07 November 2006

mercy and grace

In what feels like eons ago, I was deeply and profoundly influenced in the area of prayer ministry by a seemingly haphazard path. The journey intensified when I started serving my church as director of small groups and prayer ministry but had no real job description. (Perhaps that seems ideal, but it is rather challenging, too, in creating something.) A "random" flyer landed in the mail box at my then church, advertising a prayer conference. Upon receiving approval from my pastor (and supervisor), I registered, booked the flight and went.

That conference lands in the category of significant life events. My faith and understanding of prayer became provoked and encouraged by the ideas of speakers and facilitators. My hunger for God and belief in His power also grew. I'm eternally grateful.

I returned to that church in previous years for other prayer conferences. I encouraged others to experience a similar journey. The church, worship leader, and pastor developed as role models in my life and ministry experiences.

Three years ago, I visited that church for the last time (only b/c I haven't had opportunity to return), and also met with the senior pastor. He had written a book on small group ministry which I had devoured and a few of us were given time in his busy schedule to meet in his office, pick his brain and chat. He was down to earth and friendly, shorter than I expected, but very hospitable, full of energy and charisma. We took pictures and the memory is etched in my mind.

Perhaps you can guess that the pastor is Ted Haggard. News of his "scandal" devastated my spirit. I am sad.

But I also am compelled to cry for mercy. Part of me laments the devastation of a "fallen" Christian role model. Part of me laments that we place persons on such pedestals in the first place. Part of me fears the impact on young believers or the sometimes vicious skeptics.

But mostly, I wonder, how do we live in the mercy and grace of God? David, a man after God's own heart, seriously deviated from obedience to His God. I certainly grieve God and the Holy Spirit daily. How do we overcome the enemy and still confront sin in our lives? What should our posture be?

I'm at the place of knowing only a few things, that you oh God are strong and that you oh God are loving. I pray that Ted, his family, their church, and all of us, find our rest and strength in a merciful, gracious God.


bon said...

I echo your saddness for what has happened. It's a huge reminder that we need to continually lift our leaders up in prayer. Anything can happen to anyone- be alret and watchful for the days are evil. Pray continually for each other and stay in community. Don't let anything take away what you experienced during those times- Jesus was there in the midst of it and has blessed you in your faithfulness in prayer and in Him-

cindy said...

There is an enemy set against us. An enemy who is against us developing and maintaining life-changing relationships. An enemy determined to keep us isolated.

I think this is such a good example of why we need community because without it, we cease to be fully alive. Being fully alive means being set free by Jesus and allowing Him to clean and heal
our wounds.

It means walking with Him in the company of others. Not isolated, not alone.

A bit of a rabbit trail my friend but I wonder how isolated he had become simply by nature of who he is.

Jewels said...

I think it comes down to trusting in God above all and in what His grace can do for us and other people.