Church at Home

Today, as the kids and I were getting in the car to go to church, our car battery was dead. By the time we scraped off the corrosion and recharged the battery, we would have been terribly late and maybe the car would have gotten us back home again and maybe not. So we had church at home. We spent time together, we watched a program enforcing lived out Christianity. We communed together and remembered what Jesus did for us and still does. We thought about things we could do around us. We sang together. Best church I’ve had in a while, truth be told. And I believe this was God’s idea. I believe He wants to grow us to greater compassion and need meeting in our area. I believe there are people around us who are forgotten and ignored, despite many many churches around us, and God made and loves each of them and wants them saved. We have so many churches around us. I wish we had more Christians. I decided we will start by obeying and being a help to those around us. Not with demands or expectations, just with love where they are because of Who made these beautiful but wounded (aren’t we all) people. And once we touch lives, I really hope there is a real Jesus church who welcomes people in and keep feeding their souls Jesus and not pharisee-like social or political bull. Who will join me in this compassion initiative? Show compassion to one person you see. See a person and their need and help. No motive but love. Join me.❤

Jonah 4:2&11

Jonah 4:2. ‘He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 11. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”‘

The Power of a Hug

Hugs express love in a faster, deeper way than anything else I know of, especially if accompanied by kind or encouraging words. It is a gift that takes time, gentility, attention and compassion. The recipient is honored by the gift. When feeling a little low or left out, a hug says, “I see you. I care enough to include you.” Or when feeling a little neglected, a hug says, “It’s okay. I love you.” Little expresses those as poignantly as a hug. The very best at it are those who have empathy that drives them. These people are gifts and treasures to the world. They are quiet often, sometimes shy, easily diminished by those whjo wish to rule them, but these are who should be lifted high. The world screws this up, spouses screw this up, countries screw this up. Our greatest treasures and those who should be celebrated and attended to and paid attention to are these precious empathetic souls who know and understand people greater than any others. They have valuable knowledge, priceless understanding, the ability to put themselves into someone else’s shoes and appreciate and love them. They are the most effective huggers, the compassionate ones, the ones who make you feel amazing just because they get you and love you anyway. These beautiful precious souls should be put on a pedestal, should be respected and adored for this sacred gift they hold and choose to share with humanity, whether they are worthy of it or not. I love these people and wish to resemble them in any small way. Hug on, you perfect souls. I love you dearly.

Expressing Compassion

We see homeless people a lot here in Lakeland, FL. Homelessness seems prevalent and even welcome here. As such, you easily become hardened and skeptical and when seeing a homeless person start to ignore them or start judging what they would spend the money on and their motives and story. When seeing a single mom with four kids, you can easily judge or assume bad things. A huge advantage to scoring on the side of compassion is to take some time. We are called to be compassionate and not called to judge or assume things. If someone has a need, you share resources if you can. On the flip side of that and playing devil’s advocate, you don’t throw your pearls before swine either. Giving needed resources of your family to fund a drug or alcohol addict is stupidity. So, what do you do? How do you respond to these situations and show compassion in this crazy world? There are several options. One is to set aside part of your tithe or extra offerings and dole it out when the need arises. A second way is to buy food or clothes for the person in need, not allowing the chance to use money for addictions. A third option is the most unpopular one, to actually serve them. This option involves speaking with those in need and finding out their story and what their needs are and directing them to needed places, maybe even taking them there or paying bus fare. The reason this is so unpopular is because we are generally so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t want to mess with craziness from external sources. We need to hurry up and get here or quickly get there and hurry home to sit in front of an entertainment box the rest of the night. Me too. I am often guilty of the sin of unavailability. I believe the right answer to the question of showing compassion best is really a direct reflection of our relationship with the Lord at that moment. When we are in constant prayer, in Bible study and reading and walking the way of Love, the Holy Spirit quietly guides us to where we need to be and what we need to do. No easy pat answer to be found. Everyone’s needs are different. Sometimes people need money for rent. Sometimes people need food. Sometimes people need a ride to a job interview or a Bible or an education or a suit or whatever. We don’t know anything about another person’s life and heart story. God knows though. And if we ask Him, He will tell us enough to be able to help them where they really need it. Compassion is a reflection of God’s presence in our hearts, the ability to see with His eyes and be present and care enough to be inconvenienced for a beautiful or ugly person He made on purpose. It allows you to put yourself in their place and behave accordingly. We need to convey more true compassion. It is an absolute necessity.

Love in Language

Of course this brings to mind Gary Chapman’s book on The Five Love Languages, which I recommend highly. These are quality time, touch, acts of service, gifts and/or encouragement, to paraphrase. He states that people generally speak one or possibly two of those “love languages” and must have that form of love language to be filled up in their “love tank” and if not, get drained. I believe that is true but there is a little more to it. I believe that how we say things is as important as what we say. Both are important and when in doubt of the effect of potential words that may be tempted to leave our mouths, we should act in place of speak. Words can paralyze spiritual lives. The wrong words at the wrong times can damage the soul of an individual all the way until the Lord can help them forgive and they still can’t seem to forget. It is so important that those of us who love the Lord do so to other people and speak the way He spoke. Jesus Christ is our example, our template. He spoke love, he taught truth, and even when He had the right to judge someone doing wrong, he abstained and spoke love and truth and healing. He went a step further and healed them and gave them what they needed to serve. If our Lord spoke this way- love, peace truth, comfort, strength, encouragement, etc.- shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t our love for the wounded or lost drive us to be as loving and uplifting as possible? Maybe they would be healed or saved because of it. If you roar in like some deranged lion, pouncing on and judging every wrong doing, you are affirming their belief that we are whackos and judgmental dictators and holier-than-thou annoying people with nothing but hate and anger to offer. And if you speak this way and harm another soul, you are helping no one and in fact will be judged guilty for it yourself. Behavior like that comes from spiritual immaturity, IG orange and pride, the need to be right and prove you are better than so done else. So, the opposite behavior should be our goal. We should strive to love on people, pray and encourage even our enemies, be quiet examples of love and service and faith and maybe people will see that Christ’s truth and love brings peace and hope, something desperately needed by everyone right now. Maybe you will even strengthen a weak, immature or ignorant fellow believer. I hope so. Love looks like acceptance of the person, made in the image of God. Love looks like help when they need it. Love looks like being there for the even if not asked. Love looks like forgiveness even when undeserved. Love looks like smiles when frowns are given back. Love is opening a door for someone and not expecting a thank you in response. Love is sharing Christ and His salvation gift in love so they will have hope and eternal life in heaven. Love is getting over yourself and giving yourself to Christ for His sake and not for your own.