"Ken writes that churches can under-protect their leaders by “allowing gossip and rumors to spread unchecked, jumping to conclusions about a leader’s guilt, or failing to give him a meaningful opportunity to defend himself.” On the other hand, churches can wrongly over-protect their leaders. “They develop a self-confidence and blind loyalty that compels them to become defensive and automatically ‘circle the wagons’ when a leader is questioned or accused of wrongdoing.” Both approaches are wrong".
Timely advice and not a coincidence I am sure. Let me say that I have read accounts of what has gone on at Metro - but only those in the church really know what's going on. There are dear people at that church who I respect and love and so all I will say is that they are deeply in my prayers and thoughts. However I did read some sermon notes that really bother me. I was on the Metro church website and read senior pastor Danny Jones's sermon from last Sunday and he said this;
"The emphasis on sin makes grace all the more glorious!"
I must confess I haven't listened to the sermon - just read the notes - so maybe my friend Janelle or someone can shed some more light on this. But it seems to me to be a one-step progression from C J Mahaney's usual encouragements to "emphasise the Cross". An emphasis on SIN? How on earth can an emphasis on SIN make grace more glorious? I'm not sure at all. As a person with a masters degree in sin in my past, I can state unequivocably that thinking about my sin and emphasising my sin does nothing but make me depressed.
However Danny Jones closed his sermon on the other hand by quoted from Ephesians 1:3-10 and what a glorious statement from the Word of God!
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us".
Meditating on that verse does indeed make grace more glorious! So could an alternative to that statement be - rather than an emphasis on sin makes grace more glorious, can we say an emphasis on GRACE makes grace more glorious? Thoughts?
Finally I want to close this medley of SG-related thoughts by sharing a song that I was running to on the treadmill at my gym today. The song is from the new-ish musical called "Glee" (which I must confess I haven't really taken to - but like the soundtrack) and it's called; "Don't stop believing!". The X-Factor winner Joe sang it and I prefer his version;
I really felt the Holy Spirit speaking tenderly to me as He is doing to all Christians who have suffered through "religion". The one thing that the devil wants is to take away the faith of Christians - the ability to keep beliving in a good and loving and gracious God! So this year - 2010 - I want to promise as far as I can;
- Keep on believing in a good God despite SGM UK and the past!
- Keep on believing in a good God despite anything the devil may chuck - including horrendous disasters like the recent earthquake!
- Keep on believing in a good God's plans for His church despite what we see at present!
- Keep on believing in a good God's love for the world despite sin, suffering and all we see!
- Keep on believing in the glory and wonder of grace despite the condemning lies of legalism and the devil that try and tell us to remember and not forget our sin.
- Keep on believing the truth of God's Word that our sin died at the Cross and He "remembers it NO MORE!".
The more we can keep believing - the more I think we will become a people who shine like salt and light! And the world will take notice!