20190929 One Another:  Get Real With...

We all need a few people we can be complete ourselves around. People who don’t laugh at the way we laugh or take advantage or our weaknesses or mock our dreams. But “vulnerable" can mean something scary, right? “Susceptible to harm, unprotected, unsafe.” But great families enjoy unfiltered transparency and unstoppable love. Where can you find it?


TRANSCRIPTION:

0:09  Hey, what’s up!

0:14  You know, I'm trying to break this habit of coming out and saying how are you doing?  Because half of you would have to be dishonest because you know it’s not like that’s not like the time to be like, “It’s not so great, Joseph.  Can we have a conversation about it?”

0:24  I'm trying to break that habit because, listen, I just want to be a place - we want this to be a place - where you can you can be yourself.  So today, if you feel like you’re on top of the world - welcome. If you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders - welcome. Or somewhere in between - welcome.

0:42  We’re in a series right now talking about the kind of family you would choose, because what we’ve been saying is that there’s a family you get, and the family that you choose.  The family that you were born into, the family that you got, or maybe were adopted into.

0:55  And then, over time, all of us augment that - we bring more people into our lives into intimate relationships, friendships, teams, your romantic life, you know, we build a family.  

1:03  And what we’ve been saying, and you probably know this intuitively is, you have to be careful with the family that you choose because you will start to bear a family resemblance.  You’ll start to pick up on the quirks of the family that you choose, and so what kind of a family would the future you want you to choose now?

1:34  I don’t plan on crying, but we’ll see where this goes.

1:37  When I was eleven years old, my family decided to go to a beach house in Orange County.  We rented a place for a couple of days, and one day, I remember I was eleven years old, that’s an important part of this in my development.

1:49  We go out to the beach to have a day on the sand and in the water.  We set up our towels right next to a bunch of teenage girls. And even though I was just eleven, I knew that impressing them was going to be a big part of my future.    

2:02  The potential Mrs. Me could be over here.  So what I needed to do, you know, was go out there and save a baby seal or something to get their attention.  So I puff up my eleven year-old chest and I blaze out towards the water.

2:16  And I’m not sure that they noticed - I’m pretty sure that they didn’t notice me until I was done, when I am totally sure that they noticed me.  And I will tell you why.

2:25  So I’m out there swimming, and you know, I’m in the waves a little bit.  We didn’t go to the ocean a lot when I was growing up, even though I grew up in Southern California, but you know, I could have fun on the beach.  And I was sort of tired, I was going to go in and hang out, maybe, you know, get a great tan on my little eleven year-old body.

2:43  So I stopped swimming and I started to move towards shore.  And then, some of you know this feeling very well - I started to be pulled back into the ocean, which tells me a wave is coming.  It’s okay - I know what to do - don’t panic. I turn around and, I’m not close enough to shore to make it to the shore. I’m closer to the wave, so I have to turn around and start swimming towards it.

3:01  And, even if the wave crashes, you can always duck-dive under the thing, and you’ll be fine.  But, I just didn’t pull it off. I wasn’t there in time, I wasn’t coordinated, I don’t know what happened, but this wave broke and just pummeled me.

3:16  And now I’m tumbling under water, you know, and even though that’s only moments - if you’ve ever had that feeling, you’re pretty sure you’re going to die.  That’s how I felt. To make matters worse, my Body Glove swim trunks, hot pink with neoprene waistband - thwoomp - came off of my body.

3:37  Now, the good news was, is they stopped around my right ankle and so I reached down even while I’m underwater, somersaulting, I reached down and hold onto those trunks for dear life.  And now I’m praying, too, I’m praying, Dear God, please do not let me wash up naked on shore. I’m thinking about the teenagers, but I’m also thinking about my life, I’m thinking about all my choices in life - just picture this.

4:03  No, don’t picture this.

4:07  But here I am.  And then, God of grace and mercy, sweet love of mine, I stand up and I’m still waist deep in the water, y’all.  Yes. No one is the wiser. So I start to put my trunks on.

