"Young man, you're not welcome here!" Those words echoed in Jeremy's head as he ran down the street. "I hate those stupid Christians. Anti-Christ Rules!"

Jeremy's life had become a living hell. It seemed as if God were to ruin everything that he loved. At the ripe old age of 14, he felt defeated and hopeless. Everybody made fun of his black clothes, dark eyeliner and lipstick, and gothic music. He was an only child living with his mom since his parents split up 6 years before. But she was too busy with her own messed-up life!

Everywhere Jeremy went, people stared and laughed at him. His dreary life had become a sad, hopeless existence. Nobody took the chance to even talk to him. Mr. Bailey, one of his teachers, pulled him aside and said, "You would probably have some friends if you didn't dress so weird." Mr. Bailey always had a way of pushing his buttons.

He wanted to run home and tell his mom, but he knew she wouldn't be there anyway. As he began searching through his back pack, he pulled out a Bible that he always liked to read when his feelings got hurt. He turned to the book of John and began to read about Jesus and his disciples. As he cried softly he thought, "I bet Jesus would have been my friend."

Jeremy woke up early that morning and walked into a church a couple blocks away from his home. He was excited about going to church for the first time. "Finally, someone will understand me!". As he took his first step into the church, he smiled at the usher and said "Hi". The usher looked at him coldly and then ignored him.

Jeremy walked with his head down as he slid into the center of the back row. As the Pastor walked around greeting old and new members of the congregation, he stopped when he reached the last row. As he glanced at Jeremy, he turned his head and walked back toward the pulpit. As the place filled with people, Jeremy sat all alone in the last pew. He turned and saw four people standing in the back looking at him coldly as the Pastor delivered his fiery sermon on proper Christian appearance.

Jeremy stood up and left the church. He swore he would never be back.

"Why can't I just be liked for who I am?" Jeremy ran faster. As he remembered those self righteous bible bigots, he began sobbing uncontrollably. "I hate them! I hate them!"

He stopped and crawled underneath a bridge where he had spent a lot of time thinking. It was dark and gloomy, but strangely comfortable. It reflected what he felt inside. It was, in some strange way, a place to hide from those "loving christians".

Jeremy was crying out in the same way we have cried out when nobody listened. Have you felt judged? Have you felt misunderstood? Have you felt alone? I think we all have. We need to stop acting like Christians and start acting like Christ!! Christ not only accepted these kinds of people, but he looked for them. He was excited that he had the directions to life as they went down the road to death. What was it that Jesus had? Love and acceptance. He was God and knew what it felt like to be rejected.

You know, I find myself in the middle of another counterculture. I realize that the same things I wrote about the "Metalheads" of yesterday are still true today. But one very sobering detail pierces my heart. Many of the same people that were crying for someone to understand them just 10 years ago, are turning their backs on the "Jeremy's" of the world today.

Many of you who were preaching unconditional love without condemnation and judgement, are guilty of hypocrisy today! You forget what it is like to reach out to someone on the edge that feel alone and confused. Don't forget that you use to be one of them!

Jeremy will continue to blame God instead of the people who are mistreating him. He will continue to follow anti-Christian musicians and things like that who have the same venom. He will hate, and be hated. He will die in that pit - without a life line.

If you *are* Jeremy, I can assure you there is hope. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you. I am not offering you religion. It has a lot of people messed up today. I'd like to tell you about a relationship with God - who loves you just where you are! Call us toll free 1-800-548-5222. Or look us up on the web SANCTUARY Join us in one of our chat rooms! We'd love to give you some honest answers                                  

~ this was written by Pastor Bob,  from Sanctuary Int. Ministry. ~

"Evil Goths or Misunderstood people?

By: Morria Houser from 'The Shadow of the Cross Ministry'

Many times it has been said that those who dress in black, love the dark of night, think more of death and the after life than the present, and hang out in graveyards are witches, demons, wizards, vampires, and other “creatures of the night”. While there are some Goths who do partake in these things, and many are known for studying about them, that does not by any means mean that the normal Goth is evil. In truth, we are more aware of the reality of the forces of evil and of good than most.

