"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Thank God For A Messy Church

Tim Challies posted on his blog “Thank God for A Messy Church” and I am sure glad He did. You can read the entire article here: http://www.challies.com/articles/thank-god-for-a-messy-church

Springs of Grace is a messy church (often in a lot of ways!) and I am thankful for that – though it’s not always easy to be thankful for it. So I gave thanks tonight for all the people who are thankful to be a part of a messy church!

By messy, Challies is not referring to not being clean. At Springs we have people who are very serious about making sure the nursery and bathrooms and all of the church is clean and safe and I’m thankful for them. I am also thankful for the people who take it on themselves to help us de-junk periodically (like getting rid of most of the falling apart comfy couches and chairs last week) and I am especially thankful that their motivation is taking our love for the people God gives us to love to a higher level. All of that is great and we probably need to “excel still more” at that stuff.

But what Challies is referring to and what I am blessed by is an explanation of the parable Jesus tells about the lost sheep. Challies says, “When that shepherd finds his sheep, he cares for it. He hoists that big, heavy, dirty sheep onto his shoulders and carries it home, rejoicing all the way. He carries it home and calls his friends and throws a party to celebrate.

The point of the parable is that God loves to save the lost. He loves to save sinners. He doesn’t save those who are righteous and whose lives are all put together, he saves those who are just plain bad.

If God is in the business of saving sinners, we need to expect that church will be full of sinners—those who are still wandering and those who have only just been found. If our churches reflect God’s heart for the lost, they will be full of people with problems, full of people showing the consequences of a lifetime of wandering. And this means that church may not be a safe and easy place. It may not be a place full of people who have it all together. It may be messy. It should be messy. Thank God if it is messy.”

Why would a lover of Jesus want to go to a church that was “safe and easy”? Only when we forget that we too were the lost, dirty, smelly sheep that the Shepherd brought home rejoicing. I love getting to be a part of Springs of Grace because I get reminded of how much of a mess it made for Jesus to bring me into His family. I am thankful for the people who speak out of turn during my sermon. I am thankful for those who moan, and those who can’t sit still, and those who can’t stay awake, and those who smell, and those who have to go smoke between bible study and service, and those who can’t control their kids, and those who have pain all over their face, and the kid who slid down my back Sunday and smelled like urine, and the dear friend who got agitated Sunday and cursed during the preaching, and the wanderers, and those who are holding it together on the outside but inwardly are a giant mess, and those who are less of a mess than we used to be…

But tonight I am most thankful for all of you who are thankful to be a part of a messy church. May your number increase and may you be blessed in this life and in the life to come!