The major theme of this year, for our ministry at The Well, has been Discipleship. This week's message, "Higher Calling of Discipleship", was a great reminder of this.
If we turn to God's word, Luke 6:27-28, Jesus paints the picture of what that higher calling entails. The word of the day, that I think several of us were left with, was Agapé. "Christian love, especially as distinct from erotic love or emotional affection". This is the type of love that Jesus is instructing us to have towards all people in the world. We are called to "love our enemies, do good to those who hate us". Speaking for many of us, I would claim that this is one of the most difficult instructions of the Lord that we are to live out in our lives. See, God's calling upon our lives is not one which is easy to fulfill. In fact, without God working in our lives and transforming us our hearts, it's impossible.
The world would tell us, "treat others the way you want to be treated" or "an eye for an eye". But God holds His people to a higher standard/calling, in loving those who hate or attack us. "Bless those who curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you" (Luke 6:28). However, the Lord knows how difficult this is can be, but He's given us His Son Jesus as our prime example. Even at the time of His own crucifixion, Jesus still lived out the Higher Calling. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..." (Luke 23:34). Therefore, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must also live out this Higher Calling placed upon our lives. No matter what circumstances may bring, we must love people of the world as God loves all of us. Loving ALL people, not just those who love us, but even those who persecute or hate us. Then going a step even further and not only loving them, but praying for them also.
Speaking for myself, I know how hard this can seem. It almost seems easier to hold onto the resentment, anger, pain and hatred, rather than letting go and going the extra mile to love those who have wronged us. But in reality, the weight of the bitterness and resentment is what will crush us. When we embrace and love all people as God's people, then we are free from all baggage, and we are able to better experience God's love in our own lives.
We were blessed as a church in this time to have service at Jack and Shirley's home. Huge thanks goes out to them and God for opening their home to all of us! After the morning service, we were able to gather and enjoy a Sunday fellowship lunch together.
In the evening we had the Extra mile group, where many of the young adults in our ministry can come together, praying and digging even deeper for the Lord. During this specific time, we were able to reflect/rehash the morning message from church , both collectively and individually. We were even able to record each of our own personal take-aways from the message. It was nerve-wracking at first, as several of us weren't too thrilled about being on camera. But once things started rolling, we all were able to to present our own unique perspectives on the message. It was powerful! If you're connected to our ministry via Facebook, you can actually check out Kim's short summarization of the message as well as Luke's summarization. (The Well of IA, or The Elim Arrival)
This up coming Sunday, our service will be located at the Coralville Rec Center. It begins at 9:45 am. We'd love to see you there!