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Challenging Our Awareness of the Less Fortunate

As I have walked my personal journey of seeking more of God in my life, I have often found myself with special motivation during a certain part of that journey. One such period that stands out strongly was a time when I was drawn to Christ through the music of Mark Hall and Casting Crowns. I have always found Mark’s lyrics to be solidly Biblical, extremely witty, pointed toward identifying our shortcomings as individuals in the church, and a challenge to our laid-back life as everyday Christians. He shares his life’s story in person at his concerts, through his numerous books, and of course through his songs. He has always challenged me to be a better Christian.


His song written in 2011, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” spoke loudly to me about how we fail to see and relate to those around us who are less fortunate than we are. We miss their struggles as they simply try to survive the life situation that they have been dealt. That song, burned into my mind at that time of my life, formed a strong background attitude toward our shared Christian faith and has become a major motivation for my involvement in the lives of others through Atlas of the Lakes Area.


Hall was often accused of attacking the Christian church for its short comings but in reality, he simply wants us to step away from our contented self-righteousness and view ourselves in the true light of our condition. Seeing ourselves honestly, we can learn to become more of what Christ would have us be. This particular song is not criticism of the church but a prayer to Jesus asking Him, first to help Mark himself and then all of us, as Christians. Mark’s prayer for all of us is that we see others as Jesus sees them.


Please read and consider Hall’s words and see how they apply to your life and attitude toward others. (I have italicized those words that have been most meaningful to me.)


Then, listen to the song by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6VAy9y_iQ


This exercise will help you better understand what motivates Atlas to walk alongside the clients that find their way to us as we accompany them on the path to a better life, a life with Christ. In the process we continually learn to know our Savior better as well.



“ Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns - 2005


Verse 1

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away. We cut down people in Your name, But the sword was never ours to swing Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see. The world is on their way to You, But they're tripping over me. Always looking around but never looking up. I'm so double-minded. A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.

Chorus Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, Break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

Verse 2 Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand. Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands. Help us to remember we are all the least of these. Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees. Nobody knows what we're for. Only what we're against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did? Chorus


Refrain

You love every lost cause.

You reach for the outcast,

For the leper and the lame.

They're the reason that You came.


Lord I was that lost cause,

And I was the outcast,

But You died for sinners just like me,

A grateful leper at Your feet.


'Cause You are good,

You are good,

And Your love endures forever.

You are good,

You are good,

And Your love endures forever.


Chorus

Jesus, friend of sinners,

Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.

Let our hearts be led by mercy.

Help us reach with open hearts and open doors.

Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.


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