Sunday was baptism day at our church – or at the Bozeman ponds, a couple of miles from our church.

I always get excited about baptisms – it really is something special.  Our church does this at the ponds every August, although if someone wants to be baptized at a different time, they can do it at the church.  But these outdoor events are accompanied by our church picnic and pig roast.  It’s a bit of a celebration!

And it should be! 

The last few years many of the adults who have been baptized come from the Life Recovery Group that meets at our church. 

I love that ministry. 

It serves people who are not easily accepted in many churches. 

Isn’t that sad!  That someone would not be easily accepted in a church.  But many people who go to church want to be surrounded by those who already beat the battle against addictions, not the ones who are beginning that battle. 

That makes me sad.

I think that some of the beauty of any church community is what rises up out of the ugliness of sin.  Whether that is sin that leads to addiction or the sin of pride and selfishness.

I’m not saying sin itself brings about beauty – just want to be clear on that theological point. 

I am saying that the forgiveness of sins, and growth/maturity in a relationship with the Lord can bring beauty out of any situation.

And watching it happen is messy:  uncomfortable and inspiring and challenging and rewarding and frustrating and full of mountain-top joy in the little victories.

It is hard to walk with someone when they stumble a lot.  It’s hard to think of them as worth your effort when they seem to repeatedly take more steps backwards than they take forward.  But it is what we are called to do.

We seem so much more willing to walk with the friend who is stumbling over keeping a good attitude towards submitting to her husband than with someone who stumbles over methamphetamine.  But really, in the heart of the stumbling person most of the issues are the same.  And God doesn’t see a difference.  He just sees hurting people that he loves.

The love of God is beautiful.

But from this side of heaven, sometime (often times?) BEAUTY IS MESSY!

Somehow our church has grown this Life Recovery ministry from a quiet unknown unacknowledged  group who met in one of the classrooms on Friday nights to a major component of community ministry. 

As Andy can attest to through his law practice, this ministry has made our church known all over town as open and accepting of all sorts of hurting people.

Yes, I’m aware I’m bragging about my church, and please don’t get me wrong.  It’s not perfect.  It’s filled with sinners, and as such, it has human related issues.  I am sure there are people who have felt hurt because of  something that happened at our church and they are correct in their assessment that it has lots of sinners.  But it is also a community in which God does a lot of work.

He’s so cool to work through a group of broken sinners.

Anyway, sorry for the sermonizing.  I just wanted to share some of the beauty of  what I saw God doing this weekend.

It has a profound impact on me.

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