Road Trip – Week 1: Streetlight

good morning i hope you had a good independence day i’m glad the weather cleared up and it was actually a beautiful day yesterday for part of the day right and i know that my neighbors had fun last night because as i was laying in bed i think they unleashed every firework in Pickens County and I realized the fourth of July is different when you have a baby and she also heard every firework but it was a great great day great evening yesterday last night and summer is officially here I feel like I know I started a while ago but man I just wait for this time of summer I love it I feel like a lot of us have a chance to hang out with our families a lot of us have a chance to just kick back and relax a little bit and so I love love summer one of the things I love about summer is road trips so I’m so glad we get to do this series because we get to learn about road trips in our own lives and what that looks like i have a ton of favorite childhood memories from road trip experiences maybe you’re the same way not all of them are good but i have a lot of memories this summer in a couple weeks actually Emma and Emma and I that’s tough to say we’ll be taking a short road trip to the beach and I cannot wait cannot wait I’ve memories of license plate games you guys play that kind of find letters I have memories of getting yelled at for kicking my dad’s seat anybody there yep okay I understand that now by the way I I definitely derstand that now I have memories of real estate wars in the back seat with my siblings there were too many of us in a small sedan so we had to fight a lot to get space I remember trying to crawl up this this might not apply to some of you guys but trying to crawl up in that back section by the rear rear window you guys ever try that it’s really really hot but it’s super comfortable if you just wedge yourself right in that little area great blocks the view but it’s great I have a ton of good memories from counting deer on the way from West Virginia to Virginia through Florida Pennsylvania you see hundreds of deer up on the side I have memories of traveling through West Virginia Virginia again and listening to the devil went down to georgia about 300 times because that’s all they play on the radio because i heard that song oh my goodness it kept my mom and dad awake which was great for the most part speaking of which I have memories of rumble strips waking me up and that was scary enough but then when you look up and you realize your dad just woke up again and he was driving and that was terrifying um my mother-in-law who was great I feel like I should get that out there before I go any further because she’s gonna be here today my mother-in-law who is great I love her she comes down from Pennsylvania to South Carolina a couple times a year and this strange things happen it takes Anna and I with emmalin about 11 hours to get to Pennsylvania from here okay about 11 hours 10 and a half 11 it takes my mother-in-law 13 to 15 hours by herself I never understood this and I’ve asked many many questions about it finally shoot she admitted that she never has one route that she takes she looks at a map she picks one and half way through it may change 14 times not only does she not have a specific route she doesn’t mind where she stops when she stops her for what reason in fact she sees the whole trip as a chance to explore the world every time so we started getting calls like hey i’m at biscuit world you ever been there the biscuits are kind of dry the sign is kind of deceiving like why are you a biscuit world no I just saw a sign it hey they have this great vintage an arts and crafts store about 13 miles off i-95 why are you on i-95 one time she called and said Matt can you look up how to get out of Kentucky yeah and back towards greenville if you’ve seen a map what it sounds like many of you have you see why that might

be a problem see my mother-in-law knows where we live and she wants to get to us quickly I believe it cuz every time she gets to our door she says I can’t believe it took me that long i’m so tired of me in the car but she also really doesn’t have a plan and what that’s one of the things we’re going to learn about the road trip series this this next few weeks is that we can learn a lot about life from road trips having a plan is important also having goals hopes and destinations outside of biscuit world are important having a idea where we like to go is really good but a lot of times we find ourselves somewhere else oftentimes we have a crew or a family of people we’re traveling with some we choose and some we don’t sometimes we realize if we actually get where we want to go we’re not actually sure we’re going to like ourselves or anyone else in the car by the time we get there we have pit stop some of which are planned and okay and some of which are not a pregnant wife and a two-year-old really cut into my record time and pit stops seem to happen a lot more frequently now and there’s one other thing that happens on road trips at least my road trips and I want to see if you guys can identify with this sometimes when you get out on the open road and you’re driving maybe other people in the car falling asleep and I don’t know if it’s just the open road if it’s just the consistency of the you know the sounds of the car makes or being away from normal routine but sometimes when I get out on the road I actually start to self-analyze a little bit I start to think about you know who are the people i’m with what’s my routine look like what am i doing with my life Who am I in light of all the stuff around me in light of what I’m feeling and honestly sometimes this can be a scary thing because sometimes there’s stuff we don’t want to really deal with and so we start to zoom out a little bit we start to realize there’s maybe some stuff we need to process through and so as we do this road trip that’s one of the