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Denise and I have been in a small group study with some other pastors and their wives since the beginning of the year. The study was called, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. Not a very catchy title. It would never stand on a movie marquis. It’s too hard to say. But the content forced us to examine who our past and our present emotional state effects the way we interact with everything in our world. Part of what I loved about the study is that it was clear that we are all a work in progress. None of us have arrived. We are all damaged. We are all less than perfect. And God expects no less. Listen to this section of the book, “We often forget that the people that Jesus chose to form the leadership of his church were neither spiritually nor emotionally mature. Like us, they had a great deal to learn. Peter, the point leader, had a big problem with his mouth and was a bundle of contradictions. Andrew, his brother, was quiet and remained behind the scenes. James and John were called ‘sons of thunder’ because they were aggressive, hotheaded, ambitious, and intolerant. Philip was negative and skeptical. He had limited vision. “We can’t do that” summed up his lack of faith when confronted by the problem of feeding the five thousand. Nathaniel Bartholomew was prejudiced and opinionated. Matthew was the most hated person in Capernaum, working in a profession that abused innocent people. Thomas was melancholy, mildly depressive and pessimistic. James, son of Alpheus, and Judas, son of James, were nobodies. The Bible says nothing about them. Simon, the Zealot, was a freedom fighter and terrorist in his day. Judas, the treasurer, was a thief and a loner. He pretended to be loyal to Jesus and then betrayed him. Most of them, did have one great quality. They were willing. That is all God asks of us.” (Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, pg. 193) The circumstances of our life will never be perfect. That opportunity passed us by with the first lie we told our mother, “I didn’t eat that cookie...” But God doesn’t need perfect people to do a perfect work. He just needs the willing. I have been so blessed to be part of a church that believes you don’t need to be perfectly qualified to be involved, or to serve, or to lead. It’s my only chance. It’s your only chance for an opportunity to be included. But we do need to be willing. Willing to learn. Willing to come. Willing to serve. Willing to step up. Willing to try new things. Willing to persevere. Willing to accept. Willing to contribute. Willing to lead. Willing to meet. Willing to share/talk/encourage/teach/speak up. There is no such thing as a perfect ministry or a perfect event. But there is such a thing as a willing effort of imperfect people who will allow a perfect God work on them and through them. It is why I am so excited about Serve Day. None of these projects or settings are perfect. And perfect people aren’t showing up to serve. But God is, and so are His willing kids. It’s why I am excited about getting into a 12-week long study of the book of James, Faith that Works. It’s not a perfect length. The title isn’t perfectly catchy. Our attention spans are imperfect too. But when we teach God’s perfect word, something amazing happens. Growth. Understanding. Change. It is why we can say with confidence around here – everyone can serve. Not that everyone should be allowed to do anything they want. But if you are willing, we can find a way for you to make a difference, as imperfect as we are, in God’s kingdom. So… if you are less than perfect, you are in the right place for something amazingly perfect to begin to happen in you. We’ll see you Sundays, Andy

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