Archives For Love Like Jesus

compassion imageI have strongly advocated that “Tolerance” is really useless as the central public virtue it has been lifted up to be. I can “tolerate” you without showing any neighbor love to you! Civility and Compassion with Convictions is the better alternative. (see a previous post on “Loving Like Jesus in Public”)

Krista Tippett, host of On Being and the designer of the Civil Conversations Project, has spoken about both the importance of Civility and the resurrection of the true meaning of Compassion in our language and culture. Her presentation at The Charter for Compassion has been picked up as a TED talk. Though I can’t agree with all the assumptions of this particular movement, I would say that it is tapping into the essential biblical truth that love must be visible. As the apostle John wrote, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18, ESV) Tippett calls compassion a “spiritual technology” – more essential to the world than mere scientific knowledge.

As a church, we were led to describe our mission: “to build compassionate Christian communities that transform lives and bring hope to the world.” Compassion is Christ’s self-sacrificing love in action! It also resonates with the Imago Dei (Image of God) that is embedded in each of us. And therefore it is also a natural bridge for people everywhere to connect with the Good News as they see it in practice. This kind of compassion often naturally leads to the question from the watching world, “Why are you doing this?” Deeds of compassion in the spirit of civility with the conviction of Jesus’ name!

Here is Krista Tippitt’s talk. Also see the earlier post, “Atheist testimony and our legacy of compassion.”

dinnerWe’ve all heard the stats – that 60-90+ percent of our communication is non-verbal! Actual words are only a part of the message we send.  Certainly Jesus relied on more than the spoken message, as vital and powerful as his teaching was!

Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom’s arrival – in many ways. People were healed of disease; demons were cast out and defeated; he chose 12 to be his messengers. AND he did something else. He ate with tax collectors and “sinners.” His body talked.  In our series, “I am a Disciple,” Mark 2:13-17 tells the story of Jesus calling Levi (later ‘Matthew’) to follow Him. We called the sermon, “The Eating Habits of a Disciple.

We need to see ourselves in this story in two ways:
First, we are all radically INCLUDED SINNERS. Jesus came to save sinners – like you and me! (1 Timothy 1:12-17) The religious teachers of Jesus’ day excluded most of humanity and most of their fellow Jews with their heavy load of man-made laws smothering the heart of God’s Law. So they couldn’t handle Jesus consistent choice of dinner companions. But they got it all wrong! Jesus wasn’t being soft on sin – he was strong on true repentance and healing. Jesus was the holy physician, shouting with bold compassion that “holiness is not fragile – but powerful” to transform and change broken, sinful people into his very likeness and image.

Second, Like Levi throwing a party for his tax collector buddies, we are called to be radically INCLUSIVE DISCIPLES. “Imitate me,” Jesus says to us. Make a statement by who you hang out with. I agree with Larry Crabb that the Church should be “The Safest Place on Earth” – to meet Christ and spiritual friends who help us grow from where we are, to where we are meant to be.

There is room for every kind of background and past sinful experience among members of Christ’s flock as we learn the way of repentance and renewed lives, for “Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified (made whole), you were justified (made righteous) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  (2 Corinthians 6:11)  This is true inclusivity.

Richard Bewes, All Souls Church, London (in Washed and Waiting p. 44)

Are there people Jesus would love to invite to dinner – who you would rather not? If so, who is in greater need of repentance?

bestkeptsecretEvangelism is a good word (“Announcing the Good News!”)  but it has a bad rap in our culture at present – for some good reasons of course! When people feel tele-marketed or coerced, it betrays the love orientation that God demonstrates in Christ. The Gospel is good news because God, in Jesus is reconciling and restoring the world to relationship with himself!

Let me suggest two resources for authentic evangelism: one is the book by John Dickson that is a wonderful corrective to the false models and misconceptions about evangelism. It’s called The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.05.22 PMThe other is a tool from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship based on material from True Story by James Choung. It is an APP for smart phones or tablets that can be used to help share the Good News in language for today.

It’s called New World and uses the story of Scripture that humankind is: Designed for Good; Damaged by Evil; Restored through Christ; and Sent together to Heal.
Check it out at Intervarsity’s Evangelism site.

