In church and in the Bible, we are told that God is Love and to love like Jesus, but often we don’t see a lot of love as Jesus taught around us. Sometimes, we don’t see much of it in church.
In this series, I was thinking of pointing out ways in which the Christian churches, or entire denominations, could improve how others perceive the love of Jesus when they peek inside the doors. But with the topics that I chose, and guidance by the Holy Spirit, this caused a few of the topics to go in a different direction. I like that. I learn while I am writing.
What follows is a summary with links to each article for more information.
Part 1 – Where is the Love?
In this article, I tried to point out the image that the church has (to an outsider) regarding controversial topics, whatever those topics may be. Some of the controversies are in a gray area as you read the Bible from cover to cover. But, some controversies have been created by people who think that the Bible doesn’t really apply to the modern man, on some key issues, or it only applied in the first century. We need to get back to the bedrock of scripture and the person of Jesus. In so doing, we need to not argue and not have splits over issues within the church. We need to show love for one another within the walls of the church, so that people outside the church can see God’s love in its true sense. This is harder to do than to propose, but all is possible with God. Nothing is possible if we start with crossed purposes.
Part 2 – I Love You
These are three words that are often not said enough, maybe sometimes too often. Once said, the actions have to back up those words. And do we ever say those three words to God? It may sound odd in a prayer, but it shouldn’t. We need to think in those terms if we are to have a healthy relationship with our Savior. And in thinking of our loved ones: If we know that we want to end the day at bedtime with an “I love you”, will that affect how you treat that person beforehand?
Part 3 – Sharing at Church
When I say “Sharing”, I am referring to giving personal testimonies, but also answering the personal questions in Sunday school. Does what you say in Sunday school stay in Sunday school or do you become gossip fodder? If it is the former, you are blessed. Too often questions from the Sunday school teacher are redirected to safer topics or left unanswered. People do not trust each other anymore, not even in church. As a result, there is less Christian growth.
Part 4 – Love Your Enemies
I’d have to break down this post into two parts. The first half talks about who our enemies are, who has wronged us, what their intent was at the time, etc. The second half features specific stories from my life, ending with a statement of forgiveness and love for those ‘enemies.’ You might relate to some of the stories or you might think of your own. Sometimes, writing it down and purging yourself of the pain helps in making the forgiveness and the love more real.
Part 5 – Love in Action
I have been on mission trips and I have talked to many people who have gone on mission trips at least once each year. It is frustrating not being able to share the “why are you doing this” story with those you are helping. It is also frustrating talking to another worker that confesses that they have no idea what they believe in, but helping others feels good. I found that I shared my faith with the other workers, more than the victims of the disaster. But as I started to set this story up, the hurricane season was brewing. What poured from my mind were stories of how the Love of God steered Hurricane Katrina victims to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and in one case literally saved an old couple’s lives through God directing the relief workers to the “wrong” house.
Part 6 – Marriage
As the divorce rate climbs, how do you keep a marriage together? I talk in this post of how my wife and I have done that. Part is from what we say regarding Part 2 of the series. Part is the effort taken to go beyond what we think is half way. But a lot is loving God and through that love, loving each other.
Part 7 – Vampire Love
Yes, you read that correctly. In this post, I summarize a lot of the theological, philosophical, and psychological studies on the Vampire Phenomenon. The youth of today, according to the studies are looking for love stories that don’t talk about sex for fear of STDs, and they are in search of a sense, even in fiction, of immortality. The bottom line is that, like all fads, the latest vampire fad will fade, and hopefully there will be a Bible nearby so that the youth can read about true everlasting love and everlasting life.
Part 8 – Love of Animals
God has made provision for our pets and other animals in eternity, but mankind has been set apart as a creature in the image of God. If our love of animals gets in our way of spreading the Gospel to all of the corners of the earth, we need to reexamine our relationship with Jesus. Yet, animals play a strong part in our lives, from livestock to comfort to service.
Part 9 – Love of Idols
Have you ever loved a celebrity or sports star with every ounce of your being? Do you love Jesus with the same fervor? This post examined a few of my youthful interests.
There may be more topics on this subject, but the next time that you look at a denomination or a specific church and you don’t see what you define as God’s love, do one thing first. Look in the mirror and see how you can shine God’s love toward others. God’s love is contagious, but there has to be a spark to light the fire. Stop looking at what others lack and be the spark.