Monday, September 10, 2012

The Goal is Love

Why does Godwor exist?  There are many answers.  One is because some of us have had bad experiences in traditional churches, and have been seeking something different.  Others of us have come to the Lord and found that among those of us who are “all-in” fully committed disciples … there is a kind of sweet fellowship that cannot be found elsewhere.  And there are others who feel differently. 

But there’s one thing I want to insist upon for Godwor: that we become a group who are pursuing a common goal, not merely leaving somewhere else.  Leaving somewhere, or rebelling against something is like trying to find Hawaii by leaving California in a boat headed west.  We’re certainly going in generally the right direction, and definitely leaving CA, but will we ever find aloha this way?  The right way to find any place is to set our destination and then pursue it directly. 

Godwor has many benefits over any other group of so-called “Christians,” in that we deliberately help each other to grow stronger, we stay more closely aligned to the truth of God’s word, and we endeavor to do good things for others.  In short, we “teach, heal & reproduce” exactly as Jesus did – no deviations.  In the process we find that we can grow in strength and peace in ways unheard of in traditional churches.  And others are helped without a big “ministry” or a fancy church building or all the other stuff of this world.  Among us, it’s just one person helping another in Jesus’ name, and to God’s glory.  Pure and simple 

But these benefits are not why Godwor exists.  They are side-effects. 

The real reason for Godwor is: love.  We’re learning to obey the two most important commands of all scripture: To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and – to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Our God “so loved the world” that He sent His Son to die for us.  That Son (our Lord, Jesus) loves us so much that He left perfect heaven, came to an ugly world, served, loved, and gave his life as a ransom for us to rescue us from eternal death.  Everything we are about is love. 

And why is there an association of disciples at all?  Why can’t we each serve God on our own?  After all, we will stand alone on Judgment Day … no church will stand with us.  The answer is love.  The great Apostle Paul wrote this to a young minister:

But the goal of our instruction is love
…from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they don’t understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.  (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

This excerpt from a letter Paul wrote was to explain that although the church was full of discussions about doctrine and all sorts of things, and led by men who seemed to be smart leaders … only one thing really matters: love. 

It is our goal to create an environment where disciples – true disciples, who have sold all they have to buy the pearl of great price (Matthew 13.45-46); and have died to themselves and are taking up their cross every single day to follow Jesus (Luke 9.23) – where these unique people can find a common love, and grow to love more.  We want to love like God loves, like Jesus loved, and like all great men and women loved.  We expect never to arrive at their level of love and maturity (teleios), but it’s our goal.  We strive together to see how much we can love, and how much we can discard in single-minded pursuit of that goal. 

And so we study Romans 12.9-21, but more importantly, we strive to make it real in our lives.  We want to love sincerely, completely, without hypocrisy.  We want to love when times are hard, and we want to love each person and group as God would have us do.  Everything … EVERYTHING is about love. 

And so in every situation of life, the one universal answer that applies to everything is this one: What’s the “Golden Rule” response?  How can I “do to others” right now – as God would have me do? 

If I speak in tongues but don’t have love, I’m just annoying noise.
If I have the gift of prophecy, and
If I know all mysteries and all knowledge; and
If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
…but don’t have love, I’m nothing.
If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and
if I surrender my body to be burned
…but don’t have love, it profits me nothing. Now abide faith, hope & love - but the greatest of these is love

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