Love is…


4
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps
no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but
rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.”     ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

A common passage, it seems. Most of us have heard this. Likely, during a wedding ceremony, or an anniversary. I came across these verses the other day in my devotions. How familiar the words, yet how far I am from this perfect Love. Or at least, in achieving this perfect Love.
How often have I held a grudge? Muttered curses at the driver who cuts me off?
How often have I approached the day with a ‘me-first’ attitude?
How often have I become frustrated with people? Or judged somebody?

For as long as we are of flesh, I don’t know if we’ll ever Love like this; Love so perfectly. But I am thankful for the One who teaches and guides me, in my life-long quest to do so. Love like this – completely selfless – can shake up this world. In fact, it already has.
Radical Love. I think I like the sound of that.

“37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”   ( Matthew 22:37-39)

What are some ways we can selflessly, and radically love others today?

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Blessings and Lessons

In recently becoming aware of my joy in writing, I was asked if I would consider writing a piece for our church’s monthly newsletter called “The Chronicle”, highlighting a few things we, as Young Adults, have been studying and learning these past few weeks. Of course, I happily agreed to this, and here is what I came up with!

Blessings and Lessons: My Young Adult Journey So Far

I’ve been blessed and challenged throughout the past few years, while attending the Young Adults group.  The past year – now going onto year two – my husband and I have had the pleasure of hosting the group at our home. Besides the occasional frantic cleanup before 7pm, ( How did the girl on ‘Big Comfy Couch’ do this in 10 seconds??) we really enjoy being able to serve in this way. Bake some goodies, meet new people, but best of all, have a time of prayer and fellowship.
Anyone who has attended Church of Christ more than – say, twice – would have perhaps noticed some emphasis on ‘kingdom-first living’; A way of living that I had thought about previously in its general concept, but never at any length until recent years, when I finally heard it put in to words.
Kingdom-first living? What does that look like? How do I know I’m on the right path?
And as I asked big questions, I expected to find big answers.
This past summer, I felt I was ready to do something bigger. Something grande. Maybe I could change lives! I started praying and seeking out new opportunities to serve.  I don’t know why I suddenly felt I was the judge on what was “more important” or “bigger” when it came to serving, but after a few months, I started to see that I was thinking about it all wrong. The things I thought I should be diving into and trying out, were not necessarily areas in which God had gifted me.
The young adults group has played an important role in my walk with Christ. It reminds me that kingdom-first living is a daily process, and really comes to a blossom, out of the little seeds we sow each day. Each week, I feel encouraged and challenged to continue seeking and growing.
We have already in these past few weeks, covered quite the range of subjects in such a short time. I will attempt to give a quick summary of each week thus far!

Week 1: ‘Top reasons why Young Adults leave the Church’. Though we came up with quite a list; from relevance, to judgement, to lack of scripture knowledge, etc; the top reason – to my surprise – was that the church was viewed as too overprotective. A Barna group survey said that many Young adults’ experiences of Christianity felt stifling. In the survey, about 23% expressed that “Christians demonize everything outside the church”; another 22% felt that “church (ignores) the problems of the real world”.
Young adult or not; would you agree or disagree?

Week 2: ‘So many religions, can they all be right?’ We watched a short DVD clip, where several young people shared a little bit about what they believed in. The young man leading the discussion, ( Unfortunately I cannot recall his name) pointed out some similarities, but also differences that directly contradicted each other. For example, how one belief may claim there to be no God; another, many gods; and still another, only One true God. I was reminded how important it is to really know what exactly it is we believe in, but to also take a little time to understand other religions. Perhaps so that, when we speak truth, it does not come across as arrogant or close-minded.

Week 3: ‘Whose name do you wear?’ This was a time of study and prayer. Anxious? Stressed? Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Week 4: ‘Simply Enough’; we watched a DVD discussion between Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne. Are we living the life Jesus wants us to live?
Tony brought up 1 John 3:16-18 ~
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” ( NIV)

I was challenged by this topic. I am a penny-pincher. I have trouble spending money, and am not ashamed to use coupons at the grocery store. But I have come to notice that such habits have also influenced how I give. I am capable of being so much more generous than I am, and hopefully will learn this in time. I am grateful for a husband who has a naturally generous heart. Perhaps I can learn from him!
On the last sunday of October, ( After some heavy snowfall postponed our original plan for a service night) we took some time for prayer and worship. I think it is in these moments I become most aware of God’s presence. It is in these moments, my heart becomes light and vulnerable. There is one verse that pops up repeatedly in my head, from the song “Jesus all for Jesus”;
“All of my / ambitions, hopes and plans… I surrender these / into your hands…”
Do I?
Do You?
As I continue on this walk, I look forward to learning more about who God is, and how he might use this Young Adults group to bless my husband and I, as well our fellow group attendees.~