We Speak the Language

Say what?-

So, last week1944423809_jackie_chan_wtf_face_i16_answer_9_xlarge a project manager/estimator from our Construction firm and I are standing with an architect and a structural engineer looking at the steel roof structure of the church addition I am in charge of building in Miles City. The architect and engineer are debating the need for additional bracing on the steel tresses to restore the integrity of the structure for both lateral movement and snow deflection because some of the X-braces had to be removed in order to accommodate the duct work which had to be installed above the level of the suspended ceiling grid.

I needed to be involved in this conversation because I, as the project superintendent, am responsible for making happen whatever they decide was needed, and I wanted to make sure I understood the intent of the bracing, the method of application, and placement while using my years of experience to have intelligent input on what was obviously
a let’s make this up as we go along scenario on their part, which is what much of construction and post planning stage field engineering is.

Did any of you find that hard to follow? If you did it may be because you don’t speak the language. As is often the case─ and I know all of you can relate to this─ I found myself in a position where I had to put on my specialized hat and speak a language I wouldn’t use everywhere, or anywhere, else. I was using a jargon particular to this circumstance─ technical terms that communicate things only people with similar knowledge and experience understand yet require in order to A: understand you, and B: take you seriously in your position as the one to get it done.

It can be intimidating, and used to be— but I have been doing it long enough now that I am confident and at ease when having these conversations with people who have letters after their names, I speak the language.

So, Monday I am going to use a 110 wire feed with .30 wire to place ¼ fillet weld on the butts and intersections of the 1x1x1/16 angle I am adding as x-bracing in the first bay to create a box from which to stabilize all the other tresses that are connected by horizontal bracing already welded to the bottom cords.

You got that right? Many of you— not so much. I wonder if that’s the way a lot of the world feels when we talk to them about our faith or when they hear us talking to one another. Most of the world doesn’t speak Christian E’s, they don’t understand our language. What is sin anyway, sancti-what? Rapture, tithe, redemption, holiness, Old testament, New testament, epistle, gospel— sounds like a bunch of gobbly-gook to most of the world, the world we all live in.

In the world

There is an often used saying in the church, that we are “In the world but not of it” This comes largely from the words of Jesus in John 17 as he is praying for his disciples just before his arrest: 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 

Indeed, in the world—citizens and occupants of a world that was created for us by a loving God that has become corrupt and evil beyond description—but not of the world, for we have been redeemed, the ransom paid to save us from the ravishes of this world and the penalty to come for those who submitted to the powers of darkness that now dominate this world while refusing the truth and redemption freely offered to them by the creator.

I believe we go a long way towards fulfilling the great commission, towards honestly representing the Kingdom of Heaven so that others may choose to be saved from the despair of this world and judgement to come —on the perpetrators of that despair— by being open, honest and sincere. Being yourself while remembering who you are; a loved child of God who was created in his image and by him in a way that makes you unlike any other human being that has ever lived.

You are uniquely made —from the complexity of the DNA that makes you unique physiologically— to the spirit which gives your life and makes you cognizant of where and who you are in the universe while at the same time causing you to ask the questions as you try to understand more and more of the nature of that place.

No other creature in all of creation does that, we are unique, you are unique—truly created in the image of God. So you are inherently good. If we embrace the person who God created us to be while recognizing and shunning the corruption that creeps in from the evil influences of this fallen world, we can truly make a difference in this world─ In the world but not of it; the world needs us, people also created in his image, woefully deceived and misled need us, we need to learn to speak their language.  -Right?

Actually that was a trick question. All of us already speak several languages of this world, we just don’t realize it or recognize the importance and advantage of it, at least not for the Kingdom.

 Go where God leads you, preach the gospel he gives you to those in your world. We all have access to a world that few other believers may occupy, where even fewer believers are willing to occupy, let alone preach in. We all speak different languages and by that I don’t mean foreign languages, I mean that we can relate to people in certain circles, where we are comfortable, where we have had experience’s, where people don’t look at us and say, “Where are you from?”

Worry less about where you should or could go and look at those before you who are asking the questions; “What is it all for? Am I loved? Do I have a purpose? Can you tell me, can anyone tell me, I don’t understand!” Those questions are coming from your neighbors, your coworkers, your family… your children. You speak their language like no one else can, give them hope.

