Thursday, June 19, 2014

Love One Another - Part VI

Well, after a delay of several months, I'm finally completing the Love One Another series. To be honest, I haven't been writing much of anything these days, as words and thoughts are just not playing nice. What develops within my mind rarely reaches the page and that has been one of the most frustrating things that I've recently dealt with. But as I woke up this morning, and the effects of caffeine began to settle in, the words of 1 John 4:16 popped into my head for some reason. In this passage I was reminded that I am compelled and driven to write because of love. This is not always apparent to me because there are many reasons for why I write, but love is the driving force of why I write. As I began to think of completing this discussion on what it means to "love one another", I was consumed by the fact that I have not been doing a very good job at loving others. And that is a very convicting and sobering realization when you read 1 John 4:16.       

When we are confronted with the simple, essential and all encompassing theological fact that "God is love", we come to the realization that not only does God have love to express to each of us, He is the very essence and existence of love. Through Christ, we are surrounded by the love that emanates from all that He is. God immerses us in love so that we then have the ability to effortlessly reflect it to those around us. As we go about our day, we realize that all of nature reflects God's love. The air that we breath is being saturated with God's love. And the light that radiates from the sun is the very manifestation of the love of God as it illuminates our path and warms our soul. But there is a very critical catch to this concept.

"God is love" is not an isolated declaration. Just before this revealing divine attribute, John reminds us that "Whoever does not love does not know God," Therefore we see that love is somewhat conditional. Not conditional on what we do or do not do in this world. Not conditional on our circumstances or even those that we come in contact with. Love is not conditional on how we feel or act. In fact, love is really not conditional on anything that evolves from this natural world but is linked essentially to the supernatural. If God is love, then true love can only come from God, and when God is acknowledged as the source of our love we find ourselves linked to the divine. When God is placed at the center of our lives, loving one another is not an effort that we need to be reminded to do, but a reflection of Christ living and breathing through us. In reality, it is not we that express love, but love being expressed through us and God being made manifest in this world. Yes, God is love. But love can only truly be expressed and experienced by first recognizing that God is. Let us end our discussion by hearing what this final group of friends has to say about what it means to "love one another".  Thanks to all who participated in this project. If you missed the previous installations, check out parts 1 through 5 under the same name: Love One Another.

"To love one another means to do unto others as Christ has done unto us. Living God's love is not the strain of 'doing'. Living God's love is relaxing into the grace of our baptismal identities, where the Calvary-shaped love that has saved us starts to become the shape of our lives. That's why Jesus calls us his friends, cause mates get the inside joke, they know what's going on, and what's going on is as Christ has loved us, we are empowered to love one another.”

- Jarod Saul McKenna

Jarrod is World Vision Australia’s National Advisor on Youth, Faith & Activism in a full-time capacity at the invitation of Tim Costello. In the last year alone, Jarrod has run his peace award winning social change training on 3 continents, in 12 counties, to over 10,000 young people. Jarrod, with his wife Teresa and son Tyson, are three of 17 people living at First Home Project; an innovative community modeling how is a real alternative to detention.You can connect with Jarrod of Facebook or World Vision Australia.

“To see the people through the eyes of Jesus. Let the attitudes and desires revealed in scripture so richly dwell in us that they exude to "one another." To inhale mercy, and breath out promise. 

- Frank Aragon  

Frank has been in the music ministry since 1994. A song writer and recording artist in Texas that also serves on staff at Heritage Park Baptist church south of Houston. Frank and his wife Sara met at Texas A&M, and have four children and foster infants. Connect with Frank on Facebook and Twitter @aragon_tunes

“Loving one another is about entering into the suffering, broken parts of other's lives and offering a listening ear as a place of healing. It's about gathering together with the outcasts and weather worn travelers and be redeemed through a sacred space called community.”

- Beth Orchard

Beth is a lifestyle, relationship and wellness coach living in the
western suburbs of Chicago. She has written several small pieces published yearly in the DuPage Writer’s Group (DWG) *Possibilities* journal and a few other independent publications. Beth has a deep love for working with the homeless, mentally ill and in issues of social justice such as human trafficking. She has a passion for writing short stories, plays and loves to travel overseas. Connect with Beth at

“To love one another means giving up our needs in order to help someone get what they need most. The best example of this is when Jesus said, "Not my will be done, but your will be done." That means that love is primarily a choice rather than of a feeling or mere emotion.”

– Mike Bauer

Mike is Lead Pastor of Oak Creek Bible Church in League City, Texas. He is married to his wife Shawn and they have four children: three boys and one girl. Mike has 18 years of ministry experience and has served as an associate pastor, youth pastor and children's pastor. He has a deep love for Christ and the Church and has a strong vision for transforming the culture for the Kingdom of God.

“What does it mean to love one another? I've come upon few definitions better than the one Rex Andrews gives for mercy. He writes, "Mercy is God's supply system for every need everywhere. Mercy is that kindness, compassion and tenderness which is the passion to suffer with, or participate in another's ills or evils in order to relieve, heal, and restore. It accepts another freely and gladly as he is and supplies the needed good of life to build up and to bring to peace and keep in peace. It is to take another into one's heart JUST AS HE IS and cherish and nourish him there. Mercy takes another's sins and evils and faults as its own, and frees the other by bearing them to God. This is the Glow-of-love." Jesus embodied this perfectly and calls us to do the same.”

– Chad Holtz

Chad is the fortunate husband to Amy and proud father to 5 kids. He pastors at Mountain View UMC in Dayton, TN and is most passionate about seeing people lives changed by Jesus. He and his wife blog about their freedom from addiction and brokenness at

“I think loving one another is summed up by Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." There is never a time when God says it's OK to be selfish, so we are called to constantly put the needs of others above our own and trust God to provide for our needs (Matt. 6:25-33). We we're also told in multiple places that if we don't have love for one another, then the love of the Father can't possibly be in us.” 

– Chris Lanig

Chris has been playing music and leading worship in the Houston/Galveston area since 1998. He has a passion for the good news of Jesus Christ and to see the Bride of Christ passionately worshiping and serving God in unity. Chris has been married to his beautiful bride Courtney since 2007, and they have 3 children, Granger, Adilynn, and Christopher. Connect with Chris on Facebook.

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