Sunday Sermon Reflections

Because Sunday is the starting line, not the finish line.
Watch past sermons

Agape, Part 2

by | Feb 14, 2021 | Sermons

There is something about closing your eyes that helps shut out the distractions of the noise around you. Pastor Travis had us close our eyes and lift our hands again this week. When we lift our hands, it is an international sign posture of surrender. Other things one might consider is that of receiving a gift. Or perhaps you might think of a child lifting their hands asking their father to pick them up.

This morning during worship we sang about God’s love. He encouraged us, right where we are, to take some time to thank God for His unmovable, unshakable love. A love that never walks out on you, never abandons you, a love that will never leave you as an orphan. We can rest in, abide in, and trust in His love. His love is divine, otherworldly and supernatural like Him.

God orders our steps and our stops. Its not just the open doors, but the closed ones. This day will never come again, God brought us together for this day, through His love. My hopes are that as you read this, you are able to feel the love of God.

And that perfect Love loves you.

Pastor Tina’s Words of Practical Wisdom

Elijah, her 16 year old son woke up Valentine’s morning and was a bit disturbed. He went to her asking where the Valentine’s chocolate was, because she always gets some for them, and he didn’t see any sitting out.
Pastor Tina: Oh, Elijah, I forgot to get candy this year.
Elijah: “No way!”

He was saddened because he was expecting chocolate, and didn’t get any!
Aren’t you glad that God never forgot you?!

Romans 8:35 TPT
Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations,[a] dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love,

Do you feel forgotten? Our Father never forgets us. You are fully known and fully loved today. God’s love is unconditional and endless.
What? You’ve read that on here before? My sincere prayer is that you Do read this over and over again dear readers, until you begin to believe it.

Message Prelude:
Pastor Travis

You can survive but you will not thrive without the relationship of other people in the sphere where God has placed you. We are designed to read the Word of God together, to worship together, to fellowship with one another. We were designed to be alone.

You are encouraged to stop isolating yourself. You are welcomed to come back to church and to feel a part of the body again. Not only coming to church is important but being a part of a Life Group is essential for our growth. In a Life Group is where real raw emotions surface, and where you truly begin to connect with others. There are many Life Groups that you can choose from, and if you go to the church’s homepage, you can find a place to connect with a group that interests you. I hope you take the time and get connected during this season.

Main Message:
Agape’ Love Part 2
God’s Unconditional Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love suffers long, and is kind: love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love is large and incredibly patient … refuses to be jealous.

Everyone has Valentine’s story. Some are romantic and others are funny.
Pastor Travis transparently tells us a story that can be funny … now. Now that he can look back and the pressure of the moment is over, he can look back and laugh. (We’ve all been there.)
His story goes a little some like this:
While he was sitting downstairs waiting to go to dinner with his wife, she asks him if they can takes turns watching their daughter, Savannah, while they get ready for dinner.

He perks up, panics, and thinks to himself, “I thought I was ready!” But then his mind began to run 30 miles an hour. He was thinking, “What am I going to wear, what does she want me to wear? “Oh honey, you get ready first. I’ll watch Savannah,” was his answer to her. And then while she is up there, (watch this and take note guys,) he asks, “Tina, what are You wearing? I want to wear something where I can match you.”

Look again at the end of verse 7,  Love never gives up.

Now, it might seem like he changes gears right about here, but please bear with me, and I will do my best to bring the story back together.

Pastor Travis says something that is overlooked, but profoundly true. He says, “We have taken the gifts and made them more important than the fruit.” What gifts? The fruit if the Spirit. What does the fruits and the gifts have to do with today’s message? Let’s read on.

When Pastor Travis was talking to God asking Him what He wanted to tell His people today, He replied, “I want you to talk about patience.”
More than anything else – Love is patient.

No, wait! Don’t turn him off because you think you know what being patient means. God’s Word is life giving. God’s Word is edifying. God’s Word has a different perspective of love than what is commonly believed.

Agape’ is not based on a feeling. It is an act of will, a choice. It means to love when I don’t feel like it. It is a mature love, to love well, beyond our feelings. Literally, Agape’ love is unconditional love. This kind of love is for when you know you should love – but just you don’t feel like it. Let’s talk about this today.


