Do you mind if I brag a little bit?
People tend not to appreciate this question as a conversation starter. “Here we go, let’s hear about how things are so good for you and how your life is so perfect right now” is the thought that generally follows.
But did you know the Bible actually encourages those of us who believe in it to brag? Psalm 105 reads, “Tell everyone you meet what God has done!” The apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “We hope that our work grows even to the point of the gospel being preached in places beyond Corinth, without bragging about what has already been done in another person’s work area. But, the one who brags should brag in the Lord.” I wanna do some bragging Bible-style this week, mainly because I get a lot of credit for what is happening through our efforts at 801South and I need to make sure credit gets accurately designated. God and those who serve Him through 801South deserve all the credit.
I’ve been witnessing some awesome movements in the lives of people through this new environment. God is at work like crazy and I get a front row seat to witness His work in the hearts of those who are experiencing Him like never before. Those of us in leadership make a lot of decisions about what and how and when, but God alone is who moves to create eternal change in people. This movement is turning into an awesome ride.
The 801South environments are making a difference in the lives of people. “I really enjoy [801South] and all of Pastor Stephen’s perspective,” writes one young mother. She continues, “It really has given my family and I the opportunity to reconnect to God and find grace again. It truly has impacted our lives and family in amazing ways.” This is what we are about! Connecting people to a fuller life in God and a life-changing experience of His grace.
Another young parent writes, “It was a life changing moment for me when I realized I relied too much what others thought for guiding my actions, and it has helped me excel professionally, with family and friends.” This is real life change. As the pastor, I’m privy to so many similar stories that I hear from our Small Group leaders who are witnessing God’s work first hand in these intentional communities and bragging about it. And I’m bragging on these servant leaders.
There are so many stories of people experiencing the love and forgiveness of God—some of whom have been searching for decades—and are now able to extend that love and forgiveness to others in their lives. If these stories do not get you pumped up and you’re not excited about hearing more of them as God continues to move, you need to check the posture of your own heart. We need people whose hearts are set on fire by these works of God.
This is what God does. I’ve experienced it. I continue to experience it. I’m gonna preach and brag so that others will experience it as well. And God’s going to move in the lives of those who He draws and we invite into our environments. He is always faithful.
Most of you who are reading this don’t need to be convinced by these stories. How many of you, though, are sharing these stories? How many of you want to do some Bible-bragging along with me? Will you join me in telling these stories and inviting others who are broken, searching, and disconnected to see God write similar stories for those who have yet to experience His love and grace and peace?
Speaking of bragging, our band is awesome. They’ll be leading us in these songs on Sunday. Come sing.