By Pastor Melvin O. Marriner
As we seek a revival of the heart, it is crucial that we act like who we say we are because we may be the only ‘Bible’ some people will ever see. If in our daily lives – at work, home, or out and about in the community – we ‘blend in’ or worse, stand out in a negative way, what hope do we offer to others? If we can’t muster up a smile for a stranger (or anyone), speak an encouraging word to a wayward teen, or be kind to a waiter or store clerk, how can we effectively witness and minister to others? Most of us trust what we see, more than what people say. Or, as some wise person once said, ‘actions speak louder than words.’
God has an overwhelming, unbridled and unconditional love for us, and He wants us to love Him back. There is nothing on earth that should be so distracting or so irresistible that we walk away from the love that God has for us. Our love for God should be powerful enough to help us recover from anything life throws our way – if we let it. As Christians, we can and must choose life over death; that’s one of the goals of Grove Church’s Life or Death Conference that will be held on July 19-21. I want people to know that there is hope and there is help, and that it starts with love. No matter what the situation, no matter how bad things seem, no matter how lost and alone we feel, God loves us. That love should enable us to choose LIFE and it starts with a revival of the heart!
Let’s be real. The church also needs a revival of the heart. We cannot continue to ignore a community that’s hurting, while we worship and praise God on Sunday mornings, and return to our homes oblivious to the needs of others. We cannot sit and sing hymns, while pretending that Black-on-Black crime is someone else’s problem – not ours. We cannot bury our heads in the sand, resigned that our votes don’t matter, when many of our ancestors died for the right to vote. We cannot allow another generation to grow up –ignored by the church – because we refuse to lay aside traditions and rituals long enough to respond to their needs, concerns and questions. As children of God, we do not have the luxury of picking and choosing who we love. We talk about love – inside and outside the church – but too often there is little love seen or expressed within the church. We can change that with a revival of the heart!
Peace and power,
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
We invite you to join us at Grove Church, 5910 West Norfolk Road, Portsmouth, Virginia, Sundays at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays at noon and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.