What is Love?

What is Love?

Jan 22, 2016

By Willy Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA Oh joy! It’s that time of year again! It’s the time of year when you ask that individual you’ve been obsessing over if they might get coffee with you some time. It’s the time of year when you surprise that special someone with flowers and chocolates to remind them how much you love them. It’s the time of year where single people everywhere come together in opposition of the ideas of emotional attachment and affection. That’s right! It’s the season of love! But what is love? If we look in a dictionary, love is usually defined as “a profoundly tender affection for another person.” When I read this definition, it seems almost underwhelming. While we grow up we are taught that love is powerful — that love creates an inseparable bond between two people (be it husband and wife, familial love, or love between two friends). We are taught that love is an intense emotion used to demonstrate our intense care for and desire to see them, the person we love, happy. I can promise, as someone who always tells my family and closest friends goodbye by reminding them that I love them, that every time I say this, I say it because I passionately care about that person. Now, as an English major, I like to experiment with words and their connotations. So, in my interpretation, the phrase “profoundly tender affection” doesn’t seem right. This phrase almost seems to make love seem small and without power. The word “affection” makes it feel like merely an emotion, as opposed to an incredibly powerful force and way of being (and way of interacting with people). Even if you don’t necessarily agree with my conclusion that the secular definition of love is underwhelming, I think you’ll agree that the Biblical definition of love truly demonstrates the power that love has. First, I believe we can all agree that God is all powerful, and the following two verses confirm that. Romans 1:20a (ESV) says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived…” and Job 37:23a (ESV) says, “The Almighty — we cannot find...

Precision-made to Work Together

Precision-made to Work Together

Jan 22, 2016

By Katrina Goodrich Recently my niece and nephew went to the Air and Space Museum with their parents and had an amazing time. They were so excited about seeing the airplanes and helicopters. The museum also had an interactive play area with stations where different toys were set up for children’s entertainment. The kids kept talking about the really cool blocks they played with. I heard about them 25 times in the space of an hour. I just assumed the museum had a cool Lego set. About two weeks later, we were celebrating my mom’s birthday and she received some “awesome” blocks. These “blocks” are actually called Keva planks and, as the name implies, they are simple-looking planks of wood. There aren’t any interlocking pieces, fancy colors, or exciting pieces shaped like animals or people. They are plain flat wooden pieces about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long by ¼ inch deep. At first glance they really don’t appear to be anything special. These planks are precision cut to be identical building blocks. The uniformity created by their cut allows the blocks to have impressive stability when stacked. Even though the blocks are all the same, they can be stacked into impressive and beautiful structures. Because of the stability, it is easier for children to stack and make great towers and structures — even though their motor skills are less than those of an adult. Adults who like to build can create some amazing things. Even though they look like boring little planks apart, together they can make astounding things. The body of Christ is the same way. Alone we don’t always look like much — boring, common, just like everyone else. Then you meet Christ and realize that every human is precision-made by a loving Creator to fit into a specific role in a piece of the puzzle. Whether or not someone recognizes it, we are all made to perfection for the role that Christ created us for. WE don’t always recognize or understand that truth — but just as I found out from reading the Keva guide, that they are precision-made to work together, so too are we. It’s even in...

Top Ten Words: Covenant Sex – Exodus 20:14

Top Ten Words: Covenant Sex – Exodus 20:14

Jan 22, 2016

Sermon Series by Pastor Dusty Mackintosh Next Step Christian Church, Thornton, CO   Adultery, Pain and Brokenness When there is a passage of Scripture on my mind, I dwell on it. I think about it all the time. I am wondering about it, I am listening, waiting for God to open up new paths and new questions about it. This was a hard week. I spent this week thinking about adultery. That was especially difficult coming off the high of the marriage enrichment retreat. I felt enriched. I felt connected to my brothers and sisters. I was praying for the health and faithfulness of their marriages. Then God has this next verse for us. There are some sins we wink at and there are some that just break our heart. This one hurts me; it burdens me; it breaks my heart. I have seen friends devastated by it. Broken by it. Now that is kind of heavy and is a hard way to start a sermon. But I am being honest — this was a heavy and hard sermon for me. Everything is not all wrapped up here, but I can share with you what I have learned so far. Why does adultery feel like having one’s heart ripped out? Even when it’s not me…when it is someone I love…why does this sin strike so deep? Now, a whole lot of this is going to be focused towards those in our fellowship who are married. You can file some of this under the “later” file…but if you hold tight, by the end you may see that we are really after the heart of God. That’s ultimately what all of us are about.     Book Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.” Adultery vs. Fornication Now I am not going to preach about how lust, generically, is wrong. It is. We could take that as a generalization of this word, but God had me consumed this week, really focused on the word “adultery.” There is more than one word for sexual immorality in Hebrew. This one, the one used in the seventh word of the Ten Words, is specific. It is specific to marriage....

to be Silent or NOT

by Pastor Robert VanHorn SDB church of Pataskala, OH Probably the most known verse on silence is from Ecclesiastes, used many times in a funeral service. Since this Sabbath Recorder’s theme is “Silence,” this verse is a good place to begin. Ecclesiastes 3:7 — a time to be silent and a time to speak. How do we know when to speak up and when to keep silent? Did God reveal principles to guide His people? Let’s consider Matthew 7:6 — “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” This scripture taken from what is called the Sermon on the Mount is a compilation of short teachings Jesus used to help His listeners to gain wisdom in their everyday life. This particular verse is a caution to not waste God’s holiness on those who have no regard for the holy. This reminds me of a saying that my dad used many times as I was growing up: “Persuade a man against his will, and he remains the same still.” Debating really only shows the skill of the debater, not the correctness of the debater’s stance. From these scriptures I would propose a basic principle. ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT IF YOU SHOULD SPEAK UP, OR BITE YOUR TONGUE!!! Now let’s look at times that we should not be silent. There are three scriptures that all say not to be silent. Isaiah 62:1 — “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.” Psalm 12:2: — “that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Acts 18:9 — “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.’” These three give three different situations in which we are to speak out. First, for the Lord’s cause of salvation, second to praise our Lord, and third in times of persecution. The way we are not...

The Challenge

By Rebecca Olson Berlin SDB Church, NY Silence. It’s a tricky issue. As a Christian, I want to let God speak through me, but I also want to know when I should keep quiet. Which is appropriate in this situation? If I bring the Bible into this conversation, will it be encouraging or distancing? I want to show my faith in a positive light. What if talking pushes this person even farther away from God? This is my train of thought so often when I see an opportunity to bring up my faith with a non-believer, and I’m sure that other people feel the same way. In so many cases, the line between pushy and silent is so hard to see that we err on the side of silence every time. We know that constant silence isn’t an option — that’s what this whole Sabbath Recorder is about. But I understand the concern most Christians have, especially when talking to non-believers, about God’s point of view on social issues. Silence is often easily justified. “I am remaining silent in love,” we tell ourselves, and we guiltlessly let someone else proclaim God’s word. This can happen in our lives so often that we stop noticing. We stop finding opportunities to allow God to speak through us. That makes silence a really hard habit to break. Thinking about breaking a habit so ingrained might seem overwhelming, even impossible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to break your silence, let me give you a challenge. I want to give you somewhere to start. Deuteronomy 32:3 declares, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!” (NIV). Every good thing comes from God. He is working every day in your life. Every single thing that happens to you is part of His plan. He deserves our praise when things are going right and when things are going dreadfully wrong. As Christians, we know this. It is what we live for; God’s plan and goodness are what keeps us going no matter what. If you know that all good things come from God, here is my challenge for you: start...