Jesus stops for us, really sees us, and stays present with us. We should do the same for others.

Hello everyone.

This message series LOVE WON ANOTHER has been appropriately entitled, because this illustrates God’s relationship towards us, doesn’t it? 

By sending Jesus, who came to earth and became one of us, experiencing all the challenges and joys we do, God gives us the framework and example for how we then love one another. 

Love wins us over. 

And we then are…becoming love to one another. 

This weekend we are going to talk about Accepting One Another, and how the life of Jesus teaches us to walk that out.

Accept one another Jesus-style.

Part of my prep for this message was to look at all the weeks in this series and simply spend a few hours reading and soaking in the One Another scriptures. 

So good. 

I found myself inadvertently doing a self-evaluation as I went along, somewhat rating myself on how I thought I was doing overall on each of them. 

Let me read a few of them to you.

-Love one another

-Be kind and compassionate

-Serve one another

[K. Doing pretty good there]

-Live in harmony, submit to, forgive one another 

[K. Maybe need a little work on THAT one…oh, AND that one]

-Encourage one another, offer hospitality to, honor one another.

Hmmm. What I discovered reading through all these scriptures…for me to walk out the Love One Another commands…

There is a whole lot of dying involved. 

To myself. 

But to be like Jesus, that makes sense, doesn’t it? 

Yet I found myself challenged by the Holy Spirit to dig a little deeper. 

Do you ever find yourself in that same place? 

Reading a familiar scripture at face value, you then become aware of a nudge to go back and read again? And this time as you read it through, it jumps off the page at you…often into a soul punch? 

That was me this week, many of the scriptures familiar and present over the years of knowing Jesus, but I felt the Holy Spirit invite me to sit in the conversation with Him, linger… and allow Him to reveal more that He had for me. 

So I did.

And I’d like to share a bit of that process of digging deeper and what came of it. Sound good? 

Let’s pray first.

As we get started, those that are sitting on the ends of the pews, if you haven’t already, pass bibles down the row. Share and read along with someone next to you. I’m going to have you turn to: 

Romans 15:5-7 (p. 977)  (leave slide up though offering) 

And while we take a minute to locate our first passage, I’m going to invite the ushers to come and receive today’s tithes and offerings. 

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I had a moment during one of summer weekend services when I was moved by a video story shared about one of the community partners we support here at Life Center. And I remember thinking… oh I wish I could give more. 

My part honestly felt somewhat insignificant. 

But when Joe celebrated with all of us the next week, sharing the total amount given, I was stunned and reminded how together, all of us participating, it resulted in an overwhelming gift. 

Isn’t that what it is all about as we offer ourselves to God in all areas? 

Our money, our time, our talents? 

If we are obedient and give what He asks and challenges us to, He will do far more than we could imagine or think. Collectively, the body of Jesus, us the church, can be leveraged for amazing Kingdom work. 

So I’m going to encourage you… your tithe… your offering… makes a profound difference in our church, our community and the world. 

We will keep telling you stories of how. 

Stay tuned for some Kenya ones when Joe returns next week. 

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So as we dive in to the word, a little context. 

In the book of Romans, written by Paul, a number of the One Another commands are given to us.

Paul begins by surveying the spiritual condition of mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike. And reminds us that we all, by faith, have been given the gift of salvation, a new life because of the power of the cross. 

Jesus’ death…so we might know life. 

These One Another commands emphasize the freedom from sin’s tyranny, life in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Freedom and life.

Romans 15:5-7 (p. 977)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus Christ had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

(Put your bookmark in there at Romans 15. We are coming back to it.)

A couple of books that informed my thinking for this talk, [PIC] that I highly recommend if you want to sit in the conversation with Jesus a bit deeper, are by the same author, Bob Goff. Easy reads…but oh so challenging.

LOVE DOES [Discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world]  

EVERYBODY ALWAYS [Becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people]

In his book, Everybody Always, Bob Goff says this about accepting one another: 

Brave men and women pursue the wrongdoers and disadvantaged and discouraged, and they love them Jesus-style…with extravagant grace. 

– Bob Goff 

They love them Jesus-style…with extravagant grace.

That is who I want to be, don’t you?

Ok…my first read thru of this verse…my first response to this One Another command here in Romans to accept one another…

I feel like I do that. I do.

Or at least I REALLY try.

How many of you would say, 

“I accept people. 

For the most part. 

Usually.”

It did make me think…why do Christians get such a bad rap? 

