Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? I was at a restaurant having breakfast with a church member when the images of the smoldering towers came onto the screen on the restaurant wall. The shocked nation became glued to the television for the next several days. We had a sense that the world would never be the same.
Has anyone noticed that the world has gone crazy? Terrorism. Persecution. Refugees. Poverty. The truth is that these problems aren’t entirely new. The Apostle Paul was a first century religious oppressor turned missionary. The early church was formed in persecution. It turns out that terror has always been quite comfortable in our world. And yet this crazy world is the world that God loved so much that He sent His only Son. This is the world Christ died to redeem. And in the end, terror is no obstacle to the gospel of love.
More than 1900 years ago, Paul wrote these words:
“Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
This kind of love allows individuals and churches to thrive in any culture under any circumstance. I hope you will pick up a copy of the Ward-Church-produced curriculum, “Compelled by Love,” which will be released this Sunday. Tyler Groff and I recorded five video lessons on the characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Workbooks are $5. DVDs are free to group hosts. All the video lessons will also be available online. For more information go to www.wardchurch.org/smallgroups.
Then, get ready for an unforgettable Outreach Festival as the world comes to Northville September 27 through October 4. To review the schedule or to volunteer go to www.wardchurch.org/compelledbylove/. Details continue to be added.
The good news is that God is alive and active in our world! We can rest in His unfailing love and in His sovereign will. We can join God in His redemptive work. We can love!