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I once heard from a pastor in Las Vegas a story about reaching out to the hurting and desperate in that community. He and members of his church would often walk the strip passing out literature, meeting people and praying with them. One day, with one of his elders, they met a young woman in great need of the gospel. She was emotional and had opened up about the struggles and darkness she had entered into. She was a call-girl, working for a pimp, and had lost all hope of ever being free from the bondage she had fallen into. They prayed with her, encouraged her, and even set up Bible studies with her. That went well for a while, until the pimp found out what was going on. Then, she disappeared. The pastor and elder had an idea of where she would work out of, which was a nightclub on the strip. They prayed for her and felt impressed to go to this nightclub and find her, rescue her, and put her in a home of one of their church members. When they got to the noisy nightclub, you can imagine how out of place this pastor and elder were. As they were looking for the young woman, they happened to run into another church member, a deacon from their church. You can imagine the deacon’s surprise to see his pastor and elder at this nightclub. Of course they were just as surprised! The pastor walked over to the deacon and greeted him, then said “brother, we know what we are doing here. What are you doing here!?!?”
I thought of this story in light of my recent sermon on perception. There was much I didn’t get to develop, but our perceptions can lead to emotions which then lead to behavior. You might think that if you saw your pastor walking into a nightclub with one of his elders, that these guys are going in for a night out on the town. In actuality, that was true of the deacon. Our perceptions can be true, but we need to be mindful of how they can also lead us into emotions and behaviors that are not healthy for the church body. As was pointed out in that sermon I preached, we need to give people the benefit of the doubt and approach in love and encouragement for one another. Recently new leadership has been selected and voted upon for this church family. Let’s remember to support, pray for, encourage, and believe in the leadership God has set up for us at the local level, conference level, union level, division level, and world church level. There is so much going on in the world right now, and Satan is getting our attention off of that reality to have us focus on perceptions and entertain negative emotions and behaviors connected to that.
I recently came across this passage that I’d like to encourage all of us to pray for in this district - [1Thess 3:12-13 ESV] “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” We need to see with new eyes, not only each other, but our God and Savior.
And yes, they found the young woman and helped her escape the deception of evil and bondage in the sex industry of Las Vegas. Praise God!
Courage Klamath Basin Family!
Pastor Jon Holland