I Love You, Do You Love Me?

In 1976, I was in the sixth grade at Billy Mitchell Elementary School.  Sitting across the room from me was this really cute blonde. To make sure she knew of my feelings, I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote her a note: “I Love You, Do You Love Me?” Then I drew two squares and wrote the words “Yes or No please check one” underneath.   I folded the paper up and with all the secrecy of an international spy I had my friends in the class pass the note all the way around the room to my hopeful sweetheart.

My heart raced as she opened the note and read it. My curiosity grew as she took out a pencil, checked one of the boxes, smiled at me, and then started the note on its long journey back. With the exception of a few glances at the teacher to make sure she didn’t see the note, I never took my eyes off the eminent correspondence. As the answer to my question finally reached me, my hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, and I was sweating like I had just come off the playground at recess. I was a nervous wreck! In fact, I was almost too apprehensive to read her response.

Why was I so unnerved? I had been brave in sharing my feelings with someone, but now a tidal wave of fear of rejection was cascading over me. It was like I had taken my heart out of my chest, placed it into her hands, and hoped that she would reciprocate my affections. I didn’t want my heart to be rejected.

God did the same thing when He created humanity to have a love relationship with Him; however, they rejected His love to fulfill their own desires. They found greater pleasure in creation than they did in their relationship with the Creator. This rejection separated the creation from the Creator. He gave them His law to show their need for a Savior, but they turned the law into a measuring stick to show how righteous and holy they were.  They compared themselves to others who were not measuring up in obedience to the rules. Once again they had missed God’s intended purpose—a relationship with Him.

God sent His Son Jesus, in the form of man, from heaven to earth. He tried to show them just how much He loved, cherished, and desired a relationship with them. He healed the sick, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and taught them about Himself through the life of Jesus. He literally took out His heart and presented it to them and said, “I Love You, Do You Love Me, Yes or No?” Not only did they reject His love, they took His heart, beat it, spit upon it, and nailed it to a cross until it was dead.

Little did they know that this was God’s master plan since before the creation of the world. His Son would die a ransom for sin for all who would believe in Him. After three days, He arose from the dead thus making a way for the forgiveness of all humanity.  Now He is sending a love letter to you, “Do You Love Me?” What will be your reply, “Yes” or “No”?

Will you choose to accept the love of God or will you reject it? Choose today— your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

America’s View of Southern Baptists

I have been a Southern Baptist since my first day in church when I was enrolled in “Cradle Roll.”  I have had many opportunities to attend churches of other denominations.  I have spent a great deal of my life searching the Scriptures to ensure what I was being taught is truth. So you will understand if I tell you I have a special place in my heart for the Southern Baptist Convention.

This week I read an article about “America’s View of Southern Baptist” that was especially surprising. It talks about how people are turned off from attending a church when they see it is affiliated with the SBC.  Most of those who felt this way were those who are not currently attending a church anywhere. How does this happen? How can a group of individuals who pool their time, money, and lives together have such an effect on those for whom they are trying to reach? If the church is to continue to fulfill it commission given by Jesus we must resolve this issue immediately!

In my personal opinion, this has happened because individual churches are seen as a denominational church and not a community church.  I love being a part of the SBC; however, as a pastor my aim is to constantly keep the spiritual needs of our community in front of the church members. We are to be salt and light to the world. Our world just so happens to be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is easy for the people in the community to see us as just another Southern Baptist Church if we have the mentality of opening the doors and waiting for people to come in and see how special we are. This was never what Jesus intended. Christians are to go out and engage the community one individual at a time. We are to share that they are so special to God that He sent Jesus to die for them that they might spend eternity with Him.

Please understand, this has nothing to do with whether you need the word “Baptist” or “SBC” on your church sign. What I am saying is this, our communities need to know that we are reaching out to them with the love of Christ. We are not a denomination. We are the bride of Christ. We are the body of Christ. We are to be the heart, hands, and voice of Christ to those who are hurting. As Christians, we are to leave our homes every day knowing that God is going to use us to reach out to others that they might have an opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ.

Come on, Christians—let’s demonstrate to the world that we are not just a denomination or a church building. Let’s show them we are people so filled with gratitude for what Jesus has done for us we want to share it with everyone! Let’s change the opinion of those who don’t know us by getting to know them!

If you would like to read “America’s View of Southern Baptist” please click here.