During our Sunday Morning pre-service meeting, one of our faithful servants spoke of a conversation they had with someone from another church who asked the question, "How do you change a church?" and so I thought I would answer that question.
Through Much Pain.
I know that the more spiritual will say it is through much Prayer but that's not how it started for us.
Pain is an amazing motivator to change and God uses it all the time.
For me it started with the pain of my wife's car accident.
We were taught not directly but indirectly, that if you did right things, right things would happen.
God blesses obedience, God honors faithfulness.
To us that meant that good things would happen. and then WHAM. Our world changed.
It was as if God had forsaken us. My God. The one to whom I believed would take care of His own was not. My faith, or at least my belief system was shaken.
From that accident and the fears we had believing that Debra would never walk well again, we had more pain. The people I had pastored, loved, cared for, ministered to, sacrificed for, were concerned but not necessarily caring. And to add insult to injury, my friends, Pastors that I called to encourage constantly, Men that I fellowshipped with, did little or nothing. The relationships that I thought were there to encourage my family through this difficult time, were non-existent. And if it was not for my brother Dave, the Ness family, the Guest Family, and Dale McGinnis we would have had nobody. Surrounded by people, The fruit of my love and life was loneliness.
And all of this pain, caused me to reexamine everything. James talked about pure religion being one of loving the lonely and Jesus said this about Christians and Pastors that you would know them by their fruit that it would be that of love.
and I looked around at my own life and did not like what I saw. My Faith was not producing Spiritual Fruit and my Family (Church and Pastoral Friends) were concerned by not caring. In fact many of them were very judgemental and still are.
It hurts to hurt and be surrounded by selfishness.
It hurts to hurt and be suffering in loneliness.
It hurts to hurt and be stagnated by cold Christianity.
and while I am not blaming anybody, what I am saying is that God used this great pain, to make a great change in me.
To be the Best Christian I could be I had to stop being selfish and focusing on my pain, when all around me people were suffering similar lives of loneliness.
To be the Best Christian I could be I had to stop suffering in loneliness and surround myself with people who know not only how to be loved but to love.
To be the Best Christian I could be I had to stop stagnating myself with a cold emotionless Christianity and begin to see Jesus through the lens of His Grace and Love.
I could have been bitter
I could have walked away from God and the Church
I could have blamed Christianity and Pastors and my Parents
But by God's grace, He gave me a better way.
Pain, Great Pain, Motivated Me to Change
and I am so thankful for that Pain.
Tomorrow, How Change Happens Part 2