Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Karl here...He is risen! As you'll see below – we can't walk alone. As imperfect as the church may be, we need other Christ-followers to journey with – to taste and enjoy the power of the risen Christ. Below is a link of good churches in Chicagoland. If you trust my heart I invite you to 180 Chicago Church for Easter. I'm Lead Pastor at 180 and we would love to see you. Click here! No matter where you live in Chicagoland, look here for a church.
When God saved me from my sin, it was dramatic. Tears of gratitude followed the sobs of repentance. I could barely grasp the power of God and witnessed God pick me up, clean me up, put a new song in my heart – past shouts of pain were now present shouts of praise. My God had released me from my prison of self-will. I was alive for the first time, and nothing could drag me back to the soul-torturing darkness – no one but myself.
It was innocent enough. What could walking to the edge of sin do to me? But in a few short unguarded hours there I was, huddled in a room with friends who I'd witnessed to of God's power, now caving to the temptation to indulge in the substance that had ravaged my life, my soul.
There was a short rush of satisfaction, but waves of darkness soon engulfed me – I had slipped into the clutches of evil. I barged out of that place hating myself as I hit the door. I stumbled to my home with no life in my legs and no hope in my heart. Shame was crushing me with all the force of thousands of mocking demons. I wanted to die because my only thought was "how can I live?" – there appeared to be no way back.
My friend was there when I awoke. He looked at me without condemnation. There was not even a hint of disappointment, just eyes that were alive. He spoke words of hope and told me that God still loved me. I struggled to believe but a force was calling out to me – a comeback was in the making.
It was to be the last time I'd fail God in that way. But there have been other times when I've had to cry out to God and say, "bring me back." He's never turned me away, and that love has solidified in my heart that God's love is greater than our sin can ever be – no matter how big or small our fall.
The lessons I've learned passing from darkness into light are much like King David's. David knew soul-crushing shame. He stumbled into sin with a woman who wasn't his to take. David heaped up more sin to cover his tracks by murdering a good man named Uriah. He may have thought he got away with a big one. But he didn't because God's grace isn't cheap and God's love demands the truth. There was a cost for that sin because all sin costs us something. He must have asked the same questions we've all asked about God's patience, wondering if we're forever hopeless or if we can make a full comeback. But grace came rushing into David, and it's calling out to you. Hear this: You can come back! Not because of your ability to change but because of God's persistent love.
So I invite you into your pain even a little more deeply. Follow the path of David, myself and anyone else who dares to admit they need a comeback. From Psalm 51...
Tell God of your need for his mercy and love.
Confess every ounce of sin and own it all before God.
Agree with God that truth is the only hope.
Don't stand off in shame. Let God clean you up.
Open yourself up to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Let the joy of your transformation return.
Praise God that the most important sacrifice is your brokenness.
I praise God for you and I celebrate your courage. Enter into the joy and abundant life of honoring God, walking close with Jesus, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
On behalf of Karl and our entire 180 Chicago Church team, thank you for taking the time to read this blog – your passion for abundant life is encouraging. If you're looking for a church home that aims to help you discover your purpose and never settle for too little, come visit 180 Chicago.