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Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’



   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

Don’t forget about the Family Fun Fest tonight! See you, with our lawn chairs, at 6:00 PM.

Back in the 1990s I went on a missions trip to Manaus, Brazil. We were dedicating a church that New Hope had helped to finance. This new church building was a church plant from a large inner city Presbyterian Church in that city. On Sunday morning, we attended that larger church, where I was asked to share a testimony and Kim Tracy, from Defiance, Ohio, was to share a song on his guitar. Just prior to the service, with the sanctuary pretty full, Kim got up to do a sound check.

When the monitor volume was OK, Kim looped his index finger and thumb together to signal “OK”. He did that several times, until the pastor came over to him and said, “Don’t do that. In our culture that’s an obscene gesture”. He had no idea he was giving such a gesture to the entire congregation. That was like lifting his middle finger to a crowd of several hundred people.

We all got a good chuckle out of it, but the pastor and Kim Tracy were not amused. He was mortified.

There are things that are culturally acceptable one place, but unacceptable in another. If we’re going to speak to sinners about the grace of God, we must do so in terms they find acceptable from their cultural perspective. It just doesn’t warm people’s hearts when we condemn their sin. What warms their hearts is when they know they have failed, yet we accept them anyway because of Christ.

People want acceptance, not condemnation. Go win someone over with love.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

We received word that Jeff Munsey went home to be with the Lord Tuesday morning. Jeff has been attending church for a number of years, coming first with his mother, Sharon, with whom I graduated from High School.

Jeff had an interest in softball and played on our church’s softball team. Jeff had a bit of a handicap and was pretty clumsy out on the field, but he longed to belong. The team members took him under their wing and coached him along the way. He had his turn at bat and worked hard at it, but everyone knew he would get “out”. Jeff was a liability to the team, but he was accepted. After awhile, the opposing teams on the church league, who were sometimes very competitive, saw what was happening and began to cut Jeff some slack, and play along.

Everyone worked together to make Jeff feel like he belonged and was part of the team. That’s what was important, not winning. But they all went home as winners.

Is there someone you know who really wants to belong, but can’t? Give them a hand, make them feel a part, and everybody wins. What will you remember about Jeff Munsey?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

H. A. Ironside, the great California preacher of the early 1900s, once told this story: “One morning I was startled to see an old ewe loping across the road, followed by the strangest looking lamb I had ever seen. It had six legs, and the last two were hanging useless as though paralyzed.

“The ewe’s own lamb had died, and this sex-legged lamb was an orphan that needed a mother’s care. But at first the bereft ewe refused to have anything to do with the orphan.  So the herders took the fleece from the lamb that had died and placed it over the living lamb. Thus covered, the lamb was brought again to the ewe. This time she seemed thoroughly satisfied and adopted it as her own.”

He concluded, “This is a beautiful picture of the grace of God to sinners. We are all outcasts and have no claim on His love. But God’s own Son, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29), has died for us, and now we who believe are dressed in the righteousness of the Lamb who died.”

Think about what this means to you today.

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Uncategorized

In his book The Word: Jewish Wisdom Through Time, Noah benShea tells the following Yiddish folk tale:

An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. Soon a traveler approached and asked him, “What kind of people live here?” The old man answered, “What kind of people lived in the place where you came from?”

For the old man knew that if the traveler answered, “Only bad people lived in the place where I came from,” then the old man would reply, “Continue on; you will find only bad people here.”

But if the traveler answered, “Only good people lived in the place where I came from,” then the old man would say, “Enter, for here, too, you will find only good people.”

We’ll typically find people to be exactly what we expect them to be. And God only has good thoughts for each of us. What will He find in us today?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Love One Another

The following letter to the Editor was published in the Focus on the Family Magazine for August 1994:

“Thank you for your recent radio program, “Hope for the Homosexual” which aired in April. I am a former lesbian. After many years in the gay community, I joined a Christian women’s Bible study, where I met happy, healthy, normal Christian women who treated me with respect. I’d never had my emotional needs met before. My mother had rejected me and the lesbian community was always looking for “lovers.” Being around real Christians was the most healing experience I’ve had. I haven’t listened to Focus on the Family broadcasts regularly, but after today, I intend to never miss it again!

What an example of Christians acting out their Christian love toward an unlovely person. But that mutual respect earned her attention. Let’s be careful not to let our personal prejudices contaminate the Lord’s love for the lost.

What is your take on the above story?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Gift of Encouragement

In his book As Iron Sharpens Iron, a great book on the power of mentoring, author Howard Hendricks tells this story of his troubled home background:

“By the fifth grade, I was bearing all the fruit of a kid who feels insecure, unloved, and pretty angry at life. In other words, I was tearing the place apart. However, my teacher Miss Simon apparently thought that I was blind to this problem, because she regularly reminded me, ‘Howard, you are the worst behaved child in this school!’

So tell me something I don’t already know! I thought to myself, as I proceeded to live up (or down) to her opinion of me.

One time I got so out of hand that she physically grabbed me, shoved me into my desk, tied me to my seat with a rope, and wrapped tape around my mouth. ‘Now you will sit still and be quiet!’ she announced triumphantly. So what else could I do?

Needless to say, the fifth grade was probably the worst year of my life. Finally I was graduated – for obvious reasons. But I left with Miss Simon’s words ringing in my ears: ‘Howard, you are the worst behaved child in this school!’

You can imagine, then, my expectations upon entering the sixth grade, where my teacher was Miss Noé. The first day of class she went down the roll, and it wasn’t long before she came to my name. ‘Howard Hendricks,’ she called out, glancing from her list to where I was sitting with my arms folded, just waiting to go into action. She looked me over for a moment, and said, ‘I’ve heard a lot about you.’ Then she smiled and added, ‘But I don’t believe a word of it!”

I tell you, that moment was a fundamental turning point, not only in my education, but in my life. Suddenly, unexpectedly, someone believed in me. For the first time in my life, someone saw potential in me. Miss Noé put me on special assignments. She gave me little jobs to do. She invited me to come in after school to work on my reading and arithmetic. She challenged me with higher standards.

I had a hard time letting her down. In fact, one time I got so involved in one of her homework assignments that I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning working on it! Eventually my father came down the hall and said, ‘What’s the matter, son, are you sick?’

‘No, I’m doing my homework,’ I replied.

He kind of blinked and rubbed his eyes, not quite sure whether he was awake. He’d never heard me say anything like that before. Finally he shook his head and said, ‘You’re sick!’

What made the difference between fifth grade and sixth? The fact that someone was willing to give me a chance. Someone was willing to believe in me while challenging me with higher expectations. That was risky, because there was no guarantee that I would honor Miss Noé’s trust.”

Do you have any experience with you own little Howard?

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   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Spiritual Blessings

To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Ephesians 1:6). God the Father is the topic here, so “the One He loves” is His Son, Jesus. The King James Version is a little clearer here when it says, “which he hath made us accepted in the Beloved“.

When Jesus paid the price for our sin by dying on the cross in our place, our sin was atoned for and we entered into peace with God. We, who are sinners, were made acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. No, we’re not perfect, but God covered our sins when Jesus absorbed the just penalty on the cross. That’s redemption.

You and I don’t deserve it, but thank God we receive it. You are accepted!