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Long ago and far away, I was the pastor of a small church in a tiny wheat town in central Washington State. While we were there, a Christian commune called the Christian House moved in and bought a defunct hotel. Laurie and I were suspicious. It was the time of dangerous cults. However, one winter day a member of the Christian House came by and helped me put up Visqueen on the exterior of the leaky, chapel-style windows of the church building. I was impressed by his kindness, and Laurie and I visited the group soon thereafter. To make a long story short, we started going over to the hotel on Friday nights to worship with them. It was wonderful.

Sometime after that relationship began, on a Sunday morning service at our church, one of our friends stood up and said everyone no longer wanted me as pastor because of our involvement with the Christian House. Representing them, he told me to stop, or I was out.

I resigned.

And started looking for a job.

Sometime after this, Laurie and I and our two little children were at the Christian House at Friday night worship, and one of the single female members asked to be prayed for. She didn’t say why. Some of the sisters gathered round her, and we all began to pray. During the previous worship time, although I’d been singing along with everyone else, I felt zero connection with the Lord and very unspiritual. In spite of this, the Lord spoke to me as I joined everyone in prayer for this woman. He said, “Go tell her that just as I raised Lazarus from the dead, I will raise her from the dead.”

Oh my.

I was a pastor whom my own church had rejected. I felt like I had sought some refuge among these brothers and sisters after that life-changing event, so I thought of myself as a bit of a wounded brother. I considered this sister an elder in the fellowship. I was supposed to tell her she was dead? So, I said back to the Lord, “I’m not worthy to say this to her.” Immediately, there was an answer. “You will never be worthy enough to speak my words.”

I got up and told her what the Lord instructed me.

Not long after, this sister confessed to having sex with the fatherly elder and leader of this fellowship. The results were predictable. If this man had had sex with this woman, it put into doubt all that he done and taught before committing this sin. He wasn’t present at the meeting when the prophecy was given. He was down in California with another single sister. Although it seems naïve looking back on it, no one thought anything was amiss. This grandfatherly man and Christian sister would never do such a thing. As it turns out, when the elders called him and told him they knew what he had done, he said he loved the woman he was currently traveling with and wanted to divorce his wife. It wasn’t long before the House began to fall apart. A very sad, heart-wrenching time. People started leaving, and that was the end of the Christian House in this small town. However, the stories of many of those who had lived there still live on as they love and serve God today with all their hearts.

In the first book I wrote, Deeper: A Call to Discipleship, I wrote about this incident. The female editor couldn’t believe that the Lord would say such a thing to me, about never being worthy to speak His words. However, our worthiness before God has nothing to do who we are based upon feelings of spirituality or the lack thereof. The basis of my disagreement with God was that according to the way I viewed myself at the time, I wasn’t worthy to speak.

But He was sending me in His name, not mine.

And He is worthy.

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Revelation 5:11–12).1

Amen. Lord Jesus, bless Your name forever and ever.

1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge.

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