POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON – Expressing God’s Love is Living the High Life

POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON - Expressing God's Love is Living the High Life

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There was a little boy who was riding across town on a city bus. He was huddled very close to a well-dressed lady and was swinging his legs back and forth, out in the aisle like kids do.

Accidentally, he rubbed his shoes up against the woman sitting across from him. She got perturbed and asked the other well-dressed woman, “Pardon me, but would you please tell your little boy to keep his feet to himself?”

The well-dressed woman looked at the boy as if she hadn’t really been aware that he was there, then shoving him aside, said, “He’s not my boy. I’ve never seen him before.”

Embarrassed, the little boy moved to another seat where he sat down as if trying to hide. It was obvious the boy was trying to fight back tears. He looked at the lady whose dress he had soiled, and he said, “I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean to.”

When the woman saw what the scolding had done to the boy, she felt badly about how she had responded. She said, “Oh honey, that’s all right. Are you going somewhere alone?”

The boy lowered his head and answered, “I always travel alone. My mommy and daddy are gone, so I live with my Aunt Maggie. But when she gets tired of me, she sends me to Aunt Elizabeth.”

The woman then asked, “Are you on your way to visit Aunt Elizabeth now?”

The boy answered, “Yes, but Aunt Elizabeth is hardly ever home. I hope she’s home, today, because it is so cold outside.”

The woman looked at the boy again and then said, “You sure are awfully young to be riding the bus alone.”

The boy piped up, “Oh, it’s OK. I never get lost – but sometimes I get awful lonely. So, when I see someone who I would like to be my family, I huddle up close to them and I pretend they are my family. That is what I was doing when I got your dress dirty. I forgot about my feet.”

Hearing this, the woman moved over to where the boy was sitting and put her arm around him. Then she hugged him in real close. She understood that what he really wanted, what he really needed, was to feel that somebody loved him.

A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows that need.

You are all here this morning and you all have needs. I have needs. We need to be loved and we need, as a human being, as a Christian, to give away our love, also. To become the best that we can possibly be, we need to give love away, to allow it to express in and through us.

Expressing more of God’s love to each other we can help end loneliness.

In 1 John 4:7-8, it reads: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

When we know we do not have to generate the love within ourselves and create it, but just become a conduit for the love of God through us, then we have it all. Then we have God; we have the kingdom of God; and we understand what God is about.

Love is what the sea is to a fish. It is something we swim in, all of our lives. It is something we can decide, this day, to give away and to have expressed in our lives.

I have an acronym for love:

L Letting
O Our
V Values
E Express

Letting our values express.

When this becomes the code in your life, it will add zip in your life – the zip code.

***Optional: prepare handout to be given to congregants as they leave. Do not give this ahead of time or people will read it and be bored as you present it again. Giving a tool at the door as they leave will be something that some will treasure and keep. It can even be made into a bookmark because it’s narrow. Cut-and-paste copy and play with it.

There is a wonderful story about a lighthouse off the coast of Massachusetts. It is Minot’s lighthouse. Many lonely sailors have searched for this light because it is unlike any other light in the world. The signal spells out “I love you” in nautical code.

Several years ago, the Coast Guard decided to put in modern equipment.

They felt they needed to take out the signal that spells out “I love you.” They told the public they were going to put in the regular signal that just flashes. The entire state rose up in dismay. Sailors from around the world who had been touched in the middle of the night by the lighthouse’s message protested. Finally, the Coast Guard backed down and the old equipment is still there. All night long, in fog or good weather, in nautical code, it flashes out “I love you.” Sailors from around the world have longed to go there to see that light and its message.

Author Eric Butterworth, writes: “Love is not something you do; love is being. Love is not trying; love is being. Love is not finding the right person; it is becoming the right person.”

I heard a wonderful story that at first sounded funny but has a much deeper meaning. It is about a man who had been married for over 30 years.

He returned home one evening and found his wife packing. “What in the world are you doing?” he asked.

“I can’t handle it anymore!” she replied. “We’ve done nothing but fight, argue, complain, and bicker at each other. I’ve decided to leave.”

The man stood in shock and bewilderment as his wife walked out of the house – out of his life. Suddenly, he dashed to the bedroom and pulled a suitcase down from the closet shelf. Running outside, he yelled to his wife, “I can’t handle it anymore, either. Wait for me, and I’ll go with you.”

Isn’t that what couples should do? Isn’t that what friends should do? Isn’t that what enemies should do? When one starts to walk out, let’s grab our suitcase and go with them.

Decide to live life in a new way and labor, daily, for love, to work for love in our lives. The labors of love are special because every day is payday. It will be in our lives. There is nothing that can stop the power of love in your life. That is what we are talking about today. I pray that each of us becomes ten times more loving because we are making a commitment with these ideas about God.

