Ever been to an alcoholic anonymous (AA) class? No, well neither have I. However, I have watched enough movies to love these classes. My favorite moment is when the drug addicts introduce themselves; I find the confession of being an addict so powerful. So this week I start there. My name is Esther and I serve in Mavuno church. That statement does not ordinarily sound like an AA statement but with the week we have had as a church, I know this statement is very similar to an AA intro.
At the onset of last week, we released a poster introducing the sermon series for this month. Sadly or fortunately, depending on who you talk to, we used an unconventional poster. Okay, controversial is the correct word or is it an immoral picture? We used a picture of some teens who look like they are about to ‘gerrit’. That and the title of the series earned us some serious beating.
What with the world being so holy and the church has the audacity of creating posters of stuff that just never occur in our perfect society. Does this church not know they are supposed to represent the holy side of us; the side that never watches porn, the side that never struggles with fornication, the side that does not struggle with corruption, heck the perfect side of our lives. They are supposed to be the creators of our feel good moment in the name of Sunday best moments and then Monday we are back to another side of us, the real side that meets with such posters everywhere and knows we need to deal with this menace, but not now, another day. So now you understand how I needed to start with this statement, my name is Esther and I serve in Mavuno. Yer, we are messed up like that.
Having said that I do not in any way underrate the concerns many have had with this poster. I think many of these concerns were genuine and probably understandable. I have heard people ask if we could have gotten the message out without such a poster. I believe we could have. Would an underrated poster have had the same impact of bringing so many teens to God’s feet, I don’t know, my gut feel is a big no, not the kind of teen that truly live this lifestyle. Do the means then justify the end, maybe and maybe not?
We are goofers
But the thing with ex-addicts is that they sometimes goof; and maybe this poster was one of the goofs of addicts. But what encourages me, what I love about this God that we truly serve, is that He takes even the goofs of the ex-addict, the broken and contrite heart, and He uses them for His glory.
That’s what I love most about God; it is that while we were still sinners, while we were goofers Christ died for us. I think sometimes we underrate this love. This Love is so great, it can never be earned by good behavior; it’s just freely given. So relax dear fellow Christian, go to God as I have and tell Him, my name is Esther and I am in need of you. I tell you even as you goof and I promise you will, God’s love time and time again will lift you up.
Coz He is not after saints, people who are perfect; He is the perfector of the imperfect, that’s His JD. He says come as you are, and though your sins are red as scarlet, He will make them white as snow.
That was the gospel of Christ. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This statement has a way of tagging at my heart, you see Jesus was not sitting at the fence and watching the tax collectors and sinners, He sat among them, He ate with them. I know this is the gospel, a walk of eating with the sinners, loving on them, and in the process they are drawn to this Christ who does not watch them goofing from far. How I pray as a church we learn this.
I am a work in progress
The moments when I see this Lord, who sits among people who have put up the most imperfect posters, I am drawn to Him. Coz this is the thing, I may be a Christian, I love the Lord, but I still am a work in progress. I goof too many times. Yet that the Lord chooses to eat with me, to dwell in me despite and inspite is the most amazing thing I know.
That I have issues, yet He chooses to dwell in me. Lately the one I am seeing is just how relationally I am in need of healing. The other day I was fighting with this realization that I have always had a preset mindset on the person I will marry. I tell you it is a very detailed mindset; I mean except for the face, I kid you not I know this guy pretty well. And so every time I’ve met someone I’ve weighed him psychologically against this image, and if he does not meet this standard, he’s blocked as soon as he came in. This realization alongside many other relationship drama made me almost give up; who has so many issues.
Yet as I came to the feet of the cross and as He revealed all this to me, He also said this I will heal you of your brokenness, only be still. And that so encourages me.
I don’t know what you’re struggling with. A friend of mine the other day was telling of how he’s attracted to an ex-girlfriend, yet he is now married; another with a different addiction; and all this are Christians. However, like this my church, they have been stoned for using a poster of people who are about to gerrit. The church has asked them questions like how could you even think such things?
Yet this is the thing, our God came for such as these. I find that we the Christians who have been in church all our life are the ones who struggle to practically understand this. It is the Saul, the ones converted to Paul who know this God saves not because we used a poster of the holiest pose, but just because He is Saviour. And for that reason, this Paul is sold out for God. This Paul will become even more undignified this for the sake of the gospel; For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you
That’s the person I want to be. Rough edges and all but sold out to this God. That’s the church I belong to. So yer, my name is Esther, I am mavunite; but it doesn’t end there, that’s just the beginning. I am a mavunite after God’s heart, His servant, a work in progress with a lot of rough edges but being transformed daily to His image, a woman who has been forgiven much and so loves Him much, a woman who knows a Healer who says come as you are, a servant in the army of the most High God.
What are you? Are you the one who just sees the poster? Are you the one who sits on the fence waiting for the next church to goof? Are you the one who thinks God only deals with the perfect? I invite you to this AA class, come encounter this God You will never be the same.