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Ten Things I Know About Love…and I’m Still Learning!

        I am working on a third book on the topic of leadership.   This one is entitled, “Loving and Leading in Ministry.”  I want to share a little of this with you tonight because, in the end, nothing is as important as our love for God and His love for us.

        Christ’s divine essence, his miraculous power, his authoritative teaching, and his mission to redeem the lost form the essential Jesus for the believer.  But, the pathos of Christ draws the human heart to Him more than any other attribute.  His love for all people and people of all ages forever binds us to him on a higher plane.  From children to the elderly, from beggars to kings, from rugged fishermen to quiet homemakers, from thieves to saints, from scoundrels to pietistic  religionists, the attraction of love is the hands-down number one reason why people identify with Christ. 

        Countless attempts have been made to capture the meaning of love in a rainbow of forms and definitions.  Poets, composers, philosophers, crooners, and ordinary folk have all tried their hand at it.  Only One perfected it. 

Jesus loves me, this I know,For the Bible tells me so,

Little ones to Him belong,They are weak but He is strong.


Jesus loves me when I’m good,When I do the things I should,

Jesus loves me when I’m bad,‘Though it makes Him very sad.


Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so.

1.      LOVE IS POWER.  Love is the most powerful of all emotions, human and divine.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (KJV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Song of Songs 8:7 (KJV)
7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”

1 John 4:15-21 (KJV)
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Love has the power to make a life marvelous; it also has the power to make life miserable.

All She Had Was A Broken Heart

         A pleased smile crept across his mother’s face as she read the valentine card.  He wanted to get her something to ease the pain of her recent divorce.  Laying the card in her lap and opening the box, her expression slowly changed into a puzzled look as she saw the broken pieces of chocolate in the box. 

        “I’m sorry, Mom” he explained. “The store was about to close and the lady said that all she had left was a broken heart.” 

She hugged him and brushed away her tears.  “Oh, that’s okay,” she replied.  It’s perfect.  Just perfect!”

        The broken heart is the universal image of lost love.  English poet John Donne first articulated it with these verses:

If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thine heart to show
More pity unto me; but Love, alas!
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

2.  LOVE IS DECEPTIVE.  Everything we call love is not actually love.

        Infatuation:  foolish, all-absorbing passion.  (Samson &     Delilah)

        Fascination:  powerful attraction.  (Demas)

        Obsession: the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, (David 7 Bathsheba) (Amnon)

        Romance:  a baseless, made-up story, usually full of   exaggeration or fanciful invention; a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire.

        Crush: an intense but usually short-lived infatuation, usually by immature youth.

        Fondness:  tenderness or affection; a likeness or weakness for something

        Urge:  an involuntary, natural, or instinctive impulse.


Evil Urges lyrics

What is what? Man they got us so scared
Thinkin we so evil way down under there
Whooo! I made a nasty decision
To love whoever I want, just a whenever I can

Greek words for love: Eros:  Physical love; Phileo:  Brotherly love; Agape:  Divine love; Stergo:  Family love.  These different definitions were not a problem for the Greeks because they were actually different words, not the same words with different definitions.  In English, however, we need to be careful that we don’t confuse the definitions.

3.      LOVE IS MANIPULATIVE.  Words and symbols about love can be highly manipulative.

        Perhaps a dozen roses.  An engagement gift.  A whispered “I love you.”  A longing look.  These expressions, as symbols of love, wield intoxicating power.  They release the totality of a person’s emotions.  This is where the danger begins.  Masters of manipulation know how to shower victims with gifts and mouth the right words sans sincerity.  That’s why discerning people analyze claims of love before validating them. 

        He swept her off her feet.

        He had stars in his eyes.


        Boy crazy/Girl crazy

        Bit by the love bug

 1 John 3:18 (KJV)
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Words can trigger emotions that grow into powerful, sometimes irrational forces in our lives.  Do not use words that you don’t mean; do not believe words that are spoken casually or insincerely.

4.      LOVE IS PROVEABLE.  The test of true love is action, not words.


        Love is too important, too conceptually dangerous and far too powerful to be embraced without putting it to the reality test.  It cannot simply be taken at one’s word.  Proof of love may sound cold but it enjoys a sound, biblical basis.  In two separate places, Paul wrote:

        I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 2 Corinthians 8:8.

        Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.  2 Corinthians 8:24.

        Those who hedge proving their love give reason to doubt its authenticity.  Nowhere is talk more lavish—and cheaper—than in the profession of love.  In the practice of leadership, followers must see love in deeds, not in words only or else leaders will soon marginalize their effectiveness.  Also, touchy feely love that emphasizes handshakes, hugs and emotional openness becomes suspect when the leaders’ decisions contradict his or her overt actions.

The larger the organization, the less the leader is expected to demonstrate a hands-on type of love.  Rather, followers look for love in direction, vision-casting and daily decision-making.  This may have been one reason why Jesus performed one of his notable miracles, the feeding of the five thousand.

        That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and it is getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

But Jesus replied, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

        “Impossible!” they exclaimed. “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish!”

        “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. And he took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God’s blessing on the food. Breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave some of the bread and fish to each disciple, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.  About five thousand men had eaten from those five loaves, in addition to all the women and children!  Matthew 14:14-21 NLT

        Jesus had to pack the totality of his earthly mission into forty-two months.  He didn’t have time for anything that was aimless or without purpose.  Why did he feed these five thousand people?  Scholars say that He needed to emphatically demonstrate His power to counteract all doubt of his divinity.  But He accomplished this in many other ways.  I am convinced that the greater motive behind this magnanimous act was His genuine compassion for the crowd.  He literally could not bear to wave off the needs of people when He had the means to meet those needs.  The truth of His love burned a hole in His heart.

