Life At Its Best: A place of grace
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By Jim Graff
In just a few weeks, Tamara and I will celebrate our 22nd year as pastors of Faith Family Church. It has been a memorable journey for sure. We've had testimonies and trials, experienced some grief, but even more, have seen God's abundant grace on the lives of our church community.
And that's what I'm most grateful for.
Why? Because we've all needed it at one time or another.
We've all had our Adam and Eve moments where we've made choices that brought grief into our gardens. We've been desperate for God's help to get beyond regrets and into a better future.
It's been well said that "the church is not a museum to display saints, but a hospital to heal people."
Jesus said it this way, "I will build my church and all the powers of hell are not going to conquer it." What great news. Within his church is the power to prevail over the pain and evil that all of us encounter in life.
But I've found that it takes effort to keep our focus on healing people instead of our own agendas and opinions of what church should be.
Several times in the gospels, we see Jesus getting pretty passionate about people trying to make his house into something that it wasn't designed to be.
In fact, one day Jesus got downright mad as he was coming into Jerusalem and saw what was going on in the temple courts.
He found men who had set up business there; they were selling cattle, sheep and doves to those who had come to offer sacrifices to God.
Jesus didn't waste any time. He quickly made a whip out of cords, turned the tables over and drove out those who were buying and selling in the temple. As he did, he shouted, "Is it not written, My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers."
This incident didn't happen once, but twice. I think people probably got the message that he was adamant about God's house having the right reputation. Church is not to be about our business, but God's business.
That's why Jesus spent three years ministering to people in the marketplace, the synagogues, the cities, towns and villages of his day.
He didn't care what nationality they were; what position they held; or what kind of reputation they had. But he did care about them all experiencing the forgiveness and freedom he had to offer.
Not only that, but he was counting on those same people to carry on his work after he was gone - to be the his church on the earth.
And guess what? He is still counting on us today. His desire for us is that his House be a place where every person - regardless of their past - can find forgiveness and fulfillment.
So, let's be the church Jesus has called us to be. If we do, God promises that we'll see more hearts healed, relationships strengthened and hope restored than ever before.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com