13

Jump Start # 1932

Jump Start # 1932

1 Corinthians 16:15 “Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints),”

 

Stephanas, not a ready name that we are familiar with from the Bible. Our passage tells us three great things about Stephanas.

 

First, he was one of the first of Achaia, meaning one of the first to become a Christian from there. Later, the brethren from Achaia sent money to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Stephanas wasn’t the only Christian in Achaia, he was one of the firsts.

 

Second, the household of Stephanas was included. This shows the influence that was felt within that home. Household may include wife, older children, and servants. A nucleus to begin a congregation. It started with his family.

 

Third, they were devoted to the ministry to the saints. They were dedicated in what they did. They were committed. Helping others. Helping others physically and helping others spiritually. This is what they were known for.

 

It’s this third expression, devoted themselves for the ministry, that I want to take a look at. The King James uses the word, “Addicted,” instead of devoted. They were addicted to the ministry. That’s a great way of looking at that. We tend to look at “addictions” as negative. We hear about those who are addicted to heroin or porn. The addictions change their lives. The addictions rob them of peace. But here, it’s a good kind of addiction. It’s a positive force. Great things came out of this addiction.

 

The family of Stephanas was addicted to the ministry to the saints. This is what they were about. They were devoted, committed and dedicated to this. It wasn’t a casual thing for them. It wasn’t something that easily got put on the back burner. It wasn’t something that they talked about but just never got around to it. They were addicted to this. It wasn’t something that they could walk away from and not think about. This was them. This was part of their spiritual DNA. This was who they were.

 

Addicted. I wonder if apostles were writing about us, what they would say? Would they say that some of us are addicted to sports. Some may be addicted to TV. Some may be addicted to their cell phones. Some may be addicted to money.

 

The ministry to the saints is what Stephanas was about. This is what defined him. This described him. Of all the identifying words that the Holy Spirit could have chosen, it was this one, addicted to the ministry.

 

What would addicted to the ministry look like?

 

First, this would come up often in their conversations. People tend to talk about what they are passionate about and what is important to them. I’d expect if you could have lunch with Stephanas, quickly, he’d be talking about what plans he had to teach other brethren. He’d tell you what was being done already. He’d tell you the great successes with some. He’d tell of concerns and needs to reach more and do more. You’d see in his eyes that he was really into this. Try to switch subjects and before long, he’d be back to this again.

 

Second, you’d notice that he has put a lot of time into this. He has been writing others. He has been teaching others. He’s gathered supplies. He’s stock piled some things to use. This was important to him. I don’t know if folks in the first century took vacations, but I’d expect this guy used his to further help the saints. Stephanas was a leader. He wanted others to do well. He has thought things out. He has prayed about it.

 

Third, you’d quickly find out that Stephanas as poured much of his own money into this. He wouldn’t have it any other way. How could he sleep at night, knowing that he bought the latest and greatest gadget, while others were still struggling. Struggling spiritually. Struggling financially. Struggling emotionally. He was there to help.

 

Fourth, if you were having this lunch with Stephanas, before you left, he’d have you involved some how. He’d ask if you could come with him to teach others. He’d ask if you could donate a Saturday to help. He’d want to know if you could contribute to some project that would help these brethren get stronger. This is the way addictions work. They pull others in. You’d leave that lunch now involved yourself. You may not have wanted to, but how could you resist the pleas of Stephanas. He is always looking for others to not just get involved, but to become as addicted as he was to the work of the Lord.

 

Fifth, you would see in this brother’s eyes how much he loved others and how deeply he was involved in the kingdom. His passion would make you question your faith. His zeal would make you wonder how serious you have been. This person was so like the Lord. He wanted everyone to be saved. He wanted every Christian to be strong. He wanted congregations to thrive. We wanted men to be shepherds and preachers. It was as if nothing else mattered. Don’t talk politics, he’s not interested. Sports don’t move his needle. It’s the kingdom. It’s spiritual life. What a man of God!

 

One little expression deep in Corinthians, and what it reveals about a great man of God. I would love to have more of Stephanas in me. I would love to be addicted as he was. I would love to be so focused and committed as he was.

 

Addicted to the ministry to the saints. How serious are you about things? How hard are you trying? How much are we letting other things sidetrack us and get us off course?

