1 Corinthians 14:1
As a church we are studying and walking through a series called 40 Days of Love. This series or challenge, if you will, was created by Rick Warren, Pastor and founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. In accompaniment of this idea is a book titled, The Relationship Principles of Jesus, by Tom Holladay. The premise of this challenge, 40 Days of Love, is to learn how to love and be relational like Jesus. Jesus is the relationship expert. Everything we need to know about love, how to love, how give and receive love, we can learn from Jesus. Everything we need to know about how to have exceptional relationships, meaningful relationships, life changing relationships, we can learn from Jesus. The text is similar to Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Rather than exploring the vertical fulfillment from God -- the endless cycle of communion from yourself to the Lord, 40days ignites the horizontal - vertical fulfillment poured out onto others - purpose of life, relationships.
The most incredible act of love I've seen has come from a recent experience with my father. Many of you know that my father, Mike Hodnett, is actually my stepfather. Details aside, he is my dad. The Lord brought him into my life to be my father. Not my stepfather, but my father. I adore him and the relationship we've built over these years. This past weekend, my father remarried a wonderful, godly woman. Her name is Sharon and she has two incredible boys, Jordan and Mark. Our new family is another story for another day, but trust me, there will come a day when I pour my heart for my newly founded family. Today, I want to share about the unbelievable opportunity I had the honor to witness.
My dad is a pastor at LifeChurch.tv at the Edmond Campus. We ironically do the same thing, only he has been appointed pastor, and rightfully so. He has always had a winning and charming personality. He can make friends in an instant. You can hear him coming from a mile away! But it is never a voice you dread to hear. People's faces light up when they see my dad. He is a genuine man with a big heart for people. There is no doubt in my mind, that the Lord has prepared him every step of the way for the opportunity he has on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. Because of his likability he has made many connections, friends, and built life-long relationships. He has always talked about his Lifegroup and what an impact it has had on his life. He is surrounded by people that he loves and loves him in return. It is truly a beautiful thing.
My father's newly confessed vows to his bride, has been a blessing since the beginning. Their relationship is the work of God, no tongue can dispute that. I've watched their friends come around them with tenable support. If the devil were to try to intervene and reign down his evil-doings, he would have to go through their friends first. I picture it almost like a force field of protection. There is this shield of love that is impenetrable. They love my father and his bride, Sharon. What a testament to their relationship with Jesus! They have learned what it means to be a true friend. Their lives' are filled with the Holy Spirit and is being poured out onto everyone they meet. They came together to provide my dad and Sharon with a lovely wedding shower and large monetary gift that allowed my dad and Sharon to receive even more blessings. Their friends sacrificed their time to come early to the wedding to help set-up, prepared delicious desserts for the reception, and even stayed late to clean up. They were there every step of the way. Many of us cannot even claim that our family would do such things for us. I am not sure that I can even call their friends, friends. They have deemed themselves family. What an incredible family to be apart of!
It has been an honor to be apart of my dad's life because I have witnessed, in person, the greatest love between human beings. This is what the Lord wants us to experience, a love for each other that surpasses our own needs. To live in selfLESSness and live out love. I've been touched to the core of my soul. Now that I've seen love in action, I have no excuses to not love the way we are called to love. I honestly feel like I have not done my dad and Sharon's family justice. You will only have to experience it for yourselves. It is truly remarkable. It is the definition of community, it is the true experience of love.