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When In Doubt, Love

May 10, 2018
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There is no higher calling in the Christian life than the call to love. That may sound easy but it is enormously difficult within perspective. The norm for the Christian life is focused around self. God made ME in his image. Jesus died for ME on that cross. The Holy Spirit lives inside of ME to strengthen me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens ME. And yet the Bible calls us to love.

The ten commandments begin reminding Israel of the love which Yahweh has for them that is displayed. Love on display is the only real love. Love soaked in words without action is empty, shapeless, void of being real. Yahweh rescued Israel from the horror that was living in Egypt and took them across the sea in a miraculous way. Therefore, have no others before ME. In other words, God called his covenant people to love him to the highest degree, even before self-love.

Jesus was on the scene teaching disciples making miracles happen fulfilling scripture, when he was approached by some ‘wise guys’ trying to test him. He told them the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. In other words, Yahweh’s command still applies. It always will.

Then Jesus further clarified what the Old Testament stated in clear words and distinctive, ritualistic language: love your neighbor the way you love yourself. Here is yet another tier to the highest calling for the Christian life. It’s rather fascinating how we tend to miss this nuance.

Jesus gives us a prime example by offering a parable in Matthew 25:31-46. Those who are hungry or thirsty or homeless or naked or sick or imprisoned got treated some type of way. Those on the right will be the ones who put love on display towards image bearers in that predicament will be invited to inherit the kingdom. And those on the left will be invited to depart to the eternal fire reserved for the devil and his angels. He caps it off with these poignant words: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it me.”

The way you treat people is the way you treat God. So when in doubt of how you’re treating people and if you get to pick and choose who to treat some exceptional way, love!

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Being F.I.C. – Double Meaning

May 3, 2018
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Depending on where you live, what you’ve heard, and which people you follow, the acronym FIC means something to you. It is possible that this acronym is completely foreign to you, and that’s a good thing for this blog writer. For those who are unfamiliar, FIC means Family Integrated Church. It carries baggage in many circles. However, I’m here to suggest a new rendering.

Allow me to give some feedback first. I’m a director of kids ministry in a church that has the goal of seeing the local church resemble the future heavenly kingdom as told in Revelation 5 and 7.

Something I’ve noticed for several years up to the present is that most churches do not have a thriving derived idea of ministry as it pertains to the family. Far too often the focus is on singles and married couples, leaving these two without biblical resources to consider for the children. And in far too many church settings, the children are to be seen and celebrated in ‘little church’ while not being considered vital to the home nor church.

The perplexing points come when churches want to boost their philosophy of ministry that impacts children’s ministry with everything else. Perplexing because the language is rich and helpful and encouraging while the actions are the complete opposite.

So to argue for the FIC, I’m aiming for the church to integrate the reality of the family into the life of the church. The narrative of the gospel depends on the community of God’s people being faithful in their families. It literally touches everything. Their witness. Their impact. Their faithfulness. Their true sign of maturity and discipleship.

But there’s more…..

I’m also arguing for the FIC that stands for fully integrated church. From the recent launch of multi-ethnic churches that use various adjectives to describe their particular church, the desire to fully integrate is part of the DNA. And thank the Lord that it is. However, the disconnect shows itself in integrating both home and church, singles and marrieds, empty nesters and families with kids. Perhaps it is implied, but somehow it comes across as an afterthought instead of an intended goal. So if the church is to promote the unity and diversity of the body ethnically (as it should), how important it ought to be to do so familial-ly.

So that we could have a Titus 2 ministry as well as Deuteronomy 6 ministry as well as Psalm 78 ministry as well as Matthew 28 ministry, and so on. The local church ought not have to pick and choose between lifting up the multi-ethnic commands from the Bible alongside lifting up the families.

I would implore you readers to consider ways to pray for this new FIC implementation that Bible calls believers and church leaders to do.