Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Caring Is Loving!

Last Sunday I introduced our plans to have a new kind of class as part of our Adult Sunday morning Bible class program. We're calling them Caring Classes because; 1) they come from our need to be driven by our Purpose and our Steps (Connecting, Caring, & Committing), and 2) because "Caring" for one another describes the goal of the class. There will just be two pilot classes to begin with, so that those who feel that they benefit more from the traditional 45 minute lecture class can still attend one of those if they want to. The Caring Classes will focus on building spiritual relationships, growing in love for one another, and meeting the needs of one another. I'm sure there are a few who don't want that, just like there have been many who clearly don't want the traditional approach to Bible classes, and they show it by not attending. I don't really know if this will impact that or not, but frankly, that is beside the point. How did we ever let things get to the point where we have to convince brethren that learning to love one another is more important than gathering more biblical information. That same Bible that we love to think we know so well, tells us that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." The Lord of that Bible is the One who declared that the world would know we belong to Him, "if we love one another." It seems to me that Satan got a lot of mileage out of convincing us that learning is more important than loving. Where is the track record of success? Where are the signs of spiritual growth as we continue to do what we've always done? Why is fellowship and relationship building, which was the purpose of the New Testament get-togethers, demeaned as "socializing" and extra-curricular activities for churches?
What a wild idea to suggest that we could use a one hour Sunday morning time slot for something that builds deeper spiritual relationships instead of letting that same hour define our time spent in God's Word. Could loving others cause some people to spent more time studying God's Word on their own, or with some close friends - outside of the "formal Sunday morning Bible Class"? What might happen if we actually cared about one another's hurts, struggles, concerns, and victories enough to talk, pray, and share with one another?
It seems to me that we not only need Caring Bible classes, but Caring assemblies, Caring small groups, Caring ministries, Caring special events, and so on. Caring is loving. We are only like God to the extent that we learn how to love. Doesn't that sound like why He put the church here in the first place?

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