Advent 3

A few years ago a young man who attended our church got meningitis and was found by friends just hours from dying. A fast acting doctor got him into a clinical trial and the medication they pumped into him saved his life. As we've been hearing H1N1 is nothing to scoff at as it is highly contagious as is MRSA and a many other diseases running around the human race.

God's love is equally infectious. When infected with it we find ourselves loving others, even our enemies. When we've been caught by God's infectious joy we discover that no matter what life hands us we face it the assurance God is in charge.

The shepherds that first Christmas embraced the infectious joy of God and went to see the miracle of Jesus' birth. King Herod, faced with the same news, grew upset and along with him all of the city was troubled.

very few people are like Herod. Very few people are like the shepherds either. Most find that they've had "just enough" Christianity and church to inoculate them from the joy God has for them. They've heard the story enough so that they can tune it out without it affecting their life...sometimes while they're sitting in a pew.

Here's the way we diagnose how well we've been infected. If we find ourselves in love with Christ and the things of God like prayer for others, Scripture and loving others unconditionally we can be pretty sure the God's love is breeding well in our hearts. On the other hand, if we really don't care about people who are different than us or if we're too busy to help those in need we need to wonder what we've missed along the way. Remember what John wrote:

If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Christ's people are people who are infected by God's joy to the point of laying down our comfort for the sake of others and who find real Joy in those actions. Kenton knows what this looks like and this week we prove it as we step out in faith reach out to those in need.



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