Tag Archives: prodigal

Abandoned Faith: Enlightening & Hopeful!

Abandoned FaithWhen you first look, Abandoned Faith is not a book you expect to be brimming with hopeful strategies. Yet that is exactly what this book delivers! It provides lots of facts with correlating interviews and surveys on millennial’s and the many problems they face.

I don’t usually enjoy reading a book filled with lots of statistics. Yet as I read this one, I began to see how all that information could help parents and churches by giving them the “how  to” in developing an effective prayer and action strategy to reach these kids .

  • Abandoned Faith brings hope to parents  and churches who are despairing over what to do about their wayward millennial’s.
  • It encourages them to release all shame for past mistakes, surrendering their millennial’s to a God who is able to bring them back home to the Faith.
  • It invites them to stand on the irrevocable promises found in God’s Word because He loves millennial’s and He will be faithful to them.
  • And finally, it provides creative ideas for reaching out with real and tangible ways to provide help for our millennial’s.

I loved that!

It’s obvious the authors have a deep and abiding love for these young adults. I appreciated their frankness, and at times, bold and brutal honesty. The ways they addressed the failures of parents and the Church head on. Perhaps it is time for some much needed “tough love.” Today’s Church needs more effective ways of reaching out to our millennial adults. Ways that are relevant to their unique needs. I think this book provides a good starting point.

When interviewing Mark Hall, someone McFarland considers a front line expert on millennial’s, he asked Hall if he was optimistic that millennial’s will be the generation to bring revival to America. He responded, “[Christian] millennial’s love God and accept that Jesus is the Son of God. But they are not in love with the church. They will not give as cooperatively through the church budget as they will a particular cause. They are online givers for the most part but will give where they see ‘fruit.’ Can millennial’s bring revival back to America? If we continue to embrace the exclusivity of Christ, maintain authentic relationships, confront pluralism, and preach the gospel, then yes, spiritual renewal will come. Don’t expect a breakout event like the old crusades where sporting venues were packed out. Expect it to look more like the church in the book of Acts.”

The book of Acts? Wow! Now that statement gives me REAL hope!

My thanks to Focus on the Family and Tyndale House Publishers for sending me this complimentary copy and requesting my review. Abandoned Faith is available now on Amazon.

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Called To This?

I have not been “called” to this.

The easy chair.

(Or the easy crowd.)

Though I confess?

(There are days I wish I were.)

Simply put God has called me to the Prodigal-Church.

Yeah, you know.

The ones referred to as:

The Messy-misfits.

The Raucous-runaways.

The Wrecked and Wounded.

The ones who have heard it all before and just ain’t listenin’ anymore!

(Yeah, them.)

These are the “ones” who are severely bruised, deeply disappointed and pissed off at God, The Church, or all of the above.

(Nope. Not an easy crowd.)

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But, you know what else?

God passionately LOVES these that many folks just privately hope will “Go away.” leaving us in ‘The Good Church’ to our sleepy tranquility.

(Yeah.)

I know because I was one of these prodigals, and truth be known? Sometimes I still am.

Ticked-off that is—not prodigal.

I still get angry because many of these folks have been brutally beat-up good-n’-proper.

Perhaps they “once upon a time” believed. But, now?

Now they ain’t havin’ anything to do with it!

They have hit the dusty trail, and now have turtle-shells thick-n’-crusty around once trusting hearts.

Yet they are STILL HIS. And are perhaps MORE WANTED than they were in the beginning.

(Before it all went wrong in their lives.)

Make no mistake about it—He still calls them BELOVED, and He longs for them to come home to Him.

These the Saints consider rabble-rousers, and futile-flotsam, He calls with infinite tenderness, “My Beloved.

I believe this because—I was one of them when He came after me.

(And I do understand how “The Church” feels.)

I fondly remember the days of easy crowds and occupying easy chairs. (Yeah, I confess.) All gone now, and it’s okay because I believe someone needs to reach Wounded Sheep! All those Prickly-Prodigals with crusty shells around hearts that have stopped believing in anyone calling themselves Christian—walking away from our churches—taking the back door out.

Yep, they’re my assignment. My mission. My project.

Broken Vessels Recovery Project

(To be more exact.)

  • Some in The Church say they are MIA.
  • Some know they are AWOL.

