Call to Love

The past few days had been frigidly cold when we found a man sitting near our tables where we serve food to those on the streets. He shared bits and pieces with us of a life I can hardly imagine. And yet, despite his horrible circumstances this man knew something that I’m slow to acknowledge. As we all gathered around, he spoke these words:

“God gave us the Ten Commandments and they’re all about love. I don’t know how we got it so wrong in this country.”

I felt as though his words slammed into my heart and stayed. Because he’s right. And there’s nothing right about it. This man, barely existing, understood what we as Christians should be first in understanding. But we aren’t. Instead we sit in church and think we’ve done our duty. We haven’t even started.

The world is dying because we’ve made the Law a rule to love by instead of the response of a heart captured by love. We’ve become so consumed with making sure we do. everything. exactly. right that we’ve forgotten the spirit of it all. And so the world cries and we do not hear, or if we do we turn away, because the love that touches the broken isn’t in our picture of Christianity.

And we call ourselves His followers?! Him the one who ate with sinners and who waited at the tomb just so Mary’s mourning could be joy, her the one who had been redeemed from defiling sin over and over again. Somehow this doesn’t equate.

When Christ gave the great commission He didn’t mean that His disciples should just preach truth to the world. The gospel is more than that. Yes, it is the truth of redemption and preaching that is a necessity. But unless we live this gospel we are preaching a truth we do not really believe.

If we really love our neighbor as ourselves than we cannot turn away from the pain of the world. By doing that, we permit injustice to continue; lives to be abused; and we tell the world that the God we serve doesn’t care enough to help a life in pain. That’s a problem. And the solution lies, at least partly, with me.

Sir John Powell once said, “Once you say the ‘yes’ of faith to Jesus and accept His blueprint of the fullness of life, the whole world can no longer revolve around you, your needs, your gratifications; you’ll have to revolve around the world, seeking to bandage its wounds, loving dead men into life, finding the lost, wanting the unwanted, and leaving behind all selfish, parasitic concerns which drain our time and energies.”

This is a lesson I’m slow to learn and even slower to live, but I intend to live the gospel that I believe. This doesn’t mean I’ll need to be rescuing those trapped in the worlds worst conditions, but it does mean that I cannot turn away and pretend that they don’t exist. I must let His love flow through me however He asks. And so I’m asking Him to teach me to learn to “love not (only) in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

Of course it’s easier to turn away. Love costs. But Love has also transformed my life and I want the world to know Him too.

Fountain of love

Christ’s heart was a fountain…. A fountain of love.
He took the love that He received and He gave it away. Continually.

His heart was ever touched with the cries of human suffering. He always sought to relieve.
He never sought to turn this fountain off. He lived to love.

“Jesus, precious Jesus. A whole fountain of love was in His soul.” (1MCP 201)

This fountain still flows. From it comes Christ’s love for us; from it we receive love to love another.

He asks us to be fountains, too. Fountains to continually share what He gives us with the world; that receive to give; that never seek to keep things to ourselves; that never seek release from duty.

Stagnant fountains grow polluted quickly. Stagnant lives have no hope of staying pure.

Give all

Some mornings start out calmly. Some begin by rocking my world. Today, the latter.

I’ve often said that to truly serve one must give all they possess, but for weeks now I’ve wondered if my all is enough. You know, what is the little I have against the great need everywhere. And really, if I give all will there be anything left?

After today I’m changing what I say. Well. Sort of.

You see, everything that I possess was given me by God and His resources are limitless. But He doesn’t say “Give My bread to the hungry.” No, it’s my bread that I must give away. And to give my bread away I must make what He gives me mine. I can’t just say “that’s nice.” I must own, believe, live. And He doesn’t tell me that I can keep part of what He gives me for myself. He simply commands that I give all.

In every command of God is a promise, and His promise here is that I will have something to give away. So, if I’m obeying and I’m giving away what I have, I don’t need to worry about having nothing left. As I give He will impart, and the more I give the more He will impart. God’s gifts are best treasured when given away anyway.

