Tag Archives: unity

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.

Amazed by His Spirit’s Leading

I have a God story to tell today. :)

If you are familiar with the song Dance With Me, you know that the song comes from Song of Solomon and refers to God as “the Lover of our souls.”

Before we sang it this morning, our contemporary service worship leader had something to read to our congregation. As he began reading, I started to think that it was sounding awfully familiar and emotion began to flood my heart. I had written it! It was posted on my blog!

It turns out that our worship leader had no idea that it was my writing as inspired by the Lord. Later on, I shared with him and another friend in the car about how it blessed me that God used something I had written. It was then that he remarked that he didn’t know I’d written it, and  had “stumbled” upon it via a search engine.

I was blessed, humbled and loved on by God as part of this post was read to our congregation, and that God would use it in my very church, without myself or the other worship leader knowing it beforehand. What unity that is–totally a God-thing, uniting with our hearts! How amazing our God is!

I am greatly blessed that something God’s teaching me could be used by Him for others. It was just… that God would use something like that, the mere outpouring of one’s heart. I am humbled. And I am praying that God will bring us closer and closer to Him as a church, as His beloved children!

Early service:

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Neale/Coffin, Plainsong adapt. by Helmore)
  • The Savior Is Waiting (Carmichael)
  • I Need Thee Every Hour (Hawks/Lowry)
  • Choir: All the Earth Will Worship (Bible/Fettke/Kingsmore)
  • Offertory: Holy Spirit, Rain Down (R. Fragar)

Contemporary service:

  • You Are Good (Houghton)
  • Rain Down (Martin Smith/Stuart Garrard)
  • Freedom (Bushard)
  • Dance With Me (Chris Dupree)
  • You Won’t Relent (Misty Edwards)

This post is apart of Sunday Setlists – click the link to see others’ setlists.

God Believes in You

This post is apart of Sunday Setlists.

Some highlights from the message today:

  • Our God is a God of second chances! Just ask Jonah, and countless other Christians here today!
  • Hearing testimony through a song written and song by a woman visiting our church today who’s come out of addiction, and also a man who is a Katrina hurricane survivor.
  • God believes in us more than we believe in ourselves!
  • If you’re alive, it isn’t too late, no matter how far away from God you’ve gotten. He is a God of second chances!
  • God is in control of every single circumstance in our lives!

I think today God was doing some powerful things, though unseen to our eyes. God is working for sure.

Early service:

  • Lead Me to Calvary (Hussey/Kirkpatrick)
  • At the Cross (Hudson/Watts)
  • How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Townend)
  • I’m Forever Grateful (Altrogge)
  • Choir: Calvary Is the Sea (Alexander/Clark/Wood, arranged by Sterling)
  • Ladies Ensemble: We Are the Body of Christ (Brown/Hampton)
  • Response: Cleanse Me (Orr/Maori melody arranged by Douglas)

Went speechless today especially after all of the songs reminding us of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Almost couldn’t pray prior to the offering time. Wow, God, I can’t believe You even care about me. I’m so not worth it–none of us are–but dang, You love us so!!

Contemporary service:

  • Mansion (Springer)
  • Freedom (Bushard)
  • Everybody Praise the Lord (Brewster)
  • Send the Fire (Booth)
  • Show Your Power (Prosch)
  • ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (Kirkpatrick/Stead)
  • What Only You Can Do (Edwards)

Put Your Armor On

This post is apart of Sunday Setlists.

Early service:

  • Children’s Choir: I Won’t Be Afraid
  • Near the Cross
  • Knowing You
  • In Christ Alone (Getty/Townend)
  • Choir: Hear Our Praises

Contemporary service:

  • Children’s Choir: I Won’t Be Afraid
  • Awesome Is the Lord
  • Everybody Praise the Lord
  • Sing to the King
  • Show Your Power
  • ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus

Worship was really hitting me this morning. It really was spiritual warfare for me because I wasn’t feeling the best physically or mentally. While we were singing of all God’s done via In Christ Alone, God reminded me that I forgot to “put my armor” on this morning (Ephesians 6) in addition to reminding me of His Word concerning His children.

It’s amazing how God uses us as worship leaders to choose songs to sing to Him and about Him, and this week He used those very songs to strengthen me as I worshiped Him! He also used the children’s song as they sang in both services, a song I didn’t know beforehand! I needed these reminders of all God has done for me through Jesus, and that it’s all about Him and His purposes, no matter how I feel, physically, mentally or both, and that I have nothing to fear! We’ve just got to turn to Him and His Word, and worship Him through everything! Bless His holy name at all times!

It was amazing today to see some hands raised during worship that I hadn’t seen (or noticed) before., especially during Awesome Is the Lord (“Raise your hands, all you nations…”) It touches my heart to see people worshiping God freely!

The message today on sharing your faith was right there with it, too! I needed that, and God is growing in me a greater passion to share the Gospel. Make me even more willing and bold, Lord; provide opportunities and don’t let me miss them! A gem from the sermon at church today:

It’s not about our abilities [in sharing Jesus], it’s about our availability [for God to use us]!

You’re All I Want

Lord, I don’t care so much anymore about the details, the music, the methods, about whatever goes into doing church. I want only to be at Your feet, lying with my face at Your feet. I want to let my tears of brokenness for the Church, my ache for the unity needed, my gratitude for Your grace, my frustration at anything or anyone who isn’t rightly motivated for You & You alone.

I’m tired, I’m weary. All I know is I just want You, time alone with You away from all the things of life that are distracting me. I don’t want to just play church. Church! Usual is over. (Someone at a worship gathering Saturday night shared that the Lord spoke this to them recently.)

I’m done with formalities, so-called traditions & intense scheduled-ness! You can’t put God in a box or hold Him to time constraints. He is outside of time.

I’m done with everything “as usual” — life, church & even me. I only want You, so engulfing me that I can’t even breathe anything of myself & only You & what You ordain.

I want to partner with You, & I want to see others do so as well. I want to be at Your feet, worshiping You in spirit & in truth, in tears of joy or tears of heartache. No matter my weaknesses, may I be found worshiping You all the more because You love me no matter what. I want to pour out my love upon You even when I have nothing of worth to offer except that which You Yourself have given me.

I’m done with anything that isn’t of You. I don’t want to be poisoned by anything contrary to Your heart. I just want You, to be at Your feet on my face! I just want You!