Friday, September 10, 2021

Trust God to Forgive


It is never easy to admit that we have made a mistake. 

The bigger the mistake the more we want to hide it, deny it, or ignore it. 

It is no wonder that we have a hard time confessing our sin, even in our private prayers to God. The result is that we carry around a complex baggage of guilt, shame, temptation, and habitual sin. This reality makes it difficult to accept God’s promise of forgiveness.

I know that I find it hard to confess my sins to God because I am embarrassed about what my sin reveals about my weakness. 

 After all I should know better! 

 “If I truly had faith,” I reason, “this sin wouldn’t be a problem.”

As a result I keep my distance from God. I don’t want to be weak faithless fool before Him.

Perhaps you struggle with asking for forgiveness because you are afraid of God. 

There is a voice inside of your mind telling you that if you confess your sins to God then He will punish you.  

“After all,” you think,  “isn’t God going to judge lawbreakers?”

In his book Created to Be God’s Friend, Henry Blackaby wrote:



Faith is lived out through trust. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do I trust God to forgive me? 

If we don’t trust God to forgive then we won’t turn to Him and confess our sins. 

Instead we will run away and hide. We will ignore the sin that is ruining our lives. We will do every thing we can think of to avoid God.

For us to trust people we have to believe that they have our best interest at heart.

This means we need to answer this question: Is there any reason why we should trust God to forgive us?
 
The reason we can trust God is Jesus. 

The life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the evidence we need to trust that God will forgive us. This is true, no matter who we are or what we have done.

The writer of the book of Hebrews gave us this gem of truth:



How do we come before the throne of God? 

First, it requires our surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. If we are not willing to be a follower of Jesus it is impossible for us to experience God’s gift of forgiveness. Jesus is the High Priest who has prepared the way to God. There is no other way to forgiveness except through Jesus.

Second, we need to confess our sins to God through prayer. God knows our sins, and He has declared His willingness to forgive. Yet, forgiveness requires the acknowledgement that we have done something wrong. This is an act of trust, because we need to believe that God has our best interest at heart. So we confess our sin because we trust that God will forgive us.

Third, we need to worship God. From singing praise songs to serving people in need, it is important that we set our hearts towards God. Worship requires the right motivation more than it requires the right actions. We can go through the motions of worship without love and trust. Worship that is grounded in faith is the type of worship that God desires from us.

Living in these bodies of flesh in this world means that sin will be a part of our lives. 

Not only do we need constantly struggle with sin to eliminate it from our lives, we also have to trust God to forgive us when we sin. 

God is gracious and willing to forgive us, but we need to turn to Him and ask for it.

Trust God to forgive you.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Committed to the Body



Something that has been on my mind recently is our commitment to the local church.

As a pastor this is something that concerns me a great deal. The church, a local community of Jesus followers, is a gift from God. 

In the church we have people who are there to support us, encourage us, grieve with us, and help us. It is a community where we find acceptance and belonging. At its best a local church provides the environment needed for discipleship to happen.

Granted, local churches are rarely at their best. The realities of poor leadership, personal agendas, and inconsistent attendance make it difficult for the church to feel like home. 

I agree, being part of a local church can be a lot of work and it can be messy. There are many reasons that making a commitment to a local church is difficult.

This morning on Twitter I saw this:

I think many of the problems we have with the various expressions of the local church come back to consumerism. 

We have these expectations of what the church should be like and when it doesn’t live up to our expectations we are willing to leave. It doesn’t matter that we are handicapping that church as they seek to take the Gospel into the world, because our needs aren’t being met.

All are different expectations are not what makes a church a church.

The reality is that there is not much a group of believers need in order to form a church. One thing that is essential for a church to exist is commitment.


We were created to bear God’s image in this world. The full expression of that image comes when we are working together as we love one another and serve the world. 

That is when we truly become the body of Christ.

This is why leaving a local church family handicaps them. It is like removing a hand, leg, or eye from a person. Sure, he still can function, but his ability to do work is limited.

