Sermons Archives: January 2021

Called Out or Outsider?

Posted on Jan 21, 2021 | Download

The first church I went to as a 7-year-old child, was the one I stayed at for the next 18 years. By the time I was a teenager I walked the building with insight and authority. I even ran through the halls a time or two. I knew where every bathroom was, every "secret" closet and stairwell. I played the grand piano when no one was looking. I even worked there as an intern as soon as I graduated high school; immersing myself more in the church culture and my family. When you know who to get petty cash from and they give it to you...you know you are part of the team. It was one of the times in my life that I felt most valued, most essential, and most included. When we left my childhood church and moved to Texas, an unidentified void grew within me.  Church felt different. I felt like an outsider. Present but not seen. Present but not known. Present but invisible. But why? It must be the church. So we tried a new one. Week after week, month after month, year after year, church after church we tried to fit in. Yet the void didn't lessen. I missed the connection I had felt in my first church. The unity that came from meeting more than on Sundays. I missed being needed. I missed being called out. I missed being seen. I missed being part of a church family.  I remember telling my spouse how lonely I felt in service. I struggled in my desire to go each week. My joy in "church" was dead. No one sees me anyway. I am not on the inner circle. I am an outsider. But the conviction to be in church was too strong. Truth overcomes our momentary feeling if we do what is right even though we don't feel it.  So, I took up my "outsider" role as a call from God. Was He asking me to focus less on myself? There must be purpose in this. God loves me and is good. He does not forsake His people. There must be others who feel like they are unimportant and left to struggle alone. I could seek them out & make sure they feel known and seen. I could reach out, encourage, and uplift others. I could live called out to see people. Slowly my feelings of being an outsider changed. I was willing to be called out of my comfort zone. I started to feel connected. I started to feel seen. I started to be known.  How did I go from struggling alone and outside to believing I was a valuable family member? I did these three things: 1. Show up. Yes, it is that simple. Show up! When you feel like sleeping in, just want a quiet evening, or feel like watching the game... let your feet lead your heart into church. This does not only mean to the main service.  Ugh, you know it is coming...show up to...LifeGroups. It may not feel comfortable but being present in smaller groups is such an important way you will connect with others and it is where you will be seen.  Being a part of a church family allows you the opportunity to serve in the Body of Christ and serve others! We are gifted for acts of service to one another, and this happens when we don’t just show up once a week to ‘be fed.’  2. Speak Up. You are not alone. Look around you when you are in church. Show up a tad early so you have the time to say "hi" to one person*. Listen, let's be real, this is not easy. Looking away from yourself is hard. You will feel uncomfortable. But that is...okay! You may not know what to say, that is okay too. Ask a question. "How was your week?" Yes, it feels awkward to end one of these brief conversations but lean into the awkward. It is not what you say but that you say something that makes a difference. (Heb 10:24-25). 3. Dig In. Dig into your bible. Get on the Bible App. Invite someone to do a study together for fellowship and accountability. Join a Bible study. Spend an hour a week alone listening to worship music & praising God. Take a daily/weekly walk and ask God to speak to you fresh. Obey. You may feel like an outsider because the void inside you is not being filled by God. God still speaks today. Are you making time to hear?  We like to think that the reason we don't fit into a church is because it is the wrong church. That could be true. But when we examine our hearts honestly, often it is because we are too lazy to put forth effort, we are afraid to be vulnerable or uncomfortable, and/or we want to feel like a good Christian without surrendering ourselves fully to God.   God has more for you in 2021.  You are NOT an outsider. You are called out. (John‬ 11:38-44‬). It is time to respond to Him by Showing up, Speaking up, and Digging in!   *NAME MEMORY HACK Say person's name in a sentence right after you learn it. Then, just before you leave, say their name in your farewell, again. When you are back at your seat, whip out your phone or notebook. Write their name down with some description of their person or detail of your convo. Example: Crista, brown hair, two kids. Then, right before service the next week glance at your note. So you are ready in case they are there again. If you don't remember the next time you see them, ask. Remember, it matters when someone knows your name. People are worth this time and effort.  ----- Thank you for reading this original content from SomaChurch of Tyler, TX.  If you are part of another church body, we encourage you to apply these truths and practices wherever you are planted. Rise Up and live Called Out!