Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Command? Yeah right!

I haven't always cared as much about love as I do now. No, I'm not talking about romantic love, or family love, or even love of country. I'm talking about theological love - the love that is God, defines and describes God, and becomes the bench mark of our closeness to God. It was always easier to think of love as obedience or commitment - or even faithfulness, because those are, or can be, visible, measurable, and judgeable. And besides, it was always so hard to deal with love as "doctrine" or "church" because it just didn't "feel" right for "real men" to talk so much about love. I mean, love is for women and chic-flicks - right? Love is that goofy feeling you have when you're so star-struck over a girl you can't even talk straight - right? And then there was all that weird business about loving your enemies! What's that all about? I don't feel like loving my enemies - or the...poor... the unclean...the different... or even that weird-socially-inept-church-member, who just doesn't know how to fit in. And who needs love when religion is all about following established-correctly-interpreted-biblical-patterns. It's better to be right than to be loving - right? I even remember purchasing books on love - because I was "supposed" to have them - and I intentionally shelved them for a future time when I knew (even then) that I'd be more interested in the subject. (What was I preaching back then? Ouch!) Something happened - I mean other than aging! I finally figured God out. Oh He was clear - I was just muddy with doctinal correctness. No matter what I read, studied, preached, taught, or thought about, I kept coming back to the Genesis point that it is all about knowing God - and God is love. No one, from Adam to after-life, can know God without knowing love. The patriarchs were impatient, Israel was legalistic and forgetful, and Christians want to win the debate. We all have done a miserable job of understanding and developing the love of God. When Jesus called loving one another "a new command" in John 13:34, we thought He was talking about emphasis. After all, how could it be "new". It had been around from the beginning - how could it suddenly be new? Sounds more like a rehash doesn't it? The reason it was new was because the pursuit of God no longer had anything to do with laws, rules, Temples, priests, sacrifices, and ceremonial performances. Love was now the only tool we needed to know God, please God, and be like God and "one another love" was the best way to learn it. Once we realize that love (God's love) isn't a feeling but a choice - a decision to act - all that worldly feel-good romance oriented thinking about love goes out the window. We only know God to the extent we know love! Everything else is only tools to use to help make that happen. Now my only question is, how did I miss that for so many years?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Building Trust

Building Trust (Sermon is on our Web page)

Trust is an integral part of our life - from trusting our mechanic, our dentist, to trusting everyone who is driving on the same road as we are. Spiritually, it is the foundation of our walk with God. A great example of trust and loss of trust is seen in Matthew 14:22-33 when Peter walked to Jesus on the water. My favorite OT verse on trust is Psalm 20:7 and the NT is Romans 15:13. I also like the NIV in John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me."

As a life quality or as character, trust is the most important, most fragile, and the most difficult to repair. Trust is: a firm belief in the honesty and reliability of some one or thing; a confident expectation and hope placed in someone or thing, and something entrusted to a person. Spiritually, it's God. God is love = trust; 1 Cor.13:7 "love always trusts." It is the message and purpose of the Bible - God can not violate a trust - He is the ultimate in trustworthiness!

My "Dirty Dozen" ways a trust is violated or broken (just to name a few). A trust as been violated when...

1. You don't tell the truth or you misrepresent it.

2. You judge or criticise without communicating and finding out all the facts

3. You don't keep your promise or commitment

4. You break a confidence

5. You gossip (violate the trust of the one talked about and the one talked to)

6. You leave someone out who should have been included

7. You speculate or assume w/o communicating

8. You don't speak up and/or defend a friend or a loved one

9. You fail to respect the feelings of those who expected you to

10. You ignore or forget something that is very important to friends or family

11. You humiliate or demean friends or family in the presence of others

12. You don't practice what you preach

Why is trust so important? There are THREE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF TRUST

1. Trust is the foundation of integrity! A. Every act of distrust destroys character B. Integrity gives inner joy & peace - distrust steals it C. Your values or lack of values define you * Why did Peter "weep bitterly" after his third denial of Jesus?

2. Trust is the foundation of our relationships! A. Closeness is determined by trust B. W/o trust there is no relationship - only co-existence C. Guard trust at all cost! No compromise! No rationalizing! No excuses! * Remember Adam? "The women you gave me..."

