Within A Yard Of Hell?

Posted in blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur church sign was vandalized Sunday night.  Why?  Was the vandal upset with Christianity or just with our church?  Maybe it was just some kid goofing off?

Mike's family story 008I remember when some friends and I broke into an abandoned church when I was 11 in Lone Oak, Texas.  I “preached” my first sermon to those boys on the front row.  I vividly remember my mocking message was along the lines of “turn or burn“.  My “congregation” howled at my preacher imitation.  I laughed too; but that moment of mockery over 50 years ago has been indelibly tattooed on my heart.  My “sermon” really expressed the guilt I bore as an unsaved, lost boy who had heard the Gospel clearly from the pastor and my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Dodd. I stubbornly refused to “walk the aisle” at the end of each church service and publicly confess my need for the Savior.

Maybe it was that kind of guilt that motivated someone to rip off the letters on our church sign.  I don’t know. But why our sign?  Perhaps someone is intolerant to the message of Jesus’ Cross?  May that be our only offense.  As Paul expressed to the Galatian church that was so confused by hyper-spiritual legalism, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

I hope our church sign will continually be a reminder of the Cross for those who fight against the Holy Spirit’s ministry to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.  In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;  and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”  (John 16:8-11)

Let our church lovingly and powerfully proclaim the truth of the Cross so the Holy Spirit will use our church sign as the front door for the Living Hope to the guilty ones who are fighting His grace.  I embrace the words of C. T. Studd, that brilliant young Englishman who gave away a fortune that he might go out to the jungles of Africa. He put his philosophy this way:

Some like to dwell
Within the sound
Of church and chapel bell.
But I want to run a rescue shop
Within a yard of Hell.

Pastor Mike