Black clothing...
Ahh, the mystery of black! What is it about this color that both intrigues and scares people? Throughout history it has been everything from the color of royalty to the color of mourning (and in the case of Queen Victoria, both). There are many people who wear black and are not Gothic, and there are Goths who don’t wear black. Do not most woman have a black dress and love to wear black for its slimming effect? Do not most men have at least one pair of black slacks? So Goths wear black more than other people, maybe we just like it. Or maybe we wear black to symbolize dying to this world and living in Christ.

The night and the darkness...
Often times the night or darkness has been equated with evil. For a Christian this sometimes an easy mistake for did not Jesus say, “I AM the
Light of the World!”? One must remember here that Jesus was the Master of Parables and was using Light and Darkness in a symbolic Spiritual sense. The night hold much beauty in it for the stars do declare he Glory of God. It is true that evil does happen in the still of night, but let us not forget that - - - at night - - - Joseph was told in a dream to wed Mary, the angels heralded the birth of Jesus, the Wise Men followed a star, and Jesus met with Nicodemus. What then is wrong with the night?

Death and the Afterlife...
Death - - - it is a part of life for all in this mortal world. Yet there are few willing to face this, Christian or not. No wonder most society freaks
out when they meet people who see beauty in the midst of the dark and dying world. While suicide is not something anyone should dwell on, this does not mean we should not be thinking of our futures. Christian are to always be looking up towards the return of the Lord, storing up treasures of Heaven not of earth, and resting in the assurance that being absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.

When was the last time you explored one? Many non-Gothic people love to visit graveyards because of the rich history one can find there. On top of that, in times past tombs, graveyards, and the famous catacombs of Rome were the safe haven of Christian believers during times of persecution. What then is wrong with Christian Goths, who are often persecuted, hanging out in graveyards?

So then, it is simple to see how easy it is to misunderstand a person from the outward appearance, not looking at the depth of who that person is. Let us be Christ like in all our ways, deeming no one better than another. "

Quiet honestly...even though it hurts....I have gotten to the point....WHO cares if they stare?   I am a Jesus Freak among Jesus freaks...just as my
mentor prayed over me before his untimely death.  When in history have people NOT stare at the "Freaks".  LOL.   Let them stare...for if they stare
long enough...they will see the light of Christ welling up from my soul.   The very fact that they stare is a chance to be a living testimony of the
Love of Christ.   If they do not show us love, how much more shocked will they be when WE show THEM love?   I founded first the chalice, then it has grown into Shadow of the Cross, Inc.  on these very principles:  "To live the Truth, to educate with Love, to minimize misconceptions, to provide peace of mind."   If satan is trying to tair us down, then we MUST be on the right path....LOL!   And that is the very truth of the matter...he hates us because we dare walk in the shadowlands...where he has thought no CHRISTIAN would dare come.  And we do it dressed just like his children of the night...thus damaging his will built image of WHO wear our type of clothing.  HA!!!   It is about time.   Take heart, if GOD is for us, who can stand against us?

We walk in the battle zone where FEW christians dare to walk...we see things they do not because of it...we
know the HUNGER of our sub-cultures friends who have not Christ...it ANGERS me to the core...that the way the church treats us WHO do believe....is what has driven those who look like us...but don't believe...or were of weaker faith...from the house of God......I lhave lost 3-4 good friends...christian goth and punk...to such persecution...and it came from those within the church....<cries>....mad?  YOU BET.   Still going to church?   YOU BET!!!  Who will shake up their world if I don't? ...and MOST Sundays I sit right at the front of the church...dressed VERY gothic....


Gothic Subculture

by Shane Jensen (a guest writer)

                        “Gothic:” What does this word put in your head?  Do you think “evil?”  Do you think “black clothes” or “Satan?”  The Gothic subculture is one of the most misunderstood subcultures by Christians and mainstream society today.

            According to Preston A. Elder of Goth.net, the Gothic subculture began in the early eighties as part of the punk subculture.  The phrase was coined by the band manager of Joy Division, Anthony H. Wilson.   As punk began dying out, Goth broke off and became its own subculture.

            So what is Goth?  Well in its simplest form, it’s just a subculture.  There’s so set rules on what you need to do or be (except of course the implied black clothing), and Goths have many different musical tastes, religions, hobbies, and even fashion.