        When the leader loves with no personal, material benefit, it always delivers a powerful impact on followers.  People are smarter than we often think they are.  Empty promises, self-serving actions, ingratiating gestures and pronouncements of love that are void of meaning eventually nauseate people.  True love thrives in actions, not words.


5.      LOVE IS MANAGEABLE.  Love can and ought to be managed.

                You can learn to love. (Ruth and Naomi)

                You can refuse to love.  1 John 2:15-17)

                You can regulate or restrain your love. Matt 5:44.

                You can prioritize your love.  (Seek ye first…)

                People who do not learn to manage their love can get in deep trouble. (Questions I ask in pre-marital counseling…)

6.      LOVE IS PREDICTABLE.  You are most likely to love whoever or whatever you are closest to.

Neighborhood, school, circle of friends—these comprise the people you may end up loving.  Also, whatever your pastime, hobby, leisure activities, habits—you are likely to love those things most.  (Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together…)

7.      LOVE IS SELFLESS.  You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.

        For God so loved the world that He gave…

8.      LOVE IS DOMINANT.  Love is holistic, not compartmentalized.

        For example, if you love the woods, you do not necessarily love the individual components that make up the woods.  You may not like the bark on the trees, the thistles, the wasps, the dirt, etc.  You man love a person, but not necessarily every feature about the person.

Galatians 5:13-17 (KJV)
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

9.      LOVE IS TRANSFORMING.  Love will make you into a different person.

        Andrew D. Urshan, one of the early pioneer Apostolic preachers, was extremely serious about his relationship with Jesus.  He never missed an opportunity to preach a sermon, whether he was behind the pulpit or sitting at the dinner table.  He had a favorite comeback to anyone who said they loved chocolate cake. 

        “No, no,” he scolded.  “You like chocolate cake.  You love Jesus.” 

        I shared this story with my congregation on one occasion to make the point about the power of love to change people.  A lady came up to me afterwards with an unexpected response. 

        “Pastor,” she said, “I have a confession to make.  I do love chocolate cake—and it has changed me!”

        We had a good laugh, but it is true.  Genuine love has an inherent power to transform lives, convert circumstances and alter attitudes.  This is the best thing I know about love.  It will make you become what you have never been before.  You will embrace that which you previously abhorred; it will reconfigure your opinions and turn your reverse into forward.  Love will make a no into a yes. 

        Even beyond that, one will become what he or she loves.  Love does not happen in a vacuum; abstract love is no love at all.  Whatever or whoever you love has a real, tangible effect on you.  This transformational power of love is precisely why the Bible strongly warns us about the influence of the world in our lives. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. I John 2:15.  Also, II Timothy 6:10.  “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  Those who love the world will become like the world.

        Likewise, sustained love for God transforms us into His image.  The more we love God, the more like God we will become. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God … but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  I John 3:1.  Love is the catalyst that transforms mortals into Christ-likeness. 

10.   LOVE IS COMPELLING.  Loving God is the most important mission in your life.

At twenty-five years of age, Billy Schnee died of Duchene’s disease, commonly known as muscular dystrophy.  I preached his funeral.  Among other things, I said:

“I stood beside Billy Schnee’s hospital bed when we knew that the end was near.  I decided to preach his funeral sermon to him then, although I didn’t tell him what I was doing.  I told him that he must not think that his life was wasted or in vain.  He had a powerful, positive effect on everyone who knew him because he brought out the best in them.  God used him to develop grace, love and compassion in his family and friends. 

“The greatest tragedy of this entire episode would be for us to fail to recognize God’s hand in creating divine attributes in creatures of clay.   As surely as Moses picked up a rod and caused the sea to roll back, as surely as David picked up a sling and felled the giant, so also God picked up Billy Schnee and brought forth marvelous graces and heroic deeds from ordinary human beings like us.

        “Billy taught us patience through the laborious task of caring for him.  Billy taught us peace through his calm reaction to daily challenges.  Billy taught us thankfulness because he showed such gratitude for his care.  Billy taught us happiness through his refusal to complain.  Billy taught us appreciation for so much because he had such appreciation for his limited opportunities.  We cannot measure Billy’s life by what he did, but by what he caused others to do.”

And what did Billy cause us to do?  Love him.  We were helpless to do anything less.

Love makes you do what you had not planned to do.  It makes debtors out of people who previously didn’t owe a dime.  It makes virtual slaves out of those who moments earlier boasted of their freedom.  It leads self-possessed people into immense sacrifice.  It turns miscreants into martyrs, stubborn hearts into silly putty, and brutes into puppy dogs.

        “Leadership,” according President Dwight Eisenhower, “is making people do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”  The key is to find a way to make it happen.  You can inspire faith in your followers; you can give them hope; but the superior method is to love them.  Coercion, deception, fear or even financial reward cannot compel people to act with the same fervor or dedication as they will when they are loved into action.

Love compelled Jesus.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8.  Genuine love always compels us to cross the grain of fleshly impulses.  It has often been noted that no nail was strong enough, no Roman soldier big enough and no crowd was cruel enough to crucify Jesus.  Only love could keep Him on the cross.

Love compelled Paul.  In the second epistle to the Corinthians, he goes through a litany of sufferings he sustained for them, all because of love.

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:  But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned…As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.  II Corinthans 11:24-28.

Leaders who are compelled by love transfer their love to their followers, causing them to love as well. 

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