Let us start off by saying that we are all sinners saved by grace, and as the Lead Pastor here at Love In The WORD Church, that makes me the Lead Sinner! Oh……!! that doesn’t sound very inviting or welcoming! SMILE! Let us try this another way! As the Lead Pastor at Love In The WORD, God has called me to represent a group of believers like me who are REAL people struggling and seeking to balance their fleshly sins with God’s TRUE purpose in our lives! Romans 3:23 states that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” This tells me that we are ALL alike – the preacher and the parishioner, those overcoming their sin and those swimming in their blessings!
So who are we? We are ALL the same! Some of us are fat and others are slender! Some of us are brown and others of us are mocha latte. Some of us need the sun to keep people from being able to see through us and others smile in the darkness so that we can light the way! (You will get that later and laugh!) Some of us are in bondage to our flesh and others of us walk in the freedom of our spirit. The REAL TRUTH is that though different, we are ALL the SAME – an eternal spirit wrapped in a temporal or temporary frame – a sort of human popsicle! Move on preacher! Okay! My point is that who we are is a group of Christians (followers or disciples of Jesus Christ) that KNOW that the Bible is the never-wrong WORD of God and that there is so much more that makes us alike than that which makes us different!
We are a group of believers that see all of mankind as Family and that even though the WORD talks about Heaven and Hell, blessings and “cursings”, the clear foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Love. “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” [1 Cor 13:13]. We are a group of Christians that are inclusive of other styles of praise and worship that are not like our own. I was talking for the first time to a Christian lawyer about WHO we are and he wrote this back to me in an email.
“I very much appreciate your heart for the unified Body no matter the ecclesiastical perspective. There is too much mission work to be done outside the Church (and forces coming against the Church) to have divisions within the Church. I believe we all can use a good reading through 1 Corinthians 1:10 (“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”). Cheers to what Love in the Word Church is and will be doing!” [Harrison Smith, email, 4/2/2019]
Who we are is a group of Christian believers in Christ Jesus that allows others the right to worship whoever and whatever they please as long as it does not deny others the same right to know and preach that “I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6 NLT] We are a group of Christians just preaching the WORD of God that we see in the Bible and letting the WORD do the work! We are not responsible for the “change” in others. In fact, we can’t even change ourselves, without help from God. “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.” [1 Cor 3:6-9, italics added] The point is that Love In The WORD is modeled after the primitive, apostolic church (with a technology twist!) that continued after the resurrection of Jesus from the cross. So if you call Jesus Lord, then we are “fellow believers”, no matter what sin permeate each of our lives because we are ALL sinners!
Who we are, are Christians who don’t look down our noses at the cultures, customs, and doctrines of other followers who call Jesus Lord, because we do not agree in all points of our doctrine. We serve Jesus Christ and preach that He is the Only way to Heaven, but we will sacrifice our lives for you to have the right to worship Buddha, Mohammed, etc, if that is your choice! We choose Jesus and we will not change our love for you because you choose NOT to! Like God, we LOVE the Sinner while hating sin! Yes even our own sin, for ALL have sinned…………! You know the rest! We are inclusive, not exclusive! “John said to Jesus, ’Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.’ “Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.“ [Mrk 9:38-41]. This is Who we at Love In The WORD strive to be! This is Who We Are!
None of us like “everything” that we hear in our teachings, readings, or preaching. We are not supposed to like everything. Conviction from the Holy Spirit is how we learn to repent and “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” [Phil 2:12d KJV] before the Lord. So what? Sin is sin to God! One sin is not different from another, except the unpardonable sin spoken of by Jesus. “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.” [Matt 12:31 NLT]. God still loves us, no matter what sin possesses us! “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” [Rom 5:8 NLT). So what does this mean? At Love In The WORD we focus NOT on condemning HOW people are living their lives, we focus on teaching the WORD and on developing a “personal and intimate” relationship with Jesus so that the WORD has the chance to do the WORK of transforming lives and saving souls!
Leadership MUST be living NOT a perfect life, but an exemplary life! Everyone can serve in God’s church, but everyone is not ready to lead! “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” [Phil 4:8-9]. So a person living in an unlawful relationship is no different than a person living in a lawful relationship and cheating on his/her spouse. Neither is living an exemplary life and neither is ready for leadership!
But regardless HOW we live, God still loves us and so we WILL love ALL others WELL! This is Who We Are!