Monthly Archives: April 2009

Does Agape Ever Come Under Fire?

Agape is a powerful tool and weapon. love3 While that may sound like an oxymoron, it really isn’t. So you ask the question, “How can love be a tool and a weapon?”

Jesus said that if our enemies were harsh and mean that our reaction to them should mirror that which they have done, but to “heap coals of fire on their heads.” What is this fire that He speaks of? It is the fire of Agape.

When you feel like your Agape is being tried and tested by those who would frustrate you to no end or get on your last nerve, remember that Agape cannot really be tested. It was examined, tested and tried on the cross, and it cannot be tested anymore. It has God’s seal of approval all over it.

Jesus said, “I have overcome the world and you will too because of the agape that I have and have instilled in you.” God said that His agape is shed or poured out into our hearts. That means that we have the DNA of agape in our bodies as a result of Jesus’ act of agape on the cross. Jesus said that the ultimate act of agape was that a man lay down his life for a friend. So if that is the ultimate, what are the simpler acts of agape before that? Anything good you do in agape for anyone is great. Be happy and encouraged by that!

You might think that someone is testing your agape by frustrating you or overwhelming you with their personalities or nuances. Nope. You can’t test something that has already been tested, tried and proven. What is happening to you is that the maturity level of agape is being tried. How much have you matured in agape?

Do people, circumstances and situations still cause you anxiety and frustration? Do you find yourself still dealing with jealously, aggravation and envy? If so, you have a whole lot more to learn and a lot more to grow in agape. However, don’t be dismayed at your progress. Agape is a growing process. It is one of those “line upon line, precept upon precept” things that the Holy Spirit teaches us in our maturity.

There will be a time when anxieties are a thing of the past. You will encounter life without frustration. You will joy in others delights and, in fact, you will be able to encourage them instead of being envious and jealous. Your life will be full of faith and creative ideas based upon the fact that you agape the one who created you, everything about you, everything that causes you joy and happiness, and He agapes you so much that He will delight in you as well.

Jesus’ prayer was to let it be done on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven is full of agape. Heaven is full of people who have equality in love. No one agapes one over the other. Agape is not judgmental, nor does it practice prejudice. Let’s begin to share that atmosphere of agape here on earth.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo13

Stop the Deception!

love_3_by_mjagiellicz1Just stop! I use to think I really knew what love was all about. I have to confess that what I thought was love, was not really love at all. In fact, it was a form of love that earthlings have come to believe as love ever since the fall of man. Wow, were we deceived. Then we started saying how much we loved this and how much we loved that-when all we were professing was a form of love the Greeks called, “phileo love.” The word was well known, but there was a serious problem with it. It wasn’t good enough.

No? No.

It only had a shelf life of a few years. Some brands lasted only for a few moments. Others, not even a few months. We used that love to express some emotional need (that we felt in our brain) to tell others that we “loved” them. But we used that same word for our dog, our cat, our car, our children, our house, our president, our neighbor, our sofas, our dentist, our church, our spouses and even God. Now how can that be? How can that be authentic love? We’ve been deceived.

Men and women take vows and say “till death do us part,” only to find out that the shelf life on their love had expired way before death ever thought about coming around. Friends say I love you, only to realize that that wasn’t a good brand of love they bought into and eventually say, “sorry, I must part ways with you now.” How about the brand of love found at the end of a date that causes you to fall for that guy and do anything for him just because he said he loved you? Where did you buy that love? At the dollar store?

Phileo love is good, but not good enough. If Sears were selling it, it would be in the better section of the store. You know, they sell stuff like good, better, best. Phileo love is not the love that glues friendships, lovers, spouses, parents and children together. When we use the same kind of love for a spouse and a dog, then something is not right. I know–I hear you clearly shouting at me, “THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF LOVE!” No, calm down. There are different “depths” of phileo love but it’s all the same.

Agape is a love, created by God, which causes man to bond in a way that is like super glue. It’s not artificial. It’s not a love substitute. It’s not cheap and ugly. It’s lasting and pure.

Not many people understand or know about agape. Yet. Even in the “best of the best” respected books in Christianity, such as Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline,” not one word is mentioned about the discipline of agape love. It’s difficult to find those who really understand it.

I don’t use the word love much anymore because it is so overused and has such contempt with it. I use the word agape because it means more than love to me. It means what I feel and say.

So who has deceived us? More on that tomorrow.


That’s what I think about it.


DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo12

Why Do We Call Ministers Reverend?

ordinationJesus was so right on when he made several statements about the titles many carried in His day. He realized that agape didn’t need titles to get people to love and respect Him. Even in His last days, the opposition tried to call Him king, and He just replied with a non-answer answer.

We have so many religious titles that men love to have, wear and become attentive to when called by their title. We have the reverends, the pastor, father, bishops, overseers, elder, priests, and rabbi. Many in the religious fields probably feel that they could take them or leave them. However, there are those who feel that respect is in a title. Their expectation of others to call them by their title is their reassurance of that respect.

