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Embarrassed by God

God often works in ways that we don't understand, and are even ashamed of, in order to demonstrate love, mercy, and redemption.


I want to tell you about my Aunt Julie, because everybody has an Aunt Julie in their family or an Uncle Harry or a cousin Jessica—someone who they're glad lives far away, someone whom they're glad they see only at family reunions, someone who embarrasses them. Now, my family was blessed with many Aunt Julies, but I'm just going to tell you about one Aunt Julie.

She's the sister of my mother, and all the sisters in that particular clan are a bit eccentric, Julie more than others. In fact, Julie suffers from schizophrenia in her life. She saw her baby come out of the moon. She was always an extravagant person, always dressed oddly, wore her hair in a way that made her look the worst, was always having dreams and inspirations, always asking the awkward question when she first met you. She lived in Bright, which is a suburb of Sacramento. It's anything but bright. It's a poor, impoverished, dirt road, ramshackle suburb with houses made of cardboard and tin. So, basically, everything about Aunt Julie was uncomfortable.

When I was a pastor in Sacramento, my father came to visit once, and this is after my mother died. So while we were driving around visiting tourist spots, we decided, "Why don't we just drop into Bright?" I wanted my wife, Barbara, to see where my mother spent a lot of her childhood years. That would be interesting. But my father and I agreed right away that we were not stopping to see Aunt Julie. We were just not going to do that. That would only get us caught up in a conversation we don't want to get caught up in, and we could be there for hours.

So we're driving around Bright, and we're driving upon the street in which Julie lived, and right next to her house there's a man on the roof yelling because ...

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Mark Galli is managing editor of Christianity Today magazine and author of A Great and Terrible Love (Baker).

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Sermon Outline:


Every family has someone who is awkward and embarrassing, and likewise there is embarrassment within our faith.

I. Our embarrassment begins with a lack of understanding.

II. God works through our lack of understanding.


In reality, we are the embarrassments, but God doesn't treat us accordingly.