Leaving a church may not kill the church, but you make it more difficult for them to do ministry.

I am not saying you can never leave a church.

I am saying that by making the church something you attend or a service that you receive, you make it easy to hop from church to church when your expectations are not met. 

In this way you handicap the mission of the church.

Being committed to a local church is a responsibility that we have as followers of Jesus. 

I want to encourage you to commit to a local church, even if the sermons are boring, the music off key, and the people are a mess, because you will be a blessing to them, and through them God will bless you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

A Repentant Heart

As a life long Christian, I know the right things to say.

For instance, when life becomes difficult I know that the right thing to say is, "I am trusting God an His timing." 

I may say that, but the reality is that I am full of worry. Rather than praying and doing the next right thing, I distract myself with scrolling through social media or watching YouTube videos. Then I wonder why God never showed up.

It is possible to say that right words while lacking the faith to believe those words. 



The prophet Isaiah made it clear that God wants to help us. His desire is to show us love and give us life.

Here is the kicker: God is waiting for us.

He is generous and desires to help, but we are not turning to Him for help. We are trying to make it on our own. If we would stop and turn to God the experience of our lives would be different.

What is the answer? 
How do we receive the love God has for us? 

King David in Psalm 51 gives us an insight on how we are to approach God:



David wrote this Psalm after Nathan the prophet confronted him about his sin against Uriah, stealing his wife Bathesheba and murdering him. For a year afterwards David pretended everything was fine, but in reality it wasn't. So when David thought about what he needed to do, in light of Nathan’s words, this is was came to his mind: Repentance.

At the heart of repentance is the denouncement of our actions and declaration of our loyalty to God. 

Repentance requires both.

This isn’t about coming to God through religious piety and tradition. Going through the motions of religion does not move God’s heart. 

What moves the heart of God?

Our heart is what moves God.

We can imitate the motions. 
We can fake the right words. 

What we can't fake is the genuine emotion, motivation, and intention of our heart. There needs to be a genuine sorrow for our evil and a genuine desire to be in a relationship with God for Him to act on our behalf.

God waits for us because He wants us to have a heart that desires Him above everything else in our lives. 

Until we approach the throne of God broken and repentant we will never realize the awesome love God has for us. 

This makes pride the biggest obstacle we have in experiencing the love of God.

When we are prideful we believe we change the circumstance of our lives by ourselves. We pursue happiness the way we think is best. We may say all the right things and go though the motions, but the intentions of our heart is on our plans. 

Our pride keeps us from experiencing God’s love.

I am  tired of mouthing the right things and ignoring God. 

My pride has kept me from admitting my weakness and my need for God’s wisdom and strength. 

I come before God with a humble spirit in search of His love. 

Will you do the same?

Monday, September 6, 2021

The Benefit of Principles


Last week I posted this to Facebook:

 

I believe this is true for the majority of controversial topics that are out there today. We watch a 7 minute segment on Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow  and think we understand the topic to give our hot take on it. To truly understand topics we need investigate all sides of an argument. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a gut feeling on things (often that is all that we can go on because we can’t properly study every topic out there), but it does mean that we don’t present our gut feelings as THE truth on these topics.

There is no possible way that we can adequately research all the different areas of knowledge that are out there. No one is an expert on everything.

This is why it is okay to go with our gut feelings on things. When we do so we need to keep in mind that our guts could be wrong.

The gut feelings that we have often come from the principles that make up our lives. For instance, when it comes to something like biblical interpretation or reading the Constitution, the principle that guides my understanding is: How would the original readers understand this. 

Granted, this is not always easy to figure out, but it helps us establish the original intent, then we are better able to apply that to our lives.

When we have certain principles that guide our lives, they provide shortcuts to through the maze controversial issues that we face in life. They provide a solid ground for us to stand on and they give us a starting point on determining what is true.

