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  • Writer's picturePastor Linda Settles

Love Goes First


Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!


Have you ever watched kids playing? It’s so interesting to watch their interactions. Sometimes they’ll argue over who’s going to be first, “Me! Let me go first!” And wise adults help them to calm down because it doesn’t matter who goes first. Everyone will get a turn.


But when it comes to love, love should go first because that’s love’s nature.


19 We love because he [God] first loved us.

1 John 4:19


When it comes to love, God made the first move. Not because we were holy. Not because we were good looking. Not because of money or status or race. No, not even because we loved God, but God put us first and loved us before we even knew ourselves. That’s the nature of God’s love. It goes first.


When you come to know God through His Son, Jesus Christ, you will know the love of God. You can’t help it. That’s how God reveals Himself to us, through the love of His Son, Jesus Christ. Loving promises in the Word of God, loving actions in our lives, and even before we had come to know God, before we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God’s love in action showed forth.


6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that

while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8


God has seen the real you since before your birth. I know, it blows the mind, but then, He is God! See Psalm 139 for more on that. And before you did one single thing, God chose to love you. That’s the action of God’s love. Going first. Putting it all on the line, sacrificing for us.

And we can see the expression of God’s love for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.


9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10


In the past year we have seen heroic sacrifices on the part of others for folks in Ukraine suffering the devastation of a war they didn’t ask for. We have seen humanitarian efforts in Turkey and Syria after the destruction of a major earthquake with tens of thousands of people dying, but another 8000 who were saved. Sacrifices for people they don’t even know. Sacrifices for the sake of love. As one man put it, “It’s the humanitarian thing to do.” Laying your all on the altar of sacrifice.


How can you put your love for humanity into action? We are the expression of God’s love to the world. We should lead with love on our jobs, in our circle of acquaintances, in our neighborhoods because love doesn’t wait to be asked, love goes first.


Join us for worship this Sunday, as we talk about the amazing love of God and the difference it makes in our lives. The sermon title: Love Goes First. You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.


Sympathy and Prayers Go out to the Geil family in the passing of Gregory Geil. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Shriners Hospital for Children. The memorial service will be at Green Trails on Saturday, February 11, at 11:00am. The obituary and guest book can be found at Schrader.com.


We also extend our sympathy and prayers to Barb Whitman in the passing of her father at the age of 104! To God be the glory for such a full life.

Eight O'clock Bean Band Concert & Art Show! This Friday, 6:30pm, in the Multi Purpose Room. Not only will you get a great concert, but several local artists will have their pieces on display. Refreshments will be on hand!

Have you RSVP’d? - Unity Luncheon on Sunday, Feb. 26, after worship. We will celebrate with a catered lunch and a presentation on the African Schoolhouse Number 4. We will have special guests in the house, including Mrs. Doris Frazier, one of the Schoolhouse teachers, and Mark Ohlendorf, Pres. of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation, so please let us know you’ll be there (caterer count) and let’s celebrate together! RSVP here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080c4fa9ae2ea2fe3-black


Kelly Clarkson Airing! Don’t forget to watch our story about the schoolhouse on the Kelly Clarkson Show on Thursday, February 16. Check your local listing for the time and station.


Faith Forward Challenge How are you doing with it? It’s not just for January, but for all year long! Remember, this is the year of extraordinary faith, so stretch yourself and watch God move in your life! Don’t know what the Faith Forward Challenge is? Check it out on our website: umcgt.org.


As the next Valentine’s Day approaches, when the world puts their version of love on display, this is my prayer for all of us:


16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be

filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19


Happy Valentine’s Day!


With Love,

Pastor Linda

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