The Bible does not say: People, let us be religious together for religion is from God and everyone that is obligated to religion knoweth God. No! the Bible says, Beloved, let us love one another for everyone that loveth, knoweth God for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8.
By Pastor Tim White
I have been following Jesus Christ since I was 10 years old. And, after all these years, I am closer to him than I ever dreamed possible. I am amazed by his words now more than last year. I love the verse where Jesus speaks from his heart and says, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:15-17
I have to admit that it seems a bit presumptuous to call myself a “friend of God.” I am not alone, in that Paul continued to call himself a slave of Jesus Christ. But I have to admit that Jesus has been a best friend - more than I could ever imagine. He certainly is a friend to me and I want so much to be counted on to be his friend. I want to be the kind of friend who rightly preaches the Word of God; who loves His people with integrity and faithfulness; who is a resource of His grace into a world that is so broken; who invests his life in the people He has assigned me to love. I want to be a friend of God from the bottom of my heart.
This week I am sharing the vision of Washington Cathedral for this year’s campaign "Love First!” Last week I began to cast the vision of discipleship. Encouraging the good people of our church family to view their family, friends and neighbors as people who they long to pour their life and faith into creating a circle of influence. If we could all do that, our church would spread the Good News tenfold. Isn’t that basically what every one of us wants to do whether we are a grandfather or a grandchild.
This week I want to share the new plan for the empowering organization that will help every disciple become a discipler. That kind of organization only works through fostering two-way friendship. I have spent 33 years being at the head of a clumsy organization. No organization is perfect. They become bureaucratic and political by nature. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this subject. It is called “institutional entropy.” But friendship cuts through the Gordian knot that prevents the church from being all that Jesus envisioned. I have entitled this message – “Unlocking Your Giftedness.” Would you please join me and enter into this all-important dialogue that will shake the world with the love of God and rebirth our church by empowering its people to be all they were meant to be?
Your friend for the rest of my life,
By Pastor Tim White
When they are to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” "You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” 2 Kings 2:9-10
It is easy to say I love you as an affirmation of goodwill, but the ones we really love know it through our actions. We can say we love the world, but what do we do to show it?
God so loved the world that He gave His Son. What was this all about? It was about bringing humanity home to be restored to the Family God has created. When we discover the love of Jesus, we know that our response is not just to say that He exists, but rather that we get to share a life of love with Him and those who He calls us to love right around us.
Every creation of God is unique in its beauty. When I was ten years old I decided I wanted to join 4H. (4H at that times was for farm kids to grow and learn life skills needed for living in the rural area). As my project, I chose raising sheep. My family had raised chickens, cows and pigs, but no one had every tackled sheep. I wanted to learn more about being a sheep farmer so I went to group meetings and we learned about raising sheep.
Wild Love Wins (Love me, don’t leave me - overcoming the fear of abandonment) - that is the title of my sermon on one of the most beautiful and most powerful chapters in the Bible - Romans Chapter 8. This will be our focus as we study this passage. Every person needs love. Our biggest failures, addictions and twisted self-defeating behaviors come from deeply imbedded insecurities in a desperate need for love.
"The local church is the hope of the world." These were the passionate words of Ryan Romeo as he spoke in our area at a fabulous concert last summer called Outcry. Pastor Linda attended the Christian concert for her birthday featuring some of the top Christian bands and artists. She was so touched by the fervor of the young worship pastor named Ryan Romeo, who through Cody Williams (Director of Development for the band Jesus Culture) had put Ryan in touch with David Crowder, Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music, and many of the leaders of millennial Christians in the United States. Linda was so impressed by their passion for the local church that she picked up a copy of the book "OUTCRY" by Ryan Romeo. Giving it to me she said “this sounds a lot like our new theme Love First.”
Once upon a time, there was a church that really needed a boost. The church prayed -- the senior adults prayed and the children prayed; the singles prayed and young couples prayed. Everyone who visited the church prayed. Because isn’t that what you do in church? They were all praying that God would somehow let go of His power in order for the church to reach a very troubled world with the love of Christ.
I love the old joke where the mountain climber falls off the mountain and is holding on to a cliff with a thousand-feet drop beneath him and he yells out… "God help me!" Suddenly he hears the audible voice of God saying, "just let go and my angels will catch you and fly you back to the top." The man looks down and then yells back. "Is there anybody else up there?" I think most of us can relate to experiencing stress. In this season when the kids are getting pictures of their first day of school, they are often somewhat nervous about meeting new friends, learning new material and getting back to school. Teachers are often stressed getting ready for classes that have a high student teacher ratio. Business men and women are often stressed wondering how they are going to pay all their bills. And everyone is stressed because Equifax, without asking us, has all our personal information and half of all Americans lost their identity security as this company was compromised. In fact, I think I just stressed us all out in promoting this sermon on moving from Stressed to Blessed.