“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” – Luke 10:25-28. 

In Luke 10, we read about a conversation between Jesus and an expert in the law. This was common for Jesus as His teachings attracted scribes, Pharisees, and Jewish scholars. In this interaction, the expert asked Jesus “what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ response gets him to answer the question by referencing what the expert already knows. Jesus says the response is correct, and if the expert does this, “You will live.”

But the expert goes a little further. He wants to know how far he must go. He asks Jesus, “…And who is my neighbor?” (vs. 29) In other words, are there limits or other criteria to use to determine who is a neighbor? Jesus tells the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan is one of the last people the expert would consider a neighbor, yet he still did the right thing to help someone.

Jesus gets the expert to admit the Samaritan did the right thing and says, “…now go and do the same.” He is expanding the expert’s definition of neighbor to include everybody because loving people is always right.

Doing the right thing for people should be our mindset as well. This passage of scripture charges us to live life by doing the right thing. Love your neighbor, who is everyone and anyone. Work to keep your eyes open to be able to see them clearly. 

The challenging part about loving another person is looking at things from their perspective. This is so hard, especially when our side of things makes so much more sense than what we can see of their side. But when we prioritize loving them even if we don’t fully understand or agree, that’s when Jesus comes to life in us.

Francis Chan notes: “How would my life change if I actually thought of each person I came into contact with as Christ—the person driving painfully slow in front of me, the checker at the grocery store who seems more interested in chatting than ringing up my items, the member of my own church family with whom I can’t seem to have a conversation and not get annoyed? If we believe that, as Jesus said, the two greatest commands are to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself,’ then this passage has aplication to every part of our life.

Do this and you will live.


Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Do you see everyone as a neighbor, as Jesus defined it?
  2. If you can see them as neighbors, are you loving them well?
  3. Where are instances that you have/have not loved?


“So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!… – 2 Samuel 12:1-7.

Have you ever done something so premeditated and wrong that you could get what you wanted?  I mean you planned to the “T “ how you were going to get away with it and everything.  I think if we all go back to our past we could possibly think of one instance where we wanted something, did something, and maybe even hurt somebody for our own selfish gain.  David did that very thing. Yes, the same David the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart.” ( 1 Samuel 13:14)

David thought he had gotten away with murder. After all, he was the king and able to cover his tracks well. But no one can escape the eye of God. The Lord sent His prophet Nathan with a message. Nathan did not confront David directly. Instead, he told the story of a rich man with lots of sheep and cattle and a poor man who owned one precious lamb. The wealthy man took the lamb from the poor man and cooked it for his guest. On hearing the story, David was furious and said, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die.” In one of the most famous verses in Scripture, Nathan turned the story on David and proclaimed, “You are tthat man!” Nathan’s parable had gotten under David’s defenses and allowed him to see his actions from God’s perspective. Convicted by the guilt of what he had done, David repented. He confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD” (v. 13).

The reality is that we cannot hide our sins from God. We may hide it from our neighbor, our spouse, or our children; but we will never hide it from God.  It does not take many sins to leave an eternal mark on a life, a family, a community, or a nation. David learned this harsh lesson. While sin always carries a great price tag, it does not have to be as bad as it could be.

We often act as though God is shocked to discover that we make mistakes. God has a big eraser. He uses it to keep our records clean and clear.

If you are thinking about something you ought not to do, pray about it.  We all need a Nathan in our life who will confront us when we are doing wrong.  Can you be a Nathan to someone else?  We as Christians should be able to go to each other in love so that we can bring ourselves and others back to where God wants us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt like “you are the man?” If so, what did you do about it?
  2. What can we do this week to keep from falling into sin’s trap?


Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:12-13.

One of the reasons why the Bible is so relevant and timeless is because it gives us real-life examples and shows people who faced suffering and hard times just like we do today.  But they were not victims. They found a way to forgive others who had wronged them. In doing so, they set the standard for overcoming tough times with the right heart and the right attitude. A good example is Joseph.

Joseph understood that God’s plan was bigger than his revenge. Joseph served a God that enabled him to love those who had sinned against him. Joseph was able to do this, not because they were inherently deserving or because he was inherently righteous. He was able to forgive because he understood that God’s providential hand had guided him to this point and that God’s plan was bigger than his hurt, just as it had been bigger than the jealousy that lead to that pain.

C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” You can forgive, you must forgive, and you will forgive when you remember just as God has forgiven you, you are to forgive others. In other words, if we sometimes need to receive forgiveness then we must always be willing to give forgiveness.

How do we forgive others as God has forgiven us? First of all, we are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. Most of us have people we are willing to forgive and people we are unwilling to forgive. In our minds, there are what we consider “unforgivable sins.” Thank God that’s not in His mind. We are to forgive those who don’t deserve to be forgiven. We need to remember that Jesus didn’t die for a select group of people. He died for everyone. That includes those who have been good to us and those who have harmed us. Understanding what God did for us is the best way to learn how to forgive.

We serve a God who enables us to love and forgive others, not of our own power, but from God’s forgiveness which has radically changed our view of the world. Because Jesus loves, we love. Because He forgave, we forgive.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is God’s reason for forgiving us in your opinion?
  2. What type of forgiveness are we to extend to others according to Colossians 3:13? Why should we give up our right to hold grudges?


“We are unworthy of the cross. Yet, because of the cross, we are worthy.” – John Piper.

Mickey Mantle’s near-mint Topps rookie card sold for 12.6 million. The least expensive Picasso painting sold in November 1999 at Christie’s for 45.1 million dollars. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe became the most expensive car ever sold in 2022, having sold at auction for an eye-watering $135 million.

The vast majority of us, even if we have the money wouldn’t spend like that. That’s because we don’t value those items the way those collectors do. If we valued those items the way those collectors did, we’d be willing to pay a great price to gain them.

We all value things differently. What others would pay a great price for, we would pay little to nothing. It’s easy to know how much someone values something – simply look at how much they’re willing to pay to get it or keep it. Each one of us is valuable to Jesus.

We are valuable because of what we cost. As one loved by God, you have also been chosen by God to “adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:5). This adoption came at a high price, the death of His Son. “He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:6, 7).

God values us Because He is love and He loves us more than we can ever fully know. The only reason God can love us even though we were His enemies is that His love is not based on us at all. He does not love us because of what we do. He loves us because of who He is, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We are valuable because of what we cost. As one loved by God, you have also been chosen by God to “…adopt us into his own family…” (Ephesians 1:5).

We are valuable because of what we can become. As a person who is loved by God and adopted into His family, you can be sure that God has a plan for your life: “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.” (Ephesians 1:11-12). In order to value people, we must look at how we value ourselves. The value you put on yourself correlates with the way you value others. The basis of this is understanding our value so that we can give others that same value. How much value do you put on others?

Does our attitude toward others, and how we treat people show that we understand the price that was paid? And does their behavior show that they feel valued? Think about the value you put on people. In general, people respond according to the value you place on them. The gospel is best seen when we make anyone who walks through the doors of this church feel that we value them. Jesus died for sinners.  He wants us to value others as He values us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Ephesians 2:10 and describe how God values each of us.
  2. Value depends on what someone will pay for it. According to 1 Peter 1:19, what value did God put on mankind? Do we underestimate our own value in the eyes of God?


“Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” – Titus 3:7 “

Thank heaven for grace. Titus 3:7 tells us we are made right by His grace. It’s not that we are suddenly holy and righteous. It’s not that we never sin. Basically, God is going to make us acceptable by His grace, not on our qualities or achievements.

Think about that for a few moments. The Bible says that God chose to accept us. He chose to accept us and make us acceptable to God. It’s totally undeserved. But, He chose to do it. You may say, “Wait a minute! God chose me?” Yes.  God accepts you, loves you, and created you. God sent his Son to die for each of us. He chose us. We matter to Him. So it really doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.  Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”

Jesus Christ accepts you completely. That doesn’t mean He approves of everything we do. He doesn’t, but He accepts us. If we want to accept people like Jesus accepts us then we need to accept someone without approving of what they do. Without approving of their lifestyle, without approving of the way they’re living. Or they have a different opinion on important subjects.

A good example of acceptance is the story of the woman caught in adultery.  Some religious leaders who were trying to trap Jesus brought her before Jesus. The woman was caught cheating on her husband and her accusers wanted to know what Jesus was going to do about it. Jesus looks at all of the accusers and says, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7)  One by one, they leave, because none of them were without sin. What is Jesus doing here? He’s giving acceptance, not approval. He didn’t approve of what she was doing, but He accepted her.

Then in the private, one on one, after everybody’s gone, John 8:10-11 tells what happened in that moment: “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Is that it? Could we have experienced that and not had some kind of reproof, blame, or judgment? Would we not be tempted to minister some sort of reproach for the sin of adultery?  Wouldn’t we at least give that disappointed look? Probably… but not Jesus. He didn’t make her feel guilty. He told her to go sin no more, but He accepted her. He showed her grace and mercy and love.

Can we do the same?

