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Beautiful Mess


well on that note happy holidays you know it's interesting it's funny watching that video and I don't know what kind of family you come from in this room I 10 we have a wide variety and you may come from a big family that's loud and full of all kinds of activity and craziness you may come from a really small family you may come from a mixed family a broken family who may have been adopted you may have been this that or the other but the interesting thing in this room every one of us have something in common with that crazy video clip and that is we have a family story don't we and whether you like your family's story love it or want to be distanced from it as much as you can it's your story right yeah it's interesting family is a funny thing I I think the family is beautiful but I think the family can be really messy sometimes isn't that true yeah it's a little bit of both it's really interesting I my grandfather on my dad's side in 1936 middle of the depression borrowed a sizable amount of money from another family member and went out and started a company called Carolina steel and wire he was an engineer he had developed a new way to extrude metal and code it to avoid corrosion and all kinds of things like that and he began to create really high performance high this that and the other end in all the terms why are they called a wire rope wire cable and if you have flown on a boeing aircraft any time between the 60s all the way up into the 90s you most likely flew on an aircraft that had carolina steel and wire in it that controlled the wings and flaps and all of these kinds of things interesting thing about that story was it when he got that loan he left his wife and two boys one of those was my dad and made it pretty clear that he didn't want them to follow him middle of the depression tough time to be a single mom raising two boys right yeah family's crazy my dad grew up with aunts and uncles ended up going to college became a mechanical engineer kind of followed in his dad's footsteps and worked in the aerospace engineer aerospace industry for most part also worked for Boeing and again if you flew on a boeing aircraft you probably flew on a plane it had parts that he had designed and engineered and that was kind of the picture of my dad's side of the family a lot of technical people I had an uncle there was the Dean of something at Yale Medical School I never met him a couple uncles that are this kind of engineer that kind of genere really big family scattered all over the East Coast in the Midwest tons of technical people then you got me my mom's side of the family mostly in southern Arizona a lot smaller her grandpa works for the Apache powder company in st. David Arizona he was a chemist they developed different types of nitroglycerin and dynamite blasting products for the mining industry my uncle Michael Dean he worked for the Queen copper mine in Bisbee Arizona big huge open-pit copper miner remember i would go spend summers my aunt Eloise knuckle dean's house and i loved it it was so it was so fun they lived in you know southern Arizona the desert there seemed like there was always something to do some critter to catch or shoot or something like that and yes and I loved it I loved I remember going to work with my Uncle Dean sometimes he was a foreman at this copper mine and I just remember I feel like in my mind today I still remember the smell of his truck you don't have said it had just this dusty smell to it I remember it's Stanley lunch boxes old plastic black ones some of you guys remember those are you still have them the metal thermos riding it open it up he pour a cup of coffee night remember how bad that coffee stunk funny memories about family my dad mom married in the mid-60s my dad worked for Boeing in Seattle and things were great for several years and then they weren't great and at one point they they finally divorced and interestingly enough as my dad was driving my mom from Seattle back to southern Arizona delivering her back to her family along the way they had to stay the night somewhere and of course scandalous romance broke out one last time and but yeah right and wasn't just me I had a twin brother named Mark and I'm mark only lived for 30 days and it's interesting when you look at my family history and especially for my mom you you begin to see this pattern of just hurts and things that went wrong dreams that didn't quite come together trauma you know trauma that impacts you it it impacts how you think how you feel how you perceive the world and I can remember as a kid growing up it seemed like my mom was always in and out of some kind of rehab or this kind of hospital or that she dealt with a lot of addiction issues as she tried to work through getting her footing after losing so much at a young age and it didn't go so well from her and I I ended up living with my dad growing up with my dad she lost custody of me and I can remember the back and forth on weekends and that kind of stuff some of you have similar family stories while family is beautiful that also can be messy can be second grade my dad remarried and I instantly had a stepmom and a brother named Kip yeah and I just remember I I loved having a brother and we also typically author my grade school years and into middle school we typically had a couple sometimes two sometimes three foster brothers we would we would take in foster boys usually 16 17 year olds olds they were closer to my brother's age than me and I just remember how fun it was having a bunch of boys in the house right mischief always going on someone was always in trouble someone was always chasing someone it just was fun occasionally the crazy train stopped by her house to just every so often it was was fun because little chaotic as a little yeah after college I towards