All is done

Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring. Those who emerge victorious will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my sons and daughters. But for the cowardly, the faithless, the vile, the murderers, those who commit sexual immorality, those who use drugs and cast spells, the idolaters and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues spoke with me. “Come,” he said, “I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 He took me in a Spirit-inspired trance to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 The city had God’s glory. Its brilliance was like a priceless jewel, like jasper that was as clear as crystal. 12 It had a great high wall with twelve gates. By the gates were twelve angels, and on the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel’s sons. 13 There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the Lamb’s twelve apostles. (Revelation 21:5-14, CEB)

Oh to be in a place where there is no longer fighting and we all realize the peace we are living in. To see the fulfillment of the kingdom of God and to be a peace with everything.

We will live in the presence of God for all eternity and it will be a wonderful experience we can not fathom at this time.

Love everyone now and help them prepare for this wonderful time.

Loving People. Loving God.

If

23 Jesus answered, “Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word that you hear isn’t mine. It is the word of the Father who sent me. 25 “I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. 26 The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you. 27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away and returning to you.’ If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. 29 I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you will believe. (John 14:23-29, CEB)

If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you will believe.

If you loved me. Do we love Jesus?

We show we love Jesus by loving others and do we love others?

Jesus gives us peace and the Holy Spirit to be our companion. And Jesus’ peace is not like we think of peace. It is never ending or failing and it doesn’t go away ever.

We can be in the midst of chaos and be at peace because Jesus is always with us and for us.

So show the world you love Jesus by loving the world.

Loving People. Loving God.

Do we judge?

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus. Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10, CEB)

I read this passage start singing:

Zaccheus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he…

That song gets stuck in my head. But the thrust here is of how the people saw Zaccheus. They thought he was a cheat and a swindler because all tax collectors were.

But Jesus saw him and the effort Zaccheus went to see Jesus and Jesus said I love you and I need to spend time with you.

How do we judge others, by how we see them or how the world around us tells us to see them, or as Jesus sees them?

Loving People. Loving God.

Why?

Paul reached Derbe, and then Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy. He was the son of a believing Jewish woman and a Greek father. The brothers and sisters in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him, so he circumcised him. This was because of the Jews who lived in those areas, for they all knew Timothy’s father was Greek. As Paul and his companions traveled through the cities, they instructed Gentile believers to keep the regulations put in place by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and every day their numbers flourished. Paul and his companions traveled throughout the regions of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit kept them from speaking the word in the province of Asia. When they approached the province of Mysia, they tried to enter the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them. Passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas instead. (Acts 16:1-8, CEB)

As I read this passage I wondered why did Paul circumcise Timothy. It says because of the Jews who lived in the area, knew Timothy’s father was Greek. So, what does that have to do with Timothy?

Can you think about the things you do to keep an outward appearance of being a disciple? I know there are things about my appearance I wonder how people will take. I have several piercings in my ears and now a couple on my face. And I am considering getting more. And I have several tattoos. Some of which are easily covered, but some are not. And should I cover these up? Is it my worry how my appearance will be accepted? Well yes and no. I am who God created me to be and I will attract some people to me based on that and some will not follow after me based on appearance.

I have the same concerns when I put on a collar for being a pastor. Some will see the collar and not talk to me and others will.

We can not control how others see us, so we need to do what we need to to make ourselves and God happy.

So love yourself as God loves you and love everyone else the same as that.

Loving People. Loving God.

Agree to disagree

36 Some time later, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all the brothers and sisters in every city where we preached the Lord’s word. Let’s see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. 38 Paul insisted that they shouldn’t take him along, since he had deserted them in Pamphylia and hadn’t continued with them in their work. 39 Their argument became so intense that they went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas and left, entrusted by the brothers and sisters to the Lord’s grace. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:36-41, CEB)

I have heard and used the phrase agree to disagree.

Sometimes, like in the passage above, this is an ok phrase to use. Paul and Barnabas disagree about bringing John Mark along. Barnabas wants to but Paul doesn’t. Now John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas earlier and Paul thinks this is a reason he shouldn’t come and Barnabas doesn’t. So it isn’t that John Mark is mistreating anyone, with the information we know, and John Mark isn’t oppressing anyone, so it is ok to agree to disagree.

But when someone is using religion or any means to hurt or harm someone or a group based on their differences this is not a place to agree to disagree, it is a place to push until justice is served.

We can disagree about dipping or drinking for communion. Real loaves or wafers, but who is welcome is not an agree to disagree.

We are called to love all without question.

Loving People. Loving God.

Easier said…

25 A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” 26 Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?” 27 He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28, CEB)

What must I do to gain eternal life?

Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

Easy right? Not really. That is where we get hung up on who our neighbor is.

And we think it is so easy to love God but is it?

I mean God loves everyone. Equally. Even those people who have miss treated me and called me names. Those people who said things behind my back and told lies about me. God loves them. Shouldn’t God not like them because of the way they treated me?

Well no because then God wouldn’t like you for the things you have said about others that weren’t true…

We need to love. Period. We need to love God and everyone else. And that is more than saying you love them, that is accepting them as they are, as God made them, not how you think they should be or how you think God made them. How they know God made them.

Do this and you will live. Love and you will live.

Loving People. Loving God.

Stewardship

27 About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius’ rule.) 29 The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person’s abundance. 30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to take this gift to the elders. (Acts 11:27-30, CEB)

Is this the first stewardship drive in the church?

Nope, there was support in Paul’s letters which came before Acts. Disciples of Christ are always supportive of others and know when others are in need and give, not for what they get but because they have been blessed and in blessing others the blessing will be returned.

We give because God loves us when we were not in a position to ask for love.

So give because you have been blessed. That is loving and what we are called to do.

Loving People. Loving God.

Moves

19 Now those who were scattered as a result of the trouble that occurred because of Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They proclaimed the word only to Jews. 20 Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene. They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to Gentiles. 21 The Lord’s power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord. 22 When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw evidence of God’s grace, he was overjoyed and encouraged everyone to remain fully committed to the Lord. 24 Barnabas responded in this way because he was a good man, whom the Holy Spirit had endowed with exceptional faith. A considerable number of people were added to the Lord. 25 Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled “Christians.” (Acts 11:19-26, CEB)

We see here in this passage the birth of the Christian church, before this, they were called followers of the way. We also see in this passage the depths and lengths God will go to to make things happen.

Barnabas went to Tarsus to find Paul because he was needed. God moves us to do things we may not want to or think we need to to get the plan done.

Follow God where God leads you and know God’s ways are better than your ways.

Loving People. Loving God.

How they will know…

31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. 33 Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’ 34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:31-35, CEB)

This is how everyone will know you are my disciples…

When you loudly tell others they are sinning

When you tell others they are going to Hell

When you exclude people because they live differently than you

When you exclude people because they believe differently than you

When you try to make people be just like you

Nope. None of these are the way they will know. They will know we follow Jesus by our love for them.

Our love for them when they are not like us, or believe like us, or live like us, but we love than any way because that is what Jesus told us to do.

Love.

Loving People. Loving God.

the time

16 Then the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God. 17 They said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and was, for you have taken your great power and enforced your rule. 18 The nations were enraged, but your wrath came. The time came for the dead to be judged. The time came to reward your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the chest containing his covenant appeared in his temple. There were lightning, voices, thunder, an earthquake, and large hail. (Revelation 11:16-19, CEB)

The time came…

for the dead to be judged

for the servants to be rewarded

to destroy those who destroy the earth

So have hope and share love as you go.

Loving People. Loving God.