Sadly, I have reached a conclusion about our world, nation, churches of all franchises, and...
So many are so determined to damn themselves.
People can't seem to help themselves from destroying what He has entrusted to us.
I don't think I am wrong anymore in saying, "Wherever I look, I see people who are negative about everything, backbiting, bantering, beating, bruising, beating, and butchering. Civility has been replaced with constant crippling criticisms about everyone and everything; and people can't seem to help themselves from damning everyone and everything which includes them. Even among Christians who should know better, I see increasing segregations, schisms, and separations in total defiance of every ethic that He taught about honoring Him by reconciling with each other. Too many churches are a disgrace of dysfunction, division, and damning words, actions, and even looks. How dare such churches tell the world and nation how to get along when they are poster children for not getting along? The next time I see someone who has broken fellowship with a church and then parades around like Sister-Bertha-better-than-you, I'm gonna say, 'Even Gandhi would have smacked you in the head!' Twain was right: 'The church is always trying to get other people to reform. It might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little by way of example.'"
Fortunately, our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois is increasingly counter-current-ecclesiastical-civil-culture as a beacon for Jesus and safe haven for all of His children no matter who, what, where, when, or why.
Here's just one note of the many received this morning about what has become our Sunday morning experience/expression at First: "Pastor, just a note to say the Sunday service touched me deeply and the quiet time after communion was very moving to say the least and there were many tears as so many hearts were touched by the Lord...I praise the Lord and am grateful to be part of the Family of Faith moving closer and closer into the relationship with Him."
God knows we are not immune to that slippery and slimy old enemy trying to slither in among us to tempt us to become part of the damning culture of this sad chapter of human history. We've had to stomp its head on occasion over the past 25 years. But the apostle was/remains right: "It is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one. Those who don't show love for one another do not belong to God...My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world."
Though we're just scratching the surface of our relationship with Him, we are praying and laboring to model Someone better for a world, nation, and too many churches so bent on damning themselves.
So invite, welcome, include, and love as many as possible into our family of faith at First!
God knows there are so many so hungry and thirsty for the trickles turning into rivers on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
Blessings and Love!