Chapter 2: Love The Unlovable — From the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus -- Socialize with Sinners InfluenceToday’s post is from Part 2 — Words of Caution, Chapter 2 — Love The Unlovable of my new book Love Like Jesus

Last Saturday we posted Part 1, Chapter 1 — Imitating Jesus

Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018.

Love The Unlovable

And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17)

Jesus And The Sinners Continue reading

Imitating Jesus — From the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Die to self

Today’s post is from chapter 1 of my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). (In case you’re interested, last Saturday morning, we posted the introduction: “Things You Should Know About The Author Of This Book“) Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.

Imitating Jesus Continue reading

What Jesus Looks Like (In New Haven, Connecticut)

This is what Jesus looks like.

 

A group of churches in the New Haven area are collaborating to show Jesus’ love to the people of their city. Recently 1,000 volunteers contributed to 72 different service projects in New Haven. They call their group Bridges of Hope and they collaborate and cooperate with institutions of all faiths, and no faith, for the common good when consistent with Christ’s values. You can check them out over at the Bridges of Hope website.

This is what Jesus looks like–in New Haven, Connecticut.

“…who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10-29-37)

Love Like Jesus–Love the Unlovable

Love Like Jesus -- Socialize with Sinners Influence

(One of our most popular posts–from the archives)

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:16-17


How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people by spending time with them, in spite of their sinful lifestyle.


How to Love Like Jesus

There’s a blog I follow called Not Ashamed Of The GospelNot long ago, they posted a three part series about a ministry which reaches out to sex industry employees. I couldn’t help but notice there weren’t many comments offered on the last post in the series, An Insider’s Look — “Awkward!” I think for most people, that post was just too hot to handle.

Finally, one person posted and as best as I could tell he used scripture to infer this post about the sex industry ministry was an example of ungodly men perverting the grace of God.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to comment.

Continue reading

Love Like Jesus–A Storm and a Wedding: Mark 4:37-39

Love Like Jesus Calm the StormA Storm Hits a Wedding Ceremony

I went to this wedding once where the person who took charge of planning the wedding had a beautiful vision for it. It was going to happen outside and it was going to be done in a very particular way so as to make the setting spectacular. The only thing was, everything was geared for outdoors. The venue was an outdoor venue, so the wedding and reception depended on dry calm weather. And whenever the person who was planning this thing was asked what she would do if it rained, she simply said: It won’t rain.

Well guess what?

A storm came through, and it rained.

And the weather outside wasn’t the only storm happening that day. With no indoor venue or arrangements made whatsoever, the wedding planner just shut down. Panic and pandemonium ensued as the bride, the bride’s mother, and many others frantically attempted to put something together.

Then in stepped these two women who were friends of the bride’s mother. In a very gentle and gracious manner they just sort of, took over. They found a gym they could use at a Christian high school. They figured out how to arrange the outdoor tables and chairs to accommodate the guests, even though the gym was much smaller than expected. They found a place for the caterer to set up. They improvised with the decorations designed for the outdoor venue. They were amazing.

It wasn’t long after these two engaged the problem that the storm subsided and a calm came over the bride and the rest of the wedding party.

How Jesus Loved People

When the disciples took Jesus across the sea of Galilee and the storm came, there was panic and pandemonium. The disciples in the boat were freaking out–because of a storm–so Jesus calmed it.

How to Love Like Jesus

Jesus loved the disciples by calming their storm. You and I can’t command the wind and the waves, but there are other storms we can calm.

Just like Jesus, God has put you in a boat with a group of people. They’re the ones in your family, in your workplace, in your circle of friends. And just like the disciples in the boat, they’ll experience storms. And sometimes, like the two ladies at the wedding, you’ll have the power to calm those storms.

When someone you know is freaked out, maybe you’re just the right person to bring them peace. Maybe their storm is a computer that’s down, or a car that won’t start, or the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job.

You just might be uniquely qualified to calm the wind and the waves.

Jesus calmed the storm for the disciples.

When you see an opportunity to calm someone’s storm, calm it.

Jesus did.

You can too.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. -Mark 4:37-39

[Image via Green Destiny – Creative Commons]

Love Like Jesus–Love the Unlovable: Mark 2:16-17

Love Like Jesus -- Socialize with Sinners InfluenceWhen the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:16-17


How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people by spending time with them, in spite of their sinful lifestyle.


How to Love Like Jesus

There’s a blog I follow called Not Ashamed Of The GospelNot long ago, they posted a three part series about a ministry which reaches out to sex industry employees. I couldn’t help but notice there weren’t many comments offered on the last post in the series, An Insider’s Look — “Awkward!” I think for most people, that post was just too hot to handle.

