The River Church 

The River Church

Sundays: 10:00 a.m.

Located at:

The Siekman Center for Jr. Achievement

(2nd floor)
300 N. Appleton St.
Appleton, Wisconsin

(corner of W. Franklin and N. Appleton Streets)

Contact Info: 

The River Church
P.O. Box 1271
Appleton, WI  54912

(920) 213-2062







They'll Know by Our Love

 --by Marcia Hoehne 

My college roommate, many evenings after dinner, would pick up her guitar and sing this song:
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love
     -- Peter Scholtes
At the time, I thought the song simplistic. Hadn't the Beatles recently sung "All You Need is Love"? Hadn't events like Woodstock shown us what most meant by "love"? Weren't most people who talked about love high on something other than Jesus?
Lately, I can't get the song out of my head.
One of my writing students, a well-meaning Christian, wrote a story in which a teenager speaks a line similar to the following: "I used to have fun with my friends, but now that I'm a Christian I make sure I criticize their bad behavior." We may laugh or shake our heads, but how often have we heard, said, taught, or done basically the same? In this, did we do as we'd seen our Lord doing? No, Jesus came to save, not judge: "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it" (John 12:47).
Did we carry the aroma of Christ? No, Jesus loved the sinner and saved his criticism for the religious folk (Matthew 23). Did we accomplish anything? No -- other than to make noise. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13: 1). Did we reap what we sowed? Yes! Sow contempt, reap contempt.
When it comes to spreading the Kingdom, if we don't have love, we're better off keeping quiet until we do. But when we do have love -- when we're faithful to the Name we bear -- that's when we open the door to the Kingdom to others.

An Encouraging Word is an outreach of The River Church, designed to uplift the Body of Christ. Copyright 2011.  All rights reserved. 




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