Pastor Ron Swor
Dear Church Family,
I’m praying that your New Year will be filled with God’s presence and His joy. These past few weeks I have taken some time to look over some goals I set for myself in 2018. Now that’s a dose of reality.
To evaluate how I was doing, I divide my goals into three categories:
1. Accomplished; 2. In Process; 3. Needs a lot more work.
Here’s what I came up with, I found that my list of goals were evenly divided between categories, or in other words, each category was one third of my list. This seems pretty accurate and if you set goals you might reflect on your experience as well. Some things get accomplished, some things are in process and some things need a lot of work.
I have not only been looking back over the 2018 year, I have taken some time to think and pray over the year ahead. Annette and I have been asking Jesus for a theme for 2019; the phrase that keeps coming up is: A Year For Radical Love. We believe that radical love is something the Holy Spirit is up to in our lives and our church community.
God’s radical love changed our lives forever when He sent Jesus, “. . . who, being the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage . . .” (Phil 2:6). Now that’s crazy, radical love. It’s this incredible and eternal power of God’s love working through us that makes a transformative difference in the world.
Jesus told us how this works in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you; LOVE one another as I have LOVED you, so you must LOVE one another. All men/women will know that you are my disciples if you LOVE one another.” What if in this next year we see and expect God’s love in ways that aren’t passive but as the most powerful weapon against the schemes of Satan . . . hate, darkness, selfish behavior and all other things that destroy relationships and deceive people. What if we expect this coming year to experience God’s love as an active force that’s seen in our prayer life, our giving and, of course, our relationships. This kind of love runs to the lost and broken, runs to those who mourn, runs to . . . (this one is scary) . . . our enemy, pretty audacious, isn’t it?
Honestly, when the Holy Spirit started speaking to me about His radical love, I didn’t want to listen and i am still extremely uncomfortable with this theme. Mainly because of what it will require of me - humility, generosity, sacrifice. But I know it’s the only way, what really stood out was this Holy Spirit conviction about what I live for. So much of my time is spent living for things that aren’t bad, just not the best. Here’s what God spoke to me, “Live more for the things you would die for.”
Here’s what I am asking from you, put this to prayer, to conversations with trusted friends/family and then commit to ways you can show God’s radical love to others.
You are deeply loved,
PS - I will be unpacking this more with you on the first Sunday of the New Year.