 

Can you imagine an Stephanas in your congregation? Can you imagine a whole family of Stephanas? Can you imagine you being a Stephanas? Why not?

 

Roger

 

12

Jump Start # 1931

Jump Start # 1931

Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his father, and underwent decay.”

Recently, I have been reading the history of Washington County, Indiana. It’s a book that was first written in the 1880’s. My interest is in early church history, especially those connected to the restoration movement. That county isn’t far from where I live and I’ve done a bit of preaching there and know a lot of people from there. I find the stories about the early days of hunting bears and dealings with Indians to be most fascinating. Last night, I read about a pioneer that shot a bear out of a tree. The bear then put both paws on the man’s shoulders and started shaking him. The man was saved by his dogs who irritated the bear so much that it left. Fascinating.

I thought about that pioneer and his world and how different it was from my world. Surviving was most important for that early settler. Surviving weather, Indians and wild animals. He never thought about retirement savings, as I do. The thought of assisted living insurance never crossed his mind. It does mine. Clearing some trees so he could plant some corn was important to that pioneer. He worked hard. Life was hard. Accidents, disease, and attacks from wild animals and Indians kept many from living very long. One story I read took place at a wedding. The groom wasn’t there. Word came that he had been bitten by a rattlesnake and died. The wedding party got up and went to his funeral. Unbelievable.

While our worlds are so different, some things remain the same. Some things have never changed.

Worry remains the same. I don’t think about Indians. The last time I thought about any Indian was when I went to a ballgame this summer in Cleveland. Those early pioneers worried about weather, surviving and getting through the winter. Our worries are about our kids getting through college, having enough to retire on and driving in traffic. Worry is the same. Whether we are worrying about bears or bear markets, worry can steal our faith, blind us to the blessings of God and rob us of both health and sleep. Worry is the same.

God remains the same. I read in that book about an epidemic of cholera. Many died. I can only imagine the prayers of those parents in a log cabin as they looked over their sick child. Helpless. Hopeless. The end of dreams. And yet, here we are, all these years later. Instead of a log cabin, we are in a hospital room. Instead of cholera, it’s cancer. And there God remains hearing our prayers. Hope in troubled times is always found in God. When no one can do any more, God can. There sure has been many wars since those early pioneer days of young Indiana. There has been civil wars and world wars. Parents have sent their sons to far off places to defend our freedoms. Many never returned. There has been hurricanes and fires and tornados and floods. There has been trips to the cemeteries and broken hearts. Yet God remains on the throne. Our houses are larger and more comfortable than those early log cabins. We can do more today and faster than those early pioneers. Yet, we still need God. We have not out grown God. We have not conquered sin. We have not found any other way to Heaven, but through Jesus. We still fuss and fight with each other. We struggle to forgive. We suffer when we have not developed a heart like Jesus. What that early pioneer needed is the same thing that I need, and that is Jesus.

Our work remains the same. We are to walk by faith. We are to trust in the Lord. We are to build congregations. We are to preach and teach. For those early pioneers, sitting on log pews, they were amazed with the stories of the Savior who healed lepers and made the blind to see. They learned about forgiveness and grace. They saw what God expected in worship. And, today, with our Bibles on our phones and tablets, we continue to read and learn about that wonderful Savior. The words of salvation remain the same. It brought forgiveness and hope in that wooded Indiana wilderness as it does in our modern cities today. Generations pass, but the same Gospel needs to be taught.

We are the same. That pioneer that fought the bear was probably much stronger and tougher than I am. I probably couldn’t put up with the things he ate. He wouldn’t like what I eat. But, we are the same on the inside. We must make choices that will either lead us to Heaven or away from God. We are both sinners who need Jesus. We both need to be leaders in our homes. We both will be judged by God someday.

Our verse today sums all of this up. It’s about King David. He served the purpose of God in his own generation. That’s the good that we do. Our work is now. Our work is among this generation. As primitive as the bear hunter seems to us, we will appear like that to future generations. Those future generations will still have worry. They will still have God. They will still have the same work to do that we’ve done. They may do it faster and better, but preaching and teaching will remain.

