Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

The ancient people of God, the chosen people of God, were commanded to:

  • Love God, Deuteronomy 6:5, 11:1, 30:6, Joshua 23:11
  • Love their neighbor as themselves, Leviticus 19:18
  • Love the strangers and aliens as themselves, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19
  • Love good, Amos 5:15
  • Love kindness, Micah 6:8

Jesus, besides reaffirming the above added:

  • Love your enemies, Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36
  • “Love one another, as I have loved you,” John 15:12, 17, 1 Peter 2:17

The Apostles reaffirmed all the above and added:

  • “Let all be done in love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14
  • Speak truth in love, Ephesians 4:15
  • Love like Jesus, Ephesians 5:2
  • Love from a pure heart, 1 Timothy 1:5
  • Pursue love, 2 Timothy 2:22
  • Love your wife, husband, and children, Ephesians 5:25, 28, Titus 2;4
  • Add love to your faith, 2 Peter 1:7
  • “Keep yourselves in the love of God,” Jude 1:21 (which includes all the above and more)

What all these commandments assume is that we, you and I, 1. have a God-given capacity to love, 2. that we do not necessarily exercise this capacity, and 3. that in a large measure we will be judged, be held accountable for what we have done with our capacity to love.

Have you ever given God thanks for your ability to love, to love extraordinarily, to love like God, like Jesus? It is hands down one of the greatest gifts God has blessed us with. Exercising that gift makes us more like him than anything else, “When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us” 1 John 4:16 (MSG).

Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, it too reminds us of our capacity love (maybe we should close the divorce courts on the day celebrating love – just an idea). It reminds us that unleashing our love capabilities is beautiful, exciting, sweet, and feels incredibly right and good. And it and gets even better when the response is just as loving.

Would you take a moment and read over the God’s love commandments, I listed above, one more time? Did you notice that they were exclusive and inclusive at the same time, challenging to us to excel in the exclusive love relationships of life – God, spouse, children, friends; while at the same time not neglecting God’s insistence to engage with all people, neighbors, enemies, foreigners, strangers with love that is as strong, kind, merciful, generous, and continuous as the love we have for ourselves and as the love of Jesus.

Heavenly Father, God of love, help us, help me to grow in love, develop and unleash my capacity for love the way you command it, look for it, and enable it.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans




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Some things don’t mix well, fire and gasoline , coffee and pickle juice, ants and a kitchen, war and peace, lies and a clear conscience, wisdom and foolishness, love and fear, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love 1 John 4:18 (NIV). That’s why violence, abuse, uncontrolled anger, alcohol and drugs, cheating, lying, deceit, manipulation, selfishness, bitterness, and foolishness do not mix with romance, marriage, family, community, and a life with God.

When you are constantly in fear of the other shoe dropping, when you are constantly walking on eggshells, when you are always ducking outwardly and inwardly, when you are in constant dread of embarrassment, when words no longer hold water, when it all can blow up any second, when things are constantly out of control, when you are way past the first time, when the not normal becomes normal, when trust is a foreign word, when deceit not surprising, when disappointment is expected, when addiction and abuse have moved in, then you will find imperfect, twisted, perverted, and sick love.

Love is meant to beautiful, without fear, free of constant worry of it turning ugly. In the scripture quoted above the New King James Version uses the word “torment” instead of the “punishment.” Real love does not feel like torment, does not live in dread of torment, does not dish out torment. In fact where real love is growing, where real love is pursued fears are growing smaller and fewer, and torment is never a fit description.

Our problem is that so many of us are all too familiar with the tormented, sick, twisted, manipulative, and hurtful ways masquerading as love. The sad thing is that we are prone to settle for and repeat that which we know. It is easy to be in and get caught up in this web of love gone wrong, sometimes of no fault of our own, sometimes because of our own decisions, often because of both.

The good news is that God did not have the Apostles John and Paul (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) write about love in terms of mere definition or diagnosis. No, God had them write of what is possible, not just of what should or shouldn’t be, but of what can be. What may not be possible on our own is possible with God, “What is impossible for people is possible with God” Luke 18:27 (NLT). It is possible to walk with God and escape cycles and chains of the past. It is possible to walk with God and get out of darkness. It is possible to walk with God and learn from him how to love. It is possible to walk with God and grow in our capacity to love. It is possible!

When it comes to loving perfectly I am far from what I want to be, but God has been helping me to grow, especially when it comes to love. I am committed to real love because I don’t like the alternatives, because it is and feels right, and because God “renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake Psalm 23:3 (HCSB).

This Valentines weekend, if nothing else, make a start, be broken and repent of your wrongs, especially in regard to love and those you should love. Address that which is broken and twisted, pour out the full measure of your fears, and then take the loving hand of God to learn love without fear.