Finally, one person posted and as best as I could tell he used scripture to infer this post about the sex industry ministry was an example of ungodly men perverting the grace of God.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to comment.

Continue reading

You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter) — John 1:40-42

Peter's Sword (Photo credit: Galeria Imagens Biblica)

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

John 1:40-42



How Jesus loved people:

Jesus knew Peter would say something so stupid and offensive, Jesus would call him Satan. Jesus knew Peter would wield his sword so recklessly, he would cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant Malchus. Jesus knew Peter would disown Him and even call down curses in response to a teen-age girl’s questions about Christ in the courtyard of the high priest. But here we not only see Jesus accept Peter completely, just the way he was, but we see Him rename him, Peter, which means “Rock.” (Matthew 16:21-23John 18:10Matthew 26:69-75)

If Peter were an associate pastor in today’s church, I think he almost certainly would be fired. Imagine with me what the conversation might be like.

Board of Directors: “You said what? To who?”

Associate pastor Peter: “I rebuked Jesus.”

Board of Directors: “Let me see if I have this straight. You, an associate pastor, rebuked God. Is that right?”

“Yes.”

And later…

Board of Directors: “You whipped out a sword and did what with it?”

And finally…

Board of Directors: “A teen-age girl asked you about Christ and you disowned your Lord and Savior? Publicly?”

“I’m sorry Peter, but you’re an embarrassment to this church and to the Christian faith. You’re just not fit for ministry.”

Rejected.



How you can too:

Of course Jesus knew all this was to come. Jesus knew accepting Peter into His circle was going to be messy.

But He did it anyway.

You may have read the story, that came out recently, about the atheist who was embroiled in a battle with local government officials of Henderson County, Texas, concerning a nativity display on their front lawn. The atheist, named Patrick Greene, began to lose his eyesight to cataracts, after which there was an outpouring of help from local Christians (unbelievers helped as well). In response to those believers who reached out to him in that way, Patrick Greene ultimately received Christ. (See Atheist Becomes Christian After Believers Show Him Compassion)

I posted a link to this article yesterday and received some interesting comments from a professing atheist. The comment thread went like this:

Atheist: “Do some research on this particular gentleman. And on the atheist community’s opinion of this particular gentleman before he converted.”

My reply: “I did a little research as you recommended. I think I see what you mean. It appears many in atheist community had problems with him, before he converted.”

Atheist: “And I don’t mean to imply his conversion is false, just to be clear. I have no idea. Just, if you wanted to cite a convert as a positive example to other atheists, this gentleman may not be the person you want.”

“…this gentleman may not be the person you want.” He said. My research on Patrick Greene revealed two things:

1) His behavior was very similar to Peter’s. He liked to whip out his sword and cut off people’s ears, so to speak.

2) This gentleman was not a person the atheist community wanted. They were embarrassed by him.

So this was my reply to the atheist’s last comment: “I appreciate your concern, however what I want isn’t important. What’s important is this is precisely the person Christ wants.” (Previous post and comment thread)

Jesus accepts the Peters, and the Patrick Greenes, and you, and even me. And if you desire to love people the way Christ did, you will too.

So stop setting the bar so high for the people in your life. Take down that bar you’ve set so high and lay it at the foot of the cross, where Jesus died on Good Friday, not just for your sins, but for the sins of every single person in your life, for the sins of every person in the world. Roger Ailes in his classic book, “You Are the Message,” talks about CEO’s and other high powered people (including Ronald Reagan) he used to coach in the art of communication. He said, time and again, the single biggest change these people needed to make was to simply lighten up! Accept people for who they are, warts and all.

Loving people is going to be messy.

Do it anyway.

Jesus did.

References:

Bible Gateway

You Are The Message by Roger Ailes

Serious Questions About How God Does Things

Led into the wilderness to be tempted

The Temptation Trap (Photo Credit: Zazzle)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11



How Jesus loved people:

Jesus kept himself available to love people by resisting temptation. Can you imagine how the path God had in mind for him would have been impacted had he succumbed to the tempter? Swamped with the demands of leading the governments of the world, he would have been distracted from his calling which was to live humbly, simply, and to engage with people directly, in love.


How you can too:

Never before in the history of humankind has there been a time when people are inundated by entertainment and recreation such as we are today. It’s an amazing time to be alive but it’s also a time when we’re bombarded by distraction and temptation. Twenty-three year old Chen Rong-yu was looking for entertainment when he decided to head out to his local internet cafe to play League of Legends. He found himself so engrossed in his game that he made it a marathon session, playing for some twenty-three hours straight. But because of his prolonged lack of movement, and a previous medical condition, it appears that blood clots formed in his system resulting in his death. He was found with his hands stretched out over the keyboard, as though he was still playing. The thirty other gamers in the cafe were similarly absorbed and didn’t notice that he was deceased until nine hours after his passing. (see Daily Mail article by Rob Cooper)

When it comes to temptations, you and I have the same decisions to make as Jesus. If I succumb to a marathon gaming session, while I probably won’t die, I’m as good as dead to the people I love and care about while I’m consumed by that game. If you succumb to watching an entire season of Downton Abbey in one sitting, during that time, you’re not available to show others Christ’s love. If I’m consumed by the latest on Whitney Houston’s death, or the NCAA tournament, or The Hunger Games, then I’ll be distracted from what God has in mind for me.

The bottom line: If you want to love people the way Jesus did, keep it simple like Jesus did. Resist the temptation to immerse yourself in entertainment, or sports, or recreation. These things are not bad if experienced in reasonable doses, but they will completely derail your life, if allowed to consume too much of your time, mind, heart, and soul.

Resist temptation.

Keep life simple enough to leave room for Christ and what He has in mind for you.

References:

Rob Cooper

Love Like Jesus–The One Thing You Need: Matthew 3:13-17

Love Like Jesus Holy Spirit and LoveThen Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:13-17

How Jesus Loved People

In our last post about how Jesus loved people, we saw that He prepared Himself to love others by spending time at His Father’s house, at His place of worship. (see previous post) In today’s post we see that Jesus further prepares Himself to love people by receiving the Holy Spirit. And the way He does it… His humility, it astounds me. Jesus humbled Himself, He submitted Himself to the same practices that were in place for everyone else. Here He was, God incarnate, fully man and also fully God, and yet He submitted to the same conventions as everybody else. Even when John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” He insisted that He be treated the same as anyone.

So Jesus, the God-man, in order to prepare Himself for the great outpouring of love that was to come over the next three years, submits Himself to John and is baptized. And when He’s baptized, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven and alights on him.

How to Love Like Jesus

Think this through with me — if Jesus Christ Himself needed the Holy Spirit, to prepare to love on others, Lord knows you and I do too. The only way to love people the way our Heavenly Father desires us to, is to first receive the Holy Spirit. That’s how Jesus did it, that’s what you and I need to do also.

Jesus spoke at length about the Holy Spirit with His disciples when they were upset at the news that He would be leaving them soon. Shortly before His death He told them He wouldn’t leave them as orphans. He said that after He’s gone, His Father would send the Comforter, or Advocate. The original Greek word used there is parakletos, which means “to come along side.” The origin for our English word, paramedic, comes from the same Greek prefix, para-. A paramedic comes along side a patient to help heal him or her. The Holy Spirit comes along side you to help you in every area of your life. This happens the moment you decide to follow Jesus Christ.

But there’s another way in which the Holy Spirit comes to us, and this is the way that empowers us to love people the way God desires us to. In Acts chapter 1 Jesus instructed His disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) Then in Acts chapter 2, suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2) The Holy Spirit blew the disciples away. They were filled to the overflowing, and they were empowered to do things and to love people in ways that aren’t humanly possible apart from God. (See Acts chapter 2) This is the way the Holy Spirit comes to people described by Jesus when He said, “…rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)

Ephesians 5:18-20 tells us to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When you’re filled with the Spirit your heart is filled with music. But the music isn’t dependent on the circumstances of your life, which are sometimes up and sometimes down. The object of the music of the Holy Spirit is Christ, Who is unchanging. So when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit you’re empowered to love God, and to love people, regardless of your life circumstances. (Keller)

This is spectacular! Because without love no matter what we do, you and I are as a resounding gong. No matter how hard we try, no matter how we may sacrifice, we gain nothing without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) “You’ll never know your full potential in Christ, until you yield to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life.” (Chuck Smith)

You need to love, to please God, and you need the Holy Spirit to love.

To love people the way Jesus did, you need to first receive the Holy Spirit as Jesus did.

All that’s required is to ask God for Him. Simply asking, from your heart, that God would pour His Holy Spirit out upon you is all you need to do to receive Him. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Jesus said in Luke 11:11-13. So to receive God’s power to love people, like you’ve never loved them before, ask Him for His Holy Spirit.

Just ask!

Ask right now.

Ask every day, for the Holy Spirit, and your Father in heaven will give Him to you.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Romans 8:14


[Image via: knowhimonline – Creative Commons]

[HT: Chuck Smith, Living Water; The Word for Today, 2007; Chuck Smith Audio Teaching on Holy SpiritDr. Timothy KellerBibleStudyTools.comJon Courson]