Things I Heard In Church: Love Will Make You Weaker

“Love is always attached to vulnerability. Love will always make you weaker and more powerless, than you were before you loved. Some of you understand this. Some of you know this to be true because this is your story. You have a child who went off the rails, or a spouse who one day decided they were tired of being married, or a mom or a dad who treated you badly. And the pain you feel from those moments, the brokenness in your heart, is the direct result of the love you have for those people. You see, if you didn’t love them, it wouldn’t hurt.”

Yet we’re commanded to love. In fact: “Love is the crowning characteristic of the Christian.”

“You want to know what it means to be a mature follower of Jesus? It means to love people so much that they can hurt you. It means making yourself vulnerable to pain and suffering because of your love for them.” –Dave Teixeira

Dave Teixeira, 10/25/2015, Sunday, Strength in Weakness

Things I Heard In Church: This amazing quote about Joseph’s brothers’ brutal cruelty

Things I Heard In Church:

This amazing quote about the way Joseph responded to the brutal cruelty shown to him by his brothers. Continue reading

The 1 Thing God Wants You To Do (To Reveal Him To The World)

Love one another

God Uses People

Before we get to the one thing, I just want to establish that God uses people. He always has in the past and He still does today. God uses people to reveal Himself to the world. There are exceptions, like the time he led the Israelites with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (3,500 years or so ago). But it’s people He uses, most of the time, to reveal Himself to the world. Even a casual reading of just a few chapters of scripture affirms this.

Are You A Christian?

Are you a Christian?

If you are, then God wants to use you. He wants to use you to reveal Himself to the world, and He wants you to do one thing in particular. And here’s the one thing: Continue reading

Go Measure the Heavens

Why is Christianity so restrictive

Bow Shock Around LL Orionis (spans trillions of kilometers) – Hubble Telescope Image


Go measure the heavens, go weigh the mountains on a scale, go take the ocean’s water and number each drop, go count the sand on the sea’s wide shore, and when you have accomplished this, you still won’t know how much God loves you. (Spurgeon)


[You might also like Why is Christianity So Restrictive]


C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, 2006, Hendrickson Publishers, p. 399

An Open Letter to Christian Type A Men

Christian time management Type A Personality Love Like JesusDear Type A Man,

It’s better to do less and reflect the nature of Christ, than it is to accomplish more in an un-Christlike manner.

I know what you’re thinking: “What about the fruit? Isn’t it important to bear fruit? The bible says to bear fruit!”

True, the bible does say to bear fruit. But Continue reading

Love Like Jesus and a Plague of Flies of Biblical Proportions (Sort Of)

Love Like Jesus Day of small things

A Plague of Flies of Biblical Proportions (Sort Of)

Ah Friday. Friday is writing day around here, and it’s Friday at last. Friday is the one day of the week everyone is supposed to leave me alone,

to write.

So I rolled out of bed thinking I was headed for the laptop until enough fog cleared from my head, for me to remember, Kathy is out of town. She’s in Portland with a mom, two daughters, and a sister, doing some kind of a women’s thing. A spa thing, I think they said. I’m not sure what that entails but I think I heard the words “many petting” in there somewhere, so my thought is, it involves zoo animals somehow.

Anyway, that means I had to cover for Kathy at one of her jobs. Among her many other activities, she manages the pool and recreational facilities at our townhouse complex. (She’s always doing something productive or helpful.) So off I go to the pool. “No big deal,” I think to myself. “Just a quick chemical check, and I’m off to my office.” But when I arrived, I found a surprise. Continue reading

Slavery, Love, and the Garden of Eden–Genesis 2:8-9

Slavery Love Garden of Eden

(From the Archives…)

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9

The Garden

A little trivia to start: The Bible tells us that the land in which God’s garden is located is called Eden, however we are never actually given the name of the garden itself, only the name of the land in which it is located. But one thing’s for sure, the word Eden means delightful, and we do know from the Bible that without a doubt, whatever the name of the garden, God’s garden was a delightful place to live.

