Quenching the Spirit – Part Two

Continued from last time…

When viewing the Spirit’s activity throughout the world, we begin to see that differences such as personalities, postal codes, states, countries, and levels of faith are not hindrances to what the Holy Spirit does and doesn’t do. There is no cookie-cutter doctrine when it comes to what He is capable of. It’s simply not our call. We do not control the Holy Spirit.

All around the world you will find stories and testimonies of people who have been healed, redeemed, and rescued thanks to the Spirit of God. And while many people might sit in the comfort of their homes and say, “That’s not true,” I would encourage them to step out into the world and open up their hearts’ guidance to the Spirit of God, and not what only their minds can fathom.

Acts 2:1-13 portrays a scene I find powerful and comedic, as the Spirit takes control of a group of believers on the day of Pentecost, leaving others in confusion. The day of Pentecost comes ten days after the ascension of Jesus into Heaven, about fifty days after Easter, and is referred to by many as the birthday of the Church. The biblical account in Acts 2 tells the story:

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’”

Even in the early days of the Church, the power and activity of the Holy Spirit wasn’t truly understood. If people in biblical times thought those who were being used by the Spirit were drunk, I can’t imagine what kinds of things people are saying in this day and age.

Not everyone is going to understand what the Spirit does or doesn’t do in your life. Initiating your life as a Spirit-filled disciple starts by first admitting that you need the Spirit to live out the true life of a real believer. True freedom, confidence, and spiritual effectiveness simply can’t exist without Him.

A Christian without the Holy Spirit is like a cheese-burger without the cheese. It’s not what it claims to be.

Quenching the Spirit – Part One

I have noticed that many people get a little uncomfortable when you talk about the Holy Spirit, and part of me associates this with so many not truly investing in His power and guidance. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 NIV).

I don’t believe you can be a Christian while quenching the Spirit of God – while ignoring your conscience, while pretending as though God can’t actively speak to you. It’s like saying you want some ice without the part where it is made of water. And while many people embellish and focus solely on the works of the Spirit, I believe there is a whole different side that could be seen as not giving enough credit and validity to Him.

I can’t imagine my life without God the Father, Jesus the Son, AND the Holy Spirit. They all come in one package. You don’t get to pick and choose based on your preference. It’s all or nothing. Even though this may seem pretty obvious, many people very rarely discuss the Holy Spirit’s movement and activeness in their lives. It’s almost as if people don’t want to believe in something they can’t actually control. Instead we want to focus on subjects that are more comfortable to discuss. Many people would claim that this outlook is unbiblical as well. When we only discuss the works of man and ignore the unexplainable, we are telling God we don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So which is it? Who is right? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and give sight to the blind? Or, do I view the Holy Spirit as the guiding light of Jesus, and see Him as one who doesn’t work the way He used to? 

Truthfully, I believe it’s both?

The idea that the Holy Spirit can only work in one unique way smothers any claim of Him being part of the all-powerful God, the Trinity. If the Spirit is truly the working hand of Jesus, the Spirit can do what He pleases in each and every individual and situation. Some may pray in tongues and some may keep their mouths shut. Some may worship through song and dance, while others may worship through quiet and tranquility. Some may teach verse by verse, while others may teach topically and thematically. The truth is that we are all different people who have been called by God to live different and unique lives.

The Holy Spirit can work in many different ways. Just because the Holy Spirit is working in your life differently than He is another’s doesn’t mean that the other individual is wrong or outside the will of God. We’re all unique, have different sets of fingerprints, and have different callings from God, so of course the Spirit is going to work differently in each of us.

R.A. Torrey in his book “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit” said, “A true Christian life is a personally conducted life, conducted at every turn by a Divine Person. It is the believer’s privilege to be absolutely set free from all care and worry and anxiety as to the decisions which he must make at any turn of life. A true Christian life is not one governed by a long set of rules without us, but led by a living and ever-present Person within us.”

We can see that, in Torrey’s estimation, the Holy Spirit is actively conducting the lifestyle of each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is said to undertake the responsibility of guiding great decisions for us, relieving us of having to completely govern our own lives. I love Torrey’s words here because they ascribe to the Holy Spirit complete and utter control of our lives as Christians, rather than leaving them all up to the control of our feeble words and decisions. Sure, the power of the Holy Spirit can be encouraged through the words of our faith, but it is not us who have complete control – it’s Someone much bigger. 

More next time…

Preaching Without a Pulpit

The idea of preaching without a pulpit might seem a little crazy to some, evoking images of shouty people standing on street corners, waving Bibles at pedestrians. But the concept of pulpit-less preaching is not so narrow not so strange.

