*You can find the first in the series here.
A few weeks ago in church, a prophecy was given about an influx of people coming in from “the hollows” (this is WV, people). We were instructed to “get ready” multiple times. When I left the service, the phrase was echoing in my head, get ready, get ready, get ready. Why aren’t we ready? More importantly, why don’t we stay ready? Or why do people come and check out church and promptly turn away.
These are some hefty, thought provoking questions that I don’t know all the answers to. After some thought, prayer and conversations with God and whoever else would listen, I came up with three simple things we regular folk could do. Here’s the third:
- Lower your expectations and put the bar higher for grace and mercy.
When newbies come into the church, we often expect them to grow up too soon. They come into the church without a foundation, needing the milk of the Word and we want to feed them steak. It’s a new culture out there. Many people grow up never hearing all the basic Bible stories. Hubby is the restaurant business and many of his employees are college age. In simple, everyday conversations, sometimes basic Bible stories come up: David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions Den, Sampson, Noah and Moses are often foreign to them.
During my growing up years (totally dating myself here), Bible stories were common knowledge, not only did we hear them at church, we heard them at home and school (especially if you went to Catholic school like I did). Bible stories were woven into the fabric of my childhood. Not true anymore.
Most kids are being raised in homes where church is not a priority. Sad, but true. The Supreme Court banned prayer in public school in 1962, which means several generations have grown up without this important building block of faith. So, if kids aren’t getting schooled in a faith at home or school, they grow up Biblically illiterate. That doesn’t make them stupid, or any less important in the eyes of God. They are just as important, loved and cherished. It simply means they don’t speak Christianese. They may not know the church’s doctrine or have the same theology. What do we do with this information? We let the Holy Spirit do the work. We don’t apply hefty burdens on converts. We answer questions as best we can. Most important of all, we pour out the mercy that we receive when we came to Christ with a healthy helping of grace. All of us must remember where we came from.
This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [c]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,- Romans 3:22-24