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This week I’m at the Orange Conference. This table is not from this years theme. In fact in will quite likely not even be mentioned at all this week. But, as I walked around the conference I found myself looking at this table. As I looked at it, the symbolism of it struck me. This is not about a pretty picture. It’s not about a perfect place setting, worthy of a magazine. This table, and these chairs are about a gathering. You see, it’s not about the mismatched chairs, it’s about the table. This table represents a place for people to come together. Heck, there was a time when the table in our homes was a place to gather. These days the table, at least in my home, is much more likely to be a gathering place for miscellaneous things that we accumulate throughout the week. But this table is different. Many people would struggle with the mismatched chairs, but I think it’s beautiful. I could never get away with it in my house, but from a symbolic standpoint it’s magnificent. You see the chairs around any table are there for people. They represent the people that will sit in them. They represent the people that will gather around that table. This table is about a gathering. That’s why the mismatched chairs are so awesome. When I look at this table with these mismatched chairs I can imagine a wide variety of people gathered around it… sitting in those chairs. I can imagine a mix of people as different and varied as the chairs themselves, and that’s beautiful. My hope, my prayer, is that the church God has called me to lead would be like this table and the people in it like these chairs. You see, this table is a gathering place. It’s a gathering place that welcomes the wide variety of chairs, even though none of them match and none of them appear to have belonged, originally, to that table. That’s what I want for our church. I want to build environments where people that look, dress, worship, and think differently can come and wrestle through their spiritual journey, together But, there is more to it. You see, this table is not just another horizontal surface for you to rest your junk on as you pass by, like the table in my house. Or is it. Maybe this table IS a place for us to drop our junk. Maybe this table is a place where broken and hurting people can come and gather with other broken and hurting people. Maybe as they gather they can lay their junk on this table. Maybe when they go away from this table, they can even leave some of that junk behind. That’s what I see when I look at this table, with it’s many, mismatched chairs. AND, this is what I see when I look ahead to the church that Jesus is building and has called me to lead. Matt Norman Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.
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  8:30 The seats on this bus are closer together that I remember… because I’m certain I haven’t gotten any bigger. 8:43 This bus driver is a big fan of racing… or demolition derby. Probably demolition derby. 9:00 These buses have air conditioning these days… Naturally I get stuck with the one bus driver who refuses to use it. Her mantra “Race cars don’t have air conditioning. Neither do race buses.” 9:15 Dear God, would someone please tell this bus driver that we are not in a race and this is not a race car. And no, I didn’t just take God’s name in vain. That’s a serious prayer. #scaredformylife #imightpuke 9:30 If every student on the bus is talking at the same time, who’s listening? Me, that’s who. And taking notes. #alwayswatching #thisshouldbeinteresting 9:45 Either this bus is equipped with heated seats or the exhaust is literally running directly through the bottom of my seat. #isithotinhere? 10:00 Will my praying friends pray for a hedge of protection around me right now? Or maybe an airbag of protection… and a helmet… #thisbusdriverisgonnakillme   10:15 I’ve learned one thing… I can’t find my happy place on a school bus… I tried. It ain’t here. 10:30 I hope the school board used the money that they saved on bus suspension systems to buy computers or something. Never had motion sickness, but I’m thinking about trying it. #itslikeavibratingbed #thatsnotagoodthing 10:45 How can my butt have so much cushion and this seat be so uncomfortable? #ithinkitsnumbnow 11:00 Does this come in an adult size? #imdoomed #illneverfit     11:15 Just saw a dude standing on a paddle board fishing. If I tried that it wouldn’t be fishing it would be swimming. #Goddidntmakemegraceful #butHedidmakemetough 11:30 The skyline of Tampa is actually kinda nice. Except that all I can see is giant robotic aliens smashing all the buildings. Thanks Marvel. #Avengers #MCU 11:45 So this is what “drive it like you stole it” feels like. 12:00 Actually I DID find my happy place on this bus. #ilovetheocean #deepinthought               12:15 Forget roller coasters or sky diving. This bus ride is a REAL adventure. #prettysureimgonnadie #Kimiloveyou #momiloveyoutoo #KimkissJaydenforme 12:30 An hour and 15 minutes into this field trip. Number of selfies taken in this bus… 174,893,756.2 #notevensurehowyoutakepointtwoselfies 12:45 I’m a giant nerd. I’m totally loving all this history stuff. 1:00 I only THOUGHT the bus ride was bad. If this tour guide was any drier they’d have to give out bottles of water at the door. 1:15 Multiple cups of coffee before a 1.5 hour bus ride going to a museum with a broken bathroom was not my best laid plan. 1:30 The good news is: this tour guide is so dry he’s probably gonna dry up my bladder anyway. 1:45 All is well. I found a functioning bathroom… And escaped the tour guide. 2:00 This trip proves that these kids are actually pretty cool. #newrespect 2:15 The Holocaust is no joke and these kids understand that. #newrespect #hopeforthefuture 2:30 When you post a bunch of simple observations about life people become instant stalkers. I guess it’s ok… it’s only Facebook. #maybeitscauseimfunny #theylovemetheyreallyloveme 2:45 I’m not sure who was more relieved: Me when I found the restroom, Or these girls when we got outside and could finally take a selfie. #noflashphotographyplease 3:00 McDonalds is to high school field trips as Chick Fil A is to church youth trips. 3:15 Chaperoning teens is kinda like herding cats. At least cats are cute… And fluffy… So fluffy… #notacatperson #butcatsarefluffy #ilikefluffythings 3:30 The woman that brought Trey’s food was named Elsa. My food better come out hot. #thecoldDOESbotherme #especiallymyfries #friesbetterbehot #itwasactuallyElza #withaZ 3:45 If a person likes a bunch of your posts they’re a stalker. If a bunch of people do it are they stalkers or groupies? #askingforafriend 4:00 To those worried for my safety, this driver is doing just fine. #itsnotyouitsme #theymademesaythis #shesawildwoman Matt Norman Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.
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Networking is a big deal. Some may say it isn’t, but I’ve seen the power of it. Networking has allowed me to go from knowing nobody, to rubbing elbows with and being on a first name basis with some of …
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This is the second in my series on helping men become the spiritual leaders of their family. You can find the first post and links to remaining posts as they become available HERE. I remember a story that the pastor …
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So, today is Valentines Day. I was planning to post the second in my series helping men learn how to the spiritual leaders of their families. Then life threw me a curveball. You see this past Sunday, some really unexpected …
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It might not be popular these days, but I truly believe that the Bible calls men to be the spiritual leaders of their family. This is not to say that men are somehow better than women. This is not say …
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There is a statement that I have told my kids many times over the years. In fact, I have told them so much that they can both quote it. Here it is: “This is my wife. I love you, but …
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Some may look at this title and say that’s just click bait. Just stick with me for a little bit, you’ll understand. As you may know I spent a lot of years as a pastor to children. This mean planning …
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Some of you may know that I spent just shy of 20 years working in a  local emergency room. Some of you may also know that I’m a fairly large man. As you can imagine this often came in handy …
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I am a complete sucker for those military homecoming videos. You know the ones. Mom or dad, or maybe a son, daughter, or a sibling is in the military and has been away for some time. Sometimes the set up …
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