4:21  But what you would know about waves is that they come in… sets.  So sure enough, I start to be pulled back again. Now I’ve gotta turn, I’m swimming.  My little bare butt probably breeching the surface of the water. And then I don’t quite make it to that wave either.  That one hits me, pummels me again, now I’m somersaulting underwater, and now my prayer is that I would live. And the shorts, I’ve got them still in my hands, I haven’t lost them, but I am just like - nature and I are one.  More than we’ve ever been united at any other point in my life.

4:58  God, please, please, if you let me survive this one day when I’m 37 years old, I will plant a church in North Hollywood, California.  And here we are.

5:07  No, I didn’t pray any of that.  But just let me live. And God of grace and mercy, sweet love of mine, He answered that prayer.  I should’ve been more specific, because He did wash me up on shore, like Jonah getting spit out of the whale, and there I was.  But I was so out of it, and so happy to be alive, that I decided to do - I stood up on the beach and I grabbed my hot pink Body Glove swimsuit with the neoprene waistband, and I waved it above my head.

5:43  And my dad, I remember, he comes running down the beach with a towel, wraps it around me, and then leads me back up to the family encampment there, and the last thing I remember was the laughter of our teenage neighbors.

6:02  And one of them became my wife.  No, that didn’t happen. But they are here today.  Would you guys - no I’m kidding. That’s not it, either.

6:17  I mean, that was like terrifying.  The whole thing was terrifying. What stuck with me was the feeling of being exposed, right?  So as terrifying as that is, I actually think what’s worse for us, even though it’s never been easier for us to do it than we’re doing this now, is that it’s never been easier, and yet so dangerous for us to be exposed and yet not seen.

6:41  And we know what this is like, right?  Because never in the history of the world has it been easier for you to expose certain qualities of your life, or aspects of your life, or versions of your life, than it is now.  Never been easier to brand something that might be partly true, might be untrue, but you can put yourself out there in a way that you think will be acceptable to the world around you.

7:02  And then they get to make a decision whether or not they know you, or want to know you.  And you can do that in such a way that you completely obscure who you actually are.

7:09  Fully exposed, and yet not seen.

7:13  It actually teaches us to do the same thing, in reverse.  That we get to observe, not just the celebrities and politicians of the world, but just everybody.  We get to observe what you’re driving and who you’re with, and how you’re vacationing, and we get to come to conclusions about who you really are.

7:29  Very exposed, but I’m not sure if you’re totally seen.

7:33  This really plays out in really destructive ways too, because of the veneer, or the delusion of transparency that our online world gives us.  People are willing to expose how they really think, and the bigotries of their hearts in ways that they would never bring themselves to do, face-to-face.

7:52  And so I wonder if it’s a way for us to try and address something our souls long for, and it is to be not exposed, but to be truly seen, to be truly known, and to be loved at the same time.  I’m not surprised that we hide behind how we expose ourselves online because we’re not sure that if we’re truly seen we could also be truly loved.

8:19  That’s maybe not been your experience.  Vulnerability is a scary, scary thing. Vulnerability can mean that you are now vulnerable - you are susceptible - to harm, to betrayal, right?  To insult, and criticism. And that can feel dangerous.

8:37  But there’s a really positive version of vulnerability that we long for.  The version of vulnerability that simply means that the courage, or the freedom, to be the real you.  I think that that’s the kind of vulnerability that we long for, and that we often don’t provide it. And one of the reasons why we don’t get real, we don’t maybe bring our real selves to some relationships, is because we’ve not yet built trust.

9:07  And I think that you probably agree with me - we don’t risk vulnerability with people that we don’t trust.  We don’t risk being seen with people that we don’t trust.

9:17  Because if you are found to be not trustworthy, then we find our vulnerability actually is just exposure.  And it leaves us open to betrayal and hurt and harm.

9:29  And yet we try.  You know, I was looking to the work of this technology researcher last week, from M.I.T.  And that sounds really boring except for what she concluded, which surprised me. She studied - she took a big sampling of 13 and 17 year-old men and women, young men and women, and their use of technology.