Where can we find one of the manifestations of agape’ love in scripture? (Paul in 2 Corinthians 13) explains that true Agape’ love is a choice to show affection and to be patient when all circumstances may show the contrary.
The key to defining the Word is to look at it in its proper context. What did the original people hear when he said this? Yes we can read the Word and get Deep revelations, and we are to search the scriptures to receive Deeper revelations. Just remember when you are receiving this from God, that whatever revelation you discover while studying, that it will never contrast the original meaning. It can enhance it, but the Word will not contradict itself.

We think – Patience is waiting. And if you have to wait, be nice while you are doing it. This mean to be nice others in Traffic. Yep, even in Atlanta traffic. We might even go so far and think that being patient means to be nice to the barista while we are waiting for coffee. And we congratulate ourselves for not snapping about the customer behind us getting our coffee before we did. Then we rebuke the devil and claim that God sent us this tragedy to teach us patience during adversity. But this is not what true Biblical patience is.

When Paul wrote patience, he wrote in Greek and what patience translated really means is: Big temperature.
Agape love, can stand the heat, and not run when it gets hot. When you think you can take it any longer, when the situation just makes you feel like you have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, patience shows you how to overcome the flames.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us about the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

God’s love produces in us an ability when all you feel is heat and despite the heat, you refuse to give up.
Patience stays in the heat, and it doesn’t quit because of the heat.

True Biblical patience is Not – Be nice. When he leaves his laundry on the floor. Be nice when you have a minor disagreement with your spouse, or push on despite the disappointment.
Patience Is – When the circumstances are So hot you are tempted to walk out, throw up your hands and say, I can’t take it any more.
Patience is Not – If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen
Patience Is – When we have been so shallow, we quit. We declare, I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I won’t deal with this. And we give up.

Agape’ love, patience, stays in the heat, sees the fire, and walks into it anyway.

Burn the bonds

In the book of Daniel, 3 young Hebrew men refused to bow down to an idol. Because of that, they were thrown into the fire 7x hotter than normal. The furnace was so hot that the soldiers that were putting them in, all died of heat exposure. Something interesting happens. Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler, leaned over to watch them burn. He expected to hear screaming, and anguish. See, these men were bound hand and foot. They should have been screaming to be set free, and that’s what Nebuchadnezzar expected. Instead, what he saw was a miracle. He saw them walking around in the fire. When he saw this he said, (paraphrasing,) “Hey! How many men were thrown in the fire?”
–  3 sir.
“Then how come I see 4? And that 4th one looks like the Son of God!”

What a miracle. Love moves towards the fire. It walks through it with you and never asks you to do it alone. We have a propensity to run from fire when we think something is wrong with us. We definitely don’t want to be in the fire when the problem is with you and not me. Why should I suffer for you?

In Daniel, the young men walked into the fire, because God’s hand was upon them. Maybe, there is nothing wrong with you, maybe there is something right that is about to happen, and god is leading you into the fire to burn off what has been holding you back to push you further into what He has planned for you!

The enemy is trying to kill you before God can work through you. The miracle is, God has and never will leave you or forsaken you. God is using the heat the enemy is trying to kill you with, to release you form your bondage.

Perhaps you feel the heat but not the love?

“Romance” isn’t always present. In some of the most challenging moments in marriage, you feel the heat, without the feel-good emotions. This is not one of the honeymoon moments, but you choose to stay in the fire. You need to look and realize that God is with me, my spouse is choosing to walk with me. WE are not alone.

The fire isn’t the argument, It is the willingness to step into what is causing it. The argument is the consequence of what caused the argument to start with.

Pastor Travis gets one couple to step forward to use them in the object lesson.

The argument happens before you go to the fire. Someone is trying to get to the issue that bound them. The other is unwilling to go there at that time. Whether you want to go in or not, sometimes God will throw you in! Then, you both wake up the next day after an argument, and you are Still in the fire? Choose to stay. Take a step forward.
The couple steps forward.
The next night you go to bed, wake up and you are still in the fire? Choose to stay. Take a step forward.
The couple takes another step forward.
Sometimes it is for days, sometimes for months. Choose to stay, choose to work it out. Choose to fight with each other, not against each other. You might need to get help, you might not be able to walk through this alone.
If you are going through this with your spouse, it’s time to take each other’s hands, take a step forward, and declare, “Devil, you can’t do this, you have no power over me or my marriage/situation. We choose to stay in the heat.”  The fire is temporary. Stay. You will be free.

