Monday, April 22, 2013

Post for the week of April 21, 2013

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth." (I John 3:18)

This is easier said than done.  No, really, it is easier to say, "I love you" than it is to show it.  Yet that is what we are called to do.  We are called to bring Jesus to people by showing God's love.  

So how do we do that?  How do we bring Jesus to people by showing God's love?

First, what does it look like when we get it wrong, and second, what does it look like when we get it right?  In addition, is there a situation coming up this week where we might have the opportunity to get it right?  

For example, I have been guilty of getting it wrong lots of times, especially in my role as a pastor.  
I used to think (and from time to time I slip back into it) that my job was to direct people's behavior.  
I thought I was called to tell people what to do.  Yet I have learned that when I do this (tell people what to do) I get loving wrong.  Is it because in telling people what to do I am more concerned with what people might think of me as a pastor if I allow such behavior to continue than I am with the well-being of the other person?  Probably.  If that is so, then that is getting love wrong.  

However, I have also found that I get love right when I become more concerned about the well-being of the other, than I concern myself with my own image as a pastor.  I get love right when I seek more to understand than to be understood.  I get love right when I humble myself and consider others better than myself.  I get it right when I give people the benefit of the doubt and really seek to listen and to care about what is going in their lives at the moment.  This is what it looks like for me when I get love right.  

So how can I do that this week?  I may not have the opportunity as a pastor, but I will have opportunities as a father and a husband.  I will try to seek first to understand before seeking to be understood so that my family will know I really love them; not by what I say, but by what I do.  
Lord, please help me to show your love this week.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Post for the week of April 14, 2013

"Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." (I John 2:6)

So the question comes, "How did Jesus walk?"   Again we are not talking about a particular gait, or hitch Jesus had in his "get along".  Rather this question challenges us to live as Jesus lived, so how did Jesus live?  More importantly, how did Jesus treat people?

In I John, John is addressing the situation of people who consider themselves "spiritually elite" looking down on other brothers and sisters and pushing them aside.  Their "enlightenment" was about what they thought they knew (special knowledge).  However, John says light is seen not in what we say we know, but rather in what we do and in particular how we love.  

Love is the way Jesus walked; it's how he lived.  So what about us?  Are we walking as Jesus did?

Yesterday in our sermon study group we came up with a list of ideas of what it looks like to love well.
We can help others, we can pray for others, we can forgive others who have wronged us, we can serve others, we can show others respect, and we can offer acts of kindness.  All of these things are ways we can show Jesus' love to others.  

So what about you?  How will you show Jesus' love to people this week?  Is there someone you can help, pray for, forgive, serve, show respect, and/or offer kindness?  Make a plan, and then pray about it asking God to help you do it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thoughts for the week of April 7, 2013

(Read I John 1:1-10)

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (I John 1:5)

What are the implications of this statement for those of us who seek to journey with Jesus along the way?  Also, what does it mean then to "walk in the light", and how does "walking in the light" bring us "fellowship with one another"?

One thing I shared in my sermon yesterday is that I believe "walking in the light" is not only doing right things, but also doing things right.  "Walking in the light" is not just about our behavior, but also the attitudes behind our behavior.  So how can "walking in the light" by doing things right bring us fellowship with one another?  

I invite you to share your thoughts, and maybe even stories of how this has happened or not happened for you in real life.  Our honesty will give each of us encouragement and strength and bring us into closer fellowship with one another as together we journey with Jesus along the way ... 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blog post for the week of March 31 - Resurrection Sunday, 2013

Jesus is alive, and we have all the reason in the world to celebrate!  But what specifically are some of those reasons?  To learn more let's look at I Corinthians 15.

(Read I Corinthians 15)

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." (20)

Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection.  He is the archetype, the pioneer, the original, but He is not the only one who will ever experience resurrection from the dead!  Jesus is the first fruits, and and there will be many more to follow!

I love how Paul describes the difference between a natural body made alive again (i.e. resuscitation) such as Lazarus, etc. and the spiritual body which is the result of resurrection.  (see verses 42-44)
That is such a great picture of what the resurrected bodies will be like of all who place true faith in Jesus.  And we are guaranteed this resurrection through faith because as Paul says, "And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man (Adam), so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man (Jesus)." (49)

This is our hope!  We will be like Jesus, and even now the Holy Spirit is shaping us to become more like Jesus, so that we can more accurately bear His image as a testimony to all creation that Jesus is alive!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

So what about you?  What do you notice in I Corinthians 15 about Jesus' resurrection that gives you reason to celebrate?  Let's share our hope as we journey with Jesus together along the way ...