A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. - John 13:34-35
posted by annegret
posted on Monday November 17, 2014
We just wanted to give you a quick update on what is currently going on in our lives.
We have been married for over 3 months now, we got married in Tim’s childhood church building and then had a reception in the park afterwards. It was beautiful weather and we really enjoyed it. We have then had a lovely wedding in Germany almost 2 months ago and are now currently living with my parents. Tim just got his visa for Germany and we are trying to figure out what God has planned for our life in Germany. Right now I am looking for a job but we are still praying that God would bring us people to support us as we still want to do missions work and haven’t given up on our dream of making a hope film about human trafficking.
Tim needs to do an integration course as a requirement for his visa and do a language and culture test in the next two years to be able to get a permanent residency, so he will likely start doing that full time after Christmas.
Please keep us in your prayers, you can sign up for our email newsletter, but we will also be updating on our website more frequently. We are sending out our wedding thank you cards with information to see the wedding photos. We will also be posting some photos from our weddings here as well.
I was thinking about this while sitting in church the other day.
I grew up in church, for as long as I remember I heard about God, I remembered the sacrifice of Christ on the cross through communion, I celebrated his birth at Christmas and the death and resurrection at Easter. I heard about the things Christ said and the miracles he preformed.
Everything I knew of Christ was past tense, everything we said and did was to honour and remember, a memory, a guy in a book. Everything was dead and old and slow. Church was for adults and run by them for as a memorial of this great king that we read about.
This is great but Christ is not dead, he is not past tense. Christ is alive and in us who accept his gift. We carry in us the Holy Spirit and all of the power and authority of being sons and daughters of the most high king. Why do so many of us remember the great things he did instead of living in the great things he wants to do right now?
I was at church and during our songs I was praying and asking God to be here in spirit. He very clearly told me that he couldn’t, people would not let him enter. Have we grown so blind from religion that we can no longer accept the Holy Spirit? How can we say we are in a relationship with him if we do not accept his gifts to us?
Religion is a poor substitute for relationship. We can personally know and experience God but instead we choose rules, orderly services, tradition, performance, and worship those instead. None of those things are bad, but our focus on them over Christ is wrong.
I don’t really know when or how I realized Christ was still alive and it was not about remembering but celebrating. It is not past tense it is current, it is still happening. God still does amazing miracles and says powerful things, and as we learn that Jesus is the word of God and start having a relationship with Him we get to know his voice, and we begin to know And understand who God is.
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
As I write this I feel as if you have already heard this many times. Love your Neighbour as your self, I know I heard it many times in sunday school growing up. What does this mean? I mean sure it means that the most important thing is to love your neighbour right? Lets invite our neighbour over for coffee, lets give money to the homeless, lets support social justice!
I think a lot of us missed something really important here. It is not about loving our neighbours, it is not about what we can do for others, it isn’t about them, and frankly, it is not about us at all. Then what is it about?
That first part of the quote is really the important part, but we are so often in such a big hurry to see what we need to do that we miss it. The thing we are supposed to do is Love the Lord our God. Not just a bit, but to be completely consumed by it, completely focused on it. He says it is the great and first commandment. It forms the basis for the laws regarding idols and no other gods before God.
Then when do we get to the part about loving our neighbours? I want to cook, give out hot chocolate and buy ethical Coffee at my local coffee shop! These are great things for us to do, but they are not our focus. We should focus on God, we should love Him with all of our Heart Soul and Mind, as it says in Luke[^fn-luke10]. If we do this, if we are so focused on loving Christ, and having a relationship with Him, then we become more like Him. As we love Him, our hearts will break for the things that break His heart. As we are made more in His image we begin to love the things that He loves.
Out of loving Christ we can love our neighbours. The difference is subtle, but very important. If we are focused on loving our neighbours then we are focused on works. Focusing on works does not bring us closer to Christ! In Mathew 7:21-23 it says,
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
If our focus is on Christ, then what does that look like? It says it right there, “but the one who does the will of my Father”. How can we know the will of the Father if we do not know Him, how can we know Him if we are not focused on loving Him. If we are consumed with loving God with all of our heart soul and mind, then we will know the will of the Father. Then we will love our neighbours. We will reach out and touch the lives of those around us because we can not stop ourselves. We will be so overwhelmed with love that it will be a natural action, it will be an act of Worship to the Lord.
Can you imagine that, you are so in love with God that you can not contain it, and you simply love those around you so much because of it. We will go so far beyond acts, and deeds. It won’t be about buying the Ethical coffee, or shovelling snow for an old lady’s driveway. It will be about devoting our lives to helping those around us, in truly deep and meaningful ways. Yes we will likely shovel the walks, and buy the ethical coffee, however it won’t be so that others see us do these things, or so that these people see us helping them. It will be about getting to know that woman. Maybe your love language is gifts and acts and thats how you show her love at first, but then you find that she enjoys talking with you. Maybe its about how that person receives love, and we get to be God’s love to that person in their life. It becomes less about ourselves, it becomes about God!
Lets focus on Loving God, then letting that love pour through us into others. Lets take the focus off of ourselves and spend time with God. It isn’t always about doing things, or moving, sometimes it is about the peace and the time with God. Out of that our movement and our doing things is focused on God and His Kingdom.
27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
Annegret and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We thank you for following our website and look forward to sharing the next year with you. So much happening, our wedding in the summer, and hopefully more trips to work on our documentary.
The video posted above was shot at the Christmas eve service that we attended. It was pretty cool to see Christmas music from different genres represented in a service like that.
We have been in Canada for over two months now and I have to say I really enjoy living here! I love the snow and the food and all the awesome people I meet. Tim’s family has taken really good care of us, they are a huge blessing.
People who know me, know that I really enjoy good food and that I get totally excited about chocolate, that’s why I want to share with you some of the delicious things I have tried.
One of the first things I tried where chicken wings. I have had chicken wings before, but I bought them frozen and fried them in the oven, they were nothing compared to these ones. One night we went out with a friend of Tim who has a wings night every couple of weeks and actually calls himself Wings. We had barbecue and salt & pepper wings. Ah, the salt and pepper wings where crunchy and the barbecue wings where soft and full of flavour. They served them with some ranch dressing, where you could dip your wings in - ah so good!
One of the first thing that Tim’s mum cooked for us where ribs. Something I never had before! She cooks the ribs first and than puts barbecue sauce over them. After that she puts them in the oven to bake them. That makes them super tender but crunchy on the surface. Served with rice, salad and peas, very tasty!
And here is my current favourite candy bar ‘Wunderbar’! Peanuts, caramel biscuit and chocolate mhm my mouth is watering…