Red Deer, AB
This past weekend, I again found myself in Alberta, Canada, giving a presentation in Red Deer on both Friday night and the Sabbath. I am still perfecting a brand new presentation that I have been incorporating into my weekend series for the un-churched. It presents evidence for why thinking, rational, and intelligent people can genuinely believe that the person we see on the cross and the love He embodied there is the God of this Universe. God really is out there. We have historically reliable accounts of His coming to and living on this planet in the person of Jesus. And He did it to reveal what was in His heart for you, regardless of who you areunparalleled love! Although I am not fully satisfied yet with some of the finer mechanics of this presentation, I am convinced that the more un-churched who attend my seminars, the more this presentation needs to be there. When we suspend the assumption that the gospels are the inspired word of God, and simply treat them as any historical document, holding them to the same academic tests we would any other secular document that claims to report history, what is the result? To many who have never grown up around these ideas, the result is a surprisingly convincing account that Jesus really was who He and the disciples claimed He was. He lived a life of love both in His teachings and His relationship with others. He died at the hands of humanity. But out of pure love, He rose again on the third day and invited all of us into, not a religion, but a relationship with Him, based on that very same love revealed through His cross. Two things become inescapably clear when one openly looks at the evidence.
First, the God Jesus describes is beyond the scope of any religion.
He and His love is unsurpassingly beautiful beyond description! And second, if what Jesus revealed about God is true, it doesnt matter who we are or what weve done, even you, right now reading this wherever you are, you could not possibly be more loved than you are right now at this very moment.
The weekend was spectacular. Presentation after presentation, we allowed the truth of Gods character of love simply to unfold.
I’ll share with you just two of the many experiences I had. A dear sister who is currently battling cancer sat through my presentation which addresses the questions that surround what some consider to be a contradiction, that God is love and yet often times our lives on this planet involve so much suffering. She came to me later and said she had been on the verge of throwing in the towel and giving up on God. She said that the presentation was like a trip to the spiritual E.R. That presentation alone meant the world to her. She shared that it went beyond the pat answers. The traditional answers werent cutting it, she said. She still had many questions, but some significant questions were answered for her. She was looking at it as she never had before. It led her heart back to the God she used to know and love; her journey toward relational recovery and back to Jesus had begun. (Each time I encounter stories like this, I am truly thankful for all our supporters, who enable us to share Gods love with so many who are hurting.) I praise God for what His grace was able to do this weekend in this dear sisters heart.
Secondly, Saturday night, after all was said and done, a small group of us went over to a members home for dinner. After the meal, we simply sat around the table as the pastor began an interesting exercise. We were to take each person around the table and share which Bible character that person reminded us of and why. I want to share with you that I experienced something rare over the next hour in this small group. I witnessed both genuine love and affection as the group revealed how much they knew about each other, and also the godly affirmation that was expressed in each persons explanations. This moved my heart beyond words. I sat there and thought, Oh how I wish this spirit were more prevalent in our congregations. I must admit that the more I learn about Jesus and what His kingdom was all about, the more questions I have relating to how church really fits into the picture. But if church could be like what I witnessed around that table, and if that spirit could permeate our churches in a tangible way, then I think we could truly become the body of Christ. I left with the deep desire for the radical, self-sacrificial, other-centered love of Jesus kingdom to become more real in my life.
So many came up to me last weekend, sharing what a blessing they had received. But with this little group around that table Saturday night, I was genuinely blessed by YOU as well.
Remember, Jesus taught us that Gods kingdom and rule is established wherever His other-centered will is obeyed and His character of love is manifested. This is why we are to do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:14). Genuine kingdom love always has a Calvary-like quality. It is radical, self-sacrificial, and other-centered. It is as indiscriminate as the shining of the sun and the falling of the rain (see Matthew 5:44, 45). Therefore, in the light of His great love for each of us, love like sun, love like the rain, and go enlarge the kingdom.
I wish you God’s best, and thank you for your support of Renewed Heart Ministries.