Charlottesville, Church Planting, and Love
The day after hate found a temporary epicenter in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, I pause to continue processing what just transpired and stare at Matt Brown’s tweet of Romans 12:9…
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
— Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) August 14, 2017
…and I think about how the followers of Jesus serve a powerful God. Not just those dudes in the bible, and not simply some cosmic super nice guy, but believers TODAY in relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as ONE. A God whose love is beyond comprehension.
Last night, I was at a meeting for a group I’ve begun to get closer to as we continue down the road of planting a church in Downtown Los Angeles (The Brooks Church meets next Sunday (8/20) for its last monthly service. The church meets for the first time as a weekly Sunday gathering on September 17.)
At City Hall, just two blocks from where we met at the pastor’s home, a protest billed as one for demonstrating against the hate displayed in Charlottesville, took place just a few hours before our meeting.
The juxtaposition of the two gatherings could not have been more surreal. Thrown into the framing of the moment was the fact that the pastor and his wife are from Virginia.
As we prayed and received a message from the gospel in the midst of sirens blaring how they usually do in a big city and gazing at surrounding skyscrapers and a light blue sky it occurred to us in the room that this is what was important — gathering, praying, and being in relationship while being of the same spirit — sharing the good news of the bible by way of love.
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. Or fear has its own punishment or torment So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister. — 1 John 4:17-21
I look forward to more of this church planting business with my brothers and sisters. It looks like I may be stepping away from behind the “Orange Curtain” soon and physically moving to LA.
Maybe it’s time I journal this stuff.