You know we have that, right? When it comes accepting people?  

This is where the Holy Spirit began to work in me at a deeper level. 

God says His word is alive and begins to do a faithful work in us when we allow it.

His Spirit begins to whisper.  

I’ve learned to recognize it. 

I allow my heart and mind to quiet, and then a next layer is revealed beneath in my soul. Kinda like an onion getting peeled back.

Anyone else… this happens too in your time with Jesus?

You dive in and think you’ve got it, only for His Spirit to peel back another layer to reveal more?

Like I said at the top of my talk, as I sat with these One Another verses for a few hours, reading them one by one…He began to reveal the layers for me. 

In my own heart. 

What is thought, but often left unspoken. 

The thoughts about others and responses or conclusions I come to that I may not verbalize out loud, but reside none-the-less below the surface. 

And I’m confessing to you…it was humbling to admit.

Perhaps I’m not as much like Jesus in accepting others as I think I am.

Let’s see if these layers I identified resonate with any of you in regards to accepting others. Here is the first layer I started with. 

I accept others.

Unless…

– They aren’t like me.

– They are weird, off putting or socially unaware.

– They make me uncomfortable.

– They are from a different culture or race that I just don’t connect with.

– Or I just don’t have the time or bandwidth for.

Any of those that some of you can relate to?

How about a layer further underneath?

I accept others. 

Unless…

– They are mean or unkind or offensive.

– They are difficult to get along with.

– They don’t communicate well. 

– They are Emotional IQ is non existent.

– They don’t see the world the same or believe as I do.

– In fact they are outright wrong about numerous things. God says so.

And how about deeper still.

I accept others. 

Unless…

– I can’t condone their behavior or decisions. 

– I am so disappointed or ashamed by who they are.

– They have wounded me. Or abused me.

– I can’t forgive. And you shouldn’t ask me to.

Anything resonate from that list on how we accept others?

Most of would say we do.

I ask you again, “Do we? Really?”

Without conditions attached?

– Have I formed an opinion in that 5 min conversation that could possibly be inaccurate? – Or at the very least incomplete?

– Have I listened to understand? Or taken through my own grid to assess, fix and ultimately find the next available exit point to leave the conversation?

– Do I see them as Jesus does?

– Would others say that of us? Us as Christians?

Let’s go back and read the bookmarked verses again…perhaps through a more honest lens.

Romans 15:5-7 (p. 977)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus Christ had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

How are we doing?

To make you even more uncomfortable (the room has gotten reeeaaaaaly quiet) where have we NOT only not accepted, but moved into judging and slandering.

Romans 14:10-13 (p. 977)

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 

It is written: “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me, every tongue will acknowledge God.” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or a sister. 

– What do we mutter under our breath, slandering one another, and leave undealt with?

– Or later vent in frustration to someone else instead of going first to the person involved, as Matthew 18 instructs us to do?

James 4:11-12 (p. 1045)

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?

Some of you are ahead of me…so what if I didn’t say it out loud, just thought the thoughts? Didn’t do the things. After all, technically the definition of slander is: Words falsely SPOKEN to damage a person’s reputation. 

So I’m in the clear, right? If I didn’t speak it out loud, just thought it, I didn’t slander. 

Hmmm. A couple more questions to possibly keep revealing more layers…

-Do you think the inner dialogue you keep running in your head about someone else, left unspoken, but also left undealt with, do you think that inner dialogue affects or influences us? Plays any part in hindering our spiritual growth or character?

-Perhaps in the way we posture ourselves in the next interaction with the person, or possibly how you treat them in a group, in front of others?

– How about an unwillingness to comply, or work in harmony with, to let go or forgive… ultimately NOT accepting or loving one another. 

You get the idea.

How we doing now?

I think Jesus continually, redundantly, and SIMPLY communicated the One Another commands not just because they are fundamentally important, but because He knew they were inherently difficult to do! 

And yet as we have said so often, we may be the only bible someone ever reads. 

How we interact and treat someone else, our behavior… Jesus has entrusted this to us. As Michael said 2 weeks ago, the way we love one another is the LOUDEST thing we can say to a lost world about Jesus.

ARE there people we should give a wide berth to? Bob Goff acknowledges the flip side and tension well. You bet there are. There are people in our lives who are unsafe and toxic and delight in sowing descent wherever they go. God gave us discernment and we should use it. But He’s also given us the power to love and accept and forgive, which is power we often leave untapped. 

There is a difference between good judgment and living in judgment. 

