Over the years, I have collected some very interesting sayings that churches have put on their outdoor changeable signboards.
Things like: “Staying in bed shouting, Oh God! does not constitute going to church” “Best sausage supper in St. Louis Come and eat Pastor Thomas Ressler” “Now is a good time to visit. Our pastor is on vacation” “Prophecy class cancelled due to unforseen circumstances” “God holds each accountable for sins and will punish Pastor Larry Wilhite” (I remember thinking “poor Larry” when I read that…) “God answers knee-mail” “Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back” “Don’t wait for six strong men to take you to church” “Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark” “Don’t let worries kill you. Let the church help” “As long as there are tests, there’ll be prayer in public schools” “Be an organ donor – give your heart to Jesus” “Too hot to keep changing sign. Sin bad Jesus good. Details inside”.
At any rate, I was in the city the other week and one church sign in particular caught my eye. It said, “God is for you. He’s not against you.” I remember thinking, “How true…” The verse in the Bible that statement is based on popped into my mind: Romans chapter 8 verse 32: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
A lot of people see God as sort of a cosmic policeman out there to get them. They see Him patrolling the streets of earth, billy club in hand, ready to clobber anyone having a good time and then hauling them off to a celestial prison. Whenever they think of God, feelings of guilt and inadequacy sweep over them. They see Him as mean, demanding and against them.
How wrong is that view! It is distorted and totally misrepresents God. In reality, He is not against you – He’s for you! He loves you!
Dwight L. Moody was a well known pastor in Chicago living in the 1800s. He had arranged for a guest speaker, a young fellow by the name of Henry Moorehouse, to speak at a series of meetings at his church. Moody had to be away for the first service but when he got back, he asked his wife how things had gone. She replied that she had really enjoyed Henry Moorehead’s sermon. “Although,” she said to Moody, “he preaches a little different than you.”
“How’s that?” “Well, he tells the worst sinners that God loves them.”
“Then,” said Moody, “he is wrong.” She replied, “I think you will agree when you hear him because he backs up everything he says with the Bible. He preached from that verse in John, ‘For God so loved the world that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’”
When Moody went to the next service to hear Moorehouse, he was powerfully influenced. His comment later was, “I used to preach that God was behind the sinner with a double edged sword to chop him down. I’ve got done with that. I preach now that God is behind him with love and he is running away from the God of love.”
So if like Dwight L. Moody, you’ve been thinking God hates you and is out to get you, realize that you’ve been wrong. God loves you and is for you!