Love Is… (part 3)

Love Is… worsheet 3True love—or the Greek word agape—is a hard-working verb. It’s not mushy. It’s not puppy love. It’s not even romantic. It’s a love that is determined to love another no matter what! It’s the kind of love God extended toward us when we weren’t doing anything worthy of His love, and it’s the kind of love Jesus told we as us His disciples would be known for.

We just wrapped up a series called Loving The Unloveable where we explored what the Bible says about how we are to live out this agape love, especially to those who seem “unloveable.” We went through a list of 15 facets of this love spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13.

You can read about the first five facets by clicking here.

You can read about the second set of attributes by clicking here.

Here are the final five—

Love is protecting

  • The King James Version says love bears all things. So we need to ask, “What does love bear?”
  • The Greek word means: “protecting by covering with silence.”
  • In other words, we bear with the insults of an unloveable/unloving person by refusing to talk about them in a negative way.
  • Agape doesn’t talk about people (unless it’s a conversation with God); agape only talks lovingly to people. Agape protects their reputation.

Love is trusting

  • Love has a high confidence in success. Not my success, but God’s success. So we keep believing for a breakthrough; keep trusting God to accomplish something; keep doing our part in pointing out the best (or the best that is yet to be) in others.

Love is hopeful 

  • The Amplified Bible says: love’s hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.
  • So we work now, but we are always looking forward to the future with joy and full confidence.
  • Think about a farmer: After he plants the seed, he doesn’t see it any more. But his outlook remains hopeful. So he waters a seed he cannot see. He fertilizes a seed he cannot see. He works the ground for a seed he cannot see.
  • Our acts of love may be planting a seed, or fertilizing, or watering. Every part is vital; no part can be skipped. And we remain hopeful of a harvest.
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Love is persevering

  • I love the Greek definition: “enduring through every circumstance without ever weakening.”
  • Never let your love waver. Keep on being patient, and kind, and forgiving, and all of the other characteristics of agape listed in 1 Corinthians 13. All of them are irreplaceable and effective! 

Love is maturing

  • Love continues to grow up.
  • Agape is creative, never stagnant or stuck in a rut. Agape finds new ways to express itself.

Here’s where the real test comes in: How will you apply these attributes of love to someone in your life? More specifically: to someone you think is “unloveable”?

I know you have someone in your life that you think is unloveable. With that person’s face clearly in mind, how will you fill in the blanks:

  1. I can protect their reputation by…
  2. I believe God is working in this…
  3. I need to not give up in this area…
  4. I must remember this…
  5. I can how my love more maturely by…

If you would like a downloadable PDF of this worksheet, click here -–> Love Is… worsheet 3

If you would like to download the previous worksheets, click here and here.

They All Agree

It’s extremely rare that a 19th-century pastor, Jesus Christ, and a noted atheist would all agree on something. But as we wrapped up our series on love today, I had to share these quotes (the added emphasis in the quotes is mine)—

Henry Drummond“Never offer men a thimbleful of gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest, or merely safety; tell them how Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the alleviation and redemption of the world. …Only this fuller love can compete with the love of the world.” —Henry Drummond

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! …By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you truly love one another. —Jesus (Luke 6:32-33; John 13:35)

Bertrand Russell

“Nothing can penetrate the loneliness of the human heart except the highest intensity of the sort of love the religious teachers have preached.” —Bertrand Russell

It’s My Honor

My honorIf you grew up watching Sesame Street, you might remember one of the songs that went like this—

One of these things is not like the other things

One of these things just doesn’t belong

Can you guess which thing is not like the other thing

Before I finish my song

I sort of feel like that when I consider this list:

  • Melchizedek
  • Aaron
  • Jesus
  • Me

If you’re a pastor/priest to your congregation, perhaps you feel like you don’t belong on this list either. But consider this verse of Scripture—

No one takes this honor [of being a priest] upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:4)

God called Melchizedek. God called Aaron. God called Jesus. God called me. God called you, my fellow pastor. It’s honor to be called by God to serve in this role!

We have the honor to represent the people to God, and represent God to the people.

We have the honor to instruct people in the ways of God.

We have the honor of living our lives transparently before people, so they can see a living example of one who sins, confesses, repents, and receives forgiveness; one who is growing in his/her knowledge of Jesus Christ; one who is becoming more Christ-like.

We have the honor of offering up loud cries of petition and intercession for others (see Hebrews 5:7).

We have the honor of humbly and reverently submitting ourselves before God; of learning obedience through suffering (v. 8).

We have the honor of sharing Christ—THE best and perfect priest—with others. He alone is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him (v. 9) and we have the honor of telling others this amazing news!

My friend, if God has called you, you belong on that list. Discharge your priestly duties with all reverence and humility to God. It is your HONOR to serve God and others this way.

Thursdays With Oswald—Two Ways To Handle A Crisis

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersTwo Ways To Handle A Crisis

     A man must decide whether he will be identified with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, which will mean the turning out not only of the “old man,” but of the old responsible intelligence, the old bondage, the old legalism, the things which used to guide the life before, and the forming of a totally new mind. 

     It works out this way: in your practical life you come to a crisis where there are two distinct ways before you, one the way of ordinary, strong, moral, common sense and the other the way of waiting on God until the mind is formed which can understand His will. 

     Any amount of backing will be given you for the first line, the backing of worldly people and of semi-Christian people, but you will feel the warning, the drawing back of the Spirit of God, and if you wait on God, study His Word, and watch Him at work in your circumstances, you will be brought to a decision along God’s line, and your worldly “backers” and your semi-Christian “backers” will fall away from you with disgust and say, “It is absurd, you are getting fanatical.” 

