"We Don’t Wear Wedding Rings in This Church"

"We Don’t Wear Wedding Rings in This Church" It happened a number of years ago in one of our Northwest Adventist churches. A young professional couple had slipped away from the Lord and from the church. But the Holy Spirit didn’t give up and kept impressing them that they should reconnect. I can only imagine the trauma it must be to come back to worship in a church after you've been absent for a significant period of time. But finally this couple worked up sufficient courage to attend. They were greeted in the lobby by a seemingly friendly person who quickly sized them up and said, “We’re glad you’re here, but… we don’t wear wedding rings in this church"—not exactly the father's response when His prodigal son returned. They were shocked and devastated and headed for the door. Needless to say they didn’t come back. Thankfully, after a few weeks they decided to try once more but at a different church. Here they were genuinely welcomed and embraced. They experienced the love of true worship. And over time they became strong, active members. I had the privilege of making their friendship; it was some time later that they told me about the embarrassing situation which could have kept them out of church permanently. That incident reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Dear God, please make all the bad people good and make all the good people nice.” Ever feel like that? Unfortunately, all of us have probably felt the pain of the unkind words from one of the “saints.” Unfortunately, if we were willing to admit it, all of us have probably at one time or another inflicted the pain of unkind words: at work, at church, or more likely, at home. A familiar quotation from the pen of inspiration states, "If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tender-hearted and pitiful, there would be 100 conversions to the truth where now there is only one." 1 In this issue of the GLEANER you will read about different worship elements. The facts are whether we prefer worshipping with the happy clappies (to quote my friend Jac) or the frozen chosen…if our church doesn’t have a warmth of genuine friendliness and unconditional love, then we are worshipping God in vain. Repulsed by Bible Truth One Sabbath after preaching I was greeting the congregation at the sanctuary door. A lady shook my hand and handed me a note. I stuck it in my pocket and promptly forgot about it until the next time I wore that suit. Reading her message stopped me cold. This is what it said. “When the need for love and acceptance from the people in the church isn’t met—to hear a sermon about ‘Bible truth’ is repulsive. "I’m one of the ones who has had a hard time coming to church in the past two years because I’ve felt more lonely in a crowd of people with no love.” Wow, could that lady be a member in my church? Could she be a member in your church? Let us determine that however we worship it will be done in genuine love and care for those who worship with us. 1. Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9,189.

"We Don’t Wear Wedding Rings in This Church"

It happened a number of years ago in one of our Northwest Adventist churches. A young professional couple had slipped away from the Lord and from the church. But the Holy Spirit didn’t give up and kept impressing them that they should reconnect. I can only imagine the trauma it must be to come back to worship in a church after you've been absent for a significant period of time. But finally this couple worked up sufficient courage to attend.

They were greeted in the lobby by a seemingly friendly person who quickly sized them up and said, “We’re glad you’re here, but… we don’t wear wedding rings in this church"—not exactly the father's response when His prodigal son returned. They were shocked and devastated and headed for the door. Needless to say they didn’t come back.

Thankfully, after a few weeks they decided to try once more but at a different church. Here they were genuinely welcomed and embraced. They experienced the love of true worship. And over time they became strong, active members.

I had the privilege of making their friendship; it was some time later that they told me about the embarrassing situation which could have kept them out of church permanently.

That incident reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Dear God, please make all the bad people good and make all the good people nice.” Ever feel like that? Unfortunately, all of us have probably felt the pain of the unkind words from one of the “saints.” Unfortunately, if we were willing to admit it, all of us have probably at one time or another inflicted the pain of unkind words: at work, at church, or more likely, at home.

A familiar quotation from the pen of inspiration states, "If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tender-hearted and pitiful, there would be 100 conversions to the truth where now there is only one." 1

In this issue of the GLEANER you will read about different worship elements. The facts are whether we prefer worshipping with the happy clappies (to quote my friend Jac) or the frozen chosen…if our church doesn’t have a warmth of genuine friendliness and unconditional love, then we are worshipping God in vain.

Repulsed by Bible Truth

One Sabbath after preaching I was greeting the congregation at the sanctuary door. A lady shook my hand and handed me a note. I stuck it in my pocket and promptly forgot about it until the next time I wore that suit. Reading her message stopped me cold. This is what it said. “When the need for love and acceptance from the people in the church isn’t met—to hear a sermon about ‘Bible truth’ is repulsive.

"I’m one of the ones who has had a hard time coming to church in the past two years because I’ve felt more lonely in a crowd of people with no love.”

Wow, could that lady be a member in my church? Could she be a member in your church? Let us determine that however we worship it will be done in genuine love and care for those who worship with us.

1. Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9,189.

April 01, 2007 / Editorial
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