It is Wednesday, HOPE Wednesday, and the first day of Spring. We think of Spring as the time when the earth wakes up from a long Winter nap. Grass turns green. Flowers bloom. Trees and shrubs bud. All things become new.
Beloved, in Christ, we are also made new and we too are supposed to wake up daily with an excitement about us, an expectation of hope surrounding us, and the love of Christ living in us.
That love of Christ, a love received and a love shared, is what makes us distinct and unique in this world.
For some, they pick and choose who and how they love. Jesus put it another way.
In John 15:12-14, Jesus said, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend. You are my friends if you do what I command you."
Jesus loved us so much that He laid down His life for us. Have you laid down your life for someone else? And, I do not mean just blood family. I mean have you done so for a friend, for a stranger, for another person in the church family, local or universal?
Jesus said that there was love but also a measure of love, greater love. And, that greater love is laying down one's life, putting aside what you want to do, and doing what someone else needs you to do.
It is not about you seeking to make someone else happy, in particular yourself. It is all about you helping someone else to live the best life that God has in mind for them.
Have you ever looked at love that way?
It requires you to not look at what you are getting and receiving and, instead, looking intentionally, consistently at what you are giving and sharing.
Jesus said that if you do such things in that way, you are a friend to Jesus.
Jesus has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves us and is a friend to us. What a friend we have in Jesus!
Can Jesus say the same thing about you? Can He say, what a friend He has in you?
He will...if you do what He asks. Love somebody. Care for somebody. Sow into someone else's life. Give someone else the love that God, through Jesus Christ, as guided by the Holy Spirit, has given you.
Beloved, we are beginning a study of prayer tonight at HOPE Wednesday. It will be delivered over the next couple of months. I truly believe that in the life of this church since I have become pastor, this lesson may be one of the most impactful, individually and collectively, that we will journey through.
The old phrase goes, "The family that prays together stays together".
Church family, let us come together, and learn more about how to pray together, so that we can grow together and we can stay together.
Some of you have never come. We cannot change the past. Come now.
Some of you have come and then strayed. We cannot change the past. Come now and stay.
Some of you have come and stayed. We cannot change the past. Come now and keep on coming.
This is an opportunity for our whole church to journey together in building the most important relationship we will ever have, communicating and communing with our God, through prayer.
And, remember, God loves you and I love you too!