We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, maybe even experienced it in our adolescence as we clumsily navigated through some rebellious patch of our life growing up. Hopefully you are not still stuck there. It can be painful both as a parent and a recipient of tough love. I however, have been experiencing tough love of a different nature lately and this morning took a moment to meditate on it. What I’m dealing with is how love can be tough. It’s hard to love people sometimes.
I have had a number of instances over the last year and especially recently where I was deeply struggling to feel and be loving toward people. I have felt like the Apostle Paul in Romans where he said:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” Romans 7:18
Paul endured all kinds of things at the hands of other people and he struggled with doing the right thing, the loving thing. He reveals our inner conflict between the spirit and the flesh in us. I have a desire to do the loving thing but sometimes my mind is saying stick it to them. We have a tendency to justify our feelings or subsequent actions, because after all we were done wrong, they are being unreasonable or we are the victim. That all may be true but the conflict remains and reveals our true problem. To be true to the Spirit in us, we must love and be loving.
As I read Romans 5 I find the problem with and answer to my dilemma:
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
The demands of life and the demands of God are so great that I don’t have a chance to do right without Him. God knows the selfish and self-preserving nature of our flesh. We are without the hope of consistent love without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. Without Jesus and the gift of His Spirit we do not have the capacity to love the unloveable. We will revert to our flesh and flesh will always protect flesh. It defaults to self-preservation.
However, even as a believer we will have to believe the promise of God’s love. Through His Spirit He has poured out His love in our hearts giving us His capacity to love even in the harshest of conditions. Love is tough, but its impossible without God’s love. So before we begin to excuse our unloving behavior by what others have done to us, we need to draw deep from the well of God’s love and remember that even in moments of injustice and persecution God gives us the capacity to manifest the love of Jesus through our mortal flesh.
Love may be tough, but not impossible.
Who do you need to forgive today?
Posted in discipleship, Inspiration, love, Questions, Relationships
Tagged christianity, conflict, disappointment, discipleship, forgiveness, God, Holy Spirit, injustice, Jesus, life, love, persecution, Relationships, religion, spirituality, tough love
Can’t we all just get along! This expresses how I feel so many times when I read what people write about the church and others get their two cents worth in how they think. I am all for a free … Continue reading
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I stopped by my Grand Mother’s house today to pick up some flowers she wanted us to have. Granny Hobbs is 91 now and for as long as I can remember she has given everything away. My daughter asked me, “Why … Continue reading
Ever feel like you are the only one?
Simple Church, Organic Church or House Church is no longer thought of as some fringe, obscure or illegitimate expression of the Church made up of hippies and those too strange to belong to traditional christian churches. Let me take that back… some of us are strange. However, there is a longing amongst many believers today for something more than the status quo, more than church attendance. There is a growing desire to not change the structure of church but rather be changed people. This is leading to a shift in how believers meet and gather. It’s less about the building and more about the relationships and Christ being the center of communal life.
So is this a passing fad? It doesn’t seem so. By the growing numbers it’s becoming a movement – a Jesus movement and is gaining acceptance even among mainstream traditional and denominational churches who are not only embracing it as legitimate but who themselves are now planting Simple Churches.
Give it to me. What’s the number?
One of Christianity’s most influential leaders, George Barna, who has both been a part of the movement for many years and has done extensive research share some interesting facts. This is a recent article written by the Barna Group entitled “How many people really attend a House Church?”. CLICK HERE
Posted in Church, Church Planting, Mission, Missions & Missional, Relationships, Simple / Organic Church
Tagged christianity, Church, Church movements, Church Planting, community, discipleship, God, house church, Jesus, Leadership, Organic Church, Relationships, religion, Simple Church
Today I played golf for the first time in 1 1/2 years. I was invited by someone in my church who loves golf and lives on the 6th fairway at Beau Rivage. My Dad was home, so the three of us hit the links. It was the most awesome weather; great temperature with a nice breeze. Now I’m not going to give Tiger Woods a run for his money, so I don’t take things too serious. But, I ain’t too bad; though I will admit being last today. A bad day on the course is still a good day. I think I lost 6 balls and my golf shoes obviously sat too many years in my garage, because on the 5th hole the soles of my shoes literally began to come apart. By the 8th hole I was playing with one sole. By the 9th I felt like I was walking in mockasins with no soles. My back was killing me by the 10th green. What an awesome day!
Why? We may not always think about it, but everything that is worth anything is better when shared with people we love. Think about it. Just about everything in life is enhanced by the presence of others we can share the experience with. A funny movie is funnier when you can laugh with someone. Your favorite restaurant is better when sharing it with a friend. Golf is even better when you can play with people you care about. Even if you play badly.
All said, this journey with Jesus is enhanced by the community of intimate friend that I get to walk with. Love if fuller if we can share it. I am glad that God has me on the path I find myself. Church has taken on new meaning and new life for me. I am breaking free from lifeless religion and institutional spirituality into the beauty of organic church, oneness with Jesus and share community. Life and life more abundantly.
Does something in your spirit long for something more, something different that what you are experiencing? Is there a longing for something deeper in Jesus and others? Ask yourself, what is keeping you from experiencing it?
Posted in Church, Mission, Missions & Missional
Tagged christianity, Church, community, friendship, God, Golf, Incarnational, Institutional Church, Intentional Community, Jesus, life, love, Missional, Organic Church, Relationships, religion, shared life, spirituality, The Dwelling Place, The Dwelling Place CC, Tiger Woods
“…and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
Maybe there is something to learn from this young generation about Church. When I was a kid I didn’t like going to church but I did like seeing my friends there. I remember the old man who used to give all us kids a stick of gum every Sunday. Isn’t it funny the things that matter to us. For me, the greatest memories of my childhood church experience had to do with the relationships I valued and the people who showed value to me.
It’s all about the relationships. God living in us, us living in relationship with Him, us living in relationship with each other revealing the relationship with Him. So as I tell the church I have the privilege of leading and loving, “when we leave the building, the church has left the building because we are the church, not the building.”
Posted in Church, humor, Mission, Missions & Missional, Relationships
Tagged car chase, childhood, christianity, Church, Church building, God, Isaiah, Jesus, memories, Missional, Relationships, religion, stolen car, Sunday, The Dwelling Place, The Dwelling Place CC, youtube
Listening to this strikes a romantic chord. I think I need to go out and buy one.
Keep your love alive!