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Fireworks (Part 4)


What does love require of me?


Love, it’s such a funny word. We use it for our spouse. We use it for our kids. We even use it to describe things that we strongly like. Like I love ice cream.

When we describe our relationships with our friends, or with our coworkers we’d never use the word love.

When we describe our relationship with those that are different from us, we’d never say I love you.

What about those we’re in conflict with?



Love - a feeling of deep romantic attachment to, or to like very much, or to find pleasure in.

If I were to use the word love, which definition would you understand it to be?


Or if we use it, it’s to get ourselves out of trouble.

“Honey, I know I forgot your birthday, but I love you.”

“Son, I know I’m not gonna make it to your game, but remember I love you.”

How about using it at work. “Boss I’m not gonna make that deadline, but I love this job.”

“Ok, alright, I know I shouldn’t have done that, but before you get mad, just remember that I love you.”

“Mom and dad, I’ve got good news and bad news, the bad news is a wrecked your car, but the good news is I love you.”



And the problem is that this little word, love, asks for something. It requires something from you and me.

Its more than just a word.

It requires something from every one of us. It requires that you show it.

Even if you never said it to your spouse, the relationship requires that you show it in some way. 

You may have never said the word to your child, but they want you to show them.

 Even if you never used the word to describe your job, your job has a requirement that you showed it.


See how strange it is.

And if it wasn’t already hard enough, Paul comes and stirs the pot.

Paul is this fireball of a guy who’d been radically changed. Before his change he was full of hate and vengeance. If someone wronged his religion, he’d track them down and make them apologize. If someone wronged his God, he’d go find them and make them confess to the crime.

And then one day he meets this word love face to face. Jesus interrupts one of his tirades and says, “Why are you fighting me?”

Paul’s response is priceless. He says, “Who are you?”  

I’m the one who’s followers you’ve been rounding up. I’m the one you’ve been so angry at. I’m the one you’ve been taking your anger out on. I’m the God you say you love, but all I’m seeing is hate.

And what Jesus does is powerful. He doesn’t take his anger out on him. Or strike him with a lightning bolt. He forgives him, and he transforms his heart.

And from that day on, Paul was a different person.


Paul writes a letter to the Christians in Rome - Romans.

In this letter Paul says a lot of things that has shaped the way Christianity exists today.

As we get to chapter 12 he talks to the Christians about love.

In this passage he teaches them that love is not an emotion, it’s an action. In fact, he teaches them that love without action is not love.

Romans 12:9 - 21 - Love must be sincere.

Love - This is the Greek word agape, which is the love that God has for you. A godly love. The thing that unites all mankind is that God loves every one of us and he expressed that love. He acted on this love by sending his Son to die in my place and in your place.

In response to God’s love, God invites us to love in the same way. To love each other and to love the world with a godly type of love.

Sincere - without hypocrisy. Without concealing your thoughts or feelings.

That as I give my life to Him. My actions change. I begin to act in love. And over time I love without hypocrisy. It means that when Christ transforms me, he transforms my behaviors, and he transforms the way I treat people.

I think Paul knew the chief complaint from non-Christians. The number one reason most people don’t go to church is because everyone is a Hypocrite.

None of us are perfect. We make mistakes. But as we’re getting closer to Christ there is a new way we are invited to look at everything in our lives.



And there’s a question we should ask ourselves in light of what Christ has done. This question has the power to change our behavior. It has the power to change us when we’re in conflict. It has the power to inform how we respond to conflict. And the question is:

WHAT DOES LOVE REQUIRE OF ME?

When I’m in conflict what does love require of me?

What does it ask of me? How does it inform me? Am I behaving in love, godly love, or something else?

This question changes everything.



Paul lays out how love should inform you and I in our lives. He then gives a list of actions or behaviors. These actions are what love requires of us. Paul says that these are to be the way we love.

This isn't a checklist!

This is what the power of God can do in our lives as we submit to the cross. 

As we turn our attention to God and ask Him to take control of our lives. He then supernaturally begins to work these behaviors in us.

