A question and story about second chances with a gracious God (smile)...

I got this letter from a reader...
"I just want to tell you that your letter on "how I made it through it all (so far)" really helped me a lot, it was a great encouragement to me. As I was reading it is was if I was reading about myself. It was SO MUCH like ME it was amazing. I think many go through the same fears and things but just don't express them as honestly and as accurate as you did. I just want to say that you site and the information I have read tonight has helped give me hope to keep pressing on and to continue to spend quiet time with Jesus even though I make mistakes along the way. It has been a blessing. Thank you SO MUCH. By the way, I would love to get an e-mail back from you personally. Maybe if you had time you could minister to me and help shed some light on things and point me in the right direction from things you are familiar with through your experiences. I have went through a divorce and I walked away from Jesus out of shame and confusion and sin. Please tell me there is hope of restoring my fellowship with Him. I have been filling my mind with His word and praying lately again. It has helped greatly. Please e-mail me back ASAP. Thank you- love your brother in Christ, ABC..."


and I suggested that he start by reading this reply (below) i sent to another open-heart...
 

-----Original Message-----
From: glenn miller
To: XXXX
Subject: Re: Faithless Faith

"Christian Think Tank,

"I've been a believer for 38 years. I am licensed and ordained in the XYZ denomination. I did not follow through on my calling to ministry. I have  led a nominal life as a world-view christian. I am sooooooo convicted of this sin. I feel worthless and condemned. The Bible says Jesus died once for all sin. I believe there is forgiveness, even for this, but can't get over the enormity of what I have done against God. By the world's standard I have led a  good and moral life, but I know it is nothing to God's standards. How can I get on with serving God now?


I replied to him with this story:
 

"I think you could start by being amazed again at grace...

"When I graduated from seminary (with honors, and with the Systematic Theology award), I entered doctoral studies to prepare for a lifetime of ministry in seminar/bible education. Things were not good at home, and since I believed (in my sub-culture) that it was a personal failure of my part/my leadership, my etc., I dropped out of school to work on my family. When I divorced years and years later, I knew that I had no prospect for ministry--the church just never seemed to accept divorced people as being anything other than second-class citizens. I was even told by a bible church in California that I would never be able to have any teaching or leadership role in the church because of my divorce...

"I was crushed, since all I ever wanted to do was to honor my precious Jesus...the only One who ever accepted me, the first One who ever loved me like I sought, and the first One that never made fun of me and my limitations...

"I switched churches (to become anonymous in my shame, so no one would be disappointed and appalled at my uselessness and failed-potential for the Lord)...

"I went to the pastor one day, and told him I wanted to donate all my seminary text/reference books to a worthy seminary student (who WOULDN'T fail God as miserably as I did) or to a local bible college. I had held on to those books, in the desperate hope that some day, some how, my marriage would survive and that I could find a place in the church to honor His purpose. But at this point it was clear, that I was a failure, disapproved, and fit only to 'be put away on the top shelf'...The pastor took all my books, and agreed to find a home for them.

"Over the next few months, I got on the Internet and began answering skeptical assaults and questions from believers that I found there, and God seemed to bless it. Being the Internet, no one would know that I was divorced and therefore the work would stand or fall on whether God wanted to use it or not...and He seemed to bless it...the responses were encouraging, the gratitude for the work was sincere, and the questions increased...God seemed to be encouraging me, with this niche ministry...

"But many of the questions required research and access to the kinds of books I had just given away...so I went back to my pastor to find out WHERE he had sent my books (hoping, of course, that it was someplace that I could have access to--I had already MARKED the books up, and still remembered 'where stuff was').

"He told me that he had NOT given the books away, expecting God to restore me and expecting me to come back for them...he smiled and told me that this had happened to him BEFORE...

"When he was a young pastor, he took a pastorate from which the previous pastor was leaving because of some 'personal failure'...the senior pastor was somehow disgraced and assumed that God would never allow him to serve again (although he KNEW forgiveness was certain/granted), and told the younger, replacement pastor to give/sell his study/reference books...the young pastor was overwhelmed with the work of the church and never got around to selling/moving the books--they stayed in a storeroom...A year later, the previous pastor showed up and asked about the books--God had given him a new and sweet ministry (by amazing grace!!!) and he wanted to know about the books...obviously, the young pastor saw how God did this--saving the books for the day of restoration--and learned about this grace...

"So, when I walked in to his office, to give MY books away, some 20 years later, this now-older, grace-familiar pastor recognized the pattern...that we give up so much earlier than the God of Grace does...

"I took my books home and wept and wept and wept (and weep know as I remember this, understanding just a little better than before about the boundless and non-petty character of our good-hearted and grace-creating God)...and from those "born-again books", this Christian Thinktank emerged, reaching almost a million people so far, countless hearts I wont see till Then...and all because HE didn't give up when I did...

"Be amazed at grace again, friend...remember, the prodigal son would have been restored to FULL sonship, with the FULL responsibilities of that position, based ONLY upon a changed heart...

"Make sure you don't compromise with a 'smaller view of grace' like I did back then, friend...learn from my story and that other pastor's story...and approach His precious Father-heart...

"warmly, and because of His grace,
"glenn miller


The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)