We are partnering with our friends at Lifechurch.tv (in Oklahoma) to send relief in the wake of the devastating tornado. If you would like to contribute to the relief fund CLICK HERE
I know it was a BIG IDEA this past Sunday. The video of the message is below, “Better Together- The Big Idea”. This next Sunday I will preach a message on “How to know the Will of God” and will answer some of your questions about this possibility. Please continue to pray for God’s best for Church at the Bay!
(If you don’t see a video click here)
Most songs are written about it, we long to experience it and yet so many miss Love because they have a wrong focus and definition. Our culture defines love as something you feel and pursue. We are told that we “fall” in love with someone who makes us feel good about ourselves and when we “fall” out of love we should find someone new.
As Christ-followers, we must get a clear picture of what real Love is- not a counterfeit that never satisfies. Pop culture says we have found love when someone makes us feel special or wanted- they help us get up happy and meet our needs. Basically our world says Love is all about me and what I feel and experience. That makes Love not only self-centered- it also can make Love very selfish. That type of “Love” will destroy marriages, relationships and churches.
The Biblical definition of Love is very different. The Bible says real Love is found in the person of Jesus Christ- and results in a care for others (not a focus on self). So when we experience real Love our focus moves outward to others and their hurts, habits and hang-ups. In 1st Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul sets the record straight with a clear definition and behavioral description of Love. As you read it- ask yourself- is this the love I am experiencing or have I settled for a counterfeit?
Love Is the Greatest
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)
Last week Sandy and I went to Lynchburg to be with our daughter (Ashley) and her husband (Sam). Ashley is pregnant with our first grand-baby, due June 19, and it was a great time- although she did put me to work. We were able to worship on Sunday with them at their “portable” church. It was kind of nice to walk in and experience their church. They gave us a tour of the kid’s rooms and then we went to worship. To be honest, it is a little difficult just to listen without looking to see what they do differently from us- and consider if that might be better for us. Our son-in-law serves on their set-up team- he is a hoss. They get to their school at 5:30am to start unpacking their trailers (wow- 5:30am- is God awake then? ) Their church does a great job with the whole process and it made me thankful for the men and women who set us up every weekend and then pack it away. It is also a great experience to see our prayers answered and watch Ashley and Sam love and follow Jesus.
So we arrived back in Tampa on Thursday. Because Hal (my son) was speaking on Sunday at CATB- I came to set-up at 7am with our set-up team. I am so impressed with the systems we have developed. I was just there to push stuff and follow orders. When it came time for the 9:30 worship service I was able to experience it with Sandy and kind of relax. I must tell you- there is nothing better for me then to get to listen to and watch my son preach. He has something to say and he communicates it well.
After the Sunday experience- I want to say again- thank you for stepping in and stepping up as you volunteer. We get the awesome opportunity to partner with God to reach Tampa Bay with the good news of Jesus Christ.
If you missed the message this Sunday I have it embedded below- just click and watch.
I look forward to being Back in the Saddle this Sunday
see you soon!
Don’t see a video? Click here…
We are first introduced to Barnabas in Acts 4- when he sells some property to give to the apostles. Because of the timeliness of this gift they give him the nickname- “son of encouragement”. In Acts 9- Barnabas makes the risky move of trusting a religious terrorist- Paul! He introduces Paul to the disciples who have been careful about embracing Paul’s conversion . He goes on the first missionary journey with Paul to encourage new believers.
I am a blessed man because I have had many Barnabas’ in my life. I remember my Mom telling me how fortunate I was to have so many good friends. Today I began a quick list of people who have been there for me- the list grew to 20+ very quickly. Here are some traits of the Barnabas’ in my life:
- They walked in when others walked out
- They spoke about my strengths when all I saw was failure
- They introduced me to their friends in a way that made me feel valued
- They reminded me of how God has used me when I felt helpless
- They didn’t watch me make mistakes and let them go- they risked pushing in and challenging my poor decision making.
So here is my thought- why not make a list of those who have been a Barnabas for you and pray for them today, thank God for them and maybe even write them a note of appreciation.
Ask this question- where do I need to be a Barnabas? God has placed people in your life that need a boost right now or a word of encouragement. Why not take a moment, pray for them and then encourage them!
I have lived long enough to experience my fill of draining people- and sometimes I get tired of them (you do too if you are honest). But- I have never gotten tired of the encouragers in my life. I believe I am a better disciple, husband, father, pastor and friend because of the encouragers God has placed in my life.
So what will you do?