If you spend any time here at Faith Community you will begin to hear the phrase: "Follow well, love well, serve well." These are the building blocks of our life of faith here at Faith. These are Jesus' words in every Gospel. His call and command are as simple as they are challenging. Easily memorized but never mastered. These must be the DNA of our our lives, our community, and our relationships.
In light of the polarization in our culture; the growing hostility to the Christian faith, and the individualistic and isolating habits many pursue, it seems like a strategic time to focus on these simple words. Let us start 2018 by defining these words that define us and by encouraging one another to follow well, love well, and serve well.
We have looked at the call and consciousness of a disciple/follower/leaner of Jesus. Today we look at the commandment of a disciple -- to love well.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE | 1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Here are some books and resources we recommend for your own reflection and study (there are listed in no particular order):
A Disciple's Checkup: Here is a list of questions Mark developed to anchor his own life as a learner/follower of Jesus.
The Radical Disciple by John Stott. This was the last book John Stott chose to write. Consider it an elder statesman and saints farewell reflections on what it means to follow Jesus. What is a life of radical discipleship? At the root, it means we let Jesus set the agenda of our lives. We aren't selective. We don't pick and choose what is congenial and stay away from what is costly. No. He is Lord of all of life.
Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott. Terrorism, Same-Sex Marriage, Debt Cancellation, The AIDS Pandemic These are just some of the critical contemporary issues addressed in this book. Issues Facing Christians Today helps thinking Christians sift through and respond to a sweeping array of complex and pressing topics.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is a classic look at the Sermon On the Mount. The opening chapters on cheap grace are worth your investing in this book. Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler weeks before the end of World War II.
The Challenge of a Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power by Richard Foster. Challenging and thoughtful reflections by a Quaker to the Church today.
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teaching on Discipleship by Dallas Willard. Willard boldly challenges the thought that we can be Christians without being disciples, or call ourselves Christians without applying this understanding of life in the Kingdom of God to every aspect of life on earth. He calls on believers to restore what should be the heart of Christianity -- being active disciples of Jesus Christ.
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