Rehab Church

Read this somewhere (I don’t remember where)…

The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit that there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. It is an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality–but it is a permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship.bar2

It is un-shockable.

You can tell people secrets, and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved. And so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers…

Somehow this rings true. Church was never meant to be a place of ‘nice happy people’ who have no issues. Weird thing is that as I’ve interacted with many who’ve not been to church in a long time and have only started coming to Mavuno, my own faith has been challenged. I’ve been forced to think through why I believe what I believe. And to discover that some of my previously tightly held beliefs were more based on culture than on God’s word. And to see that I too have issues; I’ve just become really good at hiding them!

With this realization, I’ve come to agree with another metaphor for church that I first heard from Dr. Omar Djoeandy, a good friend from down under. Church is like a hospital. None of us is there because we have all the answers. Those of us who’ve been there for a while are also fellow patients, who just happened to get here earlier, and so can point our fellow patients to the Doctor.

Maybe church was meant to look more like rehab center than a social club. As in ‘hi, I’m Pastor M and I’m a recovering sinner!’

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24 responses to “Rehab Church

  1. Hi pastor M,
    I thank God for your honesty and being real.It really does help make things clearer.I pray for you and the leadership of Mavuno that God may continue using you to reach the lost.
    Somehow you messeges are always appropriate.

  2. Hi am Wangui and am a recovering sinner.

    Thanks for this Pastor M. Funny thing is just a few days ago, I had a dream that your office was moving into my house but unfortunately the house was one big mess full of rats and cockroaches but your words in the dream rang true, “Don’t worry we will work on this.” Gave me comfort to know that its okay to have issues and for my heart to come to God just as I am. You are a blessing to me and my family.

  3. Thanks Beryl! @ Wangui, interesting thing especially since we’re looking for office space! How big is your house 🙂 For sure, we belong to a big God who is not threatened by our messes and issues. God bless!

  4. you must have read that qoute in those wall hangings that are sold at TOI marketr.BTW, i saw a hawker selling your mizizi books.coz i doubt if he works for PDS or some distribution firm, might you be aware of this?if not what can be done?

  5. Haha, well I would gladly offer the house but it is in Kinoo way too far and scheduled for demolition pretty soon anyway. Thanks for the encouragement Pastor M that God is not threatened by our issues and messes.

  6. I would like to comment on reformation- speaking in a language that people will understand.
    Mavuno does this best.
    But besides giving thanks for God for the harvest, I think all of us who understand and live the vision and values of Mavuno ought to pray that the lord of harvest will continue to grow and sustain us.Just like Pastor M put in- the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few.
    When I joined Mavuno one year ago, Pastor M used to talk alot about the principles and foundation of Mavuno.It helped me understand what I was getting into. Now I can easily tell people why I worship at Mavuno.It also becomes easy for me to counter some negative ideas that some people out there have.
    Pastor M and team, continue doing the good work and keep reminding us of what we stand for.

  7. Pastor M…this Sunday was my 2nd time @ Mavuno. I came at the right time as the series was spot on, based on what I’m going through right now. I’d like to join a Life Group but don’t know who to contact. Is there one in or near Runda? I can be reached at 0735 664901. Thank you and God Bless. Rose.

  8. Hallo Pastor M,

    This is Wanjagi again…..

    I hope u r doin fine. I am ok under God’s care n Guidance. As u very well know, i took one step towards the Happily ever After episode (Coming soon)..hahahaha..n we are planning on the wedo. Just wanted to know? Can i hold the event at the dome? And if so, how much will it cost me?

    Please get back to me. Drop me a mail. My email address is jamesmugendi@yahoo.com

    Thanks and May the Lord of the Great Heaven shower u n ur family with blessings beyond measure.

    Wa Njagi here…

  9. The neighborhood bar — well, ofcourse the beginning of this sentence just grabbed me IMMEDIATELY!

    Pastor M., I feel you about humans wanting relations, to communicate, to bond, to fill that ‘belongingness’ void, and its kinda sad that the neighborhood bar sometimes does that best!

    So like Wendy 1 says, i wish more of us seekers, would all find a church with values that they can embrace so that when we meet fellow believers in these “rehab-centers”, we can fellowship with a church family that will not be shocked or judge us for the issues we’ve become really great at hiding, but will inspire to know whose we are,and let God transform us.

  10. Hi Pastor M. This thing sounds good but I dont raally concur. When you compare with a rehab centre I think it makes sense but you are not giving people hope that they can fully recover. Like statement says,.. I’m Pastor M a recovering sinner” this might as well end like this… “I’ve been here for 20yrs and havnt recovered welcome to the world its only your first day you might never recover, non of these members has recovered”… crazy right. There is no hope here pastor. 2nd is something you always insist on…COME AS YOU ARE….. What you never tell people is that once they get saved by grace then their ways will have to change. There should be a difference between the saved and the one who is not. When you get saved you have to follow his commandments if you love God otherwise you will be nailing if you do not change your ways. Jesus says if you love me you will follow my commandments.
    3rd Pastor M is about this village thing I do not subscribe to it. This is my reason, are we trying to fit into the world or its the world which should be trying to fit into the church. The bible says in Revelation, Come out of her(Babylon) or will drink the wrath of her fonication. There should be a distinction between us and the world. Jesus sent out the people who went to do business in the synagogue… do you ask your self why?Pastor we might end up being the one’s the bible says..”Not everyone who calls me lord lord shall enter the Kindom of heaven”
    Just a thought.