But what happens when a generation doesn’t serve the purpose of God? A generation grows without knowing the Lord. Wrong choices are made. Life gets messy. Lives are lost eternally. All it takes is for one generation to stop and future generations are hindered and affected. The book of Judges shows this. After Joshua died, another generation rose that didn’t not know the Lord. Their choices led them away from God. Each generation must do it’s work. This means we need to pour hours into training, teaching and developing those behind us. We will pass the baton on to them. It is essential that they understand and that they know. So, fellow preacher, we must continue to preach the basics. A new people needs to know. We need to spend time showing how things should be done. We need to take the time to answer their questions. Serving our generation is what we must be busy doing.

We don’t need monuments to honor us. Our treasures are stored up in Heaven.

David served. He served the purpose of God. He served the purpose of God in his own generation. Powerful thoughts for us. This is what we must be busy doing. It was true in the wilderness of early Indiana as is it today for us.

Roger

11

Jump Start # 1930

Jump Start # 1930

Isaiah 1:15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.”

Our verse today concludes a string of harsh realities for the nation of God. They have had one foot in the world of sin and the other foot with God. This has led to lifeless worship and a causal and flippant attitude toward God. They thought they could do what they want and as long as they offered God a few tokens of worship, all was fine. It was a grand life for these people until God pulled the plug on all of this. He was tired of indifferent worship. The words are serious:

I have had enough (v. 11)
I take no pleasure (v. 11)
Bring your worthless offerings no longer (v. 13)
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly (v. 13)
I hate your new moon festivals (v. 14)
I am weary of bearing them (v. 14)
I will hide My eyes from you (v. 15)
I will not listen (v. 15)

God was tired of being used. God was fed up with their indifferent spirit. Their worship was not doing them any good and it certainly wasn’t pleasing God. “I will not listen,” is such an astonishing comment. It’s shocking. Some couldn’t imagine God ever saying such things. There are lessons for us.

First, what’s going on inside of us is as important as what is going on the outside, when it comes to worship. It’s not a choice. It’s not having the right spirit but doing things not found in the Bible. But neither is it right that we follow the Bible to the letter, yet our attitudes and spirits are not right. It shouldn’t come down to a choice. We need both. Biblically, we need to worship as the N.T. authorizes. We also, need to remember who we come before. It’s the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Pure hands and pure hearts ought to be important to us.

So, these Isaiah passages remind us that God doesn’t accept anything and everything offered to Him in worship. God closed His eyes and turned His head to this worthless worship that the nation was offering. Sleepy worship. Bored audience. Daydreaming. Texting the time away. Playing with babies. All of these may make the time go by faster, but have we fooled ourselves into thinking that God is ok with this? Sitting in a church building without worshipping is not much different than staying in bed. It’s not our presence in a pew that draws the attention of God. It’s hearts that bow before Him and recognize how awesome He is.

Those that conduct worship are responsible for making sure what we do is Biblical. The responsibility rests upon their shoulders. However, only I can take care of my spirit and my attitude. No one can do that for me. Stress, worry, being tired, being preoccupied with other things, all have an influence upon the quality of my worship that I offer to God. The thoughts of worship begin long before I leave my house and walk into the church building. What I do on Saturday can influence my worship on Sunday. Have we thought that far ahead? It’s tough for young families. Getting everyone ready is hard. Find Bibles, class books, shoes and get the outfits all ready on Saturday before you go to bed. Thinking ahead. Thinking about worship. Thinking about what the Lord has done for you. All of this helps us to bring our A-game to worship. God has given His best and we need to be our best when we worship. Work on your insides. Get your heart ready to worship.

Second, our passage shows us that God doesn’t listen to every prayer. He declared, “I will not listen.” Now, think about the guy who never prays. He’s too cool and too busy to pray. Life is good. He can handle whatever comes his way. But one day, there are things that he can’t handle. A hurricane. A death. Destruction. Out of options, he decides to pray. It hasn’t been his first choice, but rather the last and final thing after everything else has been tried. When all else fails, he prays. If these earlier attempts had worked, he wouldn’t pray. He wouldn’t need to, so he thinks. He is a guy who doesn’t have time for worship. The Bible is no where to be found in his home. He knows nothing about God, except now that he is in real trouble, he prays hoping God will pull something out of His magic hat and rescue him. If he does, he’ll be glad and go on his way and not bother God again until the next major problem. If God doesn’t come through, he’ll start to wonder if God is even there.

