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A Lot on My Mind

Last Sunday was such a great day for the Gathering Church as we had a public launch in our new location and at our new time.  It was fun meeting new people and connecting with others.  But, I really had something else on my mind; Been on my mind all week.

On Friday a long-time friend called me with a request.  One of his best friends had been found dead on the side of the street in his neighborhood, perhaps suffering a heart attack while jogging.  He was only forty-eight.  His wife was out of town, as was his only child, a young adult daughter, working and living in another city.

“Mark, these are the nicest people in the world.  Like me, they have a belief, but no church.  You’re the only pastor I know.  Could you help them out? This guy was the greatest friend you could have.  We can’t believe that this has happened.”

Not an easy thing to walk into, but deeply moving to meet the wife and daughter: amazingly strong, so well-loved by this husband and dad.  The church was packed with family and friends.  This person was truly the life of any party.  He never met a stranger and his zest for life and for people spilled over everywhere.

Totally not religious in any practicing way.  Just the kind of person Jesus liked and was drawn to.  The kind of person Jesus would invite to follow him and to announce the good news of God’s kingdom.

But, not the kind of person most churches engage.  A person who seizes life as a gift and lives large.  A person who loves, enjoys and serves – and parties with others, but has not seen church as relevant to those pursuits.

I don’t judge him.  I wish that I had known him.  I would have liked him.  The character I see in his wife and daughter shouts volumes about who he was.  It has been a honor to meet them and to learn about him.

So, back to the Gathering Church .  . . . . . . I am more committed than ever to follow Jesus into the lives of others, knowing that those ‘others’ aren’t inside the church, but outside, chasing life for all its worth.  I can’t tell you how thankful I am that the Gathering Church has the same hope, the same passion – to love people incredibly well, as Jesus did.

May I not forget what I’ve seen this week, what's been on my mind.  May God bless this family and the legacy of this man.

Comments

  1. "Totally not religious in any practicing way.  Just the kind of person Jesus liked and was drawn to.  The kind of person Jesus would invite to follow him and to announce the good news of God’s kingdom."  
    Wow….that's great. Why is it many times that our first thought is that Jesus loves the spiritually lofty or elite? That He is more impressed or inclined to use that person than the non religious. This has been good for me to read tonight. My heart goes out to the family and I pray tonight that God comforts them and gives them the grace and strength that I can't even imagine they need right now and in the months to come.

  2. From what I know about Jesus – and what I know about most churches today, most church-goers today probably wouldn't feel comfortable around the Jesus of the Bible.  What type of guy could tell a harlot (at a well) hidden things about her life and her response be to rush into town – the very town where she made her living – and encourage others to come meet this guy? Or what about the relationship Jesus established with one of the most hated people in town…the tax collector?  Who else would want to associated with someone who chose a tax collector to be a friend?  Yet people flocked to Jesus.  I want to find out why!  I want to be more like Him.  Truth and compassion and friend – all rolled into one.