Tag Archives: Body of Christ

Call to Love

Tulip by songsinthenightWhat would it be like if all of Christ’s people sought to live out love and the Sermon on the Mount… if we sought His face about all else?

I got to thinking about this the other morning. Not that I’m perfectly living out love, (I’m learning and I fail in doing so just as much as anyone else who is truly seeking after God’s heart). But after seeing some fellow believers “jump ship” in certain areas, I really got to thinking about the response that Jesus would long for us to have. The below is an exhortation, a call to love like Jesus loves, and could also be used as a devotional. But remember this: We who belong to Christ are in this together.

We’re called to love one another. Whether we agree or disagree, no matter what the issue, we cannot stop loving one another. We are not to withhold love or respond in ways unlike Christ. We can’t just throw up our hands and say, “I’m done, I quit.” There is no quitting if we want to win the race. We press on to knowing Christ and growing in love.

We must speak the truth in love, leaving behind fleshly ways that want to shut the other out. We must keep pursuing love no matter how we feel and no matter what we think in our minds. No matter how hurt or wronged we feel, we’re not exempt from choosing love over self. (Ouch! That hurts! Change me, Lord!) We’re called to love, turning the other cheek by loving even when we disagree and think they’ve got something completely wrong.

And above all things, have a fervent love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

It is love that will win someone to the truth. Trying to make them get it by constantly bombarding them with words will only drive them away. Is our aim to love them first, or to convince them first? We must make sure our aim is to share God’s truth in love, that we are not just trying to convince someone of what is actually our own opinion. We needn’t convince people of our opinions, but it is God’s truth we are to share lovingly as His Spirit leads. Jesus’ way is faith working through love (Gal. 5:6), through humility and meekness. We share His truth & do not stand for sin, but we do so in His way and His timing–in the love of Christ.

What is love?

This is not love as the world defines it, but this kind of love is a choice, a self-sacrificial love, putting God and others above ourselves. It’s a love that takes you on a journey of learning how to walk it out more and more. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reveals this to us in a very helpful way:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (NASB)

We must not take offense, but guard our hearts above all else so that the springs of life coming forth from us are filled with selfless love (Prov. 4:23). We keep our eyes fixed on Christ who is our joy and our exceeding great reward (Heb. 12:2; Gen. 15:1), trusting Him to resolve any situation as He sees fit. We must simply keep trusting Him, praying His will, and loving Him and one another.

We seek to love like He loves, the One who forgave us, this One who does not shut us out of His life when we wrong Him (He never rejects us, nor does He leave us, see Heb. 13:5). When we were sinners, He welcomed us into His family upon our repentance when we gave our lives over to Him. How much more are we called to love and forgive as He has forgiven us! How much more are we called to be patient with those who wrong us, to pray for them and pour out His love on them as His vessel?

Love never fails. It bears all things, hopes all things. It endures to the end.

If we are to be the Body of Christ in full unity, we must love as He loves. A body can’t rip off one of its thumbs and still function properly; it can’t remove a leg and still be able to walk. When one part of the body is injured, the rest of the body helps to heal it so that the entire body can be whole again. We are in this together. (See Rom. 12:9-21.)

This is His commandment: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

We are called to love one another and live out Christlikeness in all areas of our lives, while standing firm, speaking His truth in love.

…let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth… (1 John 3:18)

Beloved, if God so loved us…we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)

God, show us Your heart, that we may love as You love. Teach us and anoint us with Your grace to love You and to love one another. I want to live out love in my life to Your glory! Root us in Your love that we love as You love. In Jesus’ name.

Content to Have a Part: Reflections

Things I’ve learned and things God has done this week have been absolutely amazing (and it’s not over yet!)

  • Tuesday’s praise team rehearsal wore me out in a good way. God’s presence was strong, and it was truly worship of Him. Afterward, a few of us went to eat and had some wonderful conversation as well.
  • Wednesday’s choir rehearsal was wonderfully fun and more focused, and afterward a small group of us stayed conversing about reaching out to our community, encouraging one another, worshiping some more and praying together. What happened when rehearsal ended was an answer to prayer in itself!
  • To top it off, we’ve got an extra worship team rehearsal tonight and I’m stoked that God is bringing us together yet another evening this week to exalt His name and sing His praises!

I had been feeling discouraged lately, on top of being “divinely” discontent. But on Tuesday afternoon God reminded me of some things, and the hope that this brought has made the more difficult things in my life right now easier to push through. One of the big things God spoke to me this week was:

Be okay with playing a part, then God will bring you to the part He wants you to play.
– Pat Sczebel, Leading Worship in a Small Church from WorshipGod08 Conference
(Listen here or see the list of all seminars here)

Remember Luke 16:10: He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.

I was also inspired as he spoke about his desire to learn guitar and his determination in this. So I’ve now set a goal for myself instead of just randomly playing worship songs. I picked out 5-6 songs, and my goal is to learn these well so that I could lead worship from the guitar on these songs. There are other songs I can already play, but I need to branch out, and I’ve gotten a list down with things that will help me play just about anything after I learn them well enough. (I’ve already been playing for three months, and have been surprised that what I once gave up in my childhood is so much easier now!) I’m hoping that maybe in a small group or something, God will allow me the opportunity to try “real-time” leading some songs. It’s one thing to play by yourself, but it’s often another when it’s with others listening or joining in.

I want to keep my mindset on being faithful in what God already has me doing, in leading one of our services at church, in taking part in the worship team of the other, and preparing for whatever the future may hold… without constantly concerning myself with what the future may hold–trusting, trusting, trusting HIM! Most of all, my desire is to be faithful in whatever roles I am currently called to serve, trusting that God will equip and prepare me as He sees fit, and knowing that He holds everything in His hands!

Prayer Focus: The Church

[God] is totally astounding, and I want to know Him more.
– Marty Parks (Quiet Moments for Worship Leaders)

My prayer for all of the Body of Christ (and in particular my own little-c church) is that we would hunger for God more and more and more, and that we would be so astounded by Him that we couldn’t be still or silent about the Good News of His salvation through Jesus Christ!

If you have a moment, pray for the whole Body of Christ and for your own area, that this would be. Pray, asking also what God would have you do in order to aid in His will being done.

What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
Psalm 8:4

A Prayer: Let Our Hearts Overflow in Worship

A prayer from my heart as a worship leader:

Lord, I know we truly need to reach the unsaved of this world, but I fear that we’re not starting in the right place. Our own church buildings have people who do not know You or do not know what it means to live a life of worship, serving and glorifying You in all that we do. Yes, those of us who understand this fail many times, but so many are not serving to salt the earth by living as You have called us to.

I see and hear about many who stand motionless and emotionless in worship as we join together, and still others who don’t live their lives as living sacrifices for God, radiating with His love, mercy and compassion to those who cross their paths. What is needed so that believers will be moved to truly worship Jesus as He should be worshiped, to worship extravagantly with whole hearts, in Spirit and in truth, and as He deserves to be worshiped?

No, it isn’t necessarily about singing or the raising of hands as we worship in a corporate service setting, but our response to Your love should be obvious in our worship and in our very lives. Our gratitude should overflow from our hearts in a way that reveals itself in beautiful ways expressed through the effect of our lives on any person who crosses our path in extraordinary ways.

Lord, let our hearts overflow with love and adoration of You. Awaken our hearts to love and bring us back to our first love again.