01-18-15 God's Call to Genuine Love (Guest Speaker Denise Bailey)

Hello, and welcome to the “Spring” portion of January’s weather (not that I’m complaining, mind you -- it got awfully cold there for a while). 

Here at First Covenant Church, this was a weekend for remembrances.  First off, it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, and that really should mean more to us than simply getting a day off from school or work.  It should be a reminder of all of those brothers and sisters who have gone before us in history, investing their lives in making a difference in the lives of those around them -- as well as those to come.  Dr. King made such a difference, but the main thing that I believe he’d want this day to remind us is that you and I -- each one of us -- can and should be making a difference in the lives of those around us as well.

It was also our annual Sanctity of Human Life Sunday here in our worship service this week.  Again, this should be a time not only to remember the 56,000,000 babies than have been killed through abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, but also to remember that every life is sacred because every life has been created by our Lord.  The life of an infant, the life of your neighbor, the life of that check-out clerk that you never even thought about, the life of that abortionist who took the life of that infant -- all of these lives are sacred, and all of these people are people whom you and I should be actively loving as an act of worship to God.

Our guest speaker this Sunday was Denise Bailey, director of Peoria’s Women’s Pregnancy Center, and she spoke to us not only about the Center’s ministry, but about “God’s Call to Genuine Love.”

We are called to love one another from the heart -- all of one another, not just some of one another.

We are called to love one another as the people whom God sculpted us to be.  I shouldn’t try to love or to worship just like you, and you shouldn’t try to be just like me.  All of us should try to be just like Jesus.

We are called to love every day, in every way.  Your life is not your own, and your time is not your own.  You are to be God’s ambassador to the world around you every day.

We are called to love based on commitment, not on our feelings.  Love isn’t about feeling affectionate, or about feeling happy toward someone on a given day -- love is about making a decision to meet someone else’s needs and then committing to it, no matter what.

We are called to love everyone around us, genuinely, every day, in every way -- whether we feel like it or not -- with the kind of love that draws people into the Kingdom of God, because absolutely every human life is utterly sacred, and worth treating that way.