Difficult, messy people aren’t an excuse not to accept or love. 

I believe we as Christians often err in the latter, actually damaging and lessoning the image of who Jesus wants to be to those around you.

Romans 12:9-10 (p. 976)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

As long as I am meddling…one more layer.

Do our Facebook or Instagram posts show us to be people that love and accept people? 

Or people that want to make a point and be right?

How much time do we spend debating, arguing, proving our point or perspective, trying to convince the yet unconvinced, all in the name of Jesus, the Lord and Savior that we so deeply want the world to know? 

I contend that THAT Jesus… isn’t the one we are portraying or representing at all when we continue to engage at that level. 

I’ve often wondered…the soap boxes I get on…well intended. 

How much more effective instead of yelling over the hearts that Jesus so desperately entrusted to me to reach…if I stepped down of that soap box I’ve created, kneeled before them and washed their feet instead. 

Becoming love.

Have you ever read passages in the New Testament where Jesus was chastising the Pharisees, the religious rulers of his day and thought, 

“You go Jesus. Go get em.” 

Ever considered that if we had lived there at that time that He might actually have been talking to you and me? That WE would have been the Pharisees? 

Does that give pause to anyone else besides me?

 

Our acceptance of others can’t be superficial or conditional. 

And again I contend that some of the time it is. 

Possibly we don’t even see the blind spot our acceptance has become. 

But a desperately lost and seeking world does. 

They spot it in us a mile away. And they aren’t interested. 

They know the difference. 

So what do we do?

What’s the remedy? 

We look to Jesus.

Always and again…we look to Jesus.

How did he do it? How was able to draw people to himself, and make the truth of the gospel (which was completely counter culture BTW) how did Jesus make truth relevant and appealing, while also a winnowing fire to the heart… and people were still drawn to him?! Feeling deeply loved and accepted. 

So simple…yet so immense.

Let’s take a look at 3 things Jesus did, and still does, to model acceptance.

1. JESUS stops.

Over and over, I am humbled by this. 

Think about this with me…Jesus arguably has THE most important mission on the planet, and yet He was defined so often by the ways He stopped for people. 

He innately knew that nothing was more important than the person that God had put in front of him at that moment. 

No opportunity wasted, no person too insignificant.

True story.

I was sitting in my home office trying to hammer out my message this week, and the doorbell rings. My husband and I this past year downsized, now empty nesters moved in a small duplex. I tell you this because when you live in a small space and the random Craigslist guy comes to the door to buy something your husband has listed, you realize very quickly that the loud conversation that has now ensued WILL BE a distraction to the message writing happening in the room adjacent. 

But just for a few minutes.

One would assume. 

But here is what you need to know about my husband. 

He has a profound way with people. 

A 5 minute interaction that you or I might have with someone, is never so with him. And it doesn’t matter where… 

– with a customer service agent on the phone

– in line at the store or coffee stand

– at my front door

Before long the person is sharing their life story. No joke. 

Disarmed, accepted and now oddly trusting….they have moved way past the surface level stuff and begin to engage in a long, meaningful conversation that usually results in a coffee a few days later. Or us having them over for dinner. 

I’m serious. This happens over and over again. 

I get it. Truly it is amazing. 

But in that moment, I didn’t feel it was so amazing. 

The mild distraction moved to mild irritation (they were loudly conversing for 45 min! Over a Craigslist sale people!) which then escalated to me frustratingly trying to locate my earplugs somewhere in my tiny office, muttering, and not so quietly sighing, behind closed doors….

And then the irony of the moment hit me. 

I began laughing out loud at myself. 

I literally was writing this point in the message. 

Jesus stops. 

Which is what my husband was modeling so beautifully.

Me…not so much.

To accept one another we have to get past ourselves first, don’t we? 

I can’t accept you if I’m not even looking at you, listening to you, or stopping for you.

What is really more important? 

The to-do lists and deadlines? (I know, I have them too.)

Do either of those come to heaven with me?

Where we often see irritating interruptions, Jesus sees opportunities to love and accept people.

Which leads me to point 2. 

2. JESUS sees.

The greatest human longing is to know and be known. 

And Jesus had, and still has, a profound way of SEEING people.

Really seeing them.

The woman at the well has always deeply moved me. I love this story in the bible. 

Here was a woman, a Samaritan, who Jesus wasn’t supposed to stop for let alone talk to. 

Did you know it is the longest recorded conversation that Jesus had? 

With a broken, lost, outcast of a human. A woman no less. 