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Jesus treat those who are given to Him? Read John 6:37. What makes God’s acceptance of us amazing?
  2. How should we accept others as stated in Romans 15:7? What are some ways to show acceptance to people?


“Metathesiophobia (uncountable) (rare) The persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of change.” –

Are you afflicted with Metathesiophobia? Most people are. There are no medications or vaccines that will cure it. It can bring on depression, and anxiety and hinder personal growth. The only cure for it is a change in attitude and outlook.

Most of us don’t like change. It irritates us when they walk into a grocery store and all the products have been moved to different aisles. It annoys us when our iPhone operating system changes just when we learned all the changes from the previous version.  The bottom line is that life is change. The longer you live, the more you know that the only thing constant in this life is change. Whether our changes seem hard or make us happy, change teaches us that life is fragile, uncertain, and temporary. Nothing lasts forever.

We all tend to love things the way they are—with what we are familiar with. But that does not mean all change is bad. You may find something you need in an aisle you don’t typically go down in the grocery store.  Or you may discover a new function in the operating system that makes your life easier. Change is like that.  The longer you live, the more you know that the only thing constant in this life is change.

The good news is that God does not change. “I am the Lord, and I do not change.  ….” (Malachi 3:6a) In Psalm 102:27, the psalmist declares, “But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end” (NASB). God doesn’t change. He has always been and will always be never changing. Not only does God not change but He has unshakeable plans for each of us. His loving intention toward us never wavers whatever change comes our way. There are many things I cannot control, but I can depend on God to be a refuge in times of trouble, and give guidance through His Word that will help me navigate life’s changes. He is always totally in control of the circumstances of my life.

In the end, while change can be hard, we can grow in our faith when we learn to embrace it. When we trust God’s plan, He transforms us each and every day as His followers. If God has allowed a change in your life, let that change motivate you to draw closer to Him and to His Word.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever seen someone’s life change so much that you couldn’t deny it was God changing them?
  2. What can you do this week to change an area of your life that needs changing?   


“Churches are to be biblically faithful, culturally relevant, counter-cultural communities that reflect God’s kingdom for His glory among the people around us at all times.” – Ed Stetzer.

A tradition is a teaching or practice handed down from one person to another. Church traditions fall into two categories. Some are honorable, beneficial, and timely. Others are outdated, unproductive, and restrictive. In Colossians 2:8 Paul warns about human traditions: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”

The enemies of Jesus continually attacked Him over His disregard for human traditions. A case in point is found in Mark chapter 7. The Pharisees confronted Jesus because His disciples failed to pour water over their cupped hands before they ate.  Over the years, hand washing had been elevated to something seen as a necessity for pleasing God.

The Pharisees challenged Jesus, asking, “…Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” (Mark 7:5). The Lord answered the question about tradition with Scripture: “…Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God” (verses 6-7). Jesus drove the point home when He said, “For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” (verse 8)  Jesus was accusing them of being more interested in keeping man’s traditions than in keeping God’s commandments. In verse 13, Jesus pointed out the greatest harm from the Pharisees: “And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”

So, what does this have to do with us? Simply this: We too, must be careful we don’t elevate long-held traditions to the level of biblical directives. In other words, are we doing things a certain way because we have always done them that way?

When Jesus came on the scene and spoke God’s Words to God’s people in simple, understandable, and applicable terms, they were viewed as strange. We don’t want the message of Christ to be derailed by the method of delivery. We do not want to be so in love with traditions of the past that we miss loving and reaching people of the present.  Or that we are more enamored by the way we do church than by the people who need Christ.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How can you keep our hearts close to Jesus? How can you be careful that your following Jesus does not become an external ritual?
  2. How does Colossians 2:8 apply to your life?


“Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do.” – David Wilkerson

Our culture has the mindset that life is a zero-sum game. In other words, there’s only so much to go around so giving anything away results in you having less. But God’s love is different, it is meant for sharing.  Shared between you and God. Shared between you and other people. And there is no better time than the present to start bridging the gap between our words or intentions and our actions.

When we look at the ministry of Jesus, we discover real synergy and alignment between His actions and His words. Jesus revolutionized love. He showed us that to love we often have to disregard personal comfort and convenience. Jesus demonstrated love to the fullest, putting it into action even when it was really painful. He preached love, but he practiced and lived love. He didn’t just sit around and talk about loving people. He went out and fed people who were hungry, healed people who were sick, and welcomed people as a neighbor, not an enemy.

Our priority for 2023 should be loving others. Becoming more like Jesus means seeking opportunities to be serving and loving others, no matter the circumstances. The Bible says “ Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith..” (Galatians 6:10) Whenever we have the opportunity. Opportunities are all around us, starting with today. Now.  “…whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone” Don’t wait until a later date to help your neighbor if you can help them now. Don’t procrastinate if you can show them the love of God today.

