Howdy, Partner! (And I mean “Partner”)

Hello Church Family!

This Sunday we’re back in the Sermon on the Mount saddle. But I’m gonna do something a little different with the message and would LOVE the support and partnership of YOU, my true compadres. Here’s what’s up. 

First, some background. I feel led to give an evangelistic sermon, that is, a message directed towards people who are walking on the easy but deadly way. (I am the outreach pastor after all.) Here’s my hook: I’ve written the message in the form of a video letter to Kacey Musgraves. As you’ll see on Sunday, I talk directly to her. 

Who’s Kacey Musgraves, you ask? She’s a 31-year-old country music singer from Texas. She’s won lots of awards and writes clever and tender songs. She also armed with a sharp wit — and religious people are often on the receiving end of her satire. The critics love her and so do the crowds. Her track “Follow Your Arrow” was the Song of the Year in 2014 and Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as one of the 100 greatest country songs of all time. These lyrics below open a window, revealing her attitude towards our tribe:

If you don’t go to church you’ll go to hell 
If you’re the first one on the front row
You’re a self-righteous son of a
Can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
Don’t mean you should join ’em

However, despite her critique of insensitive religious people, I noticed to my surprise that there’s an appealing looking pastor in the music video for “Follow Your Arrow.” So, despite Kacey’s armored exterior, I sense there’s a degree of openness or curiosity. 

Kacey has an intriguing song called “Oh, What a World” that she re-released back on April 20, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Honestly, the song truly moved me when I first heard it on I don’t think an impersonal algorithm picked it for me either. I think it was Someone else, who wanted me to hear it. I shared it right away with my wife and kids. Then I thought, let’s make it the occasion for a message that our whole church sends to Kacey! 

In the “video letter,” I express appreciation for her musical artistry (it’s genuine, by the way, I’m a true country music fan) and also sympathize with her views and hopes while sharing our own. It was fun to do. I do hope the message touches you and spurs ideas for how to speak and listen to people with Kacey-like wonder and sorrow. 

OK, finally here’s how we can work together (yes, Howdy, PARTNER!) over the next four days:

First, would you please listen to the song and think about it? Here’s a link to a recording on YouTube of “Oh, What A World” with the rolling lyrics so you can reflect as you listen.  

As the sounds hit your ears, ask yourself: How does she think? How does she hope? How does she ache? Please write to me with your impressions because I’d like to collect them.

Second, would you pray that Jesus touches her heart through the video letter? Now, I don’t know if it will ever find its way to her, but I hope that it does. I know that sounds crazy. Even if Kacey doesn’t hear it, so many of her contemporaries share her views — and her trajectory. Plead to God for them. 

Third, if the message appeals to you, would you please send it to someone you know who doesn’t know God or who is teetering in their faith? I’m going to send it to an unbelieving friend of mine who loves the outdoors. I’m nervous about doing it, but I’m determined to do so, even if it injects some weirdness into our relationship. 

Finally, Micayla Jones produced a remarkable painting for us that was inspired by our theme passage, Matthew 7:13-14. Engage it! Enjoy it! You’ll find it attached to the sermon notes. 

By the way, we usually take communion in our services on the last Sunday of the month. However, rather than doing so on the recorded service, we’ve decided to do so on Sunday night at the Gathering at 6:00 PM on Zoom. It’s more personal and interactive. Pastor Jaime will combine communion with a focus on Psalm 119 before we intercede. The Meeting ID is 365 557 968 and the PW is 070752. 

Also, please don’t forget that we have the weekly Prayer Meeting on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM. Please enlist in this Zoom Platoon. The Meeting ID is 915 501 575 and the PW is Cupertino. 

May the LORD bless you and keep you,