Pastor Travis asks the couple to “walk with me.”
He exhorts them that as they walk, others are watching. (He points to the other couple sitting at the table near them on the alter.
The couples watching say, “I see them, and it seems like there is a 3rd walking through their situation with them.” This encourages them to walk instead of run.
We never know who is watching us.


God is our strength in our weakness.
He says, “I will be with you. The fire will not consume you.”

Are you having financial problems? Stay. Are you disappointed, is he on your nerves, have you been dealt fear from an old pain? Stay.
But you don’t know what they brought into this marriage! New flash. You both carried baggage you didn’t know about each other, or even know about yourself. Sometimes things do not surface until the ice has been broken, like an iceberg. You hide the major root of the problem so they will marry you because you fear that if they really knew everything about you, they wouldn’t really love you and they wouldn’t agree to walk through life with you and help you uncover the hidden hurts of your past and recover with you. You need to realize that no matter how good you are covering your hurts, the titanic will set sail eventually, and it will hit that iceberg.

The problem is, we refuse to go backward to step forward. We don’t want to deal with the past.

Ok, what about Couple #2.
Remember they were the ones watching, and now it is their turn to walk through their issues too.
He is ready to face the issue. He’s in the fire waiting for her. She doesn’t want to go. The problem is, she can’t tell the person that is in the fire to get better and work on himself while she refuses to step in. She is impatient with him yet refusing to work at the solution too. She is being impatient.
She says, “Well, you are in the fire. Good for you. Get better. Fix yourself. I’m fine right here. And when you are better, you can come back and apologize about all you did wrong. Its about time.”

We don’t have the right to tell people they have to stand alone. Go to them. We need to do this together.  The problem is, we each fear, we have insecurity, we hold pain. Patience helps us take one another’s hands and says, “Let’s work on this together.”

One person talks more, one has more walls … Like I said earlier, we aren’t made to go through life alone. They might need counselling. But what they must do is to take each other’s hand and say, “Let’ take a step together.”
The man steps out of the fire, goes to his wife, takes her hand, and takes a small step forward. They begin to share their issues. They take another small step forward. They begin to share hurts. They take another small step forward. They ask for help. Another small step forward. The whole time, they are walking closer and closer to the fire. Eventually, the heat will burn the bonds that have been keeping them bound, and they will work on the root issue and eventually get set free.

But you say, “It’s hot!”
Yes it is. Let’s stay in this and keep walking forward together.

You reveal yourself. You are lied to by the enemy that your spouse will hate you.
Only, when that lie is burned off, love blooms because you have become vulnerable. You break past that lie. Next, the devil will tell you there is something wrong with you. Liar! You work on those issues, you deal with the hurts, you tear off the labels, you heal from the pain, and you hear that Jesus gave you His righteousness, and that you are the apple of His eye, and that you are loved, and that with that love, you are able to love others like Christ loves you, and the lie of enemy is pushed away.

Healing Fire

Heat, if concentrated has healing properties.
It is often used to cauterize an open wound.

In Daniel, the men were bound. The fire burned what was holding them back. The enemy says that the fire is evil. Our first instinct is to rebuke the devil. “You lying devil, I’m not going into that fire. It’s Hot in there!”
Don’t bind the devil when God is the one guiding you forth!
Once the young men were no longer bound, they had to make a choice to keep walking into the fire on their own. Remember the Bible says that the guards that were sending them into the fire died! At some point, the men had to make the choice to keep walking!!!

It could be 5, 10, 15, 25 years ago. Past hurts become revealed. They resurface. We scream out, “God! Why can’t I change? Fix this, Lord!”
So God calls us into the fire. We step in, but it’s too hot, so we step away.
Then we cry again to the Lord, “God! What happened, things were going well, things were getting better, then it got, and everything went back to the way it was before!”
So God calls us back into the fire. We step in, this time a little deeper, but it gets too hot, so we run back out. And this cycle repeats several times.
Finally, God says, “Look, I will walk through the fire with you. It will be messy, but you have to go through this.”
I’m not trying to tell you that you are going to be floating on clouds playing a harp looking at your sweetheart saying, “You feel this? Isn’t change wonderful? Glory halleluiah. I just love being in the fire, don’t you?”
It gets you afraid. You will think, “I want to yell, I want to push you away.”
Know that when one is afraid and pushing, the other has to choose to love through the pain.

