Lacking Love (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul says, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions." (1:5-7).

When the law is taught, or any of the Word is taught, without love as it's central goal, then it misses the point.

Love is the reason the Word of God exists. Love is the reason the Gospel is good news. Love is what we, as believers are called to do towards the world. We're not called to create division because of our theology, we're not called to alienate folks for their race, gender, sexuality, or eschatology.

Yet there are an awful lot of us defining ourselves by who we are not. When we meet people who fall in to whatever category we dislike, we push back, and don't love. We push away and hurt. I've done it. I still do it.

Stop it.

It is entirely about love. We're called, as believers, to bless the world. We're God's chosen people so that we can be a blessing to the world. And we do that by loving. Not by correcting "wrong" theology, convicting people of sin, or alienating the lost.

7 Reasons Finding a Good Church is so Difficult

My wife and I moved back to the Denver area about 8 months ago, after a 10 year absence from the state for me. All of our time in ministry we participated in small house churches, or the sole government approved church for Westerners in whatever city we were living in at the time. The choice for a church during those years was easy. Because there really was no choice.

Now we’re on the hunt and can’t find a church we can handle more than a few weeks in a row.

Here are some reasons this has been almost impossible (all from different churches):

1) The worship pastor is actually a minority. Amazing (This place is pretty white, but not as white as it’s churches). He plays great worship. Unfortunately the head pastor feels it’s his role to pace around the front of the auditorium with his hands in the air during worship. I’d hate to think we should focus on God instead of him for a few minutes.

2) The pastor manages to touch on the gospel about once every month. And preach a straight up “if you act good, you’re a good Christian” message just about as often. Can’t do it.

3) The preaching begins this morning with the phrase, “I’ve recently been convicted that I’m not reading enough biographies.” Because lack of biography reading is clearly forbidden by Paul’s writings. It’s strange, I’ve been convicted about how few donuts I’ve been eating lately.

4) The church is so big we walk in and out without talking to a single person. We try, but there is no time set aside for it, there are kids here, but no parents come to get them from the classroom. There are only 3 small groups throughout the week, all in the same neighborhood a long way from us.

5) It seems like we’ve found a great one and when we ask how we can get connected, the adult pastor tells us there really isn’t anyone from the church who lives in our part of town. Sorry.

6) The pastor says, “This really is the best church in the Kingdom of God isn’t it?” And the whole church screams and whoops as though attending a Trump rally.

7) The worship leader stands up from his piano and dances while playing, grabs the microphone and skips across the stage screaming. His music would have been incredibly great in the late 80’s. His showmanship would have been excellent at a concert.

I feel like Jerry Seinfeld finding small things to nitpick about girls.

Is a church that preaches the gospel, has livable worship, and a decent childcare program so hard to find? Why when it looks like we find them, do they all have head pastors who want to be the center of attention (at the expense of the Lord)? Am I doing it wrong?

Goodness, what I’d kill for some good community (we have, thankfully, met some great people along the way, many have turned in to friends).