Mar 1, 2016

Cigarettes at Church...Why It's a Good Thing

Last week, as I was pulling into church, I noticed a group of men in the parking lot who were lighting up...and I was thankful.

I am thankful to be part of a church where people feel welcome no matter where they are in their spiritual journey.  No matter what addiction, heartbreak, issues or problems they're dealing with...we want them to come.

The church is meant to be a hospital where broken, hurt people come to get help...not a museum where perfect Christians are on display.  I'd rather be part of a church that smells like smoke than a church that smells like moth balls because preserving the past is more important to them than reaching people who need Jesus.

If your church has people entering who smell like smoke...if your church has people entering who are hung over...if your church has people entering who are going through divorce...if your church has people entering who are living together unmarried...if your church has people entering who just got out of jail...if your church has people entering who are struggling with same sex attractions...if your church has people entering who are addicted to drugs...then you've got a church where Jesus is.

The people who smoked...the people who got drunk...the people who were adulterers...the people who were thieves...the people who weren't welcome in the temple...those are the people Jesus spent time with.  He was the friend of sinners.

When people discover they can come as they are, without judgmental stares or condescending attitudes, they can then experience the life-changing grace of God that will transform them from the inside out. 

You have cigarettes at your church?  Praise God!  That's a good thing!

2 comments:

I used to be in the same space as you, reasoning lke you until i was confronted with the problem arising from influence.
There is a risk of influence because by beholding we become changed.
My one and only brother got hooked as a young boy, because of these influences - experimenting with smoking and graduating to more serious things because he saw others doing them.

He has now lost everything and remains in the world. The more these influences remain within reach, the easier it is to just reach out to them. While I may respect your view because you may be biased towards a certain idea, I pray that those who do things that can cause others to err, stay as far away from them as possible. Better if they were tied onto a millstone and thrown to the depths.

I view church as a place for a positive influence, a place where God's presence should be respected. We all need a place that is free from these bad influences, and that is only possible God's Holy church.

The Israelites used to sanctify themselves when coming into His presence or when preparing to meet God, the King of the universe. They had to put away this and that. He is still the same and should not be trivialised. Why should smokers, etc be exempted?

I believe that all who name the name of God ought to depart from sin.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think you missed the point. The thrust of the article is about creating a place where people far from God can come and experience the life-changing grace of God and be set free from addictions.

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