Since we don’t have the time or the ability to research all the different topics out there, our principles provide us with a way to navigate the landscape of current opinion as we seek to follow Jesus.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Masks, Vaccinations, and Love



Jesus said:
“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31, NLT)
There is no question that in order to follow Jesus we must love our neighbors.


This has been a common sentiment the last 18 months as we have endured the COVID pandemic.

I understand the thought. Part of loving people is not harming them. That means more than not physically hurting them. It means if we can do something to keep people safe we should do it.

Before I go any further I want to point out that I am not a scientist. The last science class I took was a community college biology class 30 years ago. My point is not to make a scientific case, but help us think through how we love people.

With that in mind, is this thought about masking wearing and being vaccinated the best way to love our neighbor?

In my mind this argument depends on assuming that wearing masks and being vaccinated are the only ways to keep people safe. Therefore, if we don’t want to harm to someone then that requires us to mask up and get vaccinated. 

The reality is that there are other things we can do to help keep people safe. We can wash our hands, we can cover our coughs and sneezes, and can stay home when we are sick. Those are all things that help keep people safe.

The key here is about motivations. You are acting in love, even if you decide not to mask up or be vaccinated, when you consistently and intentionally practice other ways to keep people safe.

If the reason you are refusing to mask up and to be vaccinated is because you are going to “protect your rights,” and you don’t do other things to keep people safe, then you are not loving your neighbor. 

As Christians, our primary task is to love people. That means that our greatest concern isn’t about our personal liberties, but the well-being of others. So, if our primary reason for not wearing masks and not being vaccinated is about our rights AND we don’t do other things to protect the health of others, we are failing to keep the most important commandment.

It all comes down to motivation.

This is also important piece of the puzzle.

Again, it is legitimate to think that these actions we are being asked to make, and in some cases that are being mandated, have little benefit. That doesn’t mean we can disregard the health concerns of other people. That is why it is essential, as we seek to love people, that we are consistent in doing alternative things to protect the health of people.

Another reason why I think this line of reasoning should be pushed back on is because we can use it as a reason to do other things. We can say that we want socialism because it promotes “loving our neighbor.” 

I would argue that a free market economy that promotes the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas is the best way to  love your neighbor. 

While the stated goals of a more socialist economy appear to be loving, in the long run it could lead to more hardship and harm, which would be unloving. 

This is why we shouldn’t pull out the  “love your neighbor” card when we are talking about policy. Something seem to be loving in the short term might have longer negative effects. So people who are opposed to government mandates for masks and vaccinations are opposed to them because of unintended consequences that will show up later, including greater governmental interference in our private lives.

It is important that followers of Jesus take the command to love our neighbors seriously. As you think through how to love people we also need to consider our motivations and the consequences for our actions.

 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Theology of Rights


I have had these three tweets from Skye Jethani rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks.



I follow Skye on Twitter because I occasionally listen to The Holy Post Podcast, which he cohosts. Even through I don't always agree with him, I do find his thoughts to be interesting.

That is how I feel about these tweets. I don't 100% agree with them, but they sure got me thinking.

The part I absolutely agree with Skye about is the need for a corporate theology. American Christianity has developed a very individualized faith. It is all about my personal relationship with God. 

I have written before how we don’t just have a personal relationship with God, but we have a covenant relationship with God. An understanding of the covenant nature of Christianity would go along way to help us grasp the truth that we are part of God’s Global Family, and that our relationship with God includes our relationships with other people.

With that being said, when it comes to the topic of masks and vaccinations more than a corporate theology we need a theology of rights.

The reason I say this is because Americans, even though our Constitution was created to protect rights, have a poor understanding of what rights are. 

This lack of understanding about rights is true for people inside and outside the church. We have many people who want to stand up and claim something as a right to justify what they want to do.

One of the reasons we need a proper understanding of rights is because it helps us navigate these type of conversations.

Do I have the right to choose to wear a mask or not to wear a mask? 
Do I have the right to choose to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated?

We need a way to determine if something is really a right or if we are using freedom as a  justification for doing what we want to do.

