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First Pres Blog

Real Love: An Answer for our Hope

Posted by Todd Naevestad on

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A Man of Love

Prominent man of faith Billy Graham died yesterday. Many of us know him as a preacher and teacher who helped shape the way Christianity is seen today. He lived with utter conviction that God is real and would be waiting for him at the end.

That kind of faith doesn’t come from a god we created—only from a God Who is real. A God Who loves us and shines in us. Graham is famously quoted as saying, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

I think that is the crux of helping the world know that God is real. I can’t prove God in any scientific way. I can’t break out the graphs and pie charts and point at them to show why God is real. Men and women smarter than me have tried, yet we still wrestle with this question. I believe Graham gives us something we can do, and an answer we can give for the hope we profess.

An Apologetic of Love 

God is a God of love: love so inhuman, so supernatural, that we can’t even conceive of how to create it in our own lives. But we can be a vessel for it—a crystal to focus it and shine that love into the world. When the world sees love, a love we couldn’t give on our own, they have a chance to see God standing behind us with His arms open.

In the context of our series, Really?, demonstrating God's love means giving answers in grace. It means not giving in to defensive reactions. It means not being afraid to say “I don’t know, but let’s look into it together.” Pastor Tim said in his opening sermon, “you will never argue someone into faith in God, but you can remove obstacles and offer clues.” One of the best obstacles you can remove is yourself—your ego and your agenda. When you step aside and let God’s love shine through, that is when the Holy Spirit can work and show an unbelieving heart that God is real.

We might look to the life of Reverend Billy Graham and be discouraged. We don’t have his platform, his recognition, his talent. But what we have is the opportunity—the same opportunity he had—to reach out and speak love into the world.

We also have the same tool he did: the Bible. Graham wrote in a devotional, “God caused the Book to be written that He might make His everlasting laws clear to His children, and that they might have His great wisdom to guide them, and His great love to comfort them as they make their way through life.” While many try to discredit the Bible, we see it for the living Scripture it is. It is up to us to let God show us in His Word how to love. Once we know, the call before us is clear. We must act in God’s love, just as Billy Graham did. By this we show the world that God is real.


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