Weekly message from Cypress Church: Love initiates

Colossians 3:12-14Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

In this month of love (you know, February with Valentine’s Day) the encouragement from the Bible verse above is to ‘put on love.’ The words ‘put on’ mean to clothe or dress ourselves. Just like we would take initiative to dress for an occasion, we should be enterprising is showing love.
I saw this last year about this time as my wife and went to Disneyland for Valentine’s Day. Between Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure is what I believe is called the promenade. There in the exact middle was a young man waiting. He was dressed up in nice clothes and was holding a bunch of helium filled balloons along with a huge bouquet of flowers, what looked like a box of candy, and a teddy bear (if it were this year, he might be holding a ‘Baby Yoda’ doll from Build-a-Bear). He was standing so still with his gaze set towards the walkway by the tram drop off. He seemed to be waiting for someone! He looked excited, but focused, and even a bit tense. A crowd started to form around the circle of the center with a gap in the direction of his gaze.
People were asking and making predictions as to what that guy was doing. Some said this was the face to face meeting from an online dating site. Others said he was surprising his girlfriend. Most seemed to think he was going to propose. One even said he was waiting for his mother!?!
Regardless, this guy took some initiative to get all dressed up, make all the purchases, and set all the plans in motion, I gathered from his nervousness. Oh, by the way, the crowd was now about 100 people: watching, waiting, guessing. We decided to go about our own adventure, but as we left, I was proud of the effort, energy, and risk this guy was taking. I am guessing he felt this initiation of love was worth the risk. He was stepping out to show love, for love initiates.
We don’t see much of this these days. Maybe because people are too busy, or not willing to take the risk, or not that outside themselves to think of such things, or just have not thought of it. The Bible actually challenges us to initiate love:
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
The Bible also reveals what true love looks like:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends.
True love does not always have to be romantic love. There are other kinds of ways to show love like random acts of kindness, writing someone a note of appreciation, thanking someone, affirming someone, giving someone a small gift, helping someone with a task, saying hi, or even just catching someone’s eye and smiling. To those closer to us, we can initiate a personalized act of love.
When we initiate love, it blesses those around us and it even blesses us. In the online Time Magazine article “5 Ways Love is Good for You,” it notes taking the initiative to love brings on happiness, reduces stress, soothes anxiety, promotes better self-care, and can increase life! Wow, stepping out to love is good for those we love and for those who initiate love. Love initiates. Who could you express some love to today? 
Church is a great place to learn of the author of love, God. He invented love. If you don’t have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church/Neighborhood Church (same church, same heart, just new name). You can attend one of our 3 campuses. Every Sunday we learn from the Bible and seek to know God more. We would love for you to join us. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. You can even attend one of our live-streaming services (see http://live.cypresschurch.net/).