9:48  And one of the things that she concluded from this really large sample size, is that teenagers are actually not addicted to technology, even though that’s how we often caricature teenagers.  You know the common version of a caricature of a teenager is of someone who’s zoning out, like a zombie, with the light of the screen on their faces.

10:08  But the data actually in this sample set that she took didn’t reveal that.  They weren’t addicted to technology. What she found instead was that they were addicted to each other.  And the way that they were using technology was to create these environments, even virtual - these little enclaves where they can begin to establish trust, and begin to be transparent with their community without the watchful gaze of their parents.

10:31  And that as those teenagers, then, have every once in a while, face-to-face interactions, they’re actually stating to put their devices away at a much higher rate than some of the generations older than them.

10:42  Because they’re so desperate for connection with each other, desperate to be vulnerable with each other, that they established trust online so that they can have real relationships interpersonally.

10:52  I think that, again, reminds me, of our soul’s deepest cry - that we would be fully known and that we would still be fully loved.  But we might not get there if we’re not with people that we fully trust.

11:04  I get that it’s complicated when a church guy talks about trust, because some of you think that this is the last place that you can find trustworthy people.  And maybe you never have, in a place like this.

11:15  But you should’ve found trustworthy people.  Places like this should have been the place where you can be real with how hard the marriage is right now.  Should’ve been. This should’ve been the place where you can say, “I’m really financially underwater,” without feeling like you’re shamed because you’re not giving.  This should’ve been that.

11:33  This should’ve been the place where you can process through your sexuality and gender identity without feeling condemned and categorized and labeled and rejected.  And the reason why I think it should’ve been that kind of place is because all of the evidence leads me to that conclusion.

11:47  When you read of the experience of the earliest Jesus followers, it seems like the closer that they got to Him, the closer they were empowered to be with each other.  The stronger the relationships, and the stronger the transparency was built between each other.

12:01  In this series, we’ve been looking at a few examples of this phrase, “one another,” that pops up all over the first writings of Jesus, people.  Two thousand years ago. Almost as though that one of the best things that changed in their lives when they started to live a life with Jesus, is that they had better relationships with other humans.

12:18  One of the examples that helps us together is from a letter that a guy named Paul wrote to Jesus followers in the city of Rome.  He said, “Let’s stop condemning one another. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.”  In case we misunderstand this, in the context of what Paul is saying here, is do not slow down someone’s journey in life by labeling them and rejecting them.

12:47  Don’t make them fall in their journey towards Jesus by categorizing, judging and condemning them.  And yet, if we were to take a poll today - and this is not statistically sound, I’m just using this as an illustration - I would think that nine out of ten people would think that condemnation is probably a pretty good way to describe Christians.  

13:06  Some people probably think that Christian is Latin for condemnation.  Now, I know that great relationships, great friendships, great families, should be contexts in which you have unfiltered transparency and unstoppable love.

13:24  And so it should be the case in a place like this.  And I think it’s encouraging for us to remember that if you don’t experience that, if you don’t think you can be vulnerable with each other, if we don’t get real with each other, it’s not Jesus standing in the way of that.  It’s just you and I.

13:39  So I want to take us to somebody who was courageous enough to be real when nobody else was being real around him, and why it mattered and what changed as a result of it.  Maybe this might give us a way forward.

13:49  This is near the end of Jesus’ life, His recorded life, as we see in the biographies of Jesus.  His closest followers don’t know He’s about to die. He hasn’t let that on really clearly yet. So they’re biggest concern was what life was going to look like when Jesus took over political power.  And there was a lot of fans of Jesus at the time - He seemed like the winning horse to bet on.

14:10  And all these people globbed on, imagining how their lives were going to improve when Jesus was on the throne.  What will the world look like when Jesus is on the throne. And Jesus is about to show them.

14:21  In Mark chapter 10 verse 46, this is something that Mark observed.  “Then they came to Jericho, and as Jesus and His disciples together with a large crowd, together with his fans, they were leaving the city, a blind man Bartimaeus, which means son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road, begging.  You should know that if you were blind, or if you were deaf, or if you had some physical injury, begging was probably your only career option at the time. And on top of that, people were, a lot of people, superstitiously thought that if you had some physical challenge, that means you did something wrong, and God’s punishing you.

