We just “love” to talk about love…don’t we? “I love this new song. I love this weather. I love this pizza. I love your new hairstyle.” Hmmmm. Christians are just as guilty as anyone for hanging this shallow understanding of something so very precious and deep as love onto such trivial and fleeting things. Now you and I may like the pizza or a song, but love? Really? Perhaps we’re really simply in love with the IDEA of love. Let’s take a biblical look at love.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NLT)
To help clarify, let’s recall what love is. In the proper context, love is NOT a feeling. Love is a commitment. My working definition of love is, “An unconditional commitment to the other’s good.” It is a deep and lasting commitment lived out in action. Love is exemplified by God. He shows us what true love—true commitment--means.
The next thing is to notice that Scripture does NOT say, “Love is God.” It’s a good thing. After all, does pizza = God? The world thinks that love is whatever makes us “feel” good. But it’s not. That’s just selfishness. Truth is, love, in terms of unconditional commitment, is often unpleasant. It’s hard. It’s tough to do consistently. But love, in God’s world, is day-in, day-out, no-matter-what, never-give-up kind of commitment. How do we know?
God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)
Let’s look at what these verses tell us. First, He loves…so He creates us to love. (Now you know why you were created!) Second, He cares for even those who do not love Him. Third, we are free to choose—true love allows even “dangerous” freedom, where we can choose things that are not good. Fourth, God chose to solve the problem of sin because of His love for us. Fifth, this brings eternal life, which is the full expression of love.
Oh, one more, really important thing:
If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? And God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too. 1 John 4:20-21 (NLT) Sisters and brothers, it’s easy to say we love God when it doesn’t cost us anything. But true commitment ALWAYS costs…always.
Pastor Rusty <><
MORE GOOD NEWS AND UPDATES:
1. We are hosting a fun, free, family event for everyone to take part in! This event, Back to School Bash, will take place on Saturday September 11, 11am-1pm. The purpose is to highlight area nonprofits, businesses and youth serving organizations in hopes of providing resources to all who attend. Participating vendors are invited to set up a table, bring informational handouts and be ready to share ways to get involved! The entry “fee” is a school supply to distribute to all the event guests. We are also highlighting many ministries from our church and inviting our neighbors to take part! In addition to the booths we will have free lunch and our bounce house and playground will be ready for play! We would love for you to join us in the fun! To volunteer, contact Community Life Minister Arin Schellenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The United Methodist Women’s Rummage Sale is Saturday, September 18, 9am-3pm. Proceeds benefit local missions. Items will be collected in Hall CD on Thursday, September 16, 3-6pm and Friday, September 17, 10am-2pm. Clothing, books, household item and SMALL LIGHT furniture will be accepted. No pickup of items will be available. You may contact Sharon Fogleson at 317-941-3383 with any questions.
3. 2or3 Campaign Thank You Celebration Sunday, September 26: We will worship together at one service at 10am after which all are invited to join to celebrate our successful three-year capital campaign. Come celebrate you, our church, and how the Lord has provided for the projects that have been completed and are yet to be finished. Let us join together in thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness and all He has done, is doing, & will do.
4. Many have been wondering what is happening in the UMC. Sunday September 26, all attendees of the Old Bethel Congregation are invited to attend a meeting about our denomination. Decisions will be made in the future and we need to know how this will effect Old Bethel. The meeting is at 3pm in the sanctuary. Speakers will be Mike Womack and Jerry Rairdon, who both have knowledge of the details about the UMC. Mike is a member of the General Conference and is also a member of the Mt. Auburn UMC. Jerry is a former pastor of Old Bethel, a current pastor at Noblesville First UMC, and a leader in the Room for All Coalition. All are encouraged to attend. This is only the first of informational meetings.
5. Old Bethel & Partners Food Pantry is incredibly blessed to partner with Meijer on East Washington street for their Simply Give Campaign. This campaign runs from now until October 2nd. Visit their store and purchase a $10 Simply Give card and Meijer will donate an additional $10. You can also pick up these cards in the lobby of the church. Thank you for continued support of the Old Bethel and Partners Food pantry!
6. Looking to get out of the house for a little bit? We still have openings for volunteer receptionist for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon shifts (12:30-4pm). You can work each week or every other week. OR you might like to be a sub and serve when others are on vacation. Building traffic is slowly increasing and having receptionists to answer the phone is a GREAT help to our administrative staff! Contact Administrative Assistant Lynda Preston at email@example.com or 317-359-9651, extension 131.
7. This Sunday message notes are below.
Sunday, September 5: The Real Place Called Hell
So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less. That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! …When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming. But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10 (Msg)
He has planted eternity in the human heart. Ecclesiastes 3:11b (NLT)
“I am going to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2b (NLT)
“Then I will turn to those on my left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’” Matthew 25:41 (Living)
KEY to understanding why I’m here: This is where I ____________ where I will _______ for eternity
All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You're suffering now, but justice is on the way. When the Master Jesus appears out of heaven in a blaze of fire with his strong angels, he'll even up the score by settling accounts with those who gave you such a bad time. His coming will be the break we've been waiting for. Those who refuse to know God and refuse to obey the Message will pay for what they've done. Eternal exile from the presence of the Master and his splendid power is their sentence. 2 Thes 1:5-9 (Msg)
Hell is __________ ________________ from God.
If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be separated from God—lost forever! 1 Corinthians 16:22a (NCV)
My choice on ___________ is simply lived out in ______________.
Hell is the ____________ ________________ of everything God is.
“I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 (NLT)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)
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