“You are loved.”
My pastor always ends letters to our congregation this way.
You are loved.
It’s a great reminder of that in the midst of a community of people – no matter how large or small – you are loved. You, individually, are loved. The leaders of our church love the person not just the people.
It’s also a reminder of a current reality. We don’t love you because of what you’ve done, we don’t love you because of who we are hoping you will become. We don’t love you because of some sick need in our life for affirmation. You are loved.
It’s also an active commitment to live and lead in a way that communicates our desire that you would know Jesus deeper and become more like Him. We do this because we love you and that forms so much of how we operate. You are loved.
Worship leaders – hear this. You are loved. Right now, you are loved. God loves you – individually. God knows you, God formed you, God loves you. You. It’s also a present reality. God loves you now. God doesn’t love you because of your songs, your talent, your sweet new gear, your spiritual disciplines, your serving, your skinny jeans – you are loved. Now. And God expresses this love for you in how He operates. He is actively engaged in caring for you, shepherding you, providing for you, comforting you and encouraging you. You are loved.
We are just over a week away from Easter and many of you fall in to two camps right now – some of you are over-the-moon-can’t-wait-let’s-make-it-happen excited and others of you are just plain terrified. Listen closely – you are loved.
Whether Easter Sunday is the closest your church ever gets to heaven on earth or whether Easter Sunday is the perfect collision of suck and disappointment, you are loved. No success and no failure on Easter Sunday will change that. You are loved.
I was listening a couple of weeks ago to a message from Matt Chandler and a line from his sermon has been in my brain ever since. I may be paraphrasing but essentially he said this: “God doesn’t love some future version of you.”
Bam! “God doesn’t love some future version of you.” You are loved.
So this Easter, give it all you got. Lead your church in celebration and exultation and rejoicing and all those good church words – make sure you do everything you can to point to Jesus and run with your people to the empty tomb. See people turn their lives to Christ, hear the celebration of heaven as that happens but remember that all of this has no impact on God’s love for you. You are loved.
Terrified that you’ll have a Mark 16 kind of Easter? “When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.” People may come, hear the great news of the resurrection, that you have seen this and they will not believe. They may walk out totally unchanged. You need to know that there is a greater reality here. You are loved.
Worship leaders – do everything you can to make Jesus famous at Easter but whether you succeed or fail, nothing will ever change the fact that you are loved.
Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”