God doesn’t hear every prayer. Peter told husbands that the way they lived with their wives would impact the prayers they said to God. God doesn’t work for us. He is not required to do anything we ask. He doesn’t answer to us. So, here we have prayers going up, but not being heard. They were not heard because those saying the prayers were not living as they should. They did not have a relationship with God. They were not walking with God.

The insincerity of the nation’s worship destroyed their prayers. They said them but God didn’t hear them. Shout louder? That won’t help things. Pray longer? That’s not the answer. Use bigger words? Nope. The answer is look in your heart. What have you done to God? They mistreated God, took advantage of God, demanded of God and expected everything to be just fine. In any other relationship, be it among friends, be it in a marriage, to treat one this way, would most likely end the relationship.

Finally, this passage ought to remind us that God is not like us. We can fool each other. We can get by with faking things. God is not like this. He wants genuine faith. He wants sincerity. He wants us to love Him with all of our heart, mind and soul.

Excellence in worship and excellence in our hearts is what God deserves. We need to give Him our best!

I will not listen…the problem wasn’t with God, it was with the nation. May we learn and do better.

Roger

08

Jump Start # 1929

Jump Start # 1929

Acts 12:2 “And he had James, the brother of John put to death with a sword.”

A Jump Start reader asked, “Why does faith waiver after the death of a fine Christian, especially when they pass suddenly?” The reader tells of the sudden passing of a preacher. His question took me to our verse today.

 

James, the brother of John died. He wasn’t just the brother of John, he was one of the chosen, one of the apostles. And, he didn’t just die. He was executed. He was murdered. King Herod arranged this. It was another of Herod’s family that executed John the Baptist.

 

Up to this point, the apostles had been arrested, occasionally beaten but some how they always escaped. Prison doors opened and they got away. But not this time. James, the apostle dies. What a crushing blow this must have been to the early church. If God didn’t protect the apostles, was any one safe? It looked like God turned His back and it looked like the enemy was going to win. Crush the leaders and usually a moment falls apart.

 

There are days in our journey with Christ that are very exciting and uplifting. Baptisms are like that. Having guest preachers are like that. Our singing is robust. Our prayers are earnest. The feeling is upbeat. But then there are the other days. The clouds seem to hang right above the auditorium. The mood is dark. The singing is slow and pitiful. No one feels like singing. No one can move past the fact that someone special is missing. A beloved elder has passed away. A preacher, still active and strong, has passed. A teenager has been killed. We understand that this is a part of life, but what a funk this puts us in. Walking back into the church building is so hard. People question whether or not they can recover from this. And filling the hearts is the question, “Why?”

 

The death of James reminds us of several important truths.

First, we know all too well from Hebrews 9:27, that there is an appointed time for death. The thing about that appointment, we are rarely ever ready for it. Death doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if a person is ready or not, death comes. It doesn’t matter how important the person is. It doesn’t matter how busy a person is. It doesn’t matter what projects remain unfinished. There have been books that were never finished because the author died. There have been uncompleted symphonies, paintings, school years and even sermons because of death. Death doesn’t care how young a person is. Death doesn’t care what desolation it leaves upon a family, or, a church. Death doesn’t care how good a person is. Death simply doesn’t care.

 

Second, the death of the apostle James reminds us that the kingdom is larger than all of us. The kingdom survived without James. It survived after Peter died. It survived after Paul died. It will survive after you and I are gone. Now, within a congregation, the death of an elder may end the eldership for a while. The death of a preacher may make things difficult for a while. But even with that, things move on. Often, death will cause others to step up and fill in. It may lead to others using a talent that they didn’t even know that they had.

 

Third, as to the “why,” the immediate answer is because we live in a broken world. This world is not our home, we sing. Because of sin, the world is cursed. Death, disease, disasters are part of a broken world. As I write this, yet another hurricane is nearing American shores. We haven’t recovered from the last one. Problems, trials and tragedies are often like that. They don’t wait in line, one at a time. Often we are hit all at once and from several directions at the same time. Problems at home. Problems at work. Problems at church. Problems with our health. Problems with our finances. Here they come, all at the same time.