Jesus did not have a pulpit. He simply taught and shared with people who were hungry enough to take the time to listen. And, preaching without a pulpit is one of the callings God has placed on each of our lives. Not only are we called to share the gospel with the nations, but we are also called it do it in a fearless way: “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold” (2 Corinthians 3:12).

A question to consider: If you were to ask yourself when the last time you shared Jesus with someone was, what would the answer be? The answer will tell you a lot about your relationship with Him. After all, He did say, “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). So, if you are not fishing then you are truly not following Him who came to fish – to seek and save the lost (Luke 10:19). 

I work with young people in most places where I am honoured to minister. I love seeing teenagers who are fired up for Jesus sharing His story with people at malls, schools, and grocery stores. Many of today’s youth have more audacity and boldness than those who claim to be mature believers in Christ. 

The quietness of those who are older and more mature in the faith may be the result of “growing up,” and being told to chill out over the years and act more mature. But I believe this is something my generation needs to evaluate and change our view on. We need to go back to being radical. I believe, we can keep that radical way of living in our hearts. We can keep living an audacious life in the Name of Jesus. We are called to be radical. There is no other way to live the Christian life. So, those of us who were once wild stations for Jesus and were tamed and told to be still and be quiet need to regain the enthusiasm and boldness that we once had. Today’s youth are an example of how it should be – how we should be living our lives as believers and disciples of Jesus.

I see youth groups and young believers excited to use the people around them as personal mission fields. I would hope to see my generation and beyond once again passionate for the same thing.

So why do so many of us hold on to the idea that we need a church building, or some sort of official sanction or title to preach the Word of God? There are many events in the Bible where Jesus preaches to the masses. Not in a church building, temple, or religious organization, but in the open for all to hear. Jesus constantly used His surroundings as a platform to share truth and religious liberation. 

One of the most classic examples of this is described in the book of Matthew. The story goes, “One day as He saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around Him, and He began to teach them” (5:1-2). No pulpit, No ushers. No printed bulletins. Jesus saw the people, and dug in for the long haul. He must have looked around and seen the faces of hundreds of people who were hurting – who needed hope. And He reacted with a set of teachings we now call the Sermon on the Mount. It’s one of the most intense streams of wisdom in the Bible. All from a dusty and windy hillside in Judea. 

When you are at work. When you are at home in your neighbourhood and community. When you are out with friends. You don’t need a pulpit. We simple need to share boldly and with confidence what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. As Paul the apostle wrote: “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold” (2 Corinthians 3:12).

Careful of “One Verse” Teachings

As a Bible teacher once taught me, you never base a doctrine or teaching on one verse. Example: So often you hear the words of Jesus as a Christian tells you, “Judge not and you won’t be judged.” Jesus did say that. But, you can’t base a whole teaching on judgment on this one verse. Why? Because the fullness of the understanding in the New Testament – and thus early church – teaching on judgment is much fuller and more detailed than this black and white statement.

Paul writes … “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’”

He is saying here that we don’t have a right to judge those who are not believers. You can’t expect them to live like Christians until they become Christians. But, those who are part of the fellowship and declare they are believers can be judged. You can’t and shouldn’t judge their heart because only God knows the heart of a person. But, you can judge their fruit. 

In line with this you cannot take what Jesus says in one place as the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” because it must be received and understood in context. Who was it spoken to? What was the situation? What else did He say in this regard? And so on.

Examples … The same Jesus who said”turn the other cheek” also told His disciples to buy a sword (Luke 22:36). The same Jesus who said He was “gentle” (Matthew 11:29) forcefully chased the money changers out of the temple, using a whip (John 2:15). In Matthew 5:22, Jesus says that calling someone a fool puts you in danger of the fires of hell; in Matthew 23:17, Jesus calls the Pharisees and teachers of the Law “blind fools.” 

We have to read Jesus’ words in context and with the proper weight, in the same way that we understand His “gouge out your eyes rather than lust” comment as a metaphor of sin’s seriousness, not as a directive for someone to actually follow. 

Today there are many who have not taken the time to understand what the Bible is really teaching. They have a surface understanding based on a verse here or there but no real understanding of what the Bible is truly teaching and how we are to apply and live the truth. Thus many believes come across a mile wide and an inch deep. And, they are easily deceived by false teachers and false prophets that Jesus and others warn us about. And, without looking at the full scope of the specific topic we can easily be self-deceived. 

