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Dec

7

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Life Together

By pastorbillwalden

Jesus Christ stands between the lover and the others he loves.  I do not know in advance what love of others means on the basis of the general idea of love that grows out of my human desires- all this may rather be hatred and an insidious kind of selfishness in the eyes of Christ.  What love is, only Christ tells us in His word.

Contrary to all my own opinions and convictions, Jesus Christ will tell me what love towards the brethren really is. Therefore, spiritual love is bound solely to the word of Jesus Christ.  Where Christ bids me to maintain fellowship for the sake of love, I will maintain it.  Where his truth enjoins me to dissolve a fellowship for love’s sale, there I will dissolve it, despite all the protests of my human love.

Because spiritual love does not desire but rather serves, it loves an enemy as a brother.  It originates neither in the brother or in the enemy but in Christ and his word.  Human love can never understand spiritual love, for spiritual love is from above, it os something completely strange, new, and incomprehensible to all earthly love.

Feb

8

Agonize, But Don’t Marginalize

By pastorbillwalden

Below is an answer to a last minute question which was submitted by text at our Sunday Service on Feb. 7, 2010.  Not all of the text came through, but I think I understand the gist of the question.

The question was about loving our children for who they are, not who we wish they were.

Read more »

Jan

10

The Willingness Of Jesus

By pastorbillwalden

I continue to be amazed at the love of Jesus Christ for humanity. He loves those that we would not love. He approaches those we would avoid. He speaks to those whom we would turn away from.

In Matthew 8, Jesus healed three people: a leper, the slave of a Roman centurion, and a woman. All three of those people were considered “undesirables” during those days.

Lepers were hideous to look at, and were physically dangerous to be around. Romans centurions were the backbone soldiers of an army that occupied, dominated, and offended Israel. Women were considered 2nd class citizens by many of Israel’s spiritual elitists.

Yet Jesus loved each one of these people, and showed it in wonderful ways. Read more »

Jun

7

1 Peter 4:8

By pastorbillwalden

“And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Cover- to hide, veil, hinder the knowledge of a thing.

We have all had people sin against us. Often times, we have insider information on them and their sins. Information that we could use to make them look bad, and validate our position and character. If such information was leaked, people would know that we are not as guilty as the other party makes us out to be. The public would know that we indeed have been fair and loving. In order to let the public know that we have been fair and loving, the truth of someone else’s sin would have to be exposed, so as to let the general public know the whole story.

Instead, it is information that we willingly keep hidden, so as to not unnecessarily expose another person’s sins. The result can be that we are misjudged and misunderstood. We are criticized for our reactions to that person.

At least, this is how it can seem to be. God knows the whole story, and sees our blind spots. Read more »

Nov

14

The Birth Of Compassion

By pastorbillwalden

I have a friend in whom God is doing an incredible work. Compassion is being birthed in him. It has been more costly to him than I dare say, but the result that is coming forth is incredible.

Birth is painful. I was with my wife Debbie at the birth of our children. Debbie grew increasingly uncomfortable as the time of birth approached. There were months of increasing pain and discomfort prior to her giving birth.

When Sarah, our firstborn, came into the world, the first thing that Debbie said was, “Let’s have another one”. I was amazed at her, and also thought back on Jesus’ words regarding birth.

John 16:21 “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” My wife had a very scriptural post-delivery attitude!

Jesus also spoke about life coming forth from death…“unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. “ (John 12:24)

Life comes forth from death. Birth comes forth through pain. Though the process is painful, the result is cherished.

I knew my friend before compassion was birthed in him. We weren’t friends then, only acquaintances. That’s just how things were. It was a season of life for him that didn’t yet include me.

As death began working in his life, my interaction with him increased. I saw him frequently. We spent many hours talking. As the weeks and months passed, I began to see things dying in him, such as self assurance, will power, and self determination. He had plenty to be angry about. Many might say he had a right to feel as he did, and that his lifestyle choices were understandable. We both knew that there was something more important for him. He began to surrender to Jesus more and more.

His focus shifted from others and self to Jesus. Wrongs done against him were being increasingly set aside. That was the death of a demand for justice. Self reliance was being set aside. That was the death of pride.

As death continued to work in his life, life was being born into him. Compassion appeared and caught him off guard. Love came and surprised him. Emotions and feelings appeared that had never been experienced.

It is an difficult thing to see a man die to himself, but it is awesome thing to see a man discover agape love.

I cried when my children were born. I have cried watching the birth of compassion in this man’s life. Others have cried as well. He and we have cried because of the painful process. How wonderful it is to now cry because of the joy.