An Ugly Cat, The Rebirth of a Church, Personal Response to Christ’s Love, and a God of Second Chances

After a recent leadership meeting at the church, there was this ugly, pregnant cat climbing on my car and rubbing against my leg as I was talking with a friend in the parking lot. At the time I was annoyed by the cat. She had a weird limp, no tail, and was one of the ugliest cats I had ever seen. I've only seen uglier on the internet.

The next day I was thinking about that cat. She had been through a lot to make her that ugly. I would not be surprised if she had been hit by a car or involved in some farming incident with a combine. I have no idea how she had lost her tail.

Then it struck me, her kittens will be precious little kittens. Her physical ailments will not be passed on. The same is true for us as a church. We are being born again. In the fall, we are going to reintroduce ourselves to the community as Riverside Christian Church. We are going to be a new plant, coming out of what was the Antwerp Church of Christ. We are going to focus on having real, authentic community with one another, passion for Jesus and his work, and loving everyone we encounter.

And you can join and change yourself. You do not have to be part of our church to restart your life if that is what you need. No matter how spiritually deformed you feel you are, God is willing to make you whole. The process won't be a bed of roses, but it will be the best decision you have ever made. We, as a church, have been given a second chance at life. And God is giving you a second chance. We serve a gracious God of second chances.

Despite the fact that I dropped the ball in loving my roommate when I bailed him from jail by not relaying the message that God laid on my heart, I have been given many more chances to love since that time. Just because you fail and are not who God intends for you to be at times, God is willing to give you another chance. He always gives us another chance. Despite my failures to follow, God has blessed me at other times by allowing me to join in his work. There is nothing greater than to be God's hands in helping the hurting, the oppressed, our neighbors and friends, and even our enemies – there is nothing better in this world than love expressed in real, tangible ways. That's what the path he has called each one us toward, a path of loving our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and our enemies. Let us follow, get up when we fail, and follow again.