He was a small-town boy, who grew up under the tutelage of his father. As is the case with so many young men who are born and raised with small town mentality, everyone expected this young man to quietly follow in his father's footsteps. Surely he would be a carpenter just like his father.
People who take radical steps often begin like the young man I'm writing about today. Often everyone embraces them until they step out of what we deem "normal" and begin to make a statement. It is when they start to "go against the crowd" that many people begin to distance themselves from that individual.
We've all known individuals who seem like they have been given an extra measure of compassion and we have appreciated them for it. But what happens when they begin to rally against the status quo? What happens when they begin to start a movement and even establish an entire group of followers who embrace their "new" ideas?
Rev. Duane Deckert
By now you may have figured out that I'm writing about a young man whose name is Jesus. It was Jesus who began a movement challenging the religious zealots of his day. It was Jesus, fully man and fully God, who radically proclaimed the great love and mercy freely given to all who believe that He is the son of man and the son of God.
It was Jesus who started a movement we know today as the church. There are many good entities that you can become a part of; many will benefit you in one way or another. But when the chips are down and you need a safe place, there is no other place like the arms of Jesus.
He said "Come unto me all you heavy laden and I will give you rest." For many it can be difficult to really "feel" Jesus' arms. I believe that's why Jesus commissioned his disciples to start the church. The church is to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." I don't know what kind of "hell" you may be going through in your life right now. And I certainly am unaware of any solutions you may have tried. But have you tried going to a church where Christ's self-sacrificing love is there among people just like you? People who have and are experiencing their own struggles but have found refuge and hope among people who will accept them as they are. To truly know Jesus is to know that you are loved, that your past can be forgiven.
Sept. 16 is National Back to Church Sunday. It's a great Sunday to visit a church, even if it has been years since you've been there. Why not visit that church that God brings to your mind, you may just find a support system that will help you through the ups and downs of life.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.