Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of John’

What is Love?

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The vision of Agape Ann Arbor is to be a community experiencing and expressing God’s love. Unfortunately most people in our culture don’t really know what love is. We seem to have connected love inseparably to romance. We define love as that feeling we get in our chest when we’re near someone we’re attracted to. For the record, that’s not love. That’s a hormonal response to physical attraction.

So, what is love? Oftentimes, I find it easier to describe something by its opposite. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s selfishness. Love is looking at others and sacrificing of yourself for them. The purest example of love is Jesus. Paul describes Jesus’ love in his letter to the church in Phillipi:

Though he was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God.
But poured himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
a man indeed.
The very likeness of humanity,
He humbled Himself,
obedient to death –
a merciless death on the cross!
Philippians 2:6-8 (The Voice)

Jesus gave up everything including His life for us. That is the ultimate expression of love. “There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends” (John 15:13 The Voice).

That is what Agape Ann Arbor is all about. We’re about giving our lives for the City of Ann Arbor. We’re here to make Ann Arbor a better city through our investment here. We’re here to give of ourselves, our time, our resources, and our abilities to the people around us so to make their lives better. We will do this in such a way as to draw them to the One who sacrificed everything so that we could have life and “have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).

How about you? Do you love the people around you? Are you ready to sacrifice yourself for the 98,000 people in Ann Arbor, MI who don’t know Jesus? Join the movement. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Join our prayer team.

Jesus said that the world would know we were his disciples by our love (John 13:35)

What is Agape Ann Arbor?

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Have you ever spent time thinking about what you’re known for? Joe Montana is know for being an amazing quarterback. Oprah Winfrey is know for being a media mogul. Snooki and the Situation are known for taking themselves way too seriously.

What about Christians? What are Christians known for? In his 2007 book unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters David Kinnaman found that in America Christians are known for six things:

1. Hypocrisy
2. Concern for conversion more than the person
3. Antihomosexuality
4. Sheltered
5. Overemphasis on politics
6. Judgmentalism

These are the things the average American ages 16 – 25 thinks about Christians. This is what Christians are known for. It’s a far cry from what Jesus said we should be known for, isn’t it? In John 13:35, Jesus said that the world would know we were His followers, Christians, by our love for one another. There is nothing loving in any of those statements.

This is where Agape Ann Arbor steps in. Agape Ann Arbor is a new community of Christ-follwers. Our goal is to break the stereotype. Our goal is to be a community of people known for our love. We want to be a community where God’s love is experienced and expressed. We want the City of Ann Arbor to see us and know that we love them, God loves them, and Jesus died for them. And God willing, we will break the stereotype in Ann Arbor. Christians won’t be known for their politics or their hypocrisy. We’ll be known for our love and what we do here in Ann Arbor, MI will change the way America and the world views Christians.

Would you like to be a part of this change? Would you like to break the stereotype and be known for what Jesus called us to be known for, our love? There are a couple of ways you can get involved. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can
subscribe to our newsletter
, and receive weekly email updates about how to specifically pray for us. If you’re in Washtenaw County and would like to become part of the team you can contact me and we’ll get together.

Please pray for us. There are 98,000 people in Ann Arbor who don’t know Jesus. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, but we’re excited to be a part of what God’s doing in our city.

The Importance of Community in Church

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

In John 13:35 Jesus said that people would know we were Christ-followers by our love for one another. The funny thing about that is; the only way people we see us love one another is if we actually well… love one another. This is something that can’t be done in a large weekend gathering. It can only be done in the context of real relationships. It requires that we get into each other’s lives and share our triumphs and our failures. Unfortunately, churches aren’t really known as places to form relationships and develop friendships. In fact, most people that I’ve met feel that they’re more likely to find good friends at the local bar than at church.

This is the third wall that keeps us from being the church that God intends. We need to knock down this wall be creating an atmosphere where true community, true love can thrive. We need to lead our churches to love one another. This is not as easy as it sounds. It’s more than launching a cool Small Group program that gets a lot of people to study the Bible together. It requires a strategy that will encourage people to break down their own walls of insecurity and doubt and be real with each other. It requires a plan, hard work and patience.

What are you doing to develop this kind of community in your church? For more help in creating this structure, contact Jericho Ministry Solutions.

Eternal Life (Part 6)

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Last week we launched our investigation of eternal life in the Gospel of John. The concept is first introduced in chapter three where Jesus has a nighttime conversation with the Jewish Rabbi Nicodemus. We’re going to look at another passage from that conversation. Eternal life appears again in verse 36 of the same chapter, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.”

Verse 36 reaffirms that individuals through faith in God’s Son gain eternal life. Yet there is more that we learn here. We learn something of the content of eternal life. Eternal life is a state of being where the individual has God’s wrath removed from them.

Eternal Life (Part 5)

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

It’s time to move on to the Gospel of John. John refers to eternal life more than any other biblical author. John seems to have a significantly different definition for eternal life than the one we have seen so far. Before we dive into the first reference to eternal life in the Gospel of John let’s recap what Daniel and the Synoptic Gospels said.

Up to this point we have seen that eternal life is an eschatological (end times) gift given to the righteous (whoever they are). All those who are “saved” receive it (they must be the righteous ones). Eternal life is closely related to life in the Kingdom of God and is different in some way from normal life that humans experience.

Now, the first time eternal life is mentioned in the Gospel of John is in chapter 3. If you’re keeping track at home this is the conversation that Jesus has at night with one of the religious leaders in Jerusalem, Nicodemus. In John 3 verses 15 and 16, twice Jesus says that those who believe in the Son of Man will receive eternal life. In context he is talking about why he came. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be “lifted up” (a direct allusion to his crucifixion) and that in being lifted up he is providing a way for those who believe in him to have eternal life rather than perish.

So, in his introduction to the concept of eternal life, John says that Jesus must be lifted up (die on the cross) so that people can receive eternal life. Those that believe in him will receive it. And, it is the opposite of perishing.

What does this mean to you and do you think it differs from what we read in earlier passages?