We Love Because He First Loved Us

People love being first when it comes to achievement or self-fulfilment. We love to be the first to break a world record, the first in a race and the first to invent something new.

People don’t love being first when it comes to sacrifice or pain. No one wants to be the first to die, the first to get sick or the first to suffer. This is especially true with love.

There is an element of risk when we love someone or even something. C.S. Lewis described it best in his famous quote from the 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.

Naturally we want to shield ourselves from risk whenever possible, but the Bible encourages us to do something completely different.

In 1 John 4:19 it says:

We love because He first loved us.

The Bible also says:

There is no fear in love.

The scripture gently admonishes us to imitate God’s “first” kind of love. It reminds us that we do love and that we should love, because God loved us first.

Is a lack of love hindering you from going on a OYC or making a big decision for God?

God’s example is clear. Through Jesus and throughout all time, He had been the one to act first. He did not respond, but rather He initiated. He spoke first and went first and He sacrificed first. He was brave first. We are free to love, because God loved us first.

Because of His “first” kind of love, we can decide to be the first to make a radical decision for God.

Consider this kind of love. Let it give you power to make your own decision to go on a One Year Challenge.

To start your journey go to oneyearchallenge.org.

“One at at Time” – New York Mission Team Members Remember God’s Blessings

In New York the odds of making a disciple were a million to one. In New York City the odds of making a disciple were a million to one. In 1983, a church was planted with just 18 disciples. Today that church is 4000 strong. Listen to these disciples share how God blessed them in the church’s early days. 

I remember the first time that we went through New York City…and I thought to myself…’How in the world are we going to reach this many people?’

…Steve said: ‘One at a time.’

Listen to their amazing stories here.

Don’t Plant a Church to Become Famous

Don’t plant a church to become famous or to be known, but to make God known. Many have sacrificed their lives in obscurity to build God’s kingdom.

The task of planting churches who are faithful to share the gospel, make disciples, and plant more church calls for an army of men who are content with no one knowing their names except the people in their community and those whom they shepherd.

Read the whole thing.

Deciding Out of Love

When thinking about going on a OYC, we often talk about how the decision to go on a OYC requires faith. It requires not faith in a calling or in a sign, but faith in God and His Word.

Yet we must be careful not to neglect another vital factor in our decision: love.

The Bible shows that Jesus’ went on His “missionary journey” because God loves us.

In John 3:16 it says:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The “so” helps us to see that because God loved the world, He acted out His love in a specific way: He gave His Son. In other words, the way Jesus shows His love for us was by giving His own life to us. He went because He loved us.

Most Christians are aware that Biblical love is active, yet it is difficult to direct our love at something or someone that we aren’t familiar with. If you are considering going on a OYC, this might be a difficulty that you are currently facing. It’s hard for you to love a new country or a new place that you may have never been to before.

Fortunately, in many places the Bible teaches us how to grow in our love. Here are just two:

  1. Pray what Paul Prayed.

In Ephesians 3:17-19 it says:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the LORD’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Paul prays this for us because we need to grasp God’s love. We need to grasp God’s love to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” God’s love is so big and sometimes so incomprehensible. If you are considering going on a OYC, pray that God will help you feel His incomprehensible love not just for you, but for the different sites you are thinking about. Pray to know the incomprehensible by God’s power. Know that God loves the different OYC sites and He wants all men to be saved.

  1. Love because God Loved.

We love because he first loved us.

We love the verse “we love, because he first loved us”. When we find it difficult to love, it encourages us to look back on how God loved us. Once we realize how He loved us, any obstacle to our own love goes away. If you are considering going on a OYC, know that God went ahead of you and loved the different sites first. He has offered His forgiveness to all nations. Know that God went first, because God loved first.

To start your journey, go to oneyearchallenge.org and register.