Kick Off Your Shoes in Church, Get Comfortable with Christ, 08AUG – #724

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724

Kick Off Your Shoes in Church, Get Comfortable with Christ, 08AUG

Get comfortable with Christ, He wants to serve you, so that we can serve the Lord together.

I am a scribe, now I have to tell you this “no shoes” story about the amazing moving of the Holy Spirit!!

I felt so blessed to be at VBS last night in the city, at a Worship Center where the Pastors are so welcoming…. I came because I love the Lord so much, want to encourage others and be encouraged myself that VBS is alive as a ministry. At this church, His Good News is lived there, not just preached but lived and shared. They are energized with the Holy Spirit… How could I pass up one more “VBS-fix” for the end of the summer…

Traffic said an hour and a half drive due to accidents – ugh – but I left work early, took back roads past multimillion dollar homes on “the mainline”,  a hot bed of money, to get to this old old city church which has a hot bed of SPIRIT – not money but SPIRIT. Do you think it is crazy to drive an hour and a half? I knew it was OK – especially after I watched the VBS “kidvid” video of a boy living in Africa, His name is “Fortune” and he walks an hour and a half to school every day – and back…  His mom is in a wheelchair, yet look at me, I am mobile, I am in a Subaru searching for the spirit – no, I’m not crazy at all…. I am energized to want to feel the Holy Spirit.

I LOVE to hear the ROAR of God’s LOVE…

I raced into VBS late, took a moment before getting into the sanctuary and I noticed the bathrooms are really really nice, a good creature comfort for us in America, and of course very important in a very high trafficked and alive church… Then in the sanctuary, I found the Savannah tribe… Actually, they found me. See, my last VBS this summer I was ALSO in the Savannah tribe – we are giraffes reaching out for a spiritual feeding!

As I was going up and down the decorated stairs of this very old church, narrow steps, chasing the Savannah crew and the Zion crew, I was praying that I would not trip. I had my big boots on, great for my orthotics and knees, NOT for navigating stairs… I wish I had taken my shoes off!

Funny thought, see, taking off your shoes in church is my theme of my week…

Not wearing shoes gets criticism in some “proper” churches, but in this worship center church it became the symbol of the real live Holy Spirit in the house…

In Jesus’s time – taking ones shoes off was normal – even blessed… In bible adventures, we heard this evening the story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples – a strong visual act of our Servant’s service. And barefoot earlier this week, I practice a praise band song that was authored by a man who never wore shoes when he preached – no shoes on Holy ground, he once said…  Plus Jesus washing the disciples feet causes me to remember a wedding washing ceremony between friends as blessed bride and groom, which was probably the MOST beautiful act of wedded love that I have ever seen, promising to serve one another as Christ served us. We are to be servants to where the Spirit leads us – servants to each other.

At the end of the night, I sat at the back of the sanctuary with one of the Pastors and Pastor J told me his great “no shoe story” involving his wife, Pastor D…

He told me after we sat for a moment and marveled at the teenagers AND local college student missionaries visiting and serving the Lord as guides – these were miracle gifts from God to help staff this VBS. I watched one dedicated student assigned to one escapee-type child, I was blessed to witness paraclete protection and presence in action. I told Pastor that my now college-aged daughter, was in church at age 4 and had no shoes on. Someone complained to me. I laughed it off, said “She’s 4!!! You are lucky she has clothes on!!”… That was truly judging of me as a mom and her as a child – and my daughter remembers the story to this day and it makes this mom’s heart ache for that scar. We should make children AND teens comfortable in church… We should show forgiveness and mercy.

At that point, Pastor J was chomping at the bit to tell me his shoe story… About ten years ago they took a $100,000 broken down church,  revitalizing it – but ONLY enough to NOT divert money from serving the people, it is not about the building, the building is ONLY a tool… They worked hard to prep the church, they just didn’t have time to upgrade the bathrooms before a big event with a guest famous evangelist… He came early to prep to preach, his wife stayed back at the hotel settling in for the 3-day event… Pastor J told me that Pastor D started preaching and she kicked her shoes off – comfortable  with Christ…. The evangelist called his wife immediately and said to come right over – this place is the real deal. They had been to so many church events and he knew the Holy Spirit was alive here...

During the set up for the event, Pastor J had apologized to the evangelist for not finishing the bathroom upgrade in time for the event… at the end of this spirit-moving weekend, the evangelist preached that he knew there was $20,000 in the room to make that bathroom renovation happen. HE EVEN KNEW THE NAME OF THE PERSON with the money.  Pastor J was stunned, thought “is this hocus pocus?” Nope, the evangelist spoke HIS OWN NAME. The evangelist himself donated $20,000 of his own money to renovate the bathrooms in this spirit-driven church… WOW…

It was because that evangelist saw how when Pastor D’s shoes came off He witnessed a true moment of her being COMFORTABLE WITH CHRIST – she was ready to emphatically share the Good News. The global church grows when Christ is shared…

We should be worrying about the salvation of spiritual souls not shoe soles…

We need to get back to the heart of worship – it is about Jesus and nothing else… Jesus understands our trials, our hopes and our pain. We teach love, we are to be that forgiving love, that servant love. Jesus would ask us to take our shoes off to wash our feet. We are the recipients of His service, His daily bread… He died for us, He lives for us… He serves… He heals… So should we.

Don’t worry about anything else, get comfortable with Christ…

Amen

PS – On the way home I drove barefoot, as I often do, and I thought of the POWERFUL preaching teaching in the Bible Adventures station – how Jesus died for our sins. He was brutality beaten, whipped, spit on, mocked, nailed to the cross for humiliating death… “My Jesus! They did this to My Jesus!” – our teacher exclaimed – oh how passionate, the kids paid attention! And so did the grandmas! She reminded us that not only did Jesus know this was going to happen, He warned His disciples, He asked for them to stay awake and then He was forgotten at the Garden of Gethsemane. After Jesus was arrested, they scattered, they were gone, they left Jesus hanging – just like when our friends betray us, scatter and go… Jesus understands! Jesus know ALL our pain. Jesus is Lord and “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted”.

Jesus knew His death was coming and still chose to proceed at His Father’s command, BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU AND ME. Jesus knew His Father’s plan to reunite all of us with Him. Jesus’s death for our lives…. roll the stone away… Jesus ROSE – “when life is sad, God is Good”

The kids won prizes and candy for being quizzed about the story… We have all won LIFE, without even trying… Now that is a servant for you – Jesus saves…


John 13:1-17 (NIV)

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

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