Church of Fools!
The apostle Paul wrote that “we are fools for Christ!” That’s a humbling confession! Paul did not say this because of our sinful ways, though we all sin daily and always need God’s forgiveness and help. Rather, Paul said this because people who have not experienced the power of the Gospel of Jesus look at how followers of Jesus sacrifice their own wants, their personal preferences and their security in this world – whether that security is career, position, reputation or finances – and have concluded that we believers are fools. Such a conclusion reveals that they can’t see the eternal value and blessing we receive through the death of Jesus on the cross. What we receive through the death and resurrection of Jesus is worth giving up everything else. (See Paul’s words in Philippians 3:8-9) Paul was willing to do whatever it took, as long as it was legal and moral, to reach more people with the saving love of Jesus! He was willing to become all things to all men in order to save some.
As I think about what God is doing at Shepherd’s Gate, I thank God that we are a church of fools…fools for Christ! We are willing to sacrifice our own wants and personal preferences (such as spending 13% of our budget to reach those outside our church rather than spending it on ourselves or in embracing changes in our worship center to bring the worship team up front in order to make room for 50 more seats in the worship center or to park our cars far away from the doors to the church so that guests can find convenient parking) in order to reach people who are far away from God. One man in our new member Discovery class said that he did not care for the contemporary music at Shepherd’s Gate because he was brought up with the traditional hymns, but he now sees the heartfelt worship of all ages and that has brought him to a greater realization of God’s saving presence. A young man who said he drifted away from God and became an agnostic (believes God exists but you cannot know Him personally) came to Shepherd’s Gate and heard a sermon message that he felt was God speaking directly to him. He is coming weekly with increasing hunger for God. A young adult heard the message of how God works through the generations and decided it was time to jump in and be part of our student ministry and encourage those who are younger. Our worship band of young men came with Nathan, our Worship Arts Director, to provide the music for our Michigan District Pastors and Wives Conference in October. As they led worship with both traditional hymns and contemporary songs, some 450 pastors and wives engaged in powerful worship and praise to God. And God worked through our worship band as they led us in worship while I led the conference in a time of prayer for the generations of pastors and wives. The depth of ministry was beyond anything I have ever seen in a pastors’ conference setting. Pastors and wives were encouraged, loved and moved to tears as well as songs of joy. And the stories go on and on of how God is working through you to do such things as push back the evil of human trafficking, feed the hungry in Detroit, provide love and encouragement to married couples struggling to find hope and healing in their relationship and to give emergency financial help to families facing hard times. We are a church of fools! And I love being a part of a church where we are willing to be fools for Christ…so that more will be saved. How are you being a fool for Christ? Share your story with us!
One more fool for Christ, Pastor Jon
November Sermon Series – Church of Fools!
- November 4 – Foolish Wisdom (Guest Pastor David Maier, president of the Michigan District of the LCMS)
- November 11 – Foolish Behavior
- November 18 – Foolish Endeavor
- November 25 – Fools on Display