The Greatest

17 02 2017

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  

1 Corinthians 13:13

Lately I have been thinking of what it would be like to live in this world without love. What would the world be like without God’s forever love?  Living by faith is truly needed, and who can live without hope?  But how could I live without the love of Jesus Christ. And if everyone would live with the love of Christ in their hearts, what kind of world would it be like?

So what is God’s love like?  Here are just a few descriptors:

Selfless.  Jesus emptied himself to become man and a servant.  “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness.”  Philippians 2:6-7  Jesus came to serve and give himself as a ransom for us.

Sacrificial.  Jesus laid down his life for us.  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13  He gave his life as an offering for us in turning away the wrath of God for our sin.

Giving.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  The Father gave us Jesus and Jesus gives us eternal life.

Eternal.  “Love never fails..” 1 Corinthians 13:8  Nothing can separate us from his love and it lasts forever.  Jesus loves us with an everlasting love.

There are many more descriptors of God’s love in being patient, kind, and faithful.  But what many are looking for is this kind of love: selfless, sacrificial, giving, and the eternal love of God found in a relationship with Jesus.

The other choice is selfishness and to love only ourselves.  I think this kind of love is seen mostly in our world and especially in American culture.  CS Lewis writes that love takes risks and is vulnerable in his book The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

What the world needs now is God’s love, the love of Jesus poured out in our hearts by his Spirit.  Open your heart and take the risk.  You won’t regret it.

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Anniversaries

29 01 2013

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 57:10

Anniversaries come and go, but somehow this year is different.  Jo and I are celebrating 29 years of marriage and the reality of our battle with cancer makes this one more important because of what could have been.  We don’t want to take each other for granted and we are especially grateful to the Lord for His mercy, healing, and goodness.  Needless to say that we are thankful for His presence in the battle this last year and a half.  So we count each day and each moment as a blessing and realize it is much more than we deserve.

Another anniversary is my 30 years with Youth Dynamics.  I am humbled by the grace God has given me to stay in youth ministry for this tenure.  There honestly have been times that I have wanted to give up and other times when I have felt unworthy to be in the positions I have been in with YD.  But without the love and faithfulness of the Lord and the passion He has given me to share the Gospel of Jesus with teens I don’t know where I would be.  He is worthy and I count it a blessing to serve Him in this way all these years.  Jo has been a constant loving and supportive partner all these years and she has been a big reason for my longevity.

Thank you to all of you who pray, give, encourage, and stand with us.  Your partnership is amazing and gives praise and glory to the Lord.  Great is His faithfulness!

B and J pic





The Adventurous Journey continues

8 01 2013

It has been over a year since I have posted anything on this blog.  At this point I must confess laziness, lack of discipline, and a desire that I once had has been squelched by life and challenges that the Lord has put in my pathway.  My wife’s battle with breast cancer, raising and releasing young sons into this world and taking time for a daughter who just turned 13 has made this a low priority in my life.

It is time for this journey to continue with Jesus and this year in particular I want to share more of what He is doing in me.  Lately I have come to realize that Jesus must become greater, I must become less.  And so I run this race with perseverance and my eyes fixed on Jesus, the Prize and Greatest Treasure.  Today is the day to resurrect this desire to open up and share the journey again.  It is going to be an adventure as long as I am willing to keep my eyes on Jesus.





The Living Word

19 09 2011

About a week ago a friend of mine, Mike, shared with me about a situation and how a post that included some Scripture came to life for him. The point he shared is the God’s Word is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 says ” For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

So I have been spreading the Word via text messages for several months now and hear these stories of how God spoke to them and used His Word in their lives at just the right time. So I will continue to spread the Good Word as long as God enables me to do so. I want God to speak for Himself. He is alive and His Words will “not return empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11b.

Spread the Word! If God touches your heart by His Living Word, share it! His Word is alive and touching hearts daily and that includes my heart too!





My Tribute to Dad

25 01 2011

My Father-in-law, Ken Stone, passed on January 15, 2011.  Here is my tribute to him:

Dad, thank you for taking such good care of us.  I will never forget how hard you worked.  You brought home the bacon and every weekend you would fry it up with the side pork  and make those big breakfasts for us.  You were always saying to me, “have some more.”  We never went hungry with you.

Thanks for loving me and for being the best pinochle partner ever.  I hope that God has dealt you that double run and thousand Aces that we always dream of.  You were always a winner in my life.

Thanks for serving our country in the Air Force.  Thank you for loving us by taking us camping, on road trips, and family vacations.  And thanks for loving Mom by giving her that rose and saying, “I will love you forever.”

I hope to see you again Dad in that place that Jesus has prepared for us.  Keep on singing Dad, the family reunion is coming soon.  Goodbye for now.  I love you Dad.

Bruce





Open Doors

28 02 2010

This week has been Missions Week at my church.  The Lord has been stirring my heart.  Here is a personal prayer that came out in church yesterday:

Jesus, All that I am and have and ever hope to be; I place into your hands.  Lord Jesus, I don’t have much to give you financially, but I give myself to you anew today.  Please Lord use me.  Don’t let me hide your light, but shine it brightly.  The greatest gift I can give is you Jesus.  Please take me to new places in sharing the Gospel.  Grant me vision, boldness, courage, and passion for reaching the lost.  Break my heart with the things that break your heart.  Open doors for the Gospel here, in this region, and around the world.  I love you Lord!

There is an overwhelming need for people to hear and receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.  As the disciples were asked to feed 5,000 in John 6, so we are asked to bring the Gospel to many who are hungry and thirsty without Him.  Joel Chute who is a missionary in China and is daily challenged to bring the Gospel to millions without Christ said, “When you face a problem, do not face in in your own strength and resources.”  This is really how I  face overwhelming needs.  So I come with what little I have and place it in the Master’s hands.  He will make little much, because He is in it.  In God’s economy, He can do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

My challenge is to pray, give of myself to Him, and go as He leads.  I invite you to join me.

“When we realize how much we have been given, we long to be employed in loving service of this universal Gift-Giver.” William Wilberforce





Missions Week

23 02 2010

I am sorry it has been such a long time since I have entered a post.  Anyway one of the passions I have is Missions.  This week at my church we are talking about what God is up to in our world to reach others with the Gospel of Christ.  Lately I have been challenged to think and pray outside the box.  I want my heart to break for those who don’t have the hope I have in Jesus Christ.  So I am opening my heart and mind to what God might say to me this week and truly pray that my vision for missions would grow not only abroad, but even here in my community and region.

The theme of “Open Doors” of the Gospel is part of Missions Week.

“And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ . .” Colossians 4:3 NIV