In this day and age when there are so many Bible teachers and preachers on television, on the radio, on the internet, and standing in pulpits we need to be students of the word “rightly dividing the truth” and living the Word on a daily basis. No longer blindly receiving the truth but literally “studying to show oneself approved – a workman of the Word.”

A Time …

During my last apostolic trip into the United States to minister I was involved in the final transition of a local congregation. This church which had been ministering for the Lord for over 50 years in the valley in which it was located had come to an end of its life and needed to be closed.

Often a church that starts with a tremendous move of the Spirit and a flow of life – God’s life – touching and transforming lives finds itself in a situation where that ‘life-flow’ is no longer there. Oh, there are always numerous reasons for the decline but regardless it reaches a point where the congregation, the local assembly of believers, simply need to recognize that this ‘life / zoe’ is simply no longer there and we are going through the motions of a weekly worship service without seeing lives changed or new people born again and saved. Often that realization comes along with the practical issue of the congregation no longer being financially viable.

In this case we – the three apostles who oversaw the work – knew that the time had come. And, we knew we were responsible to move into this “death stage” with grace and love. So we began negotiating with another church in the same area that has been doing a fantastic job of reaching the lost and especially touching the lives of the young people. 

With the help of the Holy Spirit we came to an agreement to pass the ownership of the building (fully paid for) and parking lot and adjoining park as well as all the contents of the building (substantial) to this other active and alive assembly. We gifted it to them. 

We initiated the conversation and they responded. And the move we made and finalized a few days ago was confirmed by several visions (dreams) received several years ago and then further confirmed by several prophetic words from prophets in two different states who called after-the-fact and let us know that what we had accomplished was God’s will. God had showed them that a major change was going without them having any idea what was happening or when it took place. 

So, we scattered the remaining sheep, releasing them to attend other churches as the Lord leads them. Never easy because we all love and care for one another. Of course, we can continue to fellowship with each other no matter what local church family each one ends up becoming a part of. And, we recognized the work of those who came before us who in many ways sacrificed so that the Gospel of the Kingdom was faithfully preached and people were reached. 

And, the new owners of the building will continue the ministry to the valley as they open a new chapter in the life of a building that people call a “church.” 

I understand that this has not been easy on those involved. But, it is the right move. To be blunt, “If the horse is dead, dismount.” And so we did.

But the Church of Jesus Christ has not suffered defeat. She continues on with new direction, new understanding, and a renewed vision, and new leadership to further reach to the ends of the earth with the good news of the gospel.

The other thing I heard as I was leaving the building and getting into my car was “Well, done good and faithful servants.” The Lord is pleased with the faithfulness of those who were part of this amazing family to which we bid goodbye.

Be the Change

The world changed completely with the arrival of Jesus, and ultimately will end with Jesus too. But the real question is, what lies between those two points? In order for positive change to happen now, shouldn’t we first make sure we have been changed ourselves?

The fact is, we can’t bring positive change to the world if we ourselves have not first been changed. There’s a popular saying: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” To us, that means being like Jesus. Throughout Scripture we see that we are called to be like Jesus, we are called to be the difference, and that will make the world look a little bit more like Him. As Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Until Jesus returns with a major disruption in every day life, we are called to “be the change.”

Our world often relies on a sense of comfort and stability; change is the last thing most people want to think about. Research shows millions fear change. It even has a name – neophobia, or the fear of new things. Yes, it’s a real phobia, and yes, it says a lot about human nature. But the danger is that when we cave to our fears and avoid change, we get so comfortable where we are that we ignore the very new things God has initiated to get us where we are heading in life. Sure, we can all dream of things we would like to change about the world, about ourselves, but we are scared to be the ones to step out and do it – be it. When the excuses, “I’m not ready for that” or “I’m just not called to do that” come out of our mouths, that could be a sign of neophobia.

It has been said, “Partial obedience is disobedience.” And I believe that to be true. If we are truly living like Jesus, then why are we still doing ‘that’ (insert sin here)? Why are we refusing to change our ways, when change is what we need most? We cannot go about our lives half-hearting our walk with God, in hopes that He will give us a full-heart transformation. Since we don’t automatically have a nature like Jesus’, and constantly have to deal with our human failings, we must accept that to be more like Him, we will have to change. 

What does it even mean to live like Jesus? The phrase “live like Jesus” means so many things, and if we put it into practice, it will cause a change in us of immeasurable depth. Yet so many of us are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, only hoping we are living like Him.

C.S. Lewis had this to say: “To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus is you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing those things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”

God never intended us to remain the same, but instead to remain faithful – to take His advice. For in remaining faithful, we will not remain the same. 

