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How many times…..What will it take…..?

March 11, 2008
How many times will we gamble?

Last week Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church in California told his congregation, “Love your neighbor, not just love your neighbor, but love them as yourself. That means you come in and you are just as concerned about the person next to you as you are yourself. So, I read this and I want to be honest with you. I have been preaching here for 14 years. 14 years. How many times have I said, love your neighbor as yourself, and yet how many weekends do we come in thinking about ourselves? And how…I know some of you do, I know some of you walk in and say I am going to find somebody to love. Whoever I sit next to I am going to just ask them their name and see if there is anything I can pray for them about, see if there are any needs I can meet. I know there are some of you who do that, but let’s face it not many, right? Because we live in a very individualistic, independent society. I want to come to church and just blend in and hide out. I am not really here to make friends. I just want to meet with God and go on my way. Hear my message and go.

So, I guess my question to you is what would you do if you were in my shoes? Try to imagine you are the pastor of the church now and God wants you to get a body of people to love on each other and you know that, that he wants that, and he wants you to get them loving each other out in the community. And you have preached about it year after year, time and time again and there is that cynical side of me that goes ‘I am going to preach it this week and by next Sunday you are going to forget. And you are going to come in and think about yourself. Maybe today you will leave and say hi to someone or ask someone their name, but next week you will forget again. And you have to wait until the next love your neighbor sermon again until we have love in the room.’ ”

How many times have we heard pastor’s say the same things and not listened? How many times have we been taught the same truths and not accepted that truth? How many times have we seen others in need and walked by without loving them? How many times have we turned cynical because we don’t believe that others will follow through?

What will it take for us to take our faith and life with God seriously? What will it take for us to stop saying we believe and start living like we believe? What will it take for God’s plan to become a reality in this world?

I don’t have answers to those questions, I don’t think anyone does, but I can say I don’t want to forget to love my neighbor. I don’t want to live like I haven’t heard God’s truth. I don’t want God to tell me “I told you the same thing for 14 years and you didn’t hear me.”. What will it take? More than I have, that is exactly why I need God so much!

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