A PLACE OF HEALING

The church is often likened to a hospital, and for good reason. It attracts a lot of sick people! They come for a touch – God’s touch. And the House of God is where they expect to receive it. This was certainly true of the early church.

And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that

A Healing Touch

A Healing Touch

 they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.” Acts 5:14-15

The early church was a place of healing. How I love hearing these reports in our own fellowship at Calvary Austin. The accounts are similar to those below:

When my life was falling apart, the church was there to bring healing.”

“When our marriage was on shaky ground, the church took us to the Rock.”

When our family hit hard times, the church was there to restore us.”

“When I was in pain, the church introduced me to the Great Physician.”

On and on it goes – people testifying to how the church family helped bring them through a time of sorrow or suffering. There was a gal who came to me a few Sundays ago, beaming ear to ear, declaring, “I’m so glad to be back in church!” She had also found healing here. Sadly, that is not everyone’s story.

All of us know people who don’t fellowship because of a negative experience. I once avoided In & Out Burger for the same reason. My first visit was a bad one. It ended with me losing my lunch, if you’ll pardon the expression. Never mind that I was young punk and drunk as skunk. My “in and out” episode was enough to keep me clear of the joint. Years later, however, I gave In & Out Burger another whirl. How foolish I was to write them off. I fell in love at first bite!

It’s unfortunate that some brand all churches as “bad news” based upon a singular incident. They went in and out – never to return. Some come out of marriage feeling the same way. “All men are alike,” they say. Or “all women are alike.” These are obvious exaggerations, but they somehow protect the heart from getting hurt again.

Once upon a time, I said the same thing about the bride of Christ – the church. “They’re all alike, and I’m never going back!” I had been terribly hurt, falsely accused and abused in the worst way. The details are in my book, ‘There & Back’. It was a tragic time in my youth. Sadly, the fellowship I attended did more to hurt me than help me.

I won’t sugarcoat the truth. As much as I hate to admit it, there are churches that bring more pain than pleasure. Bully pulpits do exist. After the sermon you feel as if the tar had been beat out of you. Perhaps you’ve been there. Or maybe your story is similar to mine. You wandered in a lost lamb then some shady shepherd took a stick to you.

Don’t make mistake that I once did. Don’t judge all churches to be the same. You see, I also found healing in the church. When I was spiritually sick and dying, the brethren took me in. They welcomed me with open arms. They carried me to the feet of Jesus.

My wife and I spent fifteen years together at Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino. The people weren’t perfect, but there was enough love in the body to keep us around for a very long time. When God called us to the mission field, leaving wasn’t easy. There were tears; plenty of them. That’s my heart for Calvary Austin. I’d rather people not leave, but if they must, I prefer them to go crying. Not because the feel beat up, but because they were so loved and cared for.

I can’t ever promise that Calvary Austin will be the perfect church. No church can. Nor can any medical center promise to be the perfect hospital. But it would be wrong to judge a hospital based on the sick that go there. That’s something we all have in common in the church. We all need healing. We all need God’s touch. That’s just how it will be until the day of perfection. Until then, be patient with fellow patients.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” – Jesus

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