I love the church and I have been disgusted with the church. The church has been my biggest source of comfort and my biggest source of pain. I have found the best people I know in the church and I have found the worst people I know in the church. The church has made me proud and the church has made me embarrassed. The church has been my refuge from the world and it has brought the world to me. The church has taught me the Bible and I have, at times, had to learn the Bible despite what the church was teaching me. The church has shown me Jesus and the church has shown me Satan.
The church has fallen short of its calling. Even though the church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), it is also inhabited by people. As the church, we are to be a fellowship of people who are the body of Christ. At times, we represent Jesus well and at other times we fail miserably at it.
Tony Campolo says, “The church is the light of the world, and like any other light sometimes it attracts bugs.” The longer I am in ministry the more I understand that quote. The church is both great and pitiful at the same time.
The church is this walking paradox that is the greatest source of positive change in this world as well as the greatest obstacle to change. We are often clueless to how much the church has influenced so many great characteristics of our culture. We simply take these characteristics for granted today. At the same time, there are some in the church who fought the very changes that have made such a positive difference in our world.
I love the church. It is my biggest source of comfort. It is where I have met the best people on the planet. It has made me proud. It has been my place of refuge. It has taught me the fundamental truths of the Bible. The church has shown me Jesus and Jesus is all these things and more to me. Without the church, I would not have met Jesus. Jesus gives me life to the full, an abundant life, a real eternal life and a more and better life than I ever dreamed of.
So, thank you church! The many churches I have been a part of over the years. The one that birthed and raised me, the ones that taught and groomed me, the ones that have inspired and empowered me, and all the ones that will continue to work in my life as long as I am on this earth. I will never turn my back on you.You are not always perfect, but neither am I. One of the big reasons you are not perfect is because I am a part of you. With all your spots, blemishes, and shortcomings I would rather be a part of you than any other group of people this world has to offer.
So, church, no matter what happens, I will never leave you nor forsake you!
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Tommy Lanham is a dynamic, award-winning speaker who has been training individuals and organizations to reach their God-given potential for 25 years. With a unique blend of Ziglar motivation and ragamuffin faith, Tommy delivers powerful, life changing messages filled with humor, hope, and enthusiasm.
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