“My family member knowingly, intentionally and thoughtfully rejected the saving grace of Jesus Christ and has died in deep disbelief and rejection. How do I deal with this grief?”
Someone who is far wiser than I am could respond much more effectively than I can, but I am the one who received the question and should share my feeble thoughts.
In responding to this heart-breaking question, my mind journeys in several directions.
First, it seems important to feel, thoroughly and extensively feel, the grievous loss. A person you greatly love has died without the hope of eternal life and without a public confession of faith in Jesus for salvation. Your sorrow is well founded.
Our Lord, Jesus, wept at the death of His friend who, without a doubt was righteous. No one knows the response Jesus would have experienced at the death of an unrighteous friend. The Bible doesn’t give us a glimpse into that possibility.
Recently, a very well respected theologian stated, “When Jesus wept, it was Jesus the man weeping. Jesus, as fully God, could never weep.” This troubled my soul. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He can’t be divided into the God part and the human part. He is Him. He is both God and human at the same time and in the same place.
Equally troubling is the notion that God can not cry. I suppose the argument is that a Sovereign, Almighty and All-knowing God would have no sorrow because He fully knows the beginning from the end and everything is both happening and already happened. All reality is, they might argue, past tense for God.
From my perspective, the Bible reveals God as interacting with reality in real time, with real emotions and genuine experience. I am convinced the death of your unsaved family member or close friend deeply moves the emotions of God. When you sorrow, you are experiencing an emotion placed in you by being created in His image. Because He can grieve, you can too.
There may be some comfort in knowing your grief is shared by God Himself. You are not alone, emotionally or in any other way. God understands. He too felt the sorrow of a family member’s death. His Son died with the sin of the whole world on His shoulders. God gets it.
With the inner workings of the human spirit, soul and body being so little understood, there is a measure of comfort in knowing the One who knit your loved one together in their mother’s womb knows everything about everything in their lives. There are no uncovered facts. God knows it all.
God is always fair and just in His judgements. He will always do what is right and just and holy.
Sometimes it feels as if the grief will never end. The Bible mentions the possibility of “sorrow upon sorrow.” The revelation of Jesus to John powerfully reveals God ends the season of grief by “wiping every tear from their eyes.”
It doesn’t feel like it right now, but this sorrow will come to a close because “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” There is a measure of comfort in knowing this season of sorrow will end by God’s Personal action of drying our tears.
Turning the loss into longing is vital. People weren’t designed and created for eternal separation, grief and loss. We were hand formed by God for Ideal Condition. Developed for the ideal condition of God’s perfect Garden and to be in His Personal presence, we are not at home and settled in to this existence of our messed up world.
Everything inside of everyone longs for a return to God’s Ideal Condition. Redeeming the loss by transforming it into authentic deep longing for God and His eternal home, is most helpful. In our loss we can find our truest longing.
MCA Church is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic worship community that loves one another deeply. We rarely talk about racism in our gatherings because we simply feel that crying racism actually strengthens and lengthens this terrible sin against the image of God.
A racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
A bigot is a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.
A xenophobe is a person who is unduly fearful of what is foreign.
NONE of these three perspectives please God and all three are a great insult to being created in the image of God.
The racist, bigot, and xenophobe often struggle with unhealthy and sinful prejudice.
To be prejudiced is to hold a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
Most forms of prejudice are sin because they can not be true. People can not accurately be assessed by skin color, race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic standing, or height or weight.
Here at MCA Church we hold to a very simple and basic solution. Our highly effective plan won’t make headlines, may seem unsophisticated and kindergarten-ish.
We don’t mind. We are a simple folk. Our plan requires only three Jesus’ words to define.
Sorry. No long books to read. No degrees to be earned. No sensitivity training required.
Time for the great unveiling of MCA Church’s secret to our multi-ethnic success.
Can’t really say that I am a scholar on the last days, end times, prophecy, Revelation, or eschatological events.
However, I am the world’s leading expert on that sense I sometimes get in the pit of my stomach. Since much of creation is circular, East and West must meet somewhere. What may be viewed as opposites can actually be in perfect agreement. This is the reality rolling around in my soul.
Malachi said that a very strange “day” would come upon the earth and all living people. This “day,” is unlike any other because it is best identified by opposites. It is the “Great day of the Lord” and at the same time it is the “Dreadful day of the Lord.”
At the core of my being I am aware that a very dreadful “day” has come. Although I want to say that the worst is behind us, I know it isn’t. Darkness will increase. Death will increase. It will look like all is lost.
Surely, the Christians in the Middle East can shout “This is a dreadful day!”
With the past, present and future moving into the consummation of God’s revelation, today must also be identified as a great day.
One would think that the more “dreadful” increases the less “great” there can be. Sort of like the more rocks there are in the glass, the less water the glass can hold. This is not an accurate take on the great and dreadful day of the Lord. In fact, the more “dreadful” increases, the more “great” increases too. Both are growing at an exponential rate.
Is it going to get more dreadful or great? YES. Both will increase with mind-boggling speed.
Reading the news reconfirms this feeling in my soul. On every hand there are extremely dreadful things happening virtually every day. It is wise to feel the dread.
Yet everywhere I look I see the great hand of God at work in ways that inspire awe. Today is truly, in every way, the great day of the Lord. It is wise to feel the greatness.
Jesus said, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Our response on this great and dreadful day of the Lord is to straighten up and raise our heads because God’s redemption for us is drawing very near.
I have this feeling in my gut that our redemption is nearer now than it has ever been.
Lady R is as loved as a person can be. Her attitude, spirit, and determination impact hundreds of people each week. Recently she decided to return to the home of her father, sister, and brothers (her mother is already living the life in Heaven).
