There’s been a deep need in my heart to reach out and say some very important things. And I believe that what God stirred in my heart with the last book and with this one are related. So even though I was supposed to be done with Move Toward The Mess by mid-January, I think God’s timing was perfect. It let me soak this book in a little bit deeper.
My last book review talked about the importance of the church addressing modesty, purity, and sexuality – since they did such a poor job with me! I was already not a virgin when I got saved. I was “too messy” for that church. But we’re never going to get a grip on this much needed conversation if we’re afraid to get messy.
People will come into our churches just like I did – with soiled hands and a filthy dress – and we have the responsibility to embrace them into our Kingdom family. We need to be the ones to affirm them in Christ, remind them of their God-given value, and remind them of their purpose. This is not something we can do from a distance. We have to get our hands dirty! That’s not to say that “sinful people” contaminate us. But we desperately need to learn to be comfortable with hugging, talking to, and spending time with people who are not washed in the blood… Because how else would they get to that point? What else would attract them to God’s love if it isn’t demonstrated in our very own hands and feet?
So without stealing the previous book’s thunder, I would say “Move Towards The Mess” by John Hambrick came at just the right time. Because this book contains chapter after chapter showing us how God shows up in the lives of those who run towards the mess instead of away from it!
We live in a broken world. Drive two miles away from your church and you’ll see the spiritual and moral chaos that is in every city; the poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, and prostitution. And if the neighborhood is still nice, just keep watching; they may not be poor financially, but they’re poor in spirit. Those kids may have a house to sleep in, but be so disconnected from their family it’s not quite a home either. There’s still addiction to fight. There’s still young girls using their bodies as currency to meet their needs.
So I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if your Christian walk is rather uneventful or you find your church life quite boring, it’s probably because you’re in a “country club for saints” instead of a “hospital for sinners”. That’s not to say you need to change churches. What you really need is a new perspective.
One analogy that Hambrick used which stuck with me so well is that church is really the locker room pre-game ralley with the coach. The hype of being in that locker room is the precedence of going out into the field and playing the game – going out into the world, “moving towards the mess”, getting our hands dirty carrying out the plays our coach has planned. Without hitting the field, using our grit, and finding our mettle these “locker room ralleys” are useless. We waste time going to church if it doesn’t radically affect what we do outside in the world.
His antidote to this attitude really boils down to knowing that we are sinners saved by grace. When we realize just how much God has forgiven in us, we stop waiting until we get our lives together, or until we get the right “title”, or waiting for the broken to come to us. Our own need for grace becomes fuel to love others and want to bring salvation to them.
Not many churches will experience the randomness of a girl like me walking through their doors one Sunday in February and getting saved. I was the exception, not the rule! Most people live on the fringes of the church property and won’t step inside because they feel filthy. Well, my friends, let’s bring church to them. Let’s move toward the mess.
Pick up your copy of “Move Towards The Mess” here, or you can win a copy on my blog by commenting below and answering the following question:
What mess do you feel God calling you towards? Where does your heart ache the most towards others?
Disclaimer: I received two copies of “Move Towards The Mess” by the Blythe Daniel Agency in exchange for my honest review. I was not paid to give a good review, nor will I receive any monetary compensation from your purchase.