Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love is the Basis of Unity

I was driving down the road the other day and I saw this bumper sticker that I had seen in the past but today I had to stop and ponder:

The message is clear.  "Can't we all just get along?"  Basically the assumption is that all roads lead to God and that one religion isn't any different from another, so let's all just 'coexist'.

We do co-exist in meaning we all live on this planet.  But the desire here is that we live in unity, and that can't happen when you have the world on one side and the Christians on the other.  I know this is not the popular or politically correct thing to say, but it is the TRUTH.

It is no surprise that the world is angered by the exclusivity of the Gospel regarding Jesus Christ for He said of Himself, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life; no man comes to the Father except through Me." [John 14:6].

What does surprise me however is the number of people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ yet do not love one another.  Love is the basis for Unity.  This is the command that bears witness to our decision to follow Christ: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." [John 13:35].

So if God is love (and we know He is because He has said so) and we are His children - the proof is in the pudding as my grandma would say; then shouldn't we (the church - white, black, asian, hispanic, etc...) love one another.  Anyone who professes the biblical Jesus Christ as their Savior and holds to the foundational truths of Scripture is my brother/sister and I MUST love them.

Love requires DEVOTION.  Love says, "I'm there through thick or thin."  Love can be messy.  Sometimes it's your mess, sometimes it's not; but love bears each others burdens.  We may confide in someone and they spill the beans.  That doesn't mean you stop loving. Or trusting.  It just means you find someone trustworthy with whom to share your burdens.  Love also doesn't say, "We're an Urgent Care Center, but don't come in here bleeding."  We need to reach out and compel those brothers and sisters who are injured to come find safety with the church.

Love requires DEMONSTRATION.  "We love because He first loved us."  [1 John 4:19].  Love in action doesn't come naturally; it is a gift from God.  Love for one's brother/sister is evidence that we have entered into God's family.  Love, true love only comes from God.

Love requires DYING.  Dying to ourself; to our wants, our desires, our priorities.  Jesus demonstrated how we are to love, He died on the cross.  "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  [John 15:13].  And then Paul exhorts, "Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." [Ephesians 5:1-2]

So what does love look like?  Look in a mirror - for if you are a child of God, it looks like you.

For the full message shared on 06-10-12 at Faith Church of God, WI COG Unity Service go to:  Love is the Basis of Unity

Question Who's in Charge

Have you ever walked into a restaurant or store and things are in such a mess you wonder who's in charge?  I have.  Or maybe you've gone to someone's home (quite possibly my own) and there is so much noise and chaos that you wonder "Who's in charge?"

Maybe you've asked that question when your life feels like its in shambles and you don't know where to turn.  You throw up your hands and scream, "Who's in charge?"  because you know that you certainly are not!

No matter who you are or how you feel you can rest assured that there is someone in charge of your life that cares very much for you.  Yep, I'm sure you've guessed it.  GOD.  God is in charge.  Even when life is at it's worst, God is at His best.

But can you trust Him with the minor (or major) details of your life?  Yes, you can.

John 18:1-11 gives us a glimpse at why we can trust God and how He demonstrates He is in charge!

For the full message shared on 06-10-12 at the  First Church of God - Racine, WI go to: Who's in Charge?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Question the Obvious

I love those pictures that have more than one view point.

 I would often use them in the classroom to teach my students to question the obvious.  There is always more than one way to look at a problem and the solution is not always what is obvious to the casual observer.

Jesus used a similar approach when He spoke to Nicodemus.  Using the familiar, He taught the ruler of the Law to question the obvious.  Question what he had been taught, what he believed, what he trusted.  In doing so, Jesus was quite blunt and rebuked Nicodemus for not delving deeper into the Truth found in God's Word.
Sometimes, we are no different from the religious leaders and hypocrites of Jesus' day.  We hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power.  We say we are 'Christians', but does our fruit bear witness?  Maybe we need to question the obvious.  Question whether or not we truly believe or are we just getting by.

Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15).  Do you love Him?  Don't leave any room for questioning.

For the full message shared on 06-03-12 at the  First Church of God - Racine, WI go to: 
Question the Obvious