            I think one of the biggest parts of the Gothic subculture is the music scene.  The thing is, though, when people think they’re talking about Goth music, they’re not.  For example, Marilyn Manson is NOT Goth!  When people think they’re talking about Goth music, they’re actually talking about shock rock or death metal.  Goth music tends to be more dark, operatic, and soothing.  So you might understand I’m going to play you a clip of a Goth song.  (Played “Carnival of Souls” by Saviour Machine)

            The biggest question you might ask would probably be, “Why does one become Goth?”  The first thing you need to understand is that a person doesn’t just wake up one day and decide, “Hey, I’m gonna be Goth from now on.”  It happens over time.  One of the biggest reasons is that the person is spurned and rejected by “normal” society.   I’ll use me as an example:

            When I was a little kid in elementary school, I was the fat kid with cooties.  When middle school came around, I was the fat, nerdy weird kid.  All throughout elementary school and middle school I was rejected and bullied by the “cool” kids.  I tried to fit in, but I was never accepted.  I was also abused by my stepfather.  So over time I just said, “To Hell with normal society.”

            Goths also tend to be free thinkers.  They don’t accept something just because someone says it so or says that “God says so.”  Goths check things out for themselves.  They’re very open minded and accepting of things/people that are different.  Becoming Goth could also be something as simple as being drawn to the music or people.

            Due to media portrayal and misconceptions by people, there are many stereotypes floating around about the Gothic subculture.  One of them is that Goth is a fashion.  This is false.  Just putting on black clothes, eyeliner, and black lipstick does not make you a Goth.  Like I said before, it’s a state of mind.  Another stereotype is that all Goths are obsessed with death.   Yet again, this is false.  Lastly, and probably the biggest stereotype of them all, is that all Goths are witches or Satanists.  Nothing could be more false!  Yes, there are Goths who are witches and Satanists, but many Goths today have come to know Christ.   I’m standing before you today a Christian Goth.

                         Being a Christian Goth makes it even harder on the person.  There are many problems that only Christian Goths have.  Like having “normal” Christians not understand, and then regular Goths not understand.  We’re kind of riding the fence.  Also visiting a Christian university and having everyone cross themselves as you pass.  And a problem in church could be whenever the pastor talks about heathens in his sermon people tend to look at you.

            It is my hope and dream that Christians will come to understand the Gothic subculture in its fullest, and curse judgment’s fist to bring more people to Christ rather than damn them to Hell and cause them to fall away from the love of God.

            “Gothic:” What does this word mean to you now?

The Black Sheep

Once there lived a little sheep,

who went a different way.  Some would say

the sheep was black, or that he went astray.

Because he thought so differently he soon was cast aside.

His heart was very heavy and lonely deep inside.

But then the Shepherd found him and drew him to his side.

He felt so safe to share his heart; confessing while he cried.

At last the sheep felt special - he now was fully known

by the lamb who became our Shepherd and claimed  us for his own.

Anne Peterson



(by Chuck Girard)

Don't shoot the wounded, they need us more than ever.

They need our love no matter what it is they've done.

Sometimes we just condemn them, and don't take time to hear their story.

Don't shoot the wounded, someday you might be one.

It's easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast.

Pressing on to meet that higher calling.

But the ones who might be struggling, we tend to judge too harshly, and refuse to try and catch them when they're falling.

We put people into boxes and we draw our hard conclusions, and when they do the things we know they should not do,

we sometimes write them off as hopeless, and we throw them to the dogs.

Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply, so I say...Don't shoot the wounded!

We can love them and forgive them when their sin does not exceed our own. For we too have been down bumpy roads

before but when they commit offenses outside the boundaries we have set,we judge them in a word and we turn them out,

and we close the door.  Myself  I've been forgiven for so many awful things. I've been cleansed and washed and bathed so

many times that when I see a brother who has fallen from the way I just can't find the license to convict him of his crimes.

So I say... Don't shoot the wounded!

That doesn't mean we turn our heads when we see a brother sin and pretend that what he's doing is all right.

But we must help him see his error, we must lead him to repent. Cry with those who cry, but bring their deeds into the light .

