For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Friday, November 17, 2017

It Is All About Love - Part 1

Picture from unsplash.com
Life can seem complicated, but it really is not complicated at all.

We must begin with the right understanding regarding the reason for our existence. We were created for love. We were designed with the deep need to be loved and to love others. We cannot avoid this nor will we ever be fulfilled apart from this. It is hard-wired into us.

A moment's reflection shows this to be true. When we think about our families and how we would like them to be, our basic desire is for them to be places of love. When we think about our professional lives we would like the work environment to be filled with compassion and love for one another. No one likes to be hated by the people they work with! At the restaurant, we want the evening to be one filled with love and careful service. Even at the prefecture, we yearn for the experience to be one of being cared for rather than being treated with disdain.

We were created to be loved. We crave it. We long for it. We pursue it. It is part of how God designed us.

Not only are we created to be loved, we are created to love others. Our personalities and abilities shine the brightest when they are motivated by love for others. We were created to be the loving co-worker or boss. We were designed to be a loving family member and neighbor. We are intended to live lives of love. There is something deep within us that yearns to be a blessing to others. This, too, is part of how God designed us.

Churchill at Place Kleber for the
opening of the Council of Europe.
This impulse is seen in the young people of today. Many of them are seeking to live lives of service to others. They want to see a direct connection between what they are doing and the improvement of society. But this impulse does not just exist in the young. We live in a city that demonstrates a concern that governments treat their citizens with care and respect. It was the wizened older leaders who began the European Institutions here in Strasbourg. They, too, wanted to create a more loving world.

We were created to be loved and to love others. That is why love is the law of God's kingdom. "Owe no one anything except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law (of God)" (Romans 13:8).

In an age that claims to want to build a just and fair society, it is ironic that we have rejected the One who came to show us the way into the kingdom of love. This is in part due to the legacy of a corrupt church. The Church gained political power, was corrupted and over time lost its moral authority. Europe and the West need to rediscover Jesus. Jesus gives us the "in the flesh" picture of what it means to love. His teachings ring with clarity about the nature of love and its impact on life.

One of the greatest things that we can do for people is to introduce them to Jesus. For those that want to improve society, have a successful life, or live a life filled with love, there is no better mentor. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God...the Kingdom of love. He can show each of us what true love looks like. He will show us what it means to be truly and perfectly loved.

He can give us the wisdom to know how to love. Often his wisdom will run counter to what we have been taught. Frequently we will be challenged to grow in our ability to love. We will discover that often what our culture tells us is loving actually damages relationships. By following Jesus we will become experts at loving others. We learn that only by being truly and fully loved can we love others (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-8).

There are some astounding truths that come from the fact that God's Kingdom is a kingdom of love. We will look at some of them in posts to come.

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