Thursday, May 14, 2009

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The Love Of God

I have recently been attending a church that reminds me of the Jesus movement in the late sixties and early seventies. In those days we were centered on the love of God, both from Him and toward Him. Even in those days (and I suspect even today), many denominational churches when confronted with a longhaired, sandal footed, hippie looking dude, would not let him enter, even if His name was Jesus. Jesus’ message is that God loves you and wants you in the family. Many denominational churches today have lost the love factor. Thus, many people have been hurt by church dogma. A pastor’s wife once told me that a denomination is nothing but a monument to a dead saint. The early church, I believe, was much like the Jesus movement I mentioned above. You could feel the Lord’s love and presence in the meetings. These Jesus freaks, as I remember, looked like hippies as well as housewives, businessmen and soldiers. What they had in common was that they all had the love of God inside of them.

There is no perfect church. There are no perfect Christians. Your walk with the Lord doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, the same as anyone else’s. None is perfect, no not one (Romans 3:10 ). Judge not, lest you be judged (Matt.7:1 ). The kingdom of God is here, but it is not easily recognized by most people (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God is on the inside. Jesus said that the kingdom of God was near ( Matt.4:17 ). When his work was finished (He said on the cross that it was), the Holy Spirit was sent to us as promised. The Holy Spirit represents the kingdom of God here on the earth. His job is to guide us to the Father through Jesus. When the Father is assured that we truly accept the gift of sacrifice that Jesus gave for us, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell within us. This is what Jesus meant when he said that He would never leave us of forsake us (John 14:15-21, 25-27 ). Where the Father is, so are the Spirit and Jesus. Where Jesus is, so are the Father and the Spirit. Where the Spirit is, so are the Father and Jesus. The Spirit is within me; therefore, the love of God is also there. I know it’s hard to understand that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one and the same, even though we can grasp that water, ice and steam are the same substance.

The Love of God is a wonderful and glorious thing. God wants us to share His love with others, not just love Him as He loves us. Love your wife, love your kids, and love your neighbor (Mark 12:30-31). A Presbyterian minister once said that the love of God is like a garden hose. You wouldn’t try to push the water back up into the hose; you would spread it around so that things can grow. The flow won’t stop unless you turn off the spigot. Can you feel the overflowing Love of God in your church, or have time and man brought in things that pinch off the flow? It’s not that God wants to love you – He does love you. All you have to do is realize it. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

The pastor of a church I was attending was at a pastors’ meeting when one of the other attendees referred to our church as an “introductory church”. This apparently meant that our church had not yet matured. Could it be that this person had lost his initial love and been overcome by churchliness? There is a song that says “bring back the new again, I want to see Jesus”. All churches should be introductory churches. Their job is to present the Gospel in a way that makes people want what the Lord has for them, not bog people down in man made rules and regulations. There is enough of that in everyday life.

Each person has a different personality. Each person walks through life at a different pace. Each Christian has a different personality and pace. God does not make cookie cutter Christians, and He doesn’t want you to act that way. A person’s walk with the Lord and growth in the Christian life may be far different from yours. Therefore, let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you my know how you should answer each one (Col. 4:6 ) Christians are to be the salt of the earth. Let the world savor life through us, not be judged by us.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans15:13)

Rick Rahn


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