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17

That’s why you were sent into this world. You have a purpose.

Be there, don’t give up.


You Are Not a Bad Person

The Runaway Tractor- IMG_0580

Several years ago in the middle of haying season my lovely and capable wife offered to take a day off from work and bale the hay I had knocked down in the big field opposite the house on the other side of the big coulee.  I was all for this as I had to work the next day and often about the time I got home a quick evening thunderstorm would put a quick end to my own baling plans.

So I gave her a quick refresher course on running the baler and the old Farmall tractor we would use to pull it.  I went to work the next day expecting to come home and find a field full of beautiful square bales.

I came home to see only the first one or two outside rows baled and the baler sitting idle in the field with no tractor in site.  Bewildered I walked to the door of the house and was met by Donna.  I said, “What happened, where’s the tractor?”  She responded Dad’s at the hospital and the tractor’s in the dump!”  While I was trying to figure out why and how they got the tractor to the dump and what that had to do with Ralph being at the hospital she starting explaining to me that the throttle linkage on the tractor had come loose and not knowing what to do she walked back to the house and called her dad.

Her dad had recently had a couple of TI’s, or mini strokes, and so was not supposed to be driving anymore or running farm equipment.  This of course did not set to well with this nearly 80-year-old rancher who had worked hard all his life and it was a constant fight to keep him out from behind the wheel.  But Donna’s mom offered to bring him out so he could take a look, after all it was his equipment.

So Margie, Donna’s mom drove Ralph out and they went over into the field. He determined he needed to bring the tractor back to the house where it could be worked on.  Since it could not go any faster than an idle no one raised any real objections when he said he would drive it back over to the house.

So they unhooked it from the bailer and away they went, Ralph putting along on the tractor and Margie following in their car.  Donna decided she was going to go check the mail and would meet them back at the house. About half way across the field Ralph stopped the tractor and got off to go and tell Margie something, we never did find out what it was.  As he started walking toward the car Margie yelled at him that the tractor was starting to roll─ it had slowly started rolling backward down the progressively steeper hill toward the big coulee.

Amazingly, Ralph still had enough pep in him to catch the tractor and he managed to get his feet up onto the draw bar on the back end and grab the back of the seat as the tractor started picking up speed as the hill got steeper and steeper. Before he could pull himself up into the seat where he could grab the wheel and step on the brake, the tractor was suddenly plunging backward into a very steep ravine at the bottom edge of the field.

So here’s Ralph hanging on for dear life on the downhill end of a runaway tractor standing just inches off the ground, between two wheels as tall as he is, as it plunges into and through a ravine using him as the spearhead to plow a path through a thicket of very thorny wild plumb trees and just as thorny wild roses, to end up in a bottom full of broken glass and rusted metal and mattress springs.  This coulee—more of a steep ravine off the bigger coulee—had been used years ago by the Helfrick’s─ the original homesteaders─ as a garbage dump.

The tractor crashed through the tangle of brush—which probably kept it from flipping over on top of him—and slammed into the opposite bank at the bottom of the ravine slamming Ralph to the ground before running up over him, the tool bar smashing him into the debris on the ground as it rolled a few feet up the bank before finally coming to rest on top of Ralph.

Finding himself lying flat on his back looking up at the plug in the oil pan on the belly of the tractor and smack between the wheels of the still running tractor, Ralph was able to crawl out on his hands and knees through the broken glass and rusty remnants of tin cans─ bruised, scraped and scratched from head to toe.

Just after Ralph’s spectacular last runaway tractor ride Donna came back from the mail box and saw the car sitting empty in the middle of the field with the door open and no one around.  Donna’s frantic Mom had chased Ralph right into the ravine on foot and that’s where Donna found her. Between them they managed to get Ralph out of that overgrown tangled mess. They loaded him up into the car and hauled him to the emergency room.  He was bruised everywhere and missing a few layers of skin here and there but otherwise he was OK.


3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Is 42:3

We used to have to argue with my Father in Law about driving and running equipment, until the day he ended up in that coulee and almost killed himself. We didn’t have to argue with him any more after that, his wounds did all the talking that was necessary, and we didn’t have to keep jabbing his bruises to make sure he didn’t forget.

