• Stefan Youngblood

Come As You Are

Hey Friends,

The other day someone mentioned that The Gathering is, “Come as you are.” I love that idea, but I got to thinking. Why do churches need to advertise, “Come as you are?” The last time I checked, neither Costco nor CVS, Midas or Macy’s, Whole Foods or Food Lion advertise you can come as you are. Somehow people know…you just do. But not necessarily so in the church. There’s often an unspoken “code.” Look like everything’s “Ok.'” Dress, act and talk in a way that hides flaws, imperfections, brokenness, and definitely sinful struggles.

One of my favorite writers (Mike Yaconelli) puts it this way. “Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.” You don’t have to dress up. You don’t have to be any particular age. We don’t care who you voted for in the last election. And please don’t feel the need to pretend about anything.” The Gathering is a place where God meets people who are far from perfect. That means anyone is welcome no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.

I watched in the Gathering last week as Pastor Ned shared so humbly from his heart, his concern and compassion toward Chase and the entire Mann family. I was moved. Life happens. It’s tough, but God has promised to walk with us every step of the way. So when you come Sunday, seriously, leave the masks at home, forget the spiritual cosmetics, and know that the door of grace and forgiveness is completely and abundantly open to you, by the sacrifice of the only One who really is perfect. His name is Jesus and His arms are open to you now and always. So Sunday morning if you see me running to the altar, well, I for one, need Jesus. See you all Sunday.

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