This is another post inspired from our service last Sunday. We have people give testimonies about God’s goodness in their lives every Sunday. This one is from a lady named Jane who started coming to our church last Mother’s Day. I’ve included the recording here so you hear it for yourself.
Jane recounts how the love she has received while attending our church has impacted her over the last year. She refers to a prophetic word (she calls our “motto”) spoken over our church over a year ago…
“This church is an oasis…
there’s an open heaven over you…
there is an anointing in this house right now; this is a place of rest…
a “safe place” where people will come and they will be loved unconditionally and healed.”
(Prophetic word to Cornerstone Church 10/13/12)
Her testimony is an example of someone visiting our church gatherings around the world, who often come feeling broken and rejected, usually without hope. When Jane first came in she sat in the back by herself. She recalls how she started to feel the peace of God during our worship, then receiving love and acceptance and deliverance during our ministry time.
She also talks about the love and healing she has received since from being part of our church family. It’s a powerful testimony of God’s transforming love and worth listening to. I’m so proud (in a good way) of our congregation. They are awesome people!
It’s a place where people are free to be who they really are without judgment. A place where they are unconditionally loved and accepted.
It’s a place where your name is safe on people’s lips.
But this made me think about what she was saying, and about the word over us.
Shouldn’t ALL local churches be an oasis, a safe place, where people can be loved unconditionally and healed?
Isn’t that how Jesus received us?
Beloved, EVERYONE is looking for this. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted. Do you want a great outreach program? Then do this!
And we are by no means perfect at it. In fact, we’ve struggled over the years, having to deal with a lot of the opposite spirit in the past. Some have left because of offense, some left because they would not change. Some left because of our own lack of care for them.
But what we have found is a very merciful and unconditionally loving God in our midst!
Who forgives us and never holds our own shortcomings against us.
Who offers new beginnings, no matter how many times we fail Him.
Who takes our sins and our past and casts them into the bottomless sea of His forgetfulness.
Who gives us hope and purpose where there seems to be none.
Who changes lives and relentlessly pursues us, transforming us, making us more like His Son.
So, we have decided that if God doesn’t hold onto our failures, we won’t hold on them either…or of those who failed us. And we won’t give up on this pursuit, as a church family, to learn how to receive God’s love at a deep heart level and freely give it way to others, no matter how offensive or despicable they may appear to be on the outside.
And honestly, that’s very challenging at times.
But it’s what we’re called to be as Christ’s body on the earth.
And again, if people can’t find this in our church families, if they can’t find wholeness and purpose, then where are they going to find it?
Sadly, what people often find among us is a very conditional love, control, manipulation, criticism and judgmentalism–or worse, our indifference.
Sadly, these hurting people often become no more than trophies to be evangelized and numbers to feed our egos. God help us.
We often forget that they are people who need someone to care about them as a fellow human being.
To understand how valuable and loved they are by God, and by us, regardless of how they respond to us.
A church gathering should be where we intimately connect with God first and foremost, then we connect with one another in a meaningful way, encouraging one another–where there is compassion and where we find our commission as sons and daughters of our Father’s Kingdom.
Paul told his churches that the most important thing we can do is put on love…
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Col.3:14)
Beloved, let’s put on love! It really works.
So, I offer this testimony, not to brag about us, but to celebrate God’s goodness and encourage us all. I hope it blesses you. It surely did us!