There is incredible hope in this. You can be different than you were. You can break the mold of your family’s past. You can be different from what everyone else has labeled you. You are made in God’s image, for His will. And no human opinion can get in the way of a God-given destination. 

Stop listening to the foolish lies of this world, and start appreciating and accepting the truth of God’s Word and the freedom that comes with it. I am sure you have encountered flaws, failures, and mistakes in your life. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them, or that you have to stay that way. They don’t need to define you. In fact, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, you are called to overcome these very things. This does not mean you will find perfection, but you will undoubtedly find progression on the path of righteousness. 

Just because it’s how you grew up, doesn’t mean it’s how you should stay. With Christ comes renewal and a new way of living.

Scripture confirms this hope:

Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”


Eight Differences Between a Believer and a Follower

1> A believer believes in Jesus. A follower honours His commands

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19 NIV)

2> A believer reads the Bible when things get tough. A follower reads the Bible to engage in a deeper understanding of Jesus Himself.

“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

3> A believer prays when things get tough. A follower gives thanks no matter the circumstance.

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20 NIV)

4> A believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A follower works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible.

“Some of His comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

5> A believer gives when it is easy. A follower gives out of the abundance of his or her heart.

“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, our in everything – all she had to live on.” (Matthew 12:22 NIV)

6> A believer conforms under the pressure or culture. A follower holds fast against temptation.

“Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 ESV)

7> A believer will share his or her faith when it’s comfortable. A follower will share his or her faith regardless of the scenario.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15 ESV)

8> A believer knows about Jesus. A follower knows Jesus as his or her Lord and Saviour.

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 ESV)

Which are you? A believer or a follower?.

Religious People Suck!

I feel for religious people. They have all the rules to follow with no benefit gained from their obedience and faithfulness. The height of being religious is seen in the Pharisees. I mean, whenever they get brought up I immediately think, “Great. What arrogant nonsense are they sprouting now?” No Joke: most of these guys were the epitome of self-righteous religious imposters sucking life out of people who were truly hungry for God.

The Pharisees were known as the religious elite, the top dogs, and the high-and-mighty of faith. And although these nicknames sound incredibly awesome, the men who were behind them weren’t all too savvy when it came to actually knowing their heavenly Father, Pharisees were known to be righteous and zealous for keeping the law. But their observance and protection of the law was filled with arrogance and hypocrisy. They were prideful and stingy with grace. Judgment was easy for these guys, but refusing to show grace or give second chances was their demise.

In Matthew 23, you will find Jesus teaching to the crowds and to His disciples about the problems of hypocrisy. He claimed that although the words of the Pharisees may have been wise, their actions did not match what they preached. He continued by describing what most religious people, including religious Christians, face in today’s generation: ‘Everything they do is for show’ (Matthew 23:5).

Jesus was publicly calling out the Pharisees for being religious show-offs who were looking to gain nothing but personal acknowledgment for their actions. They were using their faith and knowledge of the Scriptures as a catalyst for personal popularity. They loved the idea of being extremely religious, but failed to convert that into passion for God Himself.

Not only did the actions of the Pharisees hurt their own opportunity for salvation, but their ways of living gave a false reflection of what it actually meant to be a follow of God. The constant judgment and religious entanglement they repeatedly subjected people to was theologically unjustifiable. 

Listen to what Jesus said about these religious people…

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you won’t let others enter either (Matthew 23:13).

The Pharisees spent so much time focusing on their outer appearance that they failed to allow the inner transformation to take place. You know, the one thing that actually mattered. It would be similar to someone who buys an old car from the junkyard, completely restores both the interior and exterior, and then doesn’t put any money into fixing the car’s engine. It may look spectacular, but it’s not going anywhere. Likewise, we seem to have convinced ourselves that if the outer image looks grand enough, then no one will bother asking about what’s actually under the hood.

When we find ourselves being complimented on the outer appearance long enough, it’s easy to forget about fixing what’s inside. As you can imagine, this is a hindrance to many people who are trying to find true transformation in Christ Himself.

Since the Pharisees found themselves in the spotlight of religious appreciation, it’s no surprise that their elegant speech and impressive knowledge of the law kept them comfortable and unwilling to push further in their spiritual journey.

Do you want to know how to live a great gospel-centered life? Just do the exact opposite of everything the Pharisees did. The Pharisees were more focused on impressing each other with spiritual knowledge than actually following the commandments of God, showing grace, or lending a selfless hand. We have to make an effort to walk that talk.