14:53  So imagine the shame loaded on Bartimaeus.  Verse 47 - when he, Bartemaeus, heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth walking by, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

15:07  The son of David is a very specific title that he gives him, because the Jewish people believed, and there were a lot of prophets that said, the Messiah, the person who would finally reconcile everything in creation, he was going to come from the family line of David.  

15:20  So when he says Son of David, he is saying nothing less than - “You are the one that can save the world.  You are the one that can save me. You are our hope.” That’s what he’s saying - “have mercy on me.”

15:31  Verse 48 - many people, all the people around Jesus rebuked him and told him to be quiet.  No, no, no. It would be really convenient for us if no blind people were along for the ride.  That would be great. It’s so frustrating for me, and maybe this has been your experience, that sometimes the only thing standing between you and Jesus are other people who are following Jesus - have you noticed that?

14:52  And most of the time what stands in the way of you and Jesus is other people following Jesus keeping a manicured appearance.  Like giving the impression that - this is how good you have to be to get in on the good stuff. And once you qualify for this, and once you’ve cleaned yourself up to be comfortable for us, then you can have access to Jesus.

16:11  And I don’t know everybody that spoke to Bartimaeus, but the only thing that I’m lead to believe, if they told him to shut up and be quiet, is that his particular story was inconvenient for them.  Or uncomfortable for them.

16:24  Real pain, real loneliness, was not welcomed in this family of image-managers.  It’s the last place that they could - no, no, no, no blind people here.

16:33  No addictions in this church.  No marital problems here. Nobody’s got doubts here.  No, no, that’s not this place. It would be a whole easier for us if your life wasn’t so messy.  So maybe go clean it up some more out there, and then we have got a seat waiting for you.

10:47  I went to a Christian high school, which is like church, but you get graded.  And it was the first place, though - I had some really good interactions there - it was the first place that I discovered faith in Jesus.  I was taught about the indiscriminate love of Jesus.

17:05  But it wasn’t without complication because at the same time I was learning about the indiscriminate love of Jesus, I had a friend, and I’ll just call her Tory, I had this friend Tory who got pregnant.  She was sixteen. And based on school policy, she was kicked out. She was expelled.

17:22  And even though I was brand new to be my faith, I knew that that choice was more about administration than it was about Jesus.  But I go back to that moment in my life so many times, thinking about - I haven’t stayed current with Tory’s life, and I don’t know what happened to that child - but I think, man, I wonder what would have been different, what that would’ve shown the rest of us, if at the very moment that Tory probably needed connection and faithfulness and support the most, our policies told us she needed to be expelled.  

17:56  I wonder the story that might’ve been given to another young lady in the high school, who’s carrying a child, and wondering what options she had.

18:05  Sometimes the thing standing between you and the Jesus that you need, are the people following Jesus.


18:13  Even so, there are some of you brave enough to persist.  Even though you keep getting slapped, keep getting left out, you still persist.  Bartimaeus persisted and look what happens.

18:26  Verse 48, the rest of it, even though they told him to shut up, he shouted all the more - good for you - Son of David, have mercy on me!  Have mercy on me. I recognize there is a huge gap between where I am and where my soul wants to be. I admit that I need help. Please have mercy on me.

18:46  It’s probably why we are uncomfortable being so transparent sometimes.  Because if we admit that we have got challenges, then we admit we have little to offer apart from Jesus.  Like we have little to give you - we can’t give you our perfection - we can just give you our mutual need.

19:03  The only thing that we can ever come to Jesus with, ever, is our need for Jesus.

19:10  Like, every inch I have stepped in my spiritual life, has been as a result of me saying, “Jesus, have mercy on me.  Jesus, I need you. I cannot fix this on my own. I need you in my marriage, I need you in my addiction, I need you in my insecurity, I need you in my church, I need you in my parenting, I need you in my life, I need you in this fear, I need you, I need you - Son of David, have mercy on me.  Meet me here.

