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  • Sep 15
    Posted by Dion Todd
    The Wonder of You from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo. Today I want to talk about the wonder of the Lord. I believe that wonder is a great definition of what it feels like to have the Holy Spirit moving in your life. It can feel almost magical, surreal, at times you may ask yourself “I...
  • Sep 15
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Yahweh, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb says: 'I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who alone stretches out the heavens; who spreads out the earth by myself; Isaiah 44:24 WEBIn the Bible when someone was in trouble, danger, or in need, a male relative could 'redeem' them. This relat...
  • Sep 14
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Jesus said to them, 'Come after me, and I will make you into fishers for men.' Immediately they left their nets, and followed him. Mark 1:17-18 WEBWhile growing up, I spent a lot of time on the rivers near my home in South Carolina. The black water of the Waccamaw was just a few miles away, and hunt...
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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. For several weeks I had been sharing my faith with a friend at work and finally he had agreed to come to church with me. As far as I know, he had never been to church before, and I was young and naive about the traditions of men.

    We 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 and a few tattoos, but he was a good hearted guy that would give you the shirt off his back.

    My church had been having a revival meeting all week. The preacher brought a solid message every night about Jesus, love and mercy, heaven and hell, the works, followed by a very effective altar call.

    Wanting my friend to hear the message about Jesus uninterrupted, I got 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, the 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 scriptures with a red face while staring directly at us.

    I sank lower and lower in my seat as the service went on and my excitement gradually became disgust. I slowly realized that they only wanted to share the good news of Jesus amongst themselves, and they seemed to hold me in contempt for bringing a sinner into their temple. It was as if I had brought moist dung to their dinner table.

    We crawled out of that building in shame. How could I have embarrassed my friend like this by bringing him 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.

    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. It is not the outside of us that matters anyway, but the inside (Matt 23:27).

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

    Prayer: Father 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.

