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Letter to The Bridge from Illinois

August 9, 2009

INCREDIBLE day again at The Bridge today.  Wow.  More on that later… but WOW!

Bridge Family, because we experience it all the time it’s easy for us to forget the power of the loving, Biblical, Christ-exulting, gospel-saturated community that we have.  Are we perfect – HECK NO!  But we are experiencing something truly unique and powerful.  To remind you just how healing a Jesus-centered church can be to someone, I wanted to share a letter with you that I got in the mail today about The Bridge.  For the anonymity of the person who wrote it, I’ve omitted names and specifics.  But your love for Jesus is doing incredible things… even on the internet!

________

“Good afternoon from the hot and humid plains of Southern Illinois.  I’ve been following The Bridge’s blog as of late.  As I read of your participation in community groups, of reaching out to others, of making people feel welcome, and of truly living out your faith by demonstrating the love of God, I can’t help but be encouraged.  See, over the last years I’ve experienced little aside from the darker side of Christianity.  That’s to say, I watched in horror as my home church split.  I saw individuals that I trusted and respected engage in gossip, lying, deceit, and slander against other members of the congregation – against other Christians.  More than that, I personally felt victim to gossip and slanderous statements by other Christians with whom I served in a position of ministry.

Without going into detail, I learned that one can only experience so much before hope grows tired and faith grows cold.  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t questioned God’s sovereignty, commitment to justice, his Word, and in my darker moments his existence itself.

I note all this to lay the foundation for expressing my gratitude at your (The Bridge’s) desire to ensure people feel welcome in your church – your spiritual family.  I know how excited you are regarding the relocation of The Bridge.  Though I haven’t ever been able to attend personally, I wanted to help support your church because of how encouraging it’s been to read about the church’s passion for ministry given my recent experience.

I hope the relocation process progresses smoothly and that your church remains passionate about the ministry opportunities God has prepared for you.  If you ever find yourself looking for a good cup of coffee i Illinois, let me know.”

What do you say? – How can we encourage a guy that’s been hurt by the church today?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. shelley permalink
    August 10, 2009 10:39 am

    This brings tears to my eyes — to see how the body of Christ can get so far from where they should be & hurt their own so deeply, AND to see the power of GOD and the heart of His people working THROUGH A COMPUTER SCREEN! That God’s work can be seen & felt 100s of miles away by someone who has never met us face to face, but with whom we share the same Father.

    May God bless you and be real to you and bring healing to this situation-

  2. August 10, 2009 12:36 pm

    I want to tell you that I’m sorry you experienced such pain within the precious church. That the bride of Christ would tear down members of its body and cause destruction within itself is sobering, and it’s even more sad that we see it going on in churches all around us, not just yours. And it happens in the bible belt too. Wait! Is Illinois considered part of the Bible belt? I don’t think it is. One thing that I was thinking about when I was reading your letter is that “this could be us”. Without grace, we, sadly, are all capable of the very same things that you described, and we can say “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” or we can continue to say “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” and accept his grace daily.

    Please don’t let this painful time keep you from seeking union with the body of Christ. I am sure it must be difficult to open up and share again, but the Lord gave us this gift of community for a reason, even if He allows us to experience pain within it.

    And about that cup of coffee, the same goes here. Even if we don’t know your name yet, if ever the Lord brings you out our way (which he very well may!) in this time or thereafter, I believe a cup of coffee would definitely be in order!

    Grace to you and yours!

  3. Mary Bea permalink
    August 11, 2009 10:46 am

    As always Andrea you put things in just the right words. Being away from the Bridge on several occasions this summer has made me appreciate how different our family is…the fact that that has reached someone in IL is both amazing and exciting…perhaps what is born in this IL heart from this blog will start a movement there that will just continue to spread…how cool is that? After reading this letter an old song by Keith Green kept coming to mind the lyrics say…”Please try and overlook my human side, I know I’m such a bad example and you know I’m so full of pride. But Jesus isn’t like that, no He’s perfect all the way, I guess that’s why we need Him cause by ourselves there’s just no way.” I’m learning everyday what it really means to “breathe grace”…and learning that that means inhaling and exhaling!

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