Notice that in the middle of His garden God puts both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Why?” You may be asking. “Why include the forbidden tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the middle of the delightful garden? Why ruin a perfect place with a forbidden tree?” The answer is that God desired a meaningful relationship with Adam and Eve, and a meaningful relationship requires a choice.

Marriage and Slavery

Hadijatou Mani is a 24 year old woman from the Sahel region of Nigeria, on the Southern fringe of the Sahara. Hadijatou’s story is the story of someone who wasn’t given a choice. When she was just 12 years old she was sold to a man named Souleymane Naroua. When she was just 13 she was raped by her master and forced to bear his children. Continue reading

Love Like Jesus — Love With Loyalty: Matthew 12:1-2

Love Like Jesus LoyalAt that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”  -Matthew 12:1-2

How Jesus Loved People

“Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath,” the Pharisees said. Jesus’ disciples were under attack. Continue reading

Love Like Jesus — Love the Lost Cause: John 5:1-8

Jesus Loves Lost Cause

Temple Grandin Presenting at TED Conference

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

John 1:5-8

How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved this man, even though anyone else would consider him a lost cause.

How to Love Like Jesus

I spoke with someone today who told me about a disabled man he once cared for in an adult foster home. The disabled man’s name is Daniel. Daniel is angry all the time, he can’t speak, or do much of anything to take care of himself. After working there for awhile my friend was surprised to learn, that up until five years previous, Daniel was happy, and could speak and communicate very well. But Continue reading

Love Like Jesus — Give Like Jesus: Luke 5:4-11

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:4-11

How Jesus Loved People

I love that story. Jesus was and is so generous. Jesus had the power to give — so He gave.

Jesus loved people by giving, materially.

How to Love Like Jesus

The last verse in our text says, “…they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” So we see Jesus didn’t give indiscriminately. He just finished speaking to a crowd of people, and almost certainly there were those in the crowd who were in need, but Jesus didn’t give to them. He only gave to those who would respond by leaving everything, and following Him.

Do you think I use Jesus’ approach? Do you suppose when I give of myself, materially, or my time, or my energy, I do it to encourage people to follow Jesus? So often the answer is no! How I have erred on this point. Too frequently I give so people will follow me.

I think many of us give out of a desire to attract people to ourselves. We think to ourselves, “If I help him move, he’ll think I’m a good guy.” Or, “If I pick up the check, he’ll think I’m generous.” Or, “If I make a great dessert, they’ll think I’m a great cook.” It’s human nature to think this way.

But think this through with me: Everything you and I have is God’s anyway, nothing is my own. My money, my time, my energy, my life, it’s all God’s. I’m just managing everything for Him. Doesn’t it make sense then, I should manage in a way that draws people closer to God and to His Son?

This conflict between giving to attract followers to ourselves vs. giving to attract followers to Jesus is relevant to anyone who blogs or tweets or speaks or writes for God’s kingdom. When we look at our number of followers or friends or subscribers or page views, are we looking out of an interest in drawing people closer to Christ? If you are, that’s a good thing. Jesus advocated numbering the 100 so the shepherd knew he was missing the 1. Tracking numbers out of concern for gathering sheep to Christ’s sheepfold is good. But we’re in error when we track numbers out of a desire to see how our followers have grown. Looking at his numbers to gratify himself was what David did when he numbered the men in his army. David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (Matthew 18:12 vs. 2 Samuel Chapter 24)

Anytime you give anything, it’s important for you to ask yourself the question, “Am I doing this so people will follow me? Or am I doing it so people will follow Jesus Christ?”

I hear people say they want to be inspired by God’s Holy Spirit when they create their blog post, or their music, or their movie, or their book. I know I certainly want that. If you’re like me, and want the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, it’s important to remember the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. (John 16:13-14)

So as much as possible when you show love by giving, love as Jesus loved by giving as Jesus gave. Focus on those who you think will respond by drawing closer to Christ.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit Jesus said,

He will not speak on his own… He will glorify me…

John 16:13-14