A woman who was used up, purposeless and empty. 

There was no one in that community that saw who she could be, was yet to be, not even herself. 

But Jesus did.

Jesus saw her. Really saw her.

In fact it was the first time this woman felt fully known, fully seen, extended grace and love. 

He called her to life, not by avoiding the truth, but… by not condemning her with it.

Zaccheus. He wasn’t just a wee little man, short in stature, he was a societal outcast by vocation. He was a despised tax collector. A corrupt traitor. 

You think he didn’t wrestle with many a complex? 

Despised, relegated and ignored.

But Jesus saw something in him. 

All the disciples for sure thought, “What? Him? You want to go to his house, have dinner and hang with HIM?”

Jesus indeed hung with him. 

In his home. Communing. Connecting.

Jesus came for the lost. 

The broken. The messy. The seemingly unsavable.

Repeatedly, story after story Jesus saw the marginalized and those thrown to the wayside, those deeply bound in sin and shame, those afflicted with debilitating, physical calamities and demon oppression. 

He saw them. 

He knew them. 

He loved them and accepted them. To their core. 

All was stripped away in his presence. 

No pretense. No excuses. No shame.

And they were deeply drawn to Jesus. 

Why? What was so powerful about what He did? 

What we often miss as Christ followers?

Jesus didn’t tell people who they used to be; He told each one of them who they were becoming. And every time we do this for one another, we reaffirm our true identities. We then are becoming love.   – Bob Goff 

Did Jesus avoid the truth? No, he didn’t. 

But truth, devoid of acceptance bathed in extravagant grace, only heaps judgment and shame. 

– Instead of telling people what to do or how to behave, what if we truly saw them, the way Jesus sees them, and told them who they ARE?

– Perhaps if we simply committed to speak that life to one another…how different our world might be?

And know what is so amazing about this posture shift? It FREES us!

No longer are we carrying the weight of making sure everyone behaves and turns out. Telling people what they want or who they should be turns us into a bunch of sheriffs or correctional officers.

People who are becoming love lose the badge and give away grace instead.

Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13 

Anyone see the movie released this summer “Won’t You Be My Neighbor? 

The film examines the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the popular 1960’s TV show, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. 

The trailer got almost 11 million views in one day, unheard of for a documentary. 

Why the mass appeal? 

Now, I have to be honest, I always thought Mr. Rogers was a little odd and really wanted to give him a makeover. Help him expand his wardrobe… something, anything beyond the cardigan. 

But it was fascinating reading the reviews. Most by people with little to no faith backgrounds, but repeatedly the reviews recounted how as a child they felt accepted by him every day while watching. 

That they belonged and mattered. 

They were at home in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, where Rogers greeted them with a daily “Hi, neighbor!” as if the whole world lived in the same close-knit community. 

They felt he could see them. And knew them. 

On the show Rogers said over and over again: “You’ve made this day a special day by just your being you. There is no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.”

Mr. Rogers was a Presbyterian minister, a man defined by his Christian faith, and the message that he taught every day on his beloved children’s show was shaped by it. 

Another Mr. Rogers quote,”I think everybody longs to be loved, and longs to know that he or she is lovable.” 

And here was my favorite,

When we look for what’s best in the person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.   – Fred Rogers

It may sound old-fashioned, but Mister Rogers’s theology, his life reflecting Jesus was radical in 1962 when his show debuted, and it remains radical today. 

That’s why it resonated. T

hat’s why it’s still necessary for us to look to Jesus for how to see others as He does. 

Jesus sees.

3.  JESUS stays present.

One of my favorite stories in Bob Goff’s book, Everybody Always, is him recounting the story of learning to skydive, literally to be with one of his sons. 

His son Adam loved skydiving so much, so, he decided to conquer his fear and do it with him. After all, Bob reminds us… that IS what God did for us. 

Jesus literally jumped out of heaven to be with us down here on earth. 

Because he fiercely loved us and wanted to be with us. 

But it was the last part of Bob’s chapter entitled “Skydiving” that resonated deepest with me. I’m going to read it to you.

There is one last thing the instructor told us in class before our jump. 

He said if the main parachute doesn’t open up, and the reserve parachute doesn’t either, you’ve got about 45 seconds before you hit the ground and make your mark. I was surprised and a little grossed out when the instructor said hitting the ground isn’t what kills you. Every bone in your body will break of course, but after you hit the ground you will bounce…and it’s the second time you hit that kills you as the broken bones now puncture all your organs. 