I’m not keen on “canned” tools for sharing Christ, but this is flexible and follows the “Six Act Drama” of Scripture that I so often use when seeking to explain more about what it means to follow Christ and use as the basis for my class, Biblical Thought, at URI.

NOTE: two sermons by myself and Nathan Albert can be accessed here.

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK WHEN YOU HAVE LOOKED AT IT OR BETTER YET – USED IT – TO SHARE THE GOOD NEWS WITH SOMEONE ELSE!

STEWARDSHIPImagine a community of people unattached to their stuff? 
Living creatively, responsibly, generously in the world
so that everyone can see the living God who is giver of all good things?

We are called to live joyfully surrendered lives as ‘stewards,’ not ‘owners’ of our time, talents, and resources. The last two sermons from the Mind The Gap Series  last Sunday speak to the broader principles of stewardship. I’m also revising a previous post about the dangers of consumerism and the biblical stewardship of our money and possessions.

Consumerism has been called “The Cult of the Next Thing.”  The essay by Mark Buchanon and is available here. In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus calls us to check our hearts and our eyes as it relates to possessions and Kingdom priorities . If Money is one of the idols – or gods of this world, then Jesus wants us (in the words of Dale Bruner in his commentary on Matthew) to become the real atheists to the secular gods of consumerism, successism, pride in possessions, self-serving, overspending, and indifference to needs…”  

The antidote to terminal consumerism is generosity: both the tithe principle of regular, planned giving and offerings of what we have that come from a heart of compassion in the face of urgent needs.

Randy Alcorn has written extensively on stewardship, especially of our money. As with any author, we may not agree with every emphasis, but Alcorn covers the questions thoroughly and with a heart of Christ-centeredness. His books, The Treasure Principle, and Managing God’s Money are short works and Money, Possessions, and Eternity is his more comprehensive treatment.

Q – How will having a more clear role of ‘Steward’ instead of ‘Owner’ change how you use your time, talents, or resources? 

yolo2In our study of 1 Peter, we’re doing a mini-series called YOLO – or – What will you do with the rest of your life? We began with the often misunderstood passage in 3:1-7. It can sound archaic and out of touch to modern ears, but when understood in context – it is revolutionary, then and now!  I invite you to compare the Christ Church sermon, The Cross Shaped Family, with this blog post from Rachel Held Evans.  I have recently started following her very thorough and studied blog and came across this post on our text in 1 Peter and related passages. It tracks perfectly with my own study and will give you more food for thought.

Here is the link to her post called: Submission in Context: Christ and the Greco-Roman Household Codes

Enjoy! Let’s help the world see true biblical submission and true servant leadership for the gifts that they are.

I’ll leave you with the question I asked our church community to consider:
Who is the person closest to you that God is calling you to serve sacrificially – in the way of Jesus ‘Cross-shaped love?’

by Hannah Mullaney

by Hannah Mullaney

Our fourth Sunday in Advent focused on God’s indescribable love in Christ and how the Church becomes, “Christmas for the World!” Each week has featured a video story and a painting – this week was Tim and Hannah Mullaney.  See the video and listen to the sermon here.

AGAPE LOVE

Jesus doesn’t love us like a man loves his wife (not EROS),

His love is far greater than a best friend for life (not PHILOS),

Jesus doesn’t hold us in a tight embrace (we are free),

Jesus gives us love with his arms agape (that’s right – AGAPE!)

      Tim Mullaney, c. 2012

 

“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.”
C.S. Lewis

Give Yourself Away

November 25, 2012 — Leave a comment

Jim Elliot

He is no fool who
gives what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose!

Last Sunday, I shared the story behind Jim Elliot’s famous quote which he wrote in his journal at age 22 while a senior at Wheaton College. Martyred with 4 of his missionary team mates seven years later, Elliot embodied the self-giving love that is at the heart of Christ and His Kingdom.

The motivation for giving ourselves and our resources come from the heart of Jesus himself:

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life
will keep it.” (Luke 17:33)

For more on biblical principles of giving and the vision of the church, listen to the sermon from Christ Church here at our website.

Elliot’s journal entry