Jesus said, "Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God's kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn't care enough to change and believe him. (Matt 21.31-32)

Does your church pass the "crooks and whores" test? To tell you the truth I'm not sure many of ours would. And if we were to be really honest with ourselves, I don't think we really want them to.

We do a good job talking about loving the siners wanting them to be saved but do we make a place for them in our church? Sure once they have accepted Jesus, and have cleaned up their act and don't have "stuff" to deal with we will love them and welcome them into the church but how about before they look like "us"? How about when they are still dirty? How about when they are still sinners? How about when they still have "stuff"? I'm not so sure we really want them here. This is not the case for every church, there are many who open their doors to anyone, but I fear it has become far too comonplace among evangalical churches.

A couple years ago I was at a conference and heard a pastor say that our churches should resemble going to the local Walmart, locking the doors, and everyone inside was now part of your church. That's a scary thought, especially if you happen to lock those doors after However this is exactly what Jesus is saying, the crooks and whores are entering the kingdom infront of the religious...yes that even includes some of us. I truly believe that church should be more than just a safe place to bring our kids and meet with other like minded people. It should be a place where the broken can be restored, where the lost can be found, where the seeker can find answers...the homosexual can find love, the abortion doctor can find forgivness, the drug addict/alcoholic can find support and freedom...etc.

The problem is that gets messy. It exposes us and our kids to things we wouldrather not be exposed to. I was talking with a friend of mine on Sunday about this issue. I brought up that while all of this sounds like a good idea most of us don't want it. I used the analogy that if the kids from our weekly Drop In, teens who curse/smoke/drink/do drugs, actually started coming to youth group on Wed nights, parents would freak out. My friend and his wife honestly admitted that they would be right there with those parents. Now I understand where they are coming from and I don't begrudge them at all for wanting to protect their kids from certian influences, but it does show where our hearts are. The truth of the matter is that if we were really doing what we are supposed to be doing the church would be filled with "crooks and whores".

Our pastor told us about one of the things that his pastor used to say "I want you to go find the people who no one else will be their pastor, bring them here and I will be their pastor". I pray that we can truly adopt this heart. It won't be easy but it will be worth it


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