Love speaks pas­sion­ately

The Covington News - - Religion - JONATHAN SCHARF

Elvis Pres­ley’s bi­ble sold at a U.K. auc­tion last week for a prodi­gious $94,600. The Bi­ble was given to Elvis on his first Christ­mas at Grace­land in 1957. He used the Bi­ble un­til his death on Aug. 16, 1977. The Bi­ble was only expected to sell for around $40,000 but in­ter­ests peaked in the old Bi­ble be­cause of the many notes and marks made by the fa­mous singer. These notes tell a lot about Elvis’ faith and in­ter­ac­tion with God. “To judge a man by his weak­est link or deed is like judg­ing the power of the ocean by one wave,” reads one quote writ­ten in the back of the Bi­ble. An­other says, “Ev­ery man can be tempted, with God by your side ev­ery man can be saved.”

Elvis grew up at­tend­ing the First Assem­bly of God Church in East Tu­pelo, Miss., then First Assem­bly of God in Mem­phis, Tenn. As he grew into man­hood, his church at­ten­dance clearly waned but his Bi­ble gives ev­i­dence that Elvis con­tin­ued to wres­tle with God throughout his life. One of the verses in his Bi­ble un­der­lined and marked is Luke 9:25, “For what is a man ad­van­taged, if he gain the whole world, and lose him­self, or be cast away?”

There are few men in the his­tory of the world who have been able to gain the kind of fame and suc­cess that Elvis was able to achieve in his short 42 years of life. In many ways, Elvis was able to gain the whole world. He had the re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion of peo­ple ev­ery­where. Even to­day, 35 years af­ter his death, he still has fans all around the world, but what of Elvis’ soul? Did he gain life in the eter­nal King­dom of Christ? Or did he, as Luke 9:25 says, gain the world but lose his soul in the process? It is in­ter­est­ing that the very next verse, Luke 9:26, says this, “For who­ever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Fa­ther and of the holy an­gels.”

It is im­pos­si­ble for us to know the eter­nal state of the King of Rock n’ Roll, but one thing you can know to­day is your eter­nal state. The Bi­ble tells us in Ro­mans 10:9-10, “if you con­fess with your mouth that Je­sus is Lord and be­lieve in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one be­lieves mouth one con­fesses and is saved.” Now, this verse of course im­plies a gen­uine con­fes­sion and a gen­uine be­lief in the Lord­ship and sav­ing work of Je­sus, a con­fes­sion and be­lief that is matched by a changed and fruit­ful life for the King­dom of Christ. Have you bowed the knee to Je­sus? Have you con­fessed him as the Lord of your life? Do you be­lieve that he died for your sins on the cross and now reigns at his Fa­ther’s right hand? I pray the an­swer to all of those ques­tions is a re­sound­ing “Yes” for the sake of your soul, and for the sake of the glory of Christ.

Ja­son Dees is a grate­ful fol­lower of Je­sus Christ, the hus­band of Paige and the fa­ther of Emery Anna. He is also the se­nior pas­tor of First Bap­tist Church in Cov­ing­ton.

“What would you dooo-oo for a Klondike bar?” Have you seen the ads? The guy chal­lenged to lis­ten to his wife in­stead of look­ing at the big game on the TV…and then a wife had to ac­tu­ally choose to go see an ac­tion movie. The ice cream had bet­ter be good, right?

Re­ally — the ques­tion is “What’s it worth?” To­day — in Luke 15, Je­sus an­swers that ques­tion, but not about an ice cream bar. In this chap­ter about the lost sheep and the lost coin, the “it” of “What’s it worth” is you. It’s me. What are we worth? And not just us. It’s all those peo­ple we run across ev­ery sin­gle day. It’s those peo­ple that don’t have a re­la­tion­ship with him…those peo­ple who are liv­ing so as to make that truth ab­so­lutely clear. They sin boldly. What are they worth? Are they worth you be­ing pas­sion­ate about them?

Put the ques­tion an­other way: What would you do for a soul?

The sky’s the limit, right? I’d do any­thing to help some­one get to heaven, right? That’s easy to say. Not as easy to do.

