Tag Archives: love

A Personal Prayer in a Global Crisis

Gracious Father,

Our world is in distress. Our world is in crisis. My heart is confused. My heart is broken.

I wrestle with hatred, the need for vengeance, and the desire to turn my back on the those in need with calculated apathy. Yet, I know that You and Your kingdom are real, beautiful and more powerful than anything I can even imagine, so I pray this prayer with faith and hope:

God, I pray for the unfathomable amount of refuges who are desperately fleeing terror and unspeakable horror into the unknown, away from everything and everyone they know. You are not ignorant to this Jesus. In fact, this is part of your incarnational story – a child en route with His teenage parents as refugees in Northern Africa, escaping tyranny and the impending slaughter of innocent children in Israel. May the refugees of our world find Jesus as their Comforter, Saviour and Lord in the midst of their desperation and may the Church of Christ love, welcome and embrace through radical hospitality those who are experiencing the terror of war. May I have the courage and generosity to feed the hungry, give a cup of cold water, and even the shirt off my back to those in need. These are not simply Your poetic words of suggestion but Your profound call for my life. As I love, may others see the love of You, Jesus, in my words and in my deeds.

Change me, Jesus!

God, may you teach me what it truly means to love my enemy. I admit, this has been a foreign and largely theoretical reality for me in North America. It is easy to say, “I love my enemy” in times of security but in the face of fear, it is proving to be extremely difficult. Your call for me to love is beyond my ability. I am not entirely sure how to love my enemy but I know it doesn’t look like apathy, fear, scarcity, prejudice, malice, revenge or hatred.

Change me, Jesus!

God, may you teach me to love my neighbour as the Good Samaritan did – loving my profoundly different neighbour in practical, costly and inconvenient ways. Help me to love those who profess belief in a different god, religion or ideology as I do. You never gave exceptions or exclusions to love! Forgive me for doing so in my actions and inactions to those who are different from me.

Change me, Jesus!

God, help me pastor and parent in the midst of brokenness. Help me lead the church in radical love of the other, different, immigrant, broken, lost, refugee, etc. Help me lead your church with wisdom, mercy, grace and lavish love. Help me parent my children who are learning how to navigate this world as followers of you, Jesus. May they see from my example, someone who loves like You, even in the face of fear.

Change me, Jesus!

God, as I look into the world you profoundly love, watch the news on TV, browse my Facebook feed, or read internet comments, I am reminded that our world isn’t much different than the one you found yourself in two thousand years ago. The idea of loving our enemy, the religiously different, those who hurt us, and those we are afraid of, are the very ideas that took large crowds of Your followers and left You with a small few – it is hard teaching. It is easy to say I will love all when I am not afraid, but when fear grips my heart, help me to love all – even my enemy.

Change me, Jesus!

Change me, Jesus! By the power of the Holy Spirit, change me!

May I have the strength, courage and boldness to storm the gates of hell with the advancing weapons of truth, love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and grace – as I do, may I have the confidence to know your promise that the gates of hell will not prevail.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

The Beauty of a Messy Christmas

When we think of Christmas, it often conjures up images of perfectly trimmed Christmas trees, meticulously wrapped gifts and beautifully set tables. We love our picture perfect Christmases to be neat and clean with everything perfectly placed and arranged.

The irony of this image is that it is the opposite of the reality found on the first Christmas some two thousand years ago when Jesus, the Christ child, was born. Over the centuries, we have sterilized the reality of the situation in which Jesus was born and by doing so, have diluted the image God was displaying with the birth of Jesus.

Consider the picture the birth of Christ paints for us. Jesus was born to teenage parents at the end of a very long journey to a distant town. When they arrive, they discover that there is no room in the rustic first century “inn” and are offered a space with the animals. It is in this crowded dirty corner, with little privacy or protection from the elements, Mary gives birth to Jesus – the Son of God.

Jesus inhales his first breath in the company of animals. Jesus’ first smells are that of animal feces. Jesus’ first bed was a feeding trough. Jesus’ parents are teenagers who have journeyed a great distance together and are now sleeping in with animals. There is no crib, baby sleepers, diapers, nurses, doctors, showers, running water, bed, or heated hospital room. It is messy.

The God of the universe does not enter our existence in the sterile confines of a well-equipped hospital, but in the messiness of our world. This picture displays God’s love in the midst of our everyday broken and messy lives. The Christmas story communicates that our lives are not too messy for Jesus.

One of the common misconceptions for people about the church is that it is a place for clean and sterile people who have their lives together. This is not the case. Rather, the church is a group of people who are imperfect and broken but together we follow the God who entered our brokenness, bringing salvation in Jesus for all those who believe in Him. Your messiness doesn’t scare God or disqualify you from entering into relationship with him. The good news is, Jesus routinely enters the broken and messy places but He, also, never leaves them that way.

This holiday season let the reality of the Christmas story speak to you. Know that God isn’t scared of your brokenness and messiness but if we allow Christ into our lives by faith, there is new life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Discover Jesus this Christmas and never be the same.