Sunday, January 28, 2007

Impressed and Humbled!

I am both impressed and humbled by our congregation! This morning, at both of the services, we walked through what I call some "family business".

Have you figured out that STUFF HAPPENS? Well, it does, and when it does, we have to sometimes deal with it. I have found that most churches aren't honest with the STUFF that HAPPENS, preferring to sweep it under the proverbial rug rather than be honest when we sin and blow it.

This was one of those days where we had to be honest. A young man who had been a student leader in our Youth Ministry, and whom we laid our hands on to send him to Bible College last August, confessed publicly this morning that over the Summer, he had engaged in a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. A couple weeks into his first semester, he found out she is pregnant.

We had talked about this day for some time with he and his parents, and the day finally came, though it wasn't long planned for. The Lord ordered the previous few days that it was just time to do it, so we did. I honestly didn't know how everyone would respond, but just knew we were to do it.

When we came to the point where he had confessed and asked for forgiveness of the congregation, I wasn't really expecting anyone to answer. I thought it a more rhetorical question. Well, the Church didn't!

One by one, people began to stand and proclaim their forgiveness of this young man. It was powerful as we prayed over he and his family. That was the 8:30 service.

For the 10:30, I didn't tell anyone what I observed. I thought I'd just wait and see, and sure enough, the exact same thing happened, and it was again, powerful.

I know people have, and knew they would have, all kinds of thoughts about what we were doing and how we went about it. And they did. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just that, in reality, the Church is meant to be the reflection of what and who the Kingdom of God is. And today, it happened.

This young man, repentant of his ways (believe me, I've spent enough time with him to know he is ... and not just because he "got caught"), was embraced with a firm and loving acceptance, not for his sin, but for what Jesus did for his sin.

One of those things that words will never express ....


Sherene said...

Forgiveness makes the difference. When we mess up, it's so important to know we have forgiveness when we repent and look to the Lord for Grace. That's an inspiring story of forgiveness and the Grace of God on people who embrace each other's humanness and fallibility.

Sherene said...

Just finished listening to the podcast for this and was very impressed and humbled myself. That took courage and a lot of trust in the Lord. And tonight I was reading my Bible study and this popped out as a verse to share with you. Acts 14:22 "We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." Paul is so encouraging. We learn from the hardships when we trust in God and I know that is true.