"A Father's Love" (Guest Speaker Eric Diemer)

Hello!  It’s nice to be back home, but I have to say that Wendy and I truly enjoyed our 25th Anniversary trip.  A rainy Canada says “Hello!” to all of you as well (and yes, we liked it that way -- it was a solid 30 degree cooler there than it was here in Central Illinois last week).  But before I forget, Happy Father’s Day!

I hope that you were able to spend some time this weekend with the people whom you love.  Not all of us have been fathers -- and not all of us have had the best relationships with the fathers that we’ve had -- but I’d bet that pretty much all of us have had men in our lives who have invested themselves in growing us as human beings in general, and healthy Christians in particular.  This is a good week to connect with those guys if it’s possible, and actively remember and appreciate that investment.

Of course, it’s also thus a week to recognize that all of us can (and should) be putting that kind of investment into the people whom God has brought into our own lives.  Whether you’re 20 years old or 90 years old or anywhere in-between, there are people around you who could use your wisdom, your experience, your loving guidance, and your patient support in their lives.  Can you actively show others the love that you’ve appreciated being shown to you?

Our guest speaker, Eric Diemer, actually talked quite a bit about love in his message this week.  In modern English, we tend to use that word to mean “to thoroughly enjoy something” (like “I love steak”) or “to like something a lot” (like “I love the Cubs”), but that’s all about how we personally feel, and nothing about what we genuinely invest ourselves in.

Biblical love always has a personal cost to it.  The offerings in Leviticus 1-7 all cost the worshiper (but that’s kind of the whole point).  The gift of God’s Son to the world in John 3:16 was costly.  Christ’s willingness to go to the cross (and forgive us for it) in Luke 23 was costly.  The love that Paul showed for the church in 2 Corinthians 11:24-31 was costly.  Real love -- a Biblical love -- requires an investment of great cost on our part, but we tend not to be willing to do that.  And that’s why we so often focus our “love” on food and sports teams, or even decide our love for one another based on what we personally gain, rather than what we can personally invest.

That leads to a cheapening of love all the way around, and a devaluation of even the concept of love.  As Eric shared, we often struggle in our relationships with the Lord because we’re “loving God like we love steak, while God loves us with a Biblical love.”  So Eric challenged all of us with these questions:

     How do you love God?

     How has that love changed your life?

     What has that love cost you? Do you truly sacrifice things in your life for your love of God?

     How do you love the people around you -- Biblically, or like a steak?