Close your eyes and picture a new visitor to your church. Imagine the excitement as he hears about current ministries, groups, community life and so on. Imagine his smile and overflowing enthusiasm.
OK, now that you’ve enjoyed that moment, imagine him saying these words: “This place is perfect! It’s exactly the kind of church I’ve been looking for.”My heart plummets when I hear those words, because I know we cannot live up to those expectations. As the church on pilgrimage, moving toward our heavenly home, we operate in the already/not yet. As such, any pretense toward absolute perfection in our church is akin to playing “Stepford wives” in our communities. And let’s face it, that’s not the story we want to tell the world.
But aren’t we meant to be loving? Aren’t we meant to be different? Yes, indeed! As Pastor Jack Hayford noted at Foursquare Connection 2014 in Dallas, moving as people of light mandates moving as people of love. And loving one another, as commanded by Jesus in John 13:34-35, is both the witness to the world and the tie that binds us together in relationship.
Loving one another is not about our own perfection—it’s about forgiveness, reconciliation and the radical “other-centered” commitment of people who belong to the only perfect One, Jesus.Family dynamics are messy; they can take us choosing to participate in ways and means that are not our preference. But for the sake of love, we submit to the needs of others, free one another from the bondages of unforgiveness, and recapture the powerful family bond that is ours in Christ.
Though often correlated with spiritual gifts such as prophecy, healing and tongues, the Spirit-filled life is far more comprehensive and constant than only these divinely equipped transitory moments. We need the Spirit to fill and sustain us in this way of love.
In this Connection 2014 main session with Jack Hayford, recorded live, you can spend some time with a father from our own family and hear his heart for the church, and his encouraging commission that we be a people marked by our love for one another.
To watch more Foursquare Connection 2014 videos, click here.