Adventures Ahead

Following the Holy Spirit’s leading is a risk.

For the believer in Christ Jesus, the road ahead is often obscured, no clear visibility or confidence in our path. Yet we sense the pull of something beyond us, something stronger and deeper than our mere ambition or desire.

God draws us to come closer, and often in His courtship of our souls He woos us with the gentle power and subtle attraction of the Holy Spirit. 

Let me be clear, I’m no expert on following God… but I am learning. Couple of quick observations about my own path.

  1. God often leads us to follow His plans and not our own. (usually a ‘curve’ ball – something completely unexpected and different from we had in mind.
  2. God through the Holy Spirit will surprise us with Joy in the midst of transition and turmoil. Despite our awkward and uncomfortable agitation in the circumstances we’re in, God will comfort us and gently encourage us to stay with it.
  3. God’s leading will push us into places and spaces we’re not familiar or confident in. Life experiences will not equip us for the next step, instead the past will give us context for God’s faithfulness to meet us in any situation at any time. Our confidence will grow in Him and wane in us.
  4. God’s direction will bring a deep sense of personal satisfaction and contentment despite the lack of any external success or personal affirmation.

The direction the Holy Spirit leads will not be a rogue and independent push away from God’s people or spiritual oversight. Instead it will be affirmed and supported by those we live with and walk out our faith along side of. (i.e. – Pastor, Friends, Family, Spouse will all affirm the direction we sense is God)

God will ask you to trust Him. That means we’ll have to take risks to obey His leading. There is nothing safe about following the Holy Spirit’s voice, it may seem radical and unbalanced on the surface, but as we discern and respond by faith the process will bring clarity and conviction that God is indeed behind it all. 

I recently was asked to personally put these ideas to the test, I am writing this from my new home off the coast of Maine. God redirected my life and ministry from the safety and comfort of middle Tennessee to the wild and unpredictable world of northern New England.

The question is… where is He calling you to follow Him? I don’t know the timing, details, or specifics for you…but I do know that whatever He asks of you, it will exceed your expectations and instead of dread… you can look forward to “Adventures Ahead!”

In closing, I leave you with possibly the most  the famous CS Lewis quote out there, from his classic book “The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe“,  

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

birds and bees…for tweens

newsweek image

blog.sfgate.com – source

I’ve been preparing for the fall youth retreat at our church…. our theme is “Does my faith fit me?” a series of talks about “emotions” and how they impact our lives. Of the four sessions planned, mine is the talk on sexuality and love. 🙂

Considering the massive impact sexuality has on society, it’s a major topic to cover in a few minutes. Add to that the awkward stage every tween lives in… and I’ve got my work cut out for me. So… “Talking “Turkey with your tween” is a moment of reflection that every parent will face eventually. What do you tell your tween about sex? How do you handle the struggle with hormones, faith, and sexual identity?

Below are thoughts from my talk notes… hope they help.

Pastor Brad.

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SEX ...

SEXUAL

SEXUALITY...

Three potentially awkward – embarrassing topics.

Each distinct but related, and representing 3 huge issues that all of us have to consider, respond to, and decide what they will mean to us as an individual and as families of faith.

1) SEX – the physical act. The joining of a man and woman in an intimate and sacred act of both pleasure and procreation. Designed and encouraged by God, SEX is the ultimate sharing of 2 separate lives as they become one. It’s where babies come from 🙂  Reserved for the covenant of marriage, SEX is a pure act intended to symbolize the union of heart and soul… with the body. A beautiful and divinely inspired celebration of love.

2) SEXUAL – part of our hormonal status quo – it reflects the human nature of each of us. We have surges in our bodies during the stage of adolescence. From 12-20 young men have incredible spikes in testosterone as they grow. Young women begin to feel the effects of hormones in other ways, experiencing the changes to their uterus and physical bodies that prepares them to have children.

Each of you (boy / girl ) are undergoing distinct changes in your bodies as a normal response to the flood of hormones inside you. These undeniable changes are responsible for raising your awareness to see each other as more than friends, but possibly as a future husband or wife. The sexual drive for men is physical (Eros)- the drive for women (Phileo – Storge) to be wanted – desired – protected, to belong and to be safe – comfortable. Surprisingly power feelings and emotions, new desires never before present, a confusing and exciting time of life for sure. But it’s all normal – healthy and designed by God! So much so that we create music, movies, videos and social media to try to capture all we feel… books are written, poems composed and careers decided all by these powerful ‘feeling’s.

