The thief on the cross did not get baptized, either in water or the Holy Spirit and he didn’t go through a series of classes to be included among the chosen few who were members of the congregation. He didn’t even say, “I’m a sinner, please save me”. All he said was, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus’ response was, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Nothing more than that. Jesus wasn’t looking at the criminal hanging on the cross, ragged and bloodied and filthy; he was looking the seed of faith in the heart of a lost soul. All too often churches, and Christians in general, focus more on the outward appearance and position of people in their midst rather than at the heart of a sinner in need of mercy and grace. We are all sinners and we all need Jesus. It’s that simple….
I’ve sat in many churches and even served in a few. I have been the one sitting in the back row not wanting to be seen but longing to be noticed, and the one behind the microphone unable to hide but desperately not wanting to be judged. Both […]