things we’re going to do and I want to warn you up front it could be a little scary but also if you look back on those experiences though zoom out moments in road trips some of the biggest and best life decisions I’ve ever made happened right there in the car random places in the United States alone in my thoughts processing so that’s part of what we’re going to do this this series we’re all traveling we’re taking vacations where with family we’re trying to make the most of summer and one thing that means is that we’re all going to be somewhat disconnected people are are gone now that are usually sitting next to you they’re at the beach right now don’t be jealous you’re going to go there in a couple weeks probably we’re going to try to stay connected i was as we separate a little bit this summer and you’ll see on social media there will be pictures all over the place hashtagged a live road trip so if you guys go anywhere make sure you let us know make sure you put a live road trip on your pictures and we’ll try to stay connected as we do that we’re going to learn from our road trips together we’re going to take a little bit time and zoom out look at life look at what we can learn and I figure out where we can go from there there’s this intriguing moment we’re going to get into this intriguing conversation that happens between Jesus and a guy named Nicodemus this morning this is going to be in John 3 and it’s actually a biography of Jesus written by a really good friend of his named John and John was exceptionally close to Jesus and he starts this book this autobiography with this really complex poem and the poem actually echoes Genesis and its really really amazing it talks about Jesus being light and compares him to all kinds of different things we know about to understand things we don’t know and then Jesus starts to do some things in his life he gets baptized and John talks about that and John talks about how Jesus shows up at a wedding that’s about to fall apart and he turns water into wine so he can save the wedding and the people don’t have to be embarrassed and in the third book of this chapter of this book he recounts an exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus and what we find out about Nicodemus is that he might be the luckiest man on the face of the planet in this moment he’s actually experienced one of these zoom out moments in his life and he gets to stand next to the creator of the universe and ask his questions which is awesome in order to understand this conversation more and get the most out of it we need to know a little bit of backstory and this is where John starts us and verse 1 John says now there was a Pharisee a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council all we need to know about this is basically the Nicodemus was super important he was very religious and he was powerful and Nicodemus along with the other people on the council really wanted to make Israel the place it should be and they all had this idea about what that would look like and really we’ll find out later that was just called the kingdom of god it’s the idea that the people would be ruled by God who was their rightful king they would act right they would live well they would get along they wouldn’t have any foreign invaders they would be the kind of place God intended and Nicodemus and the Pharisees and this Jewish ruling council were obsessed with this they wanted the people to live in the kind of place they should live and they wanted the people to live right the problem was that not everybody on this council had exactly proper motives Jesus would actually help us out with this

later when he started calling these same people hip crits whitewashed tombs brewed a viper that doesn’t make friends that’s not how you influence people apparently it worked but that’s not how I do it but Nicodemus doesn’t get the same treatment in this situation for whatever reason Jesus seems to show patience with Nicodemus he doesn’t call him all kinds of names and they have this incredible interaction so Nicodemus who’s a guy who’s trying to fix himself the people around him and this nation through rules gets to encounter Christ and John continues he said he came to Jesus at night this works well for the road trip series because a lot of times people leave at night roads are clear kids are asleep and not kicking your seat and be alone you can avoid traffic we’re not positive why Nicodemus came to Jesus at night but people have theories some people think that he was actually spying on Jesus for this council some people think he was actually embarrassed to be meeting with Jesus because Jesus was just kind of a carpenter turned preacher he hadn’t filled out all the forms and jump through all the hoops and he hadn’t earned a seat at the council table and so for Nicodemus to come meet with this regular Joe might seem a little bit of like a condescension here so he said maybe I’ll just meet with Jesus at night and it will be a little bit less messy I think no matter is motive you start to see in the language that that both people use that Nicodemus was questioning a lot in his life and he gets to zoom out with Jesus he starts the conversation like this rabbi we know you’re a teacher who’s come from God for no one could perform the signs you’re doing if God were not with him he’s basically just testifying to the fact that in the first moments of Jesus ministry the people the ordinary people all the way up to the ruling council have seen crazy things start to happen they’ve seen miracles like water to wine they saw and heard a voice from heaven and add of descent on Jesus when he was baptized they just saw Jesus clear the temple he was so frustrated that people were being taken advantage of that he cleared the temple out of anger so the people could have access to God again and Nicodemus says what the entire community is saying all at once Jesus you’re