As I sit in the sunshine in rural Lincolnshire (you know it’s the 21st century when you can blog from the middle of a field) I have enjoyed reading Shaun Groves’ post this morning. He has shared several links and two of them really stood out so much that I wanted to share them, too. Blogging and blogging and reblogging until the whole universe is consumed in blogdust… Can’t be a bad thing.
Here’s Ann Voskamp’s contribution
If you’re a mouldy old cynic like me and find the music a turn-off, you can click the bar at the top and indeed turn it off. The actual words are intelligent, thought-provoking and full of grace, Voskamp-style.
And the other post I really liked was Shaun’s link to this page
Incredibly relevant (no pun intended) to all believers and demonstrates, without my having to, what my personal passion for the church is: a place where sinners can come together and worship the One who sets us free.
The only thing I would add, having been through Celebrate Recovery and having some experience of people with profound problems, is that often just coming to church isn’t enough. They need to be loved and supported as they gradually get their lives together, for as long as it takes. Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful way to do that and to learn what living by grace, one day at a time, means. I have heard miraculous stories of drug addicts being healed, which is wonderful and I praise God for his graciousness, but even if a physical addiction is healed, one must recognise the reason why the addiction took hold in the first place, and begin to address those multiple and complex root causes.
On some occasions, a person may have had a traumatic childhood, or simply never felt loved as a child. If you don’t learn how to be a human being, and that you have value, when you’re a child, it is very difficult to learn as an adult. I pray that our churches recognise this fact and welcome those who have never even had the chance to learn what the rest take for granted.
There are many and varied reasons why a person may have a screwed up life. Sometimes people have an outwardly ordinary life, and are even ‘upstanding’ members of their church, but secretly have enormous battles. How many secret drinkers are there in your church, for example? How many addictions to gambling, gossiping or ________ (fill in the blank)?
As churches, if we really are the body of Christ, we must ask ourselves this:
- How can I be like Jesus and meet each person at their point of need?
- How can I do this enough, not giving up because it is hard, so that they learn how much God loves them and are able to take on the mantle of Christ-follower, and in turn can shine with the light of love and thus spread the gospel?
Jesus had some strong words to say to those of us who choose to ignore the plight of the broken and wounded:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
Matthew 25:34-45 (The Message)