Ray Charles’s Daughter Sheila Raye Charles: Things I Heard In Church

I heard Ray Charles’s Daughter Sheila Raye Charles speak at our church Tuesday night, after the Jesus Table.

She told her story of sexual abuse, Continue reading

Love Like Jesus–Don’t Give ‘Til It Hurts (and what that has to do with your inner circle)

give till it hurts

Inner Circle

Loving and Giving Until It Hurts

Carol is a single mother with a heart as big as the moon. She loves strays of all kinds: stray dogs, stray cats, stray iguanas (today she informed me there’s a local herpetological society that will contribute toward your care of a stray iguana). She also loves stray people. But early in life she thought she could help a stray person who was struggling. She was sure that with enough love she could bring out the good person she knew lived inside him. She loved him, and loved, him, and loved him. But no matter how much love she gave, she couldn’t compete with his addiction. He spent his money (and hers) on his habit. He neglected her. He neglected his job. He neglected his kids. Finally he left. Not to be deterred, she found another stray. Surely with enough love she would turn this person around. But the pattern repeated until he finally left too. Now and again she would surround herself with several stray people at a time, each one was in a dark place, and that too sent her life into a destructive spin.

So she asked me today, How does this work? We’re supposed to love people like Jesus loved people, but how do we do that without our good efforts deteriorating into something self destructive? Continue reading

Congregate!

The latest results of a study from the University of Michigan revealed that college students have a 40% lower capacity to empathize with the feelings of others, as compared to college students 20 and 30 years ago. 14,000 college students participated in the study from 1979 to 2009. (Read more at US News & World Report)

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;he breaks out against all sound judgment.

Proverbs 18:1 (ESV)

Isolation destroys us. Isolation is associated with depression, suicide, poor mental health, and addiction. Isolation from the body of Christ destroys us spiritually. Could it be that the corresponding decline in church attendance in the U.S. is the cause of the reduced capacity to empathize with others?

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. (John 3:16) When that reality becomes a part of me, a part of you, a part of us, we rejoice at the opportunity to go to church. To fellowship with God over at His house becomes something we love to do. And spending time with Him, we become more like Him.

And He empathizes. He loves people.

He loves you.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

Go to church.