The Greeks had four words to describe what we call love, Eros, (romantic love, physical lust), Phileo,(comfortable, fondness, friendship), Storge (family loyalty)and Agape (unconditional love).

Eros– love felt particularly within the body (trembling excitement, elation, joy), colored and underpinned by deep and beautiful procreative urges. C.S. Lewis distinguishes Eros from natural sexual urges and lusts, because Eros is a state of the heart and while it is intimately related to sex, sex can exist, and often does exist, without Eros enlivening it. It leads to children, family, joy and laughter. It is good and right, but it is usually not enough to sustain a relationship long-term. Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love, usually between a man and woman, but can also be “platonic” and extend to deeply intimate friendship. While Eros can simply be an earthy thing, when Spirit infused and elevated to it’s true position, it speaks deeply of universal mysteries, keenly expressed within the most sacred of all relationships, that between husband and wife. The elevated buzz of Erotic love is said to naturally fade within a year of its beginning.

Phileo If Eros is the love of the body, Phileo is the love of the soul. It is easy love and affection, it is bent towards our natural tastes and preferences (familiar and comfortable). It embodies culture and beliefs. It’s about the friendship you feel towards people like you, with the same interests, social graces, and style. God is said to have this kind of love for us and Jesus. Jesus felt this kind of love for his disciples, parents felt it about their children and children to their parents. It is not a shallow love, but rich in emotion and feeling. However it is also described as natural and exclusive and conditional. Also known as “brotherly” love as in “Philadelphia” – City of Brotherly Love. (Phileo derivative)

Agape-Is more of a parental, mature, sacrificial kind of love. Greek references describe it like this… “to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above all other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it.” In a way it is as idealistic as Eros, in that it is a crazy love that will not let go. Agape loves, usually at cost to the bearer. Agape puts the beloved first and sacrifices pride, self-interest and possessions for the sake of that beloved. This is the love that God has for us which inspired him to sacrifice His son and for His son to obey and sacrifice himself. It is a love of supreme greatness. It is supernatural and divine – the glue that holds all other loves together!

Storge– This is the love of community and family. Often dutiful, sometimes unfeeling, but very strong none the less. It is a natural, carnal love, but powerful and committed. It is a love that may pull you towards family commitments, or keep you from wandering far from home as you get older!

All of these ‘feeling’s are distinct and powerful, capable of driving us to do goofy and silly things. From planning our ultimate fantasy wedding down to the smallest detail to thinking about how much we can’t live without another. The pull of sex and love is one of the strongest challenges to being a Tween.

The bible give us so much to consider about love and suggests that what we feel is not as important as how we choose to behave. God sets healthy boundaries to our sexual feelings that include abstaining from sex and restricting ourselves from exploring our sexual urges outside the commitment of marriage. A difficult task given the all pervasive images and opportunity for porn and seductive media that floods the digital age.

Only with the power of the Holy Spirit and healthy boundaries can we navigate the roller coaster of emotions that lift and lower us in adolescence.

My advice to the Christian tween-teen… seek out good friendships, avoid the bad ones. Hang with peers who respect their faith and God’s ways. Live in the open… don’t hide your struggles and have the courage to go and seek help from a pastor or parent if you find yourself in temptation.

3) SEXUALITY: the natural distinction between male / female. It is not as simple as masculine and feminine – however it can be for the vast majority. Over 90% of us when asked would identify with either man / woman in our identities, sexual orientation and attraction towards the opposite. Sexuality is fiercely debated today. The 5-8% who claim to be attracted to same-sex relationships or have gender identity confusion are often struggling with instability in their families, homes and or parental role models.

There is a very small percentage who don’t know who they are (male /female) and are desperately seeking to discover which role would fit-them ‘best’. These lost and lonely are searching for a societal niche to belong to. The need to escape what they perceive to be traditional family exile, they often choose alternative relationships where acceptance is offered without any judgement or condemnation.

It’s no wonder that more and more Tweens – teens are seeking answers outside of the traditional Christian view of sexuality.

