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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality

Romans 12:13 (ESV)

I love this video. God has been teaching me a lot about hospitality. It’s one of those spiritual gifts that I feel isn’t my strongest. Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday (mostly because of the food). There is something about people coming together over a meal that has always intrigued me. You see it all over the Bible and how it brings people closer together. I was at my connect group tonight and spent the evening chatting with two new people. One guy had a long history of drug abuse until he found Christ. The other guy was a young kid who just loved to talk. I will admit I was hesitant at first to engage in conversation with both of them because of my own judgmental sin nature. But as I got to know them, I really enjoyed hearing their stories of faith. I hope to have a more hospitable attitude this Thanksgiving season. I am planning on having people over for Turkey day and working at a homeless shelter in the morning. I pray that God uses me and works on my heart to be more hospitable and to show love to those that I come in contact with.

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Hillsong

John 14:23-27

Jesus is the destination

Reality checks 

You will not be the first human in history that trys to skip the God process

Breakdown before breakthrough – there is a process

When you skip the process, you rob yourself

It may seem you might get away with it now, but you will pay for it tomorrow

Proof you are making progress – it will be evident by how much grace you give others while they make progress

Matthew 18:21-35

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Be careful you don’t get caught putting a “process clock” on people that God is not aware of…

Our job is to show up and obey

On the process journey, God may not just be working on them. He might be working on you

Hope is to help somebody

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We must live spirit led so we can SHOW LOVE like nobody else can

Matthew 5:13-16

Be present in the process

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Makoto Fujimura shares how he came to understand the beauty he creates through art by understanding and accepting the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

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If I had only known then what I know now…

Sometimes I ask myself this question. Sometimes I think if I could just go back in time and tell myself not to make a particular decision in my past, I would save myself years of heartache. The Love & Respect resources have been a huge part of my life in learning to understand relationships. It’s based off of the passage in Ephesians 5:33 that talks about the differences between a man and a woman and our roles when we are in relationship with one another. Joy Eggerichs has taken this ministy of her parents and has used it to help young adults 18-35 years of age to understand our roles before we make all the common pitfalls in dating and marriage. God has called me to be a resource to a young adult group at my church and the ministry of Love & Respect (Now) has been a valuable resource for me as a mentor others. I’m excited for their newest project – The Illumination Project. I think it will be a huge tool for small group discussion for my young adult Bible study.  It’s a 6 week DVD series filmed by Joy and her father Dr. Emerson Eggerichs meant to help young adults navigate through issues of faith, dating, marriage, and male/female relationships.

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Granite Mountain Hotshots

I had the blessing of knowing Ron Merrell as a Pastor, mentor and a friend.  He is a hero of mine. He has since moved on to California and now recently God has him back in Arizona in Prescott at Heights Church. My first reaction to hearing about this was – why Prescott? I have nothing against Prescott. It’s a beautiful little city about an hour north of Phoenix and it definitely has that small town feel to it. But that’s my sin nature saying that God can’t do something amazing in a small town like Prescott. God is always working. 

On June 28, 2013, lightning ignited the Yarnell Hill Fire. Yarnell is small community next to Prescott. Prescott Fire Department’s interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were there to respond and the fire overran and killed 19 of the firefighters (only one survived) two days later. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it was the greatest loss of life for firefighters in a wildfire since 1933, the deadliest wildfire of any kind since 1991, and the greatest loss of firefighters in the United States since the September 11 attacks (Wikipedia). This was a horrible tragedy and the nation grieved with this community over our fallen heroes.

As horrible as this was, it opened the opportunity for the church to be the church. Led by efforts of Ron and the staff, Heights church was able to provide comfort and love to the families of the victims. They helped organize the memorial services and community gatherings to honor the firefighters. And my good friend Ron was able to lead the opening prayer for the nationally broadcasted memorial service in which Vice president Joe Biden attended.

