Caring Genuinely

“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” —Luke 7:12-13

Something has happened in the communication world that is driving me crazy. Robots call my cell phone several times a day with exciting news that I have won an exotic cruise, scored an amazing price on car insurance, or am eligible to receive a government rebate on a walk-in bathtub. Thankfully, my cell phone company knows my plight and flags those calls. When the caller’s number appears on my phone screen, the words “Scam Likely” appear in red letters.

As you have already guessed, I don’t answer those calls. However, I don’t totally avoid computer-driven attempts to influence my purchases. While resting my brain from editing the other day, I looked up a new camping accessory on the internet. Now every internet site I visit has pop-up ads for camping gear.

I know the robot callers and internet algorithms don’t care anything about me personally. They simply want to encourage me to purchase their products. In fact, most of us would admit that many people with whom we interact on a daily basis simply want something from us without having a genuine interest in us. If we are not purposefully aware of this tendency, we find ourselves falling into the same routine. We may engage in conversation with a co-worker just so we can ask for a monthly report. We take a friend to lunch in order to request a favor.

Jesus illustrates a profound example in our text for today. We see Him caring genuinely for a desperate woman. In most instances, needy people or their representatives approached Jesus with a request for His loving touch. In this story, the needy woman did not approach Jesus. He took the initiative and went to her. He felt her pain of having lost her husband, and now her son. These events left her destitute in a culture that did not provide well for childless widows. Jesus did more than feel compassion for her; He stopped the funeral procession, spoke words of comfort to the mother, touched the frame that held the dead man, raised him from the dead, and reunited him with his mother.

This is not an isolated incident. Jesus genuinely cared for every individual to whom He ministered. As he walked and talked with the crowds of people who followed Him, Jesus’ heart felt their hurts and needs. He reached out to help them.

Anyone who came to Jesus found a listening ear and an outstretched hand. He identified with people and did everything He could to help them.

Jesus’ example of caring genuinely for others challenges me to look past the pleasantries of daily interaction to see the hurts and needs of people. I want to really care about others the way Jesus cared. I want to do what I can to make a difference in their lives.

 

Prayer for the Week:

Lord Jesus, thank you for genuinely caring about me. I feel your love and presence every day. Use me to share your love and compassion with others so they might experience your presence in fresh ways as well. Amen.

Frank Moore is editor in chief of Holiness Today and general editor for the Church of the Nazarene.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.

God’s Glory

Have you ever considered God’s glory?  What about praise that is equal to His glory?  As we realize His grace, His love for us and His mercy our praises increase.

Join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. as Pastor Ann teaches on this amazing, incredible phenomenon.

Talking Simply

“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.’” —Matthew 13:31

A cute newspaper cartoon caught my eye several years ago that illustrated an important reminder. It pictured two contestants competing on a television game show. Ted, contestant #1, could not hit his buzzer quickly enough to answer a single trivia question. His opponent always buzzed in first and answered the last 200 questions correctly. His opponent? God. Makes sense—God knows infinitely more than Ted or any of the rest of us will ever know!

Jesus’ parables fascinate me. He could have played Trivial Pursuit – Septuagint Edition with any religious scholar of the day and beaten him without effort. He could have amazed His listeners with the mysteries of the universe, but He didn’t. He told simple stories about simple events in everyday life and then gave simple applications for living. He made God’s truth simple enough for a child to understand.

Those who engage in “God talk” (theology) sometimes use words most people don’t understand and explain divine truth in philosophical terms that produce more fog than clarity. This common tendency can be tempting for theologians: we want our listeners to realize that we know what we are talking about. But, do we actually communicate?

Jesus sets an important example for us because He always kept the goal of His communication in mind.

He wanted to explain divine truth in simple words so His hearers could understand how much their heavenly Father loves them and wants to be in daily relationship with them.

I have taught a Sunday School class most of my adult life. I frequently ask questions to engage the group in conversation and reflection. The most common response to many of those questions: “it is too complicated for me to explain.” I agree that spiritual truths challenge us to the depth of our understanding, but we must not overthink them. God created an amazingly complex universe that operates with more precision than a jumbo jet. On the flipside, the love and care of our heavenly Father is as simple as the hug and kiss I give my grandchildren. We must all find ways today to talk simply—like Jesus.

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, thank you for communicating with us in simple ways. Thanks for creating just the right word pictures to bring us the understanding we need. We know as almighty sovereign of all creation, You could overwhelm us with the mysteries of this life, but you don’t. You speak simply enough for a child to understand. Help us to represent you well today as we share Your good news with our hurting world. Amen.

Posted in:  Coffee Break by Frank Moore, editor in chief of Holiness Today and general editor for the Church of the Nazarene.

Cassandra Muldrew

At 11:00 a.m. this morning we will gather with Cassandra Muldrew’s family and friends to celebrate her life and home-going.  If she was part of your life, we invite you to join us at Cove Church of the Nazarene.  She is sorely missed, but we are grateful that she loved the Lord and is with Him now.

By His Blood

By. His. Blood.  That isn’t an appealing title. It is an appalling title.  If it was a book title, would you buy it?  If it was a song title, do you think you’d turn the radio up?  Maybe…. if you’re interested in horror stories.

What if I told you you could only find this in the “romance” section?  Would you think it a lie because these two things have no indicator that would unite them?

Pastor Ann has spent three weeks teaching us about our IDENTITY in Jesus.  We are ADOPTED into HIS family, not as servants or slaves but as sons and daughters.  How could this possibly work?  If you have been with us, you’ve heard about His LOVE for us.

Join us this week as Pastor Ann explores what His love for us and our adoption cost.  It is a free gift for anyone who is willing.  But there was a price.  Come find out what that was and how you can be adopted too!

Sunday morning at 10:55!