When a person has been battered and bruised by bad decisions they don’t need more bruises, they don’t need their bruises pointed out, they need a safe place to heal and they need to be shown how to avoid future bruises without being made to feel like a fool.

Each and every one of us of knows what it feels like to mess up, because we have all messed up. Each one of us knows what it’s like to be judged and condemned and what it feels like to get kicked around.

We are called to love people into wholeness, it’s called grace, we need to do more than receive it, we need to extend it, we all get hurt, we all get derailed at times, that doesn’t nullify God’s love for us.

If you are hurting- Jesus wants to heal you, because he loves you.  Ralph was just trying to save his tractor, a split second decision, a reflex, an attempt to regain control, and suddenly he found himself totally out of control and all he could do is ride it out. I can just imagine the feeling and the fear as he desperately tried to get back into that driver’s seat knowing he was about to go off the edge into the pit, likely to be pinned there under a ton of steel and rubber.

Was it a bad decision? Yes, was he foolish? No, just reacting, trying to do the right thing, probably not the first time but this time it got away from him. Did he deserve what he got? No, and no one thought or insinuated that he did. He knew he messed up but he survived and he learned from it, add so did the rest of us. I know I will never jump onto the rear end of a backwards rolling tractor.

He was black and blue and purple and green for a while but he actually healed up quite nicely.

Maybe you have gotten into a fix that has caused you a lot of grief. Maybe you have jumped onto a runaway tractor thinking to save someone or fix something, turns out you did it the wrong way or it wasn’t appreciated by someone you really care about, now you are ashamed and scorned. Maybe you latched onto something thinking you could control it and suddenly it is controlling you and threatening to destroy you, to pile drive you right into the dump and leave you for broken.

You don’t have to stay there; you don’t deserve to stay there. Listen to this; you are not a bad person, you ae created in the image of God and you have a good heart and that’s what Jesus sees, things have just gotten away from you, you made bad decisions in the heat of the moment, or a well thought out plan didn’t work out and the more you tried to fix it the worse it got and now it seems hopeless. It’s not, Jesus can fix it, Jesus loves you, he wants to pull you out of the dump, to dust you off, to heal you, and set you back in the driver’s seat with a new appreciation for his directions as he guides you to safe places; places where you can help others to avoid or get out of runaway situations.

Your scars are a testimony and a proof of his power and love, share them, show them─ and be healed.


It’s Hard.

dualing dinosaursIt’s hard to not grow weary of the fight. It’s hard to be faithful, at least faithful as we see it, you know what I mean? To maintain a mindset that is set on the Lord and the things of the Lord, to keep our eyes on Jesus. It’s hard to not get discouraged and not give in to the notion that we must have missed it somewhere, that all our struggle is for naught. It’s hard to be the responsible parent, the loving supportive spouse, the story book endings always seem to be for someone else.

It’s hard because we know what it is supposed to be, what it can be if Jesus is kept the center of all, if the world had not chosen to turn away from God and choose its own path. We know because we have that knowledge planted in our hearts, it is alive in us through the holy Spirit, we have tasted the Kingdom and it is ours but we are still stuck in this one where the Devil still runs roughshod- apparently laughing with glee, as we all struggle with; “Why? Why is it so hard?” -Or maybe it’s just me.

Feeling discouraged a few weeks ago I was praying on my way home from Miles City: “Lord, it seems I have so many promises that have yet to be fulfilled, it’s getting harder and harder to keep trusting the promises, and the struggle to be godly never seems to get easier. Have you given up on me?”

And the Lord answered;

If you don’t give up on me, I won’t give up on you.

Back in 2003 I was doing a job at the Billings water treatment plant. Long story short, one of the things we had to do was to fill a couple of 5 foot square holes in a 2-foot thick concrete wall in the lower level of the pump station to accommodate the new pumps that would draw water from the Yellowstone River. So we drilled holes in the perimeter of the openings for rebar dowels and tied the rebar into place, formed up both sides of the opening leaving a small opening in the top of one side for the concrete to be placed via a concrete pump.

The only way to get the hose from the pump truck into the form was by dropping it down the 30’ deep shaft on the river side of the walls after pulling the hose through the front and rear doors of the pump house. As usual we are on a tight schedule and we have to get this done and get the new pumps on line for the city.