19:35  I’m going to be as real as I know how to be, trusting that You will meet me here.  And I think he might, because after Bartimaeus persisted, he said, “I still need you.  I know they’re telling me to shut up, I know they want to leave me out, but I still need you.”  Jesus stops - first time we hear His voice in this story, and He said, “Call him.”

19:51  And the word in Greek has this authority to it, like, “Stop everything - this is mission-critical.  This guy. Call him.”

20:00  So they called to the blind man - I love this about-face - “Cheer up!  On your feet! He’s calling you. Did you say ‘blind?’ Oh, I’m sorry. I misunderstood.  We love blind people here. Come on, blind guy - He’s calling you.” They’re throwing cloak aside, the guy jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

20:16  And then I love this - Jesus does this all the time - verse 51.  “What do you want me to do for you? I’m gonna make you say it. I’m gonna make you articulate why you’re paying attention to me at all.”

20:32  So the blind man - I love the way Mark records this for us - the blind man said, “Oh, I don’t know.  I’m just going to come out of left field, Rabbi. I wanna… see? Let’s start there. That’d be great.  Could I see?”

20:51  Bartimaeus… In this moment, we could look at this and say, whatever you want to believe about miracles, and if Jesus actually did this stuff at all, and we look at this and say, “Wow, what a fantastic moment of miracle to prove that Jesus is powerful.”  But I think what we would miss in this, is where Jesus decided to apply His power.

21:10  Because in this moment, what’s happening is a blind man, who has had cultural shame and rejection lumped on top of him, he’s decided to be brave enough to still be real and that’s the one that Jesus pays attention.  That’s the one that Jesus can work with.  

21:26  And it begs the question for us - some of us in this room are Jesus followers, and I know that’s not all of you, but some of us, how do we create the perfect place for people to be real?  How do we create an environment where people don’t have to muster as much courage up as Bartimaeus to be real?

21:40  Because that’s who Jesus is going to work with.  How do we create that kind of environment?

21:43  One of the conclusions I came to this week, is that people come out of hiding with people who have nothing to hide.  People are going to come out of hiding far more frequently with people who have nothing to hide.

21:55  We’re transparent from this stage, we’re vulnerable in our interactions, in our groups, and in Starting Point, in those spaces, not because we’re perfect people or because it’s manipulative, but it’s because we want to give you permission, we want to give you the heads-up that this is a place where we expect God to meet real people.

22:12  So that we can become more real with ourselves, and more real with each other, and more real with God.  So we need to be a people who come out of hiding, so that the other people who, right now, are keeping secrets, and it’s destroying them.

22:25  Know that this is a place where you can be real.  God’s family should be the perfect place to experience God’s mercy.  It should be.

22:33  Not the perfect place to experience enabling, destructive behavior.  Not the perfect place to experience cleaning you up, you know, and making you convenient and less messy, but the perfect place to experience over and over and over again the life-transforming mercy of God.

22:54  So here’s Jesus finishing up with Bartimaeus.  Here He says, “Go,” said Jesus. “Your faith has healed you.”  And immediately, he received his sight. And he followed Jesus along the road.  His first act after experiencing a miracle is to disobey Jesus. Jesus said, “Go.”  He said, “I’m, no, no, no. I’m just going to stick with you. I hope there’s more where that came from.”

23:19  But by doing that, what he probably couldn’t have predicted but we can predict for him, is that receiving his physical sight is not going to be the first revelation that he will encounter.  Now that he’s received his sight, God will begin to uncover other things that maybe wasn’t seen before.

23:38  There’s gonna be moments in his future where he will wish he was blind again.  When he was blind, he couldn’t see how other people were looking down on him. When he was blind, he couldn’t see how there’s so many other ways he can compare themselves to other people and feel jealous.  When he was blind, he probably couldn’t see the needs of the community around him as explicitly and the burden he will have to carry now seeing what’s still needed. How far humanity still has to go.

