17 August 2006

messy stuff

i just ran across something i wrote several months ago but that really still is very fresh in my spirit. it's long, so i understand if you don't wanna take the time to read it. BUT if you do, i think it'll bless you and challenge you as it does me every time.

    This morning I stood at the place where the entryway into our new building will be one day soon and I paused a moment to consider what I was about to step into. It was as if God asked me, “Are you ready to step in to this?” Our official groundbreaking event is just 10 days away.

    “Of course I am, by all means,” my heart responded instinctively.

    “There will be trouble here.” My spirit rejected the notion – “No God, I don’t want that – we’ve had plenty of trouble here already. People that have come in and caused a lot of damage to other people and given us an armload of trouble to deal with as a staff. It needs to be different here in this new place.”

    “It will be different – you’ll have more trouble. Here’s why: Your mission is to be a healing place for a hurting world. I’m going to bless you with tons of hurting people, and they’re going to come bringing their baggage with them. Their bags are full of hurt, anger, pride, broken homes, strife, perversions, gossip, selfishness, and the like. If you do what I’ve called you to do, you will indeed have trouble in this place.”

    “Ok, then I’m ready for it, Lord.”

    “Are you sure? When they come in the door, some of them will hold on to their bags for quite a while only to deal with them later on. Surprises like those can be trouble. People you thought were with you will turn against you. Are you ready to love people even though you don’t know if one day they’ll hurt you? Others will drop their bags to the floor and they’ll spill their contents all over the place. In those situations, you’ve got trouble to deal with. Sometimes you’ll need to go pick up the spilled bag and carry it to the trash for them. Sometimes you’ll need a broom to sweep up the broken pieces; sometimes a mop to wipe up the mess. Are you ready to get dirty, messy, filthy to see people come in?”

    I looked around me there on the dirt path where we’ll break ground next weekend. I could just about see the bags strewn across the ground. It stunk. It was the kind of nasty mess that’s not easy to bring yourself to pick up; the kind you have to allow your plans to be interrupted for; the kind you have to get on your knees to clean. Thank God there will be trouble in this place. I want to be ready. I want to believe that none of us will ever become so consumed with what we’re doing here that we lose touch with cleaning up the messes from spilled baggage. It takes effort, time, money, energy to deal with the trouble that people bring in. It cost Jesus his life to deal with my trouble.

    We have NO business calling ourselves “Healing Place Church” if we don’t want to deal with trouble in this place. That’s as preposterous a notion as the staff of an emergency room deciding they don’t want to deal with any more people bleeding in their facility. No one wants people to be hurt. But when they are hurt, as people inevitably will be, I want them to know that Healing Place Church is a safe place to come – broken, bleeding, addicted, or depressed, and they’ll find people who care about getting them through so they can have an encounter with God’s grace.

    Then we know what happens – God always responds with grace to those who come to him hurting. “Where sin abounded, grace was much more.” There will be trouble in this place – but even more, God’s grace will flow in this place. People will find grace to wipe away their hurt. Grace to give them new life. Grace to give them a clean start into a holy life. And this will absolutely be “a healing place for a hurting world.”

    As I took the step across the “threshold” into the perimeter of the new building, I said this prayer, “I’m ready for it. I’ll need your grace strong, Lord. Grace for my own life, and grace for me to share with others.”

    That’s why I believe in this – it is a place where the grace of God is flowing through people.


Cheri LeBlanc said...

Awesome, brother. We need to be reminded of this often, schedule your planner to post this once a month.

pete said...

what a powerful dialogue and vision that should motivate everyone of us to define, re-define, and conform to the vision and mission that God has given to each one of us.


It says so much!

Cajun Tiger said...

Just as my baggage was dumped in the current building and Haman and many others helped me mop it up, I pray for lots more baggage in the new building and the laborers to be there to mop it up as well!