3. Trust is the foundation of our walk with God! A. "I made you - trust me!" Seek Him! B. "I love you - trust me!" Seek Him! C. "I will take care of you - trust me!" Seek Him!

Conclusion: Do you trust Him to sit on the throne of your heart?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Label Busting

Labelling others is so convenient and tidy. You don't have to mess with truth, facts, or interacting - you just label. It's generic judging. You can lump all liberals, can all conservatives, and profile all progressives. It's easy, non-threatening, and universally accepted. Unfortunately, it's disrespectful, prejudicial, and un-Christ-like. If that doesn't give us pause, what about the fact that labeling is illogical, relative, and absurd. Since labeling is judging, the judging is nearly totally dependent on who is making the judgement rather than some absolute basis from which to compare. "I am right - normal - in the middle, where all right people should be," our unspoken brains declare, "and everyone to the left of me is a liberal, to the right are the conservatives, and anyone who thinks they're ahead of me is a progressive." So the labels change, depending on where the one who is doing the labelling stands - at that point in their life.
A liberal is no longer someone who questions the authority of the Bible or the reality of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us -it's the folks who do new things in their assembly. The conservatives aren't those loyal to God's Word, but those who refuse to change anything they did in the 50's. The progressives are just the folks going faster than us. They would all be better if they were "just like me."
I've been labelled all three at different times by different people and for different reasons. I think I am all three, at different times and for different reasons. If I had to pick one, it would be the one I've almost never been called. Spiritually, theologically, and as far as church stuff goes, I'm a "dyed in wool conservative." Why? I'm am only driven by one thing, and that is loyalty to God's message. That loyalty has caused me to throw out some things I have been taught in the past, and it has caused me to rethink everything I've ever learned through the years. Some of those things were reinforced, while others where adjusted to fit my understanding of God's will. If the Bible says it, I believe it, but I may not believe your interpretation of it, just like I don't believe some of the conclusions I held twenty years ago. Still, I can't tell you how long it's been since I had a REAL discussion about scripture with someone who disagreed with me or was upset about something I taught. We don't argue scripture anymore, we argue preferences.
Where God allows liberty, I'm all for being liberal. Where God wants growth, movement, and a "living and active" church to match His "living and active" Word, I'm all about being progressive. Ask me to ignore His Word, replace His truth with our traditions, or promote law when He calls for Spirit - and - like I said, I'm a conservative.
Have you ever thought about how much Jesus was a "label buster"? His people were saying, "Those Samaritans are worthless," and He told a story about one who has become an icon of neighborliness and compassion. His people were saying, "Women are not very important - they're just property," and yet He offered "living water" to a women that his disciples were surprised he even talked to. The world labelled Tax Collectors, the blind, the sick, the adulterous, and the thieves, and He said, "Don't keep them from coming to me."
Yes, I still catch myself occasionally using labels to define groups, churches, and others who don't stand exactly where I do. I'm working on never doing that, but old habits and old sins die hard. If I'm going to use labels, I need to use the labels that God uses, like "saved," "Kingdom," and "names written in the Lambs Book of Life." Now that's a label to long for.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


While it's still a work in progress, I'm glad to let you know that our new web page is up and running. The long address is but I'm told you can get to it with just the and not all the front stuff. Many parts of it are underconstruction, but we have a great volunteer who is willing to keep working on it and keep it updated. In fact, it already has Sunday's sermon on it - the one I wrote about this morning in the blog below this. It does have the song before the sermon on it too, but you can move the little dial and it will fast forward past it. There will be a lot of changes and improvements made, so please be patient if you check it regularly.

