On Saturday, February 26th, 2011, eleven members of The Tree spent the day tying fleece blankets and enjoying each other’s company. At noon, they broke for a lunch of tacos and everyone ate till their fill. It was a great day of fun and friendships and thirty-one blankets were made to give to the nursing home residents. Showing God’s Love Through Simple Acts of Kindness!
Recently, I was listening to a song sung by Kim Walker-Smith, one of the worship leaders for the band, Jesus Culture. It’s my newest favorite, How He Loves Us. It’s eight minutes and fifty-three seconds of pure passion. At one point of the song, she stops singing and starts talking about how much God loves us and how that once we encounter God’s love, we are never the same.
Today I got to watch a woman experience God’s love. I’m not going to go into her specifics; she’d suffered a terrible tragedy twenty-six years ago and although she’d learned to live with it, she could never escape from the pain of it. I really don’t know her church history, but I know a couple of months ago I’d spoken to her and she wasn’t really interested in church. She’d had some bad experiences with church people and she was happy to steer clear of any further pain.
I didn’t push her or try to change her mind, but rather showed her that maybe we were a little different. I watched her continue to come around, not to Sunday service, but to help out around the church. One of the ladies took her under her wing and loved on her and encouraged her and on Christmas Eve, I saw her sitting in the sanctuary during our candlelight service. The following Sunday morning, the same thing. Next thing I knew, she was in our ladies group and sharing a bit of her story. As I saw the pain on her face, I encouraged her to come see me privately, that we’d talk.
Well, today she did. And after we talked, we prayed. And during that prayer time, and it really wasn’t very long .. probably only a few minutes, she had a love encounter with God. With the tears streaming down her face, tears of joy she assured me, she said, “Thank you Jesus, that feels so good.”
What she was feeling was the love of God .. and she will never be the same.
Ten years ago I had a love encounter with God and I’ve never been the same. I want to encourage you today, God loves you. Regardless of anything you have ever done or anything that you did not do, it’s not about you. It’s all about HIM. HE LOVES YOU!
If you’ve been seeking love in all the wrong places … maybe it’s time you gave God a chance?
Father, thank you for your most awesome, amazing, unending love. It’s true, once we encounter your love, we are never the same. I am so thankful that I’m not the same. I am so thankful that you loved me first. And I am so thankful that your love doesn’t pick and choose. You love us all … unconditionally. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
God’s Blessings To You!
The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
Today is Valentine’s Day. I was just on Facebook and there are thousands of people declaring their love for their spouses, their children and each other. It’s a sweet day. It seems like today most everyone is willing to say to at least someone … “I love you.” Chocolates and roses and special cards are being exchanged today. Love is in the air … as the old song states.
In 1 Corinthians 13, called The Love Chapter, Paul talks about love. He has written a letter to the church in Corinth, giving them instruction and encouragement on their journey with Jesus. They are a lot like we are today, wanting to do right, but somewhat confused on how to stay on track. As a result they dealt with problems like immaturity, instability, divisions, jealousy, envy, lawsuits, marital problems, sexual immorality and the misuse of spiritual gifts. Sound familiar?
But Paul doesn’t beat them up, he simply writes a letter to encourage them and help them get back on track. And in the midst of that letter, he shares with them that no matter how great they think they are or what wonderful things they do, if they were not motivated by love, it means nothing. He explains that love is the most excellent way. He goes on to share that:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
At the Last Supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34,35)
If we are followers of Jesus, we must love one another. We are to be love. It wasn’t a suggestion. He told them it was actually a new commandment. So now, go back to the Love is section above and replace love with your name. Are you patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered. Do you not keep records of wrongs? Do you not delight in evil but rejoice in truth? Do you protect? Do you hope? Do you persevere? Are you unfailing? Do you love? Ouch …not so easy is it?
I want to be like Paul. I don’t want you to feel beat up if you fail in some areas, because we all fall short, but rather do this exercise to take inventory, see what needs some work. I encourage you to seek God in the areas that you struggle with, release them to him and let him fill you with His love, which will then overflow from you into those around you!
Father, thank you for your unfailing love. When the world is fickle, when one day it loves me and one day it loves me not, you are faithful and true. You don’t just love me, but rather you are love. It is your nature. It is who you are. I honestly cannot even fathom the depth of your love. Forgive me Father for not loving as you do, help me to remove the planks out of my eyes, so that I can see others as you see them and love them as you love them.
I love you Jesus!
In Your name I pray,
God’s Blessings Upon You!
The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
On Sunday, February 6, 2011, Troop 255 visited The Tree of Life Church to celebrate Scout Sunday. The Tree is the Charter Organization for Troop 255. The boys did a special flag ceremony, Pastor Andrew gave them all Bibles and then sat as a group during Pastor Andrew’s message. It was a very special day … you boys Rock!
The Tree of Life’s Charter Boy Scout Troop, 255, celebrated its first Eagle Scout on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the church. Mitch Grandy was the proud recipient of the award, having spent the last five years working toward this honor, the highest level achieved in scouting.
Congratulations Mitch … we are proud of you!