Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Have you ever suffered? SHARE YOUR STORY

Last Sunday we began a 3-week series here at Grace Church called, “Helping Those Who Hurt.” The series is taken from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 where we find two reasons why God allows suffering to come into our lives. The first is for the purpose of MINISTRY so that we can be a comfort to others who go through similar circumstances. The second is for the purpose of MATURITY, so that we can become stronger in our walk of faith.

It is our goal to use this series to begin a mentoring ministry under Pastor Tim Auld here at Grace Church in which individuals/couples who have gone through trials, found God to be faithful and who have grown in their spiritual maturity as a result, can be trained in order to mentor other individuals/couples who are going through similar circumstances. When the series is over, people will be able to apply to be part of this mentoring training.

Last Sunday I preached on the first reason that God allows suffering to come into our lives…the purpose of MINISTRY. This Sunday we will be sharing specifics about how we are planning to put the principles of week one into practice through a mentoring ministry where lay people are trained in how to mentor others who are going through similar trials. The series will then conclude on March 16 as I preach on the second reason why God allows suffering…the purpose of MATURITY

We want to encourage as many people as possible to go to a special blog page that we have set up (http://blog.lgbc.org/) where they can share their story. So many of us have stories of times of hurt in which we found God to be faithful as He comforted and cared for us. When we share these stories, and how it helped us to grow in our faith, the entire Body of Christ is uplifted and people who are going through similar trials find comfort. Your story can be as short or long as you want it to be and there is no need to include your name. We also ask that you not include the names of anyone else when writing your story. Would you share your story? I have already posted mine. It goes like this:

“When I was a sophomore in High School, the pastor at the church we attended hurt me in a very deep way. Due to his actions, our family left the church that we loved…the church that my grandfather had once pastored. For several years following that, I lived with a growing bitterness and hatred toward this pastor. I would daydream of ways to get revenge. During my freshman year in college a speaker in chapel made the statement that God would never use us if we were harboring bitterness toward another believer. That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew that I was still harboring bitterness toward this man. As a result, during our next break I went to that pastor and apologized to him face to face for the feelings of bitterness and hatred I had felt toward him. He granted the forgiveness but he never mentioned anything about the hurt he had caused me and my family. That was OK, though, because I had done what God had called me to do. As a result, I was free from the heavy burden of bitterness that I had been carrying. Going through that hurt caused me to grow spiritually as God used it to teach me the power of forgiveness. I really do believe that we are never more like God than when we forgive.”

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