To God be all glory. Love you, Pastor Hans




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I don’t remember much from chemistry class. The only thing I really liked was when the teacher made things ignite, blow up, or created havoc with acids. I knew it was going to be a good class when he started to put on his protective gear. It is astounding what can happen when you mix the wrong chemicals – Kabooom.

My oldest brother got into chemistry with one of his buddies. One day he summoned us to the kitchen in the downstairs apartment to give us a demonstration. He had concocted flash powder, the stuff they first used for flash photography. He had a little pile on a board on the counter and small can full sitting about a foot to the side. He lit off the small pile with marvelous results and earned some serious applause. Pleased he poured a second pile double the size of the first one onto the board. It went off in spectacular fashion almost blinding us, and it ignited the can, which spewed a flame upwards like rocket engine on a test stand and burned a serious hole into the ceiling. We thought it was glorious as we stood back up in the smoked filled room, but we also knew it spelled serious trouble. And yes, my Dad didn’t not see any humor in it at all. (My oldest brother never did become a chemist.)

Chemistry is also important in love, romance, and marriage. There are some things that don’t mix, that are volatile, that will burn you, are not safe. Just like it is unwise to light a match around gasoline fumes so it is unwise to ignore certain things when it comes romance and marriage. You and I have to know what will not mix. A good marriage, a happy romance, a healthy relationship does not mix  well with:

  • Any addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling, porn, sex, video games, or whatever. Proverbs 23:29-35
  • Obsessions and worry. Matthew 6:25-34
  • Violence of any kind. Proverbs 3:31
  • A temper. Proverbs 22:24-25
  • Gossip. Proverbs 20:19
  • Lying, deception, not being truthful. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Infidelity. Proverbs 6:24, 22:14
  • Foolishness. Proverbs 13:20
  • The love of money, greed. Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:9-10
  • Hurtful words. Proverbs 16:27, 18:8
  • Evil. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Laziness. Proverbs 18:9,19:15
  • Pride and arrogance. Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 16:18
  • Bitterness. Ephesians 4:31, Hebrews 12:15
  • Jealousy. Proverbs 27:4
  • Being a control freak. 1 John 4:18
  • Self-centeredness. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • Bad company. 1 Corinthians 15:33
  • Lack of character and integrity. Proverbs 10:9, 20:7
  • Not taking responsibility, always blaming others. Genesis 3:8-13
  • Stubbornness. Zechariah 7:11
  • Rudeness. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Negativity. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Self-pity. 1 Corinthians 10:10, Exodus 17:3
  • No sense of humor, the inability to laugh at yourself. Proverbs 17:22

Do you realize all of the above and more are addressed in the Word of God, the Bible? If you are looking for great relationship chemistry maybe it is time to pay attention to what it warns us against and advises us to engage in and look for. The items in the list above are all volatile; they will blow up, burn you, hurt you, and be a source of heartache and pain. Don’t let the feeling of love blind you to them if you are still in the choosing stage. Work hard at none of them being true about yourself, you will choose better if these are important to you to avoid.

Maybe you are saying, “I wish I would have thought about these before I tied the knot.” It certainly is not too late for you to address these personally, make sure that what you bring to your marriage is neither explosive nor destructive. If needed seek help now.

To God be all glory, love you Pastor Hans

P.S. If you are in an unsafe relationship please get out and seek safety.

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Some Thoughts about Romance and Marriage

Just because you are madly “in love” with someone does not necessarily mean it is a great idea to marry that person. I have been to some breath-taking places, like on top of the Goerner Grat and its awesome 360 view that includes the Matterhorn, or the top of Half Dome or Mt Dana, or looking at stunning sunsets on sandy beaches. However, as beautiful as these places are none of them are suited to grow a garden. It is easy for passion and love to ignite but marriage is about a place where love can grow, can mature, and produce a harvest year in and year out.

What is the best way to prepare for romance and marriage? Working on your own godliness and looking for godliness in the persons you consider. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV). Just think what can grow between two people if that describes them? Replace anyone of the above with an equivalent negative and picture how that will impact romance and marriage in the long haul. What if you replace self-control with a temper or an addiction? What if you replace faithfulness with unfaithfulness, or goodness with hurtfulness or wrong doing? You maight have some exciting days on the beach, but most of the time you will be engulfed in a cold fog. We should aim higher for both ourselves and especially the other person.

I have been burning brush piles and have been reminded of a simple truth. In order for a fire to keep burning you have to both tend to it and keep giving it more fuel. This takes at least three things, attention, time, and work. If I am not willing to give those three the fire will go out. And what happens if I no longer give my marriage attention, time, and effort? Yup, things will fizzle, be reduced to a flicker, or even become a cold pile of ashes. I love watching lovers who have learned that truth and whose fire is still hot and blazing after many decades.

