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Snooze was my best friend this morning.  I won’t let anyone know how many times I pushed it because I got away with it.  I woke up looking forward to the day.  A brisk 40 something degrees outside, I made that sound you make while shaking your head and yelling when I got in my cold car this morning.  Hit the office around 7:55ish to pick up my gear wondering out loud as I do every week why I don’t pick this stuff up the night before?  But here I was again.  Lugging 55 pound amps into the back of the Camry.  Don’t let anyone ever call me a rock star.  I am my electric players roadie on Sunday mornings.  After gettiing to the gym and sound checking my buddy Jim asks me if I know about the secret that is going on during the service.  "I’m only in charge of the service." I think to myself?  Why would I need to know what is going on?  I love my church.  What had Matt pulled out of his golden arse this morning?  I say that with the fullest of respect.  Because to be honest, it usually is golden.  Whatever it is.  All I know is that our setup minister knew more about what was going on this morning than I did.  It’s going to be a fun day…

If you have not listened to this series podcast then I emplore you to listen.  It sets up this mornings service wonderfully.  He has been going over who we are as a church and why.  We like to go over this at the beginning of ever year to let all the New Years resolutioners that coming to Sandals will actually change their lives and not to come back unless this is something they want.  Today was no different.  What does it actually mean to "be a church family?"  When hearing "church family" I usually think about pot lucks and old ladies funerals.  But c’mon.  Really.  A family?  What does it really mean to "hate" your mother and father and family in comparison to your love for Christ?  His first illustration hit the nail on the head.

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother…he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

Matt leads in with a story of how on Thursday night at midnight he was going nuts trying to figure out how to relevantly explain this to our church.  Nothing.  No ideas.  Then Friday morning Martina, Jim’s wife, called.  She said someone in her small group was having a hard time.  She needed some advise.  A couple in her small group that had been dating was going through hell.  It seems that the girl is from Afghanistan and is from a strong Muslim family.  She was a strong Muslim herself but recently found Christianity to be the answer.  Her family has disowned her.  They told her that she must choose either Jesus or them.  A large family full of love and all she has known her 20 years on earth had given her the ultimate ultimatum.  Turn her back on Jesus or lose them forever.  She chose Christ!!!  All ties were cut.  From a young student with a promising future to a homeless 20 year old with nothing.  But her small group took her in and her now fiancee kept his cool.  Her family even had a funeral for her.  Dead.  So in one last attempt some drama had unfolded this weekend with her sisters.  Her and her fiancee were going to get married at the courthouse on Saturday. 
After hearing all this Matt’s Golden arse laid a golden egg.  Yes.  He was going to marry them in church during the 9 am service.  In front of her FAMILY.  Her brothers and sisters in Christ.  We got to witness a girl who thought she had no family get married before her church family.  It was beautiful.  I don’t think I heard another word of the sermon.  All I know is that her small group had stepped to the plate and a life was changed forever. 
Thats why I love my church.  I have no idea what will happen from one week to the next.  But I think that is half the beauty of Sandals.  Not only do we look like we have no idea what is going on, but we really don’t.  And it works. 
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