Building Respect

Building Respect
Respect includes honor, consideration, caring, concern, recognition, courtesy, attention, and regard. For God, respect is worship - a 24/7 life giving in sacrifice to Him. For Christians, respect can easily be defined as the way Jesus treated others.
While the Bible is all about respect (because it's about God), my favorite illustrations of respect include: 1) David's refusal to kill Saul in the cave because he (Saul) was "God's anointed"; 2) The Centurion in Matthew 8 who showed respect for Jesus' power and authority; 3) The Prodigal son, in Luke 15, when he was back before his father.
Some helpful things to remember about respect:
1. Respect must be valued, sought after, and recognized as foundational to all of life's important qualities. It is a Christ-like quality we must want and one we need. All other qualities rest on us choosing respect (i.e. Christian Graces, Fruit of the Spirit, etc. all require it to build on).
2. Respect begins with self-respect. We are God's masterpiece and we can't begin to love Him and others until we truly love ourselves - like He wants us to. That means don't allow others to disrespect you (just deal w/ it in a Christ-like way).
3. Respect must be consistently modeled if it is going to be successfully taught. Model a person who possesses self respect. Remember what is seen is more powerful than what is said. Always show respect to and for your children. Deal w/ disrespect immediately! If you don't expect it and require it, your children won't give it to all other authority figures (i.e. police, teachers, elders, etc.). God command them to show it, that means parents MUST model and teach it!
4. Respect for others has no exceptions! It's for all (1 Pet.2:16-17) and we must have it to please God. Remember His lesson to Peter in Acts 10 = NO PARTIALITY! Don't pass on your prejudices to your children. Grow w/ them! Respect differences in personalities, interests, and opinions. Respect individuality in each child/person. Respect individual decisions.
5. Respect is not approval! Jesus showed that with every person he met - regardless of their sins - even sexual sins. But he never approved their sins! Sin does not negate respect no matter what culture has taught us about some sins ( i.e. homosexuality). Respect, but don't approve all groups, those who are different, different beliefs, and the property of others.
Conclusion: We always think about Moses having to show respect for God at the burning bush encounter. Have you ever thought about how much respect God showed for Moses? He was reluctant, unwilling, full of excuses, whining for help, and weak! What would you have said to him? God answered and dealt with every concern. Have you ever thought about how much God respects you? Especially when you consider what we really deserve?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Street Gangs In Calgary

Roving street gangs in Calgary, Alberta. They're looking for trouble.

Here they have commandeered the front yard of a peace-loving suburbanite.

Isn't it amazing how many things in life people look at totally differently? For twenty-five years I've spent countless vacation days and thousands of dollars traveling to Colorado to hunt elk and I've had years where we never saw any. I have come home with elk for the freezer four times, but some of us (who shall remain nameless) have never brought home any delicious elk meat. I'm just saying, it's a quest, a goal, a hobby, and an adventure - and just a fun time for a bunch of guys to be together hunting in the mountains of Colorado. In the suburbs of Calgary - elk are pests, and the homeowners get upset when their shrubs and gardens are eaten, and their green yards get fertilizer that is un-spread and unwanted.
Everything depends on your perspective, and your values. One persons pest is another persons prize. Have you ever looked around your house and thought about all the little (and sometimes big) things that you wish were improved, fixed, replaced, or just different? Whatever it is, there are whole nations of people who would feel like they were living in the lap of luxury to have that very thing. With affluence comes complacency, and with complacency comes ingratitude and with ingratitude comes ungodliness. When that happens, we are a long way from seeing things with God's perspective.
Maybe we don't need to "stop and smell the roses" but stop and count our blessings. That pesty elk in your yard would be considered "yard art" in some places, just like that dripping faucet would be considered a life saving spring in some places.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Building Affirmation

Building Affirmation

Affirmation is an essential part of our self-esteem. It includes encouragement, reinforcement, praise, support & acknowledgement, and a steady diet of "I'm with you" (security), "You're important" (significance), and "You can do it" (competence). For biblical illustrations I used
1. God's patience and repeated reinforcement of His covenant with the Patriarchs.
2. Abraham and Isaac climbing up Mt. Moriah w/ the knife, wood, and fire, but no sacrifice. Abraham's answer to Isaac's question about where it was, "God will provide." He had come a long way - with God's guidance and affirmation for many decades. Now he was affirming Isaac.
3. David in all of Psalms 23 - talk about feeling God's affirmation?
4. The ultimate - God's affirmation of Jesus at His baptism and transfiguration
5. Paul - over and over - Phil.4:13 & 19, and many more.

