The day after Christmas I saw this display. In more than one way it made me sick, although in another way it got me thinking.
What is it that has marketing people so aggressive?
Love sells! They know the power of love. The question is do we?
Love is all around the stores, so it must be February. Everyone’s pushing hearts, candy, flowers, and candy flowers—all in the name of love. In any relationship you want to take deeper, you need to understand how the other person receives “love”.
What is it in that person’s make up that helps them receive your actions and see/feel them as “love”? I am not just talking about love in the intimate way, but also a love that bonds people together in a brotherhood or sisterhood. If you are broadcasting love in one way that isn’t received in that way, the person is going to see your action, but not connect with your soul. Love won’t be received.
God’s Love Language
I love the passage in John 21 where Jesus is restoring Peter’s ministry. Once at the low point of denying Jesus three times at his trial, we see Jesus giving Peter the opportunity to publicly affirm Jesus, calling him three times by saying he (Peter) loves Jesus. Jesus exhorts Peter to take care of His sheep.
Have you ever stopped and wondered what is God’s love language? What is it that you do that connects with God that shows him love? When you look at John 21 closer, you see that God’s love language is people. When you care for what God cares for He feels love. Jesus loves people. (seems like a no brainier statement, but one that I feel is important to say) So often we put our energy into programs, communications, brochures, buildings, etc. all with good intentions on tending to the sheep, missing the mark of the very reason we do something.
So what’s your small group ministry love language? Isn’t it great to know that it is the same as Jesus’ love language? People are what your ministry is all about. And February is a great opportunity to show you care—that you love them (your Community Leaders, Coaches and Small Group Leaders). At Saddleback Church on February 10th, we are throwing a lunch for all our Small Group Leaders, which we call HOST’s, to show appreciation and love! Why do we do this and spend this type money for over 6,000+ HOST’s? Because we care!
When was the last time you did a little something to show you love them? Take this month to show a little “love” to those you love!
Below are some little things you can put into a box or bag or Journal to let them know you are thinking of them. Remember, it isn’t the amount you spend, but the thought and prayer behind it! I would also include a hand written prayer in their bag or box.
Idea #1 YOUR DAILY SURVIVAL KIT
1. Toothpick: A reminder to pick out the good qualities in others
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1 NIV
2. Rubber Band: A reminder to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
3. Band Aid: A reminder to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else’s
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
4. Pencil: A reminder to list your blessings everyday
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV
5. Eraser: A reminder that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s ok
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:15-21 NIV
6. Chewing Gum: A reminder to stick with it and you can accomplish anything with Jesus
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 NIV
7. Mint: A reminder that you are worth a mint to your heavenly father
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NIV
8. Candy Kiss: A reminder that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NIV
9. Tea Bag: A reminder to relax daily and go over that list of God’s blessings
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
Idea #2 SURVIVAL KIT
- A PAPERCLIP to hold things together when it’s out of control
- A PIECE OF STRING to help you tie up loose ends
- A SNICKERS to remind you to laugh in the face of trials
- A LOLLIPOP to help you lick your problems
- A LIFESAVER to keep you from drowning in every day “worry”
- A PIN to help you pinpoint problems
- A PENNY to give you extra “cents” you’ll need
Idea #3 give them a journal with this on the inside cover
9 WAYS TO COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
- Keep a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal can give you perspective about the great things in your life. Take some time every day to write down two to five things that you are grateful for that day.
- Remember and be grateful for challenges and “negative” experiences because they’ve taught you valuable lessons in patience, understanding, humility, and strength.
- Focus on the gifts. Be thankful for the gifts that we receive from others, such as a smile or a kind word, as well as the gifts we offer to others.
- Pray for gratitude or for the ability to be grateful. Whether or not you are religious, take the time to sit quietly and think about what you’re thankful for.
- Be grateful for your health. The human body is an amazing machine. Be thankful for all that yours can do.
- Keep a visual reminder to be grateful, such as a picture frame with your favorite gratitude quote, and surround yourself with grateful people.
- Commit to practicing gratitude. Make a concerted effort to practice gratitude every single day. Let others know you appreciate them.
- Maintain a positive, grateful attitude. Replace a negative internal monologue with positive thoughts.
- If you must, fake it. If you’re having trouble being grateful, fake it until you are. Smile, say thank you and write a thank you note to someone who’s helped you recently. Soon, all of this gratitude will overtake any negativity.