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The Social Club

  • Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, 'This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.' Luke 15:1'2 WEB

    I could hardly contain my excitement as we headed to the church. I was zealous for Jesus and for several weeks I had been sharing my faith with a friend at work. He finally agreed to come to church with me, and as far as I know, he had never been to church before. I guess I was young and naive about how snooty people can be when it comes to religion.

    My friend and I were both musicians, but where I was clean cut, he actually looked like one. He had really long hair like most rock and roll drummers did in the 80s, as well as a few tattoos, but he was a good hearted guy that would give you the shirt off his back if it would help you.

    The church that I attended had been having revival meetings all week and the preacher had brought a solid message about Jesus every night. He spoke on love and mercy, heaven and hell, the works, and followed it with a very effective altar call. I wanted my friend to hear the message about Jesus as distraction free as possible, so I found us seats on the front row and we settled in to listen.

    When the preacher walked onto the stage and saw my long-haired friend sitting on the front row, his message suddenly changed from how Jesus came to seek and save the lost, to how shameful it is for a man to have long hair. He yelled his way through the sermon and beat his bible with a red face, while staring directly at us with what appeared to be contempt. It was as if I had brought moist dung to their altar.

    As the church filled with shouts of 'Amen Brother! Preach it!' I began to feel sick. I sank lower and lower in my seat as the service went on. My excitement was gradually replaced with disgust. I slowly realized that they only wanted to share the good news of Jesus amongst themselves, and they glared at me for bringing a sinner into their sacred building.

    We crawled out of that church in shame, but the shame that I felt was because that I had brought my friend to such a place. I attend a different church today, and I am not sure if my friend ever went to church again. He stopped talking to me and we finally lost touch.

    That church was nothing more than a members only social club. Their bouncers were called ushers. Their membership fee was collected with offering plates and they had a strict dress code. All new memberships were by invitation only, and they had to be approved.

    Jesus did not reject the lost, and we should welcome them just as they are. Until they come to know Jesus, you can save the commandments for your Bible study, for they don't apply to the lost. It is not the outside of us that matters anyway, but the inside (Matthew 23:27).

    It is always a religious spirit that rejects the lost, not the Holy Spirit. Jesus ate and drank with the sinners, while the religious pharisees stood outside and watched. If we reject the lost and hurting that try and come to us, then we have become nothing more than a social club.

    Prayer: Heavenly Father please let me see the world through Your eyes. Help me see the good that You have placed in people and value them. Please don't let me ever drive someone away from You, but instead use me to bring them to You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

    Note: For those following our Creation Photographers group, here is the theme of the week: Good Morning Creation Photographers, hope you all are doing well! Thank you for participating in our group fun I posted a March Lent Photo Challenge the other day just for fun. I'm excited to see how many of you will take the challenge!!! Genesis 9:13 "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." - 'All the Colors of March' will be our next fun theme and I can't wait to see what March colors look like where you live! For me, right now, it's raining so it looks dreary but everything is growing and spring colors are all around. Our theme are always open for interpretation and we encourage you to post anything else inspiring as well. My photos in the group this week reflect some of the colors popping up around us. Have a wonderful week and God bless! Here is the link: Creation Photographers


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22 comments
  • 0
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown Let my thoughts, words and actions be pleasing to You Father, Amen.
Mar 12
  • 0
Roseann Rivas
Roseann Rivas Amen! Thank you father God. Blessings Paster Dion.
Mar 12
  • 3
Pranoti  Kumar
Pranoti Kumaredited: Mar 12

This happens in many churches Pastor. N you have rightly called such as a social cllub. Most churches these days I m sorry to say have become 'religious social clubs'. More importance is given to events and matters other than the true reason of 'hearing the Word n worshipping.' No spiritual 'take back' affter church but just a social fellowship. The essence is lost. The sanctity is lost. What with birthdays n aniversaries being celebrated after church..of course its a very good thing. But then the focus is more on that n less on the spiritual reason of coming together. 

And making someone feeling unwanted or not-belonged here is something we all should be ashamed of as Christians. Yes, we want to share the news but only within a circle n not reach out to the lost as Jesus wants. Really sad. 

Am glad you have begun this online fellowship ministry where all are welcome. God Bless you. And do hope your friend did find a non judgemental church and is now a believer. Am sure you would have prayed for this too...

Mar 12
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen 

Mar 12
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Amen Lord

Mar 12
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen

Mar 12
  • 2
Maria Mesia
Maria Mesia

Self righteous is a sin of pride which needs to be clean as all other kind of sin. Humble repentance at the feet of God to be dress with the Salvation in the merits of JesusChrist is the requirement to go to heaven. I hope that church is driven by God to become humble and receive the require dress to participe at the table the day of the party with Jesus.

Mar 12
  • 3
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen! I have often asked if Jesus walked into the church, would He be honored as who He is?

Mar 12
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen!

Mar 12
  • 1
David &amp; Dianna Earlywine
David & Dianna Earlywine

Amen,always love each other as God loves you.

Mar 12
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Such a rotten church experience. Please God make me a loving and tolerant person. Help me to be firm when I need to be but to have compassion. Praise God. Amen. 

Mar 12
  • 1
Greg Hall
Greg Hall

Amen! Please Father, don't ever let my words or actions drive someone away from you. Thank You Pastor Dion!

Mar 12
  • 1
Rick Doran
Rick Doran

Amen.

 

Mar 12
  • 1
Ed Frye
Ed Frye

Amen

Mar 12
  • 1
Theresa Bright
Theresa Bright

Thank You for this message. I left my church because I felt so alone there. I had coworkers there that didn't acknowledge my presence at all at church and I always left feeling bad.

Mar 12
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Great message praise God!! 

Mar 12
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simoedited: Mar 12

Heavenly Father, thank You for letting me see the good in other people even if they don't look as presentable as they should. Always  give me the opportunity to draw people to You instead of keeping them out. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

Thank  you Pastor for this excellent devotional, it's the reason why I am in this wonderful ministry. God bless you. 

Mar 12
  • 1
Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield

I sure can relate! I've been judged and critized by "church ladies" more times than I can count. Funny how Rosary meetings and Bingo seem to bring out the beastly side of certain women!

Mar 12
  • 1
Rhonda Jones
Rhonda Jones

Amen.   Thank you for today’s message.   Thank you Lord for looking at our hearts and not our outward appearance.  

Mar 12
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen, Pastor Dion!!!!!!! Lord forbid that we would ever drive someone away from you, please fill us, guide us, lead us and teach us by Thy mighty Spirit to be an instrument of Your peace, i ask and pray in the holy name of Jesus! Amen!

Mar 12
  • 1
Kim Dalton
Kim Dalton

Your story about what happened absolutely breaks my heart!! I pray that man did find Jesus, and saw not ALL Christians are like those in that church. Shameful!

Mar 12
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Mar 13