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On February 17, 2011 Pastor Dirk Jackson was formally charged with raping a 12 year old girl in 2003 when he worked as a teacher at a Christian academy. Komo 4 News Jesus warns in Luke 17:2, “It would be better for [those who cause others to stumble] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (NIV) No doubt, raping a child can cause their faith to stumble. And yet, Jesus follows with a command to forgive those who repent, even if they have offended repeatedly. Does Jackson deserve God’s grace? Does he deserve ours? Or do we cleanse the church of those who bring harm and move forward without them? You may think me mad, but Jackson needs God’s grace and as Christians we are commanded to love him. But grace and justice are two different things. One does not cancel out the other. Jackson (I will not call him pastor) has proven that leaders in the church can fall as easily as anyone else. None of us are perfect. And we have all fallen. All of us. Comparing our sins against one another only takes the focus off the underserved grace God offers each of us. I do hope the truth comes out. And if this man is found guilty of his charges, I hope he faces the justice he deserves and that he is never again allowed to be alone with a child. But I too need God’s forgiveness to be whole. I can compare my sin as much as I want, but on Judgment Day when we all stand in holy court, it will not be those who have sinned the least that face freedom and glory, it’s those who have chosen to receive God’s forgiveness. Am I crazy? What do you think?

Current Events
Barbara Whitt headed the generosity ministry at First Baptist Church of Morristown, TN.  Only thing was, she was being generous with herself. A mother and son pleaded guilty in federal court Feb. 19 to stealing more than $1.5 million from a Southern Baptist church where the mother worked for 47 years. Barbara Whitt, 69, and Michael Whitt, 43, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court to bank fraud and money laundering related to funds embezzled from First Baptist Church in Morristown, Tenn. According to the Morristown Citizen Tribune, the pair remain free on bond until their sentencing is set in July. A widow and trusted financial secretary of the 1,800-member church, Whitt was accused of writing 1,647 checks to herself between January 2008 and April 2010. She was arrested in May, after a church audit found $500,000 was missing. via Associated Baptist Press – Mother, son confess to stealing church funds. WOW.  Over 1600 checks to herself in 28 months.  That’s over 50 checks per month.  written. to. herself. Can that be right? And the audit found $500k missing?  Wonder if they also found the 1,647 checks WRITTEN. TO. HERSELF. And I’m surprised that this didn’t raise a red flag at the church. This could quiet possibly be the worst case of financial oversight I’ve ever seen in a church. But, then again… I guess… who would ever suspect sweet 69 year old Barbara, who’d been working at the church for 47 years, would do a thing like that? The truth… it shouldn’t have mattered.  SOMEONE besides Barbara or her son should have been having checks and balances (pun intended) over the church books. What safeguards does your church have in place to make sure this doesn’t happen?