“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteousness person is very powerful in its effect.” James 5:16
Our family visited a new church today. We have heard about it and wanted to check it out. We had read their core values and they are based on truth, God’s Word. We unloaded the van, walked through the doors and were immediately welcomed by kind people. Since they are a branch off of a larger church, they are small and meeting in an elementary school. The simple approach to church was refreshing. We take up two rows and begin to sing. Just a few instruments and beautiful words. The pastor is teaching a series entitled “Home” and based this sermon on 1 Peter 5:8-10. Powerful words were not watered down and we were not entertained. The goal is transformation, for us to look more like Christ when we leave than when we walked in.
The sermon ended much too soon and we sang a bit more. Then the most interesting thing happened. They break everyone into smaller groups and call them “tribes”. We had no idea where to go, but were quickly directed to a group. I have to mention that the younger kids go to their class during the teaching time and then come back for the close of the service. It is fun worshiping together. Back to the tribes. We circle up and each person is asked to confess in one word a sin they struggle with. Mine is pride. Then the most beautiful thing followed. We took communion. Each sin confessed, the death of Christ, the blood that poured from His body, paid the price for each. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24). This is GOOD NEWS!!!
If that were not enough, the church stays after and eats lunch together. Everyone brings things to share and tables were full of food. This so reminded me of the early church that formed after Christ returned to Heaven. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42). We decided not to stay, even though we felt welcome. Adding a family of 9 without bringing something just went against my southern roots. Instead, we ate together as a family and talked about the morning. Our oldest made a statement that really stuck with me. She said, “You can’t hide there.” Interesting observation and so good. When you know who you are because of the accepted life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you desire a life of righteousness and a home shaped by this love. Hiding sin does not fit in this loving, secure truth. The only hiding that remains is, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3). My life covered by His sinless life. What an amazing exchange, don’t you think?
*You could wear a name tag and this child decided to go with something different today. He kept saying, “It’s Jimmy, with a Y.” Made us laugh every time!