Posted by: Jeff Warren | September 28, 2009

The Church’s Finest Hour

Yesterday I asked, “Could it be that this would be our finest hour?”  When is a church’s finest hour?  It’s been said that the Church of God does not have a mission in the world; but rather, “the God of mission has a Church in the world.”  Our God, the Primary Missionary, came to us in Christ for one reason: to reconcile us to Himself.  We worship the God of restoration, redemption, and healing.  2 Corinthians 5:16-21 is clear that God’s mission is to reconcile us to Himself through Christ.  Now we have become agents (“ambassadors”) of restoration, reconciliation, and grace.

James 5:19-20 says, “My brothers, if any of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Of course, Jesus (as he challenged the Pharisees before the  adulteress woman) gives us the definitive word on how we are to respond to our fallen brothers and sisters: “If anyone is without sin, let him throw the first stone at her.” John 8:7.

I’m so grateful that our church (FBC McKinney) is first and foremost a community of grace. The church’s finest hour is when she recognizes the amazing, undeserving, and transforming grace of God and determines to really live in it.  I heard it yesterday; I’m hearing it today… Listen to the stones as they hit the ground.  That’s the sound of grace in action.

Be diligent to guard your heart and your tongue.  Be prayerful, be forgiving, and be hopeful.  God’s best for you is yet to come.

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Responses

  1. Dad!! I’m waiting for class to start and just read your post! You are my hero and I am so proud of you! I believe that you have guided our church into the grace community that it is! Thanks for being the best Dad in the WHOLE world!!! I love you so much!
    My favorite thing you said..”listen to the stones as they hit the ground..that’s grace in action!” so true!!

    • Em,
      i love you so much. Thank you for encouraging me through this very difficult time. I’m so glad that you are young lady of grace and compassion! How sweet for me as your dad to receive it from my daughter.
      I love you more,
      dad

  2. I definately have no rights to throw any stones, only to drop them to the ground. Thanks so much as always for your incredible leadership. And, reading Emily’s response is more proof of the man you truly are.

  3. Thank you, pastor! How humbling it is to think of the many times I have let down my precious Lord, and yet he continues to forgive! Amazing grace!

  4. God’s grace is so much more than sufficient! I am thankful that I have experienced His grace. And I try to quickly extend it to others – without even really thinking too much about it. He tells us to do it. The things I have learned through His grace are things I could not have learned any other way. There is something incredibly beautiful about the raw hope and peace we get in situations that require grace. And these are some of the gifts our amazing God gives us!

  5. I often get a glimpse of the pain and burden that you bear because of your caring for people with struggles. But I have seen you crushed only twice; Stacy’s journey through treatment and not knowing the end and now this. I know of your special relationship with a brother who has stumbled. I know of the things that you dreamed that the two of you would do together. I have seen your vision of what could be done. But God’s plan may be that dozens of us will pick up the standard and go with you. I plan to.

    • Thank you- to all, for your encouragement and love. God has so much He wants to do through us all and our very best days are ahead. Love always finds a way! God is so good and I praise Him for our grace-filled family. I love you.

  6. When I first heard about this situation, my first thoughts were for you and the obvious pain that you feel. Unfortunately, I do not share the feelings of many to automatically forgive and forget. People of FBC McKinney helped saved me from being a cynic when I was 33 years old and I am extremely disappointed.

    Leaders that possess high moral character that we trust are a precious commodity and their commitment should not be trivialized.

    The last few years have not been easy for our family, but we never lost faith that God would take care of us and He did and He continues to do so. He will do the same for FBC.

    Jeff, you have my faith, trust and support that you will do the right thing.

    • Curtis,
      Thank you so much. I agree that leaders must possess such high moral character that they are above reproach in every way. I too am so disappointed; beyond words. Leaders in the church are called to the highest level of integrity. It is why James says that not many should aspire to be leaders/teachers in the church because “they will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). I can assure that, though our hearts break when a leader falls, we are quick to allow the consequences to take their full effect and to bring accountability to assure restoration takes place- always in hope of redemption for the individual. God’s grace comes to us for free, but in the end, it costs us our lives- every day.
      Keep wrestling (with me and so many) to figure out what it means to forgive, to restore, and to let truth prevail in our lives.
      I appreciate you.

  7. Jeff and FBC Family,
    We are broken hearted with you. As your ‘daughter congregation in the Lord” we care deeply for you as our mother church. We are saddened to see hard times come but we know that God is strong. We are praying for your hope and healing as a congregation and especially for strength in the leaders and unity in the body. It is by GRACE we stand together through good times and bad. Mark

  8. Jeff,

    The road to perfection (per James) is filled with potholes and dangerous curves for which we are instructed to be thankful. I pray for your boldness and encourage you to remember how “relentless forward motion” can be your best friend!

    This morning I was reminded of Joshua 1:5…
    “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Satan wages great battles against people and organizations who are doing damage to his cause!

    Lynn

  9. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matt. 6:15 Yes, we are to forgive. All sin and fall short of God’s mark. And as God first loved us, we are to love.

    But we must also welcome the discipline of the Lord that comes when we sin. He disciplines us b/c He loves us – as sons and daughters. Thank you Lord!

    “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Heb. 12:11

    May we all love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven and, by God’s work, may we all yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness – to God’s glory.

    • Amen! Grace without repentance is cheap grace at best and a diabolical misuse of God’s grace- resulting in further judgment- at worst. It is “trampling on the grace of God” that has come to us at such a high cost! I join Paul, “May it never be!”

  10. From your prompting I am reading “The

  11. From your prompting I am reading “The Hole in Our Gospel”. Today I started Ch 4 which starts with “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” Dr Martin L King. And it goes on quoting Matthew 25 about the actions of sheep and goats. May we all be sheep in our actions and friends to all who have a need.


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