Grace and Peace to you from God our Creator and the Lord, Jesus Christ!
It is both humbling and an honor to be serving you during this season in the life of the church and in the world in which we currently find ourselves. As I have said to several of you, I am new and green! I have a lot to learn and will make many mistakes. I humbly ask that you come alongside me so that ministry may flourish, and God may be glorified through our service together.
Over these past weeks, we’ve been engaged in a series based on I Corinthians 13 that I have titled, “The Love Revolution”. Hopefully, it has and will continue to challenge us to understand that Love is the key to a great many things and through the Love of Jesus Christ, we can do things that defy our circumstances and situations. But we must be willing to surrender and allow God to do with our lives what God wills.
That’s a tough place to be! Our current world believes that we make our own way and that we control our own destiny. To some degree, that’s true. God has given us dominion over our choices. God allows us to determine our left turns and right turns and straight-ahead motion. Each of those choices leads us somewhere. But at every intersection of life, we have the opportunity to choose God and to surrender to God’s will in our lives. By choosing God, we are choosing love and by choosing love, we are choosing a life of service, selflessness, charity, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, humility, denial and sacrifice to name but a few. We are choosing to pick up our friends rather than climb higher (and in many instances over others) by and for ourselves. We are choosing to understand and give, to pardon and even to die for one another as Jesus did for us.
We are going to revisit the question, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” The importance of the question can not be overstated because the simple answer is, EVERYTHING! But understanding what that means is not so easy. Understanding that our motivations are driven by that which we treasure in our hearts is difficult to contend with. The truth is, we can’t do it on our own. We need the help of the Holy Spirit for that. It’s a sobering task. To be able to love our enemies, pray for them, acknowledge our own short-comings, ask for forgiveness for them and mean it – not easy for the human condition. Our faith is emboldened by love – it’s love that helps us to see when our faith is less than the size of a mustard seed. (I say that from personal experience!)
We are in a critical time in the life of the church. As we look around at a world that is becoming increasingly more diverse and expressive, the church is struggling to love within itself, let alone share love with the world around us! We cannot allow that narrative to shape the future of God’s house. Jesus suffered, bled and died for ALL OF US – yes, those we like and those we don’t, from little children to seniors who are reliving their childhoods, from teens trying to spread their fledgling wings to young adults trying to understand the meaning of life and faith in Jesus Christ. We each have a part to play in this chapter of the journey. But are we willing to come along? Are we willing to examine ourselves, shed the things that divide us and separate us from one another and put on a spirit of love that draws all of use Closer to God and thereby closer to one another? Are we willing to step outside of our comfort zones, into an unknown ‘region’ and love unconditionally? Are we willing to be used by God to be an Agent of Love and Change?
I pray that you will join me on this journey. Through this exploration, hopefully we can find our way through the maze and come out at the end of our time together having spread a little more love, taken a step closer to understanding and reflecting the love of Jesus Christ to others and glorifying God. I look forward to being a part of that journey for you as you will be for me!