Have you ever noticed in the letters of the Apostle Paul how much he values the friendship of others? In almost every letter that the Apostle Paul writes, he concludes with exhortations or greetings from his friends. In Romans 16:21, the sub-heading in my Bible reads, “Greetings from the Friends of Paul.” I believe Paul was a great leader that knew the importance of surrounding himself with friends and invested into the relationships that God entrusted to him.
Paul writes in I Thessalonians 2:8, “We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
Three words stands out in this verse: care, share, and dear.
Caring for Others
The retail business I once worked for had a slogan, “What we do best is care!” Truly caring for others is what cultivates life-giving relationships.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Sharing with Others
In Acts 2:45 we read that the early church members sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all in need. We live in a culture today, where many people value luxury and wealth, but as followers of Christ we are called to give to those in need and share what God has given to us.
This part of the verse, “because you had become” indicates that relationships were built over time. We must be willing to invest in the relationships that God has given us.
This year’s theme, This Is Us, will focus on Enriching Relationships. As we approach our Kingdom Life Conference, June 6-9, I encourage you to attend! This week will provide so many different opportunities for all of us to strengthen our relationships with God and with others. We hope to see you there!
“Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?” II Chronicles 13:5 NKJV
Salt is used for many things. It preserves, purifies, seasons, and creates thirst.
In the Old Testament, it also represents covenant relationships. Even today Arab men get together, and sometimes express their loyalty and devotion to one another by saying, “There is salt between us.”
Salt has been used for centuries in the Arabian wedding ceremonies to symbolize the covenant between the bride and the bridegroom. Legend tells us that salt was part of the dowry for young women preparing for marriage – believing salt is as valuable in the desert as gold on the stock market.
Salt is first mentioned in Leviticus 2:13, also found in Numbers 18:19, and again in 2 Chronicles 13:5.
In fact, in the Old Testament we see that salt was one of the ingredients added to the sacrifices offered to God.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. There is to be salt between us and God. Salt, is symbolic of our loyalty to God. There is also to be salt between us as believers in Christ. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” but the truth is that if the salt does not leave the salt shaker, then it is of little benefit.
“Leonardo da Vinci caught this concept in his painting of the Last Supper…On the table in front of Judas was an upended salt shaker, its contents spilling onto the cloth. It was the perfect symbol of broken covenant.” -Jamie Buckingham
As a family we will come together this summer, June 6-9, 2018 for our Kingdom Life Conference to worship, laugh, and pray together. This will be a time of strengthening our relationship with God and with the network of churches and ministers that we are in covenant with.
This is us! We are the salt of the earth, in covenant relationship with God and one another.
If we look throughout the scriptures, Jesus has a lot to say about ministering to the poor!
I read recently of a college student that went with a group to the inner city to minister to the homeless for a weekend. They were instructed to bring very little with them for the duration of their trip. This story reminded me of what Jesus told his disciples when they choose to follow Him.
“He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.” Mark 6:8
While the reason for the limited supplies for the disciples and for the college students may have been different, the fact is that they traveled lightly to do ministry.
The college student ended up giving his very costly tennis shoes to a homeless man and taking the worn penny loafers of the man in exchange.
“God’s blessing was not to be held hostage or hoarded but shared with others.” Eric Bryant
In the early days of Christ’s ministry he shared in Nazareth that His blessings were for those inside and outside of that city. He shared the example of God blessing Naaman, the Syrian. The crowd became angry, pointing fingers and yelling at Jesus. As a result, Jesus found himself at the edge of a cliff, his life endangered by those around Him.
“But he (Jesus) walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Luke 4:30
He did not allow the pressure of the crowd to offset his plan to help others in need. From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus knew the importance of ministering to the broken, the disabled, the forgotten, the oppressed, and the poor.
Let us follow Jesus’ example
LifePoint Ministries (IPHC) is a network of churches and ministers that has a passion for the needy. Benevolence funds, clothing banks, food banks, and shelters for the homeless are all part of the DNA of who we are as a ministry. Relationally, you are making a difference in the lives of the poor.
While this is one of many characteristics of LifePoint Ministries, “this is us”. This is who we are in Christ. A church that has a passion for the needy!
Bishop Tim Lamb combines over 34 years of pastoral and church planting experience to lead LifePoint Ministries. Bishop Tim's unique prophetic insight, forward-thinking leadership, and compassion for people combine to make him an effective leader for our pastors and churches.