HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! For most of us, this day can be summed up in one of two words that both begin with the same letter......LOVE and LONELINESS! To love and be loved is the bedrock of our existence. Thankfully, we have a God who at His core is love. John 3:16 says it best, "For God LOVED the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life".....now that's love!
What about the lonely? What about those who don't have a relationship with our God of love? How can we show them God's love? Let me share with you a story I heard about one person's desire to love others to Jesus.
"I work at a local community college and often buy lunch in the cafeteria. When I first encountered the lunch lady, she was taking my money. I noticed that she had short, gray hair and the kind of fingernail polish that changes according to the holiday. I also noticed that her nametag said "Dottie". The next week I told her I liked her nails, and I noticed that she had a bad chest cold. I prayed for her health, but I didn't mention my prayer to her. The following week, I asked how her cold was. She said it was getting worse and she was worried because she is a cancer survivor. She was afraid that the cancer might have come back. It was two more weeks before I saw Miss Dottie again. When I asked how she was, she said the doctors had confirmed the return of her cancer. We teared up together, and I promised to pray for her. The next week I brought Miss Dottie a present. It was a book on facing cancer with faith, hope and humor. I also gave her a card thanking her for always being there to smile at me, and I offered to go to treatment with her sometime. She grabbed my hand and said, 'Thank you so much!' Then she asked me to come around to the other side of the booth to give her a hug. Later Miss Dottie had to quit her job due to her cancer. Our church hosted a 'We love Miss Dottie' fundraiser and raised over $1,000 for her family. She was astonished that strangers would care for her in this way. I'm grateful to God that I noticed Miss Dottie. God has planted her family in my heart, and I can't stop praying for her."
We have an opportunity to have God plant a "Miss Dottie" in our lives. This Sunday at 3:00pm, Parkside Fellowship is in charge of leading the worship service at Creekside. I want to ask you to consider clearing your calendar and joining myself and several others as we simply love others who are lonely. We also want to do the same for Beaverton Lodge and will be planning opportunities to love this community as well.
Again I hope to see you Sunday, both at one of our morning services and again at Creekside Village at 3:00pm. Until then, remember this, noticing others will change your life. It will plant people firmly in your heart. When that happens, everything changes......including you!
See you Sunday.
I often wonder how much of our spiritual activity boils down to us managing God, instead of seeking Him. I also wonder which we love more, our dreams for our lives or God's dreams for our lives. While most of us might quickly say, of course I desire a life that seeks after God and why wouldn't I want to pursue God's dream for my life, the truth is, this is easier spoken out than lived out.
Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales, turned some loose change into a multi-million dollar company that had sold more than fifty million videos, when it all came crashing down with one lawsuit. Fourteen years worth of introducing kids to God, Jesus and some of the incredible stories found in the Bible went up in smoke. Phil's dream of continuing to impact kids with the message that God loves them, quickly vanished.
Phil was left to do some serious soul-searching, when he heard a pastor make this statement: "If God gives you a dream, and the dream comes to life and God shows up in it, and then the dream dies, it may be that God wants to see what is more important to you---the dream or Him".
As you strive to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, is it because of what He can do for you or because of who He is? In its purest form, loving God is loving God for God.....nothing more......nothing less.....nothing else.
In Phil's words, "The impact God has planned for us doesn't occur when we're pursuing impact. It occurs when were pursuing God. At long last, after a lifetime of striving to serve God, God was enough. Not God and ministry. Just God."
This Sunday, we will wrap-up our focus on the Great Commandment, which asks us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. As we pursue this type of love for God, which simply loves God for being God, then our lives will exceed our wildest dreams. Why? Because God's love and His dreams will shine brightly through our lives.
See you Sunday.
This Sunday, at 9:15am, we will continue our series on The Great Commandment, which Jesus clearly states is to....
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength."
This week, we will focus our attention on loving God with all of our soul. For me, prayer, perhaps more than any other activity, is the best way for me to show my love for God with all my soul. In addition to all the other work that gets done through prayer, perhaps the greatest work of all is the knitting of our soul with the soul of God. I have never hear anyone regret the amount of time they have devoted to prayer.
"For where there is much prayer there is much love." John Ortberg
Allow your soul to be united to God's through prayer.
One last reminder that the Celebration of Life for Letha Lane with be held this Saturday, January 19th, at 10:30am in the worship center.
Also, this Sunday at 11:45am, we invite you to join us in room #307/308 for a special Adults on Mission lunch. Julie Calvert, a missionary with the International Mission Board, is home on furlough from her work in England and will be sharing with us how God has been working in and through her life as an international missionary. Parkside Fellowship will provide salad, bread and drinks. Please bring a soup to share.
I think that's it for now! Hope to see you on Sunday.....if not before.