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August 2023 Newsletter

God’s Definition of love

by Pastor Mike Novotny

When I was a little kid, my mom took me to church every Sunday to hear about the saving work of Jesus. That was love.

When I was a teenager, that same mom had strict rules about sex, alcohol, and drugs that she insisted I follow. That was love too.

When I was dating Kim, who later became my wife, she held my hand, went out on dates with me, and told me she loved me. Definitely love.

When I was in college, my soccer coach once rebuked me in front of our entire team for my arrogance and selfishness. Also love.

How can I call all those examples love? Because according to the Bible, love is doing what God says is best. Hearing the Word, having biblical moral boundaries, receiving affection, and being confronted for sins were all good for me. That’s why all those moments, whether they were tough or tender, were examples of real love according to God’s definition.

Most people these days get love all twisted up. Instead of defining it as what God says is best, we limit “love” to what is comfortable, convenient, and affirming. Similarly, anything that stings, hurts, or calls us to change our ways we label as “hate.”

But Jesus lovingly straightens out our twisted ideas about love. 

You can’t read the gospels without finding plenty of tough and tender moments from Jesus, the God of love in human flesh. Jesus does what is best for people every time he interacts with them. Sometimes Jesus encourages. Sometimes Jesus scolds. Sometimes he pats people on the back. Sometimes he kicks them in the pants. Sometimes Jesus says, “I don’t condemn you,” and other times he shouts, “Woe to you!” (John 8:11; Matthew 23:13). 

But . . . everything Jesus does is always for our best. Everything he does is love.

So as you live in a world that struggles to understand true love. Whether you receive it or give it, never forget that love is doing what God says is best.

You help others go from lost to loved in Jesus!

Whether it’s because of health issues, family struggles, job stress, or relationship trouble, many people are hurting and feel lost. Your support of Time of Grace means that together we can show them they are loved by Jesus and precious in God’s eyes. 

That’s the powerful encouragement friends like you made possible in Judith’s life. She shares,

There have been a lot of hard, dark moments in my life, but if I didn’t listen to the Word, I would feel so lost. Thank you for bringing this encouraging message to us so we can learn and feel loved by what Jesus has done.

Thank you for helping Judith and so many others go from lost to loved in the arms of Jesus. You’re a blessing!

Let God set the pace for your day and fill it with his grace!

Calendar feeling out of control? Stress crowding out the joy? 

God loves you and wants better for you! So let him set the pace for your day with the God’s Grace for Your Daily Life Planner. 

This easy-to-use undated planner not only helps you keep things organized in your schedule but also helps you keep the most important things first with weekly reminders of God’s unchanging love for you. 

With features like biblical teaching, guided prayers, and links to interactive Time of Grace resources, this planner helps you center your day in God’s truth so you can see more of his grace in your life.

Request your God’s Grace for Your Daily Life Planner as our thanks for your gift to connect more people to Jesus through Time of Grace. And thank you for your support!

Click here to get God’s Grace for Your Daily Life Planner

The Non-Microwaved Truth with C.L. Whiteside

Check out this podcast for a straightforward look at today’s relevant topics in light of God’s Word. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts!

Click here to listen to The Non-Microwaved Truth

Now your gift goes TWICE as far!

An amazing group of friends has offered $130,000 this month to help reach more people through Time of Grace—and they’re challenging you to help match their generosity.

Opportunities like this have so much potential! Right now, hundreds of thousands of people each week connect with God’s beauty and truth through Time of Grace. 

Imagine what could happen if we met this Challenge Grant in full!

You can help make that possible through your gift today on the enclosed reply card. Because your gift will not only keep Time of Grace teaching and resources coming your way but also going out to encourage more people just like you.

Thank you for giving to help match this Challenge and show others where they can find the true, lasting satisfaction that comes from a deepening relationship with Jesus. 

Click here to take your gift TWICE as far!

Coming up on Time of Grace

Tune in to Time of Grace in September for a brand-new series called God’s Blueprint for a Happy Home. A happy home is a refuge when everything else in life seems to fall apart. So how do we create homes that reflect God’s love and goodness? And what about living together before marriage—does such a home make God happy? What happens when infidelity shatters a family? What hope of healing does God offer? Find biblical answers to these questions and more when you tune in to watch on TV or online!

The first episode of God’s Blueprint for a Happy Home is available to watch on September 3rd with new episodes released each Sunday in September.

Click here to watch God’s Blueprint for a Happy Home

Q&A with Pastor Mike Novotny

How do I share God’s truth about LGBTQ+ with my kids but also express the need to show love for those who live that lifestyle? I don’t want them to be misunderstood or considered bigoted.

Pastor Mike:
That question, when you think about it, applies to how we interact with all kinds of people who don’t yet share our beliefs or embrace biblical behaviors (an atheist friend, a Muslim neighbor, a gay classmate, a cousin who parties every weekend, etc.).

Given how people treated Jesus, I’m not sure there’s a way to make the world love us all the time, but you asked about how to raise your kids, so here’s my answer—Read the gospels together.

Study how Jesus treats people who don’t yet repent or believe in him. Does Jesus talk to them? Eat with them? Judge them? Accept them? By studying Jesus, the Lord who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), you’ll give your kids the perfect example to follow and a perfect Savior to help them when they fall short.

Hello from Pastor Mike

I recently got to speak to over one thousand teenagers on the topic of loving people who are different than you. These words from Jesus struck me and stuck with me—“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:46,47).

What makes the children of God unique, according to Christ, is not that we love but that we love people who are different. After all, most everyone likes the people who are like them.

Since reading Jesus’ words, when I’m with someone who thinks/speaks/communicates/acts/believes differently, I think to myself, “Love different.” I’m acknowledging the gap between the two of us (different) but refusing to let it stop me from being patient, kind, and godly (love). Maybe you could use those two words as a tool to increase your level of love too.

Why bother? Because Jesus loved us despite the differences. God died for humans. A man died for women. A guy in his 30s paid for the sins of folks in their 40s and 20s and 70s. A Jew died for Gentiles. A man from a small town died for big city residents. The sinless Lord bled for sinful men. The gospel is about a God who loved different.

One of the many reasons we are grateful for your financial support of Time of Grace is that you enable us to reach people who are different. Young and old, men and women, in America and across the nations, in English and other languages, thank you for helping proclaim the gospel of the God who loved us despite the differences.

Pastor Mike