different and you’re good kind of different you have to be from God and I think it’s kind of this leading question and he’s waiting for Jesus to answer and as Oh often happens with Jesus he does not take the bait instead of actually responding to the prompt that Nicodemus has thrown out there Jesus response to something going on way way deeper in Nicodemus his life so he goes off-script and Jesus says very truly or honestly or the truth is no one can see the kingdom of God unless they’re born again and remember the kingdom of God was something that Nicodemus very much wanted to see the kingdom of God was this utopian place that they dreamed about the place where foreign invaders were gone in armies and kings and politicians were out of the way and God was just ruling his people no distractions the people were all fixed and Jesus says that Nicodemus you can’t see that unless you’re born again Nicodemus says what I would have said I think how can someone be born again when they’re old surely can’t enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born and I imagine this internal dialogue happening that would happen inside my head Jesus if you’re talking about biology that’s just gross and weird if you’re talking about a metaphor I am not following what on earth is happening right now and instead of explaining this more right off the bat Jesus says actually very truly I tell you no one can enter the kingdom unless they are born of water and of spirit confused Nicodemus was so I’m supposed to be born again of water and of spirit I’m a spirit water baby and I’m an old middle-aged plus man who’s trying to figure out how to make the sense of life and you tell me I need to be all kinds of things I’m not this is super confusing but what just happened is actually an amazing amazing teaching moment Jesus just took three things that Nicodemus knows about and use those three things to show exactly what was wrong with Nicodemus approach it’s incredible when you break it down you’ve got rebirth which is this idea that that basically you need to start again you need to hit reset remember Nicodemus is trying to sue / glue the world back together and he thinks if he keeps going down that road eventually things will just come together he can fix it it will all be neat and tidy he can eventually get to where he’s trying to go but Jesus just said no actually where you’re going is not where you think you’re going when the road you’re on is not going to take you to your goal in fact you don’t need to glue everything back together you need to shatter it all and start again rebirth you need to start out again like you don’t know anything you can’t do anything and you need a fresh start like

a baby and not only that you need to do it with water you need to be born into water well what is water well water is everything in a dry place like Israel and especially for religious people water was cleansing water was baptizing water was purifying so that I could actually be in the presence of God I needed to be clean and Nicodemus was already doing this so what’s Jesus talking about well apparently all of Nicodemus is hand-washing and purifying and baptism wasn’t going to do it on the outside remember Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs who look good on the outside but are dry bones on the inside Jesus says now you need to be reborn from water you need to spring the sprout up in the middle of the desert of your life where you’re dry and it’s not working for you and then if if you’re reborn and you’re reborn into water you also need to be reborn into spirit this word spirit actually is always used or often used in connection with the wind and it’s the kind of wind it’s the kind of spirit that comes only from God God is a source is supernatural and so Jesus says be reborn reborn into water purified from the inside out and then be reborn into wind which is life which is the kind of life that you don’t have and you know it’s the kind of life the people around you need and they don’t have it it’s the kind of life that God alone can give all your human effort isn’t going to make it happen so Nicodemus has just heard that his life’s headed in the wrong direction he’s not on the road he thought he was on and he’s incapable of getting back on the right Road without any help and this is where I start to feel for Nicodemus he’s got to be reeling in this moment he’s got to be thinking maybe this meeting was a mistake and Nicodemus says what I think I would have said in this moment maybe what you would have said to how can this be how can how can how can we do that how can I wear how can this be and I think there’s this unspoken message in this question it’s not as simple as it looks maybe you can relate Nicodemus was just faced with the reality the roads he’s been on for miles and miles as the markers zoom by is not the correct route his giving his life for good god honoring causes but he’s going about it all wrong he wants real fresh full life for himself and everyone around him he’s worked hard studied hard kept the rules worked his way up the ladder earned the right to be heard earned respect he’s gained power he has enough influence to really make a difference finally but in this moment Jesus just revealed the truth about his life and it’s that sinking feeling you get when you realize you’re on the wrong road you can go on if you want but you’re not going to get to your final destination and if you’re anything like me or anything like Nicodemus you might have tried to respond to that deep deep inward feeling by trying to fix stuff and the people around you and maybe even our country maybe it looks like achievement or success or sometimes control issues if you can get everybody on your calendar you might be able to fix stuff maybe it’s seeking affirmation from those around you or specific people in life maybe you’ve given up trying to fix anything and you’re just