  11. @msanii thanks for braving for me.maze pasi where is your faith?the bible calls us saints!!!way call yourself a sinner when you have been washed with the blood of jesus!!!me am a SAINT who sometimes sins.as for the village thing i can’t comment but if it’s reaching people and God is changing them from sinners to saints i got no issues.will attend one of this days.but sincerely pasi you are forgiven and you need to give your flock (like me) hope that what am reading in the bible is for me.that am a saint who sometimes sins.ama which verses of the bible call us (born again people) recovering sinners.the work is complete is Christ n i can quote some verses which am sure you know.

  12. @ Msanii and thekenyannutcase, live a little. I think “recovering sinner” is not that literal. And if you such your self, the saint is just the sinner.

  13. @beatiful i was a sinner before i met Christ now am a saint.just that pasi has literally saifdd that in church.PS: I got a great life, i can share some fun.my number’s active 🙂

  14. Hey all, thanks for the comments.

    @ msanii and kenyannutcase,I agree that once Christ comes into your life and changes you, you become a new creation, old things pass away and you become new (2Corinthians5:17). I’m sure you’ll agree however that one danger is when we stop depending on Christ’s power to stand and think we have it all sorted. We run into the danger of the Pharisee who thanked God he wasn’t like the taxcollector (Luke 18:9-14). The intro verse tells us that Jesus told this story ‘to some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else’

    Christ said he didn’t come for those who thought they were well, but to ‘seek and save the lost.’ (Luke19:10). Interestingly, his strongest rebukes were not to so called ‘sinners’ but to the most religious people of the day. That’s why the bible says if you think you’re standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall’ (1Corinthians10:12).

    Like you, I have no doubt that I’m a saint. But I also recognize that left to myself, I’m incapable of walking the Christian life (read Paul’s confession in Romans 7). We have serious issues! We’ll always need Christ to keep me from falling (Jude 24).

    I think the exercising of our faith calls for a great balance between confidence in Christ power to keep us straight coupled with humility about our own weaknesses if it was not for God. Or as Jimmy Gait so famously put it ‘tiga ni Ngai ningipatwa na muhadhara!’

    Or what do you think?

  15. This is how I understand the concept of a recovering sinnner.Paul speaking to the galatians in Galatians 5.17 says that “for the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would do”.
    Paul acknowledges that by our very human nature we fall but we rise up again.
    We are called to constantly dye to self and complete surrender(Mizizi Week 5).
    I thank God because I belong to a community of believers that can stand with me when I rise and when I fall.

  16. Thanks pastor for your clarification. However, a word of caution regarding this matter. I have seen many Christians taking advantage of acceptance and refusing to change. Living in the comfort that there are many sinners in church, and so they do not have to change. Happy in the knowledge that they are accepted just as they are. I agree the church needs to create an atmosphere of acceptance, but then there also needs to be an atmosphere that challenges these same people to CHANGE. God is not father Christmas, and he will pass judgment on sinners. This is one statement that few pastors like making. But it is true. The church needs to accept sinners, and then challenge them to grow and change to be like Jesus Christ. Not in a hail and brimstone way, but lovingly It is sad that many churches are scared of doing this, lest the numbers reduce…..so now the church is becoming one big happy clappy family where we accept you as you are, and then tippy toe around issues regarding what you are doing. Not once challenging you….having group hugs every time someone stands up to announce their sin. This is not a barb to mavuno, just a caution that acceptance is just the first level….and that there is more…….thats my ) ….$0.2 worth 

  17. @PCNK, I can see where you are coming from, however, I have a slightly different experience.

    An old pastor taught me the concept of being the righteousness of God through Christ. A lot of people were opposed to that teaching as they thought it was a ‘license to sin’ i.e., no matter what we do, our price has been paid by Christ and there’s nothing we can do to add or take away from that.

    Well, that’s only true to some degree…our price has been paid, but it’s not a license to sin as people have been sinning without a ‘license’ forever! The Bible makes reference numerous times that we are saved by grace, not by our works lest anyone should boast.

    I digress…my take is that as long as the pastors continue to preach the WORD of God..not their opinion, not what they think God was trying to say…but what God actually said, that WORD, which is living and active will move the Spirit of God to convict us of any sin in our lives..that’s when you see each Sunday people coming forward and saying “I want to change, I want different”…their day of conviction has come. We as Christians keep sowing the seed, the WORD of God, and we continue loving folks, and we then open the door for God to come in and change people’s hearts and minds.

    As for those who have PURPOSED to continue sinning, there is nothing the pastor(s) can do to dissuade them, they are only fooling themselves and even then, we can’t kick them out of church because that is the only place they have the hope of one day hearing a word that will change their lives. Make sense?

  18. Thanks Rose, couldn’t have put that better. My job is to love and to graciously teach God’s word. God’s work is to convict. Both ‘them’ and me!

  19. hey pasi saying what you said puts things in perspective.it’s easy to rely on your own strength and forget who’s your source of salvation.

    i believe in keeping it real.for me this covers my everyday living-clothes,job,exercise,food.. and spirituality.

    i believe when we are spiri we are keeping it real.and if we are not spiri as Christians then we are saying that God real coz God is “a” spirit.n how else will we relate with Him.

    i love mavuno where we keep it real.

  20. typing error-sorry “if we are not spiri as Christians then we are saying that God is not real coz God is “a” spirit.”

  21. Like your blogs…still a sinner, working on being a recovering sinner. It would be great if we could share your blogs on facebook as a way of reaching lost souls like mine out there.

  22. Hello, I am searching for a church (preferably non-denominational), that offers rehab counseling/services to convicted sex offenders. This is for a friend in CA whose son is about to be released onto the streets after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. He is in such need of the Lord Jesus’ love and compassion. I know his life can be turned around by the love of the Lord.

    Please, do you know of any churches in the SoCal area that offer this type of counseling or service?

    Rebecca

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