Archives for category: Love

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THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS DINNER DANCE

Please join us for the 5th annual Prince of Peace Valentine’s Dinner Dance.  EVERYONE is welcome!  This year we are celebrating love on a global scale!  Feel free to wear your native nation’s formal cultural attire to help support our theme.  A delicious strolling international themed dinner will be served followed by a dessert buffet that you won’t forget!  Top the evening off with great music and dancing.  This is a Valentine’s passport to fun that you won’t want to miss and is good for singles and couples alike!

WHEN:     Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 7pm until 11pm

WHERE:     Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Activities Center

28000 New Market Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

$20/person advanced tickets are required.  

Purchase tickets in the church office or call Laura at 248-553-3380 for further details.  ALL profits benefit local charity.

God has been actively working in the hearts of His people and we have been blessed in the Backpack for Back to School project. Gifts of love have been flooding in to Prince of Peace.  The packs will be distributed to Rev. Morales next week, so filling and distribution can begin in time for school.  Keep a watchful eye on the blog for upcoming pictures.

You still have time to participate.  Pick up a new backpack, several places have really nice packs for $5 and under right now, and drop off during this week. Better yet, drop off when you come and join us on Sunday, for time with God, at 8:15 am and 10:45 am.

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Things are tough and tense in America, especially right now.  We have flooding, fires, and droughts and these are more than just in the realm of weather conditions.   We have a mass flooding of overflowing, raw emotions that are spilling over the banks of human hearts and minds. Fires of anger, hatred, and retaliation are burning out of control and consuming people in neighborhoods, cities, towns, and precincts across the country.  We have what appears to be a major drought in brotherly love, compassion, care, and unity that continues to erode human hearts and creates dust storms of apathy, confusion, isolation, and death of the human spirit.  We may be thinking that this tidal wave of the times will consume all that is good, right, and holy.  We might even be wondering if life as we knew it can come back from all this death and destruction. We find ourselves looking to mankind to come up with an answer, any answer, that will “fix it once and for all’. These are tough times and we need to start looking to God for His answer to our big world problems.

Christ gives a perfect prescription to heal our ailments by pointing out what the root illness is and then applying the balm of healing and what it looks like.  Racism, violence, hatred, disillusionment, death and destruction  aren’t new things.  They have been around since Adam and Eve sinned.  At the time of Christ, it was nothing for thieves to hang out in the terrain off the roads to ambush people,  rob, harm, and kill them.  It was also common that people would sit around asking the philosophical questions of how do things get better for “me”.  The written account from Luke 10:25-37 takes into account the workings of human hearts, minds, and souls.  On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The man asking Jesus the question was really looking for a loop hole.  He was seeking to justify his actions or lack thereof so he could get what he wanted.  He wanted to “feel good” about himself.  He thought the “right answer” was found in knowing a proper text book response. However,  his next question to Jesus prompts our Lord to dig deep, to go for the jugular vein of the human heart .

Jesus addresses the attitudes of hatred, racism, bigotry. Let’s face it, the robbers couldn’t have anything but hatred in their veins when they beat the man near to death and stole all he possessed, even his clothing which would have robbed him of his self esteem and pride.  Jesus points out the sins of being too busy to stop.  The priest, which points to all of us, sees the broken, bleeding body of the robbed man and high tails to the other side.  He couldn’t or wouldn’t take the time to stop.  The next one on the scenes is the Levite, another of God’s children, and he does a side step and can’t be bothered to care for the man in desperate need.  We often like to say “those mean, uncaring head honchos.  They aren’t very loving are they?” In doing so we miss the message.  No matter our status in the body of Christ, we are all called to stop and respond.  We respond because LOVE is a VERB.  Every believer has the same position to love and care and when we neglect the work laying on the road of life in front of our very eyes, we are the priest and Levite.

The best part is how Jesus approaches the concepts of bigotry and racism.  See when the Samaritan is named, we learn that the man robbed, broken, and near death on the road is most likely a Jew.  These two ethnic groups, genetically closely tied, had and still have an avid hatred for one another.  Jews would go miles out of their way to not walk through Samaria because they were not “full Jews”.  The Samaritans had just as much hatred and venom for the Jews.  But you see this Samaritan man who should have been the least likely to stop and care did exactly that.  He took time from his planned travel, and tended to the needs of the man on the road.  He didn’t stop to ask for his race, creed, or color.  He had compassion and addressed the need before him. He didn’t ask how or when he would be repaid or thanked.  He just cared.   That is what love looks like in action.  The Samaritan put the needs of others before himself. He responded like we are called to respond.

So in these dark times, what will work?  Being Good Neighbors like the Samaritan.  Stop, think of others, and respond with loving actions because we are all neighbors. It doesn’t matter what zip code one lives in.  It matters not what color of skin or what job title.  Don’t let the media, the world, and others shake your resolve to be Jesus with Skin on.  If you just slow down a smidge, you will be surprised to see how many broken, bleeding, eternally dying people are strewn on the road you are walking.

 

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In America, especially around the month of July, we really like to focus on our FREEDOMS.  We like the thoughts that come to mind when we hear about how free and liberated we are, not only in the US, but also in the realm of Christiandom.

