Friday, September 21, 2012

"I Will Build My Church . . ."

Matthew 16:18
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

At a former church, Pastor Wallace notes that there are several members who belong to a motorcycle club.  This particular group devotes much of its time during the year to fund-raising rides for various Christian charities.  Wallace admires their work and decides to recognize them with a special service.

He approaches Tim, one of the bikers, after Sunday service.

"I've got an idea, Tim, and want to know what you think about it," says Wallace.

"Sure, Pastor, what is it?"

"I'd like to host a Blessing of the Bikes service here at the church.  Do you think your club members would be interested in attending?"

Tim's eyes are shining.  "You bet, they would!  That's a fantastic idea.  You set the Sunday, and we'll be here.  I'll even contact some other bike clubs to see if they want to join us."

"Wonderful!  I'll look at my calendar, choose a date, and give you a call tomorrow."

The date is set.

The Wednesday evening before the Blessing of the Bikes service, Wallace is leaving the church when he hears the unmistakable roar of a Harley-Davidson engine storming up the drive.  He watches as the biker rips into the parking lot and glides to a stop.  The moment the man removes his helmet, Wallace recognizes him as Kyle, a regular participant in the AA meetings held each week in the church's activity center.

"Hey there, Kyle!"  he hollers as he strides toward the biker.

"Evenin', Pastor," Kyle responds, removing his leather jacket to reveal a tapestry of tattoos on his burly arms.

Wallace shakes his hand warmly.  "Kyle, we have a Blessing of the Bikes here next Sunday.  How about joining us for it?"

Kyle looks like the proverbial deer in headlights.  "Me?  Oh, no, Pastor, I'm in no way good enough to come to your church."

"You're wrong on both counts," Wallace tells him with a twinkle in his eyes.  "First of all, no one is good enough to be in church, but that's exactly why we're there.  We need the love and forgiveness of a Savior.  And, secondly, it's not my church."

"It's not?  But, you're the pastor?"

"That doesn't make it my church, Kyle," says Wallace.  "The church belongs to Jesus."
~
Will you invite a friend to go with you to Jesus' church this Sunday?

Will you pray with me?
Help us to always remember, Father, that the church doesn't belong to us, it belongs to You through Your precious Son, our Savior, Christ Jesus.  Give us grace to invite, to accept, and to show love to all who enter through those doors on Sunday morning.  May we welcome others as You welcome us.  Amen.

30 comments:

  1. It is wonderful to know that the doors of the church is open to all..yet so many people feel that they are not `good` enough to walk through the doors. Great post Martha! I always enjoy your devotions. Have a blessed day!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Nelieta!
      So glad you enjoyed this devotion and, with you, I do wish more folks would see the church as welcoming, not daunting, to them. We can continue to pray about that!
      Blessings to you!

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  2. Excellent thoughts here. I have been to churches which condemn people based on their clothes, hair, car and so on. One should never judge people by how they look and are dressed. God looks only at the interior. The exterior is just a temporary one!

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Thanks for visiting today, Susan, and "amen" to your comment! God certainly does not judge by outward appearance - He wants our hearts. And, it is so sad that there are churches that profess Christ with their lips, but whose actions convey the exact opposite.
      Blessings to you!

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  3. So sweet... it is really true. We all sometimes forget that for God we all are equal. He never wanted to discriminate us in the name of caste, colour or creed. It was we who created that demarcation amongst us.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Me!
      Yes! God does not discriminate, we do, unfortunately. I pray that He would open the eyes of everyone's heart to see as He sees and love as He loves.
      Blessings to you!

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  4. When God does not discriminate why should we? Nice post.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Janu!
      Exactly, my friend! Who are we to judge others whom God loves?
      Blessings to you!

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  5. LOVE it, Martha. Love it for one reason because I THINK you've said in the past like me that you write your columns BEFORE they go up. If you DID write this BEFORE last Monday then we once again clicked as I wrote a similar column:
    http://cjpwisdomandlife.com/2012/09/17/my-how-things-have-changed/

    Not necessarily ENTIRELY on the theme of inclusion, but I DID touch on it at the end.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Chris!
      I got the idea on Sunday from Pastor Wallace's sermon, but didn't actually write it until Tuesday. :) We do seem to travel in the same circles, my friend, do we not? How cool is that?
      Blessings to you!

