Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Who are the Un-Wanted at Your Church? (Re-Post)

Does your church turn people away?

While we may never wish to admit it,

there are many who want to keep things, well...

the way they are now.

And in doing so, turn down opportunities

to be “Christ” to those who suffer, or are simply different.


Perhaps you have seen this behavior in action:

the inter-racially mixed couple who is asked to leave,

the homeless person who is dirty and smelly that everyone avoids,

the single mom, struggling with doubt and living on food-stamps,

the man who arrives intoxicated and stumbling.


Or, the more common version of the “family” squabble:

the Choir versus the Worship Band -

‘old-folks’ who thinks some music is too loud and irreverent,

and ‘young-punks’, who think rock music and saggy jeans belong.

You name it, and we have found a reason found

to disregard those different from ourselves

as less holy,

less loved,

and less deserving of God.


While serving my time in prison, I was exposed to one group

whose sheer presence makes many ‘outside’ people

quake in fear for their lives...

they often have long hair and beards,

sleeveless shirts with multiple tattoos,

yet they came “inside” to minister to prisoners:

Bikers For Christ. (click link learn more)

I hadn’t thought about them until recently

when a young man shared a spectacular story.


It seems his father’s small church was struggling financially

and when things already seemed tight, an unexpected ‘bill’ arrived.

Now, the church owed an additional $3,000 in taxes,

and there was no way to bring it in on such short notice.

So they held a raffle,

and while I cannot recall the prizes,

I do remember the result.


Early on the morning of the fund-raiser,

while the tables were still being set up,

twenty or so ‘bikers’ rode in on their loud motorcycles.

Everyone froze from the sheer volume of noise.

One huge man got off his bike and approached the minister.

There was an embrace, some tears, and a few muffled laughs.

Then the biker waved to his friends, and himself paid $200 for tickets.

Each biker in the group did likewise.

And by 10:30 the small church had raised nearly $2000,

before anyone else had shown up to participate.


When I asked the young man if the biker was a Christian,

he said he didnt know.

But that somehow, the biker remembered his father

from the time they spent talking in prison.

So when the biker heard of the little church’s struggle,

he got his friends together and rode out to help.


You may not think much of this story

but maybe you could ask yourself this...

if you will not go into jail or prison to preach Christ,

will you accept those “coming-out” into your church?


Everyone deserves to know

the loving sacrifice Christ made on their behalf.

How will you see “them”?

 

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