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Summary: God calls us all (who know and love the Lord) Saints. Can you imagine how God could reach people through you if you loved enough?

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Luke 6:20-31 EMB BENEFICE SERVICE 30-10-2016

Have you ever been confronted with a message that changed your perspective?

Illustration: One church chose as its Lenten theme, "Forty Days of Love."

Each week members of the congregation were encouraged to show their love and appreciation in different ways.

The first week they were encouraged to send notes to people who had made positive contributions to their lives.

After the first service a man in the congregation wanted to speak to his pastor.

The pastor described the man as "kind of macho, a former football player, who loved to hunt and fish, a strong self-made man."

The man told his pastor, "I love you and I love this church, but I'm not going to participate in this Forty Days of Love stuff.

It's OK for some folks," he said, "but it's a little too sentimental and syrupy for me."

A week went by.

The next Sunday this man waited after church to see his pastor again.

"I want to apologise for what I said last Sunday," he told him, "about the Forty Days of Love. I realized on Wednesday that I was wrong."

"Wednesday?" his pastor repeated. "What happened on Wednesday?"

"I got one of those letters!" the man said.

The letter came as a total surprise.

It was from a person the man never expected to hear from.

It touched him so deeply he now carries it around in his pocket all the time.

It spoke of how the macho man had made a positive contribution to the writer’s life and he thanks the macho man for it.

"Every time I read it," he said, "I get tears in my eyes."

It was a transforming moment in this man's life.

Suddenly he realized he was loved by others in the church.

This changed his entire outlook.

"I was so moved by that letter," he said, "I sat down and wrote ten letters myself."

Receiving that letter was a transforming experience for Mr. Macho.

It came from through the post rather than a mountain -top experience , but the effect was the same - his perspective was changed.

God breaks into our lives and we are changed.

Perhaps the pastor had been reading 1 Thess. 3:12 and 13 where Paul says:

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

The NIV Study Bible notes had this to say about these verses.

“If we are full of God’s love, it will overflow to others.

It is not enough merely to be courteous to them, we must actively and persistently show love to them.

Our love should be growing continually.

If your capacity for love has remained unchanged for some time ask God to fill you again with his never ending supply.

Then look for opportunities to share that love.”

I wonder what would happen if we as a Benefice decided to send notes to people who had made positive contributions to our lives in Lent next year?

Not very English you might say.

But then is being English is NOT synonymous with being Christian?

Or indeed is it any longer a term for being fair.

Illustration: A friend of mine Martin Purnell told me the story which shows you can be fair to opponents and still operate a profitable business.

It seems to me that the American Football League runs on much fairer basis that the English Football Premier League. For example,

1. The American National Football League allows its games to be aired on TV free of charge so everyone has the chance to watch if they wish.

The English Premier League only allows you to watch it on TV if you an exorbitant Sky or BT fee.

2. The American Football League shares the profits from all club merchandise equally among the clubs who are a part of it.

In the Premier League each club keeps the receipts from all its shirt sales. Imagine Chelsea or Man U’s reaction if they were asked to share their shirt sales with Burnley or Southampton.

3. The American Football League allows the team which finishes bottom of the league to have first choice of the crop of players that have graduated that year from University. And no player can be signed under the age of 21!

In the English Premier League the richest clubs can buy the best players! They often sign them up as young as 16 as they progress through their footballing academies.

Which is the fairer system?

As Christians, God has made us saints through the death on the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the death

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