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Through the Lens of Love

June 22, 2012

1 John 4:10-11 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”

Isn’t it great that God doesn’t love us the way we love others?  Too often, we hold requirements and stipulations over our love.  If someone doesn’t meet the standard and expectations we have for our love, then they don’t get it.  If we love them, but then they turn around and do something to hurt us, or at least disappoint us, then our love level drops and they have to work their way back up.

But that’s not the way God loves us.  John, both in his letters and in the Gospel, makes it abundantly clear the type of love God has for us: unconditional, unrestricted, unlimited, unorthodox love.  It is radical and scandalous.  It sustains us even when we want to give up.  It holds us even when we push away.  It surrounds us even when we feel lost and isolated.  The love of God is simple, yet so difficult to grasp because we don’t have any reference point for it.  As I said, we love others conditionally.  Others love us conditionally, and we love ourselves conditionally.  So do we really believe that there is an almighty being holding the universe together, yet loving us passionately and eternally at the same time?

Some of you reading this may not.  You’ve bought in to the cultural ideas about God, creation, humanism, and ultimately, nihilism that says there’s nothing to live for and no hope.  For you, my heart breaks, but more importantly and more intensely, God’s heart breaks.  When we come to understand and walk in the love of God that was exhibited at the Cross of Jesus, the historical, documented person of Jesus of Nazareth, life starts to make more sense.  The Bible, full of difficult images, teachings, and stories, begins to make sense through the lens of love.  And how we ought to treat others makes more sense through the lens of love.

As a band and ministry, our desire is help people see how loved they really are, that their belonging and purpose is not found in the world, but in Christ alone.  Through the roughest times in life, to the most joyous moments we can think of, the love of God upholds us and works to transform us.  In return, when we are loved unconditionally, we are called to love others the same, and also love ourselves.  The love of God should have a trickle down effect, so to speak.  So see the world, God, and yourself through the lens of love, because that’s exactly how he sees you.

-Troy

Love Yourself

January 12, 2012

Matt. 22:37, 39b”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.”

These are words that we as a ministry live by, though so often fall short on.  So why do we fall short? I mean I understand we are human and struggling in our sin.  But something about that doesn’t sit with me.  God calls us to be holy as God is holy.  And if the power of the Holy Spirit, that raised Christ from the grave, lives in us,  then why can’t we love?

As we have been writing and looking to take the ministry to a new level, we have realized that a major problem with how we love and where we place people in our lives is how we view ourselves.  The second of the great commandments is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  And so often we say, “Well we have to serve and put ourselves down and let others do what they want, in the name of Jesus.”  But the opposite is actually true.  Lately, we as a band have asked the question of how can we love others if we do not love ourselves?  If I hate myself, how can I love other people?

So be encouraged today by this thought: God so loved YOU that he gave his only Son.  If God could love you that much even when he knows how much you mess up, how much you screw up, and how much you just blatantly do wrong, then how can you not love yourself?  Okay, so its easier said than done.  But maybe if you got a hold of the fact that God loves you beyond words even while knowing every detail about you, then you can begin to love, truly love yourself.  This will in turn lead you to a deeper love for others. You are God’s treasure, his masterpiece.  So love yourself like it.