Worship resonates through hearts , and the presence of the Spirit can not be denied.

Parents bring their babies & adopted children to the front; congregational hands raise in agreement as lives are dedicated to the Lord.

Joy fills the room as one homeless man publicly proclaims his surrendered life through baptism.

Elders, deacons, ministry leaders, prayer leaders, a worship team, behind-the-scenes workers, ushers, and greeters fill the building with smiles, praise, and exhortations.

The black man and his white wife sit beside the newly married couple behind the elderly widow near the college crew. In addition to spiritual fervor and scriptural honor, diversity is the norm.

An average Sunday for me. I know this picture is not common everywhere, and I am thankful for what we can be a part of.

via Dezi Mendoza on Unsplash

via Dezi Mendoza on Unsplash

A visitor may enter the doors and “feel the energy”. They consider coming again because there is much to love. Maybe here they’ll find what they didn’t find at their last church, or the one before that, or…

Eventually, though, the faults will creep through and perception is tested. Will they see through the lens of self or the lens of the Savior?

For the one seeking the perfect church, the image is soon marred. Then it’s time to move on…again. After all, those leaders really ought to, and that couple should have, so and so did such and such…

For the one seeking the perfect Father, they listen to the Spirit’s guiding and stay or go based on what He directs. They are not surprised to find that this too is a messy church. It’s time to dig in the dirt alongside their brothers and sisters.

Beyond the smiles in any gathering of believers, let us keep in mind that we are all still flawed beings created by a perfect God. God’s not done with you, or me, or them.

  • Men and women ache over marital strife. One spouse wonders if things will ever change. Another is sure they never will. Defeated.
  • Parents wrestle with how deal with their child whose behavior has been escalating. What do I do? I’ve failed.
  • Teens hide skin scarred line after line. Does anyone care?
  • Children watch those around them considering how dad acts one way today and another tomorrow; doubt fills a longing in their soul. Hypocrisy.
  • A lonely person (or two, or…) wonders if anyone knows how much they ache with the pain of a lost job, continued health problems, a friends death, the doctor’s report. Doubt, fear, anxiety.
  • The man who keeps trying to make amends but seems to disappoint everyone around him. Depression. Despair.
  • Racial comments are made, snide remarks interfere… Hurt, confusion, pride.

And we’re all a mess in need of a glorious redeemer.

What makes the church truly beautiful? When messy people meet the Father, are equipped by the Spirit, and follow the Son.

As much as the beautiful is sought after, what is always present are the frustrations, pains, spiritual battles, offenses, pride and flat out sin which corrupt and threaten to cause dissension.

No church escapes these struggles. But every believer has access to overcome them.

In Christ is the hope, the message, the power and the life available through the gospel.

Every believer must purpose to seek beauty in the Creator over the created.

Let us be a people who recognize our messy faith among the lives of others, with their messy lives.

Let’s get dirty, side by side, then seek His glorious face & receive His righteous robe of victory over sin.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

~Romans 8: 5-6