here to have a good time maybe you’re overwhelmed and just content to distract yourself for hours at a time while the miles drift by maybe you’re the kind of person like Nicodemus who’s obsessed with the cause maybe it’s pro this anti that maybe you’re rebelling against everything hoping you can rise above it all because none of it makes sense either way you might be able to feel where Nicodemus is at right now investing your life into something only to realize there’s no real life in it and Nicodemus has just learned that rules don’t fix people effort only goes so far control always fails press a pleasure always fades distraction is empty the truth is we all know what it is they need a reset but like Nicodemus we groan at the struggle of what it might take to do that what’s this change going to look like and Nicodemus in this moment realizes I think that this quick pit stop on the way was actually a crossroads in life he just stopped by for a quick meeting in the middle of the night to get a few questions answered to kind of figure out who is this Jesus and all of a sudden he’s standing with two options in front of him and I think it’s at this point where you start to wonder or maybe Nicodemus started to wonder not only do I believe this but if I do what is all this going to cost me Jesus breaks into his internal dialogue and

says I’ve spoken of earthly things and you don’t believe how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things no one’s ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven the Son of Man see Nicodemus I’ve seen the final destination I know the kingdom of God I started out really simple with metaphors and similes and you’re not getting it I tried to zoom out and you froze up completely so let me try something you’re more familiar with and he reminds Nicodemus of a story that Nicodemus would have known well he says just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the Son of man must be lifted up that everyone who believes may have eternal life this might be a weird place for us to start because snakes in the wilderness is not something where that familiar with he says you remember that story about Moses and the people in the desert and Nicodemus thinks back to his light lays lessons as a child and he remembers that in the desert there’s a group of people that God’s trying to basically heard through the desert and get to his final destination which is the promised land which is where they live now and all along the way the people would so often forget that God’s track record in their life was absolute perfect and at this particular time the people have gotten so off track and they’d forgotten his perfect track record so much that they’ve almost completely lost faith in God they grumble they complain they’re about to give up and in that moment the entire plan could have unraveled and Jesus does something crazy in this moment he reminds Nicodemus that God sent snakes venomous snakes into the camp and they started biting people now for me that seems like a bit of an overreaction but I’m not God the people are getting bitten everywhere and I imagine these scenes all over the camp where people are trying to fix this you’re trying to figure out what’s happening they’re looking for an antidote they’re thinking do I really have to like suck the poison out of this person’s foot this is not going to go well and right in the middle of the panic all around the camp God says Moses I want you to do this I want you to take a bronze snake I want you to put it on a stick and tell people if they’ll look in that direction they’ll be fine if the venomous snakes were a bit of an overreaction this seems like a little bit of an under reaction right like grumbling happens you get them with snakes that’ll teach him right and in the midst of the utter panic and chaos of thousands of people and maybe even millions of people being bitten by snakes you just say hey put a pull up over there and put a snake on it and look at it it’ll be good I don’t know what you would have felt like in that moment but I would have panicked even more and I would have struggled inside feeling like do I really trust this maniac over there holding a poll up saying he’s hearing from God and if I can just look but I wonder what would have happened if someone finally said well I’m dead either way I might as well look hey I’m feeling better well that didn’t work all of a sudden the camp starts to realize it’s ridiculous but it’s working this seems too easy but it’s actually setting in in fact everything I did to get here was my fault and then all of a sudden I look over and I just literally just look and I’m good that seems too easy that’s weird I didn’t have to travel anywhere I didn’t have to do jumping jacks I just look over there and trust God that he’s telling me the truth and I’m good why would God make it so easy to be saved from something you got yourself into in the first place and Nicodemus has no idea how these stories connect yet because he doesn’t know what we know 2,000 years later in fact it’s only about two and a half years later that Nicodemus will finally make sense of this story because Jesus just like that bronze snake was about to be lifted up only and stood up on a pole it would be a tree would be a cross and just like the the Hebrews in the desert Nicodemus to look around and see people bitten by all kinds of things people complaining not trusting God and using their time and energy selfishly and being bitten by addiction and hurting people with the words and actions and people all around him to find themselves not liking where they ended up maybe even people who find themselves not liking the people around them or even liking themselves and maybe like that moment many of us find ourselves here today giving our one and only lives two things all over the map and yet finding ourselves without real true life in the wilderness can’t fix ourselves and then we ask ourselves if this road isn’t the road I’m supposed to be on and if there is a different one what’s it going to cost me it’s at this moment in the conversation that Jesus

