Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Matter of Love

I heard a message today on love. The gospel is about love. It is about actually loving others. All others. In my former church I heard a lot of messages on "walking in love" but not on actually loving them. After hearing this message today and realizing how different it was from the messages on "walking in love" that I have heard I began to realize some things.

In my former church I did hear many messages on "walking in love" but I never saw love in action. "Walking in love" was the way you made yourself treat another person no matter how you felt about them. It was like it really didn't matter how you really felt about them, as long as you were able to make yourself "walk in love" towards them no matter how you really wanted to act then you were obeying God. NOT!!! Jesus told us to LOVE others, our enemies, those who persecuted us, basically EVERYONE.

As I read the gospels, I can see that Jesus didn't have to "walk in love" toward people because HE actually LOVED them. It spilled out all over them. There was no denying it. He considered them more important than Himself. His love for them constantly showed in everything that He did. That is what we are supposed to do, not just act like we love them.

Did Jesus ignore those who would not be considered "good ground"? No... He loved them. Did He call those that did not understand idiots or stupid? No... He was patient and loving to them. When people came to Him in need of help or counsel did He ask them if they were "tithers" and refuse them if they weren't? No... He ministered to them. Did He put those in their place if they didn't recognize His "anointing" or his proper title? NO... He ate dinner with them. Did He pray destruction over those who were beating Him and nailing Him to the cross? No.... He asked God to forgive them for they didn't know what they were doing.

If we really love someone we act like it. It does not have to constantly be a conscious choice to act like it. It shows in everything we do. The challenge to us is not to make ourselves walk in love toward others, the challenge is to love them.

Does love mean we ignore sin? No. Does love mean we refuse to expose and deal with it? No. Does love mean that our actions and choices don't have consequences? No. Does love mean that we blindly follow a leader because they say they are anointed and they hear from God? No.

Yet love, true love, the God kind of love shows through. It shows through in the good times and the bad. It shows in the pleasant situations and the unpleasant ones. I am tired of those who say they love but it never shows. You can say you love others all day but if it is not evident by actions it is not true.

Let's be the kind of people that there is no question of whether we love others or not. All others. Let's be the kind of people that it is evident that we love others because it can be seen in all we do.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Ministry of Love

In the last year that I was at the controlling church where I had dedicated over a decade of my life serving because I truly believed that I was doing a work for God, I began to come to some harsh realizations. It was truly a sad time in my life when I realized that I had spent the majority of all that time furthering a man instead of the gospel and the kingdom of God.

What glory does it bring to God for you to...... think you go to the best church and talk about it like it is the only place that is offering "the true Word of God"; bring someone to church who needs help and ministry and all they hear about is how to get rich and if you are not rich then you are not living God's best; the pastor stands in the pulpit and promotes himself and his wonderful spiritual insight; the pastor continually criticizes people and other churches from the pulpit; the gospel is presented in the light of what God can do for you materially and situationaly and never what you should be doing in service to God; serving the pastor and his family is taught as serving God; people come to the church for financial help and are turned away empty handed because spending money on excellence and image is much more important than helping the poor and needy; the poor and needy are not good ground to sow into the rich and successful are; prayer groups pray destruction and not blessings on their enemies..... the list could go on and on.

The gross absence of the ministry of love in my old church suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. The pastor loved to talk about "walking in love", especially when he wanted the congregants to walk in love toward him and his family regardless of how haughty and arrogant they were. No matter what went on at the church or how wrong it was no one was ever to voice it, ask about it, or question it.

How is it walking in love when a pastor refuses to council anyone who is not a regular tither? How is it walking in love to belittle and criticize from the pulpit, ignore the poor and needy, never have any outreach to the community, and preach 90% of your sermons on money and getting what you can get from God. How can a pastor of love encourage you to shun and excommunicate those in your life that have left HIS church?

Love is so simple, you just do it. You love everyone no matter what they are, what they have done, where they do or don't go to church, no matter how they have treated you, no matter what they have said about you, or if they have tried to destroy you. Love may be simple, yet love has a requirement. We have to crucify our flesh. We have to put others before ourselves. We have to want to show them love more than we want to have our way.

If you are attending a church whose pastor wants the spotlight and wants to be walked in love toward instead of spotlighting everyone other than himself and showing sacrificial love on a regular basis..... find another church. Don't overlook it like I did and years down the road wish you had been a part of a ministry that actually touched peoples lives in a real way instead of one that promotes a particular man and his "wonderful" delivery of the word of God.

It is the love of God in VISIBLE OPERATION that draws men to Him. Not money, things and sermons that tickle the ears.