During the morning Sunday service on 6th May I quoted from a Focus on the Family book by Mike Adkins that was popular a few years ago: A Man Called Norman.
It's the story of the unlikely friendship that developed between Mike and his eccentric neighbour, who was known locally as 'weird Norman'. The church I was attending at the time showed the video of Mike telling his story during a midweek meeting and I remember it making a big impact on me.
Mike is a gifted communicator and he shares with disarming honesty and humour about the middle-class prejudices he struggled with and how he came to genuinely love Norman and eventually lead him to faith. We see in Mike's struggle to leave his comfort zone and live out the gospel, our own struggle to love others as Jesus loved and demonstrate the grace and acceptance God showed us. It's a story that perfectly illustrates the passage we were looking at: James 2:1-13.
The believers James were writing to were showing favouritism to those who were important and wealthy, while dishonouring those who were poorer and more needy. James urges them to keep God's royal law of love and accept and welcome all. In our image-conscious, status-obsessed culture, it's something we need to keep working hard at cultivating as individuals and as a church.
If you want to hear Mike Adkins retelling the story of 'A Man Called Norman' follow the links below. It's a bit dated now, but it's still worth a listen.
In total it's around 30mins long, but has been split into 4 parts:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rigeTsJNd8o&feature=relmfu
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aak02vUTXO0&feature=relmfu
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtMBHlsBUT0&feature=relmfu
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFXQ3G57bWE&feature=relmfu