drops the most life-altering truth that we has people have ever heard on Nicodemus his ears first human ears to ever hear this phrase keep that in mind think through this from Nicodemus this perspective he’s a guy trying to fix everything trying to fix it all glue it back together he sees foreign armies invading sees corruption in the ranks even the people he sits at the counsel table with he sees messed up sinful people doing messed up things too and with each other he wants to see God fix all of it and he thinks he’s helping and Jesus has just told him that he’s actually not helping that much at all and he’s devastated and then Jesus utters these beautiful words for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life we’re so numb to that statement because we’ve heard of so many times but Nicodemus is at the lowest of the low he’s devastated he’s thrown off track he feels like his life is an utter failure everything around him is falling apart his life’s falling apart he’s not sure where to go next and Jesus says don’t worry don’t worry God loves the world so much that he sent His only begotten Son his one and only Son his most precious commodity the relationship he values the most because when he’s on the scene the world doesn’t have to keep being lost God saw everything you see and he wants to fix it for everyone because he loves them way more than you do Nicodemus so he gave His only Son that if we could believe or be persuaded the original language says put confidence in him lean into him we wouldn’t be destroyed or ruined or lost but instead we could experience life without beginning her in like a spring of water from the inside out in the middle of the desert of our lives if we could trust him we could see the kingdom of God we could arrive at the final destination and maybe even like everybody when we get there and this is incredible news but it doesn’t stop all too often you’ve heard that verse disconnected from the second one and Jesus continues and says for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him what but he’s the one person with the credentials and integrity to condemn the world if he’s not going to do it who is he didn’t come to convince the world they were lost or bad or broken or messed up because most of us already know that most of us don’t need convinced that change needs to happen in fact many of us know exactly what part we played in getting us to this point in the first place most of us walk around heavy under the long list of things were not proud of and if if you test us we can quickly point out the things in your life we see because just like Nicodemus many of us subscribe to this basic simple idea we’ve been taught all our lives there’s good and there’s bad right is good and there’s bad that’s what the world is made up of the problem with this is it makes it super super simple to figure out who’s in and who’s out but it doesn’t fit Jesus story at all see Jesus story messes that whole thing up in the desert everybody grumbled and everybody got bit they were all at fault they were all doomed they would all die what separated the people just their willingness to look in the right direction not keeping the rules not all their human effort not fixing themselves the thing that separated the people who lived and the people who died was not good or bad it was trust am I crazy enough to believe that looking over there and doing not much else is going to actually save me this would have wrecked Nicodemus Jesus just said he would be lifted up and he would save people not because they were good but because they looked to him see there was a big diff between Nicodemus and Jesus approached Nicodemus his approach was all about behavior modification he wanted the superglue lives back together Jesus wanted to give him a fresh start start all over again Nicodemus wanted to clean people up from the outside in because that’s all he knew Jesus wanted Springs of pure water to come up inside of them Nicodemus wanted to fit life into a grid and control it so that we could just

hold everything together long enough to say the magic words and God would rule but Jesus came to make us free and truly alive no matter is motivation for meeting Jesus that night Nicodemus got exactly what he needed Nicodemus was faced with some massive massive truths in that little meeting he heard Jesus tell him that you’re not nearly as close to your destination as you believe you are in fact your route won’t get you there at all you need to reset he also learned that God is way way different than Nicodemus thought he’s not waiting for anyone to fix themselves before he loves us he actually loves us way before we fix ourselves because we can’t he loves us so much he’s done all the heavy lifting and made it almost too easy Nicodemus also learned that God wants to fill you with a free kind of life that is rich and full and completely impossible in human effort alone but no truth he learned resounded like the last one and we’ve repeated it for 2,000 years and the importance of it hits us like anything else we truly deeply crave if you felt hunger or real thirst or real slept sleep deprivation you know that feeling of craving and this is the one thing I believe you crave more than any of that but you’re afraid it’s not true and some of you even resisted Jesus reveals the biggest truth and the most vulnerable hope of life that God loves you it cares for you he’s fond of you he sees you and his response to all of that is he loves you he’s crazy about you and it doesn’t make sense because you know what you’re ashamed of and you know your worst moment and know the stuff you hide from people and you know the stuff you hope God doesn’t keep track of but none of