I’ve just listened to Sunday’s message from Samuel on Soundcloud and am sitting here in tears at how incredible, how authentic and how appropriate that message was for our church. You can listen to it here.

I’ve been “in church” a long time – on and off my whole life… I’ve also left a church before after being offended at something that was said to me. It was said by a leader and it was pretty bad, and everyone I discussed the matter with acknowledged I was “within my rights” to walk out and not go back. I then used that experience as my excuse to leave church behind for around 5 years.

But you know what? God didn’t call us to quit when things get tough. He wants us to use those moments to get over stuff. When I found myself broken and alone 5 years later, do you know where I found myself?? Right back in that same church. And guess who was on the door as I walked into the church? Yep – the person who had caused me pain. She didn’t recognise me (or maybe pretended not to to save an awkward convo haha!) and as I turned to run out again, I felt God urging me to grow up and walk in those doors. As I laid it all out and recommitted my life to Christ I also felt God heal me of all that bitterness I had held onto for a long time.

Have you ever stopped going to Port Central just because one day someone stole your car park space? Or stopped visiting your fave cafe because one time there were a bunch of noisy kids there while you were trying to drink your coffee in peace (sorry if they were mine!?!) NO! So why leave a church just because something’s gone wrong? The big difference is at Coastside we LOVE you for you, we’re not just a shop looking for you to spend your cash. But pushing people away or cutting them off when they’ve hurt you is only going to hurt yourself in the long run.

I love the Message version of the verse Samuel used on Sunday from Matthew 24:13 – “Staying with it – that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved.”

I love Coastside Church. I love that someone who is feeling lonely can be embraced, blessed and made to feel SO loved. I love that all someone needs to do is put up their hand and they have people reaching out to hold onto it. And I love that when things go wrong, when someone stuffs up – that we have a great opportunity to use it to build even stronger. Let’s keep our focus on reaching out to all those people that need God, and keep loving each other even when it’s a bit tough.

Finishing off with one of Sam’s MANY gems from the weekend – We are not here to get fatter – we are here to make the hell waiting list thinner. 

Have a beautiful week, Claire xxx

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