In front of our Portage Street Campus, we have a large sign. Currently on the sign, the message reads: Have you had an abortion? You are welcome here.
I’m kind of amazed at the number of calls we receive from “Christians” who want us to change the message. Ummm, and the calls aren’t very nice. Ranting is a better way to describe them.
What message should we put on the front sign? If you’ve had an abortion, you can go to hell! Or how about, If you’ve had an abortion, stay away!
I guess my thoughts are that if we put a condemning message on the front sign, then we should put a different one every day. If you’ve told a lie, then fire and brimstone for you! Or, If you’ve ever looked at porn, then smoldering eternity you deserve. Or how about, If you gossip, you go to the grave!
Don’t get me wrong. I believe abortion is murder. In fact, because I know how much God values children, every time a living fetus is ripped from its mother’s womb, God weeps. For God’s sake and the sake of the unborn, we NEED to be pro-life!!!
But it’s pro-life all the way. Pro-life for the mom who made the decision and is now carrying enormous guilt. Pro-life for the man who encouraged her to cast aside something so important. I believe Jesus was pro-life for everyone.
Sooo, I think we’ll keep the message on the front sign: Have you had an abortion? You are welcome here.
Maybe when they call you should just bend down and start writing in the dust.
Why are people so mean???
I wish a lot more Christians would realize that if you go to church, you should expect to find more sinners than saints. Ain’t that what it’s for, first and formost?..everybody else who isn’t already a part of it.
Usually, I have something to say on just about anything.
I’m simply speechless… that anyone would have the nerve to make a phone call.
Does God really grade sins on a scale?
I really think this is just a perfect illustration of why the message of Christ is so needed. Even within the Christian Community, we can be so dead wrong. It proves to me that every time you are tempted to point the finger at someone else…..turn it right back at yourself. Even these people who have called (especially these people who have called) need to experience grace……probably hard to give at this point…..but maybe they have never received or been shown grace. I think those who have not been given grace in their lives are prone to condemn others and criticize others actions. The more you receive grace and are shown grace through others and in Christ, the less likely you’ll be to condemn and the more likely you’ll be to love.
As far as the writing in the dust (refering to livingdedgrrl)…..I think the accusers WERE writing in the dust…..that was the problem!
I agree with you all. I’m pretty surprised that someone would call. I suspect that for some, their first reaction is “Oh My Goodness – does RiverTree endorse abortion?”
They think that the statement indicates approval of the behavior. If they paused to think, I’ll bet most could figure out (at least those that attend RT regularly) that the message was intended to continue to drive home the point that RT is a place that anyone can come to, and that like the Lord, we are not going to condemn someone for a bad decision for the rest of their lives.
We don’t endorse homosexuality either, but we welcome those people to our church also. And divorce is not taken lightly, but we’re often reminded that God loves divorced people – that doesn’t mean that we should all go get one – it means He still loves you despite all of the “baggage” and sin. You can be forgiven!
I hope that the complainers come to listen to the message.
I don’t have any problem with what the sign says, but I wonder if it read “…you’re STILL welcome here” if it would be more “digestible” to those who misunderstood its meaning.
I dunno guys – pray for ’em..
It was Jesus who wrote in the dust in front of the accusers and they ran away. This is also the passage where He said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” John 8:1-11.
Pastor Greg…Yo! This weekend’s sermon was da bomb-diggity!
RE: livingdedgrrl’s comment about Jesus writing in the dust. I guess I didn’t really make my point. I was making reference to the accusers “writing in the dust”, meaning they thought they had the authority to accuse and point the finger. We don’t know what Jesus wrote in the dust….but He had the authority and the power to do so, not the accusers or anyone else. So…just saying it seemed a bit self-righteous to suggest that anyone else be “writing in the dust”. I think people get turned off at church when they think that the people (Christians) there will start to “write in the dust” the things they have against them.
A good observation of the story in question is that Jesus was showing the accusers something and not yelling at them, as tempting as that may have been for Him (and for us, today). Whatever they saw in the dust was enough for them to stop what they were doing. It was a peaceful, gentle, yet powerful demonstration. They saw what they needed to see. It could have been their names, a Scripture verse or even a picture.
When I initially made the “dust comment”, I was recollecting a sermon Pastor Greg did last year in the series “Religiously Incorrect”, where he addressed that Scripture and said, “Don’t be such a Pharisee”. It hurts my heart to know that Christians still be that way. Honestly, I was SHOCKED to read this blog. Now, the people who called in that aren’t Christians, well, we let them go because they’re not looking to the same standard we are (Jesus) – they probably just don’t know. I’m sure Pastor would have a conversation with them enough to discern the situation. But the accusers were religious people…Christians otta know better than to call in and complain about a church offering a life rope to people trapped in a worldly situation.
It’s not self-righteous for Christians to correct each other when we behave poorly. It’s what we’re supposed to do, otherwise every pastoral minister would be out of a job. We all have issues that need to be addressed. “Bretheren, if a man be taken in a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. I think Pastor Greg is in a good position to do that. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2. The Bible also says that if they refuse restoration, then leave them alone about it. But we at least have to try, and I can’t overemphasize the words “meekness, gentleness, patience, and careful” enough. Sometimes people don’t even know they’ve stepped out of that grace, and we have to say, “Whoops! C’mon back, Brother/Sister.” Gentle correction isn’t the same thing as condemnation, which is also absent from the John 8 passage.
I’ve never seen the sign…but this blog alone has made me realize that this heavy guilt that weighs on my heart that makes me so wary of stepping into a place of Worship, that God is forgiving and wants me to be close to Him. And although it is a heavy burden, I long for him in my life again, where I did stray. So this sign that so many may have called about…let them know that it gave me…if only one, hope and strength to return to Him.
As to anonymous’s comment, I am so glad your here. You are right where you need to be. I pray that our church family wraps our arms around you. Mission accomplished Greg! Yeah God!