Restoration-A Way Out

Broom, dustpan and washrag.Brother Mud: how are you today?  (Shoot, I messed up again this week.  I hope they don’t find out.)

Sister Rosy: Great.  God is good.  All the time.  (I hope they don’t see how much I’m hurting.)

Bro X, the worship leader guy: Hey dudes, you’re awesome! (God, please don’t let anyone find out.)

Is there a better way?  Can we be authentic in church?  In our worship?  Is it even possible to live a decent life?

When I read a Christian book and someone talks about struggling with sin and as an example of their carnal nature mentions cutting someone off in traffic or midnight snacks, I’m thinking, BORING.  Can’t you come up with something more interesting than that?

A major focus in church these days is basically growth and seeing keys to breakthroughs over the long haul.  Restoration is a major part of that.  In this age there’s no way to play church games based on programs and rituals.  There’s just too much junk now.  Among regular Christians, non-Christians, new converts and even leaders there is junk.  Let’s face it, it’s part of life.

We just can’t do church as usual.  Okay, how can I rephrase this so we don’t just say amen without being challenged.  Look at it this way, if church isn’t messy, something’s wrong.  I’m not saying God is disorderly…but we are.

The problem isn’t the sin issues, it’s when it seems that church doesn’t accept us as we are.  It accepts us with some criteria that we’re supposed to meet.  Or maybe they do, but for some reason we’ve felt that they won’t.  Perhaps it’s our pride.  I deal with it all the time, I hate people seeing when I mess up.

So okay, let me get specific.  Why is it such a shock to people when a leader gets caught in an issue?  Do you think because they put on a nice suit and carry a Bible that they’re invulnerable?  If they fall how do you plan to restore them? And if we throw them totally out into the blue, then should we take the Psalms out?  David was a leader and lusted at another man’s wife, made love to her and then tried to cover it up by murdering her husband.  Can we sing and preach out of those Psalms?  Was David, the man after God’s own heart, a fraud?  Should we split the church, because of what we discovered about David?  Yes, there were natural consequences, and major challenges, but there was a way out for David.

If you think we’re just gonna clean this up and get better, guess what, things are gonna get worse.  And as God sheds light with His presence more and more dirt is going to be exposed.  The instant fast-food culture we live in makes it very easy to fall and then cover your tracks. This will increase.  I’m not trying to bring fear.  What I’m trying to do is get people to open their eyes and deal with the problem instead of hiding it.

There’s no reason to be afraid of the prophetic.  God doesn’t want to humiliate you and expose all your weaknesses and struggles.  There are a few cases of outright rebellion that he exposes, but most of time He keeps your junk as he sees.  Clean.  The church is His bride, and He’s there to clean her, not expose her flaws.

I once asked my pastor why does it seem like it’s always our church that does the cleaning up?  I mean it’s a specific calling for us, but shouldn’t every church be doing this to some extent?  This is the church’s job.

Okay, what can we do to start?  I think it starts with a mindset.  Start worshiping.  Quit trying to be perfect as you come to God, just come as you are.  If you’ve just messed up, it’s the hardest thing.  But it’s the right thing.  Only He can clean you up.

Then there’s leaders.  If you don’t trust churches or leaders because of past issues, perhaps that’s where to begin.  I’m not talking about having people check in with everything you do.  But have those talks.  How are you doing?  Be authentic.  You don’t have to tell everything, just start the conversations.  Just admit that you struggle.  I guess it’s not so hard for me as people can just think he’s one of those weird musician guys with a tattoo and army boots.  But a preacher or leader.  They get all the scrutiny.  Yes, leaders have standards, but there needs to be an way out when they fall, because we’re all human.

Also make it a point to pray for your leaders.  They need it.  Don’t just receive, receive, receive.  At my church you just can’t put on a religious mask.  People know here.  Scary, huh?  Maybe a bit, but it’s worth it.  The blessings from the presence of God and seeing people restored is amazing.

Holiness might have been taught the wrong way in the past.  Let’s try to teach it the right way, with an extra dose of grace.


