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19.8.10

The Broken World and a Glorious Bride

Tears are rolling down my cheeks. I am hurting, grieving over the state of the world. Not the whole entire world in general, but people I know that represent the state of the whole entire world in many ways. I pray to God but words fail me. What do you pray when there is so much need and so little hope left? I have just heard of yet another marriage that has failed, my heart breaks. I have dinner with someone who has recently lost everything, his home, his wife and his five children. My heart breaks a little more. Someone who we were reaching out to on the street dies of a drug overdose, my heart cries - we were too late. These are some of the many stories we face every week from the lost and dying world around me. The need is so huge.

Then to add to my heavy heart I also hear of Christians who are suffering too. They know Jesus and his love, grace and mercy. Forgiveness has been lavished on them but a human let them down. A pastor or a Christian friend betrayed them or disappointed them or caused some sort of offence. Their heart grew cold and they lost their love for the House of God. They found a safe place in their mind where they justified that it's OK not to go to church anymore. They live as a victim and remain impotent. Their potential lays dormant, their hands lay passive and their lives don't flourish. My heart grieves even more. Every week I seem to hear of yet another person who has taken offence and has decided it's OK to not be planted in a Church anymore. Their offence justifies their decision, forgiveness is forgotten and more precious lives are lost. I understand their pain, I too have been hurt by leaders and by Christian friends. Eric lost a valuable part of his life due to unhealthy leaders. He, more than most, has a reason to not want to go to church. My friend Jana has dedicated her whole blog to this very subject. Most of us have sadly suffered by the hands of poor leadership, but only some of us have moved on and others don't. I cry over you often Christians, more than I cry over the lost because I need your help. I need you to forgive, to seek God's healing power in your life. I need you to come back to Church, we need you. The world is falling to pieces, people out there don't know Jesus and have no hope. We need to tell them about Him, we need to love them and feed them. It is expected that the world would be falling apart, it can't survive much longer under all this sin. But the Church, the beautiful bride of Christ should not be falling apart. She should be radiant and strong. I am so very sorry for the hurt you have experienced. On behalf of Church leaders I want to apologise to you for being treated unfairly. I am a Church leader and sadly may have caused hurt too because I am simply a person on a journey and may not get it right all the time.

Don't be fooled and quote a bunch of scriptures to prove that it's OK not to go to Church. There are an equal number of scriptures speaking about the house of God and the fellowship of the believers. Whether your local Church meets in a grass hut or in a grand stadium it is still your local Church, please go back and get planted so that you can flourish and the Church can grow strong. So that those of us that are trying our best to reach the lost can benefit from your hands, your gifting and your precious life. How many times have you prayed for God to use you? I know so many people who have left church because they felt used! Duh, that's how it works, if you ask God to use you He will. Be happy, be thrilled to bits if you are being used at the moment, don't get offended and leave your Church, feel honoured :)

Psalm 92:13 "Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God."

I shared a few testimonies with you recently of some precious people who are planted in our Church. God does change lives and we are slowly but surely building a strong Church here in Gloucester. Our team works really hard and goes beyond what most people would in order to make a difference in our city. We fast, we pray, we brain storm, we love, we reach out - yet it all doesn't seem to be enough. The need is so much greater than we could ever respond to. We need the Christians to come together, stop fighting, stop being offended, stop holding grudges and come together in unity to reach out to the lost and dying world around us. To take Jesus to them that don't yet know him, to those teenagers like Ewen who needed someone to talk to them. To the street people like Tom who's life depends on us and like Princess who needs to know that she is wanted and loved.

Sadly not all churches are healthy these days, take great care in finding a healthy church. In my next post I will take a look at what might help you identify a healthy church, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on these please leave me a comment below.

4 comments:

  1. I can hear your hearts cry in this post and it is so moving! Wonderful job Angela! You addressed something so important and that is the invite back. The invite to be loved and to love others...that is a huge key in welcoming people back to the fellowship of their local church.

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  2. Thank you Jana, I really do hope that hurt Christians know that there is still love in their local church and that they are very much needed too. Shall we all pray together this week specifically for Christians who are hurting and are not in a Church?

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  3. Life is a journey and sometimes we do get hurt in the process. I lost part of my life due to unhealthy leaders and I have hundred reasons not to care about God and His House. I decided to take it out on the devil, I made a decision to love Him and His church to matter what, I am sticking with Him and taking as many people with me to heaven as I can.

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  4. Great post by the way!

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