But whatever “they might believe? Know this.

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They are His.

They are loved.

His very own Beloved.

(And wounded or wrecked—He wants them back! )

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A Plea For ALL Captives

What is a captive?

Well, Webster describes a captive like this:

1 a :  taken and held as or as if a prisoner of war b (1) :  kept within bounds : CONFINED (2) :  of or relating to captive animals <captive breeding> 2 :  held under control of another but having the appearance of independence; especially :  owned or controlled by another concern and operated for its needs rather than for an open market <a captive mine 3 :  being such involuntarily because of a situation that makes free choice or departure difficult <a captive audience>

Yeah. That was me. A captive of disillusionment, disappointment, disgust, and eventually deep, deep discouragement.

And because I’ve been there?

I just can’t think of Prodigals as belligerent runaways or rebellious troublemakers.

No.

And I don’t think Jesus does either.

I believe He is heartbroken over one of His own who leave The Church.

I, perhaps audaciously, think He sees a Prodigal-sheep—as one who has infinite value and potential.

One of His who has been “taken captive” by all those ugly “D” words to which I was just referring.

So let me ask you:

What do you see when you say the word: Prodigal?

Uh-huh.

Now, what do you see when you say the word: Captive?

Isn’t the perception different?

I believe one word hardens the heart (just a bit) while the other word softens the heart and makes it willing toward compassion. Naive perhaps, but maybe it is—just that simple.

I also believe it is high time we who call ourselves His Church, begin to view our prodigals more as captives, than runaways.

Don’t we need to embrace them with compassion, rather than judgment?

I have been a captive of disillusionment; caged by my disgust and disappointments. And yes, I have been judged and condemned by my Fellow-flock. Perhaps that is why I view those who have left our churches through tears, rather than with raised chins and cold shoulders.

I think Jesus weeps when He sees one of His own, wandering.

I believe He wants us, in His Church, to be more proactive about going out and finding those we so quickly write off with our shaking heads and wagging fingers.

God loves Prodigals!

Every. Last. One.

Don’t you think it’s high time, we in His Church, did too?

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Inconvenient Truth

I used to ask God, “Why?”

I rarely got any sort of an answer so I stopped asking.

(But I confess, I never stopped wondering.)

I’ve heard good Christians tell me that “THE Answer” was that I had to learn to live with all my unanswered questions.

(That didn’t help much either.)

I don’t believe a broken heart is about getting answers anyway.

(Not really.)

I believe mostly it’s about what Ann Voskamp said in her book, The Broken Way—it’s about communion. It’s about wanting someone to come close in our pain. Feel close. It is the aloneness we feel in our brokenness that magnifies all our other stuff.

For Prodigals this is especially acute, for the communion, they most desperately need—is also the thing they most fear.

Where do they go then?

What do you do with your wounded heart, when your once “safe place” has become to you the image of Habakkuk’s Vineyard?

Where do you begin to look for a PLACE of healing and hope and strength to believe again?

Is there such a place?

There are many prodigals who would not hesitate to answer a loud and resounding, “No!” Especially if you are presenting today’s Church as your answer to that Safe Place!

They’ve been there—bought the tee shirt.

They’ll gladly show you the blood-stains, pointing out all the bullet holes!

(What do you say to that one then?)

That Outcast who looks at The Church and sees a carefully camouflaged Enemy lurking there?

Do you say, “Just trust us? We’re different. We’re the REAL thing!”

(And if they’ve heard all that before?)

If they know The Church in their past is guilty of shooting it’s wounded?

Then what?

What if the inconvenient truth is this?

We have met the enemy—and he is us.

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The Unblessed Prodigal Heart

As a self-confessed Prodigal, I will confess I craved it all of my life.

My father’s blessing.

I would even go so far as to say it was the deepest craving in my heart.

As a child, I longed to make my Father smile.

(It was not a simple task.)

Dad came from Quaker roots with German overtones. In our house “the Papa’s word” was law. Period. No other options. So, to make my dad happy was always foremost in my thinking from as far back as I can remember.

My problems arose when I failed to do so, which was often the older I got. Partly, because my dad was so hard for me to “read,” and partly because he encouraged me to “think for myself” as long as my thinking didn’t conflict with what he wanted from me.

