In Deed and In Truth

thoughts from a Christian

Where’s the Love?

Wheres the Love

Yesterday, in church, we studied the topic of loving one another as a commandment.  There were many things that we discussed and many thoughts crossed through my mind.  There was one, however, that we didn’t expound on too much, but stayed with me for awhile, even until now.  I talked briefly about it with a few church members and one visitor, which evidences to me how I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Jesus Christ gave us the greatest commandment when He told us to love the Lord God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).  As men and women, we strive to accomplish this.  I’ve noticed many people giving their all to the Lord, hands raised to the heavens, singing their hearts out, constantly praising God and expressing how much they love Him.  They reiterate it through their prayers, their songs, their verbal testimony, their preaching, and their social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and whatever else we get into.  They really do love God.

But what about the second that is just like it?  To love one another as oneself (v.31)?  It’s interesting how people will be more than willing to show how much they love God and follow that commandment, but when commanded to love others, there’s no evidence of obedience.

What?  Are we defined as Christians by how much love we show to God through our worship and church services?  Isn’t it ironic that in order to show how much we love God, we do it, not by putting on a public display of adoration, but rather through genuinely loving others?

I’ve seen self-proclaimed Christians who will worship and sing, preach and teach and tell everyone how and why we should love God.  But these same Christians will then ignore others who are unlike themselves.  They will be unwelcoming, lacking the warmth of love when visitors enter into their church or their territory.  I’ve seen Christians, attending other Christian events, (not their own) and lack respect by talking and laughing throughout the entire performance, displaying no sense of reverence for the message being brought forth.  I’ve seen Christians who will love only those who love themselves.  What good is that?  Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”

Are we only choosing which commandments to follow?  Do we have it in our minds that it’s sufficient enough to love God and neglect loving others?  Do we think loving God and not others is good enough to pass as Christians in this world?

As Christians, sometimes we do well to love God with all that we have.  But to love God with all that we have means to follow that which He has commanded us.  If we really love God like we publicly display we do, then shouldn’t we also love, not unconditionally, but volitionally?  Shouldn’t we choose to love others because Christ loved them enough to die for all of us?  If we really love God, shouldn’t we love others enough to serve them?

Greater love hath no man than this… that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Not martyrdom.  Service.  Greater love hath no man than this… that a man serve his friends.

Christ served us by dying for us.

For all those people who love to tell others how much they love God and willing to do anything for Him, are we willing to love God enough to love others?  Enough with this, Pharisee-ical, Laodicean, hypocritical Christianity where we will only follow the commandments that we want to follow.

So looking around, who’s really a Christian?  I’ll believe the one who will genuinely love others…

… rather than the one who says they already do.

Picture taken from http://gallery.photo.net/photo/5023830-lg.jpg

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August 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Back to Reality

Josiah Round Table

Josiah eating cheese pizza, extra cheese with Parmesan cheese

It’s unbelievable how many feelings and emotions a person can feel in the span of a few hours.  We just enjoyed a wonderful night of fun, food, fundraising and fellowship at a local pizza parlor here in Southern California.  We used it as an opportunity to invite our friends and family to come and enjoy our company, spend time with members of our church congregation in hopes of sharing the love of God with them and sharing the Gospel through lifestyle evangelism, just the pure unadulterated effort of showing love to our brethren.  We were able to spend time with other brothers and sisters in Christ and meet new friends as well as welcome in old ones.  It was a great night.

Driving home, I just thanked God for His overwhelming goodness.  It’s times like these that I’m reminded of the natural joy and blessedness that I feel by simply trying to live a life that is in obedience to His will.  I prayed that God was glorified this evening.

But just as high and wonderful I felt, the moment that I arrived at home, before I even finished parking my car, I received a phone call that brought me completely back to reality.  The phone call reminded me of the reality of our mortality.  They asked me to pray.  So I did.

3 hours later, I’m still overcome with grief, sadness, and every moment I get I say a prayer for the family that I was asked to pray for.  I prayed with my family minutes after I go through my front doors.  Just a prayer to remind ourselves that despite all of it, God is still good, He is still sovereign, and we never want to forget that our lives are but a fleeting moment.  We must do all that we can for Him.

Interestingly enough, I had a conversation with a friend of mine earlier today who discussed how he was tired of his life and wanted to try something new.  He was bored and didn’t know how to solve his feeling of apathy.  A few hours later, a pastor friend of mine and his wife was joking around and wondered how I could do everything and be every where and juggle all the things that I had on my plate.

I told him that I just came to the realization that I don’t want to waste my time, I want to be as productive as I can at every possible moment.  I don’t want to “veg” out in front of the television when I could be doing more important things with my time.

If I have any time I’m giving it to my family first of all, and then to the ministry.  I sat down with our associate pastor just yesterday and we got on the topic of work ethic and time management.  He told me how he wants to develop an understanding of how to make the most out of his time.  I told him that I fill my hours with my bi-vocational job, then my family.  When my family is asleep, that is when I have a few hours to work when the entire house is quiet.  Even if I have to stay awake until 1-2am in the morning, I do.  Quite honestly, these are the hours I look forward to most (aside from playing with my daughters and spending time with my family.  Just think about it… what time do you think it is right now as I’m writing this?  I just finished the sermon for this week, which is a bit tardy, but I’ve got some more time as my girls are asleep so here I am writing my thoughts down.)

It never used to be this way.  But one of the greatest things to happen to me was my family.  After marriage and becoming a father, it just gave me a greater appreciation and sense of urgency for time.  No longer could I just wait around.  I only had but a few moments out of the day and I had to make the most of it.  If I found myself oversleeping or being too engrossed in a television show or movie that I all of a sudden lost track of time, I would kick myself for being so undisciplined and focus on regaining that time I’ve lost.

I don’t want to waste it.

Without straying too much off on a tangent, we go back to that family.  No time is ever guaranteed.  I suppose we need to make the most of all the time that we’re here.  People make the most of their time in various ways.  The reminder of our mortality gives people a deeper sense of perspective when it comes to our lives.  Are we doing enough?  Will we regret anything?  Should we still do more?  Are we productive in our lives?

In the end, when I give an account for my actions to God, I just hope I don’t regret doing… or not doing anything

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment