Hearts, and Babies, and Lent! Oh My!

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Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all! Stores have been preparing us for this day ever since right before New Years.

We started seeing the red and pink candies and other sweets flood the aisles as well as over-sized stuffed animals.

Don’t forget about the cards!

And the day has finally arrived. I know Valentine’s Day gets a mixed response every year. You have the people who thrive on it. They cannot wait to surprise their significant other with showers of gifts to publicly display their love.

Others are less enthusiastic. You may hear, “You know, you should be showing your love every single day of the year. Don’t fall for the hype of doing it just one one day.”

Then there are groups of singles who tenderly refer to the day as “Singles Awareness Day.”

No matter what camp you find yourself, this year Valentine’s Day shares its time slot with another celebrated day.

Today is also the beginning of lent; also known as Ash Wednesday.

Now, I’ve never celebrated Lent. I think the idea of fasting so that we focus more on God is a great idea. I have been involved with activities leading up to Resurrection Sunday which are designed to help focus on the “reason for the season.

I’ve just never formally celebrated this Catholic turned denominational church tradition.

That being said, with Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday falling on the same day it makes for a wonderful illustration.

The purpose of the Lenten season is to prepare oneself for the coming of Easter. Easter, being the holiday Christians take special to remember the resurrection of our Savior; who came to the Earth to save us from our sins because of His great love for us.

Everything God has done for us, He has done out of love.

He made the world and made us to enjoy it because He loves us.

When we had ruined our relationship with Him as a result of sin he set a plan in motion so we could be reconciled to Him, because of His love.

Jesus chose to go through with death, even death on a cross, because of His love for us.

And today, as Christians, we can have communion with the Father through the Holy Spirit who resides with us, because of His love.

His love is unwavering. It is unconditional. His love is eternal.

That is something to celebrate.

As we hand out our tiny Valentine cards, and snack on candy, and go out to dinner with loved ones, let us remember the One who is love.

Whether we take part in Lent or not, let us choose this time to draw closer to the God who has given us the model of love in the first place.

We Are Called To One Mission But Not The Same Ministries

It’s interesting how quickly groups of people who should be working toward the same goal can turn on each other.

In marching band, it’s he instruments against the flags.

The actors take arms against the set crew in drama.

In the workplace it can be field techs verses the office.

Even in church it can happen. The community outreach group and the internal ministry can become pitted against one another.

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One Body, One Purpose.

In Scruptures one of my favorite description of the Church is as a body. In a body there are many parts which all work together for a common purpose.

If one body part is injured, then the rest work harder to pick up the slack. If a part of the body is sick, the rest suffers with it.

You know the feeling. It can feel impossible to perform any task when a headache strikes. Progress is slower when suffering from a broken leg or sprained ankle.

Our body relies on all it’s┬áparts to work together.

In Christian circles we often times spend all of our energies beating up the other parts of the body simply because they do not perform the same function as we do.

Different Parts Perform Different Tasks

It is ridiculous for us to assume that a hand and foot should perform the same functions. While they are similar (each having 5 stubby appendages at the end, they themselves are at the end of a longer appendage,and each have a softer, fleshy underside) they are designed to be different.

A hand and foot are not meant to perform the same tasks.

Now before someone starts pointing out that some people walk on their hands, or there are some who have learned to pick up a variety of objects with their feet, I already know. I never said they are incapable of soing some of the same things, but that is not their primary function.

In the body of Christ we have all been given a different task. We have natural talents, and spiritual gifts which we are meant to use to further the Kingdom of God.

Why is it then we get upset with other members of this body for not having the same passions as we do.

One Mission, Different Ministries.

God has given us all the mission to love others the way He has loved us, but that is going to reflect differently for different people and situations.

I’m to love everyone. However, I do not show the same love to my a friend as I do to my wife. I do not love the stranger I meet with the same love as I do my own children.

It would be silly to demand I live in this way.

Some of us have a strong, God-given desire to head out to the streets and actively, daily care for the homeless. Wonderful! Do that. Share with others and you may find God placing others in your path who desire to do the same.

Others may have a passionate calling for those within the deaf community, or single mothers, or struggling with substance abuse, pornography, or in any other walk of life. I believe God lays certain passions on our hearts because there is a need He desires us to meet.

However, let’s not chastise another brother or sister because they have not heard the call to a particular ministry.

We should encourage each other to follow God’s will in our lives. Celebrate the calls in the lives of others. If we all just focused on one people group, there would be entire cultures and subcultures left untouched by God’s love.

So follow God’s leading. Pursue the work he has laid out for you. Share it with others and let the world know of the needs you have found.

But do not belittle others for finding the same passion in another area.

Let us all work together, even if it means in different areas, to bring the love of God and the gospel, to the world.

How can you encourage the ministries to which others have been called? What passion has God placed on your heart?