The latter?

Made for days of confusion with even greater conflict.

Question: How was I to think for myself and please my father?

Answer: Most of the time I couldn’t!

I could do one, or the other, but rarely both.

Maybe it was because I was a Baby-boomer who came of age in the turbulent Sixties. By the time I reached adulthood the Vietnam War was in full swing, protests on college campus’ were the rule, not the exception, and funerals of lost boys from the war were becoming a regular event in our small town. I remember “Women’s Lib” as just taking off, and I believed that my parents were dinosaurs, and just didn’t get me. (An affliction of every generation I think.)

In a way, it was true, because my father was a child of what has been called, The Battered Generation. He, being raised during The Great Depression when families had to pull together just to survive from one day to the next. My dad just didn’t “get” my heart-speak, and I certainly did not get his. I believe we both wanted to, but the gulf between us eventually bred a profound and abiding silence that was to last all of my teen years, and on into my adulthood.

Only one time do I remember even coming close to receiving his blessing. I was well into my forties, and I was in the middle of a ten-year marathon, caring for my mom. I had taken up writing as one of the ways to cope with my stress. I was in my home office working on the computer one day, when my father came into the room, stood behind me, put his hands on my shoulders, and began to pray, silently.

I cannot even begin to convey how painful it was that my dad kept the words of that prayer to himself. I begged him one time to share it with me, but he would not, and indeed, he never did.

Those words whatever they were, went to the grave with him, and to my way of thinking, I remained unblessed.

That silence of his became one of the deepest wounds in my soul. Though I wouldn’t admit it for many years and even today (now in my sixties) I write this with tears. How could my dad say he loved me, bless me, and not share those words with me? Was that even a real blessing?

For some of you, the only “blessing” you received from your dad was the back of his hand.

Parents Stories feature...Child Abuse, Familes, Slapping, spank

You not only feel unblessed, you feel like the cursed, and may have been just that.

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For others, you never knew your dad.

There wasn’t a father—let alone a kind and loving blessing from one.

The absence of the father’s blessing can leave empty spaces in our hearts. Big black holes we try to fill up with lesser things in a desperate hope that they will make up for our absent blessing. We go chasing after anything that we believe might alleviate our pain and make us feel truly valued.

I did that for years. I used my work and accomplishment, alcohol, prescription drugs, anything I could find, to remove the hurting in my wounded empty heart.

Ah, but God saw; knew all about my prodigal heart and He longed for me to know:

  • He is a Faithful Father who doesn’t give up on us.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t let go.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t walk out.
  • He is a Father who doesn’t purposelessly cause us pain.

Never.

He shows up for us even when we don’t want Him to. And He shows up determined. He is relentless in His love for us. He speaks. He reaches down, and reaches out, with compassion, with tender love, and often when we least deserve it.

He’s like that—He’s faithful.

He’s the Dad-love, the Dad-kindness, the Dad-blessing, we all desperately want and need, and can’t avoid… not when He’s made up His mind to come after us! And be sure of this, He knows right where you are. Knows everything you’ve done. And still, He is head over heels in love with you.

I believe there is a tremendous power for us, and our lives, in The Father’s blessing. I also believe, there is a deep pain “the unblessed” carry all of their lives unless they receive The Father’s Blessing from above; the one they missed from their earthly fathers. So, please. Believe these next eight blessings are meant for you.

Receive the gift of your Heavenly Father’s blessing.

 

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 4 ~ What’s Your Name?)

WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

On Pinterest, I call myself “Molly-O.”

I chose Molly because I wanted a nickname for Martha. “O” is because I aspire to become an Overcomer each day, whether I feel like it, or not.

And… Jesus gets every bit of the credit for any overcoming ’cause I still struggle some days, and yeah, the tears still gush at times when I wish they wouldn’t.

What’s that old saying: Pain is universal but misery is optional? It’s true. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we will ultimately respond.

Only we decide on the who we will choose to become.

Let me add here, I have had it easy, real easy compared to what Believers have suffered on the other side of the world. Yes, there have been wounds. I have scars. So what, right? Nobody gets a picnic. Live a few years and life will teach youwere all messy and broken. And yes, I still get a little prickly, especially if I even think I’m about to get hammered from a pulpit. But I’m in church and that’s a flat-out miracle!