 

This answer doesn’t satisfy us. We want to scream, “It’s not fair.” And, it isn’t. God has never promised safety for his people. You and I pray for isolation from problems. We want hurricanes to turn and get out of our world. Instead, God wants us to weather storms. He wants us to build our foundations upon Him, the rock. There are things we learn and see in the darkness of the night that we can never see in the sunshine. We must stop believing the myth that we can somehow turn things around to make our world Heaven. That will never be. There will always be tears, pain, sorrow and death here. There is no pill that can take those things away. Our world is broken. Our hope, is not in here, but there. Our hope is with the Lord. Our hope is a world in which there are no tears, sorrow, pain or death. That world is Heaven.

 

Fourth, Jesus said at the end of His great sermon that wind, rain and floods come to all of us. It comes to those who have built upon the sand and it comes to those who have rightly built upon the rock. Having the right foundation did not prevent the storms from coming. They came. But faith in the Lord enabled them to stand and remain standing during the storms. These storms come in many fashions. Sometimes they are literal storms, like hurricanes. Sometimes they are emotional storms. Sometimes they are broken hearts.

 

Finally, the death of a righteous person is considered a blessing by God. They are through with this crazy world. No more temptation. No more Satan. No more dealing with the things that plague us. They are blessed to be home with the Lord. They are the lucky ones. It’s the rest of us who must carry on that is hard. It’s hard to pick up after the death of a mate. It’s hard to fill that pulpit after the death of a preacher. It’s hard to keep leading the flock after the death of an elder. Righteous people leave a mark upon our hearts. Honor them. Take some time to reflect. But do, as they would want us to do, and get right back into the fight of things. Keep preaching. Keep leading. Keep helping the people of God. Don’t quit until God calls us.

 

There is something interesting about the death of James. He was the first apostle to be martyred. His brother, John, was the last apostle to die. Brothers. First and last. John had to carry on a long time without James. The two of them were part of that special trio with Peter. Peter, James and John. They, alone, witnessed the transfiguration. They, alone were allowed into the bedroom of Jairus’ daughter and saw Jesus bring her back from the dead. They alone were allowed to be close to the Lord in those garden prayers. Peter, James and John. Now, James was gone. I wonder what John felt. I wonder if it was hard to keep going. But he did. He would later write three letters and pen the last book of the New Testament, Revelation. In that grand throne scene, near the end of the book of Revelation, John sees the dead standing before the throne. Among the dead that he would have seen was James, his brother.

 

God is counting upon us to be His hands, feet and mouth in this generation. We must work and work hard until He calls us home. We must never stop. Wipe a tear from your eye if you must, but then roll those sleeves up higher, and get back at it. Preach. Teach. Show. Live. Become. That’s our duty. That’s what we must do.

 

We stand in the shadows of James.

 

Roger

 

 

07

Jump Start # 1928

Jump Start # 1928

1 John 3:11 “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

I was doing some digging around in 1 John, the other day. The word “love” is found 26 times. There is the “God is love” passages and a warning to love not the world, but the majority of these verses are about loving one another. Christians loving fellow Christians. Over and over it is repeated to love one another. Our verse today states that you have heard this from the beginning. From the beginning of your learning about Christ, it has always been a love based faith. God so loved the world. We are to love one another.

 

Why? Why was this necessary to repeat so many times? Why this late in the New Testament? You’d think by the time this book was written, folks would know. Why do we have to be told over and over to love one another?

 

John doesn’t specifically tell us why. Obviously, this was important and this was needed. Here are some thoughts:

 

First, the church is like a family. Unlike friends who we choose to be with, we are born into a family with brothers and sisters. Had we not been in that family, those people may not have been our friends. We grow to like and love those people because they are our family. The church is much like this. We don’t choose who will be a member. If we are doing what God says, we are preaching the Gospel to everyone. Everyone is invited. Everyone is welcome. Now that brings people that we may not have chosen to be our friends. That brings people with different colors and different backgrounds than our own. That brings people with different ages than ours. It brings in the single person as well as the single parent. It brings in the senior citizen as well as the teenager. It brings in those who have had a rough background and those who came from good homes. Here we all are in one big church family. Back then, it was Jews and Gentiles. It was masters and slaves. Both groups would not normally socialize or even chit-chat with each other. But now, we have all become family because of Christ. His blood has saved us all and now we are connected in a church family, a congregation. It’s important that we love. It’s important that every person feels accepted, wanted and needed.

