March 23, 2012
Dear LUMC family and friends,
This time of year I enjoy watching the college basketball tournament known as “March Madness!” Like many others, I fill out a bracket before the tournament begins, trying to predict which teams will be victorious as they battle for that coveted title known as “Champion.” Sometimes I choose correctly, often I do not. There are so many choices, it’s hard to know which team to follow.
Fortunately, this does not have to be the case when it comes to our spiritual life. Yes, like “March Madness” there are many choices regarding who to follow. But unlike basketball tournaments, the God of all creation has communicated His consistent, unilateral plan…through the Scriptures, through the Holy Spirit, through His church, and most importantly, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God welcomes all people of this world to know Him, through Jesus. And Loveland United Methodist Church is dedicated to sharing this message through our thoughts, our attitudes, our words, and our action. There is no other…Jesus is the One.
I write this today for a couple of reasons.
First, this Sunday morning we will consider the accusations Jesus faced during the last 24 hours leading up to his death by crucifixion. He was unjustly brought to trial, falsely accused, met with fearful silence from friends, and ultimately condemned to suffer and die, so that the world could see first hand a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is not like the ways of this world, and Jesus would die to help us see this.
Secondly, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman this week while waiting at a car repair facility, and it turned out that he was Christian as well. He was a very gracious person, and our conversation took a number of interesting turns, eventually leading to me saying something like, “I find that most people believe in God (of some sort), but they’re not so sure about Jesus. Sometimes I get the impression people wish that Jesus would just go away.” I could tell from the change in his facial expression that he may not share this view of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps it’s just as well that our conversation was interrupted.
My friends, let’s be clear that God “…desires that none should perish.” And His Word is clear that we, as His church are to “…go to all the world.” But God has painstakingly communicated His plan for the salvation of the world and the ensuing eternal life in His Kingdom. Jesus. There is no other. We might have other ideas, we might want to create “many paths up the same mountain,” we might want to be inclusive so as not to offend others, but we are not God, and He is the one I wish to not offend.
It’s about love. And God’s love is known through Jesus. No matter what direction the world goes, our nation goes, various denominations go…we will honor, and live for…Jesus.
Feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.
I look forward to gathering with you this weekend,
Connecting the Unconnected in Loveland and Neighboring Communities with the transforming Love of Jesus Christ in order to become His fully Devoted Disciples.