"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us
the ministry of reconciliation:"
(NIV 2 Corinthians 5.17-18 Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1984)
"I haven't seen Jim at church in a long time... I wonder what's going on?"
"Do you think he's real sick?"
"I don't know....I'll call him.. In fact, I'll call him right now while I'm thinking about it." He found the number on the speed-dial list on his cell. "Hi... Jim?"
"Yes, this is Jim."
"Hi, this is Bro. Newman. I was just thinking about you, and decided to call. Would it be okay if I stopped by?"
Jim was impressed. He knew church service was about to start--he could hear song practice in the background. And, to get Bro. Newman out of his church routine would take, well, it would take a MIRACLE. He simply answered, "Sure, right now?"
"Yep. I'll see you in a little bit."
When Jim answered the door, he was immediately apologetic. "Sorry about how the house looks...and how I look, too. Come on in."
Bro. Newman walked in, and didn't say a word. He sat down on the couch and Jim continued.
"It's cold out there...! Would you like something to drink?"
"No, but thanks anyway."
"So, why were you thinking about me?"
"I came here to say nine words, 'I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.'"
Jim looked down, hanging his head in guilty shame. "I'm sorry, too. I was offended at something you said at church, and so... I stopped going. I guess it just became a bad habit."
"We miss you... I miss you."
Surprised, Jim answered, "I miss you, too. I miss being there. Every time I know there's a church service, and I'm sitting here, I remember being in the presence of God."
"I'm not here to bring you back to church tonight. I just wanted to tell you that we're thinking about you and we still love you. But, please do come back. Come back on Sunday."
"I'll do that!"
"If you don't, I'll be back." Bro. Newman said cheerfully, with a smile.
Prayer: "Father, help me today to have the courage to break away from the ninety-nine to reconcile with one lost sheep."