I was reading an article in the latest edition of Leadership Journal. It quotes Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle and author of several books. He says:
"The number one sin of the church in America is that its pastors and leaders are not on their knees crying out to God, 'Bring us the drug-addicted, bring us the prostitutes, bring us the destitute, bring us the gang leaders, bring us those with AIDS, bring us the people nobody else wants, whom only you can heal, and let us love them in your name until they are whole.' "
Jesus ministered to difficult, messy, troubled, challenging people. He died for the church that we, as the church, might do the same. I must admit, I do not pray that kind of prayer as often as I should. Let's face it, for most churches, it is much easier to have "cleaned-up" people join us than to deal with the mess we find in people's lives because of sin when it comes knocking at our door needing something. If we're honest, we were all messes at one point because of sin. The longer we are Christians, the easier it is to forget how sin-stained our lives really were, easier to forget that we were in the same place then that those in need of the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse are in now.