A second reason why we need a proper understanding of rights is because it helps us understand the sacrifice we need to make so we can follow Jesus. 

In Philippians 2:7 (NLT) we read:
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.

Jesus gave up, in other words he sacrificed, his rights in order to save us. 

Looking at this passage through the lens of rights, Jesus saw his rights as something that he could set aside in order to love his Father and to love people. 

Our rights, like all of God’s blessings, are to be used for the good of His kingdom. That means there will be times when we have to set aside or sacrifice our rights in order to love people.

Remember, sacrifice is one of the primary ways we worship God.

For example, I am a big 2nd Amendment guy. I think we have the right to self-defense and to protect the lives of our family and friends. If we believe that, then we understand the sacrifice we make when we lay down our weapons for the sake of the Kingdom.

Having a proper understanding of rights allows us to have the conversation about how we properly use our rights, when we should work to protect our rights, and the when and why we should lay them down to follow the example Jesus.

Here is the bottom-line: A proper understanding of our rights helps us know when a sacrifice of our rights is needed in order to love people.

When it comes to these questions about masks and vaccinations here are a couple of thoughts I have.

It doesn’t matter what your position on masks are, whether they are effective or not, it is not a violation of your rights to wear a mask to spend time with a person who is more concerned about COVID than you are. In fact, wearing a masking is the loving thing to do because it is taking in to consideration the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

When it comes to vaccinations I think things are a little different. 

God created us to be good stewards, and being good stewards includes taking good care of our bodies. I don’t think it is wise or loving to tell a person unsure of the health benefits of a vaccine that they need to be vaccinated in order to show love to other people. This is especially true since there are other ways for a person to protect others, like practicing good hygiene and staying home when you are sick. 

Therefore, as long as a person is practicing good hygiene and staying home when not feeling well, they are not violating the command to “love your neighbor,” because they are doing other things to keep themselves and other people healthy.

Having a good theology of rights would help us know the proper use of our individual rights and us understand when to sacrifice those rights so we can love our neighbor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Don’t be Lazy in Your Thinking



Many of us live in an echo chamber.

“What is an echo chamber?” You ask.

According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary an echo chamber is:

a room with sound-reflecting walls used for producing hollow or echoing sound effects —often used figuratively, “Living in a kind of echo chamber of their own opinions, they pay attention to information that fits their conclusions and ignore information that does not.”
To say that we live in echo chambers means that we live in an environment where our worldview is endorsed and confirmed rather than challenged.

I know why we prefer the echo chamber. It is hard word to defend our worldview and think through our beliefs. We would rather be told that we hold the correct beliefs about the world.

Unfortunately, that causes us to miss out on what other people are truly saying. Often, it positions other people as the enemy because they have an opposing view than what we have.

Preston Sprinkle offers some good advice.


I think it is helpful to remember two very important points.
  1. Reading or listening to people outside our tribe doesn’t mean we will switch tribes. When I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and A Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris I was told to be careful. There was a fear that if I read books by atheist authors I would become an atheist. To have this fear means that we are not very confident about our own positions to begin with. We fear that one little thought from the “other side” could cause our worldview to come crashing down. It is important for us to take the time to learn why we believe the things that we believe.
  2. Reading or listening to people outside our tribe opens our eyes to nuances in the different positions. I see this happen all the time. It is easier to create a caricature the other side’s beliefs rather than actually dealing with them. This at the core of what Preston Sprinkle called “lazy thinking.” 
Read books, or listen to, people who don’t think like you.

Not only will you be better equipped to handle their arguments, you might just learn a thing or two along the way. 



Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Loyal Leader


William Barclay in his Daily Study Bible: the letter to the Hebrews wrote: 
The real leader, if need be, dies in loyalty. He shows men how to live and is prepared to show them how to die. Jesus, having loved his own, loved them to the end; and the real leader having loved Jesus, loves him to the end. His loyalty never stops halfway. (p. 195)

Wow! What a thought. 