the end of college I married my wife Kim and I married from my family and now I've been married into her family which is big and loud the rich in faith and love and I love being a part of that family and the diversity that's in my entire family there's a little bit of scandal on all sides of it too maybe that's true in your family also I think family is one of God's most beautiful creations I think God sees our families differently than we do he views them from a different perspective a different purview he he sees them differently than we do and he loves him he loves your family deeply you know that something you're going to yeah I'm like you don't know my family you don't know my family I telling you God sees your family differently than you do then I see mine and he loves them deeply and he understands the beauty and mess that is our families and the interesting thing is this and the terrifying thing potentially for you and at times for me is that he chooses to reach into to to touch our family's not around us not despite us but through us he chooses to reach into our families through us whether you like it or not if you are a follower of Christ especially I'm telling you God wants to reach into your family because he loves them deeply he cares about the men he's constantly at work to create life in your family to restore things that are broken to redeem things that are lost in your family and that's good news and yet for some of you again there's a bit of a paradox in your mind you going yeah yeah but my family you don't understand my family Mike it doesn't look like your family and God knows that and he understands you know Jesus had a messy family did you know that she know Jesus had a little bit of a messy family John chapter 7 verse 5 it says even his own brother's they didn't believe in him you imagine that growing up with Jesus I mean his brothers would have grown up with him for 30 years right around the house I think about times I think about a time with Kip and some of our foster brothers and I we were playing baseball we had a bat and a tennis ball and someone hit a tennis ball and it hit this little single pane window in the front of the house went right through it everyone scatters right it's the whole game like nah me I didn't do it can't imagine that a Jesus family mom you honor hey who left the sheep gate open again and every kind of goes well certainly not Jesus you know it just would have been different right here is Jesus fully God fully man and walking without sin even as a child I mean did he ever spill milk I guess that's not a sin I mean but what would that have been alike to go some of you know what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a bigger brother or sister right and they're taller faster stronger smarter prettier whatever it may be and they cast a long shadow right some of you know what that's like can you imagine growing up as Jesus brother his hometown couldn't wrap their minds around him at 12 years old he was astonishing rabbis in the synagogue teaching Matthew chapter 13 says this in verse 54 coming to his hometown he began teaching the people in their synagogue and they were amazed where did this man get this wisdom these miracles pout of these miraculous powers they asked they start to do the math in your head of their head you can you can watch it and quickly unfold as you read this passage isn't this the carpenter's son isn't this isn't his mother's name Mary and aren't his brothers James Joseph Simon and Judas we know this guy how can this be you can you can hear them kind of processing through it aren't all his sisters with us where then did this man get all of these things and they took offense at him but jesus said to him a prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith it's interesting none of his brothers actually are mentioned as being one of his disciples at any time prior to his death and resurrection his brothers he understood the detention the beauty and the mess of family Acts chapter 1 verse 14 he's gone to the cross he died he's been resurrected so they all joined together constantly in prayer along with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and who his brothers something's changed the death and resurrection of Christ changed something about his family make up about his family's story and I think sometimes that's that's where we need to go even in our minds us we need to be able to see our families for what they can become not for what they have been or what they are let me say that again we need to be able to see our families for what they can become not for what they have been and not what they are right now and in that we need to wrap around our heads around the idea that God does choose us he chooses to work through us to reach to even care for our families we're going to dive into a portion of first Peter chapter 4 if you have a Bible turn there with me if you would and I think that as we dive headlong into the holiday season as I prepared for this mesh is the thing that was on my heart my sense was that God wanted to encourage us as a family of faith about our families and again I recognized in this room our families look all kinds of shapes and sizes you may even be here and say you know I just I don't have a lot of family at all for whatever reason by the way we're going to talk about tonight translate beyond just family relationships but into all of our relationships but I think God wants to encourage us about our family relationships first Peter chapter 4 verse 7 I love how he starts us it's great the end of all things is near happy holidays therefore be alert and have sober mind so that you may pray above all love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins offer hospitality to one another without grumbling each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms if anyone speaks they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God anyone serves they should do so with the strength God provides so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ to him be the glory and the power forever and ever amana verse 7 the end of all things is near therefore be alert and sober sober mind so that you may what so she may pray Peter saying hey listen time is short don't take for granted the moment you have and I think that's so true and family you just don't know the moments you have with a family member you sayin hey be alert don't miss it wake up don't just go through life unconscious in zombie mode on cruise control don't miss the moment sometimes they're so small and simple anyone who's had kids who've grown up you're like wow that was fast right he calls us to prayer the prayer is interesting thing right we hear that word in it we become so inoculated to it sometimes in the church we can hear it it's like yeah pray of course well yeah pray yeah right prayer is a powerful thing because prayer has the ability to to move us to move the hand of God to move us into realms with God that go beyond our natural abilities and step into a realm where his supernatural abilities are at work I think we missed that I think we forget that easily the prayer is not just this thing we kind of go through and we do I think we forget literally the power that we're tapping into when we converse with God when we begin to engage God and begin to call on him to move on our behalf right begin to pray and call on him to move on behalf of our family members prayer being brings life because it takes things out of our natural hands and abilities and begins to engage the supernatural abilities of God your family needs this so does mine yeah I think Peter more than just calling us to general prayer the thing that hit me as I was studying through this was this idea when it comes to our family of praying that God would not change our family members although that's part of it but the god would change the way that we see them because because for some of you you know what it's like and I know what it's like to be there and have fam were you like I can't see it I can't see it you know what it's like to be in a situation with family where it's like I can barely even be in the same room I mean we just came through the holidays right are you know Thanksgiving we just came through an election cycle and then thanksgiving man alive I thought there was some just spicy good conversation among family members here in the room i'm just guessing right you know it's like sometimes family can be tough our differences are mistakes we we mistreat each other our sins get in the way there's history there's water under the bridge right and sometimes it gets so tangled up and convoluted we don't even know how to work our way back to zero that's tough and we need God's help we need a supernatural power to be at work in the lives of our family members but we needed to be at work in us to help us see differently be sober-minded alerts so that you can pray verse 8 goes on Peter writes above all love each other deeply because love covers over over a multitude of sins love each other deeply it's not a surface love it's not a love that's convenient what is loving deeply look like I was kind of rolling around in my brain and try to figure out what does that really really look like how do you break that down how do you how do you put some parameters on that you can you can spin around and use in everyday life and the thing that hit me was this loving deeply is when you see something that needs to be done that nobody else wants to do but you have the ability to do it I think that begins to tap into deep love so we can treat each other with love all the time and most of the time it may not cost us that much and it's still love but there is a love there's a love that goes to a depth to where it costs something a little bit doesn't it right it takes something of you it there's a there's something on the line there's something at risk and Peter says listen love each other deeply why because love does what it covers over a multitude of yeah exchange that with the words covers over a multitude of history a messiness because that's what family comes with it just does and he calls us to love deeply sin separates us we know that the wages of sin is death separation sin in our lives it separates relationship with each other doesn't that it's not just between us and God but it's even on a horizontal earthly level yet love covers a multitude sins and I think what happens what takes place here when we begin to engage God in prayer and he begins to help us even even even a glimmer see our families differently and when we begin to take a chance to say I'm going to reach out to that family member where for whatever reason there is just wall after wall after wall what can happen is God begins to cover over a multitude of sins and replace it in our heart with compassion and you begin to see past we begin to see past each other's brokenness each other's faults offenses towards one another and God begins to help us see with compassion and creating us an ability to truly love deeply with a love that becomes more and more authentic but it starts with God and it starts with prayer starts with him doing something in us it starts with us taking a chance taking a step of saying I will choose to love deeply in my family and sometimes that starts in the most simple ways it doesn't have to be big and full of fanfare and all that kind of stuff sometimes it's as simple as just reaching out love brings life and brings life to your family but it's not always easy is it it's just not it's not always easy to love each other 1997 Kim and I were living in the Bay Area we had our two kids were babies probably I don't know her daughter's for every three or four in