Many people have helped Lady R during her recent bout with illness. She is exceedingly thankful and appreciative.
Special thanks to all who have prayed, given time, items, money, and tons of love. You are all essential in her life and healing.
Lady R and her sister, two of her brothers, and father.
Lady R and her sister doing some paperwork relating to her visit there.
“We want to meet with you, Lord!” The MCA Worship Community hungers and thirsts for the presence and glory of God in our lives. Just like the Ark of the Covenant carried the glory of God, we long to carry his glory too.
Our weekend service order (Ordo) is intentionally designed from our understanding of the Bible’s teaching on how to meet with God. I sometimes wish we were named Muldoon Community Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the place where God and Moses met, in fact it was called The Tent of Meeting.
May the MCA Weekend Experience be our personal Tent of Meeting. Following are the notes from my November 3, 2013 message.
The Bible opens with two keys to life without God’s order: 1. Without form. 2. Void. We discover in life that the greater God’s influence, the greater the order.
The Holy Spirit brings order and substance out of things that are without form and void.
Our current teaching series is intended to support the fact that one’s weekend worship experience is vital in replacing the “without form and void” parts of our lives with an ordered substance from the Holy Spirit.
MCA Church’s weekend service collage presents a powerful ordered-ness in which you can rest, refresh, and rebuild.
Today’s teaching, “Ordo: The MCA Weekend Experience,” reminds us that God is glorious and grand beyond human comprehension (Exodus 15:11, 12) and He has revealed some of the ways in which He likes to be approached.
The MCA Weekend Experience is intentionally and purposefully designed to lead into a consecrated experience between you and God.
We begin each MCA weekend experience, on our way into a consecrated meeting with God, by joining together in celebration.
Psalm 100 reminds us that…
• The Lord is good
• His steadfast love endures forever
• His faithfulness endures to all generations
Therefore, we are given instruction on how to approach Him.
• Come into his presence with singing
• Enter his gates with thanksgiving
• Enter his courts with praise
Further Scriptural guidance on approaching God
• Clap, shout with loud songs of joy. Psalm 47:1
• Sing to the Lord a new song, and his praise… Isaiah 42:10
1. How fully engaged are you when our church is called to celebration?
2. How comfortable are you with approaching God the way He likes to be approached? Singing? Thanksgiving? Praise? Clapping? Shouting? New Songs?
The upside of not feeling well is the opportunity to study the Bible, worship, and pray. In some ways, my body simply began to tell me, “If you keep pushing this hard, I will start shutting down on you.” Since I need my body to cooperate for the fulfillment of my destiny, I requested a leave of absence. Graciously, our Board of Directors approved.
I have pledged to make my leave of absence a personal retreat with the Lord. When I awaken, I drink a healthy fruit smoothie created by Paula or Queilla, and then I settle into my “prayer chair” for a lengthy time of scripture meditation, prayer, worship, study, and listening to sermons.
In the Bible I am reading and meditating upon the Psalms one sentence at a time. The depth, breadth, and height of God’s word is profound. In studying, I am reading R.T. Kendall’s “The Sermon on the Mount: A verse by-verse look at the greatest teachings of Jesus.” This 414 page treatise (in the smallest font I have read in years) is exceedingly rich.
My worship time is a mixture of both old and new. I am finding Christy Nockels fresh take on classic Christian themes to be invigorating and inspirational. I also am re-visiting some of the songs that were foundational to my Christian formation. Songs run deep in my soul.
I have viewed and worshiped with this song often during my prayer times. To quote our much loved, Dr. Linfield Crowder, each time “I had a spell.” It is true, “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place.”
Every downside has a bigger and more glorious upside.
Hundreds of people are inspired by the ministry of Pastor Dobie Weasel. Recently, Dobie presented four talks at the MCA 2011 Conference on the Holy Spirit. The conference featured talks about “The Holy Spirit and Health.”
To order a set of DVD’s of the conference, please contact Vanda at 907 337-9495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was blessed to travel to American Falls, Idaho to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Linfield Crowder. What a joyous occasion. Dr. Crowder looked strong, healthy, and was full of his usual quick wit.
In addition to celebrating his birth, Dr. Crowder launched his new book, “The Therapeutic Value of Speaking in Tongues.” There are only 250 copies of this book in circulation, but more will be published soon.
I am hoping to have a case or two available for our Conference on the Holy Spirit in January 2011.
Our 2011-2016 MCA Ministry and Business Plan is on the docket for preparation and finalization. Prior to our final preparation of this strategic, dynamic, and life-giving conceptualization, I wanted to accomplish several things:
1. Before we can give strategic and life-giving direction, we must be assured that our best people are in the place of their best influence. One author suggests that the right people should be on the right bus and in the right seat on that bus. (Collins)
2. Before we can give strategic and life-giving direction, the right people, in the right seat, on the right bus, must have the right information.
Getting the right information is more challenging than it first appears, yet we believe the Holy Spirit has been leading us into the ‘truths’ we need for the strategic planning that is ahead. Part of gaining the right information is the teaching of Billy Hornsby. Your MCA ministry team will be digesting, for many months, Billy Hornsby’s teaching. Immediately we plan to put into action several of the components of Life-giving churches, as taught by Billy.
Additionally, we are applying the timely message of “How the Mighty Fall: and why some companies never give in (Collins),” to the strategizing, dreaming, planning, and implementation phases of our ministry.
Dale Fick, MCA Chief Operations Officer, is gathering the best ideas, from the best thinkers and practitioners, and preparing this living, breathing, and growing statement.
To listen to the four training sessions presented by Billy Hornsby, please direct your browser here.