The last few months have been great! I have to get this out there.
This is almost like a prayer on this post and typically, the first thing
that I do when I pray, is talk about what I am thankful for. In the
last few months, I have seen speakers at the youth worker conference
that reminded me why I got involved with the youth and got me inspired
enough to find and learn more about their ministry, I acquired a
girlfriend that has been a blessing to me and just knocks my socks off
with the grace that she shows me, and I have a spiritual family that has
grown considerably as I have become more active Emmaus.
However, with all of the great things, I have found that God puts people
and events in our way to put our faith into practice as it says in James
2:26 "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith
without works is dead." (NASB) That's where I'm heading with this mini
Over the last four months I have been in contact with 3 people
that as I hear more from them, the more I realize that sometimes not
only is the church out of touch with what is going on, but that those
that are searching, are still missing the "forest for the trees." I
should back up a bit though and tell you how I got started with this.
Recently Rob Bell, the teaching pastor of the Mars Hill Bible Church in
Grandville, MI, preached a series of sermons entitled Directions. He
talked about 6 directions which he descibes the directions the church is
going. Backward (looking at our roots), Forward(looking at our journey
through life), Inward(God wants to heal us), Withward(we journey
together), Outward(we need to help people outside the church), and
Upward (we need to learn to celebrate and praise God). The one that
this post is about is Withward.
This morning, after listening to Pastor Steve at GCC at 845 am and Rev. John at FUMC at 1030 AM, one thing jumped out at me from both services, we cover ourselves
up when we sin. Just like in Genesis after the fall (Specifically, Genesis 3), Adam and Eve, hid because they knew they were naked and they put on fig leaves. We do that, no matter what the degree of the sin. When we try to help some people, they have a tendancy to cover up and withdraw from a community that could help. Usually, they are ashamed of what they have become. Sometimes, there are those in the church that will condemn or some who give unhelpful "pat" advice (a whole other teaching as Rob Bell would say). However, there are those in the church, can be a great help, because, believe it or not they have gone through the same thing. It's just a matter of getting plugged into the network of believers. Follow along to part 2.