Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Walk In Love

“Walk in Love”

For the past seven years I have been blessed and honored to work at a week long retreat for middle schoolers called JYP.  It takes place once a year during Youth Week at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. 

Kanuga has been a very important part of my life ever since the first time I went to a High School retreat there called SYP back in 2002.  (SYP is the high school version of JYP)  Then when I was a freshman in college, my sister gives me a call and tells me about this great week long thing that she has been working at and how I should apply to be on staff for this thing called JYP!! 

I was a little hesitant at first but ultimately decided, “Why not?” and dove right in.  Seven years later it is something I look forward to each and every year.  I always return from JYP completely exhausted from lack of sleep but completely renewed and inspired by the amazing way in which everything works out through out the week.  God must have been really busy.

This year the theme for JYP was “Walk in Love”.  And that is what I wanted to share with you today.

How do you walk in love?  What does that even mean? 

Matthew 22:37-39

New International Version (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a]38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

At JYP we split this topic up into 3 sections.  God love.  Neighbor love.  And Self love.
Having a relationship with God is a very personal thing and is different for every person.  Therefore there really are no wrong answers.  You also can not really have someone tell you what that looks like.  Only you know that.  Instead of sitting here and telling you answers to questions that in reality I have no idea how to answer, I am simply going to ask questions.  Take a minute and find a quiet place and reflect on these questions.  Let them be a springboard to deeper questions you may have.  Journal about them.  Draw a picture of what you think answers those questions?  Who simply just write the questions you wish to have answered.

The first of the kind of love we covered at JYP was God love.  How do we know that God loves us?  What has God given us that shows God cares for us and loves us and is there for us?  How do we respond to that love?  What do we do with those gifts God has given us?  How do you share those gifts with others?

Who is your neighbor?
 I would strongly encourage everyone to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan at this point.
How do you show love to your neighbor?
What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself?

Do you really love yourself and everything about yourself?
What are your gifts and talents?
Who is the person you wish to be and what does that person do that you do not?
What is keeping you from being that person?
Do these things make you feel separate from God?
What makes you feel separated from God?


Not feeling worthy?  


What is it that makes you feel that you cannot be that person you want to be?  What force is keeping you from the love of God?

Romans 8:38-39

New International Version (NIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Again, NOTHING can separate you from the love of God.

Now, imagine this…
Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love yourself and share that love with your neighbors.  If you were draw an imaginary line of what that looked like it would be a horizontal line.  Connecting everyone around.


Now, draw a line representing the love God has for you, this unending, unconditional love and the love we want to and strive yet struggle to return.  What does that look like?  A vertical line?


What happens if we combine those to lines of love?  

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

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