So now, I advocate for you—the broken and discarded.

Mainly because I know—it wasn’t Jesus that discarded you or pushed you away.

untitledYou may believe you have good reasons to be mad at God or distrusting of Him.

I can understand that, but you don’t—not really.

People maybe.

Welcome to the human race.

We’re all of us, every single one, sinful and selfish.

Like pain that truth is universal.

I don’t know where you find yourself today, or why you have chosen to leave the Church, or at the very least stay safely outside the fold, keeping to the frayed fringes.

I don’t know if you find yourself “wandering on every high hill” as Ezekiel says, but my hope is that this book will come alongside you wherever you are, bringing with it some real understanding for what you’re feeling.

It’s Mercy that washes wounds and Hope that brings the bandages.

I hope you find both here.

Broken Vessels are priceless in God’s eyes.

He sees your brokenness as an asset to His Kingdom.

You are not a liability.

He wants you to come home.

(Me too.)

We need you, and yes, I know there are some in The Church that are phony and meaner than a pack of junkyard dogs.

(I know.)

But there are GOOD people, too, and you are missed.

We are the weaker for your being AWOL.

We need you!

(Jesus and I think it’s high time someone told you so.)

It’s time to forgive and be forgiven.

It’s time to get back in The Game.

It’s the fourth quarter and were behind; fourth down and we need what only YOU can bring to the team.

There’s A Harvest waiting and the time to harvest is NOW.

So I’m praying… I’m asking you… Beloved Prodigal, please.

Please come home.

 

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Beloved Prodigal… (Part 3 ~ Storms To Come)

aviary-photo_131218001068056944Jesus said quite clearly, “Count the cost.”

Believe me—those are words I now hold very sacred.

When Jesus says to you, “Follow me.” He is not asking you to live in a hothouse full of roses. He is calling you to your own cross.

And, your “cross” is not a pretty piece of jewelry around your neck. It is an instrument of torture, suffering, and death. Your cross is a place where Self, with its hopes, aspirations, and dreams are annihilated.

We in the Church throw the word cross around as casually as grace sometimes. But we do people a great disservice if we portray following Christ as only a “joy ride” without the expectation to also wholeheartedly embrace suffering.

The Apostle Paul wrote,”

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” [Gal. 2:20Gal. 2:20
English: World English Bible - WEB

20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.

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Ponder those words.

If you believe them, you may be choosing to live them out, literally.

Count the cost—because there will be a cost.

His word guarantees it.

And still… I ASKED to be made a woundresser.

Crazy? Probably. Am I sorry? Some days yes; most days—no. And that’s just being honest with you.

I now know to become a woundresser involves a costly education.

One I do not recommend for the faint of heart.

BACK IN “THE FOLD” — MY EDUCATION CONTINUES

As if my past is not enough of a resume, Jesus decides my education needs expanding.

There were more dark storms waiting for me on my horizon; baffling and incomprehensible storms. Storms that shook everything I trusted and believed.

“… everything that could be shaken, would be shaken so that that which could not be shaken would remain.” [Heb. 12:27Heb. 12:27
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27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

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I share these details not to look for your sympathy; not to say, “Oh, poor me.” but rather, “Yeah, me too!”

