“No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.” ~Jesus
“Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce? This is what the Lord says, ‘Yes! Captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save… Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer.” ~Isaiah
When you’re rescuing captives and taking plunder from the devil, you’ve got to go into some pretty dark places. And our church at Central, I think, presents a pretty compelling picture of that. This church is full of rescued captives and liberated slaves. Central is made up of former prisoners: alcoholics, drug abusers, prostitutes, sex addicts, the mentally and physically disabled, ex-cons. There are extraordinary Gospel stories scattered all over the worship center every Sunday. God is involved and things are changing for lots of men and women at Central.
And when God brings us all together, sometimes it can be less than decently and in order. People who are rescued tend to celebrate wildly. People who are being freed are less inhibited. Central’s not like a lot of other churches. You never know what’s going to happen during our assembly on Sundays. God is bringing all different kinds of his precious treasure and valuable possessions together in this place. And it’s exciting. Every Sunday morning here is an adventure.
And it’s disorienting. It’s not the status quo. Honestly, I’m still trying to get used to it. But it’s SO GOSPEL! It’s SO KINGDOM OF GOD!
Where else would you rather be? In a church where everybody’s sins are exactly the same? Where everybody’s salvation stories sound just alike? Where everybody is comfortable all the time? That’s not nearly as much fun as what goes on here.
We’ve got the full picture here. As messy and as upsetting as it sometimes can be, what we’ve got here is real. We see it on every pew; we hear it and feel it all around us. And if we continue to embrace it in all of its unpredictable glory, if we’ll rejoice in it and find ways to celebrate it — I mean the weird stuff, the mess — the city of Amarillo will hear the good news. Our city will understand the Gospel that we embody: that God really is involved and even the darkest and worst and most hopeless situations can change.
Regardless of the personal and corporate cost, may we always be a church compelled by the love and power of Christ to stand up to the devil and his powers, to storm the house of Satan with our Lord to take the plunder and rescue the captives.