(Re)shaped Image

Two nights ago, after a very long day, my wife and I sat down to watch some tv and decompress before going to sleep. We had started watching Queer Eye on Netflix last week, so we decided to watch an episode before calling it a night.

If you have not seen this show, you should. Queer Eye is a Netflix show in which a group of five guys called the Fab 5 do a complete makeover for someone. Each of the five plays a vital role on the show. One guy, Tan, is in charge of the wardrobe makeover. It is heartbreaking to hear over and over again how people use clothing to hide emotional scars. Some of the people simply lose touch with caring about their wardrobe because of a major loss in their life. But others have been body shamed so often that they use certain clothing to hide the very things they have been made fun of. As someone who has struggled with weight his whole life, I can relate to this. 

Then there is Antoni who helps with food. He normally takes time learning the eating habits of the person and then helps give them healthier, affordable alternatives. Over and over again I relate to this part of the story. For me, ramen did not end right after college because healthy options are not cheap. And through some difficult times, food became a source of comfort. As someone who has struggled with allowing food to control him, I can relate to this.

There is also Karamo. He is my favorite. His main job is to help with “culture.” Basically, he helps people find new hobbies but he also helps them connect with their true selves once again. Two nights ago, we watched an episode that wrecked me.

Without ruining the episode, there was a guy who was struggling with his self-confidence. He was constantly make derogatory comments about himself while using laughter and humor to brush them off. At one point in the episode, Karamo sits this guy in front of a mirror and begins to play back the audio recording of all of the derogatory comments he had made about himself. As I was sitting there watching, I could not stop crying. Everything he was saying about himself, I had said about myself.

“You are not smart enough.”

“You are not good looking enough.”

“You are not talented enough.”

“You don’t work hard enough.”

“You are not enough”

I wish I could say I have never said those things about myself, but I have. And as I sat there watching this guy tear himself down, I began to see what I was doing to myself every time I did the same.  

As the tears ran down my face, I was reminded of the water running down my face the day of my baptism. Even though I was a baby, they day I was baptized, I was reminded that I am claimed by God and that nothing can ever separate me from that truth. The day of my baptism, I was reminded that I am enough. And more importantly, that I don’t have to do any works or meet any checklist in order for God to love me. I am already more than enough. YOU ARE ALREADY MORE THAN ENOUGH! God is longing to have a deep, real relationship with you in which you come to see that you are more than enough. God wants to help you find your true identity, because it is already enough.

When you do, you begin to see yourself becoming transformed into the person God created you to be: a Kingdom builder full of grace and full of love bringing about heaven here on earth.

To be honest with you, this is something that I at times still struggle with. But the deeper I dive into my relationship with Jesus, the more I come to see that my identity is found in God and not in my abilities. I may struggle with fear at times, but In God I stand up to that fear more and more every day. I may struggle with self-confidence at times, but in God my self-confidence grows more and more every day. I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past. But in God, I am able to overcome and conquer that depression and anxiety. I may not be perfect, but in God I am moving toward a better, healthier version of myself because while I know that I am enough, God wants me to become a more wholesome version of myself.  And I want you to experience that for yourself!

Matthew 3:17 says this after Jesus is Baptized: A voice came from heaven and said. ‘This is my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’”

I want you to do something today. I want you take that verse and use it as a reminder from God. Write this sentence down in your bible, on a sticky note, or your even calendar: “This is my son/daughter, (Name), with whom I am well pleased” (Example: This is my son Fernie, with whom I am well pleased).

As your day goes by, remember that God loves you more than you will every fully understand. Remember that you are enough. Remember that there is no need to tear yourself down because when God looks at you he wants to remind you of God’s unending love for you.

And as you come to acknowledge this deep truth, I want to invite you to go deeper. If you are already connected to a church community, then go deeper in your faith. Read your bible more, pray more often, gather in worship more regularly. And whenever possible, remember your baptism and the great truth that was claimed for you that day.  
If you have never been baptized, I want to invite you to reach out to me. Let’s talk! God has a life and purpose for you that goes beyond your wildest imagination! And I promise you that in God, you will come to see that there is no need to tear yourself down because who you see in the mirror is nothing compared to the amazing person that God sees in you.

I hope you have a blessed week and know that I lifting each of you up in prayer.

Together on the journey,
Pastor Fernie

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Getting started…

As we begin our Mid City Church
launch season, there is one question I get asked over and over again. Where is your building? After smiling through that question, I explain to people that the way we used to launch churches no longer works.

You see, we used to find a building, pick a date, send out a bunch of invitations, posters and advertisements and wait for people to show up. And on that launch date, we would open our doors and tons of people would show up.

But the sad reality is that people no longer show up for church like they used to. Society no longer shows up at church because it is what you do on Sunday morning. This means that we have to do things differently if the Church is going to remain relevant in this century.

So instead of finding a building and choosing a date, we are working to build a launch team. We are growing our circle of friends so that when it is time to launch, we are not just inviting strangers, but actually inviting people we know. And by doing so, the probability of people showing up and sticking around increases drastically.

As I was sharing this with a friend last week, she looked at me and told me “That is an interesting idea you have there, I hope it works for you.” I simply smiled, and said thank you.

That conversation really stayed with me though. I could not understand why it is so difficult for people to understand that the church needs to make itself relevant in society again. The idea of growing the launch team, growing our group of friends, seems like such a foreign concept to us as Christians. Yet it is so central to the Gospel.

When Jesus began his ministry, he didn’t begin by picking a building for them to meet in. He began by making friends. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus first invites Peter and Andrew to join them in his mission of fishing for people. Then they go out and meet James and his brother John. They are invited to be a part of his launch team. Later in the gospel, he meets a tax collector named Matthew. Jesus goes to Matthew’s house and eventually calls him to be a part of this launch team as well. Jesus also meets another tax collector named Levi and he invites Levi to join his launch team. And then the really cool part is that they start inviting others
to be a part of this! In the Gospel of John, Jesus invites Philip to be a part
of the launch team and Philip invites Nathanael. This begins to spread!

You see, Jesus’ ministry does not begin with him healing people. It does not begin with him having a building and a date. It begins with him going out and growing his launch team (his group of friends). So I want to invite you to be a part of our launch team!

Never underestimate the power of making new friends for the mission. We are here today, calling ourselves Christians, because Jesus began his ministry by gathering with a group of friends. They were so wrapped up by the mission that this small group of 12 changed the world. Those twelve, went out and brought people into a relationship with God. And you get to be a part of that same mission!

So here is how you can help:

First of all, be in prayer for what God is doing in Mid City and how we will get to be a part of it! Second, next week, we will send out a full schedule for the rest of the year. We want to invite you not only to attend those events, but to also bring a friend. That is the most important part, BRING A FRIEND! And third, keep telling people about Mid City Church and help them get connected to our launch team!

Together on the journey,

Pastor Fernie

P.S. If you want to invite someone to get these emails, they can text the word “LOOP” to 225-307-0662. They will be invited to give us their information and will be automatically added to these weekly emails.

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Instagram: @MidCityChurchBR

Facebook: @MidCityChurchBR