the rest of this road trip no matter where we go for the next few weeks is going to make sense unless you actually deal with this one God loves you deeply so much that that is number one message to you right now and I think we all hope it’s true don’t we if there is a God out there don’t we want that to be true about him and yet we struggle with that so much so sometimes we come into a room like this to escape that fear we think if we can sing about good stuff long enough it might actually be true we think if there’s a preacher who has something good to say it might apply to our lives it might help our family out we might come to get re-energized and that’s good but that’s not best the best is that god loves you and I’m saying that too many times and it’s starting to get awkward right but I’m saying it over and over and over again because if you actually read the Bible that’s what it does over and over again and we just want to shake it off and make it about something else see you don’t ever graduate from that truth there is no real discipleship that happens without that you don’t go deeper than that this is jesus standing on earth after he came on a rescue mission for us because He loves us saying God loves you that’s why I’m here the biggest scariest most courageous person the most hard-hearted most educated most whatever you want to say in this room desperately desperately desperately wants to know that what I’m saying is true that God loves them and their life will be a mess until they believe it paul says something awesome later on he’s talking about Jesus his Romans 5 8 it says this but God demonstrates his own love for us in this this is how he shows it while we were still sinners Christ died for us while we were still sinners that means before you wash yourself clean that means before you got your life together that means before you superglued everything around you together before you made sense of theology before you made sense of your life before you stop making that same decision over and over again before you kick that habit in fact not even before you clean yourself up the last little bit actually the worst possible scenario you can think of in your life that moment you’re blocking out right now that’s when God decidedly loved you today you might find yourself at a crossroads moment like it Nicodemus did and maybe not maybe this isn’t it for us but if you do there’s a few things that I want you to understand about being

someone who’s loved you are loved you’re loved by God and when people accept that they change when people accept that truth their life looks different I just want to tell you a few things that are true about loved people love people don’t have to grade each other or themselves anymore love people don’t have to fix themselves anymore love people don’t have to prove themselves to anybody love people put their hope and God alone because I know nothing else is going to love them like God does loves people can point people to the cure instead of focusing on their sin because of Jesus himself the only qualified person to do that can do that then so can we love people can course-correct without fear because they have nothing to lose love people know how to love people because God loves them don’t you think of that person and this is the person in your life you love the most you love the best you love or what they can’t do anything to hurt you they can’t do anything to break you they can’t do anything to to make them less loved in your eyes you just love them forever no matter what they do if you can love like that or do you think you learned that take that and make you way bigger than your even capable of that’s how God loves you and if you’re loved like that you’re different I have a challenge for us this week and it’s the same challenge to face Nicodemus when Nicodemus realized he was at the crossroads and he got his massive theology lesson Jesus is springing this old story on him and has just described to him his very internal life that he thought was hidden from everybody he still had to walk away and decide what just happened he had a decision to make and I want to ask you before I ask you to make this decision I want to ask you to think about it how many days do you think this last year you woke up with an awareness that you were deeply loved by God how many days out of the last 365 did you wake up thinking God loves me my hunch is that is a very few for many of us and then a lot of times we feel a lot of other things about how God feels about us this is the challenge you have to decide for yourself does God love me can I believe him can I trust him when it seems way too good to be true can I just look to him and if he does have deep affection for me even at my worst moment how does that change the way I see the world around me and the people I interact with every circumstance on the road trip and every single person I encounter on the way this guy loved me we pray with me God thank you so much for this morning thank you so much for your scripture your truth got even though we’ve heard it a hundred times a thousand your love is still so astounding and unique and like we sang earlier it’s relentless and yet God that does not always sink in god I asked to by your Holy Spirit’s power in a way only you can you would start to convince this in this room that you love us that we would stop trying to shake that off or build walls up against it or try to graduate through that and make sense of life without a God would you would you build us on the foundation of your love as we start this process with you would you allow every thought we have in every action we take to spring out of that love would you allow us to remember that you’re our God and you said that with your own words that you are motivated by love God as you do that I ask that you would change us to reflect the fact that you love us deeply in Jesus name we pray amen