Real Humility and Radical Love

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If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. John 13: 14-15

Do you remember the small bit of hell that breaks out the night of Jesus’ arrest?  We have Judas’ kiss of betrayal, Peter cutting off the ear of the soldier, Jesus healing said soldier as he is being arrested, and the rest of the disciples running scared. By morning even Peter had denied Jesus three times.  But that crazy night actually started with a quiet meal with the 12 disciples.

Jesus spent 3 years doing life with these men. He loved them to death (literally) and he used his last few hours of freedom showing them the way of love. It is at this Passover meal that Jesus institutes The Lord’s Supper as a way to remember what he was about to do for them. But he also got really practical. He took a towel and some water and began to wash his disciples’ feet. His friends were shocked. The disciples had their sandals on all day, their feet were dirty and hot, and Jesus was washing their feet. This was a nasty job typically assigned to a lowly servant.  What was Jesus doing?

Peter misses the point altogether. At first he doesn’t want Jesus to wash any part of him, then as Jesus tries to explain, Peter decides he would like Jesus to not only wash his feet, but his hands and head as well. Peter wasn’t getting it.

Hopefully we won’t miss the point. Earlier this week we talked about the fact that our relationship with God must be primary because all other relationships in our lives will be impacted and directed by it. In our verses for today we see that truth come to life.

Jesus shows us the way of humility and love.

Real Humility

By washing his disciples’ feet Jesus taught us humility. There is no room in the life of a Christian for a holier-than-thou attitude. Jesus, Creator and Ruler of all did not think it beneath him to serve his friends (and even his enemy – Judas).   Humility leads a person to see that all people are equally valuable and in need of kindness. Humility is the heart of one who considers others to be worthy of more honor than herself .

Radical love

If you want to know how to really love someone then look carefully as Jesus washes his disciples feet. Jesus’ love for his friends is seen in both big sacrifice as well as practical service. His love is uncomfortable in that he does for us what we do not deserve. Jesus wasn’t simply teaching his disciples a lesson by washing their feet. He was washing their feet because he loved them.

We too should be willing to show kindness and goodness in small and big ways to those whom God places in our lives. Love for one another will move us to sacrifice and serve; it will lead us to lower ourselves and to exalt another.

Our Lord would have us love others so much that we should delight to do anything which can promote their happiness.
J.C. Ryle

For some of us this may be easy to do with our families, but we may struggle when it comes to those outside of our home. Pray for compassion as well as opportunity to demonstrate it. Some of us find loving people outside our families to be easy and fun, while showing radical love within the home to be much more challenging. Pray for kindness and extra patience.

We look to Jesus as the only one who can save us. But do not forget that the path of salvation Jesus walked for us included sacrifice and service, love and humility. When we find eternal life in him, we find the power to love others as well.

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

Week 1 – Made For Community With God

LoveGodGreatly-Made for Community-Week 1

Welcome to our study on Made for Community. I’m so glad you have joined us.  I think this will be a great eight week series.

This week we are looking at Made For Community with God.

(Click here if you can’t see week 1 video)

I am an introvert to the core. I LOVE being alone… it energizes me and makes me happy. But even as an introvert I crave meaningful relationships with others. I’m not a hermit.

No matter what kind of person you are, introvert or extravert, you were created for community.

Why is that?

We find the answer in Gen 1:27.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in community with each other. Before anything was created these 3 persons of the Godhead lived in perfect, deep and fulfilling harmony.  Community is a part of his character.  You could say that God is community and we have been created to reflect that aspect of his character. This is why we crave being known and knowing others.

The most important relationship you will have in your life is the fellowship you have with God.

Adam and Eve knew what it meant to have perfect communion with God. It is something that we can’t even begin to wrap our brains around because sin has made that impossible.

Thankfully God has made a way to restore our relationship with him (as we read in Ephesians 2). Through Christ we once again have access to God, not as our judge but as our father.

You know the expression better than new? Well, that’s what our relationship with God, through Christ, is like. The fellowship Adam and Eve experienced could be broken (as it obviously ended up becoming). But Christ repaired this broken fellowship with his blood, and therefore it cannot be broken again.