Je­sus gives an ex­am­ple of what it takes to do that. Luke 15:1 reads, “Now the tax col­lec­tors and ‘sin­ners’ were all gath­er­ing around to hear him.” Je­sus was hang­ing out with the peo­ple the rest of so­ci­ety looked down on. He was car­ing for and teach­ing the “un­de­sir­ables,” those peo­ple ev­ery­one else judged and/ or ig­nored. How of­ten do you find your­self hang­ing out with and teach­ing that kind of peo­ple about God? The slacker who doesn’t want to do any­thing but

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SEPT. 23

SUN­DAY Rain­bow Covenant Min­istries Homecoming

10 a.m.; Turner Lake Circle. Re­vival

Through Sept. 28; 7 p.m. nightly; Rain­bow Covenant Min­istries; Turner Lake Circle. take hand­outs, the con­vict, ad­dict, the derelict, the peo­ple whose names are on “the reg­istry,” the tat­tooed, the abused, or, for that mat­ter, the abuser — the sin­ner. Can you see your­selves hang­ing in those cir­cles? Je­sus did.

And he was ridiculed for it. So he tells a para­ble to show why he did it. It’s a sim­ple story. There’s a man with 100 sheep. He loses one. What would you do? Sure, one sheep is not go­ing to ruin him fi­nan­cially, but you know what you’d do. You go af­ter it.

Sure, the search may be long and dan­ger­ous, but there’s no ques­tion in this shep­herd’s mind on whether or not the sheep is valu­able enough to make it worth his time. The fo­cus is on the pas­sion of the shep­herd, not the value of the sheep. The sheep didn’t de­serve to be found. It shouldn’t have got­ten lost in the first place. But all that shep­herd is think­ing about is get­ting it back.

We can un­der­stand that, right? If you lost some­thing pre­cious to you, if you lost your child, what would you go through to get her back? No ob­sta­cle would be so great that you wouldn’t at least at­tempt to over­come it. You would seek the lost — not nec­es­sar­ily be­cause there is so much in­trin­sic value in Singing

6 p.m.; High Point Bap­tist Church, Ga. High­way 36, near Hen­der­sons; Scar­lett Tem­ple.

OCT. 5

FRI­DAY Yard Sale

Oct. 5 and 6, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Rain­bow Covenant Min­istries youth yard sale; Turner Lake Circle. Yard Sale

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Women’s Group of Mt. Pleas­ant United Methodist Church, cor­ner of U.S. High­way 278 and County Road 229 (the Hub); pro­ceeds ben­e­fit Re­lay for Life; Karen Wal­ton (770) 365-5861.

Through Oct. 10, 7 p.m.; Mace­do­nia Bap­tist Church, 108 W. Mace­do­nia church Road, Ox­ford; Dr. Matt Helms speaker; Joe and Kim Stan­ley spe­cial mu­sic; (770) 786-4336. what­ever it is you are find­ing — but be­cause it has value to you.

So, what value does that worth­less sin­ner have to you? They are pre­cious to Je­sus, even though they might seem worth­less. Think about it. Do you think the sheep in that para­ble wanted to get lost? No. It was just a com­bi­na­tion of get­ting dis­tracted, los­ing fo­cus, not re­al­iz­ing where the shep­herd was go­ing. It was so fo­cused on what­ever was right there in front of him that it wan­dered off.

Re­ally, the ques­tion we should be ask­ing is if you wanted to get lost. We can get just as lost as that sheep as we get fo­cused on the work or the hobby or the hec­tic pace of life, and we lose our fo­cus on our God. Then, be­fore we know it, he’s an af­ter­thought, and with­out even re­al­iz­ing it, we’re lost. We don’t de­serve to be found. If we couldn’t keep our fo­cus on the one who has done so much for us…we de­serve ev­ery pu­n­ish­ment we’d get.

