A Love Story

One of the great joys of working with Josiah Venture is being part of seeing lives changed, especially among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe. The above video was created for our annual conference back in September and it’s one that has always stuck out to me from the first time I saw it. This girl is from Slovenia, a spiritually dark country, and her short testimony is one that’s full of life and joy. I find myself often quoting this video because there’s a line where she says, “I love love stories” that has always stuck out to me. More than anything it’s the heart of a teenage girl putting the pieces together in her mind of God’s love for her. She sees it as a love story and that’s exactly what it is.

I just reading about love last night in John 17. At the end of Jesus’ high priestly prayer he talks about it. Here’s that last part of the chapter and Jesus’ prayer,

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

I’ve bolded the word “love” for emphasis. Verse 23 is so clear: God the Father loves Christians the way He loves Christ. I say Christians because it’s clear from verse 20 that this is about “those who will believe in me…” That’s the context and those are the people of whom Jesus is praying. One of the most famous passages in the Bible says the same thing. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” There’s no doubt about it–it’s a love story.

Mostly tonight I’m just thankful to be part of that love story. Not only did God show His love toward me by saving me, but He continues to pour out his love of many all over the world. Like the young girl from Slovenia, Christ continues to transform lives and change hearts in a way only He can do. It’s that great love that compels me forward daily and gives hope for the future.


Worrying, I Mean, Thinking About Tomorrow

Titus Starts Preschool Tomorrow (10/14/14)

Tomorrow, Lord willing, will be Titus’ first day of preschool. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been thinking about it all day. There’s a mix of emotions that come with this step and it’s something I’ve been trying to take the to the Lord. I say “step” because that’s how it feels, like a step of faith. We’re dropping our kid off tomorrow at a school that only speaks Czech, to a group people we don’t know much about, and expect Titus to do his best without us there. That requires faith. Faith in many different things, but mostly in the God we serve. Many have done this before us, and thankfully we’ve had a local church environment to sort of prepare him, but that doesn’t mean this dad (aka: me) has prepared himself. That’s probably why my heart was drawn to Matthew 6:25-35 tonight. It reads,

[25] “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? [26] Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? [27] And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [28] And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, [29] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [30] But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [31] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ [32] For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

[34] “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

There’s a lot to worry about. How will Titus do? How will the teachers treat him? How the other kids treat him? What happens when they don’t understand what he says to them? What happens when he doesn’t understand what they say to him? Do I trust these people with my kid? What if he disobeys? How long will it take for him to get a grasp of the language? What if he struggles with the language? What if he hates it? What if he struggles?

See what I mean? There’s a lot to worry about. But Jesus says, “…do not be anxious about your life.” You can’t take that to mean much else except that you shouldn’t worry about anything in your life. Oh sure, He qualifies it with a few things like food and clothing, but we know He’s talking anything in your life in it’s fullest sense…like your kid’s first day of school. And Jesus explains why. I’ll paraphrase and apply to my situation, but He’s essentially saying, “God is control. He takes care of everything else, so He’ll take care of your son at preschool. Listen, I know what you need and I know what Titus needs. I will take care of it all, you just seek after Me.” That’s a lot easier than worrying, especially since the Creator of the universe has got it all under control. I’ll just seek after Him.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Maybe it’ll be great, and I hope it is. Maybe it won’t go so well, but I hope not. Either way, I can trust the Lord knows and is in control of it all. I can look to Him when I don’t know what to do or what to think. He has a vision for our lives and specifically for Titus’ life and He will be faithful. I realize it’s just preschool…but I love my son. I want the best for him like every other dad and sometimes that can can push me in to anxiousness. Praise God that I don’t have to stay anxious, but can seek after Him and trust He will take care of it all.