So I schedule concrete for mid-afternoon, the soonest we can be ready. The trucks arrive and we got the 4” rubber hose from the pump truck dragged through the building and down the shaft and start pumping concrete. I had an older hand named Dennis helping me wrestle the hose down in the shaft and to run the vibrator.

Dennis was a good hand and reliable but not a real ball of fire. I used to tease him, “Dennis, you’re not very fast but you sure are slow!” He knew I liked him and always chuckled when I told him that. I liked Dennis because he mostly just kept his head down, his mouth shut and did his job.

Up above I had another hand whom we’ll call Benny. Benny was a good hand, a hard worker and got stuff done but he was ornery and liked to grumble a lot and never stopped talking, mostly about all his concrete expertise.

So we’re filling the hole with concrete. I had to really wet it up to get it to pump through 80’ or so of hose and you know what happens when you add water to concrete? It knocks down the air content. We had a spec that said we had to have a certain amount of air in the concrete and an inspector who never gave an inch on anything and I had told the batch plant to make sure there was good air in the mix.

When the first form was about two thirds of the way full I got word from the tester that the air content was a percentage point or two off so I was forced to reject the load and had no choice but to pull the hose, now very heavy with concrete, out of the shaft, back through the building, pull off the form and clean the freshly placed concrete out of the opening we were trying to fill.

This of course did not make anyone, especially me, very happy. Apparently I said a bad word or two in the process of yelling instructions up to the folks above and arguing with the truck driver while Dennis and I were frantically trying to pull the forms and dig all the mud out of the hole before it set up, because, yes, it is hard to be godly all the time in the construction world.

It was about 4:30 or so by this point the end of a hard day and we just wanted to be done but I was grateful that Dennis had stayed to help me as we ended up digging the concrete out with our bare hands from around the rebar in the hole, having to get every last bit so that it wouldn’t contaminate the rebar when we re-poured it the next day.

It took a while but we got it all cleaned out and scrubbed off the rebar with a wire brush and ready to try again the next day.

I say I was glad Dennis was there because Benny had deserted us. I had called up for him to help and was informed by the pump truck driver that he had left. What!? We’re not done, who does he think he is?

The next day he simply said; “Hey, it was quitting time.” I heard him tell someone some time later that he knew “If things are bad enough for Dan to start cussing, it’s time to leave.” I try not to cuss and I usually don’t, but as I told Donna, sometimes shucky darn just doesn’t cut it in the world of construction where yes, try as I might, it is hard to always be godly. But at the end of the day, the job has to be done, happy or mad, easy or frustrating, is irrelevant. Quitting time comes when the job is finished.

So, who is the real concrete hand here? The one who spend all day telling stories about what a great concrete hand he was yet left before the job was done, or the quiet slow one who was as dependable as the sunrise and stayed till the job was finished no matter how unpleasant it might be? Guess who was still with me a couple of months later when I only need one helper.

At the end of the day, it is not who talked the best game, it’s who is still there, the ones left standing.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Tim 4:8


Things will go wrong and yes, it’s hard, and can be frustratingly difficult but it’s not about being perfect and always having a sunny attitude; it’s about being there. The true church will prevail, and the true father, the true mother is the one who is there for their family- no matter how hard- it’s worth it.


Pray in the Spirit at all times

-In light of what has been happening lately from the corruption of Washington DC where those who have power can get away with anything and lying has become a virtue- to the streprayerets of Dallas where those sworn to protect us are gunned down while protecting those who were there to protest the injustices of those in other states as the tension between races which we had largely left behind decades ago are again being fanned to an out of control inferno I just have to set aside my usual feel good family blog and ask the hard question? What are we to do church?

Remember who we are, and pray. Our God is still in control and our God hears our cries, we are not orphans and we are not alone. Here is a promise only those who love him will understand; Jesus is here, and Jesus is coming.

15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18

I will come to you. And that is exactly what he did and continues to do, he did not leave us as orphans but lives with us and in us by way of the Holy Spirit.  Receiving Jesus isn’t just an expression; being born again isn’t just a catch phrase adopted by the evangelical church to make themselves sound special, it is a real, literal, thing. The Holy Spirit really does come into us and our own dead spirit is born again and made new through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  We now have the Holy Spirit of God living in us where once there was a spirit that was dead because of the sin that separated us from the life that can only come from God.

