Friday, July 6, 2012

Katy Perry and neighbors to love.

This pianist has some great music to listen to during a quiet time.  No matter the artist, she finds a way to make excellent compositions on the piano.  Definitely worth a listen in my book.

Sunny Choi – (Tribute to Katy Perry)

“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor[f] and hate your enemy.   But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you   so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.   If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?   And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. -Matthew 5:43-48

I find that working part time as a youth pastor and part time as a pizza guys lands each of my feet in two completely different worlds...yet in many ways, whether they should or shouldn't, they parallel each other, but that's another thought for another post.  It comes up at Papa John's occasionally that I work at a church--generally because someone will ask "so how did you make your way up to Atl?"  For whatever reason it came up again tonight with a coworker, and it somehow made its way to me saying, "yeah, I'll tell you what though.  What shocks me most about many Christians, who are supposed to be all about some love, is how full of hatred they are."

He proceeded to say, "yeah...actually the Last time I ever remember going to church the pastor walked up to my brother and I talking about how we were both going to Hell because we weren't tithing enough."  And, rhetorically, he went on to say, "What ever happened to a God that loves us no matter what?"

The conversation pretty much ended around there when I told him the God I serve's love is deeper than that, and he agreed by saying "yeah, I think so, too.  I don't know who he was serving, but I don't want to be a part of that."  Pizzas flashed on the screen to be made and our minds split into other directions from there and nothing more was spoken of anything.  I'm not sure how much hatred was in that pastor's heart as much as greed (from the way it was told to me), but for whatever reason my coworker still remembers that moment and it was enough to push him away from the church.  How sad.

I'm not always one for fluffy clouds, sunshine, unicorns pooping rainbows, and fluttering butterflies but what Jesus has to say about loving your enemies is a revolutionary thought, if we would just embrace it.  How do we lovingly correct someone?  I'm not 100 percent sure, but I know it all begins with love.  And I knew this--in fact, just the other day I found myself telling the youth "Love God and love your neighbor and you'll be alright"--but I find myself reverting back to an eye for an eye mentality anyway.  It's a work in progress I guess... I challenge you to read those verses closely again and let them sink into your lifestyle.  I promise you will feel more free if you let go of any hatred stored up inside of you.  We weren't made to hate.

I have begun reading through Matthew on my way to and from work at PJ's while I'm on Marta.  It's amazing how a little of the Word before work can make your day run more smoothly.

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