Connecting Point – March 7, 2024

 

Yesterday one of my daily Bible reading passages was from Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus said that life is about loving God and loving people. In that passage, known as the "Great Commandments," Jesus said: "The most important commandment is this . . .  you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." 

Let me ask you, "Do you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?" To love the Lord with "all our heart" means that we are to love Him (and express our love to Him) passionately. Many people profess to know and love the Lord, yet there is apparently no real passion or intimacy in their relationship with the Lord.  How can we say we love God when we never tell Him so, or express our love for Him passionately and fervently? To love the Lord "with all our soul" means to love Him experientially.  Our soul encompasses our mind, emotions and will. If we truly love the Lord, we will be allowing our love for Him to affect what happens with our mind, emotions and will; we will be experiencing His love for us and will be expressing our love for Him.  To love the Lord "with all our mind" means that we love the Lord intellectually and strategically. It means that we completely affirm in our minds that there is indeed "one God" (our God) who is worthy of our devotion and worship, and that we utilize our minds to prioritize Him in our lives, which will then cause Him to be prioritized in our actions and agendas. To love the Lord "with all our strength" means to love the Lord practically. In other words, we use our "strength" to act out our love for God and others.  The Apostle John wrote, "Let us stop just saying that we love each other; let us really show it by our actions" (1 John 3:18).  Genuine love will express itself practically - as we give our time, monies and abilities to express our love to Him and to the people He wants us to serve and support. If we never use our time, abilities and money to serve the Lord and support His work, we probably don't love the Lord as much as claim to love Him. The greatest question for our life revolves around the greatest commandment for our lives. Do we love the Lord passionately, experientially, intellectually, strategically and practically - or do we just say that we love the Lord?

But then, Jesus also said that we are to "love our neighbor as much or more as love ourselves." After these words, in Luke's Gospel Jesus then told a story about a Samaritan man graciously and generously helping a Jewish man who had been attacked and harmed by thieves (Luke 10:30-37). Jesus was saying that our "neighbors" are people around us who need help in any type of way, who need to experience God's love flowing through us into their lives. So, what are some ways we can show love to others around us, particularly those who aren't followers of Jesus? We can show love to them by praying for them, encouraging them, helping them and giving generously to support our Church's ministry to them. And we can show our love for them by inviting them to come with us to worship services and ministry activities. Because when we take the time to invite people to come with us to our Church's worship services and ministry activities, we are demonstrating that we love them enough to care about their soul and their eternal destiny.

So, who are you planning to invite to come with you to our Good Friday and Easter services at the end of March?  I ask that question because if we really care about people - especially about the health of their life and relationships, the condition of their soul and their eternal destiny, we will do all that we can to get them to come to a worship service where they can be welcomed by God's people, encouraged by our worship services, challenged by God's Word, and transformed by God's Spirit. And people are usually more willing to attend worship services with a trusted friend or family member at Christmas and at Easter than at any other times of the year. So, go ahead and make a list of your "neighbors" that you need to invite to our Easter services. Pray for them. Send them a message to invite them to come with you. And follow up with them in the coming weeks to see if they are willing to join you for one of our Easter services. In doing so you will be complying with Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself." You can find your Campus' worship services and times at www.celebrationchurch.org.

Tonight is TEAM NIGHT at most of our Celebration Campuses. On this night you will be equipped and trained to serve the Lord and serve people (loving the Lord and loving people) with your time and talents. And you will begin to discover the joy that comes from allowing the Lord to work through you to bring encouragement and help to other people. For training times tonight at your Campus, go to your Campus Facebook Group.

Friday, March 15, will be Celebration At City Park Night. On that night you and family members and friends can join Celebration members from all of our local Campuses as we enjoy the beauty, rides, food, etc. of New Orleans famed City Park at a discounted rate. You can purchase tickets for Celebration At City Park at our Campuses this Sunday, or by going to www.crescentcitychristian.com. And remember to invite friends to come with you to this fun-filled event that benefits our Crescent City Christian School.

This Sunday (March 10) is "Time Change Sunday." That means that clocks will "spring forward" one hour during the early morning hours on Sunday. I encourage you to make plans to go to bed earlier than usual on Saturday, so you will be able to get up and join us for worship on Sunday morning, as we continue IT'S TIME TO CHANGE.

Remember, it's all about "loving God and loving people."

Yours Truly,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96

Scroll to Top