As you read this, Heather and I will be traveling in Israel. After we return, I will be taking a few weeks for rest and restoration. During that time, I will be seeking God’s guidance and direction as we chart a new course for the church. I want to thank the Staff Committee for supporting me in this. 

During my absence, my weekly newsletters will focus on one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In Galatians, the Apostle Paul is talking about the freedom that we as Christians have in Jesus. In Galatians 5:22-23, he writes, 

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

Paul calls these qualities the Fruit of the Spirit, the first of which is love. I want to grow in my love for Jesus and my love for other people. 

A group of kids was asked once to describe ‘love.’ Their answers were very thought-provoking.  

Karen, age 7, says, “When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” 

Karl, age 5, says, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”

Mary Ann, age 4, says, “Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” 

As Bobby, age 7, says, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”

As Jenny, age 8, says, “There are two kinds of love. Our love. God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.” 

As Rebecca, age 8, says, “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So, my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”

Paul would also write about love in Ephesians 3. There he prays, 

“16 …that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

How is the Spirit producing the fruit of love in your life? What are you doing to grow that love for Jesus? For others? Have you come to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is?

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