24:07  There will be times where, even though he has sight, there will be bumps he will face that he does not see coming.  But hopefully he kept his eyes on Jesus.

24:17  I have this trick with my daughters when we’re flying, and when we’re on a turbulent flight, I tell them to look at the flight attendants.  And I tell them to do that because in my mind, what I’m thinking is, “You know, there’s probably a lot of skills that are necessary to become a good flight attendant.  They have to manage so much stuff, but I’m sure that one of the skills you don’t need to qualify to be a flight attendant, is acting. I don’t know that all of them are great actors.  So, if there was turbulence, and it really was trouble, I don’t think they’d be able to disguise it very well, right?”

24:47  So I tell my daughters, “You need to look at somebody who’s been here before.  You need to look at somebody who knows where we’re going. You need to look at somebody who knows how to make meaning of this turbulence.  Even though you can’t see it, you don’t know what’s happening in front of you as you experience these challenges along the way, you need to look at somebody who can give you confidence that it’s okay.  Keep your eyes on them, even while we’re going through the bumps, because the bumps are actually a sign that we’re making progress. The bumps are actually a sign that we’re actually in flight. The bumps are a sign that we’re going to get there, ok?”

25:15  There was one flight to Chicago where this totally backfired.  This was a couple years ago. It was particularly turbulent. And I said, “Look at the flight attendants.”  And we all three looked at the flight attendant, and she was not comfortable.  

25:29  So now all three of us are scared, but I gotta be strong for my kids.  I’m like, “Look at your dad. Here he is, fine. Don’t look - Look at your dad.”  We made it though. Obviously, because I’m here. Okay.

25:42  I say that because as we are real, I, from personal experience, can tell you that that is where Jesus will meet you and begin to make progress in your life.  But as maybe, you start to see, for the first time, and you start to address the first thing, the first thing that you were willing to admit that you needed - I want to see - you can also expect that as you continue to follow Jesus, there’s going to be more turbulence.

26:07  There’s going to be people now that, as we stay faithful in this community with each other, there’s gonna be people who’re gonna bump up against you and disagree with you and judge you and look down on, and people don’t understand, and people now have disrupted all your personal relationships because you’ve started to follow Jesus.  There’s gonna be more bumps on the road, and you might think at times that that is an indication that you’re about to fall out of the sky.

26:28  Let’s keep looking to Him, together.  Let’s look to the One who knows where we’re going, who can help us make meaning of these bumps that we’re experiencing together.

26:37  But don’t shut down.  Don’t shut off. Don’t close yourself away.  Because we’re gonna get there.

26:44  Now the good news today, is that God can’t work with perfect people.  He just doesn’t have much to offer you. So if today you are perfect, um, thanks for visiting.  We can’t help you.

26:58  For the rest of us, the good news is that God works powerfully through a community of people, not just individuals, a community of people who are brave enough to get real with one another.

27:11  I know that some of you have probably felt like you’ve had to keep fighting to be real, because people have told you to shut up, or get out, or clean up.  Keep persisting.

27:22  I know some of us are terrified to be real.  Maybe it’s hurt us in the past, or maybe you don’t know what people will think of you, but there really is no other promise that I can make to you.  God will not work with your profile. God works with your real life.

27:39  He sees the real you.  That’s who He loves. That’s who He’s interested in.  I want this to be a place where people can be real, because I want this to be a place where we experience God’s mercy together.

27:50  A couple steps that you might want to consider, so you can be a part of creating that environment, because me giving a speech does not create that environment - the part that you can play in this - first, you have to decide who can you trust.  That’s up to you. Who can you trust? And that is not a simple question to answer - you know it. There are some people, there are some of us who do not deserve your trust. We don’t know what to do with it. Or we’ll use it against you. But that doesn’t mean that’s everybody.

28:16  So figure out who you can trust.

28:18  I do want to nudge on that just a little bit because of the cultural swamp that we’re swimming in right now.  It seems like we’ve developed this reflex in our modern conversation, that if someone disagrees with you, they must be a hater.