It is easy to see the appeal alternative sexual orientation offers to the awkward and uncertain among us. For the Christian family, we should respond with compassion and gentleness – recognizing the need we all have to be a part of something / someone who will “love” us for who we are. It’s one of the reasons I believe Christ provides our culture with an answer to every dilemma we could face, including sexuality. Christ is ultimately the ONLY one who can meet the longing of every human soul. Another_World_Desktop (1)

Encouraging our kids to find their identities and orientation from an intimate relationship with the one who created them is a far better approach than forcing our kids to accept our beliefs without question…we’re teaching them to bury their feelings….and that creates ‘secrecy’ and shame. It allows for other secular voices to speak to our kids hearts when we’re not around. Not a good thing.

From the biblical perspective… in the end, Sexuality is the divine distinction.

It’s a sacred gift and a powerful illustration of what God intends for creation. Our culture has drifted far from the original intent of a loving father for his children. Our standing firm on the biblical mandate is only part of the parenting equation. The other part is to create a healthy and open environment for our kids to discuss and process their personal feelings and beliefs. If we think it through, it’s clear… we can only lead our kids to the savior, we can’t offset the combined impact of mass media, pop culture and trending styles with our dogmatic logical debates. It’s about the heart… and the longing of  our souls.

Authors closing note: To be clear… I’m not pushing these sexuality issues aside as irrelevant to Christians or acceptable to God. Choices matter. Actions define us. As a pastor and a parent, I am very firm on the need for us to respect scripture as authority in these matters. However, it’s not enough to declare the facts.. we’ve got to let complicated lives get untangled in the purity and power of God’s presence. We’re responsible to share the truth in love… to be patient as God does His mysterious work in the souls of those who genuinely seek to know Him. Let’s be sure to cultivate the respect and space our tweens will need to mature, process, and become all that God intended. We’re in a post-Christian world now… and we’re going to have trust God’s truth will outshine the lies.

 

 

Musings on Moods

Life is sudden and slow, abrupt and deliberate.

Moments of extreme happiness…followed by long dull marches through grey days.

It’s impossible to live and remain unaffected.

Emotions will rise and fall according to the chemistry and circumstances of our lives at any given moment. If we surrender ourselves to simply what we ‘feel’ like doing or being, we’re risking more than stability… but our very sanity. mood swing

Faith binds us to something ‘more’. It’s the antidote for the erratic shifts in our emotions and the anchor of our soul. Belief in truth that exceeds our senses, is a glue that will bind our behaviors to our beliefs. 

 

“The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise to never have a headache or always to feel hungry.” CS Lewis -‘Mere Christianity

Let’s take a deep breath. Take a moment to consider what we’re feeling vs. who we are by faith in Christ. Let’s re-attach to our savior before going any further into this day… banishing the mood monster from controlling our lives.

Peace,

Pastor B.

 

Reclaiming Romantic Love… CS Lewis on “Eros”

For those of you who have been dreading talking to your kids about romantic love, or “EROS” as described by the Greeks… don’t be. In our western culture, Eros /Love  has been hijacked by the concept of something sexual, or EROTIC, and for parents it’s not a comfortable word to be using around the house… but believe me…nothing could be further from the words intended meaning.

It is critical for us as parents to communicate to our kids what was intended in love, Eros love is one that cherishes an individual as unique and matchless, as BELOVED in their value. Much more than just the attainment of a moment of pleasure with an available and willing member of the opposite sex. This love is one of the four foundational loves and the most critical of any romance leading to marriage.

Working through the four loves, it’s impossible to miss the order in which CS Lewis introduces us to their foundational truth. AFFECTION, natural and common is the love we have between common circumstance and need, FRIENDSHIP is more than just a companion or acquaintance and requires a common mission or shared belief to exist as described by the Greeks, who used the word Phileo.

It’s clear that for a true friendship to form, a deep affection will be naturally already present. The same with Eros or Romantic Love, for such love to develop, affection and friendship are necessary prior ingredients. Without those present, you have only ‘lust” or Venus like emotions of sexually focused and selfish satisfaction.

