Love Gives

21 05 2013

Lonely? …or maybe you’re ready to drop a few relationships? Too much drama? Life might be simpler without other people, but wouldn’t it be empty? If we value our career, possessions, or free time more than relationships, what kind of life do we have? Technology is great when connecting deep relationships, but bad when it leads to many relationships of no depth and low impact.

I love the fact that #CBCBaltimore people LOVE being with each other! Can’t wait to talk about these friendships Sunday! #LoveGives 

Jesus said, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-40 from The Message

Picture1Love – agape: sincere appreciation & high regard

All – whole person, inner self (heart), thinking/will/feeling (soul), understanding, reasoning, thinking, deciding (mind)

God’s Love Forgives Us and God’s Love Gives Us New Life!

“Love God with all,” in John 3 Jesus describes being “born again” to Nicodemus, a transformative experience. In salvation, God can bring you into good emotional health!

Repent – quick, ready, simple, and easy when you believe that He forgives. 1 Jn 1:9 What do I believe about God? He loves you! He forgives you! In Him we have security, identity, sense of belonging.

As I am changed by Him, I now become available for healthy relationships. …relating out of grace encounter…not selfish, co-dependent, manipulative.

Become a friend who forgives, defends. Those around you are recipient of your spiritual life.

Love Gives – Love Forgives

Forgive – cancel the debt, giving up resentment or the desire to punish others. It’s not pretending the hurt didn’t happen, but bringing the hurt into the light so that it can be healed.

Forgiveness is expensive, it’s painful to our emotions and pride.

Forgiveness requires love in action.

We have much to learn about peace.

Ray Lewis
Mt. 18 Team – believer, church – Jesus uses the street language for a team ie: Ravens or a surgical team.

A team that has:

  • Identity
  • Discipline
  • Mission
  • Reward
  • Responsibility
  • Benefits
  • Evaluation
  • Privileges
  • Coaching
  • Teamwork

Love Forgives: J.Mt18 – Fight Right

  1. Go privately and talk about it.
  2. If they won’t hear, take 1 or 2 with you & talk about it.
  3. If, take it to the church & talk about it.
  4. If, treat them as an unbeliever.

The goal is restoration!

“Treat them as unbeliever…” What does that mean?

Jesus said,  “love your neighbor, enemy”

When we approach an “unbeliever” we should:

1. Remember who you are

2. Recognize who they are

3. Respect their goals/language

4. Restoration is the goal

What can we learn?

  1. God forgives us.
  2. His forgiveness changes us.
  3. He expects us to share His forgiveness with others.

What can we learn?

  1. Forgiveness = God’s Way
  2. Private = Respect.
  3. Unity takes teamwork!
  4. Restoration is the goal!

InterruptersWe can prevent many fights by using Jesus techniques. “The Interrupters” seeking to interrupt the cycle of violence and revenge by physically getting in the way to insert the idea of a “Win” by peace.

Love Gives – Love Forgives

Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, Jesus.

Love gives. Lust gets.

Paul writes about this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13 – Excerpts from The Message paraphrase and more standard versions –

“Love is patient, kind: love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others.”

Patient – active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. The capacity to endure delay, trouble, or suffering without becoming angry or upset.

Kind – to provide something beneficial for someone as an act of kindness: grace/mercy.

“It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

It doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

Now we have a pretty good idea of attitudes and techniques that can produce teamwork and prevent violence. Love Gives. Love Forgives.

As Paul started to wrap up his letter the Jesus people, just like you, in Corinth he wrote this… “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” – 1 Cor. 16:13

Here’s a prayer that we can use as we set out to live a love that gives:

“Dear God, please forgive me. Please show me how I have hurt others and grace me with the courage to make amends. Thank You for loving me; please show me how to truly love others.”

    – some text quoted here is from the New Bible Dictionary, LN, and other Biblical reference material.

Have a Seat 5 Prayer

5 05 2013

have a seatIn Luke 24 we read the story of a resurrected Jesus walking with two guys who were unsure about Him. Jesus is patient with doubt. He asks them questions and slowly points to the truth in Scripture. They asked Him, the “living truth”, to sit down with them and eat. That is when their eyes were open.

Here’s some source material, for CBCB Life Group Leaders, to consider when discussing this coming Sunday’s “Have a Seat” Part 5:

(Please keep in mind that this raw source material. Please prayerfully consider what discussion questions to lead your group with. The Scriptures listed here should prove very helpful. Thanks for serving people! You’re reflecting Jesus and working on something that lasts!)

