Recorded on March 3rd, 2019
“Love each other” It seems like such an easy thing. We need to be reminded that the command is simply that. Loving others can be hard at times, and we need to work at that.
Transcript of Sermon:
[Music] I’m reading John 15 9 through 17 as the father has loved me so have I loved you now remain in my love if you keep my commands you will remain in my love just as I have kept my father’s commands and remain in his love I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy might be complete my command is this love each other as I have loved you greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends you are my friends if you do what I command I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business instead I have called you friends for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the father will give you this is my command love each other the Word of God for the people of God Thank You Janet it seems so easy this command so simple this is my command love each other it’s not some long list it’s not complicated on the face of it at least our job as Friends of Christ is to love one another and we have been on a journey together for quite a few weeks now seeking what it means for you and I in this season of ministry as a community of believers who want to follow Jesus what it looks like for us to actually follow Jesus as a community and as individuals and I thought it would be fitting for our last piece of scripture to be this to remind ourselves as we step forward looking into reminding us where we’ve been and reminding and then looking at where we’re going to go to understand that the command is simply this love each other now if you’re human you know that the command to love each other isn’t as simple as it seems because loving can be really hard sometimes the United Methodist Church has gone through a week of showing how hard it can be to love sometimes because there’s people that are different than you and I and sometimes it’s hard to love those that we don’t understand sometimes it’s hard to love those who seem to be outside of what we think is normal or what we think is okay sometimes it’s hard to love others who don’t have the same values that we do sometimes that’s hard to love others who act differently than we think is righteous sometimes it’s hard to love others who live in our same household who we think take advantage of us or of others sometimes it’s hard to love people at Walmart who don’t follow the rules that are generally accepted about the lines that happen remember people I think lines are very important and tell me a lot about you so if you see me in a store you follow those rules I make fun but only to break the seriousness a bit but I want us to be very certain of how serious Jesus was about this command he didn’t say love sometimes and he didn’t say love some people and he didn’t say love only if it’s easy and it didn’t say it love only if they’re like you he said love each other and he told us that if we did what he asked us to do that what would happen our joy would be complete sometimes we think that if everybody just did what we want them to do and if everybody would just fall in line and as a parent I admit that this happens all the time in my household that I frequently think of that everyone in my house just did exactly what I asked them to do that my joy would be complete well Jesus is telling me that’s not necessarily true that instead my joy is complete when we love each other and that’s true outside our house too you see we want to control everything we want people to be like us we want people to act the way we think they should act and then if they do that then we will have joy then things will be right then the world will be better Jesus never says anything like that Jesus says the world will be better and our joy will be complete when we love each other love comes first always in every situation we love first we don’t judge first we don’t decide first we love first and he takes care of the rest he didn’t say Alyssa go tell everybody in the world what they’re doing wrong and fix it he said Alyssa go love everyone you meet with the love I give you and see what happens and the good news is that he’s going to empower us to do this because you and I both know that we are not capable of that kind of love you wake up in the morning in five seconds in d-day you realize you are not capable of loving the way that Jesus is asking us to love if you’re like me at least maybe you’re better than me what you probably are but if you’re anything like me you know five seconds into your day that you are not capable of loving the way that Jesus is asking you to love it’s so hard people are so people but Jesus empowers us to love the way that he’s asking us to love as we step into our relationship with him so not only is he asking us to do something that is really rather simple if we think about it that way he’s giving us the ability to do it we just have to simply say okay I’ll do it and he’s also changing our relationship here as Jesus steps towards his crucifixion and resurrection Jesus says you are not my servant and I am NOT your master we are friends we are together in this this ministry is ours and together together you and I will change the world because I think you and I would agree that this world is broken and I think a lot of us in here today have broken hearts because the world is broken you and I are sitting here today hurting because somebody in our life is hurting because of addiction or because of people who are hurting the people that we love or because of a world that is opressing people that we love or because of a world that is oppressing entire generations of people across the globe and our hearts break and we feel powerless to do anything about it but the truth is as Friends of Christ as children of Christ we have been empowered to do something about it and the only thing we have do is to love moment by moment day by day we must choose love and let Jesus figure out the rest the rest is not our job our job is love and so when we began this series sorry Joe when we began this series we looked at trying to decipher what it is that God wants us to be doing how we should be following Jesus and we talked about the strengths of this church the hearts of our people and one of the biggest strengths is how much you love Jesus we love Jesus how much we love each other how much we love this community how much faith this church has that’s all very real we talked about some of our weaknesses and how as an older congregation with some youngers coming up it’s hard to do some of the work that we wanted to do or that we think we might need to do to change the world and then we talked about our community and how this community is a growing community it’s one of the fastest growing communities in our area we talked about how one of the things that this community needs the most is what we have they don’t need what we don’t have they need what we have they need Christ they need the knowledge of God that you and I carry with us every moment of every day they need love you see the work that God is calling you and I to do as individuals and as a church is to give away what we already have and that is love we started with the work that Jesus did the first miracle he did with turning the water into wine and we talked about how at that miracle Jesus used first of all other humans to to make that miracle happen he didn’t do it all on his own he did it through others we are those others and then we talked about how Jesus didn’t bring other resources in but Jesus used the resources that he had on hand he used the barrels that were that were already there and that’s the same thing that Jesus wants to do here we already have been equipped with everything that we need to do the mission that God has asked us to do for this season of ministry and that will grow and change as the time goes on but for right now we have what we need to do what God has asked us to do and so the question is we end this series is what is it that you and I as a community of believers what is it that we are asked to do how do we make this mission happen if love is what we’re asked to do what does that look like and so I met with some of our administrative teams last week and we talked about a few things
