Loving Others as Jesus Did?

Because I can’t even begin to identify with the Mind that made matter, with the Voice that spoke galaxies into existence, or with the Power that holds all things together…but I can identify with the compassion Jesus showed lepers, and I can identify with the frustration he felt with the religious leaders, and I can identify with the sorrow he experienced when people rejected him.  It’s this sort of stuff—raw, down-to-earth, “human stuff” (that is, compassion, frustration, rejection, etc.)—in which Jesus works out his humanity, and invites us to follow him. And when we realize that Jesus really does understand what it means to be human (warts and all!), it increases our faith that he will help us know what to do with the bewildering, painful, joyful experiences of our own humanity.  – Trent Sheppard 

“I want to know Jesus better,” she cried in her newsletter. This newsletter soundbite is a couple of years old, but no less important. This Christian missionary’s cry did not come from disbelief, but a growing desire to draw closer to the Lord. Additionally, I cry,

“Lord, help me see people as you see them and love them as you love them.” 

Asking to love others as He loves them is a dangerous prayer. Look what happened when He showed His love to us? God sent His Son to the cross. Jesus stepped willingly to a Roman torture device and suffered for three days (if you don’t count the prior beatings He withstood before being nailed to the cross).  How far are we willing to go for our friends, especially when our friends make choices in their lives where the consequences are deserved?

We can’t even keep our promises. 

And are we willing to give and serve even if there is no benefit to us?

Loving others is so much more than just giving a food box or money to a cause. It’s much more than words, but investing in the lives of those God has placed around you. This is why I am passionate about social media. Social Media gives us the opportunity to invest in others in more than hitting like or re-tweeting a tweet on your feed. It’s sending a private message, responding with words to their post, and serving them online. I want to see a revolution online from Christians across many generations learning to see social media as a means to serve each other and extend the message of the Cross globally and truthfully. Because as a church, I feel like we’re failing to send that message online. Let’s do more reaching than preaching. 

What is a Legacy of Faith?

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

1 Peter 4:10 ESV

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We met at Cuppers. After the presentation over lattes, we talked about family. That’s when I brought up memoirs and how a well-thought out memoir or journal could be a legacy of faith she could leave behind for her family. Unlike those Hallmark memory books with its dry and easy questions, a journal or memoir requires the writer to share emotions, details, and thoughts. An example of a shared faith legacy can be found in history.

The Real George Washington by National Center for Constitutional Studies (Reprint edition December 1, 1991) explored George Washington’s life through his journals, others’ diaries, and what his soldiers wrote about him in their letters home. It gave a testimony of George Washington’s prayer life without sketching a perfect picture of him. When I closed the last page of this 928-page book, my thought was, “What a gift to future generations!” However, people who write personal journal and memoirs should be urged to read writing books to harness the power of story (recommended even for non-fiction: Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction).

While going through the process to become a WorldVenture missionary, I worked twice a month at a care center for Senior Adults. I taught them how to write down their memories using fictional techniques–hook, dialogue, and description. The goal was to get beyond easy, uninteresting questions to their thoughts, emotions, and actions. The stories were not always positive, but it’s those stories that can help someone down the road make better decisions and understand the unanswered whys and their family history beyond the family tree. It’s also a great way to pass on your faith. Like George Washington, the next generation in your family can read about your prayer and faith life.

This is why my coffee meet ups are always lifted up in prayer. I come with the hope of support and the eagerness to bless the person I am to meet in some way. The conversations nearly always go beyond my presentation.

I Killed My Last Pokemon

My original thought for installing Pokemon was for online interaction. Pokemon hasn’t any online interaction. The interaction I read on an article comes from the face-to-face encounters while playing Pokemon.
I do see the value of video gaming in missions, but I am not a video game person. In fact, our Wii is now in storage. We haven’t played it for a year. That, too, was great for get-togethers and online interaction. Pokemon riveted the country and had very intense reactions when it came out.
The people against Pokemon spoke out about it as if it were a political figure. A security firm zero’d in on the security weaknesses in the app and created a way for companies to kill Pokemon (literally). My newsfeed for a few weeks was a storm of adverse reactions. So here’s my take on Pokemon.
Pokemon has been uninstalled from my phone, but not because I’m in the anti-Pokemon party. Pokemon has some points to consider and churches should be encouraged to use it. Pokemon gyms are popping up. People are using it to connect in face-to-face situations. Conversations and good-hearted competition are occuring. Like any online tool, there are drawbacks and safety concerns.
Just a reminder: Pokemon is just a game. Like in the days of World War II when people flocked to movies to escape from the reality of the war, Pokemon is a good distraction. It gets the kids and adults outside, teaches them about landmarks in their city, and leads them to face-to-face conversations. It brings the fun back into our over-serious, anxiety-ridden, quick-tempered, fearful society, and distracts us from violence, racism, hate, bigotry, terrorism, and the like.
The world is on fire. Let’s remember to have fun and connect with our friends and neighbors. It may not be Pokemon, but maybe you could think of something else.
  • Pokemon Go in a Fractured and Flattened World by TGC If you’re a parent who has questions about the game, check out this primer from Tony Kummer about what it is and how to avoid potential dangers (like, crossing the street without looking both ways!). Two friends of mine, Chris Martin and Aaron Earls, offer good advice for churches, as does Joshua Clayton of Southwestern Seminary. And there’s been some controversy regarding appropriate places to play. (Arlington Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum? Uh, no.) READ MORE