Our Greatest Need

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” – 1 Peter 1:22 The greatest human need is to bond with others. When we connect deeply with our spouse, children, friends, and even colleagues at work, life takes on greater joy and excitement. The world is a big place, and it’s God’s job to love everyone, but for us as believers, it’s our calling to simply love our neighbor. We have the opportunity to bring God’s agape or unselfish love to the corner of the world in which He has planted us. Never in history has there been a greater need for compassion, empathy, vulnerability, and gentleness in our culture. I believe we live in a world that is suffocating, not because we don’t have material resources and help available, but because we

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Gathering of the People

“…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.“ – Acts 14:22 Experience within church congregations is as unique and varied as God’s creation. Whether our involvement has been during childhood, as an adult, or perhaps seeking a church to call home, our reflections will vary. The word church comes from a Greek word translated ecclesia; it means a gathering. And specifically the gathering of the people. If those assembled are in Christ, the main experience or focal point should be receiving encouragement —  which means giving hope, courage, and confidence. We also encounter prayer, song, and most of all, agape or unconditional love.  As you connect with a church family, you can say to yourself, “I’m not alone in this world. I have my church.” Whenever the body of believers gather, be

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Let Jesus Into Your Loneliness

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” – Psalm 27:10 We’ve been talking about feelings of loneliness and how we tend to feel disconnected from others because we are afraid they will reject the parts of us that are flawed. Consequently, we put on a false front and pretend that we are stronger and more “okay” than we really are. However, I want to tell you resolutely today that pretending is the world’s way, it is not God’s way! Your Heavenly Father gives you permission to come to Him broken, beat up, doubting, hurting, and frustrated and in return, He gives you rest for your soul. He yokes you to His abundant life, and then naturally, with little effort on your part, He fills you with freedom, joy and other eternal treasures your soul needs to thrive.  The sad reality is that when you don’t

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You are not Alone

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” – Psalm 68:5,6 For the next few days, we are going to be talking about something that’s (unfortunately) more and more universal in our world — loneliness.  Isn’t it interesting that when we punish a child, we give them what’s called a “time out,” which involves being alone for a period of time, often with no toys or interaction? And when a prisoner is out of line, they are further punished by going to a place of solitary confinement. Here, they are completely alone and often in the dark for a number of days or weeks. It’s a known fact that loneliness is one of the worst things for the human spirit and feeling

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Anti-Fragile Love

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38 We’ve lately discussed being anti-fragile, and how anything that is knocked down, attacked, or destroyed in Jesus will eventually come back stronger. This is true primarily because love is anti-fragile, and God is love. If your daughter is dating someone you don’t like, telling her to break up with them is the worst thing you can do for their relationship. Although it may seem strange and paradoxical, staying positive or neutral is often the best option. Attacking the connection, whether it’s actual love or just infatuation, invalidates the overwhelming feelings that are occurring and nearly guarantees a

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God Incarnate

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27 Faith is not existential, it’s relational. Many people say that it’s just them and Jesus and that’s enough, but such an approach to Christian living doesn’t really work. This is because we adhere to the doctrine of incarnation, which means that the Word of God became flesh, lived among us, died, was raised, and ascended into Heaven. But that isn’t all there is to the story, because incarnation continued in the Church. This was made clear in Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit entered the body of every single believer. And what it means for us today is that because of His indwelling, when we look at a fellow disciple, we’re not only seeing that person, we’re gazing at Christ within them. Likewise, we’re not just listening to

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The Blessing in Unity

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” – Psalm 133:1,3 I don’t think anyone would disagree when I say that we are in a politically and socially divided season, especially in the United States. This state of affairs is unfortunate all-around, but as a pastor, my greatest concern is the manner in which it impacts the church. Right now, millions of Christians feel fervently about the rightness of their side, and this is affecting how they treat each other. Yet the truth remains that unity is a foundational value for the people of God. In fact, the Bible says that there’s a blessing in oneness, and as the Bride of Christ, we should always strive to obtain it. Unfortunately, many are

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Find Compassion in Community

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24,25 As we continue to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it’s more important than ever to become an active part of a church community. Thankfully, most congregations have adapted to the precautions demanded by this strange time in history, and many have online fellowship groups for those who don’t feel safe attending in person. Unfortunately, 2020 was a year of social isolation, and though it’s important to be prudent and cautious, it’s never good to be alone. In this age of technology, we’re blessed with numerous ways to connect with people, and while in-person interaction is always best, finding connection online

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