When you have been loved His way then you can love His way.

Hi all, Welcome to Evergreen SGV's Congregational Life Blog!  Yeah, I know the blog name is boring.  I wanted to name it something hip and cool but I couldn't come up with something that sounded cool and not dorky... The Cong Blog, The CLB, The King Cong Blog, Cory's Corner.  Anyway, if you have a suggestion, email it to me and if I choose it then... Hmm, let me see... I'll buy you a Mc Rib sandwich the next time they appear on the Mc D's menu.  That's right!  You read it correctly:  A Mc Rib goes to the winner.  Let the games begin!

Anyway, I thought I'd post my annual report for the first entry of this new blogging venture.  Your annual report?!  Yes, my annual report.  Why?  Because I'm just excited and eager to post something.  Ha!  And, I do think it's appropriate for this blog.  Oh, by the way, future posts will also be by other Congregational Life staffers other than myself.  I would list them down in this post but I still have to tell them about it!  he-he.  Anyway, here's my 2011 report.

God bless, Kenny 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you…” – John 13:34 

“…walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” – Eph. 5:2

When I was a teen, I accepted the charge to love as Christ loved me with enthusiasm and a bit of arrogance.  I felt I was ready to lay it all down and give up my life for the sake of Christ and the benefit of others.  Yet, what I didn’t know at the time was that I naively believed that if I loved like Jesus loved, then I would always be loved in return and be filled with peace and purpose.  I soon realized that my expectation to be loved would dismally fail to sustain my efforts to love like my Savior.

As an adult, I’ve learned that in order to love like Jesus, you must to be willing to lay aside your ideas of what seems fair and right in all your relationships.  In a nutshell, you must be willing to die to your perceived needs so that others can benefit and be blessed.  However, it’s painful to do that, it causes restlessness in one’s soul and it’s often unfair and definitely unfulfilling in the short run.  If someone is unkind and mean to you, it just feels “right and fair” to be less than loving in return.  Right?

You probably can already see where my thinking went awry.  Jesus is not simply commanding us to love like he loves; he’s commanding us to love as he has loved us.  To be told to love as Jesus has loved you is very different than to be commanded to love like Jesus.  To be commanded to love like Jesus is similar to telling a man, who grew up without a father, to be more caring like his dad.  The command itself leaves the man at a loss.  How does he do what he’s not known?  However, to a man who’s had a loving father, the command fills him with gratitude, strength and determination as he remembers the consistent love he received from his father.  In the same way, we can only know how to love God’s way when we have been loved His way.

This insight is critical for all the ministries in Congregational Life.  For we know that even if we teach insightful lessons, pray with prophetic power, and lead people into rapturous worship, it’s all nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13).  It is the holy, beyond knowledge, immeasurable and relentless love of God in Christ that sustains and empowers all that we do in ministry!  And yet, His love cannot be learned from a book or a DVD.  His love can only be known by being in relationship WITH Him!

Therefore, as we plunge ourselves into doing ministry for His sake, let us also commit to give ourselves completely to Him.  His enduring love for us is, and will always be, the fuel that feeds the fires of all the ministries at Evergreen SGV.

Thank you again for the privilege of serving you as one of your pastors at Evergreen SGV.  This past year, 2011, was a year of learning to love as He has loved me and I pray that 2012 will bring more of the same!  God bless, Kenny