Another fancy title: Mike's Five Proverbs of Affirmation
1. The best way to receive affirmation is to give it to others. The personal affirmation we receive from guiding & helping others is simply the principle Jesus taught when He said, "It is more blessed to give than it is to receive." Acts 20:35
2. Criticism that is not deeply rooted in affirmation is destructive and deadly. Oft forgotten by church folks. It was always Paul's practice to praise and encourage first. "Misery loves company" so there will always be folks who tear down rather than build up. Eph.3:29
3. Affirmation is an unselfish act, but when it becomes self-serving - it's only and act. (Nuff said)
4. Affirmation is the easiest and purest form of giving. It's not about money, but caring, giving effort, time, and thoughtfulness for others. It's doing what Jesus would/did do. (Matthew, Zaccheus, Woman at the well, children, etc.)
5. Affirmation is the joy of sowing followed by the rejoicing of reaping! Plant seeds of "I'm with you," "You're important," and "You can do it," and then water, feed, and protect. The results are maturity, strength, confidence, and new affirmers. 1 Cor.3:5-9
A family that only shares a house, food, TV, bills, and nothing else is sick and dying. The same is true for a church family. If we are not affirming one another, which is one of the main ways we help one another develop a deeper relationship with Jesus, we are just a house.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Random Monday Thoughts

I sure thought that we were finished with all this stuff. It's still pretty, but after the long winter we've had and with spring only a week away, this is a little surprising. Oh well, we don't control nature here any more than they could in Japan last week. This will be gone in a matter of hours. In Japan, they are talking about thousands of bodies still to be found. We all are praying for them.
If I could box and package yesterday, and pull it out anytime I needed a "pick-me-up," I'd do it in a heartbeat. God blessed us with an incredible Sunday. It was a great day of being with our church family, inspiring one another, and sharing some great experiences together. And to top it off, we had a great evening with our young adult small group. We have really enjoyed getting to know them all better, and hopefully share a little wisdom and inspiration. If nothing else, we always have a wonderful dinner that Donna prepares for the whole group every week. I think they especially like her homemade bread. They are a sharp group of young adults, who love God and are serious about seeking a closer walk with Him.
One last random thought: over that last several months, several have asked me about our church web page and when it was going to be active again. It's ready, with a new layout, and a new administrator at church who will keep it updated and fresh. He has my Sunday morning lessons loaded and ready to be downloaded or listened to, and many other things, knew that was coming...we are waiting to get ownership of the web name, which was actually owned by the former members who administered it for us. For some reason it's taking a long time. Anyway, I hope to be able to announce that it's ready and open any day now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Wondering

The church is changing. It always has and it always will. Yes I know that Jesus and his Word don't change. I had one of my earliest debates over Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." But people change, and because people change, cultures change. The church always tries to stop it, as it seeks to keep doing what it's always done with many totally expecting the same results, and others thinking great changes will happen. Which one is the real insane one? We've spent the last twenty years bickering over whether the worship style of the post World War Two era was immutable and eternal, and now, most of us have moved on to a deeper and more scriptural understanding of church things. And yet, we've evolved into a whole new set of expectations from Joe Christian about what church is supposed to be and do.
Are you having trouble getting members to come out for special events? Have your "old fashion" pot luck fellowships gotten farther and farther apart with less and less enthusiasm from members? Having any trouble getting people to sign up to be involved in things? Thank goodness for parents who sign up to make sure their kids have a great children's ministry at church. But what happens when those kids move out of the children's ministry? Are those same parents willing to help, or have they "paid their dues" and taking a break - a long, long break?
I'm really not whining or trying to paint a negative picture of the church - though those who don't know me will assume that is what I'm doing. No, I'm just trying to understand what has changed. I'm not frustrated or depressed and yes, I'm still at one of the most wonderful churches in the world. I just see changes happening all over.
Here's what I see, as I put my sociological & theological hat on. It looks to me like we have a clash of cultural perspectives that are bumping into each other at church like an old Bumper Car ride. First, there is the lose of loyalty and commitment to anything institutional, and unfortunately, with all the chest pounding about being a restoration movement, we've let the church become an institution that members are called to support, rather than a family that supports members. So, we see detachment and a lack of loyalty. Second, as I've said before, we live in a consumer society, so church is no longer a tool to pool resources, it's another "what do you have that I need" commodity that all to often can't compete with TV, sports, family activities, and reruns of Seinfeld. Thirdly, there are those who have expectations that church can hang on to all the old things that church use to do that gave so many great memories of simpler times. The cure is more pot lucks, more traditional Bible classes, and narrower options for helping people draw closer to God. It's not all bad, but then again this isn't the 1960's. And the last element in this mix are the folks who just want to do what ever it takes to grow spiritually. They don't have any ax to grind, and they don't HAVE to have their way, but they don't want some external activity to define their walk with God. They have spiritual families, they do personal ministries of compassion for others, and they see themselves a walking with God 24/7. They see the church as a tool for helping others, for promoting togetherness, and for doing things that only a larger group can do, but again - their spirituality is not defined by their church.
The mix is bigger than these four, and most folks are really a combination of two or more, but the real question is, how can a church like that build for the future? Call me old fashion or simplistic, but I believe the answer is and must always be that - it's all got to be about Jesus. Knowing Him. loving Him, and becoming like Him. That will always be the only real standard for any group of God's people - regardless of how the culture changes.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Series of Lessons

