Love flows in, Love flows out
We have just come to the end of an 8-week reflection on the love of God. But this is not the end of the journey. If you’re like me, over these 8 weeks you’ve realized just how far you have to go with becoming a loving person. The good and hopeful news is that God’s plan and purpose is to make you more like him; the true, full picture of love. This week’s daily readings are going to allow us to camp out on the dynamic of inflow and outflow; the love of God as our source, which fills us to overflowing love towards those we are called to love. Remember, as you read, be aware of the fact that God is speaking to you, about his perspective, agenda and direction for your life. And he doesn’t overload or overwhelm us, sending us running in all directions. His voice is most often gentle, specific and persistent. So stay in listening mode – He is the host of your time together each day.
Day 1: Can you grasp it?
As we spent time considering the last two weeks in our weekly teaching (find it here if you missed), this life-long journey of becoming a person of love begins, is sustained by and must be continually anchored in the love of God for us.
The following exercise is based in one of the most magnificent prayers that one of the early Jesus-followers prayed for the church (then and now, you and me); a prayer about truly understanding God’s love. Take the next 10 minutes to read and prayer through this exercise. (It’s written by Jenn Krishnan)
Day 2: Agape Love
Our messages in the Love > series explored the biblical idea of love as agape; an idea found almost exclusively in the New Testament, first and foremost describing the love of God. Take a few minutes to (re)watch this Bible Project video of what Agape is. When you’re done, take a few minutes to consider the questions below:
What image or words most stuck out to you as you watched the video?
In what ways are those new or really important ideas for you as to what the love of God for you personally means?
Take a few minutes to write a short paragraph of words that God might be saying to you through this video. For example, Vijay my love for you is rich, full, inexhaustible and really practical. I don’t just love your soul, I care for you body, your relationships and your daily needs. You think my love runs out – it doesn’t!
Write a prayer of response to Him based on whatever He has said to you through this.
Day 3: Overflow, Part 1
Read: Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The love of God for us – well that’s something we want to believe is true (even if we struggle to believe it at times). Not a difficult thing to admit we want right? I mean who doesn’t need more of His love, grace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy and patience.
But what is difficult is that Jesus often pushed his followers to consider loving others that same way. Here in this passage he holds up the love of God the Father as a picture of what love in our lives is meant to look like. And, unfortunately, he even includes “Enemies” in the scope of who we are meant to love.
Most of us – hopefully – do not have a list (or a long list) of enemies. So let’s just even start with this list:
- People who disagree with or think differently than us (constantly!)
- People who make life difficult for us (uncompassionate teacher, a bully, a hard-nosed boss, a co-worker who pollutes our work environment)
- People who have wronged us in the past
Take a moment and fill in a name or two next to those descriptions (go ahead, no one is looking!)
Jesus says we are to bless and pray for those names.
Bless: to speak well of and to, to long for good things for
Pray: for healing, provision, grace, favour, love
This can seem so foreign to us; partly because, if we’re honest, we’ve gotten into a pattern of speaking unkindly or grumbling about them, hoping for or rejoicing in their misfortune; praying that God would strike them with lightning (oops, maybe that’s just me..TMI).
But having our hearts changed toward our enemies, having our hearts become more full of the love of God for them, begins here.
- Take a few minutes to pray blessing, healing, provision, favour or love for one or two of the names on your list.
- Now consider whether God might actually want you to speak blessing about them (to someone else you’ve gossiped or complained about them to), or speaking blessing (gasp!) to them!
- Whatever specific step God puts your heart, ask him for His love to flow into you, giving you the strength and courage to do it authentically.
Day 4: Overflow Part 2 (Central Asia)
The last two days of our daily readings this week will focus our attention on two of our International Workers; people who have been entrusted to us to pray for and support just as they take God’s love to people and places far beyond the borders of where most of us live and work.
Wade & Cara were part of the original group that planted our church back in 2005. During that same time, they were feeling called by God to bring his love to people and places in the world where Jesus was not known. We as a church have had the privilege of sending them, praying for them, visiting them in Central Asia, and financially partnering with them in the work they are doing. Take a few minutes to read a bit about their story (as told by them), as well as the things God is calling them to focus on in these days.
Our God Story
From a young age Wade wanted to experience God and was interested in serving overseas, where he had heard many stories of God’s love and power being displayed. At a crisis point in his 20s, Wade gave his life over to God, and He gave Wade back a much better life. Later, while developing his skills and career, he met Cara and fell in love. They were married two years later and began to work through what it would look like to serve God together.
