Whether you are a child or an adult, you never stop learning and you should never stop growing and changing. The moment you stop growing, changing or learning, might be your last moment on Earth.
The same goes for Churches and denominations. They should also grow and change and learn. People need to step away from their “check list” of sins and look at the truth that Jesus tried to tell us…… He came to break down the wall that man had built up around the basic rules or laws. He said to love each other, pray for those who wrong you, and serve the Lord your God. That’s it.
Now look at what we have done. We did the same thing. We have taken the basic book, the bible, and we scare people with it. We make people feel bad about themselves. We become judges and juries. “but it says in the bible….” Don’t get me wrong, I love the bible but the reality is that we have taken a book that was written through the holy Spirit yet put together by men with some political agendas. We have used it to intimidate people. People stop coming to church and stop believing. They don’t talk to their children about God or Jesus. Satan wins!!!
Is that what we want? No! We want to be accepted, loved, supported just as we are. It is not a sin to be black, white, Asian, gay, deaf, blind, or anything that isn’t “perfect”. you know it’s against the law to walk your elephant down the main road of town……you laugh but people have not changed some laws that are way out of date.
It’s not a sin to get a divorce and marry again, or get married after a spouse dies. It used to be considered a sin but we changed with the times……
It is time we change again. Actually, it’s long overdue. There is a school of thought that our church is starting to lean toward. We want to help people come back to God’s house and feel loved and accepted.
I have witnessed my churches generous heart with my husband and I. We stopped going to our church because we didn’t feel the support from the pastor who led the church at the time. then a couple years later, my husband was mowing the lawn and on an incline he leaned over to clean the deck of debris. he lost his balance, fell off and the mower went over his hand. All I heard was the mower stop, I came outside to see him walking and holding his right wrist yelling, “call 911, call 911”. by the time I got 911, he was by my car, “just drive me”. I threw the phone in the back seat and drove like Jimmy Johnson. Lights flashing, hazards on, honking my horn at 120mph. I got to the hospital that was 15 miles away in 8 min. As I’m getting out the cop finally pulls up behind me, I ignored him, punched the numbers into the keypad and took care of my husband. It was the loneliest, day of my life. My husband was out of his mind in pain, screaming things he would never say. It was heart wrenching. I wanted my family who were all 8 or more hours away. I tried calling the only friends we seemed to have down here but they were away too. I called my Aunt Judy (my mommy God gave me) she would pray and tell the family. I then thought, the pastor, no matter what we needed him. I went. A wonderful man named Tommy Mitchell was at the church. I told him what happened. He said the Pastor was away but gave me a number to reach him. I ran home to take care of the dog and pack a bag for my husband. He was to be taken to Duke to be operated on. I got back to the hospital and saw Tommy Mitchell there. He didn’t have to but that’s just Tommy, big heart, does as Jesus would do. When my brother called and asked what he could do I jokingly told him send the family. 12 hours later I got a call from my Aunt Judy that she was coming down. God is Good!!!!!!
After the amputation of fingers and some time…… we got a check in the mail from that church…..they knew Bruce had lost his job in June and now we had bills to pay. That floored us. We knew what to do and we slowly made our way back to the church. They accepted us back, lumps and all. Pastors had changed and we just all clicked.
This church could have shunned us, but they didn’t. Love, acceptance is the core of these people. Yet some still let things get in the way of that….they go back to their check list of comfort. I don’t understand why there are not more black people in our congregation until I remembered what someone said, “they probably don’t feel comfortable in a church like ours”. Really? or is it we don’t make them feel comfortable? or is it that some people don’t feel comfortable or they are too afraid what others will think?
In January a gentleman was invited to come to our service. He felt so accepted and loved that he and his husband have become a part of our church. When I met them officially in April, it was instant kinship. I could feel it. The holy spirit moving through the church. These are men of God and an answer to my prayers for this church. Some people got to know them and accept them for who they are. Some, took to their fears and are missing out on two great christian men!
Now they are working on our second contemporary service which has been shrinking because our youth is all growing up and going to college. They have taken it online so that if people can’t get back into town can see it now. It’s still growing trying to get more people to do the singing, fundraising, cooking, etc….. They are working harder than anyone has on the mission of this service we call, “Spark the Fire”. The mission is to create a place of love, acceptance, and reconciliation of all God’s people. All skin colors, all abilities, all ages. I’m even trying to do some sign language on there!!!! God is moving and grooving! Who knows, maybe I’ll even sing….. Here is the mission:
We at Ahoskie United Methodist Church, embark on a journey of reconciliation as we celebrate the diversity of all God’s children and recognize the sacred worth of all persons regardless of race, age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, physical or mental capacity, education or economic or marital status.
The outreach mission of Spark the Fire Ministries is to proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination within the universal church, and offer a safe place for all to worship at our sides without judgment, and invite all to participate in our services without fear of exclusion.
The point? Churches can’t do the same thing for for 10 generations anymore. Jesus was friends with tax collectors, women, the unclean, the Lepers, the people that others felt uncomfortable being around. Well, as for me, I want to be more like Jesus and Thomas. I said to someone, “half my family is black, half my family is deaf, part of my family is sprinkled with some Latinos and the rest is topped with a couple of wonderful homosexuals and if anyone has a problem with that, it’s THEIR problem, and they can keep it to themselves.”
What can I say, I have gotten bold in my old age and I love my family no matter what color or country they come from, and it makes me sad and mad when people say they are accepting but then they complain about people coming to a church. How can you do that? People seem to find a way to be against other people. Can we change this??????
It all baffles the Child-like faith I have. Call me crazy but I don’t let my pride or ego get in my way. I’m glad that there some people who are consistent and dedicated to this church. We all go through “growing pains” and we all come back to the basic conclusion, God meant for this to happen to see who were the strong of faith and who were not…… Who is part of a church for God and not just out of obligation?
Come back to church and give God a chance.
If you want to support our church please go to http://www.Ahoskieumc.org or go on facebook to find Ahoskieumc or https://www.facebook.com/Sparkthefireahoskie/ or Ahoskieumw….contact us one way shape or another. We can help you learn about us, God and I pray heal your hearts.
As Reba’s new song says, “We are still worth saving, we got to give this world back to God.” and get out of his way.