1. Building Communication

I began a new lesson series last Sunday about qualities that will help us build better homes. While it is primarily a family/home series, I'm making a special effort to focus on relationship building principles in general so that everyone, even singles, can get something from it. I know several in my church family check my blog regularly, so at the risk of boring them, I thought I would share the highlights (main points) of each lesson when I get back to my office on Tuesday mornings. I hope they will encourage and bless you.

Anyone who has ever heard me preach/teach for any length of time, know that I emphasize communication a lot. In this lesson I simply shared two absolutes and then five traits.
Absolute #1: Your relationship is only as strong as your communication. If you don't talk, you don't know one another, and if you don't know one another, you won't care about one another.
Absolute #2: (Surprise!!!) If you don't communicate you speculate! Fact! It's never about doing nothing (because you don't talk), because you WILL fill in the needed information with speculation, which is easier, fearless, judgmental, selfish, and nearly always wrong.

Mike's Five Traits of Communication (I know - it's not very catchy)
1. Make conversation a high priority. Reorganize your priorities, make good choices, and be intentional. (Use bed time, car time, table time, and alone time)
2. Leaders model priorities. If parents don't talk, the kids will walk. Loving parents model healthy communication. If you want to hear from your kids when they become adults, make sharing important now.
3. Communication drives relationships not the TV. TV isn't bad, well not all of it anyway. Use it, control it, learn to have fun and talk about it, but don't let it rob you of real living. Watching shows about dysfunctional families won't help you have a better one.
4. Learn to be a listener! Talking is not always communication. Be honest, courageous, and patient. Learn to respond rather than react. Reacting is all about you, & kills communication. Responding is seeking to understand why they feel the way they do. Listen with the heart.
5. Always keep the doors of communication open! Seek to understand. Don't close the door with anger and impatience. Develop a pattern of reconciliation - a way to heal the relationship.
Conclusion: What sustained the Father & Son through those terrible hours when they couldn't talk? What they KNEW about one another! What will your loved ones know about you when they can't talk to you any more?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Yes Indeed - Just A Seeker

"Bottoms up!" I don't know if you can see the ducks in the above picture, but they are both upside down, probably seeking food and not doing synchronized swimming. One of my oft-shared comments that is oft-shared because it's so profound is, "People are the only part of God's creation that can choose to not glorify God by the way we live." When anything does what it was created to do, God is glorified. These ducks are glorifying God because they are doing what God created them to do. When we do what God created us to do, God is glorified. Unfortunately, the single most important thing that God wants us to do - the thing that makes us different from every other created thing - is the one thing many don't do, and many others only partially do - seek Him!
Seeking God - seeking a relationship with our Maker - is the reason we were created. With all the fussing and arguing about doctrine, essentials, and "who's in and who's out," the one thing that transcends everything else - the one thing He wants to see when He looks into the heart of any person - is, are we seeking Him.
One of the many passages of scripture that many know, but few of us seem to digest, is Hebrews 11:6. It is one of those John 3:16 type verses. "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
As I was preparing last Sunday's lesson about "What Are You Looking For," I used this passage to show what God wants us to be looking for. IT IS ALL ABOUT SEEKING HIM! In this simple verse, the Holy Spirit tells us exactly what God is wanting from us. It tells us what seeking God means.
1. It's a relationship not a religion! Many have a system of beliefs, but not a walk with God.
2. It's a reality based on faith! The presence of God must be real and sensed.
3. It's redemption given by grace! He does all the work. We MUST want it!
It's that simple - yet that profound. We complicate it, and we diminish it!
We can (the Holy Spirit said "must") seek a relationship with God the same way we seek a relationship with anyone we want to have a relationship with. Just think about what it takes to have a relationship with anyone - then apply that to God. That's seeking!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Law And Older

