2:52 Elementary Ministry :: July Preview
June 29, 2012
Last month, in the first part of this series, we focused on what it means to love and trust God with all our life, not only for the first time, but every day. This month, we want to take a look at something that will begin to happen in our lives as a result of our love and trust in God. When you love and trust God, you will love others.
This love isn’t a command. It’s a fact. It’s impossible to love and trust God, and not love the people whom God loves. 1 John 4:20 says this: “Anyone who says he loves God but in fact hates his brother or sister is a liar. He doesn’t love his brother or sister, whom he has seen. So he can’t love God, whom he has not seen.” (NIrV)
Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught His followers what it meant to love others. He taught how to love our neighbors, how to love our enemies, and how to love those who were overlooked and marginalized. He demonstrated the kind of love that He taught in the way that He lived. And He gave us the ultimate example of love when He died for us.
So, how do you follow Jesus’ example? How do you love a God you can’t see and touch? You love the ones HE loves. And when you love them, you will begin to understand God more, and you will learn to love and trust Him more as well.
Our monthly Memory Verse brings it even closer to home by encouraging us to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” Matthew 22:39, NIV.
In week 1, our Bible story shows Jesus thanking people for taking care of Him when He needed it most (Matthew 25:35-40). The disciples were confused—when did they do that? Jesus said that all of us (even today) have the opportunity to do this by taking care of the “least of these” around us. He says that when we do, it’s as if we were doing it for Him! So, our Bottom Line is: Love God by loving others.
In week 2, our Bible story comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43-47) when He challenges the people listening—and us—to love not only our neighbor, but also the people who persecute us. That’s much harder, isn’t it? Our Bottom Lineis: Love others, even your enemies. It’s a great reminder that God loves everyone equally—even those that are still doing bad things. So should we.
In week 3, our Bible story is actually two different stories that happened pretty close together (Mark 8:29, 10:35-37; John 13:34-35, 15:12-13). We listen in as Jesus prepares the disciples that He’s going to die and leave. They actually fight over who will sit closest to Him in heaven! So, Jesus washes their feet—a servant’s job. Then He commands them to do the same—to love one another in a sacrificial way. So, ourBottom Line is: Love others by putting them first.
In week 4, our Bible story is about Peter seeing Jesus after He rose from the tomb(John 21:15-19). Jesus asks him to feed His sheep. In other words, He wants Peter to show his love for Jesus by loving and caring for other people the rest of his days—like Jesus had done. It’s important to realize that Jesus never asks us to do anything He hasn’t done Himself. In fact, one way we love others is shown in this passage—as Jesus clearly forgives Peter for his earlier denials that he even knew jesus. Bottom Line: Love others by forgiving them.
In week 5, our Bible story God makes it really clear to Peter that he shouldn’t judge or avoid other people who are different from him (Acts 10:1-35). We’ll watch as Peter goes over to Cornelius’ house, where they are worshiping God even though they are Gentiles and not God’s chosen people, the Jews. God makes it clear to Peter that He‘s sending him out to share His story with everyone and not just people that were like him. So, our Bottom Line is: Love others, even those who are different.
This story is a great place to end our EPIC adventure in love and trust, because God’s love being shared to everyone, everywhere, and how it spread really did change the world forever. When you put your trust in God, and you live your life in response to Him by loving Him and loving others, you will live a much better story. Your life will be EPIC because it’s going to be part of something bigger than just you!
By Cara Martens. ©2012 Orange. All rights reserved. www.WhatIsOrange.org * All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Check out the preview video below ::
252 Preview: Epic Part II (July 2012) from Orange on Vimeo.
Southpointe Baptist Fellowship (www.southpointe.tv) is located in Leesburg, FL just outside Orlando.