it's amazing how God manages to throw precisely the thing you need to hear into your face.*
tonight that thing was a sermon preached at Hillcrest a few weeks ago by my buddy Tim.
he posed a question to the congregation "Why are you here?"
backstory: just an hour earlier i was having a conversation with one of my dearest friends about whether or not i should go to Ichthus. for the last many months i've really struggled with whether i should continue attending Ichthus. It has been my community here for 3.5 years now, and some of the individuals i care about most in the world - for sure here in manhattan - are a part of that community. but i haven't gained much insight from the talks for such a long time. not to say that it isn't terrific - it is - but i struggle to connect with the teaching style basically. but i've been in this interesting situation where i love the people but i've felt like i've been drying up inside for a while.
so, now. why am i at ichthus?
Tim started listing the reasons people usually pick out churches (good worship, good youth programs, good sermons, its close by), but then he paused and asked another question.
are you here to GET or to GIVE?
the rest of the sermon was super quality, but that in itself was enough for me to realize what my mistake has been for so long. whether i get anything out of the talks or not - maybe that isn't my place in ichthus anymore, but the reason i still go isn't to GET. it is to GIVE.
Hillcrest, my church in KC, is a place where i have always felt hydrated. i've always felt like i left that church with more strength in Jesus than i had when i set foot in the building...and some mornings i wouldn't even listen to a sermon. i would go and help out with middle school and high school services and never even sit down to hear the sermon. however, my growth from those sundays was SO much greater because i went with the intention of GIVING to the MS and HS. and that is how i grow.
so anyway. here i am, finally understanding (i think) what needs to happen in order for me to appreciate Ichthus again. i need to give more of myself.
so i didn't go to Ichthus tonight, but that isn't going to become a trend.
* - then again, it is also possible that i just need to hear about 900 different things so God really didnt have to dig too deep into his Bag O' Sermons to find one that worked in my ballpark. either way, He's good.