If one were to boil the message of Jesus down to one word, that word would be LOVE. God loves us. We see that most clearly in Jesus who gave up his life to set us free. The freedom that Jesus gives us is an ultimate freedom that changes everything for us in all parts of our lives and in every aspect of our being.
The question is, do we really, truly believe that God unconditionally loves us?
Every church on earth is made up of sinners, so every church and every Jesus follower will have problems, just like people who do not follow Jesus. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b). So we should expect to have problems in our lives and in our church. But we would handle the problems in our lives in a much different way if we were better able to do one thing: Live in complete confidence that God loves us.
If we really believed that God loves us, then we would realize that we don’t need to strive to please him and we would be able to love and accept ourselves. We would be more comfortable in our own skin and we would be freer to be people of grace who reflect God’s love into the world. We don’t need to accomplish certain things in order to become loved and accepted. We welcome and love others because we know that we are already loved and accepted. We want to share with them this Good News that God has miraculously helped us to grasp: God loves us.
I believe that God is doing something very special in our church. I believe that God is creating a multi-generational, multi-ethnic church that welcomes people back into his family. We are like a MASH unit that receives the spiritually wounded, applies God’s love to them, helps them to heal and grow in their faith, and then sends them back into the world to live out their faith before others.
Sometimes they go to other churches with their revitalized faith. That is very hard for us because we love them and we miss them. But it is also okay in the big picture because they are still part of God’s family, even though they are in a different part of God’s family. So we grieve as we love, and that is difficult, but it seems to be the calling that God has given to us.
This is a very, very unique ministry that God has given to us! It is not common for churches to be as multi-generational and multi-ethnic as we are. Not every church is as warm and welcoming as we are. God has something very special for us to do. So let’s embrace this ministry whole-heartedly for it fits with who we are and with what God is doing among us.
And it all begins with believing that God loves us. For when we are comfortable in our own skin, then more of God’s love will flow through us to others. And that is important, for God loves all people.
In Christ’s love,