After pursuing personal achievement and career as a young adult, Cara recommitted her life to God; she clearly saw that though she wandered from God, He was faithful in holding on to her and bringing different people to plant and water seeds in her life. (1 Cor 3:6)
Wade and Cara wanted to use their skills for service overseas, specifically in Business for Transformation. Through this calling, God opened the door for them to serve in a creative access nation. Wade and Cara’s life is a life that is lived with intentionality and purpose. They try to daily seek the Father as to where they can best apply the funds, skills, and energy He provides in a place with little certainty; they are often working and living outside of their comfort zones. This means that they are constantly challenged to grow in wisdom and character.
To advance the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom in the marketplace, to students, and to the marginalized in a Silk Road country through spiritual generations of labourers living and discipling among those who do not know & follow Jesus. We are focused on discipleship, which includes walking alongside seekers and believers and helping them grow in their walk with Christ as they reach out to those in their family and relational networks. We envision seeing spiritual generations of disciples that are passionate to know, love, and become like Jesus Christ.
Wade and Cara own and operate a B4T (Business for Transformation) company that employs close to 100 people from LRPGs (Least-Reached People Groups, i.e. those that have few to no Jesus-followers native to their country and language). This business and the relationships that they have built in country form the main context of their ministry. As a part of a Word-focused team, they meet regularly with mens’ and ladies’ seeker and discipleship groups as well as engage in 1:1s with key nationals for discipleship times. They host events and training days with the goal of building a humble and loving Christ-following community. They seek to do this in a contextual and natural way.
Take a few minutes to pray for the love of God to flow into and through Wade & Cara:
- For them to be reminded of God’s unfailing love, grace, forgiveness, compassion and care for them (especially as they are away from many of the loving relationships of family and church that we often take for granted)
- For them to be fueled by love for the people they live and work alongside; that they would not be distracted or discouraged by measures of “outward” success (business growth, # of people at bible studies, etc.) but to have the patient, long-suffering, personal love of God for each person in their care
- For their family to be filled with the love of God in their relationships with each other, such that everyone who comes into their home, has a meal with them or builds a friendship with them would see the love of God in a tangible way, and want to know more about the God they love
Day 5: Overflow Part 3 (Guinea)
Back in 2010 we were privileged as a church to be introduced to Lizette Lavoie and her work in Guinea, West Africa. Over 10 years we have sent several people, spent many hours praying and raised thousands of dollars for the Kids in Crisis Centre, which Lizette and her Guinean family (Lazare & Faith) run. Take a few minutes to read more of Lizette’s story, and her work in Guinea:
My God Story
Lizette was born in a Catholic family. At the end of her university studies, friends introduced her to an pastor. They did Bible studies for some 6 months, at the end of which the Holy Spirit opened her eyes to her need to follow Jesus as Lord & Saviour. After several years in the church, Lizette developed a holy dissatisfaction with her life as a high school teacher and volunteer in church activities. She was called to the mission field at the very first missionary conference she attended. God called Lizette to Guinea where her gift of teaching and compassion could be well used. She has been living and working in Guinea since 1990.
My vision is for people who have never heard or understood the good news of Jesus to have access to Jesus through the Guinean church and Guinean believers growing in their knowledge of God and their skills, communicating the good news both in words and acts of compassion.
I have been involved in training young people in the Word of God, holiness, and evangelism of unreached people groups. I have also been working at reaching those who do not know Christ through acts of compassion like school kits for orphans in many areas of the country as well as helping babies orphaned at birth and/or HIV+ orphans through the Kids in Crisis centre.
Take a few minutes to pray for Lizette, Lazare, Faith & the Kids in Crisis Centre
- For the love of God to be their constant source, which will fight off discouragement from the evil one, opposition from government leaders or local authorities who want to take advantage of them, or just the burden of caring for so many hurting and needy children
- For the Kids who have been at the centre for many years (boys: Sekouba, Danny, Florent, Alpha, Moussa; girls: Mariam, Aicha, Ruth, Dorcas) to have real relationships with Jesus; to understand the love of God for them, & his calling on their lives to be a blessing to many of their own people.
- For the National (Guinean) church to be motivated by the love of God to reach out to their own people who are suffering and in need of Christ; in the past they have had little interest or compassion for their Muslim friends, family and neighbours, and have not seen it as their calling to bring them to Christ