Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Intentional Love

I was recently reminded of a time two dear friends, Paul and Tammy, and I made our way to a little Greek restaurant in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego.  Paul and I were students at Horizon School of Evangelism and sweet Tammy had been raised in the Lord and literally "oozed" His love on everyone she met.  We choose the restaurant because the owner, a fascinating and highly intelligent man, was also a guest speaker at our school. He shared (in a contentious but memorable way) how the Lord wrote the Gospel story in the constellations.

All of us zealous for the Lord, ordered our food and immediately began talking about the scriptures.
Within a few minutes, a complete stranger who over heard our conversation invited himself to sit with us at our table.  It turns out that he, a devout atheist, was one of the plaintiffs suing the city of San Diego for having a cross on Mt. Soledad.  He began needling and challenging and trying to cast doubt in our conversation.  Covered in that "first-love grace," we were completely unscathed and quite determined to help him know the truth.  The conversation went back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth 90 minutes after the restaurant was closed!  The owner, who was well aware of the atheist's agenda, watched from the kitchen somewhat amused.  It seems we were not the first to fall into this man's trap!

At one point in the conversation, my sweet friend Tammy welled up with tears.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, she pressed right into the man's space and cried out,  "I just feel so sad for you!  My heart is broken for you! You really don't know how much Jesus loves you!"

Silence... palpable vulnerability... confusion ... softening... then the wall went back up.

This man was rocked!... at least for a minute... by genuine love.  He was awkward, squirmy and confused when he came in close contact with the thought someone truly cared about him.

I'd like to say this heady man got on his knees and asked Jesus to be his Savior right then and there.
That's not what happened. He did, for a minute though, consider at a heart level the idea of LOVE. There was a definite chink in the armor!

This is such a powerful reminder to me that it is "His kindness that leads us to repentance" and that "of the gifts, the greatest is LOVE."  Love is a powerful offensive weapon and I daresay underused.  Let's make 2015 the year we use LOVE intentionally and valiantly, taking ground for the King!

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