Monday, April 17, 2006


Christ the King Community Church is called to “reach out effectively to unchurched people in love....”

Lyrics to an old Burt Bacharac song proposed “What the world needs now is love, sweet love….it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Through the materialistic lens of our western culture we tend to think that if you can’t:

Buy it

Drive it

Consume it

Hold it

Store it

Operate it

Inhabit it

Or sell it

It’s not valuable….

But the best things in life are free. Like love. I read about one of the most successful executives of one of the largest corporations in America. When he was asked about how he achieved such stunning results he said, “I just took principles from the Bible and put them into action on the job.” He said, “Love is a legitimate business strategy.” Love is indeed the “killer app.”

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

In God’s scheme of things, love is more important than giftedness, insight or accomplishments. Let me paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, and make it personal to me and to Christ the King, like this….

If I, as a pastor, can attract an audience which fills all of the bleachers in the largest stadium, or if I address millions on television, or if I sit back quietly in a book-lined study and write book after book which lands on the best seller list, and if I am not a loving person, I am only a successful huckster displaying his wares. If I finish my doctorate degree and hang the diploma proudly in my office, or if I lead a massive charge to change the moral fabric of our community, and if Christ the King Church becomes the fastest growing church in America, and I don’t have love, I am only a paper moon shining over a cardboard sea. And if I triple my tithe and send mission teams around the world, and if I break my health in ministry and outreach, and if I don’t have love, I have only wasted my time and shouted vainly into the wind.

What is love? Love is what seeks the best for it’s object. It’s a commitment to the other person’s well-being. It is not so much a feeling to be felt as an action to be learned.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- 1 John 4:7,8

If we are growing in God, we are going to have a growing capacity to love. A growing capacity to love means:

1. Loving more people than you’ve ever loved before
2. Growing in the kinds of people you love
3. Loving over longer periods of time
4. Loving in more ways that you’ve loved before

The owner of an espresso stand In Portland was surprised one morning to have one of her customers not only pay for her latte, but also for the latte of the person behind her. It put a smile on the owner’s face to tell the next customer her drink had already been paid for. The second customer was so pleased that someone else had bought her coffee that she paid for the next customer. The string continued for two hours and 27 customers. What a great return on a $3 investment.

Our mission statement at Christ the King has the word love right in the middle of it because we think it is the highest leverage point. And love is one of those things you can’t just talk about, you have to do. The Beatles sang quite often about love. One of their most popular songs was “Love is All you Need.” But Julian Lennon was abandoned by his father, John, at the age of five. When interviewed about the experience, Julian said,

I felt he was a hypocrite. Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world, but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.

Churches also will find that it’s a lot easier to sing about love, than it is to love. But Jesus said that love is the primary indicator of who is a Christ-follower, and who is not: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are never more like God than when we love.

On the street I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress, with little hope of a decent meal. I became angry and said to God: “Why did you permit this? Why don’t you do something about it?” For awhile God said nothing. That night he replied, quite suddenly. “I certainly did something about it. I made you.”

I wonder whether God might say the same thing to Christ the King Community Church: “This is why I made you, CTK. I made you to reach out in love.”

Is it theoretically possible for a church to not be characterized by love, and yet be completely faithful to its calling?

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