I was riding along yesterday and was “scanning” through local radio stations when this “country classic” came on. I’ve never heard the song before in my life. As I endured the slow twangy ballad, I was intrigued by the story and I thought to myself, “Surely this kind of thing hasn’t REALLY happened.” I didn’t want to believe that “Christians” would actually turn a person away from the doors of a church.
Then yesterday evening I got a call from one of our RiverChurch family members Tim. He was asking if I knew of someone who could get him a sports coat for a wedding he had been invited to. I told him I’d ask around and he said, “I know I don’t say it much but I’m truly thankful for my RiverChurch family, because there was a time when I wasn’t allowed to enter a church building.”
“Really? What do you mean?” I asked him.
“Yep” he replied.
“You ever heard that song ‘The Outlaws Prayer?’”
I was in shock. “Um. . . yeah. . .I literally heard it for the first time today and actually thought it was kind of a farfetched way to make Christians look bad!”
“Nope.” he said. “That kind of stuff happens. Happened to me and I never thought I’d ever go back to another church again.”
Well, He did and I’m glad every time I get to see him on a Sunday morning.
I just can’t wrap my head around why anyone wold tell someone else they couldn’t come into our worship gatherings?
Didn’t Jesus say that it was the sick that needed the doctor not the well? Wasn’t his purpose in coming to seek and save those who were lost? Why would we turn away the very people that He wants to save? I can’t even . . . .
God, is this sort of thing really STILL happening? Are we turning people away because they don’t look like us, smell like us, talk like us? Are we pushing away the very people that you are trying to draw close to you? GOD, PLEASE FORGIVE US! Forgive us for every person who has wanted to see you, hear you, be near you, but we showed them a fake picture of you, drowned out your voice, or pushed them to the periphery. I fear we may have blood on our hands, God! This Sunday, may all who are searching, may anyone who’s asking if you are real, if you care, if you love them, may they walk into any church, any where and may they see you. Father this is MY Outlaw’s Prayer.
Now take a minute, endure it if you have to, but listen to this story in a song:
Oh yeah . . . . and if you’re close by and have a black or gray 48L sports coat, I know a guy who needs to go to a wedding and he wants to look good!