Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

I was an uncontrollable teenager! When I surrendered to Christ, I got very involved in the church I had attended during those rebellious years. During those teen years the elders of this church wanted to “excommunicate” me but the pastor stood up for me, believing God was going to get a hold of me! And several years later I totally yielded my life to Jesus. God did get a hold of me and soon after I became the first intern at that church.

Nevertheless, these same elders never accepted me! They held on to who I was and what I had done to the church. Even after approximately seven years of interning at this church, when the opportunity for a new youth pastor had come up, they totally bypassed me, because of my past!

Think about it… What if those in Saul’s past rejected him because he was a murderer and persecutor of the early church? Likewise, what if Israel rejected David because of his adultery, polygamy, and murder. Wow, the world would have been different. Doesn’t the word tell us that when a person comes to Christ they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Of course! Now I am not resentful of these elders. In fact, God used this to launch me. Yes, it hurt but I have forgiven them. I even came back to that church years later and ministered there for a bit. But my point is, we cannot allow someone’s past, especially before Christ to dictate their future! Our past may be a thorn in our flesh that we need to receive grace for. We may walk with a limp, but in Christ we are new creations!

We are on the verge of a historic move of God. This year of the open door is likely the beginning of revival. This revival needs to move to awakening and reformation. There will be shady characters, with very questionable pasts, coming to Christ, some who may have hurt us personally. We will need to quickly forgive and equip them for the battle before us. Many from the LGBTQ movement will be finding freedom in Christ, but the church must provide a place for them. James talked about not showing favoritism (2:1-7), whether to our big donors, or our primary leaders, or celebrity brothers in the faith and/or “older brother” Christians. We will need to be very careful to not discriminate against these new creations, who may very well be covered in tattoos, or trying to figure out their gender, or getting clean from their sexual past. We are not to make them stand in the back while giving the “rich man” the good seat in the front of the sanctuary.

Ask the Lord if there is any wounds or offence in you that you need to invite Jesus into, and then forgive that person. Ask God to prepare you for the coming revival, awakening and reformation. Invite Him to do whatever is necessary in you so that His life and love can flow through you to others who are not like you! Ask Him to prepare your church for what He is about to do, and whom He is about to bring in. Ask God to soften your pastor’s heart even more, as well as all who lead and have influence at your church. Ask God to prepare your church to become a disciple making, missionary sending body of loving and obedient followers of Christ! May He make your church a new creation for this very hour as revival leans towards us!