[Music] one thing is we need a mission statement as a church one that we actually live out in this world the mission statement of the United Methodist Church as a whole is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world now you guys have had this understanding of who you are for a long time you’ve had this statement you are a small town church with a big heart and there’s nothing more true about you than that statement right you have the love of Jesus in you like nobody else and it is pouring for us from who you are and so we worked as an administrative body to try and come up with a mission statement but that would take what we have already was what we are sensing God calling us to do and put some legs to that and so we’re presenting this mission statement to the rest of you for your thoughts take it home think about it and I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do with it but we believe that our mission should be to love God to love people and to be God’s light for the transformation of our community love God love people and be God’s light for the transformation of our community let me tell you what that looks like in practice now loving God requires a lot of things it requires our commitment to being a part of a community which we already have it requires a commitment to growing in our faith which most of you do it requires a commitment to our personal relationship with Christ loving people requires a commitment to putting ourselves aside it requires a commitment to trusting Jesus it requires a commitment to understanding that every person you meet on this earth is a child of God created by God and loved by God and then the next step is the feet of our statement you see we want to go out and be God’s light in our community every day every day we want to intentionally ask God as individuals and as a community how God wants us to shine his light that day and that’s where we come with our prayer thing now this isn’t set in stone yet but this is pretty much where we’re landing if you have some serious thoughts about that please talk to me please talk to me and then I’ll share with our administrative team but you can’t get better but I think we’re getting there I think we’re getting where we everything we’ve been talking about these paths I can’t remember how many weeks but about six weeks is right here love God love people and to be God’s light for the transformation of our community what my challenges to us is that we would take seriously the leg part of that journey because I believe you take seriously the loving God part I even believe that you take seriously the loving people part because every person that’s walked in this door I have seen you love you loved me and my family even though my kids are kids and you love them like crazy but what we need to do is to start sharing that light intentionally every day and then seeing what God does with that now we talked earlier in the series about how I would like our metric as a community of believers not to be how many people are in our midst but how many people we are sharing the light with during the week and so what we’re going to start doing is each week starting in two weeks each week during our prayer time we will have a celebration time where we will have one or two people share how they let God use them that week whether it was simply smiling at a cashier who seemed like they were having a bad day or whether it was taking a meal to somebody or writing a card to somebody now listen very carefully I’m not asking you to change the world overnight I’m not asking you to do really huge things you can do huge things if you want to I’m saying we need to take the small parts of our lives and make them holy I’m saying I would like for you to wake up every morning and say God please show me how to share your light today please show me a person that I can make a difference for today and then go about your day looking for that person if you stay home most of the day God will still show you a person whether it’s somebody on the phone somebody who calls you or maybe he’ll give you an idea to send a letter to somebody but then each week Alan is going to make for us a board that’s going to go over this bench right here it’s gonna be larger than that whiteboard and we’re going to come and every time each person that you did something with that week if it was five people a week if it was one person a week you will put a sticker on that board and we will see as time goes on how that board fills up over a year and then every year we will start it over again and see how it fills up if each one of us only does this one time a week we will bless over 1500 people a year what’s the love of God 40 of us that’s thinking just 40 of us 40 people will bless over 1,500 people with the love of God each year now tell me that doesn’t make a difference in this world tell me that doesn’t work to change the world so our goal as a community is going to be to do just that so today during communion I’m going to ask that we make a commitment you each got one of these in your bulletin if you’re sharing a bulletin does anybody need an extra one of these because each person needs one unique Pape Brennan when you give one to Paul please anybody else need an extra one so the top part I cut them a little bit so you could rip the rest but the top parts going home with you and I encourage you to tape it on your bathroom mirror so that you remember to do this each day because I’m going to remind you about this every week this is not something we’re going to talk about once and never talk about again I’m serious about this I want us to make a difference in this world and I believe that God is going to do something with that so the first thing we’re going to say is who are you committed to praying for every day who is in your life that doesn’t know God or needs faith with Christ I want you to commit to praying for one person every day for the rest of this year who is far from faith right that person’s name down on that line then the next thing I would like for you to commit to do is praying for this church every day that we would follow Jesus and his calling on us in the season of ministry and then I would like for you to commit to praying that God would show you everyday who it is that you can share his light with so the top part you take you rip it off you take this home I encourage you to tape it somewhere visible I’m gonna put it on my bathroom mirror and then this one you bring up during communion and you place it in our prayer basket as a commitment to Christ as a commitment to the church as a commitment to the work that we’re going to do together in this community and hopes actually knowing that God’s going to make a difference through us that’s 4050 people who gather each Sunday who are going to reach and bless over a thousand people this year with God’s love that makes me excited I hope it makes you excited you