Intentional Love

1 Thessalonians 1:1-3

1Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
I love the backstory behind this one.  The Church in Thessalonia did not have an easy or a peaceful start. A Jewish mob actually attacked the house where Paul, Silas and Timothy were staying.  Regardless the Church thrived.  Paul was so excited in learning how great the Church was doing that he penned the letter that came to be the book of Thessalonians.
My Takeaway 
I’m currently reading Ryan Michler’s book titled “Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men “Michler is the originator of a group that I am very fond of titled “The Order of Man”  In the book and in the group.  Michler repeatedly talks about how men need to develop a Battle Plan for their life. While the term Battle Plan might sound pretty dramatic, I couldn’t agree more with it in principle.  Without a plan, what are we working towards?  Where are we going?  The truth is we are all in a car, we are all out there driving, heading towards something.  If we don’t know where that something is, how are we going to get there.  The GPS on my phone is an awesome tool, but if I don’t plug in an address, will I get there?  Nope.
In Thessalonia they had a plan.  How do I know they had a Plan?  Because Paul stated that they had “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith”  Faith is defined by Webster Dictionary as “something that is believed especially with strong conviction”  The Church was working towards Glorifying and Spreading the Gospel of Christ.  They understood that God was bigger than anything this world could throw at them.  
Paul called there work “labour of love”. I think this is incredibly important.  My question is “What do you Love?”  “Who do you Love”.  If you love your Kids, what are you doing to help them grow?  What are you doing to draw them to Christ?  
Paul talks about the “patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” We can push our kids towards a lot of different things.  Yesterday was one of those days.  2 Soccer games, Both kids had belt test for their Martial Arts, and then a Birthday party at a friends house.  As a parent, I find value in each.  Agree or disagree but its important to me that the kids learn to compete, that they learn that they must work towards a goal or in this case a belt.  There is value in Soccer and Martial Arts.  
The Truth is though that my kids will never be attacked by a board and they are probably never going to be professional soccer players.
The most important aspect of yesterday was in the party.  It wasn’t the cake, it wasn’t the cookout, It was the fact that they witnessed families coming together in celebration and praying.  The most important thing that happened yesterday was that we circled up with others, held hand and gave thanks to a Glorious God.
It could have been so easy.  Testing and Soccer wore me out.  I was tempted to turn to the wife and say let’s just go home and put in a movie and chill.  I want my kids to be around other Godly people. I want them to see adults enjoying themselves, engaging in conversation about Christ.  It’s important that they develop strong bodies and minds, but it’s so much more important that they understand the importance of community in Christ.
I love what Paul penned next
4Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost
My kids did attempt to break boards.  Paul broke his, Dazy still needs a little work.  It’s the true power that I want them to experience.  Paul say’s “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power”There is power when people come together, circle hands and pray.  That is the power that will get them through life.  My Grandma was a “Prayer Warrior”  She lived into her 90’s and as far as I know, she never kicked a board or kicked a soccer ball.  She did Pray.  My wife’s Grandfather and Grandmother were also prayer warriors.  Their prayers had power.  True power. 


God spoke and the Universe came into existence.  God loved us so much that he died on the cross for us.  He sacrificed his own son.  Walk outside and you will see his creation. Psalms 27 states “

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 
2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. 
How were the Thessalonians able to succeed when they were surrounded by those that wished them to fail.  It’s because they had faith.  Faith in a God that loves them and counts them as his children.  Faith in a Heavenly Father.
Michler talks about a “Battle Plan.  That is a good thing.   My Plan is to expose my kids to Godly Families that embrace each other in the word and in Prayer.  With all the activities they did yesterday what was their favorite thing.  I haven’t asked them yet.  But I’m betting it was the party.  Mission Successful  !!!