My 12/27/15AM sermon, Love Perfected from 1 John 4:17-21, is now online. Just like we’d expect to be chilled walking outside on a day with a 5 degree wind chill or be satisfied after eating at a buffet, we can expect that when God moves into our lives with His love, things will be affected. His love perfected in us, means we can expect certain things to characterize our lives. These are what I tease out of this passage. Hope it helps you.
This coming Sunday (12/27/15), we’ll be back in 1 John again, studying 1 John 4:17-21. The big idea is God perfecting love in us and what it means. I love how Paul Tripp summarizes it: “the longer you walk with God…the more loving you become.” What a great way to end the year, thinking about God working love in His people. I hope to see you this Sunday.
First off, Kevin DeYoung wrote on how Immigration Policy Must Be Based on More Than An Appeal to Compassion. One part that stood out to me in this:
Our church has always had a vibrant international ministry and we’ve rallied around families trying to work through the labyrinth of U.S. immigration policies so they can stay in the country legally. I too am turned off by the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric that sounds more like Pharaoh in Exodus 1 than the “love the sojourner” commands in Deuteronomy 10. It is a commendable response to see hurting people and think, “Let’s do all we can to help.”
And yet, this good Christian impulse runs the risk of taking an extremely complex geo-political, international crisis and reducing it to pious platitudes about showing compassion to the least of these and not giving in to fear. As I said at the beginning, I don’t have a plan to fix our broken immigration system and I don’t know the “correct” number of Syrian refugees to welcome into the country, but I do think there is more than one way for a Christian to approach these issues.
But, read the whole thing and make up your own mind. There is a tension here, it seems.
I was also helped by this video, though. Take 5 minutes and consider this counsel:
I hope these things are helpful to you as you seek to navigate this difficult issue.
My 10/25/15AM sermon, The Loving Life from 1 John 3:13-18, is now online (Small Group Questions are available too). The sermon got at love. How would you define it? In this sermon, I sought to unpack what I saw as 2 revelations of God’s love for us. This was a hard sermon to preach because I have such a hard time living these truths. I hope it’s helpful to you.
My 7/12/15AM sermon, Law of Love from 1 John 2:7-11 is now online. The key to our being the loving people we’ve been commanded to be isn’t from digging deep, getting a positive vibe going or dialing in to the right mojo. The key is abiding in Jesus. This passage helps connect those who love with why they love: they know Jesus. I hope it helps you.
Forrest Gump famously said, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” While we may have a good idea of what love is, I was helped just today, when someone drew my attention to this article on 23 Things That Love Is by Paul Tripp (and the one forwarding it to me reminded me to be reminded of this while I’m shopping for card, flowers or candy for my valentine):
- LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
- LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
- LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
- LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
- LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
- LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
- LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
- LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
- LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
- LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
- LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
- LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
- LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
- LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
- LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
- LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
- LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
- LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
- LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
- LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.
My 11/30/14AM sermon, Gospel Love from Romans 14:13-23, is now online. The sermon sought to unpack the inward, upward, and outward calls of love to others. We must consider our conscience, esteem God’s kingdom and live out our faith for love to have the grace shaped character it’s meant to have. I hope this sermon helps nurture that in you.
My 11/2/14AM sermon, Genuine Love from Romans 12:9-21, is now online. Many of us think that we’re much more loving that we actually are. And the Bible is like a mirror that we hold up to show us our true selves. In this passage, we see that genuine love is on the move, acting in ways that are challenging for many of us. We are demonstrating love to believers. This is the call at the first part of our passage and it’s difficult. But, towards the end of the passage, we’re called to love our enemies, which is impossible for us apart from the mobilizing grace of God. So, I hope this sermon is helpful as you seek to love the way God’s called you to love.
Here’s a post I wrote that appeared on our church’s mission blog (the CBC H2Go blog) today:
My 9/9/12AM sermon, 3D Love, from Hebrews 13:1-3 is now online. This sermon, coming almost in the same breath of a revelation that God’s a consuming fire, helps us orient our lives in worship properly by displaying love to those around us. The three dimensional love taught to us is an inward love for other Christians in the church, an outward love for those outside the church and a particular love displayed for the needy, as if we have the same kind of need.
I hope you had a great Lord’s Day, as well. Now, with Monday, we have the opportunity to live out what we experienced yesterday. I pray you do that in a way that pleases God.