D. Marie Hamilton
LORD HAVE MERCY ME
I am a huge fan of the Christian band Mercy Me. They are my favorite band of all time! My favorite CD is Almost There. Those worship and praise songs inspire me to stay in the race even when I want to quit because working for the Lord can be overwhelming. I'm strengthen by those songs.
So, when it was posted on Facebook that they were coming to Little Rock, ya'll already know that I was there front row center! Not only that, but I got meet the band! I was beyond excited. When I finally met them, I screamed, "I can't believe that I am looking at you!" Of course they laughed at me when I said that, but the members of the band were gracious and took pictures with me.
The experience was wonderful, and the lead singer, Bart Mallard gave a compelling testimony. He said, "Churches may be full, but the world is not changing." As Mr. Mallard continued with his soliloquy, I got awkward looks by other spectators around me as I shouted "Preach!" and "That's right! Amen!" He continued to tell us that when things are lousy in our lives that God is still Holy, and that if we truly had Christ in our lives that our worship would be unconditional and life changing even when our circumstances don't.
But what I wish I could have told Mr. Mallard is that the world is changing. You just have to look a little deeper and see that God's people aren't just sitting and watching the days of their lives pass them by, but people are using the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to make the world different.
As I left the concert, I thought of what my friends in the mission group at Lakewood United Methodist Church. This compassionate group of people is changing the world one person at a time. They faithful participate in the Broadway Bridge Project every month. This is a collaborative effort of several churches started by Elizabeth Dowell to fill a physical and spiritual void in the lives of the homeless.
I was invited to go with my friends at Lakewood one Thursday, and the experience was inspiring. It was something that touched my heart because everyone joyful prepared food, gathered clothes to pass out, and was ready to offer the love of God with acts of kindness and compassion. They offered words of encouragement and communion to people who wouldn't normally feel welcomed in church because God loves everyone everywhere.
One of the mission coordinators, Sue Winkley said, "This is a great ministry, but it's not for the faint of heart. Everyone who participates in this needs to understand that this is a mission to spread the word of God. We can't expect these people to change what they are doing because some are addicts or mental ill and they don't want to change. We let them know that there are people who care about them and bring God's word to them."
In the 21st chapter of John, Peter was upset that Christ asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you." Christ answer to that was for Peter to feed his sheep. Times may change, but the mission is the same. We are still struggling with the challenge to do what Christ commissioned us to do.
If we truly love God the way we profess, we must show it in our actions. That can lead to that life changing, unconditional, and soul saving worship that changes the world. It's in God's mercy that we do what do to advance the kingdom. Even though there are congregations that have answered the call, we still have failed to be an obedient church. We admit that when we reiterate our communion concentration.
I've preached over the years that God does not expect perfection, but He does expect an excellent effort. All we have to do is put forth the effort and trust God. It's in His mercy that we can change the world, not just make a difference.
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