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Worthy of Restoration

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Worthy of Restoration

Ray Carroll and I met on-line in 2011 through our publisher, Civitas Press.  He asked me to be a feedback reader for his new book, Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World. Ray used to preach about grace before he lost his position as a pastor due to adultery.  Then he experienced the grace of God and what it’s like to have that same grace withheld by other Christians.  As the result of his fall, Ray ministers to other broken pastors and calls the Church to follow Jesus, who offered forgiveness, redemption and restoration for all.  I highly recommend this book, because each of us has failed, made some bad mistakes, and long for a new start.

Here’s a post Ray wrote for me about his experience.

 

Worthy of Restoration

by Ray Carroll

My wife, Allison, is my biggest supporter. When I wrote my book, Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World, she set out to sell the book to everyone she knew. In fact, I think she’s sold a copy to just about everyone she comes into contact with.

Well, almost everyone.

There’s one person she knows who is a very devout, upright Christian. This person is in church every Sunday, pays their tithes and offerings, brings at least two covered dishes to every potluck and knows the Bible backwards and forwards. This person refuses to buy a book, however. The reason? Because this person thinks a pastor should never have sinned and fallen from grace in the first place.

Well, that person is right. Should never happen. Ever. But it did.

Allison told me about her friend and was mildly bothered by her friend’s reaction. I said, “I wonder what your friend’s reaction would have been if she had lived when David was king and he committed adultery with Bathsheba then killed her husband?”

Allison said, “I don’t know.”

I said, “That was a terrible thing David did. Do you figure she ever reads any of his Psalms?”

Truth is, before I fell from ministry, I was very unforgiving toward sin. I had a very judgmental attitude and was extremely self-righteous. I probably wouldn’t have bought my book either. I was just fine, thank you very much.

After my fall, I knew that no one is above reproach. No one is beyond sin and anyone can fall. More importantly, all of us are within the grasp of grace, in need of restoration and the love of people who will walk beside us. The only problem is finding people who can and will decide to help us.

I’d like to challenge you today in regard to restoration. Most of us will fall in this lifetime. We will do something we are ashamed of and will stand in need of forgiveness. All of us are worthy of restoration but we have to be ready to take the time for the restorative act to take place.

The church where I used to pastor was filled with car fanatics. Let me be clear – I am not a car nut. I can change my oil. I can fill the gas tank with gas. When the “change engine” light comes on, I take it somewhere – usually. That’s the extent of my love affair with my car. But my former church members loved cars. They were especially crazy about cars from the 1950’s. They bought old ones and restored them to almost mint condition.

I had never really been around people who restored cars before. One of my members had a car he had been working on for the eight years I was pastoring there. As far as I know, he’s probably still working on it. One day, I got curious about the whole thing and finally asked.

“What in the world is taking you so long?” I asked him. He looked at me like I was the stupidest person in the world. His answer took about 30 minutes and when he was done, I felt really dumb. You see, you can’t just walk into the nearest auto parts store and get parts for a car from 1954. You have to go to swap meets. Or get on eBay. And even then, the parts are hard to find and expensive.

When you’re done rebuilding an engine, you have to worry about the transmission. Then the electrical system. After you’ve restored the inner workings, then you can worry about aesthetics – upholstery, interior, chrome, tires, paint, finish. All of this can take years. It takes time, money, and labor.

In the end, it’s worth it, apparently. When you watch classic car owners drive around town, you see the pride they feel in restoring their ride. They get looks from people who notice them in their car and they feel good about the work they’ve done. Why’d they do it? Because it was something they wanted to do. They saw a piece of metal that didn’t look like much, but when they looked at it, they knew it was worth a lot.

Guess what? It’s the same for you and me. We fall, we fail, we don’t look like much to those around us. But Scripture encourages us to restore those who sin to Christian fellowship. At the moment when our failure is fresh, there are few who see much innate worth in the fallen sinner. But those who can see the worth within are those who have the spirit of Christ alive in their hearts. They are those who care not what the world says and they embrace the fallen.

Restoring a sinner has a lot of similarities to restoring a vehicle. It takes time, labor, and great cost. It’s not a matter of days or weeks. Many times, it takes years. It is a labor of love. It involves many parts of the person’s emotions, nature and life.

In the end, though, there’s a reason why we invest time in those who fall. When that person has been restored to the Christian community – repentant and full of Christ – they look like new. People see the changes in them; they see what Christ has done.

All of us are run down. All of us are going to be in need of restoration. We each have worth because of what Christ has done, because we are His children. And because we all have worth, we all should seek each other out when others would throw us on the junk pile of life.­­­

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Ray Carroll is author of Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World.   He blogs at www.fallenpastor.com and is a featured author at Provoketive Magazine (Provoketive.com).   To order Ray’s book, click on the following link:  http://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Pastor-Finding-Restoration-Broken/dp/0615567096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328849816&sr=8-1

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About the Author:

Ray Carroll is author of Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World. (available on Amazon.com) He blogs at www.fallenpastor.com and is a featured author at Provoketive Magazine (Provoketive.com).

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