On July 19th about 20 “guests” attended the 9am service and then picketed outside of the church during the Hospitality Hour and also before, during and after the 11am service.
Demonstrators fail to thwart and dampen the outpouring of God’s Spirit!
A group from TruthTruckUSA made a stop at metropolitan Church of Christ, Las Vegas (“MCCLV”) while they were in town to participate in Operation Rescue/Operation Save America’s “2009 National Event.”
As the protestors (with their bullhorns) baked in the 109 degree Las Vegas summer heat, they were offered bottled water and greeted warmly, compassionately and hospitably by many of the good folks of MCCLV.
Meanwhile, the Worship of God not only continued inside the church at 11am (where it was COOL) but the People of God were encouraged and enlivened by the clear need for MCC’s message of hope, love and acceptance as an antidote to the condemnation, prejudice and discrimination that was going on outside.
Here’s one MCCer’s description of her experience:
When we pulled into our church today, we saw two police cars and a boat load of picketers. This is the first time that Keli and I have ever experienced anything like this. There was a huge van with the word ‘homosexual’ crossed out on it and a preacher on a megaphone quoting Scripture at everyone who “dared” to enter a primarily gay church. I was amazed at the things said; supposedly coming from a man that claimed to be a man of God. I’m sure the protesters called the police because they were afraid we gay folk would get out of hand. On the contrary. We stood outside enjoying each others company before the service started and then we went inside to worship God. The members of our little church were not affected by the protesters outside preaching what they believed to be the Word of God. We, the church, sang louder then I’ve ever heard us in the five years that Keli and I have been attending this church. The protesters did just the opposite of what they intended to do. We stayed, we learned, we sang and we prayed and most of all . . . WE WERE NOT MOVED!
During the opening song, a man sat down behind Keli and I. He suddenly realized that our church was a bit different. He said “I don’t mean to be rude, but is this a gay church?” I replied that probably 90% of our members are gay. He said “Oh F***!” and got up to leave. I said “Please stay. It’ll change your life.” He got up and left after the first song, but he came back. He sat through the entire service. During the last song, he sang louder than anyone in the room, bringing tears to mine and Keli’s eyes. Afterward, I told him I was glad he stayed. He said “Me too. It’s different. Very different but when you guys sang, I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room.” Me too.
We had protesters outside telling us that God hates us yet a straight man off the street says he feels the Holy Spirit in OUR church, a GAY CHURCH. If God hated us, the Holy Spirit would’ve been the last thing that man felt. I don’t know if he’ll return to our church but because of our church, he let God a little bit more into his heart and into his life. Our church was there today for someone that needed time with God. Protesters or not, we were there. I’m very proud to be a part of this church and I’m very proud to have experienced what it was like to have people picketing us.
On our way to our van, a lady jumped out and took a picture of us. This upset Keli at first until I told her I was proud that we got to be the lesbian moms with two kids that they probably show to the rest of their congregation. While loading the kids in the van, we were bombarded by two protesters. I knew better then to run my mouth at them or to be rude. It took the man jumping at my wife for me to open my mouth. I asked him to back away from my family and I told him no, I wouldn’t accept his pamphlet. I said “God loves me. What else do I need to know?” He replied “You’re wrong. God doesn’t love you.” We got in the van and when we started it a Todd Agnew song came on a little loud claiming “all your sins are washed away.” What a fitting song for these protesters to hear from the van of a lesbian couple as they tell all of us that God does not love us.
I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to share this story with everyone I know; regardless of their religious beliefs. I’m not sure what version of the Bible this man uses, but God loves everyone. Regardless of who we are or what we do. As our Father, he may not be happy with us but he loves us unconditionally. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world though him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Jesus was sent here for all of us. Not some of us. He loves all of us, not some of us. God is our Father and even if we do something we shouldn’t he still loves us. When Jesus died on the Cross, he died for us all. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean he didn’t come here to wash away my sins too. HE LOVES US ALL! When will the world get this through their heads?