And so I’m changing what I say.

My all will never be enough but I still must give it. And as I give my all, God gives me His all. And His all is always enough.

(Thoughts from The Desire of Ages, chapter 39.)

Edges of His Ways

Time flies. Days pass, moments disappear.
Life is full.
Full of study, of ministry, of simply living, of taking time amidst the crazy busy to remember that He is God and there is none else.


The sun that rises faithfully each morning.
The rain that washes clean the earth.
The heavens that sparkle with beauty.
The power that stills the storm.

All this is but the edges of His ways.

To watch plans seem to shatter, and then to see them rebuilt by a God who’s always right.
To see the workings of Providence.
To watch a life be changed by grace.
To see God work impossibilities.

All this is but the edges of His ways.

To wake up each morning, gifted with life.
To rejoice in a God that is true.
To live for His favor, to know His smile.
To know that in His service is joy….

All this, yet sill, is but the edges of His ways.

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(See Education, page 131; and Job 26)

To live Christianity

Acts 17. I memorized it weeks ago, I wrote this weeks ago, but I’m still contemplating it.

“What shall we do? They who have turned the world UPSIDE DOWN are come here also!”

What consternation and dismay. The rulers of the city were troubled. Things changed when Paul came to town. He had a goal and he lived his mission.

We don’t see this today. I can’t remember a time in my life when one man was known as a world-flipper.

There were just a few of them in comparison to the population of the world and yet, they took the gospel to the world in just a few short years.

We don’t come anywhere close. Sure the world’s population has grown…. But so has the church; so has the amount of people who call themselves Christians.

Why are we not living lives of power like the apostles did?
There is no reason why Christianity cannot encompass every part of us and every area of life. There is no reason why Christianity cannot be who we are instead of what we do.

God has not changed after all.
So what has changed?

We have.

We’ve settled for an average Christianity and an average God.
We’ve compromised with the world and it has weakened us (as compromise always does).
We’ve stopped actively working for souls and expected others to do all the work.
We’ve lost the desire to know God and the zeal to pursue Him.
We’ve become immersed in ourselves instead of the cross.

The church has settled for a lukewarm, mere existence.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In every generation there are a few.
A few who are willing to live lives of true Christianity.
A few who are willing to abandon, surrender, everything to their Creator.
A few who are willing to be despised and scorned because they change the world.

The upside-down world of Paul was really right side up.

And ours? It’s really upside down.

I’m not satisfied with this.
I’m not satisfied with mere existence, with an average Christianity, and with a ‘average God’. Henri Nouwen said that “to live and work for the glory of God cannot remain an idea about which we think once in a while. It must become an interior, unceasing doxology.”

Christianity is not something we do: it’s something we are and it’s what we live.

And it’s what I seek to live.

Nothing wasted

Nothing done for God is ever wasted.

In the midst Isaiah’s words of prophesied woe, calamity, destruction–there were a few.

A few who heeded the warnings.
A few who turned to God.

A few.

Isaiah’s work was worth it to him.
No matter what happened he did it faithfully–even if only a few responded.
He was called, commissioned, and faithful to that call.

The worth of one soul cannot be measured.
Obedience to the call that God has placed on our lives is never wasted effort.

Christ would have died for one.

And nothing done for Him is ever wasted.

Only Serve

November 10, 2012

Isaiah 1:17

“Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”

Obviously, no person in this world is not one that we are not to reach out to.

And we’re not to do it in a lazy manner either.
Judge. Vindicate. Defend. Plead. Grapple.
Give until you can give no more. And then give some more.

My life is not my own.
And this life has been given me to pour out. To give to others. To fight for others.

And if I just sit here and let others fight,
Then the purpose for which I was created,
The purpose for which I am redeemed,
Is not being lived.

And purposeless lives cannot fight this war.

Live purposefully.