Summary: 2 of 3 dealing with the importance of friendship

A Place to Belong

A Place to Call Home

Sunday Sermon / May 15th 2005


Ways to know your church is unfriendly.

1) The sign out front says – For members only

2) The parking lot has a sign that says – unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owners expense.

3) The church lobby has a sign that says – no loitering

4) When you say “Praise the Lord” and the guy behind you says – we don’t do that here.

5) When the pastor’s message is entitled “The Theological Significance of the eschatological dimensions of the sanctified life in the pre-millennial view of predestination.”

6) When they pass the plate – twice

7) When, at fellowship, coffee is $1.50 and donuts are $1.00 – limit one.

8) When the church’s motto is – We’re getting smaller but purer.

I don’t want our church to be just another church on the block.

o More than friendly; we move closer and actually become friends.

o Truly accepting and truly loving.

o A place that when you are here, you are more comfortable, more loved, more refreshed than in any other setting you find yourself in.

o This environment is available to anyone who walks through those doors, not just to “Members”

Barna, “If the unchurched want a great event, there are thousands of organizations that can put on a better show than the typical church. If the unchurched simply want to be in the presence of other people, there are ample opportunities to have such experiences, usually in much less threatening environments. But the Church is unique in that it is intended to be a community – not just an aggregation of unrelated people simultaneously seeking their own benefit, but a group of individuals…where true relationships are meant to flourish.

No ordinary friendships, we have something that the world doesn’t have. We have the Spirit of the Lord. When we sit together and listen to one another, we personally maybe helpless in the situation, but we can call on the Lord. We can enter the Throne room of our Lord on the behalf of the ones we love.

"The best moments any of us have as human beings are those moments when for a little while it is possible to escape the squirrel-cage of being me into the landscape of being us." - Frederick Buechner

Text: Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Sets = to cause to sit; to cause to abide; to cause to dwell; to cause (cities) to be inhabited

Lonely = AV - only, only child, desolate, solitary; only one,

This is not a pre-birth condition; this loneliness comes with life experience.

It Starts with God: This verse starts with God’s action, it’s His leading

I. God’s plan for His Kids “God sets the lonely in families”

a. His family around us

i. Because God does the “setting,” There are no strangers here, we’ve been expecting you and praying for you even before knowing your name.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God

ii. The word acceptance means, “Taking to oneself” It is an invitation.

iii. Briefly defined, acceptance is the state of receiving someone into relationship.

iv. It is closely related to grace, undeserved merit.

v. Therefore, acceptance includes all of who we are, the good, the bad and the ugly inside us.

“If you’re only willing to put your best foot forward, prepare to do a lot of hopping.”

“We can’t grow unless we are sure that we are both known and loved. Some people like us because they don’t know us; some know us, and therefore don’t like us. Relationship can’t occur unless both knowledge and love are present.” Doctors Cloud and Townsend

We are born legalist. IN other words, we want to earn love and acceptance. It is less risky than receiving it by grace. It helps us think we are in control and can keep us disconnected from relationship.

Give up the Law as a means to Acceptance

b. His spirit inside us

i. This need for complete acceptance doesn’t start with human relationships; it starts in our relationship with God.

ii. Acceptance is the result of the working of grace. Because of God’s grace, we are accepted into relationship.

“People do not grow until they shift from a natural human view of God to a real, biblical view of God. The first aspect of that shift has to be the shift from a God of Law to the God of Grace. People must discover that God is for them and not against them. This is what it means to have a God of grace.”

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