For it's the sick that need the doctor, and it's the lame that need the crutch.  It's the prodigal who needs the loving hand. For a

man who's in despair, there should be kindness from his friends. 'Lest he should forsake the fear of Almighty God and turn

away from God and man, So I say...Don't shoot the wounded!                                  1982 Sea of Glass Music/ASCAP

A special message of encouragement FOR CHRISTIANGOTHS:

Pastor Dave Hart (from Sanctuary, San Diego)

What can we do in these dark times?

I believe that the Christian gothic/industrial community has been called for such times as these. Who else is more prepared to deal with dark days and painful times?  You are a tribe of poet/priests and poet/warriors called to fight the darkness you know so well. Like Stryder and the Northern Rangers in "The Lord of the Rings," you will be used to fight the shadows of fear and terror in the dark forests and murky swamps which lie outside the boundaries of the land of the Hobbits. Those Hobbits may never understand or appreciate the work you are called to do and the sacrifices God calls you to - but we do not fight the good fight for their approval. We do it because we already have His.

So what can we do in these dark times? Be who you are. Be confident in your unique calling. You are a chosen tribe, a holy nation of priests (I Pet. 2:9) and a peculiar people (special treasure) (Exod. 19:5; Deut. 14:2) of a Holy (unique, special, set-apart) God. Be imitators of Christ. Look in the mirror. Surrender the weights (of fear, bitterness, the past, the pain) that hold you down (Heb. 12:1-4), and walk in His way. Do not forsake the fellowship of like-minded believers. Read the Word. Walk the Word.  Remember where you came from. Come along side the misfits and the   disenfranchised. Be ready to die: to your old life, to your dreams, to your glory, to your sin-nature, to this world, to this body. Remember it’s all going to burn. Remember that our suffering will not last forever. Live to hear these words and these words alone: "Well done good and faithful servant" (Mt. 15:21, 23).   

   pastor dave  ~   Sanctuary International, San Diego

                                                 "THE HYPOCRITE HANG-UP"                                                    
         Seven years of junior high band concerts.   Yes, that was the special joy Karen and I share since all three of the Hutchcraft kids were
in junior high band.  Now it wasn't always a supreme musical experience, but, hey, it's our kids, right?  Now, let's imagine you have never heard of the brilliant composer Ludwig von Beethoven before.  And I say to you, "Beethoven was a genius.  His music is some of the most beautiful ever written."  You're a little skeptical because you've never heard any of him, but I suggest a way to remedy that.  See, the junior high band is having a concert this week, and they're performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony.  So you go, and you come back to me saying, "I thought you said this Beethoven guy was a genius!  I just heard his music.  It wasn't brilliant!"  Now what's the problem here?  It isn't Beethoven - it's the way that band played his music.  Just because they don't play his music well doesn't mean the man who wrote the music wasn't a genius!

         Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Hypocrite Hang-up"

         I've devoted my life to telling people about the Genius who can harmonize our lives, who wrote the music that's supposed to guide
everything we do.  His name is Jesus.  But many people - maybe you - can't bring themselves to a point where they will put their trust in Jesus Christ to be their own personal Savior.  And one of the biggest reasons?  Christians.  Christians who are hypocrites.  Maybe some
hypocrites you know have been a major roadblock in your considering Christ.

         Well, that's why I'm so glad for today's word for today from the Word of God, where Jesus clarifies what, and who, is the issue in this
whole Christian thing.  Mark 2:14, our word for today from the Word of God - "As Jesus walked along, He saw Levi, sitting at the tax collector's
booth.  Follow Me, Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed Him."

         Jesus sums up here the central decision we all have to make by issuing this clear, two-word invitation that He gave to many people:
"Follow Me."  Jesus said, "I'm the issue.  Make your decision about ME."  He repeated that invitation so many times when He was here on
earth.  And it's His invitation to you and me today.  As for those Christians who aren't a very good advertisement - well, they're like that
junior high band trying to play that Beethoven symphony.  Unfortunately, some of us don't play Jesus' music very well.  But that has nothing to do
with Jesus.  He is still the Genius who forgives our failures and loves us with "never-leave-you" love, and takes us to heaven when we die.