The Pharisees – Prayed in public for recognition

True followers of Christ – Pray in public because they are unashamed

The Pharisees – Read God’s Word for head knowledge 

True followers of Christ – Read God’s Word to deepen their relationship with God

The Pharisees – Judged people for the sake of judgment

True followers of Christ – Lovingly correct people because they care

So, as you can see – religious people suck! And, it is regretful how many people who called themselves believers – even Christians – are really nothing more than religious people who look good but are inwardly lifeless. Such a pointless existence … believing that things are good only to one day, discover that although they knew the Word of God they did not know God. And thus missed spending eternity with Him in heaven.

And you … what about you? Whee do you fit in to this picture?

Four Things God’s Love Won’t Hold Against You

Do you ever question whether or not you are good enough to be a Christian, or holy enough to be loved by God? Well, here are four things God’s love won’t hold against you.

1> Your Past

Relax. You have already been forgiven. When it comes to a relationship with Jesus, don’t ever expect to run into resentment for Christ Himself. The future looks brings for all those willing to walk in the light of His presence. Jesus will forgive you all of your past, even if you have yet to forgive yourself.

Romans 6:6 ESV “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

2> Your Mistakes

We’ve all made mistakes, but the beauty of the cross is that Jesus died for them. Your sins have been wiped clean, and your heart has been renewed by the grace of Jesus Himself. Your mistakes do not define you. Your failures don’t have to haunt you. Your mishaps don’t need to be accounted for. God forgives you for your mistakes, even if you have yet to forgive yourself.

Mark 3:28 ESV “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter…”

3> Your Confusion

It’s okay to be hurt, confused, and question what taking place. God understands everything you are going through, even if you do not. He can take the punches, if you will take the time to seek His guidance. The reality of your confusion may be due to a lack of biblical knowledge or spiritual guidance. Confusion comes and goes, but the love of God is eternal and constant.

Proverbs 2:6 NIV “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

4> Your Addictions

Everyone is addicted to something. No matter if your struggle is drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, or whatever. Your addictions will not keep the relentless love of Jesus from embracing you. Take a deep breath and find peace in knowing that you are not alone or ignored.

Romans 5:20 ESV “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”

There you have it. Four things God’s love will never hold against you. Embrace His love and experience freedom and peace of heart and mind.

The Word “Christian”

It’s sad to sit back back and watch the media cover nothing but the faults and failures of proclaimed “Christ-followers,” instead of getting down to the truth of what 98 percent of us do differently than the 2 percent who make us look bad. If the negativity that the media portrays is in fact the world’s view of what it means to be a Christian, please don’t call me one. I’d rather call myself a Christ-follower than be thrown into the twisted view of what we’ve made “Christians” out to be. I understand that Christian actually means Christ-follower, but you get where I am going with this I am sure.

The word ‘Christian’ has become too common over the years. Not for the sake of spreading the good news of Jesus, like we’d hoped for, but instead that of comfort and ease. People say “I’m a Christian” as easily as they would “I like hamburgers.”

For many reasons, the word Christian has stopped being associated with the word “love.” It’s stopped being associated with “grace.” This isn’t a matter of theology, doctrine, or philosophy, but instead of the actions people take – or don’t take – in the name of Christ. Jesus called us to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34). Simple. This means we are to relentlessly, passionately, and fervently love one another just as He has loved us, no matter the circumstances. But does this really happen?

The ideology of “hate the sin, not the sinner” has not converted well into today’s culture. If you take a moment to look around, you’ll notice that we are very good at showing hate to the people whom God has called us to love. Regardless of what the Bible says about cursing, drinking, drunkenness, homosexuality, sex, cheating, lying, or stealing, we are still called to ‘love one another.’ It’s that simple. No questions asked, regardless of how you interpret Scriptures.

Does this frustrate anyone the way it frustrates me? And before you say anything about seeking to keep your brother or sister accountable, please remember that you and I both sin as much as the next person. The goal isn’t to look away when someone is struggling, but instead to engage and embrace people in a way that reflects the loving comfort of Christ. A way that shows the love of Jesus. A way that turns from anything to do with hate, rejection, and judgmentalism. Period.

So, we are to love without limits. You know, I can’t ever recall a person who came to know Jesus because of hate. And, I am certain you cannot argue someone into the Kingdom, either. Jesus clearly stated that the non-believers and skeptics would come to know that we are His disciples by the way that we love one another and most certainly they way we treat others who are not believers and thus do not yet share fellowship with us and with our Heavenly Father. 

As I have been thinking about this in the last few days I realized that there are four things that God’s love won’t hold against you…

1> Your past

2> Your mistakes

3> Your confusion

4> Your addictions

Let’s look at those next time we are together…