We're a few days into our focus season this fall and we're off to a good start. The purpose of focus seasons is to help guide the church culture to be what we're hoping to be. This fall, we want to take steps to toward becoming a church that continually sees Jesus transform lives.
Of course, part of that process was the choice to partner with Together for Good and Prison Fellowship, but that's only a fraction of what it will take. Making that decision is the easy part. The part that is much harder will be developing a church culture that sticks with people even when they can't seem to get their stuff together. (Of course, this describes all of us to greater or lesser degrees, but some people aren't as skilled at hiding their stuff).
And that's exactly part of it. On Sunday, we learned that the first step to seeing others as the masterpiece God created is to look at ourselves first. None of us are self-made. All of us are masterpieces made in the image of God but all of us have also collected our share of mud, whether it's sin, hurt, or our inability to deal with the circumstances of life. When we're honest about our own mud, it's hard to judge others for theirs.
We're all in the same position. We're all messed up and in need of grace. Fortunately, Jesus gives grace willingly, not reluctantly. His grace makes us alive and cleans us up to reveal the masterpiece God created in the first place. Read Ephesians 2:1-10 and you'll see it clearly.
It occurred to me at small group last night that it would be a good exercise for all of us to sit on our front step or hang out at the mall or anywhere we can watch people and practice looking at them with Jesus' eyes. Man on a bike? Masterpiece. Gal covered in tattoos and piercings. God's unique creation. Kids with their pants sagging. Work of art. Family with men in slacks and suspenders and women with flowered dresses and bonnet. Created in God's image. That's the first key to being who God wants us to be--to see everyone we meet as God's creation; to not look at what they are now, but what they could be.
No one is a charity chase. Each person you see was made by God and created in Christ Jesus for good works. There's dignity and honor when we see people this way. That's the lead story of the gospel.
If you haven't yet picked up a focus season guide book, you can pick them up in the Commons at the small group table. If you still need to get in a small group, contact Pastor Keith or click here for our list of small groups.