The best Christian leaders are people whose loyalty to Jesus gives them the courage to live a life worthy of Jesus and his sacrifice. These leaders understand that their lives are an example on how to live. This also includes preparing to die well.

This raises the question: Am I prepared to show other people how to die? 

To be honest, it isn’t something have really considered. My main focus has been on how to live well because death isn’t something I have had to face. It is hard to be an example to someone when you haven’t had to experience it yourself.

Maybe that is the wrong way to think about it.

Rather than thinking about the end of life, perhaps we should think about life. When we do something well to the best of our ability we can walk away confident that we did well. If we apply this to the end of life, we can face death with no regrets when we lived by faith, remaining loyal to Jesus.

The true leader in the Church is the person who is loyal to Jesus. 

Doubts may come, hardships may arrive, and persecution may be present, but that leader remains committed to Jesus. He or she is an example of what it means to live by faith, even if that commitment takes them to their death. 

No matter what, they will not forsake their King.

If I am to be the leader my family and church needs, then I have to be an example of loyalty and faith no matter what happens in my life. Attendance my rise and fall, but my confidence remains in Jesus. Health issues may creep in, but I remain faithful to Jesus. 

Loyalty and faith are not fickle. They are committed through the ups and downs of life.

A good leader realizes that his life is on display and that his actions are a powerful testimony of his faith. As people follow his example, they are constantly preparing for the end of their life, because they can face death with no regrets.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Be Different



It is hard to be different and to stand out from those around you. 

I find it easy to go with the flow and to allow myself to be influenced by the very same things that influence the rest of the world. It takes intention and work to go against the current of the culture.

This is exactly what we need to do.

It is essential for people who follow Jesus to live differently from the world. 

The apostle Paul wrote:
Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true (Ephesians 5:7-9; NLT).
Christians are a changed people. We no longer participate in the same activities that the world does. These are activities that continue bring corruption and sin into God’s good creation. This is why it is crucial for us to live lives of faith.

 How do we do this? 

How do we prevent ourselves from being influenced by the culture in which we live? 

I believe the writer of Hebrews have provided us with some answers to these questions:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven (Hebrews 12:1-2; NLT).
In these two verses we find four actions we must do if we are going to live differently from the world.

First we must remember the witnesses
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith...

Hebrews 11 is filled with great examples of faith, men and women who trusted God through the ups and downs of life. The writer of Hebrews wanted people be encouraged by these examples. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel, and the Apostles give us encouragement as we attempt to live faithfully in our culture. Remember, there is a reason God preserved their lives on the pages of Scripture so lets learn from them.

It is also important to remember that through the past two thousand years more and more people have been added to this great cloud of witnesses. On the pages of history and through the years of our lives are more men and women who are examples of what it means to live faithful lives in a culture not aligned with God’s will.

The second action we need to do is remove the hindrances
...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.

Change is difficult. 

One reason it is difficult is because it means that we are wrong in the way we live. If we were living right then a change wouldn’t need to happen. 

A second reason why change is hard is because of our habits. It is hard to break a habit, no matter how much we may want to be rid of it. Habits are ingrained in the way we do life.

We all have junk in our our lives that needs to be removed. We have self-image issues that rob us of confidence. We have relationship issues that cause problems with those that we are closest with. We have emotional problems (depression, anxiety, perfectionism, guilt, etc.) that need to be addressed. 

All these things hinder us from being the people God created us to be, and so we need to face these issues and deal with them. That might even mean going to a professional for help.

The universal weight people carry is sin. 
 
Yes, the weight of sin is different for each of us, but it is still there weighing us down. For us to get rid of it requires that we attack it, struggle with it, confess it to God, and continually look for ways to uproot it form our hearts. We cannot go with God and allow sin to remain in our lives unchecked. If we are not struggling to rid our lives of sin then we are not living a life of faith.

The third action we must do is run the race
And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

God has created us to do good. 