 

Second, it’s very easy to love only those that are like me. Jews would love Jews. Masters would love masters. Gentiles would love Gentiles. But this forms separations and groups and is nothing like what Jesus did. Look who He chose to be apostles. There were some from Galilee and one from Judea. There was a tax collector and a Jewish zealot. There were fishermen and non-fishermen. There were two sets of brothers and the rest were not related. There were partners in business and the rest who were not in business with each other. Such an odd mixture. Maybe a mini picture of what the church would be like. Unity and fellowship are built upon connecting with each other and working with each other. We are to be the body of Christ. The body works together. The body needs every part. Thus, love one another. This means crossing the boundaries to people who are not like me. This means sharing, caring and loving those who are different than I am. Love one another.

 

Third, every generation needs to learn these lessons. Our verse states, “you have heard from the beginning.” While this is true, we forget. We may have “heard” it but have never practiced it. New faces, new people all have to learn these old truths. The good a church does can be ruined by one generation that becomes standoffish and refuses to love one another. It’s pretty easy to sense when love is missing. There are a lot of whispering going on. Suspicious eyes are always quick to catch who is talking to who and who is sitting where. Tension is thick when love is missing. There is a hidden message that some are not welcomed there. All the good that church will try to accomplish will be limited because love does not abound. John says to love one another.

 

Fourth, Satan will do all that he can to destroy a church. He’ll fire the cannons of false teaching. That will catch a few. He’ll throw trouble and chaos. That’ll snag a few. He’ll attack the leaders. He’ll try to take out the next generation of leaders. But his greatest weapon is when a church lacks love for each other. Let a church turn on itself. Internal fussing and fighting and a good ole’ fashioned dispute among the people will lead to division and it will stop the good that it is doing. The focus will shift to the problems. All the energy will turn to which side ought one to be on. Ugly things will be said. Accusations will fly. Forgiveness, grace and love will be forgotten. And when the dust settles, if anyone has survived, there are generally folks who have quit, kids who grow up with this sour taste in their mouths about Christians and often times two struggling churches that are on life support. And, Satan smiles. He sucked the love out of their hearts and now they have turned on each other like bitter enemies. He has accomplished just what he intended. John says, “Love one another.”

 

Love one another does not mean change each other. Of course, we all have to become like Christ. We all are to walk in righteousness and develop the heart and characteristics of Christ. But with that, a Jewish Christian back then didn’t have to start liking pork. He may never eat pork. The Gentile would. Love each other. Those things don’t have to change. Some like country music. Some like opera. Some like the 60’s rock ‘n roll. Some don’t care. Love each other. Some like staying home. Some are barely home. They are always out doing things. Some are indoor people. Some live outdoors. Some like reading. Some don’t. Some like to eat out. Some like home cooked meals. Some like just a family at a time over. Others like a house full. Some think Philippians is the greatest book of the Bible. Others like Proverbs. Some like more hymns than preaching. Others like more preaching than hymns. Some like practical sermons. Some like textual sermons. Love others does not mean I have to change who I am. As long as we both are walking with the Lord, we’ll have our unique differences and our likes and dislikes, but we can still join hand and in hand, love each other, work together and worship as one. We, with our differences, can still be one in mind, one in voice and one in heart. With our differences, we are still united in one purpose and that is the glory of God. We, with our differences, want the kingdom to grow. We, different as we are, can learn from each other, encourage each other and help each other. We, with our differences, need each other.

 

John’s words are, “love one another.” That makes a lot of sense. This needs to be preached more and practiced often. Prodigals will come home when they know that they are loved. Young men will get up and try things when they know that they are loved, even if they make a mistake. When love abounds, you’ll find a lot of forgiveness. When there is love you’ll see smiles and hugs. Where there is love, you’ll find Christ in the heart.

 

It’s not always easy to love each other. Some days we have a hard time loving ourselves. It’s what God wants and for that, we will. We will go out of our way to talk to those we don’t normally talk to. We’ll include those who are different than we are to our home. We’ll tolerate the odd personalities. We’ll put up with the guy who tells the dumbest jokes or his stories go on forever. We’ll do that, because first, God puts up with us, and they also, put up with us.

 

Love one another. John wrote it often, probably because we need to be reminded.

 

Roger