Just a brief but encouraging note about things that are happening here in Utah:
Do you remember Max who gave his heart to the Lord at the Youth Detention Center about four weeks ago? During another session with the young people, we were discussing love, and the nature of the love of God, how that God loves us despite us and not for what we can give back to Him. God's love excels all forms of humanistic love! Then we read in 1 John 4:8 that whoever does not love does not know God...
At this a young lady, who has typically been hardened against our message concerning sin, gasped, "If that's what love is, then nobody loves!" I said, "You're right that nobody loves besides God. Indeed nobody can love the way God loves. God is love, and only when He is in your heart can His love be in you so that you can love others." "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (1 John 4:9-11)
Max raised his hand. "It's true," he said, "A few weeks ago I gave my heart to Christ and God has given me love for my parents again. I used to hate them, but since then we've been talking and now I'm going to go visit them. I know God's love is real." When I first met Max he told me that he had lost all feeling towards his parents, but now their relationship has been gloriously reconciled! It's because Max learned the true love of God for him expressed at the cross of Jesus Christ. Only once we see that God loved us despite us, and died for us when we were yet sinners, then and only then can we be filled with His love for others despite them too. Oh, the marvelous love of God!
Today I'm heading to the funeral of a young Mormon man who passed away suddenly a few nights ago. He was a student at USU where I will be spending a lot of time preaching in the future. Please pray for his family, that they would see Christ and the hopelessness of righteousness by law.
Also today, I will be attending a special lecture at USU by Richard Bushman, the authoritative biographer on Joseph Smith. I'm looking forward to learning more about Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, who is practically deified in this culture. Please pray for wisdom.
Much love, beloved. Continue to check the site for updates and thank you so much for all your prayers and support. May God do a mighty work in Utah for His own Name's sake.
Yours in Christ Jesus,