Paul would make this same list in his other letters because sometimes, even though God is working in our lives, we need a reminder of what love requires of us.


Romans 12:9 
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Hate - meaning to be horrified at it.

Cling to the good - meaning to be glued to the good.

Hate has the power to multiply every conflict in your life. 

But looking for the good has the power to bring change.

And love requires that you and I put down our hate towards one another. 

It requires that we address it. 

It requires that I ask God to remove any forms of hate that I have towards others. 

It requires that I take a step toward those that are different from me. 

It requires that I glue myself to the good.


Romans 12:10 
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Value each other.

Prefer the other. Give preference to them.

This word means to outdo one another with honor. 

Can you imagine how much conflict could be resolved if you and I simply showed respect and honor to those around us?

Love requires that I outdo you in encouragement. 

It requires that when I have encouraging thoughts about you, I don’t hold it back, but I share it.

It requires me to look for ways to encourage you.

Love Requires me to give preference to the other. It requires me to encourage you. It requires me to not allow the conflict to push me away, but that I step into the conflict and closer to you.


Romans 12:11-13
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Zeal - Like boiling water, you’re boiling hot for what is right. Don’t turn your burners off for what is right.

This is how we allow conflict to explode, when we turn the burners down on our fire for God. And we stop asking, what does love require of me?

This becomes a slippery slope in our marriage, in our friendships and in how we treat every person in our circle. 

It starts when we stop following God closely. When we stop being passionate about the things of God. When we stop asking ourselves, what does love require of me?

Conflict will happen in every one of our lives. But it’s how we respond to conflict that is the key.

Be faithful in prayer. If you’re in conflict with someone start praying for them. You’ll be amazed at how this resolves the conflict.


Romans 12:14 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Paul said you’re gonna be harassed, you’re gonna be persecuted, you’re gonna have conflict with those around you.

Often I ask, "What does my pride require of me? Or what does my ego require of me?" I find when I ask that question I get myself into a mess. It’s easier to answer.

But Love requires that I think not react. 

Love requires that I don’t respond emotionally. 

That I don’t react. But that I stop and think. And ask, "What does love require of me?"



Romans 12:15 
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.


Romans 12:16 
Live in harmony with one another.

What does love require of me? 

It requires that I live in harmony with my family, my coworkers, my neighbors, that guy who looks at me funny, that girl who ignores me. It requires that I live in harmony.


Romans 12:16 
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Love requires that we’re willing to associate with people who are different from us. 

It requires we associate with people who look different, think different, and live different.

What does pride require of us? That we avoid different people. But love requires that we walk towards them.

If we just took a step in their direction, if we stopped allowing pride to influence us, if we allow love to inspire us, we’d see what God can do when we allow love to influence us.


Romans 12:17
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

Don’t one up each other. Don’t try to outdo his cruelness.

Taking vengeance against evil only multiplies the evil and hate. But love, not only extinguishes the evil it builds a bridge towards unity and healing.


Romans 12:18-20
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, ”says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend."

Love requires you and I make our enemies our friends.

If you’re in conflict with someone ask yourself, "How can I make this person my friend?"

What does love require of me? It requires that I don’t make enemies, but I make friends.


Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you wished you had asked the question: "What does love require of me?" But instead you asked, "What does my pride require? What does my ego require?" 

Think back how different that relationship would’ve been if you stopped and asked, "What does love require?"

Spouses, think about how this question could change the way you fight. If you could just stop and ask, "What does love require of me right now?", it would change your response. You might not have to sleep on the couch again.

Teenagers, your sitting in a room of people who wished they asked this question. Who wished they had the courage to answer that question in so many life moments. What if you made a commitment today that in every relationship you would choose to respond with love, forgiveness, peace, instead of hate, and anger? You’d set the example for generations to come.

Parents, how many times have your kids disobeyed, or needed correcting and you responded in anger instead of love? Think back how different it would’ve been if you had chosen to ask, "What does love require of me in this moment? How can I correct in love?"

