Friday, September 19, 2008

The Real Challenge

On Sunday a 50 member Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir will be at our church. I've always treasured these opportunities to worship with my brothers and sisters in recovery. You can learn more about the program they are involved in by clicking here.

As we worship with these folks, and as we hear their testimonies, it's important that we not think of them as unlike us. We all stand "in the need of prayer" every day. No one better, no one worse.

Jerry Seehusen reminded me of that as I was reading one of his old blog posts this morning. Here it is from "Beef on the Grill," Sunday, August 13, 2006.

Friday I attended a memorial service for my 101 year old Uncle Francis who died in Arizona last winter.

The memorial service was not the great event I’m talking about. The great event was at the memorial service when a woman proclaimed an end to the wretchedness of man. No, she didn’t stride to the front of church and make a formal announcement; no, she just slid it in John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace”. She changed the line “Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me” to “Amazing grace that saved a soul like me.”

Now I realize John Newton’s Amazing Grace is not the inspired word of God but its timeless message is true. Oh, Old Beef here doesn’t like being called a wretch either. I mean, on the whole, I’m a good ol’ soul, not too threatening. Oh, I tell a lie now and then, and I lust after my neighbors wife, but at least I’m not a wretched drunk like Bubba and I have not had an abortion like that woman who lives on Highway 71 while all the time I denying I’m a glutton…

As she sang, we cows and bulls of Bashon (read Amos Chapter 4) didn’t even squirm in the pews. We didn’t even belch or much less chew our cud. No, we all just sat there and went on being our “good ol’ soul” selves.

God help us. God doesn’t grade on a curve. All sin is sin to a Holy God. Denying the truth doesn’t make it go away. We are all wretches at the foot of the cross. We should all be found face first in blood stained dust at the foot of the cross not changing words to timeless hymns to make ourselves feel better. The only way we will be found clean is by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that alone. God help us wretches. We need your help Lord now, more than ever. We hear the hoof beats on the horizon but we are not about to listen or change (Isaiah 66:4).
May we always allow the Lord to remind us who we are. Please pray for the choir and the rest of us who gather this Sunday. We won't be able to broadcast the choir, so you'll need to come at 8:30 or 11:00.

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