Loving Well: Words of Affirmation: Various Text

September 17th, 2017

Loving Well: Words of Affirmation

Various Texts

Words of Affirmation

  • Words are powerful tools

    • They can build up or tear down
    • As an act of love, words are to be used to encourage, strengthen, and nurture
  • Words are both what is spoken and what is written


God as the Lover

  • The Bible is primarily a love letter to us from God (Songs 2:4)
  • What does He say about us?
    • We are made in His image, and therefore of great value (Gen 1:26, 31)
    • He is with us and for us (Deut 31:8; Rom 8:31)


Our Response of Love (John 10:27-29)

  • We need to listen to His instructions, which are for our good (Isa 48:17-18)
  • Our praise is a response to God’s love (Ps 63:3; 106:1; 117:2)


Loving Words to Each Other

  • Encouragement rather than criticism (1 Thess. 5:11, 14; James 5:9)

    • 20 good words are canceled out by 1 bad one!
  • Concern rather than gossip (1 Cor 12:25-26; Pro 16:28)
  • Correction rather than flattery (Pro. 25:12; Pro 27:6; Pro 28:23)
  • Not just the words, but also the tone (Pro. 15:1; 25:11)


Words of Love to Our Community

  • Sharing the Gospel is sharing God’s love
  • Everything that applies to how we speak to other Christians should apply to how we show love to our neighbors
    • Except we cannot expect non-believers to live by biblical truth

      • We must model that before we can proclaim it
    • Being known for what we are for more than what we are against
      • 20 good words are canceled out by 1 bad one!

So What?

  • Are we loving with our words?

    • Speaking God’s truth
    • Building others up

Meditation Verse: Ephesians 4:15

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Loving Well: Love as Central: Various texts

September 11th, 2017

Loving Well: Love as Central

Various Texts

The Centrality of Love

  • At the heart of the Gospel message is love (John 3:16)

    • Which is true because love is one of the fundamental characteristics of God Himself (1 John 4:8, 16)
  • As followers of Christ, we are called to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1)
    • And thus, should be known for our love as well (John 13:34-35)
  • However, how do we love like Jesus?


What is Love?

  • Biblically, love is NOT an emotion

    • God never commands us to feel a certain way
  • Love is NOT condoning the sinful actions of another (Rom. 12:9; Jude 1:21-23)
  • Love is a choice
    • To treat others as we would like to be treated (Luke 6:31)
    • To put the needs of others before our own desires (1 Cor. 13:4-8a)
  • Love is telling each other the truth (Eph. 4:15)


How Do We Love Well?

  • We must understand that our concept of love must be informed by God’s character and truth (1 John 4:19; 2 Cor. 5:14)
  • We must learn to love in a way that meets people as they are
    • This is how God treats us

      • Because God knows us fully (1 Cor. 13:12)
      • Deeper knowledge à deeper love
        • Including loving ourselves as an extension of knowing God’s great love for us (Mark 12:31)
      • We are to love others in ways that fit who they are
        • ) "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6)

          • Literally, “Train up a child in his way”: a way that fits that child
        • Which means loving in a way that the receiver can understand
          • It is about speaking their language


Love Languages

  • There are 5 love languages that are generally recognized

    • “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • 6th language?


  • We all give and receive love in each of these ways

    • However, some forms are more effective for certain individuals than others
  • The key is to know the languages that best speak to you and to others to love well
  • A word on “dialects”


So What?

  • We will spend the next 6 weeks looking at each of these languages so that we might understand:

    • How God shows love to us in each way
    • How we can love one another in each way
    • And how we can love our community in each way
  • Are we ready to learn how to love well?


Meditation Verse: John 13:34-35

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Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community. The Big “So What?”

September 4th, 2017

Nehemiah: Rebuilding A Community
The Big “So What?”

Nehemiah Recap

Prayerful & Thankful

  • Throughout Nehemiah there is a focus on prayer

    • Direction (1:4, 11)
    • Wisdom (2:4; 5:7)
    • Protection (4:9)
    • Remembrance (5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22b, 29, 31b)
    • Praise (9:5b; 11:17; 12:8, 24, 27, 31, 38, 40, 46)


Centered in the Word

  • The Israelites under Nehemiah were continually returning to God’s word for instruction (8:1-3, 7-9, 13-14, 18; 9:3; 10:28, 34, 36; 12:44; 13:3)
  • Their response was immediate obedience (5:12; 9:38; 13:3)
    • Even sacrificially (5:14-18; 10:32)
  • Thus their work and lives were constantly being informed by God’s truth
    • Not mere human opinion


Need Driven

  • Nehemiah and the people saw needs and desired to be a part of meeting them
  • God gave one person a vision that was cast and shared with the faith community
  • The end result was to turn the whole community to God in worship (12:43)


Partnered with the Community

  • Everyone got involved

    • Not divided by background, age, or geography (3:22; 12:28)
  • Did not differentiate between secular & sacred
    • The wall was as integral as the Temple
  • Awareness of temptation to compromise
    • Not conformity

      • Sabbath-keeping, intermarriage, etc.
    • Set apart, but not live apart


The Big ‘So What?’

  • Questions this raises for us
  • Are we being prayerful?
    • Both individually and corporately
    • How can we make pray and thanksgiving more central to who we are as a church?
  • Are we staying centered in the Word?
    • Are we testing everything against Scripture?
    • Are we going deeper together?
  • Are we looking to meet needs in our community?
    • It shows Christ-like love, and thus fulfills the Great Commandment (Luke 10:27)
    • It gives us the right to be heard by our neighbors
      • Thus helping us fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)
      • “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” –Teddy Roosevelt
    • Are we partnering with our community?
      • Collaborating where we can
      • While not compromising who we are called to be


Meditation Verse: Matthew 5:16

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