Having a conversation with God can be the most life giving thing that you can do.

You may start out in conversational prayer, but you will want to grow.  The disciples ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus provide us access to God. When He walked the earth He knew that we would need help in how we talk to God. His friends asked Him for help. He responded with a tool, a help, that we now call “The Lord’s Prayer” found in Luke 11.

Luke 11 “Lord’s Prayer” gives us a pattern for prayer:

  1. Praise – prayer that lifts up God and describes Him
  2. Intercession – prayer that asks for Kingdom of God in our world
  3. Submission – prayer that puts His will above ours every day
  4. Daily request – prayer that recognizes Him as our daily source, making request
  5. Repentance – prayer that confesses sin, asking for grace and mercy
  6. Forgiveness – prayer that asks for help in forgiving others
  7. Protection – prayer that asks for help in avoiding temptation
  8. Deliverance – prayer that asks for protection from evil
  9. Priorities – prayer that declares “It’s not about me. It’s all about You God!”

Prayer is a life line.  There is power in the connection. We define strength by who can hold their breath the longest. What if we defined it by who grabbed an air line the quickest?

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  all kinds  Ephesians 6:18

Types of prayer:

  1. Conversation – constant running dialogue  (much of first 20 Psalms)
  2. Repent – confess and turn away from your own sin  Psalm 51
  3. Devotional – daily with pattern , “Lord’s Prayer” Luke 11, Prayer of Jabez, Psalms
  4. Make Him Big – talking through all the ways He’s good  Psalm 8,9,18
  5. Pray the Bible – using verses to communicate
  6. Remote Request – asking for others: intercession Acts 12:5-7 Peter jail release
  7. Healing – “face to face” with touch “laying on hands” Luke 13:10-13
  8. Community Change – ask God for change you want: Luke 13:34-35

Here’s a few quotes from one of my favorite authors on prayer

EM Bounds

  • Private place and plenty of time are the life of prayer.
  • Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.
  • Prayer is the greatest of all forces, because it honors God and brings him into active aid.
  • Too often we get faint-hearted and quit praying at the point where we ought to begin.
  • We can do nothing without prayer.

Growing in prayer is like developing a spiritual muscle. It may not be easy. Living your life “open” with your spiritual community is a great way to make it easier. They can help you grow!

  • The church is a great place to connect with God.
  • The church is a great place to connect with people.

The first church’s consistent prayers worked in a particularly potent way and were the foundation for the witnessing and supernatural power that followed them. That power was dynamic because behind it all, there was a prevailing prayer, conquering prayer, and prayer that got heaven’s attention. We can determine the extent of our reach and impact in our communities and cities. The power to build the Kingdom and expand the church is in our hands through prayer. That is why prayer is so critical to success. – Frank Damazio

Ps 27:8 Isa 37:14 Isa 40:4 Matt 18:19 Matt 21:13 Acts 1:13-14 Acts 3:1 Rom 8:26-27

Here’s some things that we are praying through:

Connect –

  • People would have a personal encounter with Jesus (at each CBCB gathering).
  • Every time we gather, Jesus would be expanded in our view.
  • Not-yet-believers that we are building relationships with would come to repentance.
  • Each of us would meet new people and grow new relationships.
  • Sundays & LG would grow in attendance supernaturally and through “God ideas” for us.
  • More people would find life giving relationships in CBCB.
  • MIRACLES – more people finding the salvation and healing power of Jesus!

Grow –

  • Each CBCB attender would grow in their faith walk.
  • People who feel stuck in their growth would experience freedom through Jesus & help from others.
  • Every time we gather, each believer would find something to help their growth.
  • Each of us would find ways to help others within CBCB grow spiritually.
  • That God would help us grow the number of Life Groups, with specific purpose.
  • We would see and regularly celebrate spiritual growth in each CBCB member.
  • 2013 would be a year where CBCB members THRIVE in their lives, marriages, influence, jobs!

Share –

  • Each CBCB attender would learn to live like Jesus and share His love, sharing their resources.
  • Courageous Generosity would exceed our expected giving amount and be a blessing to others.
  • Every Life Group would find new and creative ways to share God’s love with expanded groups of people.
  • The growing Dream Team would constantly share life and reproduce such leadership in others.
  • Our efforts in Baltimore City, some through non-profits, would be guided by God & fruitful.
  • CBCB members would be inspired and equipped to share their faith with others.
  • 2013 would be a year of increased Jesus influence from us to others!
  • Prayer Matters! Let’s Do This!