Posted: May 6, 2012 in Thoughts from the Elders
Proverbs 18:19, A brother offended is harder to win  than a strong city, And contentions are  like the bars of a castle.

“When we are offended, we build walls around us to keep others out. Those walls eventually become our prison. Love neither comes in nor goes out and we become self-centered & useless to the kingdom of God.” John Bevere, “The Bait of Satan”

Easter morning at GCC people were offended. A powerful and very well preformed play was presented that depicted our human struggle with sin and Jesus’ desire to seek us out and offer us His power and comfort to carry us through the trials of life and on to our eternal reward.

Some walked out, some contacted the pastor, and some were changed forever. One young man came to Christ that morning because of the play. Another young college woman was moved to tears and sought out the prayer team. Another grandmother who has had many trials raising her grandchildren explained the play as it was presented to her granddaughter. They wept in the discovery that in every moment of their pain and suffering, Jesus was there.

Was the play a bit too much for a “kid friendly” service? Probably. So how should we then respond?

We can try to internalize the message and find the solace that it brings. We can take this opportunity to teach our young children that no matter how tough life is, Jesus is always there. We can teach them that He is guiding, protecting, loving and helping us through every situation, while giving our lives purpose and hope, even in the darkest of times. We can find joy in that fact that a group of young people chose to serve their Lord in a powerful way on a Sunday morning rather, than accept the alternatives the world has to offer.

As we have been studying “The Bait of Satan” in our Sunday school class, one of the most eye opening moments for me was when he said that everything Jesus said offended someone. And if you think about it, the Gospel is offensive. It tells us that we are sinners. That we, on our own, are condemned to an eternity separated from the presence of God. Our righteousness is filth is God’s eye. It tells us that we must submit to a higher power and our life is not our own. These are not easy things to consider, and if that was all the the Gospel told us, we would only have cause for hopelessness.

But the Gospel doesn’t leave us in a dark and lonely place. The light of Jesus shines joy, peace and hope into our hearts. His sacrifice gives us credibility with God. His presence gives us strength to carry on when only despair is looming on the horizon. His intercession for us with the Father sustains our spiritual lives.

There is nothing wrong, and it is our duty, to protect our children from things that might harm or confuse them. To be honest, I was glad that my 6 year old granddaughter was asleep on my lap during the play and yet I wonder if there was a lesson for her too in this presentation. I also realize that how I respond to these things will also be a powerful lesson. I have no doubt that the leadership will take to heart what happened that morning and learn and grow from the experience. I hope we all will.

Grace Community Church is a wonderful place with wonderful people, who are only human. Mistakes will be made, but as a pastor once told me, “The church will hurt, disappoint and frustrate you. And you will do the same to it. The good news is that we choose to forgive in advance.”

Written by Ken Stoller – GCC Elder

  1. Suzy Moore says:

    Ken, Well said. I always enjoy your perspective. I, too, was moved by the play. I have seen it before, but the message always moves me. I’m so glad that people responded in a positive way. Our struggle with Satan is very real and we need to know that Jesus is fighting for our soul….Susy Moore

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