People come to church looking for light-and warmth! they want to know we care. Good preaching and music may bring them in, but relationships that nurture will keep them coming back. You can feel lonely in a crowd, even one that preaches love and has a "greet your neighbor" moment in every service. if we kept 10 percent of those who came through our church doors we'd be in constant growth mode. You say, "Well, the Bible teaches that if a man would have friends, he must show himself friendly," True, but people bring with them the wounds of their past, the struggles of their present, and the unspoken anxieties of their future.
What they want to know is, "Will you love me as I am, even if I don't fit your mode and change as quieckly as you would like me to? Often our rigid structure keeps that from happening. Pastor, if your greatest concern on Monday is "How many people did we have in church yesterday?" Check your heart. you may be more concerned with your own image than meeting people's needs.
Jesus told his disciples, "I have called you friends" ( John 15:15). many people are shy, distrusting, and relationally impaired. Our mandate is to make "friends" out of them, not just bench warmers and financial contributors. the Scripture says, " Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2 NKJV), because a burden shared is a burden lightened. Many of those who came to church aren't looking for profound answers, they mainly want to feel cared for. When that happens they open up to God's love and miracles take place.
It disturbs me when people come to the altar burdened for some reason or another, and they begin weeping or lose it at the altar. I have seen times when no one came to console them, put their arms around them, or follow up to see if they can be of some assistence to them. No, we are too busy engaged in people watching, we are at ease in Zion sitting in our appointed places of honor. We won't come down to their level to be a servant, and to show the love of Jesus, because that is the nurses job not mine!
The heading above Psalm 142 sates that: "A prayer of David when he was in a cave? I ask you today, have you ever been in a cave?" Maybe it wasn't a physical cave, but it felt like you were all alone in this dark place where there was no light. There was no one that even knew you were in there, No one showed the slightest interest in discovering why you were in there and no search party was sent out to find you and bring you back! David says, " I cry out to the Lord with my voice; With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. when my spirit ws overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul."
David laments that there was no one to rescue or listen to his complaint or issue. There was no one that cared about his dilemma. How many saints are sitting next to us on our padded pews who feel as David did?
Israel Houghton sings this song entitled, "The Power of One." It only takes one person to change the culture of a church. It only takes one person to be touched with the same feeling of infirmity as the one who is pouring out their anquish before the Lord. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to bind up the wounds of the hurting. That is what our churches need to become once again, a meeting house where the blind, maimed, halt, demon possessed, sick, lame, broke down busted and disquested can recieve Jesus and their deliverence at the same time.
I hope that this lessson has found a place in the womb of your spirit today. Just as a footnote, this message is not just about healing the broken in spirit in the church, Because we are "The Church!"Tthis should be happening where ever you go; that means in your home, at your job, school, in you auxiliary/ministry/choir rehearsals etc. Some things and some people cannot wait until next Sunday to get free. sometimes it is a matter of life or death to an individual.
Pray on it, pray about it, and then just do it!
"Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers."