For God so loved the world that he gave…..
JOHN 3:16

=“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
MARK 15:29-32

’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

“A new command I give you:
Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
JOHN 13:34-35

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
MARK 12:31

Now this is very threatening and almost overwhelming. Because we feel immediately that if we take Jesus seriously, we will not just have to love others “as we love ourselves,” but we will have to love them “instead of loving ourselves.” That’s what it seems like. We fear that if we follow Jesus in this, and really devote ourselves to pursuing the happiness of others, then our own desire for happiness will always be preempted. The neighbor’s claim on my time and energy and creativity will always take priority. So the command to love my neighbor as I love myself really feels like a threat to my own self-love. How is this even possible? If there is born in us a natural desire for our own happiness, and if this is not in itself evil, but good, how can we give it up and begin only to seek the happiness of others at the expense of our own? JOHN PIPER

This Piper quote gets at the heart of our fear of loving.  Be praying for Rob Price this week, as he prepares to preach on this vital subject.  Come ready to be reminded that love is our chief calling.  Love must be what we are known for and what defines us.  Paul boiled it all down to the following:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

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