Sunday, June 7, 2009

Not a Sunday night mind purge ...

My heart is broken tonight and I just can't write a Sunday night mind purge.

My heart is broken over sin, over injustice, over abuse of power, over miscommunication, over plagiarism, over selfishness and self-focus.

My heart is broken for the Church. Not my local church family, Del Sol Church - but THE Church. The universal, worldwide, global Body of Christ; Church with a capital C.



Sin destroys churches, it destroys the witness of churches, it hurts people and it smears God's reputation. When a local church is fighting within itself , or when the leaders abuse their power or commit sexual sin - it hurts the Church.

Do you get that? When one church (little c) hurts, the whole Church (big C) hurts. In other words, when one church hurts - we ALL hurt.

So today ...pray for my parents' church, Exciting Immanuel Church, here in El Paso, Texas. Amidst a horrible, ugly scandal involving lies, plagiarism, and lots of anger, the pastor announced his resignation today. I know there are a lot of opinions about the situation, a lot of "he said, she said" and gossip going on, so if all you can do is gossip, then stop reading this now and forget you read about that. But if you can set aside judgment and just pray for Pastor Rix Tillman and his wife Sally, and for Exciting Immanuel Church, then read on and pray.

Also, pray for Revolution Church in Canton, Georgia. Their pastor, Gary Lamb, has been a very influential voice in Christianity ...and now ...he too has resigned as pastor, admitting to having an affair with his assistant. This is the link to his blog post with the resignation announcement, and know that I'm not posting it to gossip but to ask you to let your heart genuinely break over it and to let that brokenness cause you to fall on your face in prayer.

Christians, pray for the Church right now. Pray specifically for Exciting Immanuel, pray for Revolution Church, pray for First Baptist Church El Paso (a very important symbolic church in the borderland that has been in struggle and strife for years).

Pray for Del Sol Church. None of our staff - Pastor Walter, Dag, Craig, Troy, Isidro, Cheryl, Teri, Sandra, Terry, Nancy, Lydia, Monica, or myself - are above falling into sin that can devastate our lives and greatly harm Del Sol Church. Any of us could fall into sexual sin or financial sin or pride that causes us to abuse our power or a myriad of other sins.

ANY of us.

Staff of not. Leader or not.

Remember, Biblically we are the family of God and when one of us hurts, we ALL hurt.

As you pray, pray about whatever God lays on your heart, but three things I think it'd be good to pray for are:
1. Wisdom for church leaders. All sin that causes the downfall of a leader starts with one stupid decision that leads to another, and leads to another, and leads to another, and then one day you're stuck in a self-created pit of sin. Pray for those of us who God has called to lead in the Church to lead and to live wisely.

2. Protection, both physical and spiritual. John 10:10a says that the devil roams around looking to steal, kill, and destroy. That dummy would just love to get his foot into the door of a church and into the life of a leader through distractions, discouragement, and destruction. He can distract us from our mission, discourage us in the work of God, or destroy peace and unity and many other things. Pray for the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Husband of His Bride, the Church, to protect His Church.

3. Grace to prevail. Yes, sin needs to be exposed and brought out of darkness into light; yes, pastors and leaders should take full responsibility for their sin and accept the consequences, yes church discipline should be practiced swiftly and strongly - but through it all, God's grace MUST prevail. Grace must win. If society can show grace to and forgive Britney Spears and Robert Downey Jr., then we in the Church certainly can show grace to and forgive fallen, disgraced leaders in the Church.

So as my heart is broken tonight and as I cry and pray for the Church and for Revolution Church, Exciting Immanuel Church, and First Baptist Church ...won't you let God break your heart and cry and pray with me?


Anonymous said...

You say that none of the del sol church members are not falling for such sins in the bible it clearly says no one can see the heart of men except God so what makes you so sure none of the staff members are going through anything? Be careful on how you right things and judge them if you want to lead as a Christian and be a true example of God.

Ariel said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. In the future, I'd appreciate if you signed your name to your comments so that I can truly converse with you.

You wrote that I said none of the Del Sol members are falling into sin; actually, if you look at the post again you'll see that I never said that. Actually, I asked for prayer, saying that none of us are above sin.

You're right - there may be people in leadership in Del Sol who are in sin and I don't know of it, but as you implied, it's God's place to judge that, not mine.

The point of the blog post was not to put Del Sol people up on a pedestal and say "look at how good we are compared to others"; the point was the mourn that other churches are hurting and to ask for prayer for Del Sol Church.

I'm sorry that you missed that point. Will you please pray for the Lord to protect Del Sol Church and its leadership from falling into sin that would bring shame on God's reputation?

I hope you will. Thanks again for your comment!

- Ariel

Andy Farias said...

check that video out regarding the battle with our flesh.

certainly devastating that our churches have been taking such a big hit.. I can sympathize first-hand after having left my former church due to gossip and pastoral sin.. will be praying!