It’s what makes this relationship so precious. It cannot be ruined because you cannot ruin the blood of Christ. It can’t be undone because you cannot undo Christ’s work for you on the cross. Instead it is eternal and comes with blessings upon blessings.

When we study, we need to ask the question “So what?” Why does this matter? Why is community with God so important?

One of the reasons this matters  is that all the other circles of community that are important in our lives, like family, church, and friends will be less satisfying and less healthy, they will be weakened and corrupted if it is not anchored in the fellowship we have with God.

Our communion with God equips us for the other relationships in our lives.

Community with God teaches us how to love others, how to forgive painful grievances and how to serve selflessly. In our relationship with Christ, we see what self sacrifice really looks like, how to be humble and what truth is.

Therefore it is of utmost importance that we cultivate our relationship with God.

One of the things I love to do is study theology. Not because I want to accumulate tons of information, but because studying God will cause me to grow in faith and love.

We should never be satisfied with our knowledge of God.  The challenge for us this week is to choose one of God’s attributes and spend time studying and reading about that attribute. Choose one that you may not be as familiar with or have not studied before. (Ex. Sovereignty, faithfulness, kindness, omniscience, self existing, impartial, immanent, incomprehensible, mercy, jealousy, justice …)

 

Looking to Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

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WEEK 1 Reading Plan:

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WEEK 1 Memory Verse:

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WEEK 1 Challenge:

Week 1 Challenge

And The Word Become Flesh

LoveGodGreatly-Advent

While many of our Christmas celebrations have come to an end, our marveling at the incarnation should never cease. If anything, our awe, thankfulness, and praise regarding Christ becoming a man should get more intense.

John speaks almost in a riddle or mystery. He talks about the “Word” existing for all eternity.  This Word was with God from eternity past. Not only was he with God but he IS God. Through this Word all things were made (v. 3) and nothing has life apart from the Word (v. 4).

Then we come to one of my favorite verses in John.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

This verse marks the beginning of the grand finale of God’s plan of salvation. For centuries God had been preparing and orchestrating the way for the messiah to come. At times he would pull back the curtain just a bit so we could catch a glimpse of this promised Redeemer. He meticulously built the family line of Christ so that at the right time our Savior would be born to Mary and Joseph, an obscure little couple from an obscure little town. And when the time was right this “Word”, who took on flesh, died for our sins, satisfying the wrath of the Father.

Christ, who is the creator of all things (  ) became like his creatures. This is crazy! The more we try to wrap our brains around it the more outrageous this becomes. How can an infinite being confine himself in human flesh and bone? How can one who is outside of time step into time and live with those whom he created?

He left perfection for a fallen word. I don’t think we really understand the sacrifice in that since we have never experienced perfection. Our Jesus set his crown aside in order serve and put himself at the mercy of sin filled people in order to suffer injustice and murder to save his people.

What self denial! What self abasement! What self emptying! He, whom no infinitudes can hold, is contained within infant’s age, and infant’s form. Can it be, that the great “I AM THAT I AM” shrinks into our flesh?
Henry Law

We cannot walk away from our Christmas celebrations unmoved or unchanged. I know that many of us have heard the Christmas passages seemingly hundreds of times. It is easy to talk about the awesomeness of Christ’s birth in public but in private it produces yawns of boredom.  Let’s fight against the apathy that clouds our hearts. The fact that Christ took on flesh for us is only one part of the salvation story. Let’s meditate and learn about the perfect life he lived for us as he grew, and the death he faced to secure for us the love and forgiveness of God.

Looking To Jesus,

jen-sig

 

 

 

 

 

Our Next Study!

Love God Greatly-Made for Community

We invite you to join us January 12th as we begin our new study: Made for Community!

Enrollment begins January 1st and ends January 9th.

We have some fun challenges and activities planned for our next study and can’t wait to get started with you! Invite your friends and family by sharing this image on Facebook and Instagram! (#LoveGodGreatly #MadeforCommunity)

Join us as we dig into scripture to see what God says about the importance of living in community with our families, the body of Christ, the local church, our communities and the world!

More details on Monday! Stay tuned!

