Faith isn’t enough

Faith isn’t enough.

Ya’ll I didn’t say it.

God did in a powerful set of verses in Corinthians.

Here’s the gist: We can preach like Billy Graham. Dig wells in Africa. Work like crazy to rescue sex trafficking victims. Speak in tongues. Be a martyr. Give away everything we own to the poor. And have the kind of faith that moves mountains. But……

BUT if we don’t have love there’s no gain whatsoever. 

One might assume all those really great things is the equivalent of love. Why would you give away everything you own if it wasn’t fueled by love right? Or become a martyr – who would do that if they didn’t have love for God and others. But we must not assume love is the same thing as service, faith or hard humanitarian work.

Here’s how God defines love in I Corinthians 13.

It’s patient. (letting go of the sighs, loud voice and rolling eyes when repeating something you already said ten times to your child.)

It’s Kind. (offering to help someone you don’t know. others first – me last.)

Love isn’t envious. (not becoming distant to a friend you once were close to but not anymore because you’re jealous of her: house, kids, husband, income, etc.)

Doesn’t boast. (doesn’t brag about that promotion or latest accomplishment to co-workers and friends.)

It’s not proud. (doest brag about that promotion or latest accomplishment – inside your mind and heart.)

Love is not rude. (doesn’t say, “your service stinks here – where’s your boss?” it offers grace instead. Maybe you don’t return as a customer but love isn’t a rude customer.)

It’s not self-seeking. (doesn’t approach life saying, “what can I get out of this?”)

Or easily angered.  (honking at the lady in front of you who is still sitting at the green light)

It doesn’t keep score – (“that’s the 100th time he left his clothes on the floor”)

It doesn’t delight in evil  (“well they got what they deserved!”)

Love never fails. (we succeed every time we love the way Jesus loves.)

So yeah, let’s keep digging wells, rescuing sex slaves, giving to the poor, preaching and having faith that God can do anything. But let’s remember that God is most interested in us loving well.

I have circled four items on God’s love list that I need his help with the most. Check yourself and see where you’re coming up short. And ask God for his help and watch how you transform and grow in loving others well.

 

Love Is: Simple & Creative Acts of Kindness

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No need to bleep this “bomb” out because it’s a Love Bomb! A jar filled with encouraging notes, scriptures and positive uplifting words to someone in need of encouraging. I love this idea. Maybe it’s someone in the hospital or homebound. This is a creative simple idea of loving someone well.

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One family made this banner and hung it on their neighbor’s house when they completed their first ever 5K. Imagine the surprise when they came home all tired and sweaty from the run and found this simple form of support and encouragement.

Love comes in all forms – it can be super deep and wide and it can be simple. But in it’s truest form love is honoring and preferring the other person.

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Okay, honestly when I first thought about volunteering at an animal shelter as a form of support and love I dismissed it. But I realize how narrow minded that was. This young girl is learning early to give back to her community by spending some time loving on animals at their local animal shelter. I have a friend who works at an animal shelter and she told me last week they always need people to come and spend time with the animals – to walk them and love on them. A small way to give back to our community and love well – not just the people who help our community but the animals they rescue.

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Love in this case was setting up a nail polish stand to raise money for a Back Yard Bible Club at a trailer park. These young girls painted nails in the heat of the day and gave ALL their proceeds to something else. Do you know how hard this is for adults to do let alone kids? To work and fork over every penny to something greater than yourself. Way to go girls!

I wonder what ways God will prompt us to love well this week. It may be something we’ve never done before. But that’s okay too. Let’s lean into the creative ways he calls us to love well.

Be blessed friends!

 

Love Is: Part 1

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Today begins a series called “Love is.” What does love look like when its fleshed out? Maybe you’ve been on the giving end of extending love and maybe you’ve been on the receiving end. I hope yes to both.  Either way – would you be willing to share it with us? I’d love it. A picture to accompany would be awesome but not necessary. When have you experienced the love of Jesus through someone else?  Email me or share in the comments.

Today I’ll start by telling you a story and preface it by saying that some times Love looks flat out weird.

