Tag Archives: LOVE

I Still DO!

Bill and Anna StegemuellerNineteen years ago I married my BEST FRIEND… Annie (I’m the only one allowed to call her that). Funny, I thought it was just eighteen years till I pulled out the calendar and did the math. Chuck Swindoll once said, “Marriage is like a screen door… those on the outside want to get in and those on the inside want to get out.” I’m the exception to that rule. I’m very content in being inside the confines of marriage. Is my marriage perfect? No, because people aren’t perfect. But one thing is for sure: I’m glad I married her and I definitely got the better deal in the arrangement. I can think of very few women who would put up with being a Pastor’s wife (In our 19 years of marriage we’ve moved to 5 different congregations!)

What has been the secret of almost 20 years of marriage? Two things:

(1) FAITH in Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:19 says that we love because Christ first loved us. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary, “By nature, we know little about love (Titus 3:3–6); God had to show it to us on the cross (Rom. 5:8) and plant it in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).”

(2) A proper understanding of what LOVE is.
When I think of Love, I think of Paul’s description in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

NASB: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

There is nothing in those verses that describe LOVE as a feeling. Yet too often that’s what we’ve restricted love to being. Love isn’t so much something you feel as much as it is something you DO. Love is a VERB! Everything in those verses describe something you DO whether you FEEL like it or not.

Someone once said that FEELINGS often follow ACTIONS. In other words, if you act like you LOVE someone, the FEELINGS will eventually follow. I think too many people check out of a relationship when the feeling are gone. Love is a COMMITMENT.

I don’t always “feel” in love with Anna (I’m sure she could say the same thing about me) but that’s where FAITH both in Christ and in His ability to enable me to LOVE comes into play. The beautiful thing I’ve found in my faith… is that my relationship with Christ has deepened my love for my wife and vise versa. Imagine LOVE being a triangle with Christ at the apex and the Husband and Wife at each corner of the base. As the husband and wife grow closer and closer to Christ they in the process become closer and closer to one another.

Happy Anniversary, ANNIE… I would do it all over again!

Other Related Articles:
Lover’s and Their Loving God
Focus on the Family: Falling In and Out of Love
Have You Lost That Loving Feeling?
Stegemueller Wedding Album

Comments Off on I Still DO!

Filed under Uncategorized

How Would Your Church React?

jeans and barefootRebecca Manley Pippert in her book, “Out of the Saltshaker,” writes about a student she met when she was living in Portland, Oregon.  He was rather eccentric, but brilliant.  His hair was always messy and no matter what the weather, he never wore shoes.  As you read her account ask yourself, “How would my church respond in such a situation?”

There was a well-dressed middle-class church across the street from the campus that was in the process of trying to figure out how to reach more college age students.

One day Bill decided to worship there.  He walked into this church, wearing his blue jeans, tee shirt and of course no shoes.  People looked a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything.  So Bill began walking down the aisle looking for a seat.  The church was quite crowded that Sunday, so as he got down to the front pew an realized that there were no seats, he just squatted on the carpet –perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, but perhaps unnerving for a church congregation.  The tension in the air became so thick one could slice it.

Suddenly an elderly man began walking down the aisle toward the boy.  Was he going to scold Bill?  My friends who saw him approaching said they thought, “You can’t blame him. He’d never guess Bill is a Christian. And his world is too distant from Bill’s to understand.  You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.”

As the man kept walking slowly down the aisle, the church became utterly silent, all eyes were focused on him, you could not hear anyone breathe.  When the man reached Bill, with some difficulty he lowered himself and sat down next to him on the carpet.  He and Bill worshiped together on the floor that Sunday.  I was told there was not a dry eye in the congregation.

As this man walked alongside of his brother and loved him with all that he had received from Christ’s love, so must we. This man was the Good Samaritan. He made Bill feel welcome, feel as if he had a home. So he also knew the secret of the parable of the prodigal son: there finally is a homecoming, because we really have a home to come to.

There are a lot of churches that would’ve done the opposite.   Such churches are more interested in maintaining the dress code than reaching new people for Jesus Christ.  Sometimes it’s too easy to focus on the outside without looking at what’s on the inside.

That old man was willing to enter the young man’s world and sit  down right along side of him.  That’s exactly what we’re called to do both inside and outside the church.   At the heart of being incarnational is loving people. We are to love people in the same way Jesus loved people.  You want to be a GREAT evangelist?  It’s not a matter of going to seminary, but simply walking in love.  St. Augustine said, “Preach the Gospel at all times… if necessary use words.”  Now I do believe it is necessary at some point to use words.  The point is how you live speaks just as loud as the words you use.   Our job is to love them till they ask us WHY?  Jesus said in John 13:35, “by this all men will know you are My disciples if you have LOVE for one another.”

Here’s hoping that more characters like the one Rebecca writes about  will come stumbling into our churches to shake us up a little.


Filed under Evangelism

“Bring God’s Love and Grace… UP CLOSE”

This year has been a difficult time for many people. Most people believe we are still in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Every week the prayer requests get more and more serious. People have lost their homes and their jobs. Unemployment is at record highs and people are worried about their retirement. It’s never a fun thing to go through difficult times, but know this… God can use difficulties to stretch our trust in Him. Faith that isn’t tested isn’t really faith.

Who do you look to for answers when times get tough? The answer is NOT in any politician or political party. Some people respond to an economic crises by hiding away their money. They check their stocks, investments, and checking/savings accounts several times a day; and stayed glued to the news channel 24/7. For these people… money worries adversely impact their lives.

But the Believer responds to an economic crisis by trusting God. They remember that God doesn’t forget about His children and remember His promise:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV

We tend to worry about that which we bring close to us. For example, the sun is thousands of times the size of the earth and yet on a bright shiny day all it takes is your hand to block the sun from your eyes. Your hand is a gazillion times smaller than the sun, but it can block out the sun because it’s closer to you. The lesson is that whatever we bring CLOSE to us is what is magnified in our life.

So what is your focus? Is it the things of the world or is it God’s grace? We live in a society where it’s so easy to obsess over the economy with continuous access to news and information. What would happen if we spent AT LEAST as much time with God and His Word?

You can sit and worry. Worry has been described as a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. It would be a far better thing to sit and pray… bringing the LOVE and GRACE of God up close.

In His Grip,


Comments Off on “Bring God’s Love and Grace… UP CLOSE”

Filed under hard times, Recession