Eros Love calls to us from the words of CS Lewis in this great quote… “Now EROS makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.” (p 136 – Four Loves) To further clarify the difference between EROS and lust, he (CS Lewis) offers this comment “Without Eros, sexual desire like every other desire is a fact about ourselves. Within Eros it is rather about the Beloved.” What an important reminder for us all.

It’s amazing how far our understanding of love can be redirected by society. Not surprising though when you stop to consider how much consumer marketing has used the sexuality and beauty of love to sell stuff and promise fulfilment at the same time, IF we buy their product. Branding and marketing have moved beyond the intended meaning of Eros love as being set on one irreplaceable love, and makes it a goal to gain as much interest and sexual attention as possible so that we can “pick” our best option for our own pleasure. It’s painful to understand that the pure nature of Eros love is tainted by this modern definition, it undermines the very sense of the set – apartness of love, until we start to think that EROS is a dirty word, or some kind of sexual innuendo to hide ourselves and our kids from.

The truth is this… Eros represents the love of God towards man. He is fixated on us individually, specifically, He considers us to be His BELOVED. No ONE else will do, He is captivated by our beauty, by our unique and irreplaceable worth… it’s only the third of the four love words the Greeks had to describe love, and the bible reflects those words in a myriad of ways to begin to paint a beautiful portrait of God’s “Feelings” towards us. His commitment to honor and love and pursue us forever. No wonder it’s been co-opted by our enemy to become something tarnished and dirty and shameful. It’s time we take it back!

So the next time love comes up in the discussion with your blushing pre-teen or teen… take some time to review Eros Love with them and reset their understanding of Gods version of true love. Or… just for fun…watch one of my favorite 90’s films, the classic”Princess Bride” in which an idiot priest character will educate everyone at the wedding on the proper way to express and enunciate “Twwrooo Wuvv” 🙂

We can help to set the record straight for our kids and their friends to re-evaluate the dating concept from top to bottom. Affection, Friendship and Romantic Love. In that order. AGAPE’ is the fourth and final love and it is the glue that holds all love and our lives  supernaturally together, and it can’t be found within us or anywhere on this earth, its only source is in Jesus Christ.

To share that supernatural form of love (Agape), we will have to share a common Savior and Lord. Approximately 50% of our marriages are ending in Divorce in and out of the Church. That’s implies that we have not grasped the underlying truth about love and it’s intended progressive nature. Some of us have learned painfully that our own ability to love is sometimes simply not enough… without a common faith center to our lives, we are vulnerable to a similiar outcome. For others who may feel they have failed at love…, Redeemption is on its way! Hang in there, God loves to restore what we have lost. Love can be re-born, but be careful to follow the same path progression for love to grow deeply and in union with you faith, not as an exception to it.

I believe it falls on us as parents to first guard our own marriages and then clearly express the plan of Romantic Love to our kids before they allow their hearts to make promises their lives will never be able to endure.

Peace out fellow parents… and I was serious, pop some corn this saturday night and take the time with your spouse & kids to check out the movie “Princess Bride“, its a great movie to share with your teens as you look for strategies to bring up ways to discuss this most critical life issue.

brad.

PS – As a biblical exercise… Consider taking a new look at the Song of Solomon in the scriptures with the added insight of mankind being in the text as God’s “Beloved” and it will come alive with a whole new meaning for you. The poetry moves beyond a simple metaphor between Solomon and his lover and becomes instead a metaphor for God to mankind. Something beautiful and precious and sacred, yet so tangible for us to recognize in our own lives.

CS Lewis… on the danger of Love.

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)

Going through the classic CS Lewis novel with our young adult/college group at church has been a great exercise for myself and the other team ministering to them. It forces us to consider what the elements of true love actually are…what they look like, how they differ and what we’re going to do with them. The reality is this… to love is to risk.

(Cross of Hearts image – courtesy of http://www.christart. )

The natural man has three powerful and amazing loves to experience in life, with or without an understanding of God’s love. But the Christian believer is exposed to a fourth and life changing supernatural love, foreign to any other… AGAPE. For parents and families, this one love is the catalyst that moves a childs heart for a lifetime, not a moment. It promises to break through every human resistance and removes all trace of fear, doubt and our insecurities. (I Cor 13)

It can only be found in the life of Christ and until we allow our lives to be literally hidden in His, we will struggle to love as God loved us. After all, we would be trying to do something supernatural with only the three natural loves common to man, it’s all we can really muster up on our own. It’s awesome, but not enough to overcome and in time we will be hurt badly enough to force our gradual retreat from this field of life to lick our deep wounds and hide from love.

Many of us have run at times to the Church to find some of this supernatural love, only to be crushed by truth in a severe and painful expression of faith… communicated by some in a manner completely separated from the one essential ingredient of  love. So our hearts tear deeper, and we are driven farther from the only source of healing and hope we have. Please, if this is your story, don’t let those past painful church experiences stop you from searching for God’s love. Keep looking… It is out there. It is real. It is our only hope.

To truly step into life, to live in the Kingdom of God we must encounter and embrace this highest ideal of love in our own hearts, homes and communities. Instead of being “right” love seeks to be. Love is the divine weapon shared by God to bring mankind true hope, redemption and restoration. It cannot be manufactured or created out of our own merit or invoked with deep contemplation to be better, it is the by-product of choosing to live each day in pursuit of our savior. It flows directly from the words of God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the supernatural ability, desire actually, to get back up and move forward, to let go of our past, and pain and grab ahold of the promise of God to make “all things new”.

It is the missing ingredient in most homes, marriages and families. It’s greatest enemy is apathy and is often mis-understood to involve only an emotional reaction or feeling towards another person. It is after all God’s greatest commandment for us to him and to each other. It is the power of our faith, our hope and our salvation.

Affection – “Storge‘  – the love of family, instinctual – mother to child, natural and innate in healthy hearts and homes.

Friendship – “Phileo’ – the love of comrades on the same mission. Not essential, but valued when found. Rare actually in our culture of making “acquaintances” with co-workers, neighbors and fellow church members…  instead of sincere and tested friendships.

Romantic – “Eros’ – the most overused of the love concepts in our culture. Focused on need, personal satisfaction and captured and confused by the love of lust.

Perfect Love – “Agape’ – of all the loves… this love is NOT natural. It is supernatural, alien to the human mind and heart. But personified in the life of Jesus Christ. A love that requires no feelings of affection, friendship or romance. It surrenders its own to save another. It is the nuclear super-weapon of the faith. It conquers all, it cannot be stopped, beaten or reduced. It simple overwhelms any in its path.

I want to have LIFE, and I want to live for something greater than myself. I believe God gives some of us families… in part, to learn the deeper truths of love for ourselves and then to intentionally share that love with a new generation. To steward and pass along our Christian heritage to our kids as countless others before us have done with theirs.

That is a passion and pursuit worth living for.

Sharing the love that God Himself has shown to us individually is in Jesus words… the ultimate expression of Christianity…”By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 ESV)

It’s really simple… give of yourself, to help another. Let the Spirit of God show you who and how. Repeat.  It will change your life… and kids, spouses and friends will glimpse a glimmer of the Christ living in you, here on earth. It’s always a risk that someone will reject that love, it’s a risk that is worth taking.

CS Lewisin my humble opinion…Was Exactly Right.

Peace out,

brad.

Learning about Love… with CS Lewis – #1 “Affection”

Last night, I spent a great evening with a local teen – college group talking through a basic conversation on the first of four types of love. “Affection” or “Storge” in the Greek, is the initial love type discussed and reviewed by famous Christian Theologian CS Lewis in his classic book, ‘The Four Loves“.

If you’re a parent or step parent of a teen or pre-teen, taking the time to refresh yourself on the topic of love is a good idea, if you’re the parent of teen or pre-teen girls… it’s ESSENTIAL. Not because girls need to understand it more than boys, but they are definitely considering earlier and more seriously than their male counterparts.

Given the media soaked culture and moral ambivalence of our current social norms, talking about and understanding the nature of “Love” is a foundational truth that all families would do well to review together. Dads, you need to take the time to share at least the fundamentals of Love with your daughters and sons before someone else does.

Watching TV, reading books, thumbing through the latest fashion magazines etc… most pre-teens have formed a pretty good idea of what they believe love is or isn’t by the time they hit seventh grade. For young ladies, they probably have their weddings at least planned out except for the exact final identity of the groom, but the rest for sure is covered. Colors, flowers, dress style, decor, food, honeymoon etc… they have without question put thousands of hours into the careful consideration and preparation of their dream day.