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Social Sharing

42 comments
  • 4
Mark Duell
Mark Duell I'm sorry to say that a lot of churches anymore have become just that, a "social club". Another organization to belong to. Granted it might have a God centered theme but as far as the meat of why we have church has gotten lost. The world has crept into the church and it is no longer separate from the world. 
March 8, 2016
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen and Amen again., I so agree. 
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
David and Dianna Wyles
David and Dianna Wyles Amen! Good word today:) thank you! Pastor's Prayer: Father 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.
March 8, 2016
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Rachael Burke
Rachael Burke Amen , help me Lord in my day to day walk with you.
March 8, 2016
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, help us all to walk where You would have us to go.
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
Joan Joseph
Joan Joseph Wonderful message Pastor Dion, yes the Lord looks at our heart not our outward appearances. Its all about Jesus and the mission he has for us. may the Lord continue to use you with his word. Amen. 
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Linda Cella
Linda Cella Amen
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Joey Smith
Joey Smith Amen, thank you Pastor Dion for sharing the word of the Lord, years ago I use to work security at a church in Chicago that was in a pretty bad neighborhood. I was always taught that you come to church as you are and not for a fashion show but people tend come as if they are going to a fashion show.Anyway while working at this church this man came in and you can look at him and tell he was homeless, instead of them helping this man they asked me to have him leave the church which I refused I was not asking anyone to leave a church for any reason unless they are causing a problem. Which this man wasn't. They called my boss and told him what said and did and he laughed and told them that's not what he's here for if you want the man to leave just ask him to leave we are not putting this man out of a churh because of the way he's dressed.
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell There is so much truth in this writing, I have been the rejected friend.
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Mike OBryan
Mike OBryan Good Morning!! Hum a tragic insodent!!!  It takes a strong person-salesman too get persons past something like this! I use My own joy and goodness I find in the Lord to help people see the possibilies in Him! Usning again My great strides walking in Him!!!!
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Pam Watkins
Pam Watkins Amen
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson God looks at our hearts and knows what we feel, and think and that's what matters most to him.  What we feel deep in our hearts is most important, Our Father in Heaven loves each of us no matter the skin color, race, ethnicity, socioeconomics, rich or poor ( you can't take it with you) we are his children.  Let's us all praise Our Father in Heaven for he made each of us in his own image.  Amen!!
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Christopher Shannon
Christopher Shannon Hi, Pastor Dion!      Thank you for another wonderful and powerful message.  As limited and created human beings, we tend to look at the exterior of everything and everyone we see.  We are commanded by our Creator to not judge in such a way.  Much easier said than to do as instructed.  I am guilty as charged.    Your musician friend weighs heavily upon my heart.  You said that you eventually lost contact with him.  Today, as I sit here, I wonder where he might be.  Is he seeing the same sun rise as you and I see this morning?  My wish and prayer is to find him and again, delicatly present the the message of salvation.  I pray your friend is out there remembering his friend, you, from a long time ago.  I pray that you might pray for him and somehow locate this friend from long ago.  I will pray for him to come to know Jesus like you and I have come to know our Savior.    Have a blessed day, you and Sylvia.  Again, thank you for all that you do for so many.          Chris 
March 8, 2016
  • 3
Sharon Peterson
Sharon Peterson Oh what an embarrassing experience.  Long ago I had an experience that was kind of opposite.  My husband helped a person living in a van on the side of the rode because that person was broke down there.  He stayed with us a few days and my husband fixed his enginge.  When Sunday came we invited him to Church with us thinking no matter what God's Word won't come back void.   Pastor was preaching a nice sermon, I think about salvation but I don't remember.  Our "guest" stood up in the middle of the sermon and at the top of his lungs shouted to the Pastor " You are full of _ _ _ _!"  We were there with our children and just wanted to crawl under the pew.  Everyone gave us dirty looks.  It was awful and I couldn't wait for service to be over.   After service, Pastor went right up to this man with a smile and invited him to our Thanksgiving banquet that afternoon. I was surprised and not looking forward to the banquet.  He asked the Pastor many questions and before he left I believe he knew Jesus as Lord and Saviour.  He told us Oh I understand now. (: 
March 8, 2016
  • 0
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Praise The Lord, even in the middle of what seemed to hurt you, by what you did, by helping him fix his van, letting him stay with you and inviting him to church, even though he may have said something that might have felt embarrasing, if it hadn't of been for y'all, he may have never been saved. God bless you and your precious friend.
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus Amen!
March 8, 2016
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Carol Pady
Carol Pady Amen! Inside of every lost person is a soul just waiting to be filled with the life changing Holy Spirit. God is not a respecter of men. He loves all of us, even the most fallen sinner. He can take a filthy rag and make it clean. He can change the heart of man from disgustingly sinful to a heart that is after God. In an instant He transforms lives. Who are we to think He cannot change someone? He can turn your worst enemy into your best friend. Nothing is impossible with God!
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt Amen.
March 8, 2016
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield What a shame that your friend had to endure that terrible experience, Pastor Todd! I hope he (and others like him) come to realize that it was JESUS who died and rose for us, not some self-righteous preacher!
March 8, 2016
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus Amen Kathy totally agree.
March 8, 2016
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Karen Pasquinelli
