Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just as I am

As a kid this song was sung to oblivion in my church during the end of services. We sang all 13 verses (just kidding all 16) until someone came forward to follow Jesus. I can recall as a young teen considering going forward, just so the service would end. So I could get home and watch Wonderful World of Disney. You see it became a ritual, a part of the service that I actually dreaded, because no one new was in the church that day, and someone must respond, or we can't go home. It was as if the pastor wasn't successful, unless Joe in row three came and walked the aisle.

Well, a lot has changed in my heart in the 25 years since those days. I now stand on the other side of room looking towards the back, instead of looking towards the front (or in my case then, looking up and counting the ceiling tiles during this moment). I now see that the pastor longed to see life change take place, and he had labored hard all week for that moment. For he was begging God for his life-changing power to poke Joe in row three, because he probably needed to surrender an addiction. Or Alice in row 4 who went to church every time the doors were open, but judged everyone who didn't. Or Bob in the second seat on stage, who led the announcements, but was a whitewashed tomb filled with pride, and kept everyone from really seeing his struggle with pornography.

You see if truth be told, everyone of us needs a daily scrubbing from our rotten sin. Some of us really believe, when no one is around, that we are little better than the guy sitting next to us. That somehow our 15 minute devotion, or our ability to find fault in someone else, gives us an edge on the group. But I am reminded that our righteousness is like a filthy rag, or better yet a literal translation, a tampon.

So the next time you see someone walk the aisle in a service you are at, like the ones above, don't think boy it is about time. Take a second and repent, because if it wasn't for the grace of God, you and I are the scum of the earth.

No we don't sing, Just as I am at Grace, but we do give altar calls, and give people a chance to respond to that still small voice that was churning in their hearts, during the invitation. The picture above has me a little weepy looking at it, as people came and received the saving grace of Jesus, in one of our services. Check your hearts today and ask God if you need to come down from the mountain and fall at his feet. Oh for the Grace of God!

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