Savior Of The Unfaithful

LoveGodGreatly-Advent

Bathsheba. This is not a name that makes it on top 10 list of names for baby girls. Unfortunately the name is associated with unfaithfulness, murder, and pain.

We don’t know a lot about Bathsheba. We know that she was married to a man named Uriah and from what we can tell he was a good man. He was faithful to the King and loyal to his fellow soldiers (2Sam. 11:11). We are also told that Bathsheba was very beautiful (2Sam. 11:2). So beautiful, in fact, that David took notice of her and, while her husband was off on the battlefield, David sent for her.

There are many things we can speculate about. Why did she go? Why didn’t she refuse? Why would she betray her husband like that? Perhaps back then you did not refuse the King unless you were willing to lose your life. But these are questions we won’t have answer to.

Interestingly it is David who is blamed for her shame (2 Sam. 11:27). He knew she was married and took his power for granted.  One big sin lead to other big sins and some serious consequences.

Whether we think of Bathsheba as a willing participant or a victim, life became very difficult for her. She found out she was pregnant with the Kings baby. I can only imagine how panicked she must have felt. Days later her husband dies in battle and she truly mourned for him (2 Sam. 11:26) . She becomes the wife of the King and her baby grows sick and dies.

But God is a God of mercy and grace. David repented of his sin and God used him and Bathsheba to continue the family line that would lead to Jesus.

Tonight is Christmas Eve, and this child that we will sing about and celebrate came to save people like Bathsheba and Rahab, like Tamar and Mary, and sinners like you and me. He was born to die for the lost, the wicked, the liars, and cheaters. Jesus became a man to rescue the haters and the unjust. He came to save the unfaithful.

We have been unfaithful to our God.  We have chosen others over God’s love. We have turned away from God and found ourselves in ruin and need of rescue. This is why the baby in the manger is so precious. This baby, that the shepherd worshiped, would one day be nailed to a cross in order to fulfill his purpose on earth:   to appease the wrath of the Father and procure for us eternal life.

Tonight we remember Mary and Joseph as first time parents in a stable in Bethlehem gazing at their child –  the Son of God. But no matter what time of year it is or what we are studying we must always keep one eye on the cross.  This was why he was born in the first place.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

Road To Christmas: Week 4

LoveGodGreatly-AdventI love road trips. Before GPS we used a good old fashioned and highlighters and we highlight as we drove so we could see the progress we were making. Despite the innumerable potty breaks that start 5 min. from home, crayons that end up rolling around the van, car sickness, spilled food, and hundred’s of “are we there yet”, road trips are so fun. But arriving at our destination is even better.  That’s when we can finally relax and find rest.

Our road to Christmas study has led through many stories of people, particularly women, that God used in building the family tree of Christ. We have studied a few of these women over the Advent season and we will look at one more this week, namely Bathsheba.

The women we have studied were far from perfect and did not live easy lives. The woman we will look at this week is no different. Bathsheba has been called unfaithful, an adulterous, a victim and a woman draped in tragedy.

She experienced a great wrong done to her, she suffered heart-breaking loss, and ended up the wife of a man who was not only a murderer, but also the king of Israel and a man called “a man after God’s own heart”. In one sense sin brought these two together, but it was also somehow the mysterious, sovereign plan of God. A plan to pave the road for the coming of the Messiah.

The Road to Christmas leads us through the lives of sinful men and women in need of salvation. Our study will end this week with us looking in the face of this salvation. We will see the son of God become the Son of Man. We will witness  “the Word” take on flesh in order to save the women we have studied over the last few weeks. The good news is that this salvation is for us also–for anyone who believes. This is a great reason to celebrate.

I know that this week will be a busy week for many of us. It may be filled with parties, activities, time with family and friends and church services. All of these things are good things but don’t let it take you away from spending time with the one whose birth we are celebrating.


Don’t celebrate Christmas while neglecting the Christ whom Christmas is all about.

 

WEEK 4 CHALLENGE:

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WEEK 4 MEMORY VERSE:

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WEEK 4 READING PLAN:

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Looking to Jesus,

jen-sig

 

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