“The story of my life in the last few months is almost hard to believe. In November, my precious three-year-old son died. He simply passed away in his sleep with no explanation. It was the heartbreak of my life.
About a month later, I found out that a dear friend of mine has a very serious prognosis of lung cancer. He has three children under the age of four – one who was born about two weeks after the diagnosis. It is a terrifying situation for his wife and him.
In the last two months I have watched a friend destroy his life and the lives of many other people due to his problems with addiction and mental illness. He possesses no capability of “getting it together,” and functions like a tornado of destruction for family and friends. The tornado has crescendoed in the last weeks.
Finally, this month, a beloved former student of mine took his own life. He was one of my favorite kids of all times – a sensitive, caring young man that lost his life in a moment of despair. I offered the eulogy at his funeral in the most difficult hour of my ministry….
When we do not preach the Gospel, this is what we say: Everything is fine.
We say that our problem with sin is not that severe; we can fix our problems with a little effort. We say that death is not a real thing; we can kick that can down the road. We say that the world is generally fine; it’s not in need of radical rescue. We say that our need for God’s redeeming love and power is not that great…
When Christian leaders neglect to explicitly preach the Gospel, it’s implicitly saying, “Let’s just smile and be nice and try to be good people.” It’s an insult to people who are suffering, failing, and dying…
As one living in the gutter, I want to plead with you: Remember that behind the veneer of nice clothing, well-kept hair, and apparent smiles on Sunday morning, Wednesday nights, and gatherings in-between lie dozens and dozens of broken hearts, desperate spirits, and doubting souls.
Do what my mentor, Frank Limehouse, taught me to do every single time: Take it back to the Cross.”