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Love > Hate

 

I don't know how anyone could live in the world today and not see that there are definitely two strong forces at work: Love and Hate, or Good and Evil. Many who do see this somehow are pulled towards the Evil side, whether because they've been hurt, or they longed for Love so long that they began to resent it... I don't know. But Love conquers Hate, Fear, and Evil. Like Light entering a dark room, Love overcomes Hate just by being what it is. Evil is not the opposite of Love, so much as it is the absence of it, just as darkness isn't actually a "thing" but the absence of a thing: Light. 

I'm a very flawed fellow, and I regret that I have often brought darkness into people's lives around me. But I'm sure, beyond a doubt, that Love is stronger than Hate. I'm totally persuaded that Good will vanquish Evil whenever it is brought fully into a situation. 

Assuming that this is all true, and that Love really has power, then I look at the life of the Man who most strongly brought the power of Love into this world, Jesus. When He said, "The wages of sin is death...", I believe that He was spot-on. Death doesn't always come immediately. Sometimes it's in our hearts, and sometimes it raises it's ugly head through illness. When Love Himself walked as a man, He healed everyone that came His way. EVERYONE. Because the death that was eating at their bodies couldn't remain in His presence, and even more, because he actively loved them. While I haven't prayed for anyone to be healed that has actually been healed before my eyes, that doesn't mean that I don't believe it is my mission, for it is exactly that. After Jesus told us what the wages of sin were, He said, "But I have come that you might have LIFE, and have it abundantly!" God is love. He IS love. That's why we always hear that there's no pain or suffering in Heaven, because it's where He is, and those splinters of death, of evil, cannot be where He is. 

I want to bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to Earth. See, people are sick and dying here because we took the keys away from God. We told him we wanted to be in control when we ate the apple, and we do it every time we choose not to love. Jesus told us three things: To pray that God's Kingdom come down (NOW! Not later!), that we love one another like He loves us, and that we heal the sick in His name, which is essentially the same as the second thing I've listed here. 

It's a process. I live so much by what my eyes see that I don't rely on what I know is true but unseen. I haven't seen the dead raised back to life. But that doesn't mean that I create a doctrine of belief that fits God and His Kingdom into my comfort zone. I don't want a God that fits into what I understand and can reason out. Jesus was very clear as to how this world was supposed to work, and how it can still work. We just have to give Him back the keys.

I'll be posting up things that I'm thinking about on this page from time to time. I hope you'll either post something back, or email me at jared@jaredcullop.com. 

Awesome

Awesome new friends here at the house. God is good!

Our first night ever at Bethel Church

Erin and I have moved many, many times in the past 8 years; nine to be exact. With that being the case, it's difficult to find a church each time, to get involved, and to really feel apart. Please don't misunderstand. We've been blessed with wonderful church families at each spot. But along the way, we've had one staple: Bethel Church in Redding, California. We watch their worship and messages online (podcasts or through ibethel.tv) and we read their books and such. We've really been "woken up" by this church, because there's a big revival happening there, and it's contagious. 

Last night, we got to pull into the parking lot of Bethel. We turned our little Elias over to the nursery workers and grabbed two seats. After a truly real worship experience, we got to hear some Kiwi man named Chris who is apparenly on staff there at Bethel. What a message he had. One thing that always strikes me about the messages given to this church is that they are so simple and yet so huge. I often hear/read/watch them, and come away slack-jawed, wondering how I missed that point for the past few decades.

Last night's message was this, in a nutshell:

The church is failing to reach much of the world, because it's trying to spread the revelation that people need to love God. "Why?" They all ask. It's a good question. "Because you don't want to go to hell!" What a crock! Why do we expect people to love our God, because if they don't, He'll resort to putting them into hell? Now, I know better than to think that this is what the church, for the most part, is actually trying to tell them, but I do believe that this is what they essentially hear from our "You Should Love God" message.

John 3:16 says it. "For GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD..." The message that we should be sharing with the world is about God's love for them! But get this: there's a difference in knowing something in your head and actually believing it in your heart. How do we get someone to believe God's love, in their heart? This is where signs and wonders come in... supernatural healings. When we as the church realize that our mission is to be the gates that bring Heaven into the lives of those around us, we can start to truly be effective in this battle with darkness.