our son was was some around one or two and I got a phone call from the New Jersey police and they said is this mike alexander said yes it is they said I Mike we are at your mother's house and we got called to do a wellness check she hadn't come to work in a few days she was a nurse at a hospital there she hadn't come to work for a few days so we stopped by her house and you or someone needs to come out here because her house is literally knee-deep in garbage and as the officer began to describe the situation it was clear that I did I needed to go and so can I talk we figured out what to do and I flew out to New Jersey and over a period of three and a half days we basically hit the reset button in my mom's life empty to her entire town home filled up three six by six by six cube dumpsters and the biggest u-haul I could rent and took literally everything in her house to the dump there was nothing salvageable I took her TV her file cabinet some clothes loaded him in her car and we shipped her car out to the west coast we took her dog to the pound and that she and I got on plane and we flew out to the bay area and mom was moving in happy holidays I I saw my mom maybe every couple years talk to her maybe once a year was just didn't we just did not have a lot of contact it was easier for me growing up to say I didn't have a mom when my friends and people would ask because it was so complicated and I just I didn't know how to wrap my head around that relationship and now here we are here we go I didn't want to go I did not want to go and i can tell you my wife and I we didn't want mom moving in but she moved into our little tiny 2-bedroom townhome all of her stuff that she owned in the front entryway closet tiny and she lived on her high tibet for 10 months i had the easy part because in the mornings i got to leave and go to work kim was home of the kids raising kids raising my mom and it was crazy it was complicated I just be honest with you we just didn't get it right all the time a lot we didn't love her well at times speaking for myself I didn't love her well at times but we did the best we could and it was such an amazing picture of God's great on all of us helping us begin to put some pieces together and that began a multi-year process of helping her get her feet back on the ground get a job again I kind of get settled and i'll be honest with you things in her life never really quite cleaned up ever she passed away about seven years ago things never really got rosy and chipper and awesome they just they didn't but we did our best to love each other well and in that God and even in hindsight God helped me see some things about how I think he calls us draws us into the process of him working in our families and he did some really redemptive things in her life that would have never happened had had that whole set of messy circumstances not come together and I think that's a picture of it loving deeply is just not easy and we just flat don't get red get it right all the time we don't and that's okay it's okay last thing real quickly verse 9 offer hospitality to one another without grumbling I love that Peter chose that word why do you think he chose that we're grumbling by the way because they were just like us may need one would love deeply either especially not family members that they named were just struggling with this wasn't any easier for them at all and yet he said offer hospitality to one another without grumbling I tell you man hospitality is personal isn't it I think hospitality goes more beyond more than just hey we had some folks over the house we have some folks over for coffee or dinner it's more than that it's more than entertaining hospitality there is something about inviting someone into your life right there is a spirit of hospitality it's not just a a proximity or a player or a place I mean it is a proximity to say hey I am inviting you closer to me I'm inviting you into I was talking to some of the last week they said oh yeah we were talking about this story action they said yeah we had a front formal living room in our house and that was kind of a running joke in the family I was like if we invited people in you hung out there you knew how close you were but when you're close you invite people in right to whatever in is your house whatever your house looks like that inner place where maybe the bills are stacked and there's there's some dishes in the sink and maybe some laundry piled on the couch but it's you in its home and there's something about this this this idea of hospitality this this spirit of hospitality that says listen I'm inviting you in despite both of our messiness because there's something valuable here if will work towards it and if we let God do some things that are maybe beyond our natural abilities to love each other but we'll let him do something supernatural in us there's a possibility he could begin to really create new life restore broken things redeem lost things Hospitality is not arm's length it is personal and it is right in the middle of each other's mess and yet hospitality brings life it does when we invite each other in it brings life I'll to wrap up about circa nineteen forty six a photo was taken to my mom it sits in the hallway of our house this is it right there nineteen forty six World War two ERA I thought about that picture as I was preparing for this message and it just hit me like just an epiphany it was like it's like God was saying that's how I see I I see innocence I see preciousness I see potential there's no history there there's no water under the bridge there's no mess yet right it's not complicated yet and I think that's part of what God wants to help each of us do is begin to see each other and especially in our families see each other differently after that photo you can imagine growing up in World War two ERA my mom had a very