M-Note 8.27.2021

Today someone asked me, “Matt, how are you doing?”. It is a routine question, I know. But, I froze. The person stared at me as I stumbled over what to say. We both laughed as I explained that I was feeling a little bit of emotional whiplash. He asked why? And I just shared all that had happened just in the past 24 hours: I was exhilarated from a meeting with leaders in our church, grieving with a family as I conducted a funeral, received some bad news regarding a friend, and feeling anguished over the violence and disruption in Afghanistan. The person got more than they bargained for by asking that question. But, I received a gift in that moment. There was something helpful about just naming out loud to someone else what I was thinking and feeling.  
I need that sometimes. I need other people who ask me how I am doing and actually want to know the answer. It is easy for me to get caught up in my own thoughts or emotions. On top of that, many of us don’t share too much with other people. We rush through life, doing what needs to get done, without ever stopping to reflect on it. Over time, this can lead to a sense of isolation or blind spots that we no longer recognize. Faith can help, but even our faith can be narrow-sighted if we don’t have a chance to talk about it and learn from others. But to do all this, you need some people. You need a place where you have a chance to learn, listen, support others, and even share what is happening in your own life. Having people like this around you in life is a huge gift. And if you don’t have that, I want you to try it!
Right now, CoreGroups are forming at the church. CoreGroups are small groups of people that gather weekly to talk, pray, read scripture, check-in, and discuss what is going on in their life. Some of you have been in groups like this before. For some of you, this sounds strange, and you wouldn’t be alone. But, I want you to try it anyway. I have noticed something in 15 years of ministry. When people find the right CoreGroup, one that they click with, it makes all the difference in their life and in their faith.
CoreGroup sign-ups are currently open. There are groups that meet on any given day of the week, some in the mornings, a lot at night. Some groups are based on commonalities like where you live, what you are going through, or the phase of life you are in. If you have never done a group before and aren’t sure where to start, let us know. Reach out to your site pastor or our CoreGroup Director Denee Bowers, and we can help. It is ok to try several until you find one that is right for you.
I know there are a million reasons why now may not be a good time to join a group. There are also a lot of excuses about why CoreGroups may not work for you (believe me, I have heard most of them). But, trust me on this one. The right group can change your life. So, I hope that you will try it. You can look at the CoreGroups and sign-up for one on The Gathering website or app. I hope you will!
P.S. This weekend, I will finish my series Fire and Brimstone: The Book of Revelation. I will be talking about John’s vision of heaven, or as it is called in Revelation 21, the new heaven and new earth. It is going to be a hopeful message that I think you will want to hear. Don’t forget that you can always listen to each sermon in this series or share them with a friend by going here or on our app. I will see you Sunday.

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