Daily Riches: How Good a Christian Are You? (Gregory Boyd)

“John [the apostle] sums up the matter bluntly. ‘Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars’ (1 John 4:20). To truly love God includes loving others with the same love God has for us and the same love God has for them. This is part of what it means to be a participant in the divine nature. It is, in fact, what it means to be Christian (Christ-like). ‘Whoever does not love,’ John wrote, ‘does not know God, for God is love’ (1 John 4:8). Our capacity to love—to fulfill the greatest two commandments—is the definitive evidence that we are in fact abiding in Christ and participating in the perfect love of the triune God. Christians sometimes try to assess how they or others are doing on the basis of such things as how successfully they conquer a particular sin, how much prayer and Bible study they do, how regularly they attend and give to church, and so forth. But rarely do we honestly ask the question that Scripture places at the center of everything: Are we growing in our capacity to love all people? Do we have an increasing love for our sisters and brothers in Christ as well as for those for whom Christ died who are yet outside the church? Are we increasing in our capacity to ascribe unsurpassable worth to people whom society judges to have no worth? If there is any distinguishing mark of the true disciple from a biblical perspective, this is it!” Gregory Boyd

“If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers,
it proves that we have passed from death to life.
But a person who has no love is still dead.”
1 John 3:14
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Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • With what criteria do you measure how you’re doing as a Christian?
  • Do you focus on your beliefs? …the opinions of others? …abstaining from big sins? …approval by your church? …practicing spiritual disciplines? …tireless service to Christ?
  • What would change if you mostly asked yourself, “Am I growing in my capacity to love all people?”

Abba, I’m not too bad at loving those that love me (except when I’m not), but loving others that dislike, disregard or disrespect me–that’s where I need to love like you do. Help me learn that Lord. May that be my “practice.”

For More: Repenting of Religion by Gregory Boyd

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: The Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

       “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do instead to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be more “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Everybody Matters, So Love Everybody (Rob Bell)

“The most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church most stop thinking of everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to the ‘un’ and ‘non,’ they work against Jesus’s teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. …Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationships in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no matter how hard we push. They just aren’t. [I obviously love to talk to people about Jesus and my faith. I take every opportunity I can get.] And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could.” Rob Bell

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” James 2:1

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you preach the gospel without words? Can you preach it without love?
  • Is speaking the truth so important that it trumps the need to love?
  • Can you do your part (whatever is the best you can do at the time) and trust God to do his part (what only he can do, and according to his timing)?
  • Maybe having an “agenda” is not so bad. Isn’t it just wanting what you believe is best for someone? After all, Christians are “missional.” So to what is Rob Bell objecting?

Abba, let me share your great good news, but love expecting nothing in return.

For More: Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)