So then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus to keep living the way you already are and even do better in how you live and please God—just as you learned from us. You know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. God’s will is that your lives are dedicated to him. This means that you stay away from sexual immorality and learn how to control your own body in a pure and respectable way. Don’t be controlled by your sexual urges like the Gentiles who don’t know God. No one should mistreat or take advantage of their brother or sister in this issue. The Lord punishes people for all these things, as we told you before and sternly warned you. God didn’t call us to be immoral but to be dedicated to him. Therefore, whoever rejects these instructions isn’t rejecting a human authority. They are rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. You don’t need us to write about loving your brothers and sisters because God has already taught you to love each other. In fact, you are doing loving deeds for all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. Now we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do so even more. Aim to live quietly, mind your own business, and earn your own living, just as I told you. That way you’ll behave appropriately toward outsiders, and you won’t be in need. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, CEB)

What is immoral? defines immoral as “not Moral”. Thanks for that. Really?

So it does give a broader definition of “conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles.” Which again doesn’t really say what is immoral it merely tells us what it means. How do we know what we shouldn’t do now today? Because what was immoral when 1 Thessalonians was written may not be immoral today.

There are still nuggets of wisdom in here, “Don’t be controlled by your sexual urges” and “No one should mistreat or take advantage of their brother or sister in this issue” and “God’s will is that your lives are dedicated to God”.

Sexual immorality is not homosexuality. We should also not hold our siblings down because they see things differently than we do and have sexual urges that are different than ours. God wants God’s will to be the focus of our lives and not how our sisters and brothers are not living up. Maybe if we focus on our own lives and strive to be who God is leading us to be we will love the world rather than judge the world.

Focus on your own life and share grace and mercy and love with everyone around you, not judging what they are doing, but loving them and reminding them they are loved by God.

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James, Alphaeus’ son; Simon the zealot; and Judas, James’ son— all were united in their devotion to prayer, along with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. During this time, the family of believers was a company of about one hundred twenty persons. Peter stood among them and said, “Brothers and sisters, the scripture that the Holy Spirit announced beforehand through David had to be fulfilled. This was the scripture concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus. This happened even though he was one of us and received a share of this ministry.” “Therefore, we must select one of those who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when Jesus was taken from us. This person must become along with us a witness to his resurrection.” So they nominated two: Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. They prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s deepest thoughts and desires. Show us clearly which one you have chosen from among these two to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” When they cast lots, the lot fell on Matthias. He was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:12-17, 21-26, CEB)

12 is a biblical number. When I taught confirmation I told the students if I ask for a numerical answer, good guesses are always 3, 7, 12, or a multiple of 12.

But I also have to say I have always wondered about this text. Why did the one to replace Judas have to be someone who was with them from the beginning? The other 11 were not really great representatives. I mean read the gospels and see how many times they messed up and who was there at the cross? When Jesus got arrested they scattered because they knew they were next.

So of course the replacement for Judas has to be one who was there from the beginning to share what they saw.

Yet we share the good news of Jesus through our lives and none of us were there when Jesus chose the 12.

We are all witnesses to the love God has for the world.

We are all givers of grace and mercy to a world that needs to know they are loved and accepted as they are.

We are the ones who Love Out Loud.

So continue sharing the good news and shining light.

Loving People. Loving God.

Pass Away

“Then if somebody says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Christ,’ or ‘He’s over here,’ don’t believe it. False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even those whom God has chosen. Look, I’ve told you ahead of time. So if they say to you, ‘Look, he’s in the desert,’ don’t go out. And if they say, ‘Look, he’s in the rooms deep inside the house,’ don’t believe it. Just as the lightning flashes from the east to the west, so it will be with the coming of the Human One. The vultures gather wherever there’s a dead body. “Now immediately after the suffering of that time the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then the sign of the Human One will appear in the sky. At that time all the tribes of the earth will be full of sadness, and they will see the Human One coming in the heavenly clouds with power and great splendor. He will send his angels with the sound of a great trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four corners of the earth, from one end of the sky to the other. “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that the Human One is near, at the door. I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away. (Matthew 24:23-35, CEB)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.

What does that mean?

Well this whole passage is about the end of time, and how we aren’t supposed to get caught up in when and where Jesus is coming back. It is more about us living here in this time to show the world the love God has for all of creation. Because the word of God will not pass away. The promises we have spoken to us will stand firm forever. Heaven and earth will be done away with, which is actually in God’s word of the Bible, in Revelation, God says Heaven and Earth will be done away with and a new heaven and new earth will be created and God will descend to be with God’s people. (Revelation 21).

What all of this means is we need to love the world around us and live today, and not worry about tomorrow.

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:1-11, CEB)

Should we continue to sin so grace will abound? That’s not how this works.

Yes if we sin, God’s grace will cover it and make us new, but we do not sin more so we get more grace. Since we have been united with Christ our life should be shining the light of love into the world and we should be staying away from sin.

But we need to know what sin is. Is sin a list of rules we have to follow? Is sin living not living in the fullness of our relationships? I have a pastor friend who defined sin to confirmation classes as the degradation of relationships. Meaning anything that causes a relationship to fail or falter is sin. So not a list of things to not do and sin for me maybe different than it is for you.

We should show love to the world. The love that God shows to each of us every day. That even though we are sinful and turn away from God, God still loves us. We need to show that love to the world.

Love Out Loud.

Loving People. Loving God.


Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith. By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible. By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, which showed that he was righteous, since God gave approval to him for his gift. Though he died, he’s still speaking through faith. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, and he wasn’t found because God took him up. He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him. By faith Noah responded with godly fear when he was warned about events he hadn’t seen yet. He built an ark to deliver his household. With his faith, he criticized the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes from faith. (Hebrews 11:1-7, CEB)

We live by faith. We can not prove what we believe in. Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the proof of what we do not see. People ask why I believe in God when you really can’t prove that God exists. Well, can you prove God doesn’t exist? Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I have never seen a billion dollars but I do not doubt it exists.

Also, what about the wind? Have you seen the wind? We do not see the wind, but we see the effects of the wind. I don’t see God but I see the effects of God in my life and in the lives of others.

So live in faith, and love as you go.

Loving People. Loving God.