This is a repost from 3/18/2011:
Grief is a normal part of healthy human existence. Without the ability to grieve we wouldn’t have the ability to love, to feel connected at a deep level to someone, something, or even an idea. We can and should grieve the loss of a dream, the loss of our home, or the loss of a person that we love to death or relational mayhem. It is a God designed part of our humanness.
Love is the motivation (1 Corinthians 13)
Without the right motivation any sacrifice we make is useless. Whether we give everything we own to feed the poor or give up our life because of our beliefs it does not matter unless we have love. Love is the motivation for all works that turn out worthwhile. Actions that aren’t motivated by love become like a Pharisee’s observance of the Law: giving a tenth of everything (including the smallest herbs from the spice garden) and still missing the heart of the matter.
Love looks a certain way though. It isn’t just a warm-fuzzy feeling that we get about a general concept or idea. Love is grounded in God’s self-revelation in Jesus. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another”. Love is wholehearted pursuit of Jesus; devotion to sitting at His feet and obeying his every command. Both together. If we strive to do everything we do out of a desire to be in God’s presence and to be obedient to Jesus then our actions are worthwhile. Otherwise they’re only worth throwing in a garbage heap. Actions not motivated by love have no gain in them for us. And love not motivating the right actions isn’t really love at all.
I like to read. I also like the concept of “mentoring from afar” which is where you learn from a proven leader through their books. Otherwise known as…reading. Here is my reading list for 2013:
Michael Spencer ran the influential blog The Internet Monk until his death in 2010, and Mere Churchianity: Finding your way back to a Jesus-shaped spirituality (WaterBrook Press, 2010) is the summation of his life’s work as an apostle to the church leavers. His focus in this book is on helping those burnt out by what he called churchianity (the “do more, be better, look good for God’s sake” (p. 5) attitude found in many churches) find a way to follow the Jesus that they aren’t willing to give up on. Spencer wrote that the “purpose in writing this book is to talk to you as someone who is willing to follow Jesus, not as someone who has decided to give up on Jesus” (p. 198). It isn’t a book for people who have decided to make up their own pick-and-choose spirituality, and Spencer isn’t necessarily anti-church. In fact, as long as a church is making disciples of Jesus who are equipped for ministry in their individual lives then he is all for it. On to the analysis: