purpose gets you through a lot of dark. They have purpose. And it’s beautiful to see.

We have 15 to 20 people who show up every week, two hours before service starts to set this thing up. We have a bunch of you stay after to tear down. We love it. We have some geniuses in the tech booth. We have saints in Christ Jesus in the kid’s ministry that are just blessed with patience upon patience and diaper after diaper.

It’s incredible. We have a lot of dev dedicated members at our church who also make sure this place is. People ask me like, Hey, do you have a plan? No, we got security guards. We’re rolling. We’re good. God has blessed us with some incredible people doing incredible things. And the Liz can go on and on let alone our worship team.

And so many other areas. Look, I believe God gives you a specific purpose for a specific people. And that people most definitely includes the church. And here’s the thing. This can happen throughout the week, but here’s where this gets a little iPOP. This also happens on Sundays. I believe this text cannot be properly translated.

If we are thinking all of this can happen outside of a Sunday gathering, the Sunday gathering is still essential. And I know the phrase, the church is the people, not the building. We’ll ask any church plant, you’ll go well, , praise the Lord for this place, but we’d love to get our own. And it seems like God is leading us towards that.

Pray for our church. We’re making a lot of good advancements. Yeah, man. I know the church is in a building, but the building is where the church gathers and some amazing things happen when we get together. There is a grace that comes from the gathering. A grace, Peter is saying. That makes us into a holy nation.

First, Peter two, a people called out a people of his own possession were marked by holiness. This happens here. Look at this community, verse seven, he’s describing a community that combats toxic thoughts and ideologies verse eight. He describes a community that puts the good of others above their own verse nine.

He declares a community eats together and does life together with the spirit of joy. Not complaining verse 10, he’s talking about a community that uniquely serves and completes each other. We need one another. And all of this is fueled and empowered by the grace of God. I want that I’ve in fact, dedicated my entire life to seeing this type of community happen.

And honestly who doesn’t want that kind of community. It’s be. So as I’m wrestling with this text, I’ve been asking the question, what is holding us back by being formed by Jesus together is a uniquely difficult task in our cultural moment. And I’m gonna give you four reasons why this has been hard for us as a people in this area, in this time and space because of these four reasons.

And I pray that we fight these lies with the truth. Number one, in the name of entertainment, we’ve replaced a sober mind with a scattered. This is why for our church, we talk a lot about simplicity. We try to really encourage people to take a Sabbath, which includes 24 hours away from the digital world.

It’s not because like we’re power hungry people that are obsessed with making you do weird things. That’s not it, but we’ve seen that this digital world has trained our brain to be so scattered friends. True transformation happens. In the slow pace of life. It happens in the quiet, still moments with God.

And we’re just so busy and so fast that we miss the burning Bush. And we have a scattered mind. Literally I like to edit videos and you’re taught to every two to five seconds. Jump cut, change the scene. Why? Because we get so distracted. If it’s not moving around, we’re moving. It’s incredible. We need to stop that.

Okay. Here’s the second thing in the name of growth we’ve replaced, caring with catering. This has been a uniquely difficult time to be a church to be a pastor praise God, it’s slowed down a little bit, but especially in 2020, politics was such a whoa. Just to mention anything was just such a.

A button that just would blow people up. I have friends who lost over half their church because they made just one decision and friends the same on the opposite side. But even that we just think, okay, not love covers a multitude of sins. We’ve grown to believe that growth covers over a multitude of sins.

So often times, man, if we just cater, not always speak the truth, not confront our biggest givers. And if we keep growing, then everything’s okay. But the scripture says, no, it’s not growth that covers over a multitude of sins. Amen. It’s love. And love includes the truth. We need to care by speaking the truth.

Jesus, he didn’t always grow like his following. Just always just increasing. He had thousands of people and he looked at him and he is okay, eat my flesh, drink my blood over half of ’em left. He goes, okay, now we can do something, this is the Jesus we follow. Let me keep going in the name of idealism.

This is so big. We’ve replaced hospitality with common. something that we see a lot in the life of our church and the church around. Is man, I like this church because people look like me or I’m going here because people are young like me, or I don’t wanna go here because I feel like I’m the oldest and it just rips my heart apart.

Because as I read the text, as I read the scriptures, man, the father needs the son. The brother needs the sister different ages and stages of life. We need each other. Amen. We need one another. But sadly tribalism says community happens by finding what you have in. your age, your stage of life. And those are gifts and blessings.

You don’t hear me wrong, but there’s something deeper that connects us, right? We’re so idealistic about community strategic Bonoff for, he has such a great quote. He says the person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create C. I’m telling you this community, it’s not what dreams are made of.

We’re messed up and we grumble a lot, but wow. God uses it. If you only hung out with people who are just like you, you never grow next one in the name of innovation, we free place serving with streaming. Okay. So I have genuine concerns with live streaming, our service. We’ve been processing what this means for life, our church.