Those of you who are supervisors, think about how differently your things would have been if you had asked this question with your employees.

Think about how this could question could change everything. 

What does love require of me? 

What would it do to you if you asked this even when you didn’t want to?


Imagine how asking the questions has the power to change everything.

Imagine if you just took a step towards them in love. 

Imagine how asking this question could bring healing to your family.

Imagine how this question could transform your relationship with your kids.

Imagine how this question could change the way you interact with your coworkers.


Paul wrote this to first century Christians. These were the same Christians who were being persecuted, killed, tortured, and somehow responded with love. And that’s how Christianity spread. Christianity never would’ve spread so quickly if they responded with anger, vengeance, and refused to go near people who were different from them.

It spread because they asked this question: "What does love require of me?"

If the church is going to change the world, it’s going to be by asking this question towards those that fight us, towards those we’re in conflict with, towards those we want to avoid.

This week, here’s your homework - take some time and ask yourself, "How can I make things right with the person I’m in conflict with? How can I move towards that person I’ve been avoiding? What does love require of me?"



Worship Set


Flawless

- Barry Grau, Bart Millard, Ben Glover, David Garcia, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, Robby Shaffer, and Solomon Olds

Verse 1 

There's got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
'Cause we were taught that's who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there's worth in what you do 

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus) 

Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace 

Chorus 1 

No matter the bumps no matter the bruises
No matter the scars still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless 

Verse 2 

Could it possibly be
That we simply can't believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that's exactly what He did 

Misc 2 (Bridge) 

Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I'm ok because
The cross was enough 

Misc 3 (Pre-Chorus) 

Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace God's grace 

Misc 4 (Ending) 

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called
His name He made you flawless
He made you flawless



Blessed Assurance (My King Is Coming)

- Matthew West, Pete Kipley

Verse 1 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,
O what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. 

Chorus 1 

This is my story, oh,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long.
This is my story,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long. 

Verse 2 

Perfect submission,
all is at rest.
I, in my Savior,
am happy and blessed.
Watching and waiting,
looking above,
filled with His goodness,
lost in His love. 

Chorus 2 

This is my story, oh,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long.
This is my story,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long. 

Bridge 1 

My King is coming soon.
He will roll the clouds away.
Light of Heaven bursting through,
Oh, what a glorious day.
Yes, my King is coming soon.
He will roll the clouds away.
Light of Heaven bursting through,
and until that glorious day. 

Chorus 3 

This is my story, oh,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long.
This is my story,
this is my song,
praising my Savior
all the day long.
This is my story,
this is my song. 

Bridge 2 

My King is coming soon.
He will roll the clouds away.
Light of Heaven bursting through,
until that glorious day. 

Tag 

This is my story,
This is my story,
this is my song.


How Can It Be 

- Jason Ingram, Jeff Johnson, and Paul Mabury 

Verse 1 

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I've done what I've become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up
To the Holy One 

Chorus 1 

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free (yeah)
(How can it be yeah)
(How can it be)
(yeah) 

Verse 2 

I've been hiding
Afraid I've let
You down Inside
I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes
There's only grace now 

Misc 1 (Bridge) 

Though I fall
You can make me new
From this death
I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be


Awesome

- Charles Jenkins 

Verse 1 

My God is awesome he can move mountains
Keep me in the valley hide me from the rain
My God is awesome heals me when I'm broken
Strength where I've been weak 

Chorus 1 

My God is Awesome awesome awesome awesome 

Verse 2 

My God is awesome savior of the whole world
Giver of salvation by his stripes I am healed
My God is awesome today is an forgiven
His grace is why I'm living praise his holy name 

Misc 1 (Bridge) 

He's mighty (4X)
Awesome awesome
He's holy (4X)
Awesome awesome
He's great (4X)
Awesome awesome
He's mighty (4X)
Awesome awesome
Deliverer (4X)
Awesome awesome
He's holy (4X)
Awesome awesome
Provider (4X)
Awesome awesome
Protector (4X)
Awesome awesome

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