Love’s Awakening

Williston, ND

“Today we have looked into the very heart of God”

I’m writing this on a plane to Nashville this weekend so please forgive the rushed nature and the many typos that I’m sure will be present. This last weekend I was in Williston, ND. The gold rush is on! This is such a unique town with its oil wells and man camps. Everything in this town revolves around the oil industry. People have gone from “just making it” to basking in enormous wealth, almost over night. Yet, in this busy and booming town you’ll find a little church with a challenged history, whom today, are desiring simply to make a difference.

Here at RHM, some of you have noticed a tad bit of restructuring taking place in an effort to be more relevant to our society at large. It’s one thing to preach to the choir. It’s quite a different thing to engage in meaningful dialogue and conversation with those who are different from us.

Today more than ever, we are convinced that the hope of humanity is in encountering, in a very real way, the truth of God’s radical, other centered, self sacrificial love as seen through the lens of Jesus Christ. This love is much more than merely the intellectual communication of new information. It is a deeply profound, heart level, paradigm shift in our own pictures of God, our beliefs about His Character. At the same time, I believe all of this must be shared in a relationally responsible way, a culturally relevant way, and in a way that is in keeping with intellectual honesty.

One of the changes we have decided to make in 2012 is to separate some of the topics we feel passionate about and dedicate entire weekends to each topic. In the past, I have felt a tremendous burden to try and share as much as I can in each weekend as I may never get an opportunity to speak to these folks again. It was a “buckshot” approach if you will. Much good has been accomplished, but I believe much greater good can be accomplished by a little more focus each weekend. This will enable each topic to be shared with greater detail (although in different locations) and then made available to everyone everywhere on our website.

This weekend I decided to share a new more focused series on the topic of the primacy and centrality of Love in what it means to follow Jesus. This may seem like a no brainer, but the reality is that most non-Christians, when asked if they feel loved by us, say without hesitation, “No.” The tile of this new more focused series is Love’s Awakening. (This will be available on our website shortly.)

Friday night we focused on God’s original purpose in bringing us into existence, His desire for us to share in the existential bliss of the other centered love found in relationship that exists between the Triune God. Saturday morning we spent a little time looking at the objections which exist within the Church to moving to a more “love based” model. Then we took an honest look at the objections that abound from thoughtful, intelligent people who cannot harmonize the Christian idea that there is an “all loving” and yet “all powerful” God out there. “If God is so good, then why does my life suck?”, is what I was asked recently by a fellow traveler on a flight. Saturday afternoon we finished of with two presentations. The first was on the clearest revelation of God’s radical, self-sacrificial, other centered love—The Cross. And the second was on what it looks like for us, as followers of Jesus, to embrace the Cross, not simply as part of our message, but as our primary way of doing life in our current, surrounding culture.

I received so much good feed back from the folks in Williston, but the one comment that keeps echoing over and over inside of me is, “Today we have truly looked into the very heart of God.” I could have received no greater encouragement than that.

I was humbled.

Thank you Williston for inviting me to come and share. Keep living in love. And thereby, go enlarge the Kingdom. Compassion truly is our greatest apologetic.

This weekend I’ll be in Nashville, TN sharing a focus weekend on how looking at God through the lens of Jesus deeply impacts many of our cherished, but untrue nonetheless, conceptions that surround our beliefs about God’s forgiveness. The title for this series is Forgive Us Our Trespasses. Please partner with me again through prayer that those present will simply see the “heart of God.” Everything else needed will follow in the wake of that.

Thank you in advance,

I love you guys,