Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

I never cease to be amazed at the stories I hear from people who come through the office with some kind of need that they believe we can help fill. Television soap operas, crime shows, and movies have nothing on the stories that are told to me and other ministers as we try to decide whether we can help with some need, or whether we need to refer them to someone else. Many of those we heard this month have been referred to us by others who are also “in the business” of helping, and have already vetted the stories.
You might skeptically ask me if the stories that are told to me are legitimate…truthful. I’m not certain that anyone could really make up some of the stories that we hear. People seem to have an amazing ability to slide farther and farther into the pit of despair and hopelessness, while not recognizing the danger signs along the way or the pathways out. The danger signs turn into warning signs the farther one goes into the pit, and those pathways out become fewer and more difficult the farther one falls until they just seem to disappear all together. There is no place to turn…no way out. And the danger signs that became warning signs now flash “GOTCHA” as one wallows in the bottom of the pit of human darkness and hopelessness.
There are untold millions of these people in the world today. There are more of these people in your culture and your neighborhood than you might think. Just look around you. They are there whether you know it or not.
These are people who expend incredible amounts of time and energy just surviving. They have no time or resources to enjoy life. They cannot sit back and relax. They are struggling, scrapping, clawing, just to survive the day or the night. And the demons within them continue to knock them down, wear them out, and grind them up. They are merciless, these demons, and they get their energy by sucking it out of the lives of those they torment. And just like terminal cancer, which eats up the very body that gives it life, these demons eventually kill their human host…but unlike the cancer they live to inhabit yet someone else and repeat the cycle.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Paul the Apostle in the Letter to the Christians in Ephesus)
However, what is even more amazing is watching the power of God working in the lives of these people to extricate them from the darkness and gloom. We see that from time to time, and rejoice & praise God each time we do. The God of heaven and earth reaches down and pulls the tortured soul up from the abyss, sets her (or him) up on firm ground, and directs her to the path God has planned for her. And as long as she follows that path, she can avoid again falling into the abyss. She can find peace. She can find contentment. She can find genuine love and real purpose. She can find herself as God created her.
This, I believe, is the only sure way to salvation. This, I believe, is the only way to be brought up out of the pit of doom. One cannot do it on his own. No other human agency can accomplish the task. Only God, who often works through human agency as well as the individual, can accomplish the otherwise un-accomplishable.

Note to the RiverWalk Congregation: As I’ve said before, YOU make this happen. YOU provide the means for us to continue to reach out to those who are hurting. YOU are partners in this ministry of rescue and reconciliation. YOU are the prayer warriors, the resource givers, and the encouragers. God provides the divine means, the power, the amazing grace, and the resources. YOU provide the human component that God works in and through.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Paul the Apostle in that same letter to the Ephesian Christians)

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