Monday, March 21, 2016

Learning To Love

I Corinthians 13:1
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only e a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

The logo you see in this posting for Vineyard ReCovery Church was done by a friend of ours.
While I appreciate the effort and the ability it took to come up with it I think it misses the mark just a bit. The part about being impacted by a "life giving message".....I understand what he was trying to say, but I'm not so sure that it doesn't miss the mark a bit. You see, to me the heart of VRC is the people. The ones who come week after week and invest themselves into what we are doing. The ones who have fallen in love with Jesus and seek to simply walk out what He has told them to do. To me, this is the heart of our Saturday night meeting. We gather to love those who come through that front door.

Oh, don't get me wrong, the message that is given each week is important. But a message that isn't backed up with an action doesn't really go very far does it? Case in point.
Young girl comes to the meeting last Saturday night. She walks in, I'm at the door so we speak. I introduce myself, she does like wise. There is small talk.."You're first time here?" "Yes," she replied. "How'd you find us?" "A friend told me about you." I show her where the coffee table is, gave her a short tour of the facilities and helped her to find a seat. Worship was really intimate and on target as the room grew peaceful under the presence of God's Spirit. Message was the passage from Matthew 5:3 and what it meant to be "Poor in Spirit".

We moved into a time of ministry, and when offered prayer the young girl stood to receive. Wowzer.....first timer stands to receive prayer. That was a bonus. Afterwards, the young girl comes up to me....very grateful....very excited....and she tells me...that was great. I've never been in a meeting like this. She shared that she suffered from anxiety attacks that seem to be worse when she finds herself in a crowd. She has tried to go to church but the attacks got so bad that she simply gave up.  She then went over the points of the message that had really spoken to her...something that see saw and understood for the first time as being an attack by the devil upon her.

She thanked me for the way I taught and the simplicity of what I said. I told here that my philosophy for teaching had been defined by Dr. J. Vernon McGee. Dr. McGee always said that a good teacher always "Put the cookies on the lower shelf so everyone could get to them." The last thing the young girl said to me was, "I felt loved and accepted here." There you have it. The body of Christ has a call to love those who are on the fringe of society. We're not called to love only those who look, act, and think like us. We called to love period. Without reservation...without judging...  To me the job of VRC is to get people to let their guard down while they are with be loved into a state of acceptance of what we do as a fellowship. Let their guard down, with all their suspicions and fears of what VRC may be. In that brief moment when they do let their guard down, share the truth and let them join us as worship God. For in that state, we can drop a Jesus-seed into their heart.

I have written this post this morning, not to exalt VRC, myself, or anything that happened last Saturday. If anything, I wrote it to remind of how far we have to go as a fellowship. We still don't have this "love others" thing down perfect yet. But we're working on it. We open to being changed ourselves by the Holy Spirit so we can carry out the call God has placed on us.
I guess that is a fancy way of saying, "We are an ongoing work".

God on you....


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