It’s funny, cuz I actually, I have a YouTube channel. I’m all about the tech world, but I do love that we live stream for those who literally cannot make it. I consider that a gift. However man, you are missing something. If you’re not in the room, I believe you’re missing something and it’s a burden that we’ve actually noticed even within the life of our own church.

That people have really noticed, Hey, if I’m not serving, I’m just gonna sit back and just watch the stream. Cuz it’s the same thing friends to show up is to serve, to show up is to say hi to love somebody to be there for someone else. You have no idea what kind of ministry can happen after we say amen.

And we’re done. Don’t run away. Stay here. God is here. Yes, God’s out there. But I believe God has a special manifest glory. It. And for too often, we, the logically ignore the body. The body is essential. This is why we’re taking communion. This is something to happen here. I’m gonna be a little bit crass and I’m so sorry for sounding dramatic.

And if whatever, so here’s what I believe. Lean in. You ready for this? This is something my dad would say, not me. Here we go. Saying the live stream is no different than the gather. I believe runs along the same logic as pornography is the same thing as sex.

There’s a difference. Now I understand those aren’t one to one, cuz there’s times where you need to just stream because you’re out of town and you’re sick. Don’t get the rest of us sick. There’s never an excuse for pornography. Hear me, but those things are not the. We are hurting ourselves when we equate those as the same things, friends, we need each other.

And to prove that let’s look at verse 11, he says, if anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words. I love this phrase. My wife, the other day asked me it just so she asked me, she said, Trey, how come you preach better at other churches than here? Thanks. I appreciate that darling. why I actually think it’s because look, this is the confidence that comes from speaking God’s word.

But when I do life with you, I know you know me and it’s a little bit harder to be confident, cuz you’ve seen my flaws. You see my issues when I go someone, I don’t know, I can act like I’m this holy godly man. And I can just preach, but here I know, but here’s the thing, let it be as one who speaks God’s words, I took this as encouragement.

You just gotta speak with confidence because at the end of the day, it is the holy spirit that is gracing this moment here and now. But not only that, if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ and everything to him, be the glory and power forever and ever.

Amen. Notice where God pours out his power. Through the speaking and through the serving. And I’m convinced the streaming. When we say church online, that’s all we need. We are communicating that the grace of God is only evident through the speaking. We don’t need the serving. I’m here to say, man, the streaming is so much, it’s insignificant compared to the gathering because we have people loving and serving and caring before, during and.

Yeah. And God has said, I pour out my grace on these two functions, speaking and serving. I dunno about you, but I wanna go where God’s pouring out his grace and that is what’s happening with you. And with me, when we gather the last thing I wanna do by the way is to burn you out on Sundays. This is something we’re always scared of, but let me pose two questions based off this text.

Number one, is it really the, I gotta be careful here, but is it really the two hours a week that we ask of you? That’s burning. a lot of times us in the church, we think, oh man, cuz by the time you get to Sunday, you’re exhausted. That’s why for our church. We’re so passionate about what you’re doing with the other 167 hours of the week.

What if it’s not church burning you out, but it’s your work schedule? It’s your Netflix binging. It’s that? You’re not taking a Sabbath on Saturday. Do you. So what we wanna do is go, okay, maybe don’t serve for a while cuz that’s burning you out, but I promise you, it’s actually not this that’s burning you out.

It’s those other hours. And we wanna come alongside of you and help redesign what you’re doing with those hours. The second question, are we asking God for his strength when we serve, cuz this passage is saying, when you serve, let it be from the strength God provides. I had to man, I had to come to Jesus moment today.

I said, God, as I do this is an act of service man too often. I’m relying on my own power, my own ingenuity. I just need you God, give me the strength to do this friends. There is something sacred that happens every time we gather on Sundays and we wanna make that a priority at passion.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He says this, there is the physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable, joy, and strength to the believer. We believe that. And we’re not ashamed of that. We’re not gonna say, sorry for that. This is just what we do. We need each other face to face. And here’s what I believe the future is like for passion Creek.

And the future is for Christians friends. The future is. What I mean by that is I think the future of the church, a church that brings revival, a church that is formed by the love of Jesus together for others, that kind of church, not to say I’m against these, this, these things, but man, I think it is a little bit less concerts.

I’m not against concerts, but a little less concert and some more cathedral, some more let’s just gather and pray folks. We need the presence of God. In fact, I think we’re in this mess because we won’t stop talking. Let’s just get silent before God for a while. I think the future is less performance and a whole lot more prayer.

I think the future is less streaming and it’s a whole lot more serving. I think the future of the church is ancient where we’re coming early. We’re staying late. We’re living life together. We’re loving each other without grumbling. I think the future is. A virtual simulation and more of a visceral contemplation, it’s it.

