Someone asked me recently, “Why would you have Ted Haggard in your church?” My response was “Because we preach that God can forgive anyone for their sin.”
For the two or three people out there who may not know who Ted is. He was the most powerful Evangelical Leader in the United States three years ago. The head of the National Association of Evangelicals with 30 million members, an advisor to the President of the United States and the Sr. Pastor of a church of 14,000 members in Colorado Springs. Then came the scandal that rocked the church world. He was caught with male prostitutes. All the major news sources covered the scandal. Some like CNN and Larry King featured the story for months. HBO did a one-hour special on the Haggards. They have even been on Oprah twice.
My initial response to the story was one of disgust. I personally judged him very harshly and was privately critical. (Thank God I don’t believe in criticizing people publically or using the pulpit to bash people.) I know many of my pastor friends felt the same way, “Hypocrites like Haggard give us all a bad name.” So what changed my mind?
I saw an interview with Ted and Gayle at Steve Furtick’s Elevation Church. I respect Steve and was curious as to why he had Ted in. Their story broke my heart. I actually cried watching it. We always hear testimonies of people who were sinners then saved from their sin. “I was an addict, then Jesus set me free.” “I was hopeless and suicidal, then I became a Christian.” We never hear stories of fallen Christians being restored.
I decided to have them tell their story, a story of forgiveness. A story that is important for all of us to hear. First for those that think “It could never happen to me.” and more importantly for all the Christians out there struggling with a secret sin but who are too afraid of rejection to ask for help. There’s hope for you. We will help you get free and guard your dignity.
I can’t close this blog without mentioning the heroine of this story, Gayle. She had biblical grounds for divorce, no one would have blamed her for leaving but as she told Oprah, “I prayed and felt God told me to stay.” She shared that with God’s help she thought she could forgive Ted and with much counseling work to restore their marriage. Wow. She truly forgave “all sins against her” as scripture teaches.
Learn that we can all be FORGIVEN this Sunday at 10am. Then at the Women’s Meeting at 6pm, hear how you can forgive those who have hurt you. God Bless.
Note: I did check with Tommy Barnett’s church and a church in Texas that have been in charge of Ted’s counseling, inner healing and restoration. They fell he has done everything asked of him over the last three years. Ted isn’t restored to ministry as of the writing this blog. I will be interviewing them not having Ted preach.
The family dinner is really a lost art. People are too busy. Working late, running to soccer practice, after school activities, grabbing a burger on the run, to busy to sit at the table together as a family.
We’ve made a commitment to sit together as a family for dinner 4 nights a week. That might not seem like enough but when trying to plan the schedule of 6 people, it’s a good start. We eat together more than we don’t.
Take a look at your dinner schedule for the last week. How often was the whole family (that lives under the same roof) together for dinner? If you’re not at home for meals together, your lives are out of balance. It’s time to emphasize what is important. Commit to the 4 out 7 goal. You’ll be glad you did!
Hey, well it’s good to be back. After taking a month off to focus on changing some things in the church and organizing our schedule for the year, let’s blog some more.
40 Days of Love
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
All of Christianity can be reduced down to one word, LOVE. Love God, love people. The very best use of our life is to love.
Love also is how the world knows we really are followers of Jesus. Anyone can be “holy”! Buddhists are self-disciplined, Hindus are sincere, Muslims will lay down their life for their faith. What’s the difference between us and them? LOVE.
John 13:34-35 – So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
People are watching you. Do you know the question they are asking? Is God real? How will they know? LOVE. Wow, those Christians really treat people better than other people do. Wow those Christians forgive people who mistreat them. Wow, they really love God. Wow, maybe they really do know God.
We went to see Fireproof the movie tonight with a group of friends from church. It was a poignant reminder that we all need to work on our marriages. What I loved about the movie was it’s straight up message that you need to WORK at keeping your marriage fresh. Also the movie had a very “in your face” approach to putting the gospel in the movie. There was a very clear presentation of how to get saved and the importance of living for Jesus. While a little hokey and predictable at times, the movie was surprisingly funny and had interesting characters.
My favorite part of the movie was the use of the “Love Dare Journal” to resurrect a dead relationship. It totally made me want one! (http://www.lovedarebook.com/). It’s a great tool for strengthening a healthy marriage or resuscitating a dead one. The bottom line is that there is always hope for restoration with God. He brings hope to the hopeless.
Remember to invest in your marriage because where your treasure is your heart will be also. (Matt 6:21)
Here are a few marriage sites that can give you some good info:
Remember that God won’t allow you to be tempted MORE than you can endure. Don’t get discouraged during the rough times. I’ll leave you with the best line form the movie:
“Fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come, but that when it comes, you’ll be able to withstand it.”