Words are important in a marriage. If you look at a great marriage, a blessed romance you will find words that can be trusted, kind words, encouraging words, straight forward words, healing words, together words, tender words, thoughtful words, forgiving words, funny words, beautiful words, pure words, and loving words. Words are like the barometer of a relationship. Where you find ugly words, hurtful words, dishonest words, lying words, selfish words, harsh words, bitter words, biting words, thoughtless words, grudge words, unkind words, and empty words you will find two people far from their hopes and dreams. Of course all the words that come from my lips are real, they describe me even if they fool the listener. So my words reveal who I am more than anything else. Do my words tear down or build up? Do they unleash love or resentment? Do they grow flowers or thorns? Do they bless my love (James 3)?

To God be all glory, happy Valentines, Pastor Hans


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More Important Than Sex

Let me tell you a dirty little secret about people in churches. They have sex, yup, and they love it. Hard to believe, but true. In fact they like it as much as people who don’t go to church. Contrary to some rumors a person’s libido does not shrivel up and go to heaven when a person commits to following Christ.

If you read the Bible you will notice that it does not ignore sex but makes it clear that among other things God has created us as sexual beings. The only thing in the creation story that was declared no good was that Adam was alone, he did not have a partner, so God gave him Eve and lo and behold they did the “one flesh” thing which is also known as making love (Genesis2:18-25).

Now if you think this pastor’s note is just about sex then you are mistaken, it is actually about something more important in a marriage than sex. 1 Corinthians 7 speaks to those for whom celibacy is out of the question, which happens to be most of us, and then addresses husbands and wives in particular about sex. For one, to not use it as weapon or means of manipulation, and for another, not to stop making love, because in doing so you make each other vulnerable to temptation. The only exception is special times of prayer both husband and wives agree on. Yup, prayer in marriage, the ultimate romantic relationship, is even more important than sex. “The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (MSG).

It is difficult to be in a romantic relationship and not think about sex, you don’t have to do anything for that happen. On the other hand the importance of prayer in a romantic relationship, in a marriage, you have to discover and learn. It is interesting that Adam and Eve were both sexually unencumbered and spend time with God face to face (Genesis 3:8). They knew how to talk with each other and knew how to talk and walk with God. We rarely miss on the sex part, we don’t have to be told not to leave that out. But it is not so with prayer, too few make it a priority in romance, include it in dating, and practice it in marriage. I am hoping this pastor’s note will compel you to make prayer a normal part of your romantic, your married life. That you will not settle for a prayerless relationship, but that you will learn to walk and talk with God individually and together. It will not weaken but strengthen your relationship immeasurably.

To God be all glory, Pastor Hans



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Learning Love That Does Not Fail

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25 (NIV).

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God…These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands … Titus 2:3-4 (NLT).

Somehow we believe that the awesome feeling of being “in love” easily translates into a life of love, that “living happily ever after” will surely happen. Of course statistics tell us otherwise, not only do more than half of all marriages end in the divorce but the reality those who choose to stay together is that many are far from a romantic dream.

When God had Paul pen the instructions you read above marriages were by and large arranged. Love was not the predominant factor in marriage making, economics, connections, and even politics played a big role in who got married to who. That in a way explains the need for instructing married people to learn how to love each other. But what about today? Simply because we have the freedom to choose whom we want to marry does not mean there are not other factors involved, such as physical attraction, emotional needs, romantic dreams, and economics. The reality is that even with our freedom to choose most marriages end up far from the hopes and dreams that marked their beginning.

Falling in love is easy; it just kind of seems to happen. Who doesn’t love a good “love at first sight story?” The notion of twitterpation that knocks you of your feet (and senses) is intoxicating. Who doesn’t want to feel such passionate love and have it requited? But what happens when the pheromones wear off? At some point in a romantic relationship, in marriage, more is needed to sustain, to grow, and to carry it. At some point the reality of how we got into this gets exposed, our best behavior returns to our normal behavior, our charm gets to be annoying, our flaws become evident, our bad habits resurface, our past we try to escape reaches for us. It is then that we can fall out of love almost as quickly as we fell into it. It is then and there that we have to learn to love.

No one can teach you and I more about love and how to love than God, who is love (1 John 4:16). In learning to love God first and most we paradoxically do not end up loving our partner less but more and better. We usually go about it the other way and begin with our partner and in the process make him/her our idol, our object of worship, and nothing good comes from it. God doesn’t force himself into our romances, into our marriages, but we are smart to invite Him in if we want to learn all about love, if we want to bless one another with true love, lasting love, love that bears new blossoms throughout life, love that does not fail (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans


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