very German last name which I won't tell you so you don't want no my internet passwords but very German and you can look at this the threat of my mom's life and through it you just see moment after a moment of just trauma and yet God was not done with her and wanted to work to redeem to restore to create life and I and my family didn't get a pass in that process he called us to be part of it and I think he calls all of us to be part of our families in that way here's the good news the pressure is not on you pressure is not on you to fix your family to save your family it's not i hope to you that the hope that's good news I hope that takes the pressure off your shoulders what we're called to do it in this even in this passage what are we simply called to do to be faithful stewards of the gifts that God's given us right to faithfully steward what is what's he's giving what what's he giving you that you can use to love your family what is it what is he giving you I don't know but I will tell you this it's probably a lot less complicated and you might think it probably does come down to a lot more of the simple things the simple gestures that start the ball rolling that start the process of loving deeply that start the process where forgiveness can begin to take place that start the process to where you can begin to agree to disagree by the way loving family doesn't mean you've come to a place where goes yep finally we all agree isn't this great it's not going to happen it's not the point the other piece of good news i love this in verse 11 it says do so with the strength that God provides don't complicate it be faithful and trust God's power to work real miracles in your family you don't have to make it happen and I don't either and that hopefully is good news too simple thoughts as we wrap up today and that is this I want to challenge you as we head into the holiday seasons and again whatever your family does or doesn't look like I want to challenge you to begin to pray maybe in a fresh new different way than ever before but pray about that family member do not I mean there may be a family member even the pops your mind like man I would love it if God could restore things I would love it if God could take things to a next place of life and health and hope and joy I would love that start by praying into it see what God does see what God does not just in that person's life or in your family's like see what he does in you to change your eyesight this change your perspective and then second thought is this just relax I don't know if it's just me or not but I tell you I have to constantly remind myself relax chill out life is not so serious and intense relax and just be faithful do the little things and see how God snowballs them into significant and big things and again I know saying this might be a little naive for me because I know it's not all roses and our families I know it's not all sunshine and rainbows and skittles and all those kinds of fun things right but the truth is all of this we talked about tonight it's not a fantasy it's not a pipe dream it is the gospel it is the gospel of God of a God who sees you and I differently he sees who we are but he sees what we can be he loves us deeply and he invites us in a relationship that is the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is the gospel and the good news for you and your family during this holiday season if we'll lean into it let's pray lord we're so excited as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and even as a church as a faith family but as individuals we are excited and we anticipate we invite you to do new and fresh things in our lives we pray this about our families would you do new and fresh things in us so that we can be a source of life and hope in our families God would you start with us I'm not even gonna look up but if you're here and you're saying I need this so bad I need God to do something in me I need his help I need a strength I need his ability to love would you out of a gesture between you and he would you raise a hand to say god that's me i need your help this this holiday season god helped me to see differently to love to only God we asked that in Jesus name we trust you we trust your power to bring true life change we pray all these things in jesus name amen amen amen it is the good news of the gospel a couple business things and I want to leave you with a quote today real quick if you would like prayer for anything and it may be some of the stuff we talked about we have some wonderful folks at the prayer wall they would love to just take a mom I pray with you stop by there before you go please do that and then the other thing our team has created an Advent journal it's just a chance to go through the holidays and really hit some some milestones some some great contemplative stuff some great scripture opportunities to journal those kinds of things but really a tool for you and your family whatever your family looks like to slow down a bit in this next few weeks right and really really capture the essence of what this season is about the birth of Christ the hope God with us Emmanuel coming right salvation of the world you can grab these they were written and created by our team they are awesome you can grab one out in the atrium five bucks at colors covers the cost of printing so snag one of those if you want to take one of those and go through that this holiday season and then the last thing I want to do is leave you with a quote Bob goth wanna what goth one of my favorite authors and I think he somehow seems to capture and understand concepts about love maybe as well as anyone other than Jesus and he says this very simply we're all amateurs at love and faith don't be so hard on each other god bless you guys have a good rest your night

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