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  6. Amen to what Pastor Wallace said, Martha. I do wish that all Churches would be accepting of people regardless of their backgrounds and past choices.

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  7. Thanks so much for coming by, Corinne!
    Oh, that is my wish, too. Christ reached out to everyone, and so should we.
    Blessings to you!

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  8. This is an inspiring sharing Martha. Not many would like to go to church because of what they think of themselves or what 'others' think of them. But the 'wounded' needs the 'Healer'.
    And the Lord seeks the 'lost' sheep.

    I love your Pastor and the way he shepherds his flock.I'm praying with you. It is the Lord who keeps on knocking at the doors of our heart. May we be open to His graces and reach out to others.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Melissa!
      Oh, yes, the wounded so need the Healer and there are so many lost sheep out there simply waiting for the invitation to come.
      I must admit, Pastor Wallace truly "gets it"; that it's not about him, it is about the Lord. He faithfully communicates this every Sunday. I feel so blessed . . .
      May we continue to share our faith and always reach out to those in need of God's love. The harvest is great, and, sadly, too many times, the reapers are few . . .
      Blessings to you!

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  9. I concur with Corinne, "Amen to what Pastor Wallace said, Martha." Pastor Wallace sounds like an accepting person; I imagine many people were attracted to his message! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Yes, Amy, Pastor Wallace is exceptional. I see so many stories of people turned off by Christianity because others make them feel anything but welcomed. Wallace goes out of his way to meet and greet everyone who walks through the doors. We are so blessed to be at this church.
      Thanks for stopping by, dear!
      Blessings always!

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  10. This post reminds me about a really good friend of mine. "Something" happened and his group got a person killed (this happened five years ago). I wouldn't divulge much information because it is a very sensitive issue. I had a conversation with him at that time and I told him to pray. And he told me that he was so ashamed to go to church because of what happened. I haven't contacted him for such a long time, but I am hoping that he is okay and that he learned that God loves him and will accept him with open arms if he returns and apologizes to God.

    I, too, feel that way sometimes. I would even tell God I've been so bad. But I go to church anyway, because it's built for sinners who wish to come closer to God.

    Thank you for a wonderful post, Martha. This blessed my Saturday morning. Happy weekend, and God bless <3 :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Irene, and sharing this story. With you, I pray the young man has found solace in the Lord and asked forgiveness. We've all done bad things - a sin is a sin is a sin - and we are all in need of our Savior. The church is there for us - sinners, every one.
      May your weekend be blessed, too, my dear!

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  11. Great post. If only more pastors would realize what pastor Wallace does!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jessica!
      Yes, wouldn't that be a great thing? We are so fortunate to have Wallace for a pastor.
      Blessings to you!

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  12. Great story and lesson. Our church has been deep in exploration of the concept of radical hospitality. How do we truly welcome everyone to the table without exception? And yet that is exactly what we are called upon to do. A deep lesson in fear and judgment and acceptance and openness.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Galen!
      Radical hospitality . . . I like that! In the song, "If We Are the Body", these lyrics say it all: "Jesus paid much to high a price for us to pick and choose who should come. And, we are the Body of Christ." Just love this reminder!
      Blessings to you!

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  13. Kudos to Pastor Wallace!
    A man after God's own heart.

    Have a blessed weekend Martha.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Debra!
      Yes, we are so blessed to have Wallace as our senior pastor. He understands what it means to be God's servant.
      May your weekend be blessed, too!

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  14. Wallace is a great example!! love this whole story.

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    1. Thanks for stopping in, Annmarie!
      Yes! We are blessed to have Pastor Wallace at our church. So glad you enjoyed this story, a retelling of one of his many! :)
      Blessings to you!

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  15. Another great story, Martha! What a nice way to welcome the bikers. They certainly do hold many charity rides. :)

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Rachel!
      Yes, I thought this was great. Our drummer in the praise band also belongs to a bike club that does marvelous work. I'm going to see if Wallace will have a blessing for them.
      Blessings to you!

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  16. You truly have a great pastor to embrace all that comes.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Rimly!
      Yes, I am so thankful for Wallace. We are an extremely fortunate church to have him.
      Blessings to you!

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