Thursday, December 22, 2011

Go Tell the Church!

An important excerpt from Jesus and Addiction by Don Williams

In my former church a couple vanished for several weeks from a large adult Sunday school class. Finally, some concerned friends went to their house and were met at the door by the wife. After an exchange of pleasantries, she revealed that her husband was suicidal and had admitted himself to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. While his wife appreciated the visit, as it ended, she gravely asked, "Please don't tell the church. It would be too embarrassing, too humiliating." Rather than crying out, "Please tell the church, we need prayer and love now as never before," she silenced these friends out of her fear of exposure and judgment. She was more afraid of the self-righteousness that plagued the church than she was of suffering alone.

A new Church, however, is emerging: a Church that welcomes suffering people just as they are. The new Church lives grace, grace, grace. In it addictions to substances, processes, and people are confronted. Codependency is admitted rather than admired. The new Church is found where God will fill the hole in the soul with himself. This is a Church where generational sin is broken, environmental sin is overcome, and personal sin is forgiven. This is a Church where the false self dies and abandonment ends. The new Church is where our being wound is healed.

The new Church is centered in the fearless, free, and self-giving Jesus, where Jesus' agenda for ministry is pursued, love is unconditional, and human control is surrendered. This a Church under the control of the Spirit.

This is a Church where all are addicts and are taking responsibility for their recovery, where a fresh, real commitment is born. This is a Church where sin is inventoried, confessed, and forgiven, where people are healed and delivered and amends are made. This is a Church where prayer and meditation prosper.

This Church is filled with praise, prayer, and the gifts of the Spirit. Here the cross is preached and tithes are paid.

This is a Church where love is extended, accountability is demanded, and relationships prosper, where the lost are found, the poor are clothed, and the hungry are fed. This is a Church that is taking the good news to the nations.

Where this Church is emerging, people who are caught in crisis, bound in shame, fearful of judgment, addicted and despairing can cry out, "Go tell the Church." Such a Church will respond by offering a flood of grace, water for the thirsty, bread for the hungry, refuge for the abused, deliverance for the addict, and love for all.

The new Church is Jesus' Church. he designed it and called it into being. It is the choir for his worship. It is the family for his love. It is the weapon for his warfare. It is the Church--militant in its suffering. It is the Church--triumphant in his return.

Are you weary? Fed up? Famished? Faint-hearted? Helpless? Hopeless? Lonely? Empty? Lost? Trapped?

Go tell the Church.

--Don Williams, Jesus and Addiction

Stanley on Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Love This Song!

This song gives me goose bumps everytime that I listen to it. Those of us who have experienced the overwhelming grace of God who has freed us from every sin and who has allowed us to stand in the righteousness of Christ can celebrate the freedom that is in Christ Jesus. I am free!