  • I have been through two major health crashes.
  • The first one brought me to the edge of death.
  • I became pregnant at eighteen only to have my twin babies die in utero.
  • Being young, painfully ignorant, and unaware of what happened, I walked around with these dead babies inside.
  • Needless to say, I became extremely ill and almost died. But that wasn’t the worst. Not the pain, or the blood, or even the resulting hysterectomy at eighteen. That hysterectomy was devastating. But the grief and pain that got buried under a huge secret was worse.
  • I was told “a tumor had been removed” and my medical records were then sealed.
  • For over forty years there were memories of events I couldn’t explain. Questions that went unanswered. And grief that had been buried alive. It was the weirdest sensation, being haunted by “feelings” that made no sense.
  • Then there was the ultimate realization that most of your adult life has been based on a lie.
  • My second medical crisis, a misdiagnosed thyroid crash, left me helpless, hopeless, and jobless.
  • There were astronomical medical bills I couldn’t pay, putting me into a medical bankruptcy and wiping out my credit.
  • I have been homeless—twice. Though not “on the street” I have slept on floors, in some very filthy and unsafe places.
  • I spent twelve years building a business, only to hand it off to an unscrupulous business partner who decided he wanted it ALL. I walked away with nothing, believing what the bible says, that fighting in a courtroom is wrong and about as unchristian as it gets.
  • I have been through what I call “a Church holocaust” where I was shunned, though I was never charged with any offense. Overnight I was an untouchable outcast. No one was allowed to speak to me or have any contact with me.
  • You have to go through the horror of shunning to understand that kind of painful rejection. You are emotionally stoned and left for dead.
  • The official diagnosis was: “One of the worst cases of spiritual abuse the Experts had ever seen.
  • Their verdict: “These people will likely never recover, or ever be an active part of a church again.”
  • I have endured a “bully” pulpit, but Pastors are also victims of abuse. The spiritual abuse door swings both ways.
  • My last three churches all had pastors who became embroiled in headline-making sexual scandals. The “holocaust” ending in a devastating church split.
  • Me? I’m thinking, “Three strikes—I’m out!”

God AGAIN—had OTHER plans.

  • First, because His plan holds the promise that He will never forsake you. (No matter how fierce your storm!)
  • Second, because of His love, He will make a way when you lose your way.
  • I was befriended by one Christian couple.
  • Ned and Maryellen—you were the incarnation for me; Jesus with skin on.
  • They washed my wounds with the word of God.
  • They spoke Light and Love into my life when I saw only darkness, pain, and hopelessness.
  • They “sang” songs of faith to me when I was engulfed in storm clouds of despair and doubt.
  • They gave me back my song when I believed I would never sing again.
  • They were His Lighthouse’s, shining Truth into my storm; reviving my battered faith.
  • Though we have never formally met, I will love them to my last earthly breath.

Which brings me to this place—this book I call, Habakkuk’s Vineyard.

(Perhaps the point and real purpose of it all?)

This “vineyard” has been a barren place for sure—of everything but His Love and Grace.

Because it has been RIGHT HERE that He has PROVED TO ME:

Nothing can separate me from the love of God!

  • Not broken families.
  • Not our own brand of broken behavior.
  • Not broken churches.
  • Not other broken hearts—who just don’t know Him yet.
  • NOTHING. [Romans 8:38-39Romans 8:38-39
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    38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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  • That word is now branded on my soul.

God always has OTHER plans for us. Plans for GOOD—not just calamity! (Jeremiah 29: 11Jeremiah 29: 11
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11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

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Today I am attending a church. (Yes, I do still struggle at times…) But MIRACLE of MIRACLES, I wrote this book FOR YOU, a Prodigal.

Like I said before, “Yeah, Me too!”

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Three Doors

3doors

 

There are three doors in this life.

Three ultimate choices. (And here’s the deal.) To not choose is to choose the brown door.

We’ll call that door: REJECT.

You can choose to reject everything the bible teaches. Everything a life given to Jesus Christ is.

(Yep, your choice.)

God gives this choice to each and every person.

You can reject Jesus Christ and all the bible teaches, walk away, take the brown door, and continue on down the road you’re on. (But there are consequences.) BIG brown ones, because the bible says that you will one day stand before a Holy God and give an answer to Him for your life. [Matt. 12:36Matt. 12:36
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36 I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

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] The choices are yours. Absolutely. The consequences are not. Those kick in automatically for every person who chooses the door REJECT; consequences carved in stone; eternal and unchangeable.de47479819ea8d1bc9abd0008ac2cbae

You are choosing eternal separation from everything Jesus Christ proclaimed He IS:

The second door, the green door, we’ll call: PRODIGAL.

This door “looks good” in the beginning. This door says you can have it both ways. You can have it all. You can be a Christian, but you can live anyway you want. You get to captain your own boat!

It’s the door of compromise. Living with one foot in the world, playing by the world’s rules, and living with one foot in the Kingdom of God; fire insurance all paid up! This door should be labeled MISERY because that’s where it leads.

(I should know. I once took this door.)

Prodigals are people who think they know more than God does about what will make them happy. They believe they have the right to own their own lives, having it their own way.

And many times?

God obliges. Steps back and says, “Okay. Have it your way.”

