One Is the Loneliest Number

This past Sunday we covered one more load we carry when we try to do life apart from Jesus as we draw near the end of our series, A Heavy Load. This week we talked about the load of loneliness. Life was not meant to be lived alone. We were made for relationships. When we do life without Jesus, though, maintaining those relationships because entirely more difficult than it should be. Read on to find out why and how we can fix this.

One Is the Loneliest Number

Have you ever spent a significant amount of time alone? I don’t mean simply hanging out at home when nobody else is around for a couple of hours. I’m talking about a time when you didn’t have anybody around for an extended period of time. Honestly, Covid subjected a lot of folks to that in ways and times they were neither expecting nor for which they were prepared. And maybe you’re sitting there thinking how much you would like to have an extended amount of time by yourself because you can’t think of the last time you weren’t being constantly bombarded by people, but it’s a different animal wanting something like that because you can’t have it and being stuck alone because you can’t be around people like you want to be. Being alone…isn’t good for us. 

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Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

“Another review for you this morning and a verse we’ve talked about before. This time a television medical drama. Entries in that particular genre are a dime a dozen these days. Each new TV season brings multiple new premiers. Today’s focal feature premiered in the U.S. in 2017 and is copied from a Korean series of the same name that ran for one season in 2013. It is an import I’m glad we’re able to enjoy. It falls in the plot pattern of past shows like Doogie Howser, M.D. and House where the main characters is just a bit different from everyone else. In this one he’s not a child genius or a jerk, he’s autistic. Let’s talk this morning about The Good Doctor.

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You Are Loved

In this final installment in our series, Hard to Love, we land with both feet on the biggest and most consequential truth there is: God loves you. Read on and marvel with me at how great our God is that though we didn’t want Him, He loved us still. Let this love fill you to a fullness you’ve never known before and pour out of you onto the people around you…even the ones who are hard to love.

You Are Loved

Have you ever watched somebody get something they didn’t deserve?  How’d you feel about that?  Did it inspire you?  Did it sicken you?  Were you pretty well ambivalent about it?  I would guess that most of us, depending on the exact details, would tend toward feeling inspired by such a story.  This becomes especially true when the person goes on to live up to the expectations of the gift.  Perhaps the most classic example of this is from the beloved story by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, which Lisa and I actually got to see on stage back at the beginning of the month.  It was absolutely amazing.  The hero of the story, Jean Valjean, is set down the path of righteousness he walks all the way to the end of his life by the wildly unmerited gift of a Catholic priest.  The 2012 film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman captures this scene really well.  Take a look

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The Hard Truth

In this second-to-last part of our series, Hard to Love, we finally have to come face-to-face with a hard truth. I said last week that the goal of this series is twofold: To help us understand how to love the hard to love people in our lives, and to give us the motivation of the wonder of God’s own love for us to give us some impetus for loving them. We’ve taken care of the first part. In these final two installments we’re going to tackle the second. But, before we can marvel in wonder at the love of God, we have to understand why it’s so wonderful. That’s not so easy. But, it’s absolutely essential. So, take a deep breath, and keep reading. You won’t want to miss this because it’ll make next week even better.

The Hard Truth

Have you ever heard of “face-palming”?  It’s typically used as a humorous expression of shock or exasperation at something that strikes you as surprising or, more often, idiotic.  Just so we’re all on the same page here, for a proper face-palming you start with your hand open wide.  You then bring your hand up and your forehead down simultaneously such that your palm smacks audibly on your forehead.  This is followed by slowly moving your hand down the rest of your face as if wiping something off of it.  The expression has become commonplace enough in our culture that there is a face-palm emoji, and if you were to do a YouTube search for “face-palming,” you could actually find quite a few entries.  I know this because I did it…and found this little gem from the movie Naked Gun 33 1/3

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Love’s Transformation

Knowing we’re supposed to love the hard to love people in our lives, even knowing the theological reasons for that, is one thing. Actually seeing it in practice is something entirely different. This past Sunday as we continued in our series, Hard to Love, we took a look at a remarkable story of the kind of transformation that can take place when we let love loose into our hard to love situations. You don’t want to miss this.

Love’s Transformation

Let me start this morning with a tough question.  In fact, I want you to close your eyes in order to answer this one.  How would you respond if your child was murdered?  That’s an emotional question, I know, so go ahead and feel that emotion for a minute.  Let me show you a picture.  This is a picture of Mary Johnson and her son.  In 1993 Mary’s son, Laramiun Byrd, was 20 years old.  One night he went to a party with some friends.  As perhaps many young men are wont to do he did a little bit of fronting at the party to the benefit of his ego and his image in front of his friends.  Now, this might not be such a big deal on a normal night, but this particular party was also attended by a 16-year-old young man named O’Shea Israel.  O’Shea took up Laramium’s challenge and did a bit of fronting of his own.  After all, he couldn’t be made to look bad in front of his own friends.  Things digressed from there and the next morning Mary got a call asking if Laramiun had come home the night before.  He hadn’t.  Not long after some officers arrived to let her know that he had been murdered at the party.  In an instant—perhaps just as you imagined—her world completely fell apart. 

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