So, right now, on Sunday mornings we’re working through the idea of “loving our neighbors.” It can be the nasty, dirty, unpleasant part of being a Christian. Sometimes our neighbors don’t give us any good reasons to love them. Many times, they give us many reasons NOT to love them! Sometimes our neighbors are our enemies! They REALLY give us reasons not to love them… However, Christ specifically instructed us to love our neighbors and our enemies, no matter who they are. No matter what they look like, smell like, or how they act. No matter how they believe religiously or politically. He said, love them all…Know why? Many times, WE don’t give God any good reason to love US. Many times, WE give God great reasons NOT to love us! We are not worthy of the love God has for us. He could, easily, say to us, “You’re a mess. You constantly do things I don’t approve of. I’m done with you. I’ve had enough.” But, He doesn’t. And, He never will. He loves us EVEN THOUGH we can be totally un-lovable! We owe it to God to show our neighbors the exact kind of love he gives us. We owe it to Him. We owe it to them.
Here’s my weekly “To Do” for you:
Show God you can love others.
Think of 3 people you just can’t get along with.
Put them on your prayer list.
Pray, pray, pray for God to help you find love for them. The same way he’s found love for you.
My Thought for your week: If we pray that God will help us move mountains, we have to be prepared to wake up next to a shovel.
The Bible is full of stories and instances where God's incredible power helps the small conquer the massive! In this story, all of God's people, including the king, were utterly stuck. They could not take their eyes off of Goliath and look to God. Even though he was a big dude, he was the ONLY obstacle to their success.
All it took one "God-loving" boy to bring him down. One boy who said to the king of Israel, "What are you doing! If you're too afraid to do it, send me in! God and I will take him out!" - And he and God DID!
God has a plan and a purpose for you!
God has a plan and a purpose for every believer!
Satan is dead-set on putting any Goliath he can in your path to prevent you form doing God's will!
Next time your facing one of your "Goliath's" remember, all you need is to Love God and have the faith of David...and a rock!
Philippians 4:13 New International Version (NIV) 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Around the age of one I was adopted into the home of a Christian family; a “preacher’s” family. And, having been raised in that home, I’ve never experienced the great “conversion moment” of many born-again believers. I’ve grown up in church, made plaster hand-prints in V.B.S., slept in the sanctuary while Dad worked on his sermons and found comfort roaming its halls. Jesus and the Church have been my rock since I began to talk. And, the inner workings of the Church and Ministry have always been a main topic of my conversation. The Calling – The “call” has always be there. I can remember, at the age of 10 or 12, standing in the narthex contemplating how to get people to come to church. “If we paid everyone $1 every Sunday, maybe they would come.” - At least, even at that age, it was apparent that people needed some reason to come. There are many reasons for not following the call, which I know include: not ready, not worthy, lack of commitment, not wanting to give up living life “as-is,” thoughts of the battles Dad went through and just outright ignoring it. However, today I find my heart, truly, hurts when I look out across the congregation at all the empty seats. It hurts when my fellow Christians spew vicious, hateful things on social media against other races, religions, sexual orientations and political parties. More and more, when my heart hurts the call gets stronger. The call gets stronger with every new issue of injustice. They come to the forefront so fast none can be heard for long. The newest quickly, overtaking the last. The call gets stronger when God’s people say, “Well, people just don’t come to church like they use to (or should.) …I just don’t know.” Or when there is more discussion about the roof or the budget than evangelism. Or When there are more programs to raise funds than raising people in Christ. It gets stronger when non-Christians, talk about the Church tied to intolerance, guns, hatred and racism…And then again, my heart hurts. It hurts because I know Christ and that is not who He is… The world, our community, our neighbors need to know and see who He really is. Vision for My Call – In 2 parts As Christians, we are all instructed to be disciples (inward focus) and to make new disciples (outward focus.) In that outward focus of evangelism of Christ, we are all called to work using our individually anointed, skills, gifts and talents. Part 1– A call of leading a congregation outside its walls – both spiritually and physically. Today, the focus of many churches across the nation has become a task of, merely, maintaining the building and caring for its members. From lack of direction they are “floating” in the community. They go through the same motions, year-in and year-out. They fill positions with “place-holders” just because the positions have always been filled. All the while one pew after another, after another becomes empty…They have completely lost sight of the commission. My vision for the call is to energize disciples who have been chronically focused inward, to find life, joy and a passion for a ministry of looking outside. To change their focus to the struggling world around. To help them find the tools and a REAL desire to follow the Great Commission. Likewise, to energize new disciples to follow Christ with a passion for His teachings! Part 2 – A calling to change hearts and minds. People are all broken, and even at our lowest point we still have dignity, even if neither we nor the rest of the world think we deserve it. And in that place, is where we find God’s saving grace. As Christians we MUST show both our fellow Christians and non-Christians the love of Christ, the respect of life and recognize the dignity they rightly possess. We will gain no new followers of Christ with fight, intolerance, hate, tribalism, judgment or guns.
For the last year, I’ve taken a deeper look at Christ’s teachings. I’ve thought about and studied God more than any time in my life. This pursuit has led me to pray more and dig deeper, spiritually. What I’m finding is that God leaves, what I’m calling, “markers” all along a person’s life. Growing up in Christ and knowing Him as a “given” part of life can lead a Christian to be comfortable with life (and death). It can cause a person to take stability for granted. As I look back, now, I find it amazing how much I see God’s markers throughout my life. The more I see of God’s work in my life, the more I want to tell others about it!
Something for you to do this week: (It’s an easy one.) Find some of your favorite scripture. Find those that have given you hope and foundation throughout your life. Read them over again, pray and think about all the markers God has left in your life. It will be amazing!
Here’s my thought for your week: God loves you so much; He sent His only Son, NOT to condemn you, but as a sacrifice to Wash You Clean!