I am thinking about skipping church this coming Sunday.
Probably will bail out on my Life Group next week, too.
Once you discover what Pastor Dale is going to talk about this weekend, you may want to make other plans, also.
Last Sunday’s message was challenging enough. I was pretty uncomfortable – well, actually pretty convicted – when Pastor Dale shared the truth, spoken in love by Jesus, that the words that come out of my mouth demonstrate the actual condition of my heart. Jesus knows that I can be really “plastic” sometimes, putting on a façade and being all “pastoral.” However, He really wanted me to know that how I say things to Debbie sometimes; what the kids in the backseat hear come out of my mouth; what I say when I am pretty convinced no one is watching – those things cannot be denied or rationalized away. What you hear is who I am.
It was all truth – but it was really tough to hear. Loving others as I have been loved by Jesus includes some very hard choices. So you can probably appreciate my trepidation when I discovered that the next verse we are going to look at as we learn about love God’s way includes the following four elements:
- Love is not rude
- Love is not self-seeking, it does not demand its own way
- Love is not easily angered, it is not irritable
- Love keeps no record of wrong
“God, you have got to be kidding! You obviously don’t know how hard it is to live down here with all the obnoxious people.” Oh wait – you do know. Oops.
Folks, if those of us who are (or say we are) believers in Jesus Christ were to embrace these four elements of love and cooperate with the Lord in letting Him live them out in our lives, the divorce rate would drop like a rock; estranged families would reconnect; there would be no gossip in the church; the home life of many of our children would improve significantly.
Okay, those all seem like pretty good things. I guess I will come to church after all. I hope you will, too. And in preparation for the message, “Love Lets It Go,” let me encourage you to read the following verses:
- 1 Corinthians 13:5 – what love is not and what it does not do
- Proverbs 18:13 – ears before mouth
- Proverbs 16:21 – wisdom before words
- Philippians 2:5-7 – Jesus surrendered the right to demand life be His way
- Luke 6:31 – a godly guideline for behavior
- Romans 14:12-13 – God knows every time we are angry and judgmental
- Mark 11:25 – forgiveness: don’t pray about it, just do it while you are praying
- Ephesians 4:31-32 – get rid of all the bad stuff in your heart by forgiving
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 11:24)
See y’all at church Sunday. And yes, I will be at Life Group next Tuesday. I love and need both!