What a thrill it is, then, that our Good Shep­herd is the kind who comes af­ter us. He sees the value of sin­ners — not in their worth, but in his heart, in the heart of our Good Shep­herd. He came de­spite all the dan­gers and he fought off all the preda­tors like Satan, temp­ta­tion, sin and death. God, our Good Shep­herd, left his com­fort­able field of heaven and came to earth. He came to seek and to save the lost. And for us, who had no value, he paid the price of his blood, his life, his all. Now, he car­ries us safely home. Why? Be­cause his love had to do some­thing.

4 p.m.; Starrsville United Methodist Church; 2786 Dixie Road, Cov­ing­ton; come and bring your pets for an an­i­mal bless­ing and fes­tiv­i­ties, BBQ and more; Pas­tor Su­san Tay­lor at (770) 786-4293 or visit Mu­si­cians Ap­pre­ci­a­tion

5 p.m.; Rain­bow Covenant Min­istries, Turner Lake Circle. Abid­ing Grace Fall Fes­ti­val

10:30 a.m.; wor­ship fol­lowed by free BBQ lunch, games, prizes, cake­walk, con­tests and a hayride. (770) 385-7691.

9:15 a.m. Sun­day Bi­ble study, 10:30 a.m. wor­ship ser­vice; 6:30 p.m. groups for adults and chil­dren; nurs­ery pro­vided; down­town Jersey, Pas­tor Terry Lit­tle; ca­sual, friendly set­ting with mod­ern con­tem­po­rary wor­ship mu­sic; jc­ or (770) 464-2638. God’s Spir­i­tual In­spi­ra­tion Choir

A capella choir; new mem­bers ac­cepted; His love had to seek. The sin­ner is far heav­ier when he lies on Je­sus’ heart be­fore he is found than when he car­ries him home on his shoul­ders af­ter.

Do you see things the way Je­sus does? Do you see value in those who seem to have none of their own? If our an­swer is ever “no” — it’s be­cause we for­got how lost we once were. If our an­swer is yes, we prob­a­bly have to add an as­ter­isk by the yes, say­ing “some­times.” The re­al­ity is that too of­ten we’ve been the Pharisees, look­ing down on oth­ers, not act­ing as if they had the value Je­sus gives them. That’s when it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that Je­sus has given us that same value.

And pow­ered by that — we will seek. We will love. And our love will speak… pas­sion­ately, over­com­ing ev­ery ob­sta­cle to speak, pray­ing that God bless our love’s speech. Love speaks pas­sion­ately be­cause it sees the value of the lost that need to be found. Make sure you look for this col­umn next week when we’ll talk about an­other rea­son love speaks pas­sion­ately — be­cause it likes the cel­e­bra­tion when it finds what it was seek­ing.

In the mean­time, think about it. What would you do for a soul? You can’t help but speak pas­sion­ately now, can you?

Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pas­tor of Abid­ing Grace Lutheran Church in Cov­ing­ton. Wor­ship ev­ery Sun­day is at 10:30 a.m. Full ser­mons and more in­for­ma­tion can be found at abid­ing­ or call (678) 625-4728 be­fore 7 a.m.; Min­is­ter El­iz­a­beth Par­tridge-Godfrey. Allen Memo­rial United Methodist Church

Ox­ford; Sun­day School at 9:45 a.m.; wor­ship ser­vice at 11 a.m.; the Rev. Max Vin­cent. East Metro Chris­tian Writ­ers

10 a.m. to noon sec­ond Satur­days, DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege’s New­ton Cen­ter, Bob Wil­liams Park­way. Abid­ing Grace Bi­ble In­for­ma­tion Class

Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m.; 12 key teachings of the Bi­ble each week; Pas­tor Jonathan Scharf at (770) 3857691. Sab­bath Ser­vices

6:30 p.m. Fri­days and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Satur­days, Chris­tian Life Cen­ter, 10242 Flat Shoals Road. Pas­tor Doyle West at (770) 784-9359. New Friend­ship Community Church

Sun­day school 10 a.m., wor­ship 11 a.m. at the church, 290 Fla­trock Road, Ox­ford, Pas­tor Tony B. Mor­ris, tb­morr@bel­ Prayer and Praise ser­vices

6 p.m. fourth Sun­days, Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church; con­tem­po­rary Chris­tian mu­sic.

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