Over the next little while I'm going to explore some Grace filled topics. Ways that we can show grace in areas of our life to live differently than the rest of the world.
The first one I'm going to touch is a Grace-filled church.
"You are the LIGHT"(Matt 5:14)
What does the inside of your church look like? Can you look around and see a room of sinners or saints?
For so long I played the church game well. I put on my best clothes, makeup and smile and showed up every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wed night. It was exhausting. But I did it.
I bought in that if we weren't there every time the doors were open I was doing a disservice to my kids and not raising them in the way they should go.
And the rules? They just kept getting longer...
Cuss Words? check (got that, mostly, under control when Keeli was little and she repeated something I said in front of our neighbors...it was embarrassing to say the least)
Early morning bible study?
Do not drink, at all, not even one, in public or at home-lest you want to make others stumble
The list goes on.
(these are all good things put in the right biblical perspective)
And then I started to notice something. If my church teaches love and grace and freedom through Jesus Christ, but doesn't live this out, is this really the place I want to be?
I wanted to be a part of a church that reaches out to someone that is hurting, not turn their backs and whisper, "they shouldn't have done this or that, and it wouldn't have happened."
I want a church that talks the talk and walks the walk. That doesn't have dress codes and a list of rules that they say is "biblical" but is really meant to keep the members in line so they don't embarrass the church.
Life and people aren't black and white. People are different. Sometimes the church doesn't alway like different because how are they going to explain it?
If Jesus really came to set us free, then why do we try to chain ourselves back up to the law and claim it's freedom?
"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?
These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."( Col 2:20-23)
It's not and we are only fooling ourselves. It's ok to laugh and dance and have fun . When you're at church throw your hands up in wild abandon and don't care who sees (I'm personally still working on this one).
You're not dead yet!!!
Jesus came to give us life, an ABUNDANT life, a good life without fear.
The hurt need our love and our arms of grace to circle round and tell them it's ok.
Jesus came for the sick, poor, broken hearted and lowly; not the healthy, wealthy, and wise.
The church is made up of ugly hurtful sinners that have been saved, REDEEMED. But we are no better and no less than others.
People are hurting and as Christians we are called and have an obligation to serve/love them. We are all the least of these. May God forgive us for holding on so tight to our rules and fake facades.
The Grace-filled church is the Jesus-filled Church. It's the one that welcomes in the dirty, the cast out, the forgotten. It says, "I don't care what others think or what you've done, let me help you, let me be your friend."
The lost need our love not our sermons.
The Grace-filled church welcomes outsiders in and offers them a drink, even wine or a beer. There is no guilt here, there is no shame.
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving."(1Tim 4:4)The grace-filled church is one that welcomes the different because they are different too, but only by the blood of Christ.
It's one I want my children to grow up in-not in a religious culture-but a come one come all we need you and you need us and we all need God!
God forgive me for all the times I've let other people's opinions matter more than what you've called me to be and do for the sake of others
At times I've cared more what the church thought than You.
My heart has been torn open and my eyes see what you see now. I can't go back. I won't. And if I can't find a grace-filled church, let me be church to those around me.
Let me be grace-filled and runneth over.
***The church is a much needed place for the lost and the found. It's not perfect and sometimes in error does more harm than good. But, I refuse to give up on the church, I need it too much. When done right the church is a place to go to be encouraged, nurtured, and be refilled with truth. There's no family like your church family. We need each other, we need YOU!
We've all had different experiences within the church some great some hurtful. Would you share about yours?
"Be the difference you want to see in the world."Ghandi
Linking bravely with Three Word Wed, #TellHisStory,Thought Provoking Thursday