But, that is a radical idea in this materialistic world where all roads lead to Heaven if there even is one; or worse – this is even a radical idea amongst a lot of religious traditions who teach that we have to work our way into God’s grace, that we just kind of morph into Christians by learning the right verses and taking part in the right ceremonies.  Or that we just need to get more good stuff on the scale to offset the bad on the other side of the scale— tipping the scale in the right direction by our deeds and prayers.

People who teach or live this way believe that this life is completely devoid of God’s power except to inflict punishment on those who dare to do anything that is deemed wrong by those who know better, deemed unforgivable by those who can quote every “thou shalt not” found in the Bible and haven’t cracked a smile since the Carter administration. Those who teach salvation by works or the law are devoid of all joy and hope— They have no patience; they have no peace and they offer only criticism and rebuke.

Don’t spit on me and tell me it’s raining, don’t throw half the fruits of the Holy Spirit out the window, Love, Joy, Peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and tell me your saved, that you love Jesus!  If you are truly Spirit led, Spirit filled, or even truly born again you will be radically different, you will not be defeated no matter what happens because you have a life inside of you that cannot be defeated, cannot be quenched— you have a joy that is not dependent on your surroundings, it comes from the inside, from the Holy Spirit of God.  It is the peace that passes all understanding and it comes with power, the power of love, the love of God within us, around us, and it needs to emanate from us.

And that is why we need to keep praying in the Spirit, only praying in the Spirit can release the power of the Spirit to build up the faith that will ensure our joy, that will protect us from those that would steal our victory. In this day and age, we need all that power we can get, we need to pray prayers that will change this world, that will protect our hearts and keep us moving in the joy of our salvation in spite of the evil that surrounds us.

You can take my right to speak my mind, my right to worship, you can take my ability to defend myself and my right to say no to that which my Bible teaches me is harmful or wrong; you can take my freedom and even my life but you can never take my Joy, you can never take my peace because my true freedom and my everlasting life comes from Jesus and I have the inexpressible and incomprehensible joy of living in the victory and power of his Kingdom today.

When Jesus said he was bringing the Kingdom of heaven, “Behold the Kingdom is at hand!” He did not fail, that kingdom is right here right now in the hearts of all who love him for he has come to us and made his home in us.

Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

That is forever and it has survived wars, fallen empires, concentration camps, beheadings and it will certainly survive corrupt politicians and Supreme Court decisions, terrorists, snipers and
riots. And if we truly believe that it will also overcome and outlast whatever the enemy comes up with next until we either reclaim this land for Jesus, or we are standing before the great white throne where the only thing left is that Kingdom and the books which declare who it was that believed unto life in the promise of his word, the word made alive by his Spirit.

On that day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the books will be opened and everyone who was not found written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. It would behoove you to start talking to God before that day, to make the most of this day and to seek and earnestly desire all the power we can get from the Lord who saves us as we fight to survive the here and now and to touch as many lives as we can before it’s too late.

We have to stand strong and we have to stand together and don’t let anyone talk you out of all that the Holy Spirit has for you. Jude, one of Jesus’ brothers wrote to the early Christians:

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Jude 1:17-21

Stay strong, Jesus loves you- yes you, and so do I.


Love Completes Us

I realize it’s the middle of a hot summer but please indulge me a bit as I take you back to a cold February night- maybe it’ll cool you off a bit.

Welcome and good morning baby-

It’s just after 11:00 on a cold late February night and I go down to the barn to check on a heifer I had locked in a stall because I saw earlier that she was thinking about calving.  I could tell because she had gone off by herself, as cows do, when they are getting ready to calf. Because she was a heifer I wanted to have her in a place where I could help her should she have trouble.  Well sure enough, she was having trouble.  Her water had broken some time ago and she was up and down- alternating between laying down on her side and walking around in circles mooing for her, as of yet, unborn calf, a sure signMoultonBarnNightClouds1.

Now, this heifer knew me as the one who fed her in the winter and kept her in good pastures in the summer but she was still not totally trusting of me, she was after all a range cow, spending much of her time totally away from all human contact.  I did not have a head-catch at this time so I had to use a lot more finesse in doctoring cows, getting them to trust me enough to help them.