Doing good is more than just being moral people. Doing good requires that we love and serve our neighbors. I like to say that we have been blessed so that we can be a blessing. 

Running the race that God has given to us is about doing the good works that He planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). So when we use the blessings God has given us to bring good into this world, we are running the race of faith.

The final action is to reflect on Jesus
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

Jesus is our ultimate example on how we are to live. He showed us how to love, how to serve, and how to forgive. We must model our lives after his life.

Jesus’s sacrifice is the ultimate encouragement we need to live a life of faith. Knowing that Jesus went through brutal times, to save us from sin, offers us courage when we go through dark times of life and motivates us to remain faithful.

We can only keep our eyes on Jesus by reflecting on his life through reading and studying the Bible. 

I think one of the reasons we fail is because we create an image of Jesus that appeals to us rather than doing the hard work of discovering who Jesus really is. We cannot neglect the study, reading, and discussion that gives us a better understanding of Jesus.

Christians are called to be different from the world. 

It is easy to participate in the activities that help us blend right into our culture. This is why we must fight the hard fight to be different. 

Are you willing to do what it takes to change your life and be different?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

More than a Personal Relationship



God deals with people through the use of covenants. 

Carl Ketcherside in his book The Death of the Custodian wrote:
The fact is that God has chosen to relate to man on the basis of covenants. He is a covenant-making God. No one who ignores this fact will ever grasp God’s plan and purpose in any age. (p. 15)
I want to throw this idea out to you: We have a covenant relationship with God and not just a personal relationship with God. 
 
Yes, I understand that marriage is a covenant relationship, and you can't get a more personal relationship than marriage. 

Just like marriage, the covenant God established with us through Jesus creates a personal relationship. At the same time it sets apart a covenant people for Him. 
 
1 Peter 2:9 reminds us:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (NLT).
Christians are a chosen people, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. 

We have a personal relationship with God, but that personal relationship is lived out in the context of community. We are in this together. Which means we have a responsibility to and for each other. None of us should try to walk the journey of faith alone. It is crucial that we help each other as much as possible because our lives are linked through Jesus.

I bring this up because I think our focus on a “personal” relationship with God sidetracks us from what God has really called us to be—a covenant people. 

Leon Morris in The Atonement wrote:
It mattered intensely to Old Testament Israel that the nation was in covenant relationship with the one and only God. All its thinking and living revolved around this fact. (p. 22)
Israel is not a great example of covenant faithfulness, but I still wonder what the church would be like if our thinking and living revolved around the reality that we are in a covenant relationship with God. 

Knowing that we are in a covenant relationship with God, that extends beyond our personal relationship with Him, leads us to consider other people. We become responsible for helping, encouraging, forgiving, and teaching one another, because that is God expectation for His people.

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT):
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
Let this be the description of our lives as we live in a covenant relationship with God that is both personal and communal. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

You Can’t Hurry Love


Americans tend to fill every waking moment with activity. With our full schedules it is difficult to find time to squeeze one more thing into our days. 

When the opportunity comes our way to help and server some one, it often comes at us as an inconvenience. It is interrupting our schedule. So we try to hurry through it so we can do a good deed and still check off everything on our to do lists.

Sadly, this leads people feeling more like an inconvenience or an afterthought rather than feeling truly loved. 

To be different, Christians need to slow down and understand that one of the sacrifices that we make on behalf of God is the interruption of our schedules. By letting God disrupt our lives we are saying that His will is more important than our will. We are also saying that people matter more than our personal agendas.

Loving our neighbor can’t simply be blocked off on our schedules. These opportunities to love people will  appear in our lives during inconvenient times, forcing us to choose between our agendas and God’s command. 

For us to truly love people we need to sacrifice our time, our agendas, and our money to be present in the lives of other people.

This is how we can love our neighbors well.

Trust God to Forgive

It is never easy to admit that we have made a mistake.  The bigger the mistake the more we want to hide it, deny it, or ignore it.  It is no...