A young man once talked with people of many races and creeds. Each told him of the oldest thing in the world. He was determined to find it. He walked many miles and was often rewarded by beautiful vistas before him, but always when he heard of a very ancient thing and went to see it, someone told him of another much older thing. After many years, he returned home an old man, still not having found that for which he was in search.

One day, as he sat in his garden, a little girl passed, holding an old doll tenderly in her arms. He watched her smooth its rough tangled hair and speak to it as a mother would to her baby. “At last,” he said, “here is the oldest thing in the world. It is love.”

Remember the TV show “The Twilight Zone.” There was an episode about a future time when a man had been convicted of the crime of coldness. He had been insensitive and unsociable to the people around him.

For this he was sentenced to one year of invisibility. He was to be ostracized and ignored by his fellow citizens. A mark was placed on his forehead indicating that no one was to talk or interact with him.

At first, he thought the punishment was laughable. He went everywhere, laughing and thinking it didn’t bother him at all. He decided he preferred that people not talk to him. However, in time, he became increasingly desperate for companionship, affection, and conversation.

One evening, he saw a young woman who had also been condemned to invisibility. When he tried to talk to her, she fled in fright. For months, the man had a terrible time, living his life, day to day, in the solitude of isolation until his sentence finally came to an end.

The experience transformed him. He was warmer, more considerate, and caring.

But soon his new, more loving self was tested in an unexpected way. One day, he ran into the woman who he had begged to talk with him months earlier. She was still serving her sentence, and now she was the desperate one. She sobbed and pleaded with him to look at her and say something.

When he pushed by her and kept walking, she crumbled to the ground, weeping. Over and over again, she said, “You’re so cold! You’re so cold!”

Feelings of compassion welled up within the man. He turned, knelt down, and began to comfort her.

Seeing this, the other people in the street began moving away from them.

Warning devices began to sound.

A loudspeaker blared, “Unacceptable behavior. Unacceptable behavior.”

The man’s love had gone beyond the limits deemed appropriate by society.

Previously condemned for being cold, he was now condemned for being loving.

How often do you hear people say, “I love God, but it’s people I have a problem with.”

Author James Dillet Freeman, once wrote: “Some say they love God, but not men. But how can we love harmony and not music? How can we love light and not the morning? How can we love nature and not the spring?

How can we love God and not the likeness of God, which is humans?”

Love is an abstract idea until it is expressed in you and by you. We may talk about love, define love, but still not be loving. We have to break down the barriers. That is why we are here today – to break down the barrier, once and for all. To love the persons, situations, and circumstances that irritate you, challenge you, and baffle you.

To that person who seems to rub you the wrong way – right now, silently, begin to transform them with me, and begin to send them love as a secret experiment.

Be like Clint Eastwood. Sit there and think, “OK, make my day. Give me the truth of God and I am going to prove it in my life. I am going to see if this stuff really works. This is the time. This is the place.” Begin to send that person your love, right now. Don’t tell them you are doing it. Let it really be an experiment. Begin to send them love and give it until this time, next year, and just see what happens in your relationship. You have a new best friend, out there; you just don’t know it. If it is your spouse, all the better; say, “I love you. I bless you. I behold God’s love in you.”

The one who seems cold and indifferent needs love, not condemnation. To the person who seems to stand in the way of your good, who seems a threat to your security and success – let love cast out your fear. Put love into action and be loving. Erase the differences you see with your physical eyes; erase them with love. Turn any resentment into love. Agree with your adversary with love.

I want to share with you Romans 13:8-10. “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law … love is the fulfilling of the law.” If God is love, and if I allow God to flow through me to love you, that is my religion and my body is the temple where it takes place. We do this with the present and we do it with the past.

There was a program on television about a woman who had been very bitter in her life. Her father and mother had abused her all during her youth and teenage years. It was a terrible story. Ordinarily, when you see someone who has been the victim of that kind of mistreatment and hate, they are severely affected. You could say they have a reason to be. This woman had a successful marriage. She had a wonderful husband and they had been happily married for 11 years. She was a successful lady with a professional career. Great things were happening to her. A reporter asked her, looking right into her eyes, “Why?” She thought she had not only survived but triumphed. This is something I will never forget. Listen to these words. She said, “I had more love than they had hate.” She said it just that way – direct, firm, with her chin tilted up.

Hate is the sand in the machinery of your life, but love is the oil. Love will fix you right up. If you are the tin man and are rusty because some of the things that have happened to you have not been very pleasant, give love a try. Just see what will happen to you.

1 John 3:11-15, “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil tendencies and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him?

Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them.”

I am not talking about life after you die from the physical and neither is this Bible passage. It is talking about eternal life in your tomorrow, your Tuesday, your Wednesday. When you get up in the morning, in a good mood, you are not in a bad mood by 10:30. You have life in you and you have it abundantly. The secret is to love. Love everyone around you. The opposite is death. Death in your day is when your shoulders are downcast and you feel life is tough and a miserable existence.

