Psalm 147:3 (nlt) --- He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds.
I am so excited about our ONE PRAYER series and that now 1,753 other churches have chosen to partner and see lives change for Jesus. As I was soaking in all God was doing, I read THIS blog post and was wrecked with hurt. Gary is a great pastor who has lead his church to big things and to see many, many lives change. Perry Noble wrote THIS blog post about the situation.
When a pastor fails and falls, it not only hurts his family but the results hurt the church, both that local body and the global church. Those who look for failure and pain will use situations like this to throw stones and to cast doubt on what we do. Honestly, my first thought was hurt and pain, but it was never in judgement of Gary. In fact over the last few years I have been put off by his ways numerous time and in turn been big time encouraged by his leadership. This is a time to see God work in a family, in a church and in those looking on to see more and more lives changed by God.
Please get where I am coming from. Sin brings consequences. Redemption is an act of God. We have learned at The Community Fellowship that people need to be loved and accepted. No matter their situation or their pain, they need to know they have friends and family with them. This is not a time for us to throw stones. It is a time for us to build one another up.
John 8:7 (nasb) --- But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, " He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
What have I learned from this situation and from others much like it I have come across the last few years? Just a couple words that I want to live by and ask you to pray for (to pray for me and to pray for those in leadership at your church):
1. Guard your heart. None of us are exempt from sin. We do wrong, and we need to be confronted about that sin. That is why God says to watch what comes into our lives and into our hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 (nlt) --- Guard your heart above all else,for it determines the course of your life.
2. Protect, provide for and make priority your family. Many pastors, as I have, have sacrificed our families on the altar of ministry. We've given our wives and our kids the leftovers rather than the best. Over and over this has been brought to my attention, and I am seeking to do something about this in my life. How about you?
Ephesians 5:25 (nlt) --- For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her
Ephesians 6:4 (nlt) --- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
It is not just ministers to need to guard their hearts and make their family a priority. It is everyone of us. Satan is after us. He wants to see us fail. Yet God is for us, and God is providing for us victory to claim. Even in the tough things, like Gary's situation, God can and will get the glory. But we must learn and change and live for God. I'm learning from Gary, and I pray you will as well.