 

Category: Spiritual Thoughts | 14 comments

  • Julie says:

    I’ve written a few posts on this very topic of authenticity and sharing our struggles. If people can’t even share their struggles openly with other Christians, do you really think people will willingly open up to their Pastor or Leader?

    Doubtful.

    The problem is we’re judgmental and don’t love the way Christ loves. We all struggle and the fact is most of us feel alone because no one accepts another persons’ weaknesses.

    Believe me, I know.

    • Josh Taylor says:

      I agree. People tend to doubt people sincerity when they find out the other person has a weakness…especially when it’s something they don’t struggle with themselves…
      Some say they’ll go to church when they have their act together…a few others did exactly that and somehow succeeded, and then got legalistic, because it was in their own strength. It’s so hard without depending on grace.

  • Hi Josh,

    I appreciated your reminder to pray for our leaders. Very important. Thanks also for the urgent reminder for transparency.

    Nice to meet you. I’m hopping over from Imperfect Prose’s link up.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    • Josh Taylor says:

      Nice to meet you too, Jennifer. IP is a really cool linkup and I thought this old post went along with the topic. Thanks for the comment and I’ll see you round. :-) -Josh

  • I don’t think there is anything new about people being afraid of being honest. Authenticity has never been plentiful when it comes to people admitting their struggles and sins. Or shocked when people do take the leap to be genuine. In my life, I’ve noticed if I’m the first to open the door and be honest it gives others courage. Appreciate your thoughts, glad you linked up to IP.

    • Josh Taylor says:

      Hi Shelly. Thanks for the comment. These days authenticity seems actually better than when I grew up in church. And that’s true about being the first to admit. It’s hard to get off my chest and then the other person says, “Me too!”

      Thanks for the welcome. Glad to be a part of IP as well. See ya round. -Josh

  • Visiting you via IP. Appreciating your heart and the heart of your church.

  • wow Josh! just so excited about this post. shared it on FB… this especially: There’s no reason to be afraid of the prophetic. God doesn’t want to humiliate you and expose all your weaknesses and struggles. There are a few cases of outright rebellion that he exposes, but most of time He keeps your junk as he sees. Clean. The church is His bride, and He’s there to clean her, not expose her flaws.

    amen! thanks so much for linking with ip!

    • Josh Taylor says:

      Hi Emily, thanks for the share and the encouragement. I found your site through a link from Elizabeth, my pastor. I really love the subject of grace and redemption, so I figured I’d be at home there. :-) A ring for ragamuffins is a great idea and something I’ve looked for for a while.

  • Jamie says:

    Emily shared your post on her fb page, and that’s how I found you. It seems like people share the mundane things like “I cut someone off in traffic” as a way to “squirt ink” and move on so as not to have to really be transparent or intimate. Squirting ink is a term my husband and I use to this end, and it refers to how an octopus will squirt ink to get out of a situation. Real vulnerability is hard and it is a discipline. I’m not saying we need to be vulnerable with every person we see or meet, but we should have people that are safe and that we can share with. Unfortunately, until recently, I don’t think it’s been a discipline that has been practiced or taught within many churches.

    Also, some people really think they are being genuine by sharing that. I find I like depth – maybe that makes me quirky, but I want to know more than just your traffic conditions. I want to know the person hidden inside.

    • Josh Taylor says:

      Hi Jamie. I squirt ink on my way through this blog all the time. lol

      I think you’re right that being authentic is generally more interesting, provided there’s a point behind it.

      Sometimes it can be TMI if not done right. I mean there’s some things people post on fb I just don’t want to know!

      But when I see those in ministry being vulnerable it’s really powerful. As Christians we need to be accepting enough, that they don’t have to squirk ink and can be real.

      Thanks for commenting, and I’ll see you round.

  • Chris Olson says:

    g’day Josh – I appreciate your ponderings, and observations of church. I’ll be around for more. I need to delve into your thoughts on music and worship.

    • Josh Taylor says:

      I think I need to delve into my own thoughts to figure them out as well. lol Thanks for the comment. I’ll go check out your blog now.

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