And they sang a new song, saying:

You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Revelation 5:9

Worthy, worthy, worthy! These will be the shouts of praise and songs of worship that erupt from around the throne of God. The heavens will roar with all the adoration that is due Him. Languages from every tribe, village, and nation will be present because He is worthy. The Lord Most High desires and deserves complete and perfect love from those whom He loved.

This begs the question for us to discuss –

Whom did He love?

The simple answer is –

He loves you, He loves me, and He loves all that still do not know Him.

But what about the bigger picture of His love?

Unfortunately, over the past two thousand years, there have been quarrels and arguments amongst Christians and non-Christians alike about the sacrificial love of our God. Some have made arguments that indicate God has pre-selected only some to be saved and those are the people that He has truly loved. Others have contended that God’s love and sacrifice was, and is, so complete that all people (past, present, and future) will be saved even if they never surrender to Jesus. Personally, I do not align or agree with either of these arguments!

God’s love is unconditional, uncompromising, and without any fault! His love is so perfect that any person can be saved no matter how atrocious they may have sinned. His love is so unfathomable that it cannot be contained to just one people, one generation, or one geographical location. While the beginning of God’s story focused on a single, specific group of people, through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Kingdom of God is now available to ALL!

Our loving Father extended some incredible promises to His people throughout the generations. Let’s take a quick look and be reminded of His expansive love.

In Genesis 12, we find the Abrahamic Covenant. The Lord makes a covenant with Abram and promises that all families (all nations) on earth will be blessed. This blessing will come through the family line of Abram (Abraham), onward through Israel, and ultimately through Jesus the Messiah.

The prophet Habakuk declares in chapter 2 verse 14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.” A promise is given that God’s presence, glory, knowledge, and salvation will be accessible and present across the entire earth.

On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is poured out and people begin to speak in new languages. Those looking in on the scene were able to identify a number of these languages as being from foreign lands. In God’s mercy and demonstration of power, His Holy Spirit was equipping those in the upper room for international ministry.

In Galatians 3:26-29, the Apostle Paul addresses the contentious beliefs of preferring one nationality over another. He also chooses to address the false and demeaning belief that men are better or should be preferred over women.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We could enumerate many more examples that display the Lord’s love and mercy for ALL nations and ALL people. Hopefully, through these few examples, and the others that the Holy Spirit may have brought to your mind, you are embracing the idea that God makes no preference and doesn’t play favorites.

One concluding thought to consider.

For those who live in the United States or other Western nations, there has been an overly patriotic sentiment that jades our Christianity. In the first Gulf War in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I recall hearing self-proclaimed Christians calling for the utter annihilation of Iraq and its allies. This continued on through the Desert Storm, the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and other wars/conflicts in various parts of the world. People would worship Jesus on Sunday, but practically endorse genocide the other six days of the week. I am certain that this is not the character becoming of a person who is truly in love with Jesus. While war is inevitable, our hearts should be in-tuned and aligned with God’s love for ALL people and ALL nations.

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Loneliness is a common human experience that transcends age, occupation, and social status. Even in the context of church ministry, where pastors and leaders are surrounded by a congregation, it’s possible to feel isolated and alone. This article explores the unique challenges of loneliness within church ministry and offers strategies that I myself am using to combat it.

The Loneliness Paradox

At first glance, it might seem paradoxical that individuals in church ministry, who are often surrounded by a community of believers, can experience loneliness. However, ministry can be isolating for several reasons:

Role Expectations:

​ Pastors and leaders are often seen as spiritual guides, and there’s an expectation that they should have it all together. This can make it challenging for them to admit their struggles, including loneliness.

Lack of Peer Relationships:

​ While pastors and leaders have strong connections with their congregations, they may lack close peer relationships within their own ministry circles. They often shoulder the burdens of others but may not have someone to share their own burdens with.

High Stress Levels:

​ The demands of church ministry, including sermon preparation, pastoral care, and administrative tasks, can lead to high stress levels. This stress can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Strategies to Combat Loneliness

  1. Seek Accountability:

    Pastors and leaders should actively seek out mentors or peers with whom they can build accountability relationships. These relationships provide a safe space to share struggles and receive support.

  2. Prioritize Self-Care:

    Ministry can be all-consuming, leaving little time for personal well-being. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care, including regular exercise, rest, and time for hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.

  3. Establish Boundaries:

    Set clear boundaries for work hours and responsibilities. Overextending oneself can lead to burnout and increased feelings of loneliness.

  4. Foster Peer Connections:

    Create opportunities for pastors and leaders within your church community to connect and build peer relationships. This can be done through small groups, retreats, or regular meetings specifically for leaders.

  5. Spiritual Discipline:

    Deepen your spiritual discipline. Regular prayer, meditation of the word, and reflection can provide a sense of connection with God, helping to alleviate loneliness.

  6. Professional Counseling:

    Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling if loneliness becomes overwhelming. Therapists can provide guidance and support to address these feelings.

Loneliness in church ministry is a real and challenging issue. However, with awareness and proactive steps, pastors and leaders can combat these feelings and create a more supportive and connected ministry environment. Remember that it’s okay to seek help and that you don’t have to battle loneliness alone. By prioritizing self-care, seeking peer relationships, and deepening your spiritual discipline, you can find greater fulfillment and connectedness in your ministry journey.

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Strange! What could that possibly mean?

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