Karen Pasquinelliedited: March 8, 2016 AMEN!!  I felt for you Pastor Dion sitting in that front row with your friend.  I wouldn't go to that church anymore either.  My Granddaughter has a friend who has tattoos and she and her friend stayed with us for a couple of nights.  This girl with the tattoos is so sweet and big hearted.  Doesn't matter what a person looks like or dresses like, it is what is in their hearts that matter.  I am not to Judge only God can do that.  Just because someone dresses different than me or looks different, doesn't make them a bad person, it is what is in their hearts.  
March 8, 2016
  • 1
Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt I agree.
March 8, 2016
  • 3
Christina Ocasio
Christina Ocasio Man looks at the outward but God looks at the inward, thank you Father God for seeing and knowing our inward parts and our heart,  let us be more like you Jesus, thus world desperately needs it. Amen ❤ ✌
March 8, 2016
  • 1
Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt Amen!
March 8, 2016
  • 0
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
Penelope Rhome
Penelope Rhome amen
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt Religion, always turns people off. A relationship with Jesus Christ is so appealing to the lost. Our light should be so bright that it will lead the lost to us. The Holy Spirit calles the lost to the truth. I pray that my life will shine so bright that it will draw the lost to Jesus Christ.
March 8, 2016
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus Amen Twila. Totally agree.
March 8, 2016
  • 0
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
Heide Garner
Heide Garner I know that feeling well  one time went baphist church  sevice evening preacher preached   say all those eyes closes who   stuggled with  communcation your family something along those lines because communcation well with family avoid confrontation have relatship realy close   or would stay angergy three weeks piont four months before I would move want drink let angery could not communcated turn numb feeling well so  when asked this question  I raised my hand  when service was over very   not so friendly so odd  thought well honest  sounded like sounded raised my hand thoug yes sad some church hyporsist of the word in fancy suit dresses and  not be respt full those different lifestles bring in to kingdom not judge them .
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Kath Paro
Kath Paro Hi  This is an intense and personal to me.  I have let another's judgmentalism cloud my interactions with several other people.  I did not stand for God's way of life.  I denied Him and myself.  It is time for me to reach out to these people and offer the love and understanding that He would have me do. I thank my Higher Power for leading me to my church now.  We accept all, love and care for all unconditionally.  Thank you Dion.
March 8, 2016
  • 3
Rosemary Marsh
Rosemary Marsh Amen. Heavenly Father help us to be lead by the Spirit,and give us wisdom and understanding,when sharing your word with others.Forgive  those who have hurt and put people off caming to know you.Lord we lift up those seeking you and your righteousness,that they will be lead to the right places that they will be shown your love,and made welcomed.In Jesus name I pray.
March 8, 2016
  • 3
Tyler Velau
Tyler Velauedited: March 8, 2016 I agree, the lost and uncertain ones are at a crossroads in life. Many of them seek answers, many seek Jesus and some even ask Jesus to be the light for their paths. They should not be turned away but welcomed, in their struggles there is an important time to help guide them to the light of Jesus.  I pray for the lost, for the misguided, that they may find their ways home, that the Lord makes their paths straight and lead them to Him.  Pastor Todd, I do hope your friend was not hindered by one unfortunate experience, I do hope that he has found his path in this life and that Jesus is the one guiding him. Maybe, one day, the Lord will reunite you with your friend and you can catch up. Many blessings, Pastor Todd. :)
March 8, 2016
  • 2
Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Thank you dear Pastor, for the great message!
March 8, 2016
  • 1
<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, what a beautiful sermon and a beautiful prayer, I too pray that over my life. God bless you so much for sharing God's wonderful, loving Word with us.
March 8, 2016- Edit- Delete
  • 2
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker Amen!! So good to know that in the eyes of Jesus, I am accepted!! He doesn't care that I don't have fancy clothes!! But He Loves my heart which beats for Him, always!!
March 8, 2016
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Ticardo Williams
Ticardo Williams Amen.  Praise God!  Thanks Pastor Dion!  Lord, let me me a light, witness and example to this world for your kingdom.  In Jesus' Name.  Amen.
March 9, 2016
  • 2
Michelle Negron
Michelle Negron Amen. I know exactly how this young man felt. I was outcast from a church when I was in my late 20s. I was getting to know the Lord. I found this beautiful church, close to home, to attend. After several months, I inquired about becoming a member and getting baptized. They asked about my home life. When I told them I lived with my boyfriend and my children, they told me I could not become a member of their church because I lived in sin and until I corrected my sinful life at home I could no longer attend their church. I was so devastated, I did not return to church for a few years. About 10 years ago, I came across a group of ladies that invited me to a gathering in one of their homes. It was beautiful. We ate. We chatted. We read the Word. We prayed.  It was the best experience I ever had. I have returned to church since. Thank you for church home meetings. It was a great sermon. It brought back a great memory! Thank you, Pastor. God bless.
March 9, 2016
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd My goodness, how sad that church would turn you away like that. I mean, perhaps they might have requirements for members, leaders, elders, and the like, but to ban someone from attending is shameful. So glad the Lord helped you to find the way past that!
March 9, 2016
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler An awful thing when being a member of a church comes before coming to Christ.  I was saved in a friends kitchen.  Then when I would talk bout the Lord they would say who are you that talks to the Lord & He talks to you.  They were preaching salvation yet a different kind.  Oh how blind that was.  I hope today they came to know the Lord personally.
March 28, 2016
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Jeanne Hill
Jeanne Hill Amen and Amen.
March 18, 2016
  • 1
Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler I agree.  Hard to believe when a preacher would do this.  Sounds like he had a lot growth to go thru yet.  My heart goes out to people witness such a thing....I wonder how long it would take for them to step in a church again.  Church hurts are very difficult to get over.  My heart goes out to the one who was with you.  Do you ever have contact with him since then?
March 28, 2016