For those in my Growthpoint class, I am posting my notes here (randysthoughts.wordpress.com).
BROKEN HEARTS, BROKEN LIVES and BROKEN PEOPLE
(Ministering to the desperate and hurting, the way Jesus intended)
[1 Peter 4:8-11 NIV]
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
-Whose sin is getting covered; the one who is doing the loving, or the one being loved? I think the answer is both. Loving others, particularly those that go unnoticed by others, pleases God because He loves those people. But I believe that the primary answer is that it is the sin of the person being loved. Part of truly loving someone is helping to cover their faults and sins so others don’t see them. If you love someone (God’s way) you have their back and you protect them.
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
-It is easy to offer hospitality to people, but it is much more difficult to refrain from grumbling and griping about it as you are walking away afterward. How many times do we do something to help somebody and then complain about how “I have to do everything and nobody else ever pitches in to help” or “if he would just be more responsible I wouldn’t have to be bailing him out.” But if we do something nice for someone because we see the value in them that God sees, it is easy for us to not grumble.
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms .
-This is saying that the gift you received was grace, so be a faithful steward of that grace that God gave by using it to serve others (in various ways).
-Btw, do you know the difference between mercy and grace? Mercy is when you don’t get a bad consequence you have earned (like God not giving us what we deserve for all of our sins). Grace is when you are given something you don’t deserve (like God giving us the status of “righteous”, although we didn’t earn it).
11 If anyone speaks they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
-The first time I read that we are to speak “as one who speaks the very words of God”, I thought it sounded almost pretentious, that we thought our words were like God’s. Eventually I figured out what it really meant: when we speak, it should be saying the same things that God says. That doesn’t mean that everything we say should be chapter and verse out of the bible. But many ideas and thoughts from the bible are helpful in situations that we encounter daily and we can speak them. Look at it like you are taking the ideas, concepts and teachings from a medical textbook and telling patients their diagnosis and treatment. The doctor doesn’t quote to their patient from his or her textbook from medical school, but he or she uses what they have learned from the book. God’s word is that textbook for Christians. I would rather give someone advice or counsel from God’s word than from my own opinions.
[Mat 5:38-48 NASB] 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ 39 “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
-In this setting Jesus was speaking to Jewish believers who grew up knowing things like “an eye for an eye”. He was trying to explain to them that it goes deeper than rules and the “letter of the law”. It is really the “spirit of the law” that is important. He didn’t negate the law (which says that you are accountable to replace anything you take from another person, be it property, dignity, life, etc.) that God had set forth in the old testament. That law, and the principle behind it, still remain in effect today. We use it in our laws. We have laws of restitution and in some states we have the death penalty. Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He added to the harsh reality of the law, mercy and grace. Man’s natural way is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. As humans we want us when we do things wrong, but there is a condition: we have to repent (say we are sorry and turn the other direction trying not to do the same thing again) and ask Him for forgiveness. If you were to do the things Jesus teaches in this passage, how do you think people would react? What if someone asked to borrow ten dollars and you gave them a twenty dollar bill and told them they didn’t have to give it back? What if you gave a gift card to a restaurant to a coworker who treats you badly? My guess is that they would be shocked, that they would begin to wonder why you did what you did. In time they might even come to realize that you were showing them God’s love… and that could result in leading them into a relationship with Christ that would change their life forever, for the best.
VIDEO: My Own Little World (song by Matthew West) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UywpoHe61sE
1) Broken by Night (Many people are broken and hurting but don’t want to let anyone know, but would come to someone for help by night as Nicodemus came to Jesus)
-Our world is full of hurting, broken people.
-some don’t know Christ
-some used to believe in Jesus (see “LETTER” at the end)
-some still have a relationship with Jesus, but they still are hurting, broken, and in
some cases, desperate (We see and speak to them every week and don’t see their
-(I told the class about a person I ran across online with a blog at mybattletoreturnfrombipolardepression.com. I told them a bit about her circumstances. I then told them that I had contacted her via email and that I told her that we would pray for her in my class tonight. When I asked them to pray, along with me, for her in prayer they eagerly agreed. We prayed for her.)
-(We prayed for a woman in the class who’s dog (her companion, friend, and her “everything”) has been diagnosed with cancer and has been given maybe a year to live.)
-(After a wonderful woman in class told us a little about the tremendous struggles she has been going through for years with her family, we gathered around her and prayed for her as well)
Final quote of tonight’s lesson:
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. ”
Note: I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to write this lesson for this 8-week class. I think it is time that the church (the people, not the building) begins to look around and see the people around them through God’s eyes. I want them to see the hurt and hopelessness behind the masks that people are wearing. Jesus gave me hope, peace, joy, and salvation. He has also delivered me from some stuff in my life so I can be and live free. He has done similar things for countless other people I know. But His heart is still breaking to reach those who He hasn’t helped yet. Some have rejected His help, while others haven’t sought His help because they didn’t even know what He could do for them. I want to teach other believers to reach out and help those broken and hurting people. Jesus can fix the brokenness, give rest to the weary and healing to the hurting. I wish I had the power to do that, but I don’t. However, I do have the ability to point people to the One who can do those things! If the person that reached out to me hadn’t done so, my life would be a huge mess now, instead of the good life that I now have! Freely I have received, freely I want to give! Cry out to you heavenly father, he is listening.
I wish I could say that I believe in Jesus Christ, that He loves me and cares, but I no longer believe that. From a mother who is vicious and has wrecked my adoptive family to the death of my adoptive brother, I no longer believe. I even find myself wondering if God really exists. I look around at all the Christians who say that they help people who don’t know how to ask for it, but they have not even noticed my pain. If God loved or cared for me, He’d at least help, wouldn’t He? But no help has come! Why? God doesn’t love me! —Anna