the big idea:
God is love. Jesus is God’s love incarnate. We are Jesus, i.e. God’s love incarnate, to the world.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:12-17).
February 18: Fights
Forty days in the wilderness without food. Nailed to a cross and left to die. Does God really love me? Does God really care? Or am I truly in this all alone? Yes, the temptation is often there to give up on a relationship when we don’t feel the love. Love, however, refuses to throw in the towel, love does not give up. Love fights to hold on to what it knows and believes!
Scriptures: Genesis 22:1-18; Romans 8:31-39; Mark 1:12-15; Psalm 3
Sermon Text: Mark 1:12-15; Mark 15:34
February 25: Takes Up the Cross
When we think that love means happiness and roses and nothing more, we’re in for serious disappointment. Sometimes love means sacrifice and suffering. Sometimes loves means taking up a cross can carrying it to its finish.
Scriptures: Genesis 28:10-17; Romans 5:1-11; Mark 8:31-38; Psalm 73
Sermon Text: Mark 8:31-38; John 19:28-29
March 4: Protects
A mother loves her child and will do everything she can to protect him. Even if the whole world turns against or gives up on her child, she’ll defend and speak well of him to the bitter end. How much greater is Jesus’ love as he seeks to protect his Father’s reputation and the physical well-being of his own mother. Love protects.
Scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17; Romans 8:1-10; John 2:13-22; Psalm 69
Sermon Text: John 2:13-22; John 19:25-29
March 11: Embraces All
We say we love all people, but when push comes to shove, we’re pretty selective about where we choose to live and the people we choose to hang out with. Jesus hung out (literally!) with individuals that we church people would deem “beneath us”. And he showed them the same love, the same grace. Love embraces all!
Scriptures: Numbers 21:4-9; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21; Psalm 38
Sermon Text: John 3:14-21; Luke 23:43
March 17: Forgives
Forgiveness—it sounds so easy. Yet, there are times when we just can’t forgive, when we simply don’t want to forgive. If anyone had reason to feel that way, it was Jesus. Jesus, however, freely offers unconditional forgiveness even to the very men who nailed him to the cross. Forgive, God says, as I have forgiven you. Love forgives!
Scriptures: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:7-10; John 12:20-33; Psalm 115
Sermon Text: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Luke 23:34
March 25: Sees It Through (Palm Sunday)
Love is hard. There are so many times when we’re just weary. We give and give and give and never seem to get anything back. Jesus displayed so much love through his life and ministry. He had every right to expect a little something back. But human love is always tainted by selfish motivations. Still that’s the thing about God’s love. It’s committed. It does what it needs to do. Love sees it through.
Scriptures: Zechariah 9:9,10; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 11:1-10; Psalm 24
Sermon Text: Mark 11:1-10, John 19:28-30