My prayer for this year? To love extravagantly! This is a better way. Right before each new year I have a season of asking God for a specific thrust for the upcoming year. Prior to the beginning of 2016, I asked God to help me “love extravagantly” and also to have “extravagant mercy” toward others. For these two are intertwined. It is not by happenchance that this year I have already baptized two American denominal pastors in the name of Jesus, with another baptism slated to happen very soon. God is working!
As Apostolics we have this great treasure of truth — something we cannot sell nor should we ever water down. At the same time we must realize that part of that great truth is love. The old adage is simply so true – you win more people with honey then vinegar. Those denominal pastors’ hearts were opened after I built relational equity with them through love. I focused on loving them as Christ did and using wisdom in when and how I shared truth with them. The work in their lives is still not done, but I am still showing love. And God is not done working!
The churches that I work with that experience above average growth have a common denominator – love and acceptance. No, not a watering down of the truth or acceptance that people cannot be changed. God forbid! Rather an acceptance that Christ did die for all of us and that many people are on a journey, much like Cornelius (Acts 10). Yes, they need more. Yet that begins with more love. The reality is that everything we do must be motivated by love. People are simply more apt to receive what we share when they know we love and appreciate them. Are they perfect? No. Then again, neither are we. And each of us is the one Christ died for.
Brian Norman has been in the ministry for 23 years, serving as a Pastor, Church Planter and now traveling full-time. Phone: 636-544-0627 Website: GlobalEvangelism.org