Agape doesn’t label religious leaders with titles. We give men titles because of protocol in our religious world’s system. Men receive titles to assure others that they have completed the criteria and process demanded of them for that office.

People who know me call me Tim; others call me Timothy. Some call me Pastor Timothy. When I was growing up in church, we called the pastor, “preacher.” Some, I have come to find out, feel that that title is disrespectful. I never could figure that one out.

I appreciate it when people call me pastor, but the truth of the matter is that if they wanted to call me Tim or Timothy, it’s just fine with me. Agape carries with it a respect and care for others without the crown of a title. Agape says that you can just call me by my name; I don’t need to be called by any title.

Jesus even referred to those who were psychologically gratified and loved having their egos fed when others would call them by their titles. They loved it. They lived for it. Vanity is the foundation for such titles. They are used by those who crave attention.

I was in the presence, years ago, of a man who was a district overseer for a particular denomination. He demanded that no one call him by his first name, but by his title, “Bishop.” I guess some people need that sort of thing in the religious world.

Agape says you can love me for who I am. Agape says that I’m going to love you for who you are. Agape is not bias, prejudice nor judgmental. Agape loves when all other loves fail.

Paul says that if I have not agaped, I am nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have titles a mile long, If you don’t agape people, then you are absolutely nothing. That’s pretty harsh. However, agape should be the basis for our leadership and not what title we hold. Jesus asked Peter if he agaped Him and then he told him to feed His sheep. It was agape that would cause Peter to lead people, not a title of rank. Respect is not found in a title. Respect is found in a person.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo11

Why Would I Have Enemies?

0102043368700I remember Jesus saying to “agape my enemies.” Then I had to think for a minute, “who are my enemies,” and then, “why do I have enemies?” Enemies, that’s a pretty harsh thing. Enemies? Do you know what the definition of enemy is? An enemy is somebody who hates or seeks to harm somebody or something. Wow! Do I have someone who hates me or wants to do me in? I don’t have any connections with the mafia (that I know of.) I don’t know of anyone personally who dislikes me that badly.

Now, there are people who probably don’t like my personality or the work I’m doing, but I don’t think they would consider me their enemy. Certainly I wouldn’t think of them being MY enemy. Jesus even used the word “enemies,” plural. Can you imagine having, not one but, several enemies?

You say, yeah, I have enemies. Really? Why? What have you done or what have they done to you that caused this?

I know that America has enemies because of our belief in capitalism and freedom. I know that there are people, groups and even nations that would love to see our country collapse into oblivion–but to have personal enemies? That’s pretty unusual.

But, nevertheless, do you realize what we are to do if we have enemies? Agape them. Are you kidding me? No, I’m not. Now, if you are to agape them, your enemies, how much more should you agape those who are not your enemies? Is that person who lives with you your enemy? No? Then agape them. Is that person with whom you work your enemy? No? Then agape them too. How about your boss? Is he or she your enemy? No? Then agape him or her.

Jesus was serious about this agape stuff. He wanted others to know about His Kingdom because of our agape and nothing else. If we agape our enemies and show them God’s agape, then how much more will our friends, co workers and family know that we agape them too?

Agape takes on all kinds forms, actions and words. What can you do today to show that agape lives and breathes in you? Agape is a strong word. It is an amazing supernatural emotion. How about giving someone a hug today that you wouldn’t normally hug? How about giving someone a kiss that you normally would not kiss? How about doing something more that just nice for someone that you normally would not do something nice for?

When they ask why you did it, just say you’re practicing on them so that when it comes to performing agape on your enemies, you’ll be perfect.

That is, if you have enemies…

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo10

You See Them Everyday

les9fig10Have you ever given yourself permission to leave your circumstances and situations just to think about him or her and what they go through or are going through? You see them everyday, and yet you give no time to how they think or what they feel. You might just say, “Hi, how are you?” They reply back to you, “Fine, thank you.” You hear this reply all the time because they really don’t expect you to notice, care or even listen to how they really are. Our politeness and courtesy, many times, become a futility of meaningless words. Just being friendly, that’s all that’s required of us right?

Now let’s go back to them. You see them everyday and do you really want to know how they are feeling or what they are going through? Agape says, “Yes, I really, seriously do.” Agape says, “I’m going to take the time to find out (if they want to share with me) the good, bad and the ugly of their lives.” They might need you right now. They might just need someone who sincerely cares about them and their circumstances. They might even need something you have that you could possibly give them. It doesn’t have to be money. So don’t even let that be your first thought.

You see them everyday and you just go through the process of acknowledging them and share in your return of verbal niceties. “Yeah, I see you. So there.” Then we allow them to go on their way and we get back to doing what we were doing. When you’re really focused on what is going on in your life at the time, you don’t want to take time for others–now do you? When you’re in a time crunch, now is not the time to show agape. Or is it? Maybe it does show agape when you’re in a self absorbed moment and you’re willing to show the other person the agape of Jesus.

You see them everyday and you know we live in a complicated and messed up world. People travel through life storms as well as emotional or physical earthquakes of catastrophic proportions. Proportions, of which, we are unaware. They need our agape! They need it right at a time when they wish they could find an emergency red handle on a wall somewhere that says, “pull if you need someone who cares!”

