Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Christian “Club” Mentality

John responded, 'Master, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us.'
'Don't stop him,' Jesus told him, 'because whoever is not against you is for you.'”
Luke 9:49-50

I want you to take a walk with me down a dusty old road. Our dirty sandals trudge past many a scraggly bush and rock along the way. There are birds singing, and the wind is blowing a hot breeze across our faces. The weight of heavy robes and head covers is so great compared to our modern day comfort in clothing. We are following closely behind a man who is singing praises to our King as he walks. He is from a town several miles away, but has felt the tug of God upon his heart to go into this city. He is silently praying in his heart with each step, “God let your will be done.” With each hum of his song he is praising God for his mightiness. This man is not a priest, or even a disciple, he is just a man of God. There is nothing particularly special about him, that is except for his faith. He slowly approaches the town and heads straight to the slums of the city. The darkest alleys and the deepest sin is awaiting him around every corner, and there he finds them. Two men stand in the corner, naked and driving their fists into the dirt talking in a form of gibberish never to be understood by man. This gentleman walks up to these men and says, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior, by the power of His blood to leave these men! Jesus you are mighty and your blood has covered our sins. Please by the faith I have in You cast out these demons at once!” The demons inside writhe agony and scream out for mercy. He repeats his command again and again until the spirits are gone from these two tattered souls. They look at this man with clear, unblemished eyes, and thank him over and over again. The man says nothing but this, “Give all the praise you want to give me to my Father in Heaven. For it is through His power that you are clean once again.” As he walked away from these grateful men, he was suddenly stopped by John and a few other disciples. They had been standing at the end of the alley watching this man in astonishment, but not because of the power of his faith, because he wasn't one of them. This infuriated the disciples, and they quickly chastised the man for driving out demons in Jesus' name. “Who named you a disciple of the Lord and gave you the authority to cast out demons? You were not given the right to use that power as you see fit. We will not stand for that type of display any longer because you are not one of us!”

How did HE feel?
Now let's stop right here for a minute. Do you wonder what the man felt like when the disciples told him these things? I wonder if he was hurt and upset, or perhaps he was so strong in his faith that it really didn't matter what they said to him. The thing is though, here is a man who has enough faith in God to actually be able to cast out demons, and yet he is being told he isn't allowed to do so because he isn't “part of a group.” How many times these days do we miss out on great ministers of God's will because of this exact thing? How many wonderful Christian musicians do not take another step further into the ministry because someone higher up made them feel as if they didn't have the right to share their gift? I have felt this way so many times over the years. I understand the hurt that this man probably felt. I believe that from the moment I was created I was destined for something great in the Lord's eyes. The more I write this book, and the more I get into the Word of God, the more that I know that to be true, but trust me friends, it hasn't come without many issues with people who thought they “knew the Lord better” than I did.

We do it all the time...What angers me the most is that I see it in churches, social groups, bible studies and worship teams all of the time. I see it in programs and benefits to raise money for the Kingdom's work. That attitude that if you don't have a seminary degree, or you aren't a vested member of a church, or part of a particular group you aren't allowed to have the Grace of God in your life is so troubling to me that I cannot stand back and not say anything about it. What gives anyone the right to say, “Yes you can be a saved sinner, but you can't share your story, and you sure can't be up in front of anyone because you just aren't qualified in our eyes.” Well excuse me, but I think that is exactly the people we need up in front of our churches. What better way to prove that our God is amazing and merciful, then to have an uneducated, ex-drug addict, prostitute singing the praises of our King? Because trust me honey, if that woman is saved, then God can do mighty things with anyone.

We all struggle!
I get so tired of listening to people who are fake in their walk talk about how wonderful their lives are while I struggle. I am sorry, but no matter how strong your faith is and how much you love our God, you are going to have bad days. You are human. It happens. Let me know about it ,and I will be more likely to listen to you when you have good things to say because I know I can relate to you. I am beyond frustrated with the image that non-believers have of the church of God because of the high and mighty, dressed to the nines, Sunday pew squatters who think that they are better than the flat on his face ex-con who is praising God with his tears. Enough is enough. It is time to just join forces and be one as God's followers. Jesus did not gravitate to the wealthy and educated. He found the beggars, the poor, and the filthy, and that is where He was most comfortable. Why is it that we, as His Children, are not the same? Why do we think that we have the right to judge others for their status when God himself didn't do that while He was here on Earth? It is embarrassing to me to hear the gossip among women groups in church. To see how new comers are treated because they are not as well versed in the bible as the ones that have lead the groups for years. Get off your pretty little behind and dig into that bible with that young lady! Who knows who she might become one day if you take the chance on her! Every single minister in the world today had to be given a chance, and I guarantee you that the strongest ones came from the most humble of situations. Why? Because that is where God's grace is the most evident.

Our lives may be different, but our sin isn't...
Remember that you are no better than the dirty, loud, and uneducated woman sitting on the street corner begging for change. Her sins are no greater than yours. Her faults didn't nail Jesus to that tree any harder than yours did. Her praises sound sweeter to Jesus' ears because she honestly means it with all of her heart no matter what her situation might be. So do not hold down someone that comes to the Lord in honesty and wants to serve, because our fight is great. There is an enemy against us that is strong, and we need all the muscle we can get. Plus, and if this doesn't get you, not much will, but I do not ever want to be standing in front of Jesus on judgment day and hear Him say, “Jessica do you realize that because of how you treated so and so, they didn't not follow the plan I had set out for them, and because of that 1,000 people that they would have lead to Me will not step into Heaven?” Do you want to answer that question? I sure don't.

Until next time, remember that the things that sting the most, are the things that God wants to use to shape you into something GREAT!
Always, Jessica

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