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What love are you showing this Valentine’s Day?

What love are you showing this Valentine’s Day?

Here we are in the month of love and if you have not already bought flowers or chocolates for your Valentine… you should quit reading now and go buy some! Otherwise, read on.

During the month of February there is a lot of emphasis on love. This Valentine’s Day might be a good time to think about the love we should have for those around us who have not come to know Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross, not just our sweethearts back home. Most of us have friends or family members who need Jesus and the Gospel and there is nothing more loving than sharing the truth with them.

I am sure most of us have read the story of the paralytic man that Jesus healed. This may seem like an odd story to relate to Valentine’s Day, but it is a perfect example of love.

And when [Jesus] returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And He was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Mark 2:1-5 (ESV)

Imagine going to your pastor’s house to hear him preach and seeing four guys drag a paralyzed man up onto the roof. They begin to pull shingles off and remove boards until they put a big hole in the roof of your pastor’s house.  I know I would probably think these guys were nuts. Think about the comments these men would have heard as they tried to help their friend. You know people must have laughed at them. It’s not like you can nonchalantly drag a paralyzed guy onto the roof while a big crowd of people are standing there watching. I’m sure it was a sight to see.

But these men knew one thing; their friend was crippled and Jesus could heal him. Unlike most of us, these men were willing to do whatever it took to get their friend before Christ Jesus. Jesus recognized that these men had faith and He blessed them for that. Is this the same kind of love we have for those people in our lives that are lost?

Take some time this month to do the most loving this you can possibly do, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost.

Building Relationships

Building Relationships

Cold call evangelism is valuable, and every Christian should know how to do it, but most of us don’t practice it very often. Why? Maybe it’s because we are super-spiritual and deeply concerned about leaving spiritual babies in our wake with no one to care for and nurture them.

Maybe. Probably not.

The truth is more likely that it just makes us uncomfortable. We don’t love to open the front door to white shirts, dark neckties, and bicycle helmets, so we try not to portray that image to other people.

We know deep down, even as we waste time staring into backlit screens, that life is about real relationships, namely our relationship with God and our relationships with others.  We know from experience that the Gospel is easier to believe and take hold of when introduced by a trusted friend.   So, how do we move past initial, superficial connections and build relationships that will bear the weight of God’s Truth when it comes time to share it? Here are some suggestions for you and your family.

1.     Choose your stomping grounds.  Become faithful patrons of one grocery store, one hair salon, one bank, one gym, one coffee shop, one department store, one restaurant, etc.  Get to know the people there.  Find those who seem receptive to your friendship and frequent their check-out line, their barber chair, their booth, their table, etc.

2.     Build margin into your schedule. As often as possible, arrive early to your destination and plan to stay later than you must so that you can engage more people in potentially meaningful conversation and build relationships.

3.     Invest intentionally. Look for ways to be of help. When you discover a need, do your best to meet that need. Give of your time, your energy, and your resources.

4.     Pray. Pray for your new friends and tell them that you pray for them.  Few will object, and most will begin to bring prayer requests to you, opening the door for spiritual conversation.  Offer to pray with them when they seem receptive.

In short, live out the gospel you profess by taking the time and making the effort to show love to the people around you.  Then, when Jesus knocks at the door of their hearts, they will be more likely to invite Him in.