Sunday, September 21, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #31

Hi Friends!

Fragmented and dysfunctional relationships appear to be increasing in our society or at a minimum are more readily magnified through social technology and spontaneous media.

The Bible says one thing never fails to mend fragments into functional and even flourishing relationships - that one thing is love - not love loosely defined but love defined unconditionally.

The best opportunity for all people to share genuine relational fellowship - is to respect the moral law of love modeled in the person of Jesus Christ - His love always exemplifies that which is true, right, and best.

I encourage you to take a moment to read the passage below - pause and spend some time in prayer - understand anew that our faith and hope in God must be great to experience restoration of civility and right relationships in our culture.

Most importantly understand that God is love - realize afresh that His love is greater than even our hope and faith in Him - His love for humanity never fails to save, strengthen, and fully sustain humanity.

May we turn to Him - may the love modeled in Christ Jesus be evident in each of us and may the world know we are Christians by our love - the love of Jesus working through us to enrich relationships.

God's Peace,

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #30

Hi Friends!

Few things say fall to me like football - admittedly it is my favorite season of the year on several fronts - in addition to football it's also the season when you can bow-hunt whitetail deer in Ohio - and in my innermost being I'm still optimistic that the Red's might make a run at the fall classic.

But beyond the bonfires and festivities of fall - there's something about families settling back into their communities, schools, work, and church after summer that is very appealing to me as well - in this age of instantaneous social media I think it's increasingly easy to take one another for granted - to expect relationships to stay strong without too much discipline.

When fall rolls in I am reminded anew that great football traditions and successful whitetail hunters and world championship baseball teams have at least one thing in common - each of them are very disciplined in the fundamentals of their games - some call it old school but more accurately I would call it proven school.

Proven school is that methods may change but fundamentals for optimal outcomes never do - the Bible affirms this formula for successful living when it tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) - and therein lies our hope for stronger relationships with one another.

While seasons and methods change the values and virtues of our Lord and Savior never do - and so rather than take one another for granted with the often limited touch of social media - I am recommending that we relearn the discipline of relationship building in all seasons in our communities, school, work, and church.

Consider this - the outcomes we respect the most on the gridiron and in the hunting blind and at Great American ballpark all find their origin in consistent discipline which is in fact the very nature of Jesus Christ - that's why Jesus calls all people to be His disciples.

Consistently modeling the behavior of Jesus is to deeply invest in personal relationships with others within our sphere of influence in all seasons - no one has changed less and loved others more than Jesus - so let's look to him this fall and in all seasons and be more disciplined in strengthening our personal relationships.

As I look to do that - please know I'll be rooting for the Red's and the Madeira Mustangs and the Ball State Cardinals (go DH) and for THE Ohio State University Buckeyes to all enjoy success - and for whitetail hunters everywhere to thin the population of deer with respect to the driving safety of all.

But most of all I will be rooting for you and me - I want us to be disciplined and to remain connected to Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord - to consistently share His unchanging values and virtues with our family and community and work and school and church.

No one has changed less and loved others more than Jesus - if ever I would be found quote worthy please know you can quote me on that - no one has changed less and loved others more than Jesus - let's continue to model His discipline and fundamentals this fall and in all seasons.

God's Peace,