Let Love Be Genuine

Last week at camp, to read that post click here, the pastor spoke about the difference between seeming and being.  He talked about how we often hide who we really are instead of being who God called us to be.  I believe what truly marks us as Christians is our genuine love for each other.  We have a call to let love be genuine.

Genuine Love

Romans 12:9 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

In this section of scripture, Paul says “Let love be genuine”.  The word that we translate as genuine actually has a deeper meaning.  The word Anupokritos refers to the theater masks used to depict different emotions and characters.  In ancient Greece, masks had several uses.  They made it easier for three actors used in a play to portray more than one part each.  They enabled the all-male casts to play both men and women.  Some experts even claim that the masks helped amplify the voice so that it could be heard at the back of the large open-air theatres. However, the most significant role of the mask was the transformation that could occur.  An ordinary man could go beyond his real identity and become a mythological hero, a foolish old man, a beautiful young woman, a god, or a slave.  In disguise, he could say and do things that he could not in everyday life, and could present to the audience events, actions and ideas that were horrifying or ridiculous, inspiring or fantastic.  Paul is saying we need to let our love be genuine.  We need to love without the mask.

The Masks We Wear

Let love be genuine

My husband has a nice shiny testimony where he came to know Christ when he was very young.  He was in church much of his life because his dad was a pastor.  I do not share his experience.  I lived in a small town, and people knew enough to expect very little from me.  At an early age, I became the queen of mask-wearing.  As a teenager, I wanted everyone to believe that I had it all together and was doing just fine.  I wanted to prove that I could rise above their opinions of me.  I have risen above those assumptions and opinions, however, when you are always wearing a mask and never letting anyone close it’s a lonely road.

If you are reading this you know I am not alone in my mask-wearing.  We walk the halls in church with our smiles on so that nobody knows we are struggling.  We want everyone to think we have it all together. Would it make you all feel better to know that I don’t have it together?  Look at the women around you.  They don’t have it all together, nobody does.

How to Love

I have learned through 16 years of ministry with my husband, that people have a church face and a public face and the two should be kept separate. I have also learned that people don’t really like it that way, but they don’t know what to do about it.

Romans 12:10 – 18 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Seeming Rather than Being

When I came across this passage and its meaning it blew me away.  We spend too much time comparing ourselves to each other instead of loving each other.  Can you imagine a church where people “outdo each other in showing honor”?  What if we realized our need for Jesus and there was no need to pretend like we have everything together?  Can you imagine what it would be like if we all put our talents together for the glory of God?  Don’t you think that is what our crazy world needs to see?  The lost people in our community don’t need people with shiny lives to tell them how to fix their mess.  They need real people with experience in the mess to come alongside them and love them to Jesus.  They need to see us rejoicing with each other and weeping with each other.  We need to remove the masks that make us seem like we have it all together and be the people God has called us to be.

What mask is God asking you to remove?

The Mission: Is My Mission

Being a youth minister’s wife is an exciting adventure.  There is nothing like seeing students grow in their walk with Christ.  We spent this week in Mobile, AL with MFUGE learning all about the mission and living it out.  I love how God speaks through students and camp staffers!

The Mission

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jesus laid out the mission for the disciples in this passage.  Not only that, but He reminded them of the power they will receive through the Holy Spirit.  Anyone who professes Christ as Savior and Lord have been given this mission.  This week we talked about being a witness.  Webster’s dictionary defines witness as one who attests to a fact or event. Simply put, we are should be ready to give a testimony about what God has done in our lives.  The beautiful thing is that we all have something to share.  We all have a story about how once we were lost and without hope and now we have a hope and a future.  Tell your story.

Is My Mission

Acts 1:8 tells us that we are called to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Does that literally mean all those who profess Christ need to go to those specific places?  Of course not.  The mission that Jesus is calling us to includes our hometown (Jerusalem) AND the ends of the earth.  He didn’t tell the disciples Judea OR Samaria.  He told them, and now us, to be witnesses to Jerusalem (our hometown), Judea (our state), Samaria (our country), and the ends of the earth.  The call is not optional because we owe the world hope.  Whether we are delivering food backpacks to students in our community or giving to missions in East Asia, we are called to be a witness.


This mission is my mission This mission is my mission

MFuge is designed to give middle school and high school students a mission experience that opens their eyes to the opportunities around them to share the gospel.  We had worship experiences, Bible studies, and chances to serve on different mission sites in Mobile, AL.  This week I met and served alongside some amazing people.

The mission leaders

The first person I want to brag on is my mission site leader, Caity.  FUGE hires college students to lead mission sites in the host city for camp.  A college student could be doing many other things during the summer.  Caity shared her heart with complete strangers for the glory of God.  She made an impact on some students in our group that I believe will make a difference for the kingdom.  Caity thank you for being authentic and not holding anything back this week!

The next people I would like to brag on are the worship leader for the week, Austin and the emcee, Sara Beth.  It was week three of camp for all these guys.  Could you do three weeks of the same Bible study and activities and keep it fresh?  Austin led us to the throne during our worship time each day.  I love to see a worship leader who cares more about seeing people come to Christ than being cool to students.  Another person that spent a good bit of time in front of the students was our emcee for the week, Sara Beth.  I was grateful for an emcee who could get the students pumped up for the day, but could also get serious and share her heart for the mission.

Our camp staff was amazing!  Jalen you really are a rockstar.  I feel blessed that I got to spend the week with such a great group.  Because of great leadership, I have blown away by the stories our students told this week.  These college students gave their summer to point our students to Christ and I will be praying for them as they continue the mission.

How are you continuing the mission of Acts 1:8?

Worship Is More Than Just a Song

Worship more than just a song

I have a passion for worship.  God created me for worship leading through song.  I never feel closer to the Lord than when I am singing my guts out to Him.  My people know I have a song in my head from the moment I wake up until I close my eyes at night.  Worship is more than just a song we sing corporately on Sunday morning.  It is so much more than that and can be a major part of our Christian walk.

What is Worship?

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  Paul is saying here that worship is more than just going to church and singing a few songs.  God is the source of hope in my life.  The Creator of the universe loved me from the beginning and saw fit to make a way for me.  This knowledge alone compels me to follow Him and give Him my life.  Offering our lives to Him is the proper response to a powerful, all-knowing God, and He deserves nothing less.

Corporately and Privately

Jesus knew the value of corporate and private worship.  He was at the temple, he preached to large crowds, and he spent time alone with the Father.  The early church followed the lead of Jesus.  Acts 2:42 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  There is nothing like voices being lifted together in praise to a holy God.  Something special happens when God’s people pray and come together to hear His word.  I have learned that corporate worship times are richer and deeper when I spend private time in scripture, prayer, and praise.  Our private time with the Father makes it possible to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice”.  There is no other way we will be prepared for the things this world is throwing our way.  We need to spend time in corporate and private worship.

A Battle Tactic

Ephesians 6:12-13 reminds us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”  I will be honest and say that the past year has been quite the battle.  I have experienced some pretty low moments, but because of my time in worship, I have experienced some sweet times with the Father.  Using worship as a battle tactic has dramatically changed my life.  I discovered in the midst of my deepest sorrows I could sing out to Him.   Now, when I feel defeated, I praise Him.  When I am afraid, I search through scripture for words of comfort.

We were created for worship.  It only makes sense for us to turn to Him in our times of deepest need.  What are the ways that you worship and connect to God?