A friend at church, who is a police officer, sent this picture to me the other day. It looks like any picture of a policeman on a motorcycle, but if you look really close to the word just above the rear tire you will see that it says Chaplain. I replied to him that if I got one of those, I might still be a Police Chaplain today.
I have a lot of great memories of my days as a Police Chaplain from 1980-88 with the Fairfax County Police Department. It was nice to represent my church, help and support our local police, and learn how to deal with extreme crisis situations that I never would have experienced in normal ministry. In some ways, it was also my way of serving my country since I never spent time in the military, which I had always planned to do as I was growing up.
I am thankful for the friendships, experiences, and opportunities to serve that it offered me. I think I was widely accepted by the guys at my station, and they called on me regularly when they needed my help. I also have a lot of difficult memories that occasionally pop back into my head at weird times. Memories of being at the scene of suicides, homicides, fatalities, accidental deaths, and deaths by natural causes. The toughest ones, ever after all these years, are the ones involving children and teens. I can tell you from experience that TV can never capture the real world of crime, tragedy, and personal loss that is at real life scenes. As much as I like them, all the CSI, NCIS, and Police dramas miss the mark more than they hit it. And then there were all those death notifications that I did, especially those first couple years of being a Chaplain. I was good at it because I learned how to do it right. I even ended up teaching a class on how to do it for officers and investigators. It was nice to feel like I helped and was there to guide folks during traumatic times, but it was emotionally draining - especially when I didn't do it regularly. That may sound strange, but the more often you do those kind of things, the better the mind is at coping with it. When it was once a month in stead of once a week, it was much harder to walk way and put it behind me.
Anyway, the picture did bring back memories. Every time I look at it, I am proud of the little framed collage hanging in my office with my Police badge, pocket insert, pins, and a couple pictures of those Chaplain days. Donna had that made for me several years ago, and it reminds me of some very special classes I took at the famous University of Hard Knocks.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Great Church...

I have a couple of old preacher friends who like to introduce other preachers as being "from the great church in ___________," or "from the great _________ Church of Christ." It's a nice way to be complimentary, if somewhat hyperbolic, when one is given to using superlatives a lot. I applaud the compliment, while having questions about the superlative.
What IS a great church? Or, what makes a church great? I have felt, and written several times, that our view of church growth comes from the world and not the Word. So, I would say the same is true about church greatness too. When was the last time you heard about a small town congregation of God's people, who love each other, have a reputation for serving their community, and don't know or care if others see them as liberal, conservative, or have their names in the new Where the Saints Meet book, being referred to as "a great church"? No, we all know that "greatness" usually comes from being large, trend setting, attractive, progressive, and well known. And there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, but - they can easily have more to do with quantity/greatness rather than quality/greatness.
How would Jesus define a great church? I believe He would be looking at only one thing - is that group of disciples doing what He intended for them to do? If a congregation of God's people are not fulfilling His purpose, there is nothing great about about them, whether it's a family of fifty, five hundred, or five thousand. A great church is a family of God's people helping one another develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. Are they growing in love for Him by learning to love one another? Are they passionately seeking Him and sharing Him? Are they using the tools He gave to carry out His purpose, or are they worshipping the tools and performing ceremonies that have nothing to do with deepening relationships with Him or each other?
Let these two passages define what a "great church" is in God's eyes.
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." 1 Peter 1:22-23
A great church is defined by love, and what that love compels each disciple to do.