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Love The Sinner.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How can I love the sinner and hate the sin?” I’m not sure where this saying originated or how it became the theme among so many Christians. When sin is a part of how a person defines themselves, how can you separate the two? I don’t think you can. The easiest and best thing you can do is to drop the “hate the sin” part and focus on loving the sinner. Before you get all crazy, I didn’t say we don’t call sin “sin”. I said we need to quit focusing on the hate of it so much when it’s attached to a person’s identity.

We have examples of Jesus and Paul who spent their lives ministering to the people who were unworthy of God’s love in the eyes of the religious leaders. People said to Jesus, “If you knew what manner of person she was, you wouldn’t let her touch you.” They also said, “If you were really a prophet, you would know how bad of a sinner that is that you’re talking to.” Jesus didn’t spend nearly as much time hating the sin as He did on loving the sinner. He got up close and personal with those who needed Him most. His response was, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor. It’s the sick.” If the sick wouldn’t come to the hospital, He went to them.

In I Corinthians 9:19-22 Paul spoke of how he loved the sinner in order to bring them to salvation. He wrote, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. (MSG)” In his love for them, he entered their world. He didn’t force them to come to his. I think that’s key for us. Harvesters don’t sit in the farm house waiting for the harvest to bring itself to them. They have to go into the field if they want to reap. 

The most important thing he said was, “I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings on Christ.” If we are going to go into their world, it’s not to camp out and stay. Jesus always went back to the disciples and also to the mountains to pray. When you give yourself away, as love requires, you’ll need to get refilled from other believers and the Father. You’ll need to keep your bearings on Christ so that He remains your moral compass instead of political correctness. If we lose our way, how will they ever find theirs? We must remain grounded in prayer and God’s Word while we serve those involved in sins that are attached to their identities.

In my conversations with people involved in sins like this, they’re turned off by the “Love the sinner, hate the sin” moniker. They just want to be loved and accepted as a person instead of labeled and separated. The only way you can love someone is to get to know them. You can’t know someone if you’re constantly put off by their sin. You can’t know someone if you don’t spend time getting to know them as a human or a person. If you’re going to truly love the sinner, go to them, befriend them, live like Christ in front of them and don’t compromise the truth of God’s Word. When we do that, our churches will start growing and will become the hospital for the spiritually wounded.

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Don’t Stand Still

I was recently speaking with a high school student about their college plans. They said they didn’t know what they were going to study yet because they were waiting to hear from God. I encouraged them to at least enroll in the basics and begin the process of college. I explained that with the Great Commission each one of us have already been called to go into all the world. It honestly didn’t matter what degree they chose because God would use them in whatever field they went into. Plus God requires that we take the first step of faith before He moves. 

So many Christians sit around their whole lives and waste decades waiting to hear from God before they do anything for the Kingdom. The truth is that if you’re doing Kingdom work, God will bless it. He can’t give an increase unless you sow some seeds. In the parable of the sower, he was throwing seed everywhere hoping some would stick. The ones that fell in good soil produced a hundred times what was sown. Imagine if he had waited on God to tell him where to throw. Those seeds may have stayed in the bag forever.

Proverbs 16:3 says, “Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. (GNT)” You have to make plans before you can commit them to Him. You cannot sit and wait for God to give you plans. Make them, commit them to Him and then ask Him to bless them.  This is another example in scripture where we act first and then God moves. We make the plans and then the Lord blessed them. We carry out the plans and He makes them successful. The verse clearly says, “You will be successful in carrying them out.”

We can spend a lifetime planning and waiting, but God is looking for those who will carry out their plans. So much potential goes unrealized because we are waiting on God when He is waiting on us. He already gave us the command to go. Why do we then sit and wait for Him to tell us exactly where? You can pretty much go anywhere, spread the seeds of the Gospel by doing whatever for the Kingdom and God will bless it. All the world includes your job, where you live and the people you interact with. It doesn’t have to be to so where on the continent of Africa.

Not everyone is called to go to a foreign country, but all of us are called to go somewhere. Not all of us will be in full time ministry, but we are called to be ministers wherever we go. Not all of us can preach, but all of us can say something about what God has done. Don’t let waiting on God become an excuse that keeps you from doing something for God. Don’t sit around wasting your life waiting to hear from God for exact directions. Abraham was told to go and then he would be told where. It’s the same for you and I. If you step out, God will provide the direction. He can’t guide and direct you if you’re not moving though.

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Living A Wrecked Life

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I have the privilege of taking teams on mission trips a couple of times a year. Before I take anyone to Haiti, I give them this warning: Your life will be wrecked. Someone inevitably asks me what that means. I tell them something happens to you when you physically become the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these. Your life, your mission, your thought process all change when you give what’s in your hand to someone who can never pay you back. There’s a feeling of satisfaction like you’ve never experienced in doing the Father’s will. There’s a joy unspeakable that comes from holding an orphan’s hand knowing you’ve just become their “blanc”.

Things you’ve done your whole life just don’t seem fulfilling anymore. It’s difficult to go back to your day to day life knowing that the things you do there have little to no eternal value. I’d rather be working in the Haitian heat doing something that matters for eternity than to sit in an air conditioned office trying to decide where I’m going to go for lunch. I can’t even wash a bug off my windshield without thinking how the people of Myan have to walk six miles for drinkable water like the water that I’m using on an insect. It’s not easy living a wrecked life, but it’s a fulfilled one.

It’s one where you give all you have for all He wants. When you allow the scales of selfishness to fall off your eyes, you suddenly see this life was never about you. It’s always been about helping others. It’s been about giving what you have. If you look closely at what God does, you’ll see that He gives (see John 3:16). I believe He expects us to do the same. He put in us a feeling of satisfaction that only comes from giving. That’s why Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” When you give yourself, your time, your prayers or your money, you open yourself to being wrecked by God’s blessings.

God has placed in each one of us the desire to live a wrecked life. For some, that only comes from being on the ground in Haiti or some other part of the world being the hands and feet of Jesus. For some, it’s giving so that those who have the need to go can go and fulfill their mission. For others, it’s praying for those who go and give. They fight the unseen battle that rages over the lost person’s soul. Each of us have our lives wrecked when we fulfill our role in fulfilling the Great Commission. When we each do our part, we’ll each hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What’s your part in giving? If you want to have your life wrecked by God, ask Him what role He wants you to play in fulfilling the Great Commission. If it’s to go, organize a mission trip for your church and go. If you’d like to go to Haiti to work with orphans, email missions@coreluv.org. If it’s to give, find someone who is going on a trip and give towards their trip. You can also give monthly support to any full time missionary. They’d appreciate it very much. If it’s to pray, dedicate time each day to pray for those fighting on the front lines. They can feel your prayers and it gives them strength to go on. When you do your part, you give others the ability to do theirs and all of will live wrecked lives like God intended.

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