I spent the past week at a Pastor’s conference in Las Vegas. Interesting place for a bunch of Pastors to be hanging out. It was my first time to visit “Sin City.” Aside from watching people gamble away their paychecks, prostitutes peddling every type of sex you can imagine (even some you can’t), and the incessant sound of slot machines . . . I liked it.
I liked Vegas because I like people. I like what God is doing in the lives of thousands of people who live in the Desert. I have three friends who lead three wonderful churches that happen to be located in Las Vegas. They lead three churches that are incredibly effective at bringing God’s hope to broken people.
My friend Jud is the Senior Pastor of Central Christian that has more than 12,000 people who attend it every weekend—IN LAS VEGAS! Jud tells story after story about lives that were shattered and have now been put back together. He tells the story of a stripper who showed up at their church and was welcomed and loved. She no longer takes her clothes off for money. He tells the story of a methamphetamine addict who hit bottom and was invited to church by a friend who had discovered God’s power in his life. This meth user found God in Vegas as well and now he too invites his friends to church.
People sometimes speculate, asking the question, if Jesus were to visit earth today, where would he go? I think there’s a good chance Jesus might choose to live in Las Vegas. Lost, broken people were the type of people that Jesus chose to hang out with when he visited this planet 2,000 years ago. Jesus likes messed up people like you and me–and those in Vegas.
My Pastor friends in Vegas don’t call their city “Sin City” any more. They have renamed it “Grace City.” The truth of the matter is that Jesus is living in Vegas right now. He’s very alive in His people that make up His Church.
I hope that the grace that is happening in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas.
By the way, my friend Jud Wilhite’s new book “Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas,” has just been released. I recommend you read it to see real life stories of God’s amazing love. I recommend you read it to discover God’s amazing love for you.