I could see she would be needing help soon so I quietly slipped into the large stall and squatted down with my back against the wall at one end of the stall while she eyed me nervously to see what I was up to.  I just sat there on my haunches and waited, reassuring her now and then, letting her hear my familiar voice, low and calmly saying; “its ok girl, I’ll be here when you’re ready.” 

So I settle in and wait and as I sit there I become acutely aware of the stillness around me.  No sound but the occasional rustling of the heifers’ shuffling feet in the straw I had thrown out in the stall for her. It’s like there’s no one in the world but me and this heifer right now.  I turn off my glaring flashlight and let my eyes adjust to the dim light from the moon that’s filtering in from outside through the unfinished barn walls.  I see that the heifer is starting to worry less about me and getting back to the business of calving.

It’s cold but I’m warm in my insulated Carhartt coveralls and wool Scotch cap.  The cold crisp air mixed with the musty smell of the heifer and the dusty straw gives me a sensation that all is right with the world.  A feeling that really can’t be described but once experienced is never forgotten.

The heifer lies down again as the contractions come hard and heavy, the steam of her breath coming in sharp bursts like a geyser that can’t decide if it’s ready to blow or not.  Then I see a small hoof appear under her tail, she is oblivious to my presence now as she alternates between pushing and just laying her head heavily in the straw to catch her breath.

It’s time- I crawl on my hands and knees through the straw, which is now becoming well mixed with the manure beneath, to the rear of the heifer, I take off my gloves and slowly slip a hand into the heifer to feel a velvety nose lodged firmly in the birth canal.  I work both the front hoofs of the calf out as far as I can while the heifer lifts her head to look at me and then pushes once more.  I reach into the back pocket of my coveralls and pull out a zip-lock bag containing the O.B. chains as the steam rises off my hands now covered with warm amniotic fluid.

I work the chains onto the small hoofs being careful to get them above the fetlocks, I hook the hand held puller to the center of the chains, brace my feet against the rear of the cow and working with the contractions of the heifer I begin to pull.  We are totally in this together now and after several pulls with all my strength timed to coincide with her pushes we suddenly have a head.  I get up off my −back where I landed when the shoulders cleared and quickly get to my feet to easily slide the calf the rest of the way out.  I catch my breath as the heifer−now a cow−relaxes, and the calf, a coal black bull with a bright white face, takes its first gasping breaths.

I wait only moments before I drag the calf around to the front of the cow to make sure she gets a good snoot full of her baby’s scent. She soon gets to her feet and gives the calf another good sniffing before she begins gingerly to clean him while mooing gently with the moo that cows only use for their babies.  Praise God!  She’s accepted the calf and has the mother instinct.  I get out of the stall and hang around only long enough to make sure the calf gets up and stumbles over to where the milk is, amazed once again that a minutes old calf always knows where to find the milk.

“Welcome and goodnight baby, see you in the morning.”



Sometimes we just need to be there.

Being the church of Jesus Christ means loving our neighbors and – one another, learning to take care of those who are right in front of us.  Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations… we make disciples by sharing the good news and then by being there to encourage them on. New believers will quickly wither and die if they are not loved into health and seasoned believers will not continue to grow and bear fruit if they are not continuing to be loved−and sharing the love.

As we mature in our relationship with Christ it is sharing the love that really keeps us healthy and fulfilled, that encourages us, no matter the cost, the fulfillment that comes from living a life of love is priceless.

I was sitting in that cold barn in the middle of the night because I cared, sure that calf was worth 500 bucks at weaning time but that’s not what I was thinking about; there isn’t a rancher around worth his salt who doesn’t genuinely care for his animals.  And when I left the barn that night I felt good, real good, even though I was covered with manure and afterbirth and had missed several hours of sleep.  That is not the kind of feeling you get from simply earning a buck, it’s the kind of feeling you get from making an impact on another life. It’s a deep down satisfaction. 

It is the same feeling that comes from doing something good for someone who has entrusted you with their friendship and their heart. It’s the unique deep down soul satisfying feeling of being blessed because you allowed God to use you to be a blessing to someone.  It’s not about conquering the world, it’s about saving and discipling individuals, it’s about being there.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11

Love completes us.