But its clear that few of us have taken an hour to consider seriously the differences in the emotions we all feel in life, specifically how to discern between a healthy love and lust or  affection and this crazy idea of sacrificial love that Jesus keeps talking about. For those parents who are already backing away from this one, don’t. EVEN IF YOU HAVE A NO-DATING POLICY in your home, this is critical to pre-emptively discuss, review and confirm with your young adults.

Remember, the massive media machine we’re all connected to, is running 24/7/365 telling your kids all kinds of half-truths and lies about love, sex, lust, beauty and happiness all coming from being in the perfect relationship with the perfect man or woman. If you don’t step up  and really specifically challenge those assertions with real life biblically based truth and answers, they will by default leave your home trusting in the most fickle and dangerous of hormone infused rationales. Do we want our kids cruising through life believing that if they just find the elusive ” love feeling” with someone, they will be happy. As if this emotional rush was a way to have the most ultimate life fulfilling experience possible, as they have seen and believed their entire lives at the movies… and if unchallenged, they risk jumping into an adulthood of mis-understanding the ultimate nature of God, Love and the proper balance of both in our lives.

Why is that dangerous, isn’t Love the ultimate good for a Christian ?

CS Lewis is brilliant, yet stern in his warning of the danger of glorifying love to the position of being an ultimate” good, or essentially as equal to or greater than God himself. Remember the Apostle Paul’s words… “God is Love” ? The problem is when we in our simple nature reverse the order of the words and make “Love is God” in our lives. Not good. Really Not good when you think it through.

As parents…its crucial that we step back a bit from the relentless onslaught of confusion coming from our world and remember the basic truths of what we know about love. It’s so far from a simple emotional attraction or feeling, it’s a powerful and deep truth that has many facets and meanings attached. The Greeks were so expressive on the subject of love, they used four distinct words to describe its depth and breadth, but in our culture we use only one.

For the Christian, all four love expressions only begin to make sense when we consider them within the context of the life of Jesus Christ. Without that anchor to our souls and hearts and minds, we can get very,very confused, distracted and deceived into following something of love that is false and empty. How many millions of homes and marriages have been wrecked by the self- limiting understanding of Love to be a one-size fits all emotion ?… Parents, be careful, guard yourself from the temptation to live only by your wits and not by the words of God.

Not to mention the dangers to our kids.

Affection is described by some to be the fondness between a mother and child, the natural and instinctual love between us that we are all supposed to experience from birth, the comfort of knowing someone with great familiarity the grace to “love” your unlovely friends, to care for your puppy or cherish a favorite student. Affection is not proud or vain, it doesn’t seek to puff itself up or separate others. Its gentle and can be taken for granted, but it is the building block of our concept of Love. One can feel Affection for someone without the awkwardness of attraction or the need to share the same biological parents, it can be casual and common and for most of us, its certainly the most familiar.

For those who lack the simple presence of “Affection” in their lives often struggle with understanding the basic element of Love for their future relationships of a romantic nature, even harder… there is a huge struggle to grasp the basic love nature of God as our heavenly father. That He could be “Fond” of us, is a foreign concept because we never felt that from a parent or friend or colleague.

In God’s wisdom, He created the environment of the local community of faith to fill in those gaps for us. To repair our missing and un-healthy life experiences, including those of love. He made us to be in Christian fellowship to help in part to restore and heal those empty places in our hearts and for our kids he created first and foremost the family unit to be the incubator for a healthy love foundation to grow from. When we walk away from our local fellowship and or our families, we are setting ourselves up for a significant pattern of lost loves and mis-conceptions about God because we never get to the point of balance and wholeness in our understanding of Love, first with each other and then ultimately with God.

Sorry so long, but our topic is gigantic… meant to only scratch the proverbial surface, so the next RTP blog will continue this theme of the discussion on the four Loves, and we’ll jump into “Phileo'” or Brotherly love. It’s the second of the four we must know to begin to grasp the essential nature of our savior and His overwhelming expression of an ultimate and supernatural love to every man – woman and child on this planet.  Affection however, remains a great place to start the discussion with any child who is coming of age.

Peace and Grace to you as you like me…seek to keep your families in between the lines and on the road of life.

Brad.