I can’t really explain it. I just know that after hearing Lisa and Emma’s story back in January I felt compelled to pray for them. Their family moved from CA to NC five months ago for 9 year old Emma to receive treatment at UNC Children’s Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis. All their family and everything they know is back in CA. I know what this is like. We did it 6 years ago. It’s not easy to move to a new place with two perfectly well children. I can’t wrap my mind around doing it with a very sick child.

Emma is my daughter’s age and so I told Sophie about Emma. Showed her pictures of her in the hospital and we started praying at night for Emma. Then I asked others to pray with us for them. Lisa and I exchanged one or two quick Facebook messages – I asked her permission to share some of her Bible journaling pictures with the workshop we did and told her we were praying for them. But that was it. We don’t know each other at all.

Fast forward to two days ago. All week long I knew Emma was back in the hospital for a nasal surgery. Lisa and her husband and their girls live about 3 hours from the hospital so when Emma is admitted Lisa’s husband drops her and Emma off and he takes the kids back to their home.

All week I’d just been heavy hearted for this family. So far from their extended family and friends. Walking an incredibly tough road with this illness. And I just felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing on me to make a trip to the hospital to visit Lisa and Emma. But I also knew how strange this would be. I fought it a few days because I didn’t want to be weird. But the Holy Spirit has put other things on my heart that I perceived as weird – yet I knew they were from him.

I ran it by Randy and told him my whacked thought and said, “I know it’s really strange but…..” He gave the thumbs up but also agreed with me it was kinda cray cray.  I love this about my man. But he’s also wise enough to tell me no to the really really crazy things I consider doing. Like getting a tattoo. No, wait, he let me do that one. More like far fetched ideas of wanting to throw a city wide Thanksgiving Day dinner in the park. And other impossible things like that.

So I owned the weirdness and pulled Sophie out of school and we took a little road trip to the Children’s Hospital to see our friends – that didn’t know we were friends yet – Lisa and Emma.

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Sophie read Dork Diaries to me out loud on the way there – not the most genius set of literature but HILARIOUS nonetheless.

We got to the check in desk and found out they don’t let kids under 12 on the patient floors. Talk about disappointment! We were both so bummed. Sophie reluctantly agreed to wait for me in the lobby while I went up to find Emma’s room. I told her I wouldn’t be long because you know…..I am a total stranger walking in a room and I might even get kicked out because of the weirdness. Ha but not Ha.

I timidly knocked on Emma’s door and poked my head in. I quickly said who I was and that we had talked briefly on Facebook. She said, “Oh yes!! I recognize you! Come on in.” And she gave me a bear hug and introduced me to Emma who was not feeling well at all. She’s such a beautiful little girl.

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Then Lisa took me to the little corner of her room and showed me her Bible journaling station. She had a perfect little set up. Then she opened her Bible and showed me what she learned that morning in Esther. And we talked. And it wasn’t weird. I think it was because one woman of faith understood another woman of faith and how when Christ is fueling a love-filled action it shrinks the awkwardness.

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Amazing faith this woman has. Lisa shared with me some specific requests for their family and I’d love for you to pray for them as well.

  • For the 6 week antibiotic round to do it’s thing and kill the bacterial infection Emma has in her lungs.
  • That Emma will communicate clearly her pain level instead of toughing it out all the time.
  • Friends – since they just moved.

In looking back at this day I realize that sometimes the Holy Spirit puts stuff on our hearts and it’s so heavy you can’t get away from it. We can ignore it, think it’s a weird idea and run the other way or we can act on it as awkward as it may feel. It won’t feel right until you just do it and even then it could still feel weird. Weirdly right. That’s okay. Responding to Jesus through obedience is the key. I will be the first to say that many times I don’t get this right because of not wanting to press through the uncomfortable.

I’m also reminded that sometimes our ministry is in the waiting and behind the scenes. Sophie went fully expecting to see Emma. But she waited in the waiting room instead. And we were both bummed about this. I reminded her that part of her ministry that day was waiting. And that’s not always fun. Her 3rd grade class was also back in class praying for Emma and her Mom so they also were a part of this ministry as well. We all play different parts and they’re all equally important.

Love is – weird sometimes. Love is – waiting. Love is meeting new people that you feel like you’ve known forever because well that’s what the Holy Spirit does.

Press on friends!