Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The “Terrible” Rumor

A gentle older couple from a church across town stopped into my office the other day. They wanted to make us aware of a “terrible” rumor going around town about our church. The rumor was that our church allows ANYONE to worship with us no matter their past, their background, or their current state of sinfulness. I do not know where that couple heard this rumor, but I was quite happy to confirm that the rumor was TRUE! Our church has worked hard to let everyone in the community know that we accept each person who comes just as they are. I am glad the word is getting out about this and that people are talking about it openly in our community. I can think of worse rumors floating around out there about churches.

Jesus encountered the same kind of “rumors” in His ministry. Luke 5:30-32 (HCSV) recounts the story: But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus replied to them, "The healthy don't need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." In this passage, as well as many others, we see that Christ reached out to people who did not fit the typical “religious” stereotype. Christ reached out to those often spurned by the church. Many people did not understand or like what Christ was doing. If His actions were going to be misunderstood by so many, why would Christ take these anyway? Christ did this because He loved all kinds of people. His love compelled Him to reach out to anyone He came in contact with, including those that others may have considered untouchable. But do not be confused. Though Christ took each person where they were, He loved them too much to leave them where they were. Christ challenged people to consider their spiritual condition before a holy God and called them to repent of their former lifestyle and become His followers.

Our church feels the same way as Christ does about the people whom God is bringing to worship with us. We accept them as they are. But we love them too much to leave them as they are. We sow the Word of God into their lives and watch as the Spirit of God transforms them. We are ever mindful of Hebrews 4:12 (HCSV), “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” We do not have to judge the behavior of others. All we have to do is share the Word of God with them. The Spirit does the convicting and brings about repentance and faith in Christ. This is what all churches should be doing.

I thank God that our church is filled with really messed up people who found a loving and accepting place where they could discover Christ. I thank God even more as I watch each of us in the church be transformed by the Spirit’s power through the washing of the Word. If you know someone in Central Vermont who cannot find a church that will take them as they are, send them our way. But do not expect them to be the same when we send them back to you!

I pray that this “terrible” rumor about our church continues. I pray that this rumor begins to be whispered about more churches in our little state. When that begins to happen, we may yet see another great spiritual awakening sweep across our land.


For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus

14 comments:

  1. Wonderful Article, It is a shame that more churches do not have this "terrible rumor" floating around about them.

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  2. What a wondeful "rumor". However, how sad for the couple that, though gentle, were disturbed by the fact that you allow anyone to come in and worship. I pray that others will know that Jesus can be found there and that His grace and mercy is alive and well at your church.

    I also find it curious that I blogged about the issue of rumors and gossip today as well! Would love for you to check it out. God bless, Terry, and may He fill your fellowship with hungry hearts.

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  3. Some have been in the church so long they believe in the sterility of the organization rather than allow the "germs" to encounter their organism.

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  4. May God allow that rumor to circulate about all of our churches.

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  5. Chris Beltrami, Barre, VTMay 25, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    it would be so great to see a revival

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  6. Rossana Benjamin, Barre, VTMay 26, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    Im so proud of my church.

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  7. Carla McEldowney, West VirginiaMay 26, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    This is so true. Christians should not judge anyone who wants to worship. The church should be open arms to all.

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  8. Patsy Hendrix, Anderson, SCMay 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Great message that you don't have to be perfect to walk in the door. You let God and His mercy do the work that we are unable to do for ourselves

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  9. Carla McEldowney, West VirginiaMay 27, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Reminds me of the story: an old man heard beautiful music coming from a church up on the hill, the old shabby dressed man went in the church to hear the music and pray. Someone said to him "your not allowed in here" the old man left. He set over the hill and cried. Suddenly a hand laid on his shoulder and a voice said" Its okay, I've been trying to get into that church for years" the old man looked up and saw the face of Jesus.

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  10. Wendy Grant, Barre, VTMay 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    AMEN!!!! 

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  11. Deanna Hammock, Champaign, IllinoisMay 27, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Love it.

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  12. Irene Murphy, South CarolinaMay 27, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    PTL!
    May this rumor spend thoughout the convention. It is time all of out churches become hospitals for sinners not museums for saints.
    Keep the faith; preach the Word; and God will keep His promises.
    Blessings,
    Irene

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  13. Jay Wolf, FBC, Montgomery, ALMay 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Excellent!

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  14. The question I like to ask from time to time is "Is it ok not to be ok at our church?" We are hear to help the hurting heal, the lost be found, and the wanderer find home. If that is truly to be our mission and passion then we are going to find ourselves with people that other churches find "undesirable"--but to the glory and praise of God He desires them more than they'll ever know.

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