It’s always interesting the lessons that can be learned from a four year old. I was “camping out” on the floor of my grandson’s bedroom the other day and he had said, “Let’s talk, Grandpa.” I was telling him stories and when the talk turned to God, I said, “God loves you very much.” His response was the one that caught my attention. He said, “God loves me when I am a good boy.” I replied, “Garrett, God loves you all the time, whether you are good or bad. He does want you to listen to your mommy and daddy and to follow Him, but he always loves you.”
I have encountered other people (adults) who feel that God can’t love or accept them because of life choices they’ve made in the past. They feel that they are too dirty or damaged to ever be acceptable to the Father.
One of my favorite stories of Jesus is the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15. The young man in the story did everything possible to fall outside of the love of his father. In fact, he chose to distance himself from the father, so he could live as he pleased. When he came to his senses, returning home with the hope that his father would allow him to live there as a servant, he found out what love looked like. Love was the father hoping, looking and waiting for the prodigal to return. Love was seeing his son in the distance, and running to greet him. Love was throwing a party celebrating the son’s return.
We start churches in Chicagoland because we want people to see and experience the love of the Father. God loves people. What a celebration we have seeing people discover the life-changing love of the Father. This is what motivates us forward as we start churches.