It's All Greek To Me - Agape
Here a greek word that you need to have in your vocabulary.
AGAPE - (ag-ah'-pay) is the Greek word for divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. Agape loves you whether or not you return that love. It doesn't expect anything in return.
Churches, that's you and me, who try to exist without agape are pointless and doomed to fail. This month I will have pastored FFWC for 13 years. Add these 13 with the 6 I did in Coral Springs and that comes to 19. Add that to the nearly 4 years I did as a youth, music and associate pastor in Jacksonville and Crystal River and we come to 24. Add the 6 years that I was preaching before that and the total comes to 30 years. (FYI - that was depressing and that will be the last time that I do that.) My point is this. I have pastored and preached to some unloving churches. Frankly, I would rather have my teeth pulled that have to do that again.
God cannot move in the midst of a people who cannot get the most basic attitude of His heart. LOVE! God loves us and He expects us to love other people! He knows that it will take more that we have, but He promised to give more than we need! When a church draws its passion, conviction, mission, integrity, sacrifice, vision, heart and soul from the love (agape) of God - it can do anything! Churches have to be in love with their community, the people who live in their neighborhood, with the people who grace it's services and with those who come in need of help! Agape is the thing that will motivate us to do what we do.
Now here is how agape works. Agape says, "I will love you before, if ever, you love me. I am committed to you and care about you. Your position in life, your race, your past - whatever - will not change my love for you." Agape doesn't try to change people into our image, but it does change people into the image of Christ. Your love does make a difference! However, the people who love you are also making a difference in your life. Agape not only flows from our hearts into each other, it flow from the heart of God into us.