You can measure a person’s worth by the size of their heart.

Five-year-olds in a Sunday school class were told to bring in something that they loved. The next Sunday, they brought in the usual hats, sweaters, and books. But one boy entered with an especially big grin. Behind him, wearing a red dress was his four-year-old sister. The best exhibit of all is something you love and are so proud of – something special.

I want those of you who have businesses to pay special attention to this next story. You have seen businesses, especially restaurants, where one goes in and it fails. Another one comes in and it fails. Another one comes in and it fails. You think it is the location. There was one woman who decided to open a business in a location where the two owners before had gone bankrupt and failed miserably. Her friends said, “You can’t possibly start a business there.”

She said, “I’m going to use a secret they didn’t use.” She decided to open up this business to test the Bible. She opened up a restaurant and a candy shop in a place where the two owners before had failed and gone out of business. She was a brilliant success. When asked how she had succeeded in the same business where others had failed, she said: “I just loved and blessed all my customers. I loved them as Jesus has taught us to do. I love the complaining man as well as the satisfied customers. When customers leave my place, I not only invite them to come back, I silently send them a blessing of love and pray for their prosperity and happiness.

“When no customers are in the store, I bless the people with love as they pass by on the street.”

Love is a power. This is great in a business, but the real place to start this is at home. Bless that place. Bless the place, even when nobody is there so when they come in, they will feel the love of God. Surround yourself with God’s love. Remember what the Bible says. You do not have to do it. You simply consent to it happening through you, and it will. Love is THE GREATEST POWER, it will never let you down.

There is nothing you or I have ever done, ever said, or ever thought that can destroy the love God has for us. God sees more in us that we see in ourselves.

Rev. Robert Schuller told a wonderful story about an artist who was painting a picture, one day. There was a beggar who sat across the street from the artist’s studio. From his window, the artist sketched the face of that defeated, outcast soul. But the artist made one important change. Into the dull eyes, he put a flashing glint of an inspired dreamer. He sketched the skin on the man’s face to give him a look of iron will and fierce determination. When the painting was finished, he called the poor man in to see it.

The beggar did not recognize himself. “Who is it?” he asked the artist. Then suspecting that there was something of himself in this portrait, the beggar hesitantly questioned, “Is it me? Can it be?”

“That’s how I see you,” replied the artist.

Straightening his shoulders, the beggar responded, “If that’s the man you see, then that’s the man I’ll be.”

We are going to begin to see people in our lives not the way our eyes tell us to see them. We are going to see them as God would see them. They will respond.

Many of you are sitting here today and you question, “What is my purpose in life?” According to the Bible, it is to love, to learn love, to master it, to give it away. It is easy in a place like this, isn’t it? The next time you are in a place where it is not so easy, do it anyway.

As our closing prayer, today, I am going to close with Author Emmet Fox’s words and make them a prayer.

Let us pray.

“There is no difficulty in my life that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no wrong that enough love will not set right; it makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble; how helpless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake; a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all – if only you will love enough, you will be the happiest, most powerful being in the world.”

God, today, this moment, I agree to let my light shine, my love shine, and to become love. Thank You, God.

In Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

God bless you!

PRAYER / MEDITATION____________________

God and I are One. This is a truth for you. Looking at others in your life, you sense certain qualities you admire much. Yet, the inward voice reminds you that to sense those qualities in others is to possess the potential within yourself. You honor the qualities of God’s Spirit, wherever they may be sensed, and you attend to the potential within yourself.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

In your deepening sense of unity with the one Presence of God, you are willing to own those qualities that are yours. They live deep within your being like gold, deep in the earth to be brought into the open, refined and given expression. You are enriched by the creation of your being.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Where there has been a sense of alienation, there is a potential for love. You attend to that sense of being connected to God in life. You honor that sense and step forward in spirituality into your world.

Where you have closed yourself to receive, there is a potential to be open to God’s gifts drawn to you. You attend to your capacity to receive and to respond with wisdom and loving appreciation.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Where there has been a sense of being deprived and having unmet needs, there is a potential from God to experience the fullness of being wonderfully human.

Do you know that you live in the midst of God’s infinite love? It is not possible for you to stray outside the boundaries of love – for God’s love is boundless.

You surrender your heart to infinite love so the love of God may be complete in you. God is the love that you feel now.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

You let go of fear and confusion. They are illusions and hinder love. Faith and knowledge are supported by God’s infinite love.

You do not allow the pain of the past to mar the beauty in the present. You do not isolate yourself from the joy of living this day in total love.

All creation is an expression of love. You now let love motivate you to create and express love intentionally with words and actions.

Rest in the silence of prayer …

Love is a dream when it is a feeling, but love is real when it is lived. You give life this day to the dream of love. You express God’s love now.

In the loving nature of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

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