The Kingdom Love that Covers

June 29, 2011

The new band of brothers

“Love covers…”  1Peter 4:8

The bottom of the pan comes alive when the chopped onions and spices meet the hot oil but quickly settles into the perfect temperature that is the beginning of great food.  After a few minutes the bottle of wine and raspberry chipotle jelly is added halting all forward processes.

Now you stir.  And stir.  For the next 45 minutes.  The thin and pungent soup slowly begins to change into a sauce, thickening and losing it’s singular scent as the ingredients become symphonic.  A little further and it is the consistency of a paste which is applied to the little bacon-wrapped bits of meat smoking on the grill.  Now you know the secret of my dove and quail wraps that blend the very best of God’s green earth together as one.

The key to all of this is the commitment to stir.  Blending together does not quiet get it done.  You have to cook it down all the way until there is no outstanding scent left as the stock is reduced by two thirds. It becomes thick enough to stick in the heat of the fire, holding the spices and sauce to the meat until it all becomes part and parcel to one another.  And another Texas summer feast is now in session.

Oh, yeah.  I’m hungry.

If you take all of the ingredients of Kingdom living and add to it the heat of life, the fine wine of fellowship and the patience of years that reduces it all so it will stick, then you will you understand the complexity of biblical love.  It is simply not simple.  It is complex, unique and… may I use the word again?… symphonic.  It is also the true and biblical picture of the glory of God.  Unity is the outcome of God’s glory which Jesus petitioned the Father for on our behalf the night before He went to the cross.

I’ve been thinking about God’s glory that produces unity lately.  In the midst of the humdrum of another hot summer in Texas, I’ve realized that our church is coming together in a way that I’ve never experienced.  Examples…

  • Over 10% of those committed to FFC are headed out the door to national and foreign fields of service this summer.  That means that over 45 individuals have or will take the Kingdom of God beyond their own comfort zone.
  • Over $75,000 has been raised individually and corporately to take the Kingdom from inside the building to the uttermost parts.  Though this is a modest amount for larger churches, it is a high water mark for us.
  • Partnerships with two church planting missions has expanded our ability to go.  Both IGO and E3 are noted indigenous church planting missions whose model includes partnering with local churches to see the Kingdom come.

And though the battles against our unity are at times wearisome and unrelenting, the glory of unity is being realized in the release of ministry from our doors.  Let me say it plainly;

  • The glory of God results in unity.
  • Unity results in cooperation of work.
  • The work of the church is the sending of the Gospel of God’s love.
  • No greater love is expressed than when we love this world the way Jesus did.

The battle in the western church today has become a battle of unity and commitment… unity that submits and commitment that sticks.  Those two attributes are so lacking in churches that pastors no longer expect or preach the pair as necessary for the maturity of the saints.  It is easier to feed the fast food of fancy programs than to mix the raw ingredients of life with the biblical promises of God that produce the true glory of the Lord.

Yes, that’s right. Though we would like for it to be about dogma, doctrine and dramatic displays of revival, Jesus’ last prayer for us was that “the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.” It is the “love that covers” that is lacking, because we have misused the glory of God to our own best advantages.

What does that kind of love look like?  Here’s a short list to chew on during these hot days of summer.

  • Costly forgiveness.

  • Intentionally living out the scriptures.
  • Constant attention to the wells of fellowship.

And stir and stir some more.  There is no substitute for the dogged desire to see the Kingdom come.

There is a feast that is scheduled in the future after all of this here is over and done.
Isaiah saw a vision of it and recorded these words,

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet of refined, aged wine and choice pieces of marrow.  And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations.  He will swallow up death for all time and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces and will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth.  It will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the Lord for whom we have waited, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”  Isaiah 25:6-9

Maranatha!  Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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