On Thursday night, I had the privilege of listening to Jud Wilhite tell a story of how he recently visited his childhood home. It was there, at age 17, when he first broke down and gave God his life, after several years of drug addiction. He remembered everything God forgave him for and has since forgiven him. We all have that moment. Jud urged us to go back to that moment; it helps bring everything back into perspective. It helps us remember what we were before Christ forgave us and what He has called us to do.
Jud looked at when Jesus forgave and healed a paralyzed man in Mark 2:1-12 to illustrate the following points. (If you are unfamiliar with this story, it might be a good idea to read it before continuing here.) The points below are all straight from Jud (paraphrased by me) and should be attributed to him.
The church is not simply an organization that exists to get people into our building. It is an organism designed to share the love of Jesus with the world around us. And if we are going to do this, it is going to get a bit messy. Life is a walking time-bomb sometimes. Maybe it is your own mess, and maybe it is someone else’s. When people are in the mess, they don’t need someone to come up and tell them the obvious. What they need is someone to walk up beside them, be willing to get messy, and help them on their feet. Everyone is a different place in their spiritual journey, and running away from the mess is not going to help to fix anything.
“Ministry is messy, because sin is messy. Get over it, get a mop, and start helping to clean it up!”
Stop looking at the obstacles, and begin looking at the opportunities. If you think small, you will be small. If you start thinking bigger, you will have a much bigger impact. There are some things you can do that other churches cannot do, and there are some people you can reach that other churches might not reach. Anyone can talk about the problems; we need to start looking for opportunities.
We need to believe the impossible for outsiders and friends. It is amazing what can happen when you believe in someone. Believe that God can move in those people, because He will. Think about your own second chance, and help others get there too.
Jud closed with a poem by Sam Shoemaker, entitled, “I Stand by the Door.”
Jud Wilhite serves as Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. Thousands attend Central’s campuses along with a global community who attend online. Jud is the author of several books including Eyes Wide Open, Uncensored Grace and the forthcoming Throw It Down. Under Jud’s leadership, Central is dedicated to helping people find their way to God. He is known for his conversational approach to teaching the Bible and his passion to help others know God and love Him more. Jud and his wife, Lori, reside in the Las Vegas area with their two children and a slobbery Bulldog named Roxy.
Jud on Twitter: twitter.com/judwilhite