Saturday, December 28, 2013

Love Emmanuel

Love can’t be forced. Obedience can be coerced, if necessary. Following a strict code of behavior can be gained by laying out the rational and positive reasons for adherence. A relationship can be engaged long-term through a series of intertwining commitments, peer pressure and cultural mores that promote the relationship.

Love? It can’t be forced. Love is best freely given and received.

God is love. God in love has revealed laws that point to goodness (don’t steal, be faithful to your spouse, respect those in charge) and humanity is better off when following God’s law. Positive moral codes of behavior similar to those in the Bible have been embraced by one degree or another in many cultures. It stands to reason if the universe was created by God that some semblance of a moral law would permeate hearts everywhere. And it stands to reason that something is not quite right with humanity insofar as no culture anywhere has people who always follow even what they believe to be right, whether it be out of fear of punishment (temporal or eternal) or in anticipation of reward (eternal or temporal).

But love, that is God’s aim. And love, not law or reason, holds the ultimate power to transform.

So, Christians believe, God radically changed the course of the cosmos by entrusting his very own son into the hands of a human family. To be born, raised by a mom and dad, experience the horrors of persecution and joys of family, the frustrations of trying to keep food on a table and sense of accomplishment achieved through hard work well done. To learn at his mother’s knee even as he teaches the religious leaders of his day. Perhaps, some would see him for who He is – truth, light, love embodied - and fall in love with him, too. And through this vulnerable exchange become himself a merciful high priest who understands the suffering and temptations of a sin-riddled, confused, hungry people made amazingly in the image of God. And God in Christ, with the full abandon that love alone can engender, gave himself as an atoning sacrifice for all the confused, heavy laden, angry, violent, selfish and arrogant people whom He better than anyone else could ever know were formed by the Lord to become a joyful, creative, aware, free, peaceful and truly wonderful humanity.

Let’s fall in love with Emmanuel – God with us – all over again. Receive His amazing, lovely forgiveness along with the promise of a life with Him that leads to our daily renewal and the promise of a heart full of love for God, others and ourselves.

Your Global Impact Partners

Proclaiming the good news of Jesus and feeding the hungry! Prayers and medicine to heal the sick! Clean water resources and living spiritual water! Raising levels of literacy and teaching the Word of God! Introducing people to the Heavenly Father and establishing networks to support orphans! Seeing people become new creations while planting trees and restoring God’s creation to sustain whole communities! NCC church, you do all of this and more when you support Free Methodist World Missions.
   We take the great commission of our resurrected Lord Jesus seriously. “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, while we bear witness in our own cities, regions and nation we also understand the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) as an integral aspect our connected gospel vision. Free Methodist world missions and global partnerships account for most of the nearly doubling of the Free Methodist movement over the past half-decade. There is no question but that your missionaries are fruitful.
   Who are the missionaries our churches support?
   The NCC has formally committed to supporting three of our global missions partners. Based in Kenya, Mike and Vicki Reynen are Africa Area Directors. Al and Diane Mellinger are missionaries to Bulgaria, combating atheism and loss of hope with the good news of Jesus. Steve and Jenny Evoy are Area Directors in Asia, overseeing some of the fastest growing Christian movements in the world.
   One benefit of being a denominational missionary (like the Reynens, Mellingers and Evoys) is that more time may be devoted to serving Jesus on the field of harvest and less time invested in raising money abroad for the task. They can do that because they have denominational support. We members of NCC churches are that denominational support.
   Every NCC church is asked to make an annual commitment to one, two or all three of these servants we have agreed to support. We make these commitments every fall. Now is the time. Prayerfully consider how your church might enjoy sharing in the spiritual fruit and reward of participating meaningfully in the Great Commission. “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way…they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others” (1Cor9.11-12). Visit for more info.