I know that is kinda graphic but it’s true.

Bob goes on to say that as a lawyer, he quickly came up with a strategy… and that was to avoid the bounce. If no parachute opened up, when he hit the ground, he would grab the grass and avoid the bounce. 

What is true in skydiving is what is true in our lives. 

It’s not usually the initial failure that takes any of us out. It’s the bounce. 

We’ve all hit the ground at work or in a significant relationship or with a big risk. Whether we had a big public failure, or even bigger private one, the initial failure won’t usually crush our spirit or kill our faith…it’s the second hit that does. 

The second hit is often the response of those around us. 

When things go massively wrong or we fail big, the people we thought would rush us…create distance instead. 

They express disapproval or assign judgment or treat us with polite indifference. 

If we want to be like Jesus, here is our simple and courageous job…

Catch people on the bounce.

When they mess up, reach out to them with love and acceptance. 

When they hit hard, run to them with arms wide open to not only catch them, but hug them even harder. 

God wants to be with them, and He expects us to help Him do that. 

And when you get there, don’t just be in proximity…be present. 

Stay present. 

Catch them. Don’t try to teach them. 

There is a big difference.

Sometimes we make loving people a lot more complicated than Jesus did. He just showed up, grabbed a parachute, and jumped out of heaven after people. 

People don’t care what you know until they know you care. 

One of the greatest gifts we can give another is to be fully present with people. 

To be willing to sit in their stuff. 

Sincere empathy, not put on. 

Embracing the messy and raw and real. 

Not repulsed by it. 

I’m going to close with a personal story of mine. 

Where this gets messy and raw for me and my family. 

Our 28 year old son this week is just finishing his second round of rehab in the last couple years. Which we are so proud of him for. 

Any of you that have walked the addiction battle yourself or lived it full frontal (excuse the description, but it is accurate) alongside someone you love, you know. 

It is brutal, and raw, and all consuming… and honestly the most gut wrenching painful, out-of-my-control and on-my-knees training to learn to trust God that I have yet experienced.

Addiction, depression, suicide attempts….nothing prepares you for the journey walking alongside someone you deeply love and caught in the bondage of addiction. 

But I can tell you this….for these last 13 years our family, his siblings included, have fiercely fought to stay present with our son as he has battled addiction. 

Keeping our parachutes handy.

One of the worship songs we sing… Reckless love…undoes me every time…because I’m experiencing God pursuing my son in unimaginable ways (more than I could ask or think). 

Ways that Ryan has yet to fully comprehend and know the full weight of. 

The chorus goes… 

Oh the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. 

Oh it chases me down, fights til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.

I had someone ask me what the chorus meant.

This comes from a description of God both in Matthew 18 and again in Luke 15. 

God is the shepherd and we are the sheep. 

And if you didn’t know this, sheep are rather dumb. 

(Sorry for the correlation if that offends you, but it’s true.) 

At least I’ll admit resemblance for myself. I get lost and wander. 

But this shepherd, our God, loves us so patiently, so extravagantly, that He recklessly leaves the ninety-nine to come looking for us. To go after one lost sheep! 

That’s how much we matter to Him! 

He pursues us. 

Calls us to himself. 

And then sits in our mess with us. 

The dark places we retreat to, running and hiding in shame and regret…and gently calls us back to Himself. 

Waiting.

Speaks our name. Intimately and knowingly. 

Accepts us. 

Offers His son to bear the full weight of our sin and shame in exchange for freedom. 

Freedom of relationship and reconciliation with Him.

This is the God going after my son.

Undoes me.

And even more undoing? God pursues ME that way too. 

And you.

So what does staying present look like in light of Jesus?

I believe that often, again well intentioned, we want to skip to the reconciliation and redemption part. 

Skip the messy and painful.

Have you figured out yet (like I have the hard way) that that’s God’s job? 

It isn’t ours to convince or coerce or try to control.

Ours is to pray fiercely, waging war, but most importantly…staying present.

And lead people right to the feet of Jesus.

If we aren’t extending and holding living hope to people, who is? 

If we don’t stop and see people, speaking into their lives what we see in them, speaking louder than the lies the enemy has them in bondage in, if we don’t ACCEPT each other right where they are, for WHO they are, the child of God who belongs, extending extravagant, unconditional grace for who God created them to be…..what are we doing?! 

Isn’t that the gospel in entirety? 

Love God with all our soul heart and minds…and do the same for one another. 

