November 3

Written by Bill Grandi on November 3rd, 2021

For as long as I can remember (as a pastor) there has always been a rift between the old and the new. Not necessarily the OT and the NT-although there is a rift there-but between the old guard and the old way of doing things vs the new guard and the new way of doing things.

For example, when Chuck Smith opened his storefront church to the “hippies,” people were appalled, worrying about the carpet, the pews, the “dirt” they brought in, etc. Fortunately, he did not listen to them.

When that “heathen worship music” with a beat was offered instead of stodgy old hymns (which I am not completely opposed to if they are hymns and not just religious songs), one would have thought the roof of the church building was going to blow sky high.

There are more, but we followers of Christ are a strange lot. We say the truth of Christ is for all people, then cringe if someone unlike us walks through the doors of our church building. A few years ago I was captivated by a book called No Perfect People Allowed and its corresponding teaching and outreach. While it had some weaknesses (I now see as an “attractional” church model), the premise was that the church was for all people since no one is perfect.  The Gospel is for everyone since no one is perfect.

So, why do we struggle with those unlike us? Why do the “Rs” struggle with the “Ds” in a church setting? Why do we sing “Just As I Am” but then add “if you change first?”  I think Bob Goff hit on something in possibly giving an answer to the dichotomy which exists:

Love says we need you even more if you’re different from the rest of us. Love says everyone has something to teach us, and God will use people from the edges to expand our understanding of His grace right in the middle of where we live. Love says everyone who’s invited is truly wanted.  (#307-p.358)

I think what Bob says is true. Love is not picky. God certainly wasn’t. Unless, of course, you consider Him picky that He picked you and me to be His. Let’s open our hearts and doors to those unlike us. Let’s welcome them with the arms of Jesus.

“Father, may I be an example of someone who is open to new people who come as they are to You.”


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Morning, Bill. Great Truth here! Absolutely we must be open to all. Years ago when we were assistant pastors, a couple started coming. She weighed almost 900 lbs. She was in an especially wide wheelchair. Boy, did that challenge all of us to love as Jesus does! Just her body odor itself left lingering not-so-nice fragrances in our Sanctuary. So, we hid Yankee candles all over the place. We loved on her and her husband. She felt so accepted by the pastors that she would thank us over and over with tears running down her face week after week. I met with her once a week and prayed through some childhood “awfulness”. She was healing from the inside out and was down to 600 lbs. She was such a precious, loving soul. Unfortunately, her heart finally gave out and she went Home to Jesus, whom she deeply loved. Free, whole, and healthy.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      What a great story Diane! One that needs told because in this case the church was being the church. It is so heartwarming to hear something like this. And one day I will see her and hear her story in person.

  2. Bob’s reflection truly touched me today as I read it, Bill. And the story Diane has shared here is so moving. Yes, we are to welcome and love those who are different, the ones who “don’t fit in.” Jesus didn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

  3. Ryan S says:

    I’d be lying if I were to say I am the most accepting person. I will do my best to be cordial, to be polite, to be friendly and not talk negatively about people… I think genuinely, treat people as people, not as classifications.

    I think where I struggle the most is the expectation that I change my moral baseline because it does not align itself with the cultural “norm”.

    When people are persistent that I must acknowledge or accept the new “PC” labels.. Know that it is not out if disrespect… It is that I just play the game.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I understand and concur Ryan. I can “accept” and talk to people but I cannot compromise my beliefs. If asked I am gospel-bound to tell them what I believe the Bible says. I will still love them but cannot compromise.

    • Ryan S says:

      Should have been… I don’t play the game.