Like it or not, Christians have a pretty bad reputation nowadays. If you played a word association game with a non-church goer and you said “Christian” they would most likely reply with words like “hypocritical” and “judgmental.” What if the first word that came to their minds was “love”?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). In other words, everything we do should be rooted and grounded in our faith in Jesus Christ, but that faith must not be solely defined by WHAT we believe but HOW we live out those beliefs.
How we live out our faith must be an expression of love… or else we are doing it wrong.
And sometimes we overcomplicate what love looks like.
For example, love can look like words that strengthen, encourage, or comfort (see 1 Corinthians 14:3). And with all that is going on in our country and in the world right now, imagine how Christians could impact people if we continually asked ourselves, “Lord, how do you want me to strengthen or encourage or comfort him or her?” And if a thought “popped” in your mind out of nowhere that matched that grid — what if you shared it with him or her? And imagine if, as a result, that person walked away strengthened a bit, encouraged a bit, or comforted a bit? Imagine if we asked that question a hundred times a day?
Sometimes love can be words. And sometimes it can be actions. In fact, sometimes love can look like a backpack… and a package of #2 pencils.
It’s back-to-school shopping season right now. And in the middle class suburbs where I live, parents and kids flock to Target and Walmart and shop ’til they drop.
But that’s not the case for everyone. Not even for every person that lives in our local school district let alone the kids that live in the inner city or second- and third-world countries.
So what would it look like to live out Galatians 5:6 at this time of year? It could be as easy as choosing to bless a family in your neighborhood that is struggling. By buying them an anonymous gift card to a department store to do a back-to-school shopping spree.
Or it could be helping out a kiddo, not just across street but across a hemisphere! 🙂 I hope this part of the blog doesn’t sound like an infomercial but an invitation. Since our church launched in 2010 we have had a passion to fight human trafficking and our international partner is ESTHER’s Children (where “ESTHER” stands for End Sex Trafficking for HER).
Their ministry was founded in Clarkston, Michigan but it’s epicenter is Recife, Brazil (which is the eastern most tip of that country). Due to the economic crisis in Brazil, welfare programs have made deep cuts affecting the “least of these” (see Matthew 25:31-46) which includes the kids in the slums that ESTHER’s ministers to. So right now, kids in Brazil aren’t able to shop for a backpack let alone the school supplies that would fill it.
ESTHER’s has a God-sized goal to distribute 200 backpacks filled with school supplies to the girls at ESTHER’s, their brothers, and other children in the community. So if you are interested in helping them reach their goal, please click HERE to be redirected to a webpage on our church website with a complete shopping list of things you could buy as well as where to deliver them.
Sometimes love can look like a backpack… and a package of #2 pencils.
***We take for granted that the Founding Fathers of America had Christian roots. But have you ever wondered why that was the case? It actually goes back to a key text in Acts 16 where the Apostle Paul headed west into Europe instead of east into Asia. And what’s interesting is Paul actually wanted to head east… until the Holy Spirit showed up! But what if Paul treated the Holy Spirit as the “forgotten member of the Trinity” and ignored Him? How would America be different? And what if we ignore the Holy Spirit in our lives? Please join us on August 27th at 10:30am at Wiley Elementary (near 21 Mile & Van Dyke at 47240 Shelby Rd. in Utica) as we conclude our Acts 29 series by looking at a passage in Acts that literally changed the world! My sermon is titled How The Holy Spirit Changed America. More info at tevchurch.org***