Subject: A couple, a dog and a dinner... [Rediscover Love]

THIS SUNDAY MASS: "For this purpose I have come..."  
Mark 1:29-39
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A Couple,
A Dog and
A Dinner

Greetings Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ!

My wife and I both grew up with dogs. We do not have dogs. There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is that some of us have allergies. Nevertheless, this did not keep us from hosting a dear, elderly couple for dinner last week, their little "Sparky" in tow.

The only answer I can give you is love. Love does this. From here on, interchange Love with God. (1 Jn. 4:8)

I note in life that the invitation to Love is always accompanied by an invitation to remain a little Love less. Love always presents us with an opportunity for something greater. Love is an invitation to exchange lesser things for Greater. 

Specifically, on this night,
Love was allowing Sparky to explore every part of the house, knowing the "blessing" to us (and the Benadryl company) would remain long after he was gone... because of the joy it brought our friends.

Love was in the tremendous blessing of their growing-up stories, captivating our children at the dinner table long after dinner was done. 

Love was in a little, friendly trash-talking with Mr. during a Cribbage game (and the aftermath, as I earned the "L"), because sometimes Love comes in that language.   

Love was in my smirk, watching Sparky lap up some of Mr's. Wild Turkey Honey... and his nap, and laughter, that summarily followed.

Love was in our family prayer... finding our hearts united in Him through praise and worship, reflecting on a psalm and children's "prayers from the heart" which specifically included expression of appreciation and blessing for the couple. 

Love was in little hands lifted in praying over Mrs. for healing following a recent accident; love was in her tears (ok, and mine) and her head rested on my wife's shoulder. 

Love was in our children accompanying them, a few arm in arm, as they made their way to their car later than any of us expected, but not nearly late enough. 

Love is in all of this, prevailing upon our hearts, transforming us... and in our eager anticipation of their return, Sparky and all. 

The Turn.
We know you've had rich encounters like this, the kind that capture you, leave you different, that merit your commitment. We know you would readily and easily speak of these glowingly to others. We know you would readily invite others into the experience.   

So here's the kicker: How does this "richness of encounter" correspond to what we might experience, or say-- of Mass? Prayer? Spiritual commitments? Do we readily and easily speak of these to others? So much that we might invite them?

I'm guessing, for most of us, the answer is "no." But therein is the opportunity for us to seek, and anticipate, what God has promised.  

Sometimes I wonder if the church's chorus of "Encounter Jesus Christ! Evangelize!" doesn't hit us like deer in the headlights. We get it conceptually, but not really. At best it's that deed we ought to do. 

I wonder if sometimes, if we're really honest, we don't get below that "suppose to" layer. Privately we are beleaguered by religion. We're good soldiers, but perhaps we wonder (as the former Wendy's lady spoke of beef): Where's the life? Where's all the dynamism of a real, engaging, life-transforming, interactive relationship?

This could be a really great thing right now. It's an honest, good space where God can really meet us, versus that "out there" space we often pretend to be. We should be encouraged by the truth that if we haven't really encountered Jesus Christ, we won't evangelize; but if we have really encountered Jesus Christ, all we do will be evangelization.  

There's something to genuinely anticipate here. If committed prayer is not a daily priority, if we're not enthusiastically sharing the story and inviting others- God's conquering love awaits. Right now perhaps He's inviting you to more fully avail yourself to an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Perhaps He's inviting you to Rediscover Love. 

This Lent: Rediscover Love (Join us).
Lent is not about something so trite as simply giving up sweets. Lent is an invitation from the Heart of God to more deeply find ourselves in Love, in Jesus Christ. This is time for the Great Exchange: giving up lesser things for the Greater.

God is inviting you and me to "Rediscover Love." Even more, to make Him known. This seven week, Lenten journey begins the week of February 16 and ends on Easter. It's the 60/7 challenge. As a family (or peer group), we're asking you to commit (schedule) 60 minutes a week for seven weeks.

What do you have to gain? Right now schedule just 10 minutes with your family. Have each member complete the simple, one-page Live IT 60/7 Inventory. It asks members to measure seven important areas revealing the state of God alive in your family relationships.

Then download and print out the Live IT Gathering Guide. Schedule your weekly gathering over the subsequent seven weeks (Page 2). Commit! God's grace will follow. If you are faithful, God will come more fully alive in your relationships. This will be demonstrated when you take the Live IT 60/7 Inventory again at the end.

Register Now. 
All is free (please pray for our benefactors). But to maximize your experience, and partner with us in this movement, we ask you to plug in here: RediscoverLove.eventbrite.com.  Thank you!

United in the Great Mission of Making Love Known,

Greg Schlueter
Image Trinity | Mass Impact

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TUESDAY, February 3
Christian Men: A Call to Arms
The call to arms is a call for men to embrace their God-designed call to love with the heart of the Father. Sociological data pronounces a man's irreplaceable, unique role in leading their families.

A CHALLENGE TO MEN: Many womens' confidence in a man's ability to love (when it really counts) has been shattered.  While it takes two, tomorrow night we're shining a light on men. One such women suggested she couldn't "count on one hand" the number of men who regularly tell their wives and children they love them.

GAME ON MEN: During Tuesday night's program we're looking for 12 men to step up, beyond their fears and reservations-- to CALL IN and pronounce their love for their wives and children. It can simply be, "My name is... and I love my wife and children." 

MISSION FULFILLMENT 2015

GOAL: $146,284

GIVEN: $15,865  |  REMAINING NEED: $131,419
SNAPSHOT: OUR GREAT ADVENTURE | WHERE IT GOES
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