Sunday, January 18, 2009
I am going out on a limb today and sharing something that I believe the Lord has personally laid on my heart instead of news from another source. As you can tell by previous blogs posted here, Lois' Lodge is a "prolife" ministry. We believe in the sanctity of life and are opposed to the option of abortion. Today I am in Ohio, visiting with my sister. As a result I had the opportunity to visit a great church, Cuyahoga Valley Church. The pastor is preaching a series called One Month of Love.
Pastor Duncan pointed out that Christians are often known by what we are against- abortion, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage..... On the other hand, he challenged us to consider whether we are identified with those positive attributes that should be core to what we are called to be as Christians.
In John 13:34 & 35 Jesus says: this is "a new command! I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another".(NIV) Jesus tells us that our Christlike love will show that we are his disciples. What do people see when they see us? Do they only see a group of people that are very vocal about what they oppose? Or do they see people representing the positive characteristic which have come from as result of inviting Christ into our lives to be our personal Lord and Savior?
It is good to speak out in support of God's truths. But..... this must be tempered with the love that we are commanded to extend towards others. Recently I read the book: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters (Hardcover)by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons. Kinnaman is the president of the Barna Institute. He was inspired to write this book when Lyons (of the Fermi Project) commissioned him to do extensive research on what young Americans think about Christianity. Results of this study were very concerning. Surveyed Mosaics and Busters (the generations that include late teens to early 30-somethings) believe Christians are "judgmental, antihomosexual, hypocritical, too political and sheltered". Kinnaman suggests ways in which churches' activities in the past may actually have been "unchristian". He advocates for a return to a more biblical Christianity, "a faith that not only focuses on holiness but also loves, accepts and works to understand the world around it" (Publishers Weekly).
I want nonchristians to be drawn to the faith because they have been able to experience the love of Christ through me. This is also my desire for the ministry of Lois' Lodge. My life application Bible reminds me that love is more that a feeling. It is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we show others that we love as Jesus as loved us? By helping when we can think of a million other things to do (this is what our Lois' Lodge volunteers do), by giving when it is challenging to do so (like our faithful Lois' Lodge donors), and by devoting energy to the welfare of others instead of just our own (I see this everyday through the Lois' Lodge board, staff, volunteers and donors). This kind of loving is a challenge. This is why people will notice when we do this. It requires that we be empowered by a supernatural source.
It is my prayer that as Christians, people will see the positive way that our life has been influenced through our relationship with Christ. Yes, lets stand up for God's truths, but lets also be sure to let the love of Christ shine through us so that others will be drawn to Him.