         Jesus didn't say, "Follow My followers,"  or "Follow My leaders," or "Follow My religion."  He said, "Follow ME."  The only reason not to be
a Christian is if you've got something against Jesus.  And there wasn't a trace of hypocrisy in Him.

         All that will matter when you keep your appointment with God is what you did with Jesus, His one and only Son who died on the cross to pay ... not for His sins, but for yours.  Honestly, there is no place to hide when it comes to Jesus.  Either you commit yourself to this Man who died for you or you turn your back on Him and walk away.

         It is all about Jesus.  And maybe you're ready to surrender all the baggage that's kept you from His love.  It's Jesus and you, because
it's Jesus you're trusting, not Christianity.  Maybe you're ready to begin this relationship you were created for.  Tell Him that.  And, if you would,
let me send you the booklet I wrote about beginning with Jesus called "Yours For Life."  We'll tell you how to get in touch with us in just a moment.

         On Judgment Day, it will be you and Jesus.  Today it's you and Jesus.  In the words of an old hymn, "What will you do with Jesus?  Neutral
you cannot be.  For someday your heart will be asking, 'What will He do with me?'"

If you're not sure you belong to Jesus, and you would like to make sure today, Ron would like to send to you a free copy of the booklet, "Yours for
Life: How to Have Life's Most Important Relationship." To read the online version, go to:http://www.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bounce?b=871
OR, to request your free copy of "Yours for Life," click here:http://www.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bounce?b=872


Rule-breaking children make the most self-reliant and independent adults

By Johann Christoph Arnold

There's a black sheep in every flock, and there are few of us who don't know one, or didn't know one as a child. Every family, every class, has one: that brother or sister, boy or girl, who's always in trouble, who's prone to stretch limits or take things "too far," who's embarrassingly honest, who never fits in. It's that child over whom every teacher puzzles longest and every parent loses the most sleep.

But no matter how natural the phenomenon, being a misfit is never easy.Because children are so vulnerable, and because they are dependent on the adults around them, they are far more sensitive to criticism than one might guess, and far more easily crushed. And even if their natural forgetfulness and their amazing capacity to forgive relieves most children of much that might burden an adult, there are those whose self-confidence can be shriveled by an unjust accusation, a cutting remark, or a hasty miscalculation.

Whenever we pass judgment on a child, we fail to see him as a whole person. True, he may be nervous, shy, stubborn, moody, or violent; we may know his siblings or his background, or think we recognize family traits. But to focus on any one aspect of a child, especially a negative one, is to put him in a box whose sides may not really be determined by reality, but only by our own expectations.

Obviously, every child is different. Some seem to get all the lucky breaks, while others have a rough time simply coping with life. One child consistently brings home perfect scores, while the next is always at the bottom of the class. Another is gifted and popular, while still another, no matter how hard he tries, is always in trouble and often gets forgotten. As parents, we must refrain from showing favoritism, and from comparing our children with others. Above all, we must refrain from pushing them to become something that their unique personal makeup may never allow them to be.

Neither should we forget that raising a "good" child is a dubious goal in the first place, if only because the line between instilling integrity and breeding self-righteousness is so fine. Getting into trouble can be a vital part of building a child's character. As the Polish pediatrician Janusz Korczak points out: "The good child cries very little, he sleeps through the night, he is confident and good-natured. He is well-behaved, convenient, obedient, and good. Yet no consideration is given to the fact that he may grow up to be indolent and stagnant."

It is often hard for parents to see the benefits of having raised a difficult child - even when the outcome is positive. But strange as it may sound, I believe that the more challenging the child, the more grateful the parent should be. If anything, parents of difficult children ought to be envied, because it is they, more than any others, who are forced to learn the most wonderful secret of true parenthood: the meaning of unconditional love. It is a secret that remains hidden from those whose love is never tested.

At a conference in the sixties, at a time when "mal-adjustment" was the educational catchphrase of the day, Martin Luther King shocked teachers and parents by turning the supposed problem on its head. "Thank God for maladjusted children," a colleague remembers him saying.

