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"Could You Use A Hug?"


"A time to embrace"

Ecclesiastes 3:5

I'm discovering on social media that every day is a day to celebrate something. I read a tweet that said, "today is hug a vegetarian day" and though I have no idea how to go about identifying a vegetarian other than the greens from their lunch salad that may be between their teeth when they smile, it did get me thinking of church and the power of a hug. The church I pastor is very affectionate as most of our greeters are huggers more than shakers and they can't wait for people to move past being a first time guest and a handshake to becoming a regular attendee so that they can offer a hug instead.

I love being a pastor. I love every aspect of the ministry (Ok, almost every aspect), even the hard things I have to face that stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I hate pain but I have learned and am still learning my greatest growth in the Lord comes on the heels of painful situations that drive me to my knees. But, the greatest joy I have in being a pastor is teaching God's Word. I love teaching and there is nothing I enjoy more than seeing people fall in love with Jesus and with one another within the body of Christ as we grow together in His Word. I love watching the progression people make from being strangers to becoming friends, from almost cold to caring. It's a beautiful site to behold as people are transformed into the image of Christ.

Are you aware that one of the greatest blessings in the world today is the local church, the visible manifestation of God to both the unbelieving world and as well those who are saved? The church is a living testimony of the faithfulness of God on a day to day basis. When the world sees the evidence of the Christian faith by the way the church responds to both those in the church as well as those outside, they see for themselves what the bible teaches us, and is the primary means that God uses to get the attention of people. "Action's speak louder than words" the saying goes. It's why the book of James says we are to show our faith by our works. James reminds us that we are justified by our faith in God but only God can see our heart so it takes our works done in faith to get the attention of others.

Today, loved one, I get the distinct pleasure of reminding you that you are loved by God and I am certain if Jesus were here in the flesh today He would give you a hug to let you know He loves you, and not just for what you do but simply for who you are! And not just because of who you are but whose you are, that you belong to Him! It's sad we live in a world where people have to ask for hugs, for human touch. Sometimes my wife will come home after a hard day at work and I can tell by her expression she is drained and I love to be able to in those moments say to her, "you look like you could use a hug" and then watch as she comes to me and buries herself in my chest and lets me hold her for a moment. It doesn't change the circumstances she is facing or what she has been through that day but something powerful gets communicated with a warm embrace. It says to her, you count and I care. There is power in a hug!

Know this today, loved one. Everyone counts, and I'm pretty certain everyone needs a hug from time to time. I look forward each day to my wife coming home so I can (hard day or not) hug someone who loves her vegetables! Actually my wife prefers a Vegan diet herself and for me its "Hug A Vegan" every day! Seriously speaking, we shouldn't have to specify a certain day to communicate value and worth to other people. Everyday is the Christians opportunity to communicate and express love to others, to be an ambassador for Christ and to show people that we care about them.

Don't miss out on the opportunities before you today. Be proactive! Start at home and work your way out from there. Hug your husband or your wife, then hug the kids. Hug a friend today just to express you care. Be prayerful and look for hurting people today that you can look in the eyes and say, "you look like you could use a hug" and who knows, you might just help someone connect with the love of Christ. The key is, don't wait until people expect it, do it when people least expect it as it will help them better understand what it's like to be captured by God's grace. All I really know is that when most people hug, both the hugger and the huggie get blessed! Here's praying you have a blessed day!

"For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ."

Philippians 1:8


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