I was in Riverside, California two weeks ago. I spoke to the women of Sandals Church on Saturday and then the pastor, Matt Brown, “interviewed” me during the Sunday morning services – incorporating it into his sermon for Mother’s Day. He has been doing a series on “honor” – Mother’s Day he preached about honoring our parents using Noah’s son, Ham, as an example of dishonoring and Shem and Japeth as examples of honoring. It was a terrific sermon. They have 4 services on Sundays – two in the morning and two in the evening. By the 4th service, I wasn’t sure what I had said or not said! I am not sure how Matt does it week in and week out. He is a great preacher – he puts truth down “where the cows can get it”.
You can listen to his sermons on the Internet. Just go to Sandals Church, Riverside, California. Don’t you love a church called “Sandals”?
This is a church doing “transparency” from the top down. Their mission is to be “real with self, others and God”. They take it very seriously – as a lifestyle. I made plans to stay the week. I had the privilege of meeting with some of their key leadership as we journeyed together through some painful and “secret” life “issues” – sharing our hidden hearts. I was deeply moved by the authencity and transparency of these people. Especially the men. Their transparency and commitment is very authentic.
It is good to be with people with whom you can be honest, who accept you as you are, without condemnation, taking you before God in prayer. We all hunger to be known fully. Loved unconditionally. Honored as valuable. With our best attempts we fall short in giving that to each other – it only truly happens in Christ. At best “we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)
Won’t it be exciting to be fully known, fully loved, fuly honored? For now we can give that to each other as best we can knowing it is only a dim reflection of what Jesus gives to us. We can be Jesus to each other.