When we welcome the prospect of raising the problematic child with these things in mind, we will begin to see our frustrations as moments that can awaken our best qualities. And instead of envying the ease with which our neighbors seem to raise perfect offspring, we will remember that rule-breakers and children who show their horns often make more self-reliant and independent adults than those whose limits are never tried. By helping us to discover the limitations of "goodness" and the boredom of conformity, they can teach us the necessity of genuineness, the wisdom of humility, and finally the reality that nothing good is won without struggle.

From "ENDANGERED:Your Child in a Hostile World" by J. C. Arnold.  Free ebook & interactive website: http://www.plough.com/endangered Email the author at JCA@plough.com

We are part of the fellowship of the unashamed: We have Holy Spirit power. The dye has been cast. We have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. We won't look back, let up, slow down, or back away. Our pasts are redeemed. Our present makes sense and our futures are secure. We are finished and done with low living, slight-walking, small planning, lame division, mundane talking, colorless dreams, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. We no longer need pre-eminence, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. We don't have to be first! We don't have to be right! We don't have to be recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded! We live by faith, lean on his presence, walk with patience, lift by prayer and labor by power. Our pace is set, our gait is fast.... Our goal is heaven. Our road is narrow, our way is rough, our companions few, our guide reliable, and our mission clear! We cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. We will not flinch in the face of sacrafice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. We won't give up, shut up or let up until we've stayed up, prayed up, paid up and preached up for the cause of Christ. We are diciples of Christ. We must go 'til He comes! Give 'til we drop! "Preach" 'til all know, and work 'til He stops us! When He comes for His own, He won't have any trouble recognizing us. Our banner will be clear.


It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the church to its fullest capacity! As they entered, each were given a bulletin filled with announcements, topic of today's sermon, what songs they would sing and who to pray for. At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days.  His face was covered in whiskers where he had not shaved for a very long time.   When he reached the usher, he removed his tattered old brown hat in
respect. His hair was a long, dirty, tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled, black socks.
The usher put his fingers to his nose and glared at the old man and said, "Uh, I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid we can't let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don't allow anyone to disrupt our service. I'm afraid you'll have to leave."
The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face, he placed his old brown hat back upon his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the choir sing praises to the Lord. He loved to watch the little children get up in front of the church to sing their little songs. He carried in his pocket a small worn out Bible and loved to see if the minister preached a passage from the Bible that the old man had underlined. He was respectful enough and didn't want to cause
any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big brick church.  He sat down on the brick wall near the edge of the church yard and strained to listen through closed doors and windows to the singing going
on in the church. Oh how he wished he could be inside with all the others. A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing.  He answered, "I was going to go to church today, but they thought I was filthy and my clothes are old and worn, and they were afraid I would
disrupt their service. Sorry, I didn't introduce myself. My name is George."   The two gentlemen shook hands and George couldn't help but notice that this man had long hair like his. He wore a piece of cloth draped over his body tied with a royal purple sash. He had sandals upon his feet, now covered with dust and dirt.  The stranger reached out to touch George's shoulder and said, "Hello, George, don't feel bad because they won't let you in. My name is Jesus, and I've been trying to get into this same church for years, and they won't let me in either."    --author unknown

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years ofcollege. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, You can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The people are thinking. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read." --author unknown

Do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James 2:1

A man attended a church regularly for several months, but he was always ignored. Because no one knew who he was, and he looked out-of-place with his old and worn-out clothes, no one ever took the time to speak to him. One Sunday as he took a seat in church, he intentionally left his hat on. As the pastor stood on the platform and looked out over the audience, he noticed the man with the hat right away. So he summoned one of the deacons and asked him to tell the man that he forgot to remove his hat. When the deacon spoke to the man, he responded with a big smile and said, "I thought that would do it. I have attended this church for 6 months, and you are the first person who has ever talked to me." There is no place for prejudice or favoritism in the family of God. We who have been born again through faith in Jesus are equals in God's sight. And that equality should be evident in the way we treat other believers. We must be hospitable and courteous to all, regardless of their race, social status, or appearance. When we show favoritism, we sin against people whom God loves and for whom Christ died. Let's be gracious to everyone and be careful to avoid showing partiality. --Richard De Haan

All those who know and love the Lord
Must show by word and deed
That they will not discriminate
But welcome those in need. --D. De Haan

Prejudice builds walls; love breaks them down.


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