True Love

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One of my favorite movies is “The Princess Bride”. Some of you might remember that film. If you’re not familiar with the story, it is about a young woman who falls in love with her farm boy. He left to go find other work because he needed to save up to be married but was taken captive by a pirate. Years pass by and she’s engaged to marry the prince, who really isn’t a nice guy. But then Wesley, the farm boy, returns. And then the movie picks up. We arrive at the wedding scene, and one of the most memorable scenes depicts an elderly bishop performing the wedding. 

 While he utters the words “marriage” with a bit of a speech impediment (causing everyone in the household to laugh), the words that are spoken are transformational. He speaks of true love as being of the utmost pursuit; following them wherever they go. 

February is the month when we celebrate love. But it also causes others to ask the question of whether true love really exists! While I’m a huge proponent of love between human beings, I want to direct our discussion to this thought—do we have a true love for God? This is something that is still hotly debated in both Christian and secular circles. 

What does it look like to truly love God? While there are countless ways to show love to God, let me focus on 3 ways we can truly love God 

  • In Our Deepening Relationship with Him—is God your first priority? Do you desire Him more and more; wanting to know Him more and grow in Him? God created us in order to have a deep relationship with us and His intention is for us to respond with a desire for a deep relationship with Him. 

  • In Our Obedience of Him—Scripture tells us that we can tell those who love God by those who obey Him (John 14:15, 23). Do you? 

  • In Our Desire to Serve Him—If we love Him, we will want others to have the same relationship with God as we do. We will share with others the deep love God has for us and work to complete His Kingdom work. 

    These are just a few of the ways we show love to God.

Time to Celebrate “Love”

The month of February elicits strong, emotional responses out of many people. Not only is it the month of the Super Bowl (and this game always seems to bring about passion from even the most uninterested people), but it is also the month where we celebrate “love”. Some people absolutely love to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They will wear pink or red all day, send flowers or cards to their special valentines, head to the store to make sure they pick up the heart-shaped Russell Stover box of chocolates, and express love in countless other ways. While some people are very excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day, others come together and celebrate their disdain for the holiday. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, we in fact do celebrate love. 

I like to celebrate on Valentine’s Day. But one thing I know and long to impart to my family and loved ones is that we need to have an accurate view of love to fully appreciate and celebrate love. There is no better place than Scripture to find the definition of love, and today I want to take you to 1 Corinthians 13: The Love Chapter. In here we see Paul give an amazing discourse on love. Most of us know the passage: love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, and the list continues. This is what love is! As we celebrate true love this year, let me draw you to a couple of points about celebrating Love. 

  • True Love Originates in Jesus Christ—1 John 4:19 states that “we love because He first loved us.” All love begins with God. He’s the source of love. He’s love perfected. He loves perfectly. There is no way that we can be loved any more than what He already pours out on us. We celebrate love because we are loved by Jesus Christ. This love then pours out of us onto others. This is real love. 
  • Jesus’ Love is Described in 1 Corinthians 13. Instead of simply hearing that love is patient and kind, instead hear it as Jesus’ love is patient, kind, doesn’t envy or boast, isn’t proud or rude, isn’t self-seeking, doesn’t keep records of wrongs, always hopes, perseveres, never fails. And these words don’t fully encapsulate Jesus’ love for us—it is much greater! 
  • Love is a Choice—will you choose to allow the love of Jesus to flow from you to those around you? Will you choose to love your spouse with Jesus’ love? Your children? Your church family? Your coworkers? Your classmates? There are times when people around us will seem unlovable. If we try to love on our own, it will be an impossible task to love them. But with the love of Jesus, all things are possible. We must love. 

What an amazing display of love we see! 

My prayer and encouragement for you is that you would celebrate “love”. Celebrate Jesus’ love for you. Celebrate the love He gives you to pour into others. Don’t withhold the celebration—love is worth it! 

Love One Another

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It seems to me that when the month of February comes around each year there is a change in our behaviors. There is a spike in flower and chocolate sales, it is difficult to get a reservation at your favorite restaurants, and jewelry salesmen have a smile beaming from their faces because of the increase in sales. Valentine’s Day is a holiday that elicits some pretty powerful emotions by a wide variety of people—some thinking that it is one of the greatest days of the year while some think that it is simply a fake holiday created by Hallmark. Regardless of your feelings about the day or the change in our habits, at the very least, February gets us all thinking about how we love one another.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the topic of love lately, and much of it has come out in our latest message series from Romans. We’ve been reminded of the great love that God has for us and His desire for relationship with us. We’ve learned that at the very core of God’s love for us must be a genuine love for our brothers and sisters. We’ve examined how we show love to each other and the importance of it.  But, one thing that we haven’t addressed is the intended response of those who are not yet a part of Christ’s Kingdom.

I’m encouraged again that the answer to this question has already been given to us and isn’t dependent upon my conclusions. Jesus tells us in John 13:34-35 that there’s a solid reason for people seeing believers love one another. Jesus puts it like this: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The message that Jesus gave in that upper room is clear to us—our love for one another is intended not only to strengthen the church, but it is to be an effective way of showing God’s love to people who are not yet believers! It is our mission. It is our calling. We are to be a church characterized by love.

As I’ve been thinking about my own life and how I show the love of Christ to others through my love for the church, there are a couple of areas where we need to be challenged in how we show love.

  • Choose to Show Love—there’s always that one person that we just can’t seem to get along with or just can’t stand to be around.  Loving people is sometimes difficult.  That’s why God reminds us that it is a choice that we need to make because He chose to love us.  Even though they might be tough to love, we need to choose to love with a genuine love.
     
  • Be Genuine in Your Love—there are times when we try to love people, but really aren’t being loving or try to put on the mask of love when our intentions are otherwise.  The world knows the difference.  They know when we’re being fake with one another.
     
  • Be Generous in Your Love—A common question that is posed around church circles often sounds like this: “How much do I have to do in order to get by.”  Friends, this is the wrong way of looking at it.  We should instead be asking “How much can I show my love?”

While this list isn’t a complete one, I do believe that it will help you in examining whether or not the world truly believes that we love one another.

Something Special

Originally Posted February 11, 2015 By Pastor Adam

It is incredibly hard to ignore, based on the amount of commercials that have been streaming over the television and webpages lately, that Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.  I was amazed yesterday when I observed my daughter gawking over a 4 feet tall stuffed bear!  The toy is taller than she is, and yet she thought that it was the best thing since sliced bread!  Some people hate the commercialism of Valentine’s Day or even think that the holiday is a conspiracy between the chocolate companies and Hallmark.  While I don’t believe that it is a conspiracy, one thing has to be noted–Valentine’s Day is a special day.

It’s important for us to come to the understanding of why Valentine’s Day is important.  I do have to say, the holiday isn’t about the gifts or chocolates or flowers or dinner.  It’s not about wearing red or exchanging Valentine’s cards.  Valentine’s Day is about love.  Not simply the emotional response of love, but the real, life-giving love that first comes from God and then that we express to those around us.

I want you all to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year–not for the commercial reasons, but for this simple reason: when we celebrate love we celebrate God because God is love.  With this in mind, I pray that you all have a blessed day doing something special with the ones you love.