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   Words from Pastor Jim:

VALENTINE’s DAY TROUBLE

Yes, I’ve been in trouble on Valentine’s Day—a lot.

I’m really not sure why, but I have always had difficulty anticipating Valentine’s Day. For a time, I got it into my head that Valentine’s Day was kind of like Thanksgiving, it came on the second Tuesday in February. I have no idea where that came from—it was probably one of those “that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it” moments.

My biggest Valentine’s Day sin was scheduling meetings and other events that would often include evenings and out of town commitments. Yes, I was a serial Valentine’s Day violator. Wanda eventually convinced me (rather emphatically) that we really needed to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day. There’s really no such thing as a Valentine’s Day make-up day.

So, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I have been reformed. I have learned how long ahead of time you need to make those Valentine’s Day dinner reservations—an amazingly long time ahead, I’ve learned.

Some lessons are just harder than others to learn.

I admit that I knew Valentine’s Day was a day meant to celebrate the love two people share in a committed relationship—the love that brought them together—even though I joked about it being a conspiracy between Hallmark, Russell Stover, and the florists. (A word of caution, don’t ever use this joke with your significant other.) Seriously, the most important lesson I’ve learned about not paying enough attention to Valentine’s Day is that I was basically taking the love Wanda and I share for granted.

And, we should never take love for granted.

Real love takes lots of practice—more than most people ever realize. Love is the MOST IMPORTANT work we can ever do. If you doubt that, ask Jesus. Jesus said that the MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do is, “you should love one another just as I have loved you.” John 13:34
Valentine’s Day, the way we celebrate it, does focus on romantic love. But, if our romantic love does not mature into the kind of love Jesus commands us to share with each other—it will always disappoint and often fail.

I have done a lot of relationship counseling and invariably what has happened to bring a couple to my office seeking help is that one or both of them have—in the words of the Righteous Brothers—“lost that loving feeling.

What Jesus commanded wasn’t conditioned on others being lovable, much less doing the things we think are needed to deserve our love. Jesus simply commanded us to love. (Note: There is one condition, enduring abuse—physical or emotional—is not love. Jesus commanded no one to submit to abuse in the name of love.)

You see, real love doesn’t fail. What happens is—we fail to love. We fail to love the way Jesus loves us. I promise that the most intimate, the most loving thing we can ever do is help someone learn the love of Jesus Christ.

This Valentine’s Day I do hope you give someone the gift of love—the gift of the love of Jesus.

Pastor Jim

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Newsletter (PDF  format):  newsletter-February 2019

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