Surprised by LoveIt was the morning Aaron and I were flying back to La Paz. We’d spent the last two months in AZ where Aaron had received treatment for a sting ray bite he incurred at the end of October. I stumbled into the kitchen of my mother-in-law’s house to start the coffee. Bleary-eyed, I stared out the window and noticed bits of color flapping in the wind. Staked across the front lawn were dozens and dozens of construction paper hearts. What? I couldn’t figure it out. I grabbed a jacked and went outside, and discovered that on every heart were goodbye messages to Aaron from the youth group at First Baptist Scottsdale.
Love One Another DeeplyAaron had connected deeply with these kids during his recovery. Many of them were extremely sad that he was heading back to Mexico. One heart had scrawled across it: You’ve been heart-attacked! It made me laugh with sheer joy. And, I must admit, I had a few tears too. It was a spontaneous act of love between friends. As I wandered among the hearts, I felt like I was experiencing Valentine’s Day in its purest sense: Love one another deeply from the heart. (I Peter 1:22b)
You Are SpecialWhat if every day could start like that? Heart messages fluttering in the wind outside your front door. Someone in your life taking the time to tell you how special you are in his/her life. Imagine how we would face the rest of each hour of that day?
Two Churches Modeling the Heart of JesusWhile we were in AZ, we visited with two American Baptist Churches. Monte Vista Baptist is seeking to be God’s Heart to the Mexican and Karen Tribal people in their community. Three congregations now share their building. The Caucasian congregation is the smallest, but due to their willingness to have a Kingdom vision, their church is still alive and vital. Their pastor, the Rev. Stan Crews, is strategizing how to form a leadership board that comprises members of all three congregations. The love in this church is truly tangible!
First Baptist Scottsdale underwent a major building renovation several years ago, thus undertaking the stewardship of a large mortgage. Then the economy took a down-turn and the struggle to meet that commitment became an even greater challenge. But they too are using Kingdom vision to find creative solutions, many of them involving sacrifice. The leadership of the church (pastors & lay leaders) was an inspiration to us as we saw them seeking the heart of Jesus in the midst of their present situation.
Both of these churches desire that the people who walk through their doors each week experience a heart-attack. Not the kind that causes you to end up in the hospital, but the kind that infuses you with new life and vitality in Christ!