"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Glimpses of Grace 9: "Ne-e-ex-t!"

     Next to be singled out by the elders was the teacher of Agape, our adult Bible class at church. This man, too, had taught and lived by the Word of God for 30 years. I'll call him Faithful.
     Faithful, like so many others in our church (each thinking himself the only one), was been prodded by the Lord to send a letter to the elders pointing out doctrinal errors in the teaching from the pulpit and citing Bible passages as proof.
    Hatchet Man immediately telephoned Faithful and ordered him to appear before the Executive Board of Elders the following Thursday. 
     Now my husband and I were getting alarmed. Two godly leaders of our church had been called on the carpet for standing for truth within months of each other. And we were hearing persistent rumors that our church met all the characteristics of an emergent church, whatever that was. As Prayer Coordinators for Grace, we did what we do. We sent out an e-mail to fellow class members and a few others, inviting them to an afternoon of prayer in our home.

Dear Friends at Grace,
     God is doing great things at Grace--so of course Satan is working hard to cause division, confusion, and strife. The enemy works in darkness, using lies and deceit to steal, kill, and destroy. God brings wrongs into the light, brings us to our knees in humility and repentance, and brings truth, unity, and healing in Him, for His glory.
     We know some of you have specific concerns--but not all the same concerns--about things that are happening in our church. We want to invite you to come pray with us Thursday afternoon between 1 and 4 PM. 
     Note: this time will be for PRAYER AND SHARING RELEVANT SCRIPTURE. Not gossip, not criticizing or back-biting, not pooling opinions, not preaching. PRAYER, APPEAL, PRAISE and GOD'S PROMISES.
     I know we all want God's best for Grace--truth, righteousness, honesty, and true Biblical flourishing. You are welcome to bring others with this attitude. Please do not come with prejudices against anyone or an ax to grind.
Jerry and Jessica 

     As the prayer time started, a member of the elder board/pastoral staff called us. He is one of those on staff that we have known and respected for years and years. He has a tender, caring heart and eyes that speak the compassion of Jesus. He has memorized so much Scripture it just flows out of him. He visits and comforts the sick, is at the bedside of the dying and shares the hope of heaven at many funerals. Seven years ago Jerry and I chose him to marry us. I'll call him Jesus Eyes.
     Jesus Eyes said he had been told to call and ask for the names of all those "blind copied" in our invitation and to find out what we were going to be praying about. We thought that odd. We weren't meeting in secret. After all, we'd invited him. We'd made it clear we weren't taking sides and that there would be ground rules. Jerry told him we had sent the invitation to those we knew were committed to prayer and to our church. 

     We sent out a follow-up letter to the same people the next day:
Dear Friends at Grace,
     We had a rich time of praise, intercession, and song yesterday, both with those present and with some who couldn't come but who prayed with us over the phone. Others emailed us that they were interceding at home during that time. There was a sense of peace and the Lord's presence.  
Jerry and Jessica

No comments:

Post a Comment