Hello beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!

I hope this E-news finds you first and foremost seeking God’s kingdom first, and secondly doing well and living abundantly in Christ. Every week the staff of Joy take the time to write a word of encouragement, admonishment, empowerment to hopefully be a weekly reminder of God’s goodness. We are not sure if it’s being read, but if you are reading them and find that it is helpful could you please shoot a quick email to info@joychurch.com and write - "reading the E-news” in the Subject: line. This way we have some measure of whether our efforts are meaningful or if there are other ways we can engage our congregation. 

Something that God has been putting on my heart these days is that there are a lot of talk of "tolerance,” and the need to be tolerant, but what’s so ironic is that those who are pushing this at least in the social sphere are the least tolerant of anyone that disagrees with them. You and I will always face differences of opinions, and sometime differences of convictions. How are we to handle these occasions. Difference are opinions can often be excused as, “well let’s agree to disagree!” I think Thai food is the best, you think Chinese food is the best - well let’s agree to disagree. No big deal, but then there comes the areas of difference of convictions. Where we say one choice is the truth, and the other is not the truth. For truth by definition is exclusive. As a follower of Christ, I stand by what the Word of God says, “Jesus, is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.” That’s a non-negotiable. However, many disagree and say no there are many ways to heaven, Allah, Buddha, Shinto, Shiva or one of the other 300 million gods of Hinduism. 

What do we do when disagree at the conviction level? Again as followers of Christ, we must bypass our feelings, wants and comforts, and must decide, “What does God’s Word say, what does God’s Word teach and mandate, and then obey.”  We need to stand on what is true. As we stand in that conviction, some will disagree and disagree strongly, so we separate and engage others who hold to similar convictions. That’s fine, painful, but fine. However, what is not fine is to dislike and judge the character of your disagree-er! To make them into an enemy, because they disagree and have hostility towards them or even a “You don’t agree with me, fine - I cut you off!” This is not pleasing to God. 

We are taught and commanded by Jesus in scripture: "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”  Apostle Paul reminds us in: 

1 Corinthians 13:If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we should not love. Love is patient to hear and understand where the person with the opposing view point is coming from, love is kind enough to treat the person with respect and consideration, love does not boast in how right you are, rather boasts in the love, grace and mercy of God. Husband and wives if we can disagree even at the core conviction areas, yet love with the love of Christ - hearts will be transformed. Leaders, and those in the business realm, working with students, etc.. if we put on the love of Christ - even if others disagree or even hate what we believe - they will see our love and know that Jesus is real and alive in us. May we strive to always stand in the truth of God and His love!

Doug Park