He lets them, because He knows they are headed straight for the ditch, or pig pen! (Both lousy outcomes.) Outcomes that take them in a great wide circle, which brings them right back to the red door again.

This door we will call: REPENTANCE.

Good word repentance. It means to change your mind. Change your course. Go in a new direction. To choose a different life! There’s only one way to open this door to a new direction: Jesus Christ.

Jesus said:

 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9John 10:9
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9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.

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Choose Him? Choose His gift for you? You get ALL He owns, and Heaven, too!

The Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Jesus, I believe You died and shed Your blood on that cross so that Your sacrifice could make me right again in the eyes of God. You are the right door for me. I am asking You, right now, to come into my heart; to rebuild my life. I don’t know much, but I know I need You, and I believe You are the answer I am seeking. Forgive me for all my wrong choices… for the mess I’ve made of my life. I need You LORD. Come into my broken heart and heal me. I’m asking you to. Give me a new beginning. Give this caterpillar wings! No more status quo.

I want Your living water flowing through me!

In Jesus Name I Ask, Amen.

 

Is The Church Really Clueless?

 

1-sheep-on-a-slopeI wonder how many there are? No I really wonder if you counted, “Would the numbers be staggering?” I’m talking about scattered “sheep.” Those who wanted to be a part of a vibrant and thriving Church, but for one sad reason or more took the back door, left the Church. Said a sad and brokenhearted, “Adios.”

 I wonder if the Church is aware… or are they simply clueless?

(Do they even care?)

I saw a man come into the service one winter Sunday. Clothes rather shabby and more than a little soiled, no coat, hair long; matted. He sat on the end of the row, across the aisle. I watched to see what would happen. There had just been a sermon series about “loving others and reaching out” to the community. I wondered, “Would anyone actually reach out this man?” Had any of those high-sounding-sermons made the slightest difference?

No one approached. No one came near him. He left just as he had come, alone.

I thought, “So this is what you call loving outreach?”

Isn’t it tragic that such a large group of people who say LOVE is their highest aim, are so rude and ungracious, and dare I say it? Just downright, mean at times.

(Don’t they get it?)

I want to ask them: Do you think people don’t feel your rejection? Your condemnation? Do you actually believe that your haughty looks, and cold shoulders, don’t matter?

(Not to mention the really mean things I often hear said.)

I’m just one sheep. And I know, I’m probably going to get plenty of flack from Christians for saying these things, but I suppose that’s the point. Isn’t it?

I’m just weary of it. I’m a sheep, too, but doggone it. I don’t want to sit in a room full of people anymore with that mean-spirited “clubhouse” mentality!

(You know the one I mean.)

“Us four… and no more!”

The Super-Saints who regularly meet to show all the other lowly mortals and disgusting sinners, The So-Called-Soiled Outcasts or Lepers, just how super-undesireable, unloved, and unwelcome they are.

Dear Lord, please save us from the Super-Pious who say they are Lovers of Jesus, but who are so obviously Haters of those they consider “the great unwashed.” People who for one reason or another, fail to come up to their moral highground of superior faith and “genuine” Christ-likeness.

And you think you are going to evangelize the world?

Really?

With your loveless ultra-superior stony-stares of disapproving-disapproval?

Is that your idea of the kind of love the bible speaks about?

No wonder people are taking the back door of our churches in record numbers!

Why would they not?

“Are we really so clueless?”

(Or, …is the truth a whole lot uglier.)

Those to whom you turn up your noses? The despised? Are people Jesus laid down His life for, too. The scattered. The unwanted. The ignored. The broken. The messy ones.

(You know, the ones you are so disgusted by?)

Scattered sheep matter to God!

You may turn your backs… but my bible says God will not.

…”Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them…  For the LORD God says: I will search and find My sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his flock. I will find My sheep and rescue them from all the places they were scattered…”

Ezekiel 34:2-6, 11Ezekiel 34:2-6, 11
English: World English Bible - WEB

2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and tell them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill the fatlings; but you don’t feed the sheep. 4 You haven’t strengthened the diseased, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought back that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have you ruled over them. 5 They were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the animals of the field, and were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my sheep were scattered on all the surface of the earth; and there was none who searched or sought. 11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.

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