Hope of the World
By Tim White "The local church is the hope of the world." These were the passionate words of Ryan Romeo as he spoke in our area at a fabulous concert last summer called Outcry. Pastor Linda attended the Christian concert for her birthday featuring some of the top Christian bands and artists. She was so touched by the fervor of the young worship pastor named Ryan Romeo, who through Cody Williams (Director of Development for the band Jesus Culture) had put Ryan in touch with David Crowder, Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music, and many of the leaders of millennial Christians in the United States. Linda was so impressed by their passion for the local church that she picked up a copy of the book "OUTCRY" by Ryan Romeo. Giving it to me she said “this sounds a lot like our new theme Love First.” I read the book in a little over one hour. I told Linda “This is so exciting to see that, unknown to us, what we envision as our "Love First” theme this year is an international movement.” I immediately wanted to meet this Ryan Romeo so I looked him up and found out that he was already a contact of mine… so I wrote him an email inviting him to come and preach at our church this year. I don’t know if this is all going to work out, but our whole church is excited at the possibility to move ahead in a world that is starving for the love of Jesus Christ and to remember our First Love - Jesus Christ.
I remember when I was dating my wife Jackie and she would tell me that she loved Jesus more than me. Even though I was a radical Christian I must admit that I was jealous. When we were newlyweds and in the first 30 years of our marriage - I am still jealous. There was no compromise in Jackie. When it came to helping the homeless - she was all in. When it came to giving above our tithes and offerings - it was Jesus First. When it came to her quiet time or the fact that her pastoral work was not merely a job but part of her radical love for Jesus - she was all in. It took me 30 years to get used to being married to a radical Jesus freak. It did help that she is the most wonderful, fun, beautiful person I know and I am very blessed by God to share in the adventure of her life. After 30 years I have learned that this love of Jesus that I advocated, preached about and believed in wasn’t something to be jealous about with my wife; it was the reason we were so blessed.
Now, I might sound kind of thick-headed to you - that it took so long for this to dawn on me; but I suspect that many of us have our reservation of going all in on the love of God. It touches our deepest insecurities. That is why I will share this week from Romans Chapter 5 – “Love Hopes, Hurts and Heals.”
This is Kickoff Sunday for our Love First Campaign. Won’t you join us? We are re-launching all our small groups, all our congregations, all our round table organizations, all of our ministries. Special guest - Divine Cook will be with us to sing, backed by our choir and worship band. We will have a bounce house for the kids. Life is short, let’s make this year count as we try to build the greatest caring network the world has ever seen by being more caring individually, as we fully experience the mighty love of God in a deeply personal way.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White