I love how God works and I love His timing in situations. I love how He gives us (the church) opportunities to partake in Kingdom opportunities that point people to Christ. A lot of things in this broken world don’t always make sense, but knowing God is in control puts situations like this into perspective and gives us a sense of hope. I’m sure even Ron wondered why God called him to Prescott. Six months later, He used him and the church to bring glory to Him in the face of tragedy.

Pastor Ron Merrell leads a prayer during a memorial service for Yarnell firefighters at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley Arizona

Pastor Ron leads the memorial service in prayer

Ron’s message on the Yarnell tragedy and a promo video for some of opportunities he has had to speak at other churches

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Greg Haugen and Louie Giglio

If there is an organization making a difference in the world with the issue of slavery and sex trafficking, it is International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Their vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible. IJM was founded in 1997 and works all over the world. I have been looking forward to this part of Passion all week as they had President Greg Haugen come and speak to us.

Greg spoke to us about how his heart was turned onto justice. In 1994, Rwanda experienced their genocide in which millions of people were murdered in a matter of weeks. The world watched and did nothing. People were asking the question “where was God?” Greg asked the question “where were God’s people?” Here are some key notes from his talk:

The World will know we are His followers if we have outward love for each other

Some facts: 27 million people in the world are being held in slavery. These people are being forced to work all day. In sex trafficking, abused and raped children are being sold. And it is in our own backyard…

We can be the generation that ends slavery. Not because we are awesome, but because we have an awesome God. We need to make the 27 million people in slavery a priority. The world needs to see that God is present and those in slavery need to know that our God is a God that saves.

DO JUSTICE, LOVE MERCY, WALK HUMBLY – MICAH 6:8

What is God’s plan? – WE are the plan (God’s people). He gives us the power.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis – The Four Loves

Christ offers five things to us (because we don’t have a chance to change this on our own)

1. Extravagant compassion – God opens our heart to a hurting world. We wants to transform our hearts of stone to a heart of flesh

2. Moral clarity – Evil is confusing. God gives us His Word to tell right from wrong

3. Sacrificial courage – We will have to see and tell hard things. Jesus grows the courage in our hearts

4. Tenacious hope – We will see more defeats than mercy. God is the ultimate Lord of this world and justice will prevail

5. Refreshing joy – Joy is the oxygen to do hard things. He gives us good things to refresh us to do the hard things

Greg showed this video from the civil rights movement of 1961. I was very moved by it. Jim Zwerg (a white man) and John Lewis (an African-American man) rode these Freedom Ride buses together to fight against segregation. Jim was beaten up for his stance. This video of him in the hospital was recorded right after the attacks. Jim would also go on to say that he meditated on Psalms 27 the night before and that he gained his strength to stand up for justice from his faith. Hundreds would later join the Freedom Ride after this video was shown.

God can do immeasurably more in us

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– This section from the book “The Cure” really spoke to me in my Bible study

The spiritually immature are not loved well, but it is not because they fail. They are not loved well because they fail to trust the love of another.

Because they trust no one, their needs aren’t met.

Because their needs aren’t met, they live out of selfishness. Not only do they not receive love, they don’t give it either.

In God’s eyes, receiving love always comes before giving love. Please read that last sentence again. We have heard too many messages on “learning to love more” or “learning to love better.” In truth, we love only when we first learn how to receive the love of God and others. “We love because He first loved us.”

But because in the Room of Good Intentions we’ve been goaded and prodded to love others more, we charge forth to inflict others with our “love.”

Real love, however is always the process of meetings needs. Any other definition is trite Hallmark sentimentality. This is why wearing masks is such a distortion. It causes us to pretend we’re enough, without need.

The knowledge we are loved will never peel away our masks or heal our wounds. “Knowing about love” and “experiencing love” are not the same things. In the Room of Good Intentions we will hear a lot about love, and our spirituality may even be assessed by how much we “love” (do for) others. In the Room of Grace, we actually learn to receive the gift of love, to savor it and receive it fully.

The reality of receiving love is so foreign to most of us, we felt the need to include these stages of love.

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