Expectations of the Church, The Risen King, and a Place For Sinners Like Me

“He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”… (Lk 19:7).

I am so glad that Jesus does not shy away from sinners. Truly, He embraces them with His enduring love. I often wonder what would happen in our churches if we started doing the same. Recognizing that the individual in need of the most grace is not the one sitting next to us, but the individual that looks back at us in the mirror every day.

We come on our Sunday mornings with our well-polished worship services and programs. We come with our expectations of what church can and should do for us, but we do not take much time to sit at the feet of Jesus, to allow His love to reshape and reform our hearts.

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Nearly every week my pastor opens the altar for people to come and pray, but there are not many who make the trip up. I think it’s because of pride. I think its because we do not envision the risen Lord in all His glory there with us. After all, we’re too distracted by what’s going on after church, what one of the worship leaders is wearing or what the score of the game is.

I wonder what would happen if every time we stepped into the church and welcomed the risen Lord in our midst we would recognize that Jesus has come into the house of sinners. Maybe that would change the way we view church and our expectations of it. Maybe it would cause us to position ourselves at His feet instead of just waiting for Him to open His hands so that we could receive all the blessings we believe we so rightly deserve. Does God want to bless us? Yes, of course, but this shouldn’t’ be the thing we desire most. Our first priority must be to allow the Lord Jesus, in all His glory to change our hearts through His love and our repentance. When He changes us, our hearts stop believing we need the blessing, because we find that the greatest one is in being transformed by the love of the Father.

If God comes down onto a worship service, its because His people have an understanding that Jesus, in His great mercy, comes and dines with sinners, of whom I am the worst. Lord, thank you.

Jesus, you love me. You see all of me and you welcome me anyway. I am amazed. Truly, that you could take a sinner like me and make her a brand new person. Continue to change my heart and grow me to be more like you, Amen.

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