Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the naked truth


We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

We know the truth, and in fact we cling to what we know.  It is something that we share with others and believe in with all our heart, at least most of the time.  Hang with me as I share some thoughts from happenings of the last 7 days.

You’ve got to know that my head and heart are still in high gear as our back2school event happened only a few days ago.  It was a huge win for all the people involved as we were honored to serve lots of kids and their families.  Those people heard that there is a God who loves them and who gives us hope to live in troubled times and all the time.  They heard that God loves people, and that is the truth.

Last Wednesday was a big day for my favorite chicken place.  Chick-fil-A has great chicken and waffle fries and even milk shakes.  Their commercials and advertising are funny and make you stop and take note.  But that last Wednesday the world seemed to stop and give their support to them.  There were people lined up at our local Chick-fil-A and at locations everywhere, but there were also protectors.  Dan Cathy, the man who leads Chick-fil-A, made a public statement that their business supports traditional marriage.  Listen up for a minute… I am glad that was said, but I want you to hear my heart.  I believe the truth is God loves people.  He loves people who go to church and people who don’t go to church.  He loves people who are married and people who are not married.  He loves people who believe in marriage and he loves people who don’t.  God loves people who are heterosexual and those who are homosexual. 

I did not write this and share it with you to draw sides or to insight a riot, but I wanted to let you know that the God we serve is “pro-people”.  God loves people.  That is the naked truth.  We need to be honest about sin, but we have to go out of our way to tell people that God is for them and loves them no matter what.  Far too often we would rather throw stones or hold up protest signs than to give a hug and listen to someone who is struggling.  I believe in people.  Church, it is time that we begin to show the world what we are for rather than shouting about what we are against.  If we are going to win the world to Jesus, then we better do what Jesus did, and Jesus lived his life to illustrate the truth that God loves people.

The last few days I have spent with my grandmother who is near death.  This is not an easy time.  Tuesday evening as we prepared for to leave for the night she was agitated and began to say she wanted to go home.  We have had some sweet conversation this week about heaven and being ready to go there.  But in grandma’s frustration and through her anxiety I found myself saying to her over and over that God knows, cares and has prepared her for this because God loves people.  That is the truth she needs to give her peace.  It is truth that our family needs to lean on.  It is the truth whether we believe it or not.

I am convinced that God’s love will take us further than we can even imagine.  If we will be consumed by God’s love, we will see lives changes, hearts melted and situations get easier.  All it takes is believing the naked truth or the raw truth or the truth that never changes … God loves people.

How can we convince others of this truth?  I’m convinced that this truth is best seen when we love people like God loves them, unconditionally.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

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