Ask yourself a question: Who do you need to show love to today?  Who do you need to go home after this service and make that phone call and share a word of encouragement and love?  Or knock on that door to reconcile?  Or go home and make a visit to somebody in a nursing home or at the hospital?  Who do you need to invite over to your backyard and have a barbecue with them and show some love?  Who is it at your work that is so annoying they are an outcast that you can demonstrate the love of God?

There are some activities in life where procrastination is a legitimate response.  But showing love is not one of them. If love is what matters most, then love should always take priority over everything else. You will never know how long you will have the opportunity. There is no time like the present.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did Jesus demonstrate His love for others? What things did He do? Can we show this type of love?
  2. What can we do this week to live more like Christ?


 “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” – 1 John 4:7-12.

We often think of Valentine’s Day as the day for couples to show their love to one another. And we show that love in a variety of ways but the question is what is the most desired gift?  It’s not diamonds.  It’s not chocolate.  It’s not flowers.  The most desired gift of love and the most priceless gift of love is focused attention.  It is time. Giving your attention is the greatest gift you can give somebody.  Why?  Because your time is your most precious resource and there is no better way to demonstrate love to someone than by giving of your time.

Nothing can compensate for time.  No amount of gifts.  No amount of money.  No amount of clothes. No amount of roses or chocolates. That’s why when you give something to people, the most valuable, precious thing you can give them is your time and attention.  Because giving your time and attention says that the person is valuable and is worth listening to. It’s all about stopping being a spectator and becoming one who participates.

We all have different levels of energy.  We have different degrees of wealth.  We all have different amounts of talent and personality.  But we all have the exact same amount of time. The difference is how we choose to use that time. And sometimes giving up that time will require a sacrifice. If it isn’t a sacrifice it’s not real love.  You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. It means giving up my agenda for your agenda.  It means I give up my time for your time.  It means I give up my preference for your preference.  It means I give up what I’d rather do right now to do what you would rather do right now. Love is an action.  Love means taking time.

On this Valentine’s Day and every other day, when you get up in the morning, pray that you will accept others just as you’ve accepted me. Help me to love others unconditionally, just as you have loved me. Help me to forgive others totally, just as you’ve forgiven me. And help me to value others as much as you value me.  Help me set aside time to spend with you and invest time in love with others.

If I don’t get anything else done today I’m going to love you a little bit more and know you a little bit better and I’m going to love the people you’ve put in my life.  Because that’s what you put me on earth to do.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is stopping you from loving today?
  2. What can we do this week to love when God gives us the opportunity?


“We are here to love. Not much else matters.” – Francis Chan

In his book Bold Love, Dan Allender tells a story about what his daughter thought were the most important lessons to learn about life. She said, “To work hard, to always do your best, and to never lie.” While those were good answers, Allender couldn’t quit asking himself why the word “love” was conspicuously absent from her list. That’s because love matters most in our lives. The most loving thing we can do for others is to love God and love others.

Loving God and others sound pretty good. But can we do it?  Some people are just annoying. Others are irritating. Sometimes it’s hard enough to love our own family. So, how do we make love a dominating characteristic of our lives? First, we need to have a clear definition of what it is: Love is the deliberate act of valuing someone more than you value yourself. Love is the deliberate act of caring for, and listening to others. Love is wanting others to succeed, to be happy and fulfilled.

A critical first step is to make loving others a priority in your life. Even though we have the freedom to set our own priorities, Jesus made a point of defining certain ones of them for us: “’Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-39). Love is not a gray area. There is no wiggle room. Jesus gave love priority over all other Christian characteristics. Every thought, response, and act of goodwill must be reflected in love, or it means nothing at all.

The more we begin to love, the more we begin to change from within. All of a sudden, we don’t find it as hard to love others anymore, and we get a better picture of what it means to love God—and how deeply He loves us. When we truly, actively begin loving others, we also learn how to love God better.

A struggle for many people is that they think they can’t love others until their heart motive is “right.” So they spend a lot of time checking their heart, asking God to make them more loving. There are so many creative ways to love others, and you don’t have to wait. Venture out in faith and loving feelings will follow the loving actions.

We need to remember that believers are God’s advertisement to the world around us. When we love as He has loved us, it will make all the difference. People will notice.   They will know we are Christians by our love.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to reflect God’s love to others? What are some practical ways for you to give others a taste of what the love of God is like?
  2. Is loving others loving as God loves? Is this even practical?