Do you realize that communities over the years have changed? It used to be that when you were a part of a community you knew your neighbors all around you, their joys, sorrows, pains, struggles, how many kids they had, and so much more. Today the we push to make sure we get in the driveway or garage as fast as we can so that we can get inside before anyone notices.
It seems like this same type of community has translated over to the church as well. How long do we have to be there? Do I have to talk to anyone? Will anyone talk to me?
Francis Chan says in his book called “Letters to the Church” “We live in a time when people go to a building on Sunday mornings, attend an hour-long service, and call themselves members of a church.”
The problem is that we have this void or a cultural issue that needs to change. There is this overarching fear that I can’t be vulnerable, show my struggles, show my inner shame, because in that I would most likely be rejected, not welcomed, or even shammed in this building that I show up at (let me read again), “We live in a time when people go to a building on Sunday mornings, attend an hour-long service, and call themselves members of a church.”
Our differences are what should unite us but what has happened is that is has truly divided us. So instead, we are here, left broken, ashamed, struggling, rejected, and not part of something where we can belong.
So, I ask the question, how do we fix the issue? I’m asking all you who are watching this video, how do we fix the issue?
I love what 1 John 4:7-12 says about this.
My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.
Francis Chan goes on by saying;
“Real love, unity, and blessing were supposed to be in the Church. Many are having a hard time finding that, so they’re setting off on their own. Jesus said the world would see the supernatural unity and love we share in the Church and believe in Him through that. But we’re not experiencing it. We’ve given up on it. We no longer believe it is possible.”
So, a paradigm shift needs to happen, to make sure all people feel like they matter in the vastness of who God is in this world.
It boils down to this; real love is God’s love for us and because of that love, we MUST love each other. I am going to say this again because I want you to hear this over and over. Real love is God’s love for us and because of that love we MUST love each other.
Do you sense the shift that must happen?
It is within this love that brokenness is turned into wholeness; hurts are healed; those who have shame are given a place of honor; instead of rejection we find acceptance; and sorrow is turned into joy! Love is the key.
God loves the mess, the imperfections, even the bad hair days, God loves you.
I know what you are saying to me right now, Sean you are telling me that I don’t have to get my life a fixed up and straightened up first then…God will love me.
Verse 10 says this “Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.” It doesn’t say get your life straight then and only then God will love you. My goodness if that is how it worked, we could never attain the love of God.
This love in our life that we get from God you find that in great communities like The Vine. This is a “Movement Living Love.” It reminds me of my youngest daughter Lindsay when she went to pre-school. For her earlier years she hung out with dad but eventually she had to go to pre-school.
Pre-school was tough at first. She would always be so clingy….THE CLING (I will explain)
She would always ask, “Daddy you are coming back right?” “Daddy, you not leaving me?” Of course, not baby…I’m your daddy. I love you too much. I would never leave you. I will always here for you because I love you. Well at the end of the day when I got back to the preschool to pick her up, she would run up to me and squeeze me around my neck till it felt like my head was going to pop off. We called it THE BIG SQUEEZE.
This is what GOD’S love looks like…..It is a LOVE that is always there. It is a love that never goes away and when we need the big squeeze.
God never denies that. It never says no you’re TOO BROKEN, too MESSED UP FOR GOD TO LOVE you.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock. and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
OUR Brokenness, Our Hurt, Our Life……We have been comparing to LOVE that the world GIVES. God’s love for you is so much different. You see you have been excepting the love of the world and the world hasn’t been fair. It has kept you down, it has stolen your love.
· LET GOD Pick you UP and give you the BIG SQUEEZE.
· Let GOD PICK YOU UP and take away your TEARS.
· LET GOD LOVE YOU!
· Why? Because YOU ARE WORTHY of LOVE