Yes, you see them everyday but they look and act just like you and me. You don’t know what is churning on the inside of them unless agape seeks out the bad and replaces it with good. Agape says, “I’m busy, but I do have time for you.” Agape says, “I care when no one else cares.”

Agape says, “Come unto me, all you busy people who are tired of hiding your problems and acting like nothing is wrong, and I will give you relief and rest.” – Jesus Christ.

Agape should be on the endangered species list. It is so very difficult to find when you need it.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo9

Ten Percent

imagesThis is a number everybody should know about in Christendom. We should know what it applies to. If you’ve been to church at least four times in your life, YOU should know what it applies to. And, if you have been one who has had his religious muscle trained from birth till now, you certainly have been one who understands the rigors and the expectations of “ten percent.”

Maybe you’re one of those that have been drilled Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, that this number is the least and minimum expectation of servitude and loyalty. You might be one of those that quit going to church because you heard this number so much and there was no way under heaven that you were able to meet the demands so firmly placed on your shoulders. In fact, you may have even come close to fearing that if you didn’t meet those expectations, it might come to the point that the church would put a lien on your property.

You could be one of those who are able to meet this understood agreement with the church, and as such, you probably feel guilty if you don’t meet this requirement. In fact, you actually may even feel a sense of relief when you are able to satisfy this goal and fulfill the “obligation.” You might even breathe a long sigh as those who collect it walk by you. Yes, you most likely sit there—relieved that you’ve done your part (as if it were April 15, and you can go to sleep knowing the IRS is not coming after you.)

What if this number were the only number we lived by? What if it were the only requirement demanded of us? What if it was the numerical standard we were expected to satisfy all the time? Picture this:

You get married and you only have to take care of ten percent of your wife’s needs. She wants to buy furniture; you only have to give her ten percent of what it costs. He wants the house cleaned; you only clean ten percent of the house. The infant children need formula or milk, so you go to the store and buy ten percent of what they need. This same scenario could be used over and over in many different situations.

So, where does agape fit into any of this? Does agape have anything to do with ten percent? If we are only required in life to fulfill obligation and demand, then we can be justified in saying, “I did what was required of me.” Then, you reverently thank God for the day and go to sleep knowing you did what was asked of you. However, if agape takes the lead instead of rigidity and standard, how much better will life be for you and those around you? How much better will it be if each of us do more than ten percent.

I posed this question to several people recently, “If you were not required to meet the ten percent standard, how much would you contribute?” When agape is the center focus of your life, you do things differently. You do things out of a spirit of help and hope. When standards are what you live by, life becomes cold and calculated.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo8

Mary Magdalene; She Understood It!

tombMary Magdalene was the grateful woman who knew what agape love was. She had no choice. It overwhelmed her from the beginning of her walk with God. It absolutely did a major overhaul in her life. She went from turmoil to total peace. She understood what Jesus taught about agape. She found it to be a sweet solace to her spirit.

Mary was targeted early on in Jesus’ ministry. She was a prostitute, a woman of the street, a lady of ill repute. She was a member of the world’s oldest profession. She had no self-esteem. She had no respect from the community. She was just rubbish in the eyes of the religious world.

However, Jesus recognized that she had a problem. It was a huge problem. It wasn’t that she was intent on continuing her business out of greed and lust. It wasn’t that she felt this was the only thing she knew to do in life. No, it was because she was the carrier of seven demons inside of her. She was being controlled by the adversary. Jesus recognized this by His agape for her.

He didn’t need to go to some ministerial conference on how to win the un-churched and make the sinner feel comfortable. He didn’t need to evaluate the problems of evangelism and how to attract more people to Him. He didn’t try to figure out ways to stomp out prostitution in the city. No, He just agaped her. He knew she needed God; plain and simple.

When will we, as the church and church leaders, comprehend that it’s not about solutions and programs? It’s simply what Jesus said, “Agape people.” See, people want agape. People need agape. Agape is what altered Mary Magdalene’s life.

Jesus agaped Mary and cast the seven demons out of her life. She felt the agape and returned it to her Master. It changed the way she worshiped Jesus. Again, she didn’t have to have a worship leader telling her how to love and worship the Savior. She agaped Him with reckless abandonment of image and feelings. She wept over his feet and her tears washed the dust off. She dried them with her hair. That is agape.

She was the first at the tomb early before daylight came. Her actions show she understood it. She got it. She knew what agape was, and she lived it. She was moved with compassion toward her Savior. She knew her Lover’s voice. She knew the look in His eyes. She felt and knew His agape.

Jesus showed agape and she realized it was the ingredient that was missing in her life. It was the essential that would change her world; the very world as she (and everyone else) knew it.

Mary went from being a prostitute to being the first to see Jesus after the resurrection. How in the world could that happen to anyone, especially her? It’s called agape. Jesus wants His people to understand it, enjoy it and show others what it is. Like Mary, it will change you too. It will, in fact, change all of us.

That’s what I think about it.


DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo7