Over the last few years there has been a huge push to love the way that Jesus loves. Books like "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan and David Platt's books "Radical" and "Radical Together." The basics of the books is that by loving people the way Christ loves people they will see the love of the Father and become followers of Christ.
When I first read "Crazy Love" I was moved by it beyond words until I got to the fifth chapter. In that chapter he began to use the reference at the end of Matthew 25 to say that our mission was to help our brother with physical needs: clothing, feeding, giving drink, and visiting in the prisons. Any serious Bible student should understand the context of Matthew 25 is post tribulation after the second advent of Christ and He judges the nations for there activity with Christ's brothers, Israel. But no one seems to take the time any longer to check on such things. Now, I do believe that the scripture teaches us to be generous and to help our neighbor. I just would use that passage as a proof text.
As I read "Radical" by David Platt, I noticed that he made sure to say that every instance in which the Church would help the community there was an opportunity to preach the gospel and see people respond to Christ's message of salvation. This made more since to me in the fact that "It profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and loose his own soul." Then as I read "Radial Together," and Platt put this concept of the love of Christ in its proper context of the Church I knew that this was some truth in which to cling.
The longer I'm in ministry the more simple things become. God, life, people, and Church all revolve around one thing: relationships. God is a relational god that desires to be in relationship and has built all life around relationships. As we left Katie's game last night we drove by a Church at had made an elaborate light show for people to drive through. I sure the light show was free, and I know it took numerous man hours to pull it off. but I wonder, out of all that activity for the community how many lasting intimate relationship will be built that lead someone to the saving knowledge of Christ and encourages them to build the kingdom of God. Activity as no value in itself it is not attached to some type of relationship. All you have done is put on a free light show. I liked the light show!!! I thought it was cool. But is that what we as the Church has been called to do.
New Season Church is about to have a big community day in which we provide food, clothing, and toys for the surrounding community. I think this is a great idea to draw a crowd. it is a great reason for people to come together. But if we are not intentional in building new relationships with the people that come, all we will have done is provide food, clothing, and toys. I see so many church gimmicks that are done to make the church member feel good about themselves instead of accomplishing the work of the ministry. Jesus was so effective because the relationships he built while he was here and the relationship he has built in my heart. Let's give like Jesus gave! Let's love like Jesus loved! But in doing so, Let's build deep meaningful relationships that will cause people to be more like Jesus. God speed to you in whatever you do for His kingdom.