It’s engaging. It’s taking the bread and the cup and it’s remembering what Jesus did on the cross. It’s taking the bread and the cup and remembering okay. In the future. Okay. So the bread and the cup. Cup represents my sins have been forgiven praise God for the past, but also I’m taking this because I’m looking forward to the future because the scriptures are clear.

Here’s what the future is. The future is a feast. We’re gonna be eating with Jesus with our church. It’s gonna be beautiful and we’re gonna be. Celebrating with Jesus that he has won. There’s no more tears, no more crying. We have won the victory. And when we take part, when we do this day by day in the kingdom, we are communicating to the world, man, Jesus is coming.

Jesus is king. He’s our Lord. And we do what he. So I want us, my, my prayer is that we would take this not in a spirit of guilt or condemnation. Not that at all. Please hear me. I wanna see this as an invitation to more, an invitation to beauty. What we need. We don’t need relevance, friends.

We need the presence of God. And so here’s three practices, three ways to do the word this week, based off of first Peter four seven through 11, number one, you’re gonna talk about this in your together groups, but I want you level one is to commit to showing up every Sunday in person commit to that.

That’s a hard commitment. I acknowledge that us meeting up five makes it even harder, but right now say, you know what? I’m committing, we’re gonna show up because that’s where God shows up. And I wanna be there when it happens level. Discern your gift and use it at the Sunday gathering, right? Ask the Lord, begin that prayer.

Now God revealed to me my spiritual gift. We have places for you to serve. We have things for you to do. And if anything, I’m telling you, just show up 30 minutes before, and you are doing such a service to this family, to the momentum that God is creating here at passion Creek. Use it at the Sunday gathering and here’s level three, host a fellow member in.

I think one way to do that is after the Sunday gathering, who wants to go out and have dinner, right? Having inviting people over a commitment, our together group made was, Hey we meet together on Sundays. We meet together on Tuesday nights, but let’s also do something else. Let’s do random things, not all of us, but Hey, a few of us let’s get together and let’s just spread the love.

Let’s do life together, friends. I believe this is the process. To make space for the grace of God to do what only he can do. And I’m just asking, are you willing to be apart? Will you take these steps with me to be together as Christ has commanded us to do

Group Guide

Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:


  • What’s one thing God has been teaching you lately?
  • What’s the last prayer God answered in your life?
  • What’s one prayer you really need God to answer right now?


Overview of Teaching

Until recently, disciples of Christ Jesus always valued and treasured the weekly gathering of the saints. It was a consistent place and time to habituate our minds, hearts, and bodies toward a community of love, joy, and peace through the acts of worship, service, and communion.

But with the advent of the internet, do we really need to be together in person to accomplish these functions of the church?

Looking to the wisdom of 1 Peter 4:7-11, we learn the grace of God is poured out on the saints when they gather together to stay alert, love each other deeply, and open up their hearts without grumbling. By humbly using our gifts to serve one another in the church, we reject the lies from the world that community must be entertaining, idealistic, virtual, and tribal.



Read 1 Peter 4:7. Why does Peter remind us to be alert and sober-minded for prayer? How should this affect the way we view our church community and relationships?

Now read verse 8. What often prevents you from dealing with hurt and conflict from the different people in your life? Think about your family, but also friends, co-workers, and fellow church members.

Now read verse 9-11. In what ways does this community that Peter is describing look different from the way of the world? How is this practice of community countercultural?

What are some things that often prevent you from living out this type of intentional community, especially within our church?


Debrief last week’s practice as a Group.


What lies did you notice yourself believing throughout your week? What did you learn about yourself and about God’s truth through this practice?



As we continue learning about what it means to be formed by Jesus as a community, we have to recognize that a core part of community is the Sunday gathering. This week, consider taking a next step in the following areas:


1. Commit to showing up every Sunday in person. Obviously, life happens and most of us miss gathering on Sundays for good reasons. But it can be helpful to reflect on the bad habits of our flesh, false narratives of the world, and temptations from the devil that prevent us from committing to making the Sunday Gathering a priority.


2. Discern your gift and use it at the Sunday gathering. If you’re not sure what your gifts are, consider taking a personality test like the Enneagram or the Meyer’s Briggs, or this Spiritual Gifts Assessment.


3. Commit to hosting a fellow church member in your home. For many of us, the best way to build stronger relationships with the people in our community is to see them outside of Sunday nights and Group time. Consider inviting someone or a few people from the church over for dinner, a game night, or a kid’s play date.


Discuss the following questions as a Group


What are some things that typically prevent you from committing to showing up in person on Sundays? The goal here isn’t to cast judgement or condemn, but rather to allow space for us to name the false narratives of the world and bad habits of our lives.


What gifts and interests do have that you’d like to start using to serve the church? If someone feels like they don’t have any or they don’t know their gift, pause and allow other Group members to share the giftings they notice within that person.


Do you tend to see your home as a place of refuge for yourself, or more as a center of love for others? What are some things that often prevent you from practicing hospitality in your home?



As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.