I am a broken messenger.
I was once a saved, washed and squeaky-clean Christian.
I obeyed every rule that I THOUGHT God had laid down for me to follow. I was a zealot…falling into the category of being strict with people that wanted to follow Jesus and made sure they measured up to my expectations. This former little Catholic boy…a zealot!
I raised my hands and spoke in tongues. I laid hands on people to be delivered, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. I judged people who didn’t follow the same strict rules that I followed.
In other words…I was a real prick.
I KNEW that I was right with God. I pushed through rejection by others and made my way into so called “Christian leadership”. I moved up into the upper echelons (so I thought) of Christian leadership by becoming a missionary.
If you had looked at me from the outside, I was a picture-perfect example of a Christian…at least my church’s brand of Christian.
This is not how I started out.
I fell in love with Jesus when I was 15. I had a hunger for the Bible and loved that I was forgiven. I would sing to the Lord in my little apartment deep into the night, pretending that the pillar in my living room was Jesus and I hugged it. I wanted to be like Him and follow Him forever.
But, believing the message in the early eighties, that I had to “press in” to become more in Christ, I began to conform to behaviors that would tell others I was a “mature” Christian. I began to “fake it until I could Make it!”
And, while I know it sounds very unforgiving and harsh…just like a small-time thief sent to jail who says, “I had to go to jail to learn how to be a criminal”, I had to go into “fulltime Christian service” to learn how to be an imposter. This is no judgement on other men and women of integrity in full time Christian service…but it was true for me.
But, beneath the surface, there were issues bubbling up that I had not given to God.
I was married but… due to my lack of surrendering all to Jesus, my heritage of family members from generations past, and my uncontrolled libido… I fell into adultery. Not once…but I held the world record.
Of course, it didn’t start out that way…just curiosities that grew into fantasies and then into realities. I had a pornography problem…things were really ugly.
Of course, I had to lie in order to hide my sin. I had to continue to put on a good front, while living a lie.
No One found out about it. I became so broken and unhappy and convicted… that I simply outed myself.
And, because I had done this while acting as a pastor, it was doubly worse. I had violated and betrayed followers of Jesus who had trusted my integrity. And, because of this…I am never to seek leadership or pastor another church. Some take issue with this, but I know what I know.
There are many who look at the destruction in the wake of my sin, my ultimate divorce, and condemn me to hell. VERY close relatives have separated themselves from me and vow to never speak to me again. I am a curse to them. It affected my children… I don’t blame them. What I did back on those days was horrible.
But, even in my deepest and darkest place…Jesus came to me and forgave me…again.
There are consequences for our disobedience. That Gospel isn’t preached much but be sure that your sin will find you out. It always does.
The more we are entrusted with, the greater the requirement for holiness, accountability, the greater the need for integrity. And I would rather be benched than to miss out on an eternity with Jesus.
And so, I write.
We are all broken messengers. Like Kris Kristofferson says in a song, “Some of us get loster than others.” But the truth is, we are all broken messengers. However…I know who I am, and WHOSE I am.
I am a forgiven child of the King. I am not and will never be a perfect human being…only Jesus is that. I am a fully restored member of the family of God. You can see my flaws in my writing…I don’t talk like a lot of Christians…I cuss a little and I more than occasionally let my mouth run reckless.
I am not the kind of Christian that asks you to follow my example.
Regardless of how black your sin…even in the midst of the Christian assembly…and others are picking up rocks to stone you…Jesus never throws a single rock.
I have been forgiven much, and I love much. Jesus is SO good to me…and He picked me up like He did Mary Magdalene and said, “Go and sin no more.”
Today, I am a faithful husband, a loving father and a proud grandfather. My grandchildren actually love me! Can you believe that?!
But I walk with a limp, a very pronounced limp and I always will.
What I want is more of Jesus. What I need is more of Jesus, and who I seek is simply JESUS.
I have tasted dirt from the ground where I fell. And, while I am unlovely and not anyone of note in the Kingdom…I am His… and he is not ashamed of me…OR of YOU.
Regardless of what you have done…Come to the fountain…my friends…run to the fountain. He will forgive abundantly…even a wretch like me. God uses broken messengers the best.
I love you faithful reader…and I do not take you for granted.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and ALL that is within me…BLESS His Holy name.