Over the past few weeks I have been completely overwhelmed by the faith and the love demonstrated by those who God’s Holy Spirit has brought into this church. The feelings within me are so deep, so profound, they have become a jumble of thought and emotion. So much so that I find it hard to even put them into writing. I am so moved by how God is working here, in this place, that I know, without an ounce of doubt, that Jesus is Alive and Well!
“The whole being of any Christian is faith and love. Faith brings the person to God, love brings the person to people.”
I have no structured message today. Instead, I’d like to simply speak from my heart.
The opportunity to serve:
- Providing Christmas Dinner for St. Vincent DePaul Kitchen
- Hosting a Beautiful Christmas Party
- Providing warmth, food, and shelter to the homeless in below-freezing weather
Generosity of Others:
- Our Church Members Answered the Call to Action
- Community Support
Changing the Face of Homelessness:
- I’ve Been There
- Speaking From Experience Rather Than Concept or Theory
- John and Alana
- Lyric and Lorri
- Family of 5
These folks have replaced the abstract “them” with real names and real faces. They are people with needs and feelings. They are people filled with an amazing faith. They are not some abstract “problem” that must be cured. They are real people with real challenges who simply want, and deserve, kindness, respect, and just a little love.
(Intelligent, Polite, Gracious, Thankful, Considerate of Others, Unselfish)
I John 4:7-21 tells us, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
I’d like to share a paragraph from a sermon by Pastor Michael McCartney:
“John tells us in I John 4: 7-21 that those who genuinely know God walk in His love. Their life is filled with acts of love toward others. They love because they themselves have experienced the love of the Father through Jesus. This love encounter has transformed their lives and their minds and they therefore live a life of love so as to please their Heavenly Father. John tells us as Christians that we are to love because of the experience of love. He also tells s that God is love so when we live the way of love then we are acting and being like God. This is why Paul in chapter 12 (1 Corinthians) called this the most excellent way to serve God. John goes on to warn the church of Jesus Christ that if they do not live lives of love then the Lord is not in their life. He at the end of his section says, ‘Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” John makes it clear that love is not an option it is a must. We are to love one another in the church as well as the lost of this world. If we choose to forsake the path of love then we chose to forsake God himself.”
Paul says in I Corinthians 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Words cannot express how blessed I feel to be part of such a wonderful community – a community based on love…love for God, love for Jesus, and love for each other. The Holy Spirit has truly guided the right and perfect people through our doors. And through the generosity of you, and of others, many have said what we’re doing has been a blessing in their lives. I want to say, today, that in all actuality, it is we who are blessed. The “homeless” have enriched me and touched me in ways that words cannot describe. Our faith has, indeed, brought us to God. And it is His love that has brought us to each other. It is through all of you, and through all of “them” that I am convinced that Jesus is Alive and Well. Our hymn today could not be more true – There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit In This Place! Thank you – for your love, your support, your generosity, your faith. I pray that the Lord shower each and every one of you with an abundance of blessings in the coming New Year.
- I John 4:7-21
- I Corinthians 13
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