Imagine the difference in this situation:

You're deaf. You've never heard a sound in your life. You know in your head that God loves you, but maybe it's not in your heart. Maybe it's not totally real to you. Someone can, through sign language, tell you that God loves you. They can tell you that you should love him back.

Or, they can tell you that God created those ears to hear, and that He wants to open them up. They then pray a simple prayer for the Goodness of God to be made real in your ears.

By stepping out in Faith, by truly knowing in our hearts that God did NOT give that person deafness, that God loves this deaf person deeply, and wants them to know it at all costs (John 3:16 - what price was He willing to pay for us to know His love??) we can be gates that bring Heaven into that person's ears. God does the rest. So many of us, myself included, don't step out and boldly pray for those who can't hear, for example. I make it about me. "I'm not close enough to God today. I fussed with Erin last night and was pretty hateful. No way God's going to work through me to heal this guy's ears. I'll pray for him, and God won't do anything because of how bad I am, and then God'll look bad to this guy on top of all that. No way." But here's the rub: It's not about me. It's not about you either. It's not about us feeling loved by God when we pray for others to be healed. That moment is about the person needing healing knowing that God loves them, and truly knowing it deep in their hearts.

Now, back to imagining you're deaf. How much more are you going to know that God loves you if He actually opens up your ears? This is the mission of the church. We are to go out and bring Heaven down. We have been given authority over these pieces of death. 

If perhaps you somehow think that this isn't correct "doctrine", I welcome a discussion with you. Just type up something in the form to the right here. But here's what I have to say: Jesus came to be perfect doctrine. He showed the Father by healing people. When people would ask Him if they could see God, he said "You have seen the Father because you have seen me. Look at my works. Look at what I have done for these people in God's name. Now go and do the same."

If we show God's love to the world, the world will love God back. They will love Him because they start to realize how much He loves them, no matter what they do, say, think, or believe. We get to show them! We get to be apart of bringing God into their lives. Once they get the taste of that pure acceptance, then they will love Him back, for there is no other possible response.

How we have somehow taken God's word and used it to point at people? Girls who get abortions, Homosexuals, people who have gone through divorce or cheated on their spouse... whatever... What in the world are we thinking, people? How did we as God's people get so far off track? If we bring God in to the heart, not just the mind, and WITHOUT A MESSAGE OF FEAR (that's another post for another day, but "perfect love casts out all fear", so how do we try to scare people into Heaven?) then shackles will fall off and freedom will reign. 

God loves me. He loves you. It's deeper than any emotion you've ever felt in your life, and if you ask Him and sit and listen, He'll give you a taste of it. Of that, I am sure.

Thanks for reading this one.

Working on the marriage.

Erin and I have a great marriage. Neither of us doubt the love that the other has for us. As long as we don't look to the other for fulfillment, and instead look to God for that, we're good. 

We just finished a book called "Love & Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. We nodded our heads together so many times as we listened (audiobook through iTunes). Essentially, it says that women need love from their husbands, while men need respect from their wives. Sure, us guys need love too, and we can't disrespect our wives, but we're programmed to have different priorities in this. I never knew that the Bible spoke so much about this, but it does. So this book uses the Bible as one leg of its foundation, and statistical studies as the other. Again, it's a great read for any married (or thinking about it) couple. I highly suggest it.

Last night we started a relationship book by Danny Silk. Danny is possibly the man whom we trust more on this than any other on earth. We've read/listened to many of his books. His son, Levi, is a friend of ours and he gave us a book from his dad, signed and all. That book was titled "Loving Our Kids On Purpose". When a teenager gives you a book, written by their Dad, on how to be a good Dad, and then says that his Dad is the best Dad in the world, you read the book. I want my son to feel that way. I want to love him on purpose. In the end, the book didn't disappoint. Possibly one of my favorite reads of the year. Anyway, we even got the workbook for the relationship book we started last night. I'll let you know how it goes. You can click the picture of the book to go to the store to get it. Again, it was so good.