Most of us know the words Jesus spoke and were recorded in Luke 8:26 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  The freedom from SIN, because of faith in Christ’s death, resurrection, and fulfillment of the Father’s plan is a liberation that none can compare.  In this Freedom of Faith, it can be easy to forget what we are free from and that the Fruits of Faith charges us with some duties.

Does it seem odd that Freedom brings about Responsibility?   In our sinful world, freedom is generally broken down to the least common denominator: “I can do whatever I want without any care or thought of anyone else.”  “I want it at all cost.”  “If it feels good do it.”  However, as a Christ Follower, this flies in the face of what God’s Word teaches us and what Jesus teaches.

In Galatians 6:1-10 there is an abundance of care and responsibility that is entrusted to us because we believe, trust, and follow Christ.  Let’s take a quick look and see what runs up the flagpole of Faith and Freedom.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Let us NOT grow weary – Do NOT Give up – Reap – Restoration – Accountability Partner-Burden Bearers – Keep Watch and Test Yourself – Do NOT Boast in self – Do NOT Compete with Others – Share with your Teachers – Do NOT be Deceived.  That is a lot of Fruit from Faith and not all of the points to this passage.  It might even be an overwhelming thing when you first take a look but when we realize that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, enables us to do and act, then this is a great thermometer to gauge our Christian Liberties and Freedom.

Because we know that God is the Lord of the Harvest, we can keep being faithful to His call because He will give us the skills to plant so that there will be a harvest to reap.  If the harvest is looking weak or weedy, then we need to test the soil and see if we are reaping for ourselves and our sinful desires and then be accountable to Christ Alone.  We don’t just give up because it is hard, we keep on keeping on with the Mission of Christ.

Since, we love one another and are called to be a Burden Bearer, we stand ready to walk side by side to encourage our fallen brothers and sisters so they can be encouraged to leave the sin that has taken them by surprise.  In the same fashion, we need to not think to much of ourselves because we need other loving Christians to help us when we are overcome by sin. As long as we are on this earth we are both Saint and Sinner and we need Accountability Partners to encourage us along this treacherous road as we walk in the world that is so ready to steal our eternal freedom.

This is all part of testing ourselves and to test ourselves we have to be in God’s Word and let it permeate our every ounce of body, mind, and soul.  God’s Word is our litmus test to see what we are reaping in our lives as well as His Kingdom.  God’s Word will also keep us from being deceived by the world, ourselves, others, and Satan.  It’s easy to want to compare ourselves to others because it can inflate our egos but God cannot be deceived or mocked and He knows who we really are: we are the ones CHRIST came to SAVE!

Since we have been saved, then we should be overfilled with gratitude and want to share with others. We are called to love and not miss the opportunity to care for one another in the Body.  Sometimes an opportunnity only comes about once, so let’s be on guard to care for others.   Part of the “others” we are called to share with are those that have taught us along our faith walk.  Our Faith Teachers and Encouragers need us to help them as they carry the load of serving in God’s ministry.  They sacrifice more than most would know because they firmly believe God’s mission and Call on their lives is to enable others to see and know Jesus Christ at all cost.

Above all, in our celebration of FREEDOM let us not forget that we only have True FREEDOM because CHRIST bought us at the Full Payment of His LIFE.  In reality, we are DEPENDANT on Jesus for our Independance from SIN.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16

 

Gods_Heart_92120306_stdUnselfish is an interesting word and concept in our world today.  It goes against the grain of society, self, and what Satan would have us believe.

Selfishness, being concerned primarily, almost exclusively, with one’s own desires, wants, profits, and pleasures, is all the rage and comes sinfully natural.  We see, read, and hear about selfishness all the time.  TV, radio, and most forms of media report and/or advertise to the sin of self greed and egotism.  We hear about the senseless murder of lives, relationships, families, careers, and reputations at an alarming rate, all because someone’s selfish desires come before the thought of others.  We can easily believe that our world is more selfish now than ever.  However, when we take a stroll through history, we are reminded that since Adam and Eve, selfishness has been ingrained in us.

Jesus, hits self centeredness head on and addresses it and the many ways selfishness is disguised.  As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62

When we look at the Unselfish Love Christ had and has for His Father’s plan of Salvation, how He lived His earthly life, and these verses, we see the concept of Unselfish Love.  We see the need for daily sacrifice of self and the alluring, worldly trappings of this life.  It doesn’t take a PH D in Biblical Studies to see that Christ is calling us to a life that is led, lived, and loved with God as the Leader.  Christ set His heart, hands, humility, and life on the Father’s plan to buy back His children from their sins.  Nothing could or would stop Him – not even death.  Christ challenged these three men and their reasons/excuses for why they couldn’t put God first.

As Christ Followers, we are challenged and charged with the same confrontation as these three men.  We are called to sacrifice our own agendas- selfishness- and put on God’s agenda of Unselfish Love to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then to our fellow man.  So when you find yourselves challenged to put you first, your career first, your emotions first, your desires first, remember;  God promises us that this world passes away and only salvation in Jesus Christ is forever.  That those who seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness will have all things added unto them and the First will be Last.    Let’s start living UNSELFISHLY!