From Biblical Psychology 

When you have to deal with a crisis, there are two options: (1) Use your common sense and the good ideas of others, or (2) Do it God’s way.

God’s ways usually defy the world’s common sense.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts,” says God. (Isaiah 55:9)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and … the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. (1 Corinthians 1:25; 3:19)

If you want to try to do it the “common sense” way, go ahead. God will let you try it, and a lot of people will encourage you to keep at it. But I think you will quickly find that the “God sense” way is so much better! Although very quickly your former “backers” and “cheerleaders” will look at you as a fanatic.

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right then, have it your way.’” —C.S. Lewis

Conspiracy!

Conspiracy“The one Jesus that skeptics refuse to tolerate is a uniquely divine, miraculous, prophesy-fulfilling, and resurrected Jesus—even if the evidence points persuasively in that direction. After all, that would put them in the place of being beholden to Him. Their personal sovereignty and moral independence would be at risk. The problem is: that’s the real Jesus.” —Lee Strobel 

Jesus was crucified. He was in the grave for three days. Then God raised Him from the dead, fulfilling everything that had been prophesied about Him! That’s the real Jesus!

But those who don’t want to acknowledge those facts have concocted all sorts of conspiracy theories as to His death and resurrection.

On Easter morning, Calvary Assembly of God will be presenting an original drama called Conspiracy! to tackle these conspiracies head-on. The cast of characters is interesting, the dialogue is witty and fast-moving, so this will be a very memorable morning!

Here’s the info:

When: Sunday, March 31, at 9am and 11am.

Where: Calvary Assembly of God.

Cost: FREE but we suggest you get a ticket to make sure you have a seat. You can reserve your spot by clicking here and emailing your ticket request to me.

A delicious breakfast + some uplifting music + a memorable drama = a great morning learning about the risen Jesus. Please don’t miss it!

Keep On Learning

Safe pathDon’t ever think you know it all.

Because you can’t!

There’s no way you can know it all.

So keep on learning.

Keep on digging in God’s Word.

Keep on letting the Holy Spirit teach you.

God is the only Know-It-All.

And He wants to teach you too.

What should a man learn?

Not hard to answer:

steadfastness in holiness,

shortness of words,

gentle brotherliness…

walking in obedience to God…

zeal in prayer…

bringing pride low,

simplicity of heart…

patience in the face of hardship. —Colmán mac Beógnai 

8 Quotes From “I Never Thought I’d See The Day

I Never Thought I'd See The DayYou can read my book review of Dr. David Jeremiah’s I Never Thought I’d See The Day by clicking here. These are eight quotes that especially caught my attention in this book. Unless the quotes are otherwise attributed, they are from Dr. Jeremiah.

“I’ve shaken my fist in anger at stalled cars, storm clouds, and incompetent meteorologists. I’ve even, on one terrible day, that included a dead alternator, a blaring tornado-warning siren, and a horribly wrong weather forecast, cursed all three at once. I’ve fumed at furniture, cursed at crossing guards, and held a grudge against Gun Barrel City, Texas. I’ve been mad at just about anything you can imagine.

“Except unicorns. I’ve never been angry at unicorns.

“It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either. We can become incensed by objects and creations both animate and inanimate. We can even, in a limited sense, be bothered by the fanciful characters in books and dreams. But creatures like unicorns that don’t exist—that we truly believe not to exist—tend not to raise our ire. We certainly don’t blame the one-horned creatures for our problems.

“The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at Him.” —Joe Carter

“While the atheist arrogantly persists in the delusion that his reason is fully capable of figuring out all that there is, the religious believer lives in the humble acknowledgment of the limits of human knowledge, knowing that there is a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and minds can ever apprehend.” —Dinesh D’Souza

“God brought two perfect, sinless people together in the Garden of Eden, a man and a woman who knew the perfect love of God. They did not get married to find love but to walk together in the unity and purpose God created them to fulfill: the primary task of birthing and raising the next generation. And in the process, love happened.”

“It is significant that while Adam was single, satan did not approach him or tempt him to disobey God. He waited until after Adam’s marriage to launch his attack. You would think it easier to attack one person instead of two, but by waiting he was able to attack not just an individual, but also God’s foundational building block for harmony and stability—marriage. By attacking marriage, he was able to create division and disharmony between humans themselves as well as between humans and God.”

“The oneness found in marriage is the same kind of oneness found in the Trinity.”

“We can be lulled into complacency by adopting uncritically the principle of submission to government on the assumption that the Christian history of our nation makes it safe to let our leaders do our thinking for us. But we cannot do this in our post-Christian nation where God’s Word is being marginalized. Nothing could be more dangerous for Christians and churches than to wander thoughtlessly down this path of increasing biblical indifference—a path that could well lead to a place where the Bible is not merely marginalized, but banned outrightly.”

“If the Church is being ignored because we preach the message of ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2), or because the Gospel has become ‘a stumbling stone and rock of offense’ (Romans 9:33) to the world, that’s one thing. But if we are deemed irrelevant because we’re an anemic version of the world’s entertainment options or because we aren’t playing the world’s game nearly as well as the world does, then that’s another thing. That’s a tragedy.”

“William Tyndale wisely sought to avoid the confusion between ‘Church” and ‘church’ by translating ekklesia as ‘congregation’ instead of ‘church.’ …We must maintain a clean understanding of the difference between Church and church—and the priority of the former over the latter. Church buildings can necessitate huge investments of resources for construction and maintenance, and they are only temporary. Keeping the focus on people is the biblical priority and will result in the Church’s remaining relevant.”

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