One year ago I resigned the leadership of a church that God allowed me to lead for 13 years. The next day I resigned my credentials with the denomination I was serving and credentialed with. This means I walked away from professional ministry. I have not looked back except with appreciation for 30 years that God enabled me to work for Him and for Him working through me. Several years ago the allure of leading a “big” church lost its appeal mostly because while denominational religious organizations value nickels and noses, I felt the continual frustration of the lackluster effect of a “cool” attractional Sunday morning service and its ability to change lives. Most of our time was spent on preparing for this weekly event and people came and left and went back to their lives with minimal effect or change. Eventually it wasn’t them but me “standing in the need of prayer.” I quit. I repented for failures. I wept until I couldn’t cry anymore. I felt some hate. I felt a lot of grace and love.
My favorite time of the week was the Wednesday noon prayer and fasting time. This was never utilized by very many people and I am sure I started it because in Bible College we had one every Thursday and it was a weekly time of great importance to me. It was in this quiet sanctuary that I felt closest to God. I wept there. I sat there. I contemplated there. I read and wrote there.
One day in the summer of 2014 a young man from the neighborhood came into the church. He was distraught. His life was out of balance. He was fighting with his baby’s mom and his girlfriend. He wasn’t looking for a handout. I actually tried to push on him and get him to ask but he only said that he was hoping to find a place to pray. I invited him in and told him that on Wednesdays we were open for prayer and he could stay as long as he wanted.
He came and he prayed. I snapped a picture because I was humbled by his sincere posture at the place of prayer. I have never forgotten this moment and share it now with you as a reminder that none of us deserve His grace although sometimes church people often think secretly that we do.
I needed HIm then and I need Him now. God binds up the hearts of the brokenhearted. He calls us and invites us to come to Him. When others reject He accepts. When others censor and shun He opens His arms to the sinners and un-lovable.
Today I am reminded of my favorite song:
- Pass me not, O gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.
- Let me at Thy throne of mercy Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in deep contrition, Help my unbelief.
- Trusting only in Thy merit, Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit, Save me by Thy grace.
- Thou the spring of all my comfort, More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee, Whom in Heav’n but Thee.
Refrain: Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry, While on others Thou art calling,Do not pass me by.