Posts Tagged ‘loved’

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:13-21, NRSV)

The commandment we have from Jesus is: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

So that begs the question who are my brothers and sisters?

Is it just those in my church?

Is it just those in my denomination?

Is it just those in my same flavor of Christianity, i.e. Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc?

Who are my sisters and brothers?

Is it all of God’s created people?

We have to love those who are God’s because we say we love God and if we love God then we must love as He loves. And we are able to love because He first loved us. So if you hate your brothers and sisters and say you love God you are a liar.

We must love as He loved.

So go and love the world, not because they deserve it, but because God loves the world!

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

If the biggest smallest word in the English language!

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” If you continue means they were listening to and following His words. That is a question for some. But do we continue to listen and follow the words Jesus is saying to us?

They questioned even the statement of being set free, because they are descendants of Abraham, and therefore are a part of God’s chosen people, but have they forgotten this little place called Eygpt? And the years the Israelite people spent there in slavery? Never been slaves to anyone? Really?

But it isn’t about being a slave to a master who is human, could be, but more than that it is about us living a life that is freed from all worries and concerns. It is about us finding joy in the darkness because we are connected to Jesus.

It is about hearing His calling and following. It is about abiding in His word and allowing Him to abide in us.

The word of the LORD came to me: Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. (Ezekiel 34:1-16, NRSV)

This passage is a warning to all the leaders in the body of Christ and the people of God to not be self-centered. To look out for the needs of others before yourself. God is speaking of His shepherds that are more concerned with feeding themselves than going after the lost sheep. But is this only about leaders?

Pastors?

Priests?

Bishops?

When these are bad and need to be removed, who steps in? God’s replacement, which comes from where?

God’s replacement, which comes from where?

His body. Which includes you.

So this is not only a warning to current leaders, but to the whole of the people of God. Look out for others, sound familiar doesn’t?

Love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself!

Look out for the other, or God will be against you!

True, but look out for the other, because God came after you!

170122Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:12-23, NRSV)

Did you know that Jesus called more than 12 disciples?

Yes, it is true, because depending upon which gospel you read the names of the 12 are different, so are they the same people, or different. But even beyond that, Jesus called more than the 12 to be disciples. He called more than the 12 to be apostles. He called more than 12 to be acolytes. (Most confirmation students are happy about this one!)

There are many of us today that talk about being called. I was called to be the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Little Suamico, WI. And many others are called to be where they are. Actually all of us are called to be where we are.

We are all called to be disciples. Because the word in the Greek that is disciple, μαθητεύω, means to be a learner or a pupil of. Jesus wants all of us to learn from Him.

We are all called to be acolytes. And no I do not mean one who lights candles. The Greek word that we get acolyte from, ἀκολουθέω, means to follow, to accompany. Jesus wants all of us to follow or accompany Him on the journey.

We are all called to be apostles. Because as you have probably guessed the Greek word we get apostle from, ἀποστέλλω, means something, and yes it means to be sent. Jesus sends all of us to go into the world to share His love. He sends us on a journey with Him to show mercy and grace to all.

You see when we talk about being called we get hung up on the what we are called to do. And even though I just set out what we are called to do, Jesus actually just wants us to be. We are called to be, who God has created us to be. A light to the nations. Not to worry about completing a task, but just living out our God given identity through baptism in the world. Being who God created us to be, and showing His grace and mercy to all.

So know you are called to be you.

170111Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40, NRSV)

Baptism is a gift of God and is for everyone.

This eunuch was not a Jew, but was a Gentile.

But that does not keep him from being baptized and accepted as a child of God.

This gift is for all, and comes to us through others and the word of God.

So study the word and help others know how much God loves them.

160710Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, NRSV)

And wanting to justify his behavior…

Anytime you ask a question of God to make you feel like you are doing the right thing, you are going to be surprised.

Anytime we draw a line to keep a group of people out, Jesus will always be on the other side of the line from us.

You see Samaritans were the scum of the earth, and here is a Samaritan showing mercy.

So there is no one on earth who is not your neighbor!

Everyone should be treated with the love and grace that God has shown to you.

No one is beyond the love of God and no one, therefore, is beyond the boundaries of being our neighbor.

160308From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (1 Corinthians 5:16-21, NRSV)

Christ came in and created something new out of what was there.

When Christ comes in, we are a new creation. The old is gone and the new takes over.

You see Christ makes us new and that is what allows us to be in the presence of God. It is not that we are worthy, but when Christ is in us we are made to be like Christ and new, so we can be with God.

We are reconciled from our place of not being able to be with God, to being with Him through Christ. And because Christ is in us and we are made new, we are sent into the world to be ambassadors for Christ, so that others can also be made new!

So go in your new you smell and help others get that new fresh scent as well!