Sunday, September 20, 2009

Messy People ♥ Redeemed People

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9: 10-12

If you were a first time visitor to our church and are used to a traditional setting, you will probably feel uncomfortable. We don't look like your normal church. In fact, we have quite a few messy people.

In fact, our church might make you not want to come back. It's not a traditional church. We allow people to drink coffee during the service. We have an extended greeting time during the service that sometimes is difficult to get people to come back to their seats.

However, our people love one another deeply. They look forward to church each week. They hear God's word shared each week. They see God's love lived out as we reach out to love them as they are. About 70% of the people that come have never set foot inside a church. They wanted nothing to do with God and Christians. Yet, there they are each week.

They are messy people, but they are also redeemed people. They have seen what their lives are without God and they are growing in their relationship with Him. They have made mistakes, yet their lives are changing. Their marriages are healing. Their addictions are being overcome. They are learning about God and what it means to walk with Him.

I do believe that the Lord is in our church. I believe that He is pleased when He hears our messy people worship. I believe that it pleases Him when He hears the testimony of a young girl as she talks about how God is working in her life. I believe He is nodding His approval as another couple ask Dan to marry them because they realize that the Lord doesn't want them living in sin together. He is thrilled when another man says no to drugs.

Many Christians don't like messy people, but I believe our Heavenly Father loves them! Jesus ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them and loved them enough to die for them.

If you don't like messy people, you probably won't come to our church. However, our messy people are becoming a redeemed people; a people after God's own heart.