Indulge me in one last awesome Bob Goff quote that I sent to my son Ryan this last week.

I think God allows all of us to go missing a time or two. And I believe God allows us that if that is what we really want. But he doesn’t withhold love, or pay us back from walking away from Him. He pursues us. And He doesn’t constantly tell us what to do as we search for ourselves either. He gently reminds us who we are.

It made me smile thinking back to just a few short weeks ago, the wearying time desperately praying for Ryan to make the decision to get help, AGAIN, prior to him getting on the plane to rehab. 

Another 2am frantic call. 

Another night of little sleep. 

A regular occurrence when in one of his drunken binges, often moving to deep desperation and soul searching conversations with his dad, this call frantically asking me to send him a specific verse he was trying to find and couldn’t. 

Desperately needing it to battle. 

I’m up now, stumbling around in my office, trying to find my bible (yes…forgetting the obvious. I could have remained in bed and searched for the verse on my bible app on my phone) but finally located the verse from a phrase or two he could remember… and I relievedly texted him back with it. 

It was a passage quoting Jesus, and here was his text back to me. 

In deep awe of Jesus in that moment. 

F#@%. 

Jesus rocks.

Now I know even as some of you read this you are reacting…offended…not sure where to compartmentalize the F bomb slide I put up. 

In church. 

Maybe even judging me? Or him?

Know what I think Jesus would have said if Ryan has texted him this? 

In response to Ryan battling the enemy with His word?

Hell ya. And we just took the enemy down a notch with that, Ryan. 

Keep leaning in to my voice. Oh…and BTW. And I love you.

Rough around the edges and all.

Messy + marvelous.

Never have I embraced the F word so eagerly, but in this context, it was salve to my soul. You see this gut wrenching mama’s heart cry for her boy was, even in the midst of his darkest, blurry moments, when the battle for his soul was fierce, (and it was that night)…. that Jesus would still speak louder. And He did.

Can you stay fully present with those who are messy, have lost their way a bit? 

People who are broken and raw?

Jesus did! 

And I know it is uncomfortable sometimes…but He asks us to.

Those who are becoming love don’t throw people off roofs, they lower people through them instead.  –Bob Goff

Ok. So I actually still had one more awesome Bob Goff quote.

Accept one another Jesus-style…with extravagant grace.

————————————————————————

I’m going to ask you to bow your heads with me.

Perhaps this idea of learning to accept one another is more than difficult than you want to admit. If we are honest, it is far easier, isn’t it, to focus on and try to fix what is inherently wrong in someone else’s life than to face our own layers of unacceptance?

So often the fundamental reason we can’t accept one another is because what resides at the core of who we are, the reflection we see in the mirror every day isn’t (if we are honest) one that we love… or even like. 

For some of you in this room… you have yet to accept yourself. 

Or perhaps you are the 1 sheep that has left the 99 and it is far more comfortable to stay lost. 

Hiding. In shame in the dark. 

And I’m betting the enemy has you pretty worn down and convinced that there is no hope for you. 

I believe each of us desperately want to see ourselves as Jesus sees us. 

To believe that the God of the universe is pursuing you, desiring nothing more than a relationship with you, not a list of do’s and don’ts to check off and prove yourself to Him that you are worthy… 

But to know and be fully known…by Jesus. 

Accepted.

Can anyone relate to this heart cry, “Can you love the real me? Not the image I portray, but who I really am?”

That resides at the core of our humanity.

And for some of you…you are still weighed down with sin or shame or self reliance or pride…and the enemy who contends to keep your soul in that bondage is winning as of yet. 

I have good news for you. 

Jesus wants to free you. 

Jesus wants you to simply lay all that down and wants to accept YOU as his son or daughter. That gift is waiting for you. 

Simple. Unencumbered. Extravagant grace.

Do you want to know this Jesus? This is the Jesus I know.

The Jesus that stops, that sees… that jumped out of heaven and gave his life to be fully present with you? 

The bible tells us that if we acknowledge our need for a Savior, Jesus, and ask Him to take our sin and shame, that he forgives us. Wipes the slate clean. 

Gives us a new start, a new life of freedom. 

If you are here in the room and your heart is beating a bit faster and you want to take that step of faith, you’ve never done it before, I’m going to ask you to be bold. 

I promise it will be the best decision you ever make. 

Look up at me, raise your hand, so I can acknowledge you. 

You’ll be saying, “Jesus, I want to be seen by you. I want to be fully known by you. I want to be forgiven by you.”

Accept One Another

 
 
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