Hide in the glory of God and face what can only be healed through relationship. The prayer is a catalyst to deal with the hurt. You can’t deal with the hurt, if you aren’t willing to do what it takes to get better.

Agape’ love stays in the pain, even when it is hot. You feel the heat, but you aren’t always able to feel the heart.

Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

The flames will not consume you.
The flames will not consume you.
The – flames – will – not – consume – you.

The conflict, not the enemy, encourages us with our last ebbing breath to hold onto what we have been hiding or they won’t love us anymore.
Remember? We can’t be fully loved, if we are not fully known.

Tempered Glass

The heat will not consume. You will be like tempered glass, not easily broken.
The process matures us. It is for us.

Romans 8:31
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Jesus left Heaven to come to a broken Earth.
the sinless, came to a sin-filled world. He chose to live among us, he chose to stay on the cross. They didn’t take His life, He gave it to them.

John 10:18
No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

We cannot do it, so His did this for us.
WE are trying to do in our strength what can only be done through Him.

Look at the example in Daniel 3.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says, Love is patient.
1 John 4:8 says, God is love.
1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient.
1 John 4:8 God is love.
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, God is patient.
God is in you, you hold His love, His love helps you be patient. Enduring the heat, walking through the fire. God is love, Love is patient. Patience Is love, God is patient.
Say it again,
God is love, Love is patient.
God is love, Love is Patient.
God is love, God is Patient.

Every time you’ve made a fire, Jesus has a big temperature. He says, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. God is love, love is patient.

The Fire is Temporary

The internal argument you are having with me right now might sound something like this:
But- I’ve screwed up, He can’t love me.
– He descended to the lowest part of the earth. To hell. He has the keys. Jesus went to Hell for you. He chose to love you, through the fire. He didn’t stay there, and neither will you!

God tells us in His Word, “I knew you before I created you. And I created you anyways. I love you anyways.”

In Daniel, for the three men, a time came when they were called out of the fire and they could walk freely.
When you walk through the fire with your spouse, a day will come when you will trust again. You will move forward in God’s calling. You will be intimate again, (not just sexually.) You will be vulnerable again.

Agape’ love: To know and be known, to choose to love anyways.

Stop trying to do it on your own.
Admit you can’t. Realize God can. He can release you. He can burn off what has been holding you back. God is stitching up old open wounds. Somethings can only be mended with heat. Cauterizes the wound to stop the bleeding. You want to trust. You want to be loved. Please listen. What Christ is to you, He will empower you to show to others.

Agape’ patience.

To sum this up:
Holy Spirit Power gives strength to stay in the heat.
The feeling will return. Trust Him in the heat.

Intimacy and love will be stronger than it was before you – together – walked into the fire.

Miracles happen. Healing is a process.

Agape’ love give you the Courage to not quit.
Have you stepped out of the fire? Step back in.

Pastors Tina and Travis again opens up a moment of transparency to us:
They have been married for almost 21 years.
Both had a pain they didn’t know was still there. They brought these pains into their marriage.

Confused, the disfunction for uniqueness. They said that they couldn’t pretend anymore and they had to deal with it. It took years. 2-3 years of waking up in the fire.
Pastor Tina admitted that she was a runner. She didn’t like the heat. Then it flipped, and she wanted to work on the issues, but Travis did not.

Standing here today, is a version of pastors Tina and Travis that did not exist before they submitted to the fire. They are Healed, whole, and confident. God healed them in the fire, not in spite of it. They know the worst about each other and made it through the fire.
Then they encouraged us: God uses you while you are in the fire. Helping others while He is helping you.

The grace of God empowers before, through, and after the fire.

God is for you, not against you. Your fire doesn’t disappoint Him. It moves Him to move toward you. Do not disqualify yourself. God is using this to burn away what has been holding you back.