28:38  Friends, just because someone has a different idea, or someone challenges your thinking, or someone votes differently than you, it does not mean that they’re condemning you, or judging you, or hating on you.  Can I get an Amen?

28:54  In fact, I would be really concerned if all of the closest relationships in my life fully agreed with everything that I thought.  Because we’re either all brilliant together or we’re ignorant together. I need diversity of opinion and perspective in my life.

29:12  Trust is not built on agreement.  Give it up. Great marriages are not built on agreement.  Great friendships are built on agreement. They’re built on two things:  the first we talked about last week, faithfulness, you’ll stick together.  The second thing that builds trust is what we’re talking about this week - be real.

29:32  Faithful.  Honest. Trust.

29:36  So find someone, two, three people you can trust.  You’re gonna have to take some risks. Starting Point is a great environment for that.  I encourage you to check that out, if you haven’t yet. If you’re somebody who’s not sure what you think about Jesus, you’ve got big questions about life and faith - you can go in there, it’s a conversational environment.  Maybe you don’t wanna ask the first question, but watch how they handle questions. Maybe that’s a way of discovering of where you can find trust, people you can trust.

29:59  Get into a group where you really can get to closer to each other and closer to Jesus, because you’re getting real and you’re keeping your eyes on Jesus as you hit the turbulence of life.  So figure out who you can trust. You’re gonna have to take some risks - there’s no other way around that.

30:13  But then the second thing to consider, even today, is to tell people that you trust what they don’t see.  Tell people, who you trust, what they do not see. Be a trailblazer. Even if nobody else around you is being real, be a leader in being real.

30:28  “Listen, I’ve got this dream, and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, because once I say it, I probably gotta do something about it, but I’m gonna tell somebody.  I want to tell you - I got a dream.”

30:36  You know, tell somebody about a hurt that you’re experiencing, a disappointment, a doubt that you’re experiencing - maybe it just starts with lunch with the person that invited you today, and you’re just dropping one layer of hiding with them.  You say, “Listen, I’m not telling many people this, but I’ve got some doubts.”

30:52  “I’m not telling many people this, but I’m really scared.  I’m not telling many people this, but I actually wanna know about a relationship with Jesus.  I know it seems so weird and Los Angeles - does anybody do that anymore?” Yeah.

31:02  “I’m not telling many people this, but I wanna see.”

31:08  So tell people what they don’t see.  And if nobody else around you is doing it, then maybe you’re the one who’s going to lead the way and give other people permission to get real, because that’s where God is going to meet us.  

31:17  Everybody here - everybody, myself included - has an unheard story, and an unmet need.

31:23  Every single one of us.  We all desperately need more than our human power can accomplish for ourselves.  So let’s get real together.

31:30  You’ve been crying out, I know - “See me!  See me. I wanna see.”

31:35  God is gonna meet the real you.  That’s who He loves. And inside of that love, you can have unfiltered transparency, unstoppable love - we actually have a shot of becoming who we really are.

31:46  I wanna pray with you.  Would you stand up with me?

31:50  God, thank You that You’ve given us every reason in the world to be real, at least with You.  

31:55  But You’ve asked us to go further.  In some ways, it’s really easy for me to be real with you.

32:03  I don’t see You.  I don’t hear You the way I hear other people.

32:11  So, I’m not surprised, God, that You’ve actually challenged me to take it one step further where my vulnerability has to meet somebody who has an opinion, or somebody who has a perspective, or somebody else who has pain.

32:29  God, that’s the context in which You wanna work - You want us to be increasingly vulnerable with each other so that we’re not just growing as individuals, but together as a community, we’re getting closer to each other as we’re getting closer to You.

32:43  Today, God, I pray that You will give someone the courage to take one next step of vulnerability - maybe get into a circle.  One step of vulnerability - maybe Lord, they’re gonna say something in a conversation today that they couldn’t have imagined saying before they got here today.

33:02  I pray that this is the perfect place for us to experience Your mercy.  

33:06  Jesus, empower us to be that people.  In Your name I pray, Amen.