Let Love Lead // Love Leads Us Home // Kate Murphy

It was love that led Jesus to put his own beloved body between us and the raging powers of sin, death, fear, hate, and violence. And it is that same love that leads us close to our enemies in humility and, even closer, to home.

Because the truth is that sometimes, surprisingly, it is hard to let love lead us to the ones we love the most. To lean into this mystery, we are looking at one of Jesus’ most familiar stories, the parable of the prodigal son. In particular, we’re focusing on the unsatisfying ending of the older brother standing outside the homecoming party, not celebrating, but instead resenting his younger brother’s restoration to the family.

Mother Theresa famously said, “if you want to save the world, first go home and love your family.” Too often, when we do embrace the radical root of Christianity, we sometimes act as though we are too spiritually elite to love the people closest to us. But if it’s true that the way we love our enemies is the way we love God (which, by the way, it is true), then it’s equally true that the way we love our families is the way we love God.

Let Love Lead // Love Leads Us to Our Enemies // Kate Murphy

The whole country is focused on love this week, but by the time Sunday rolls around, everyone will have moved on. The flowers will be wilted, the chocolate gone, and the stores will be decorated for Easter.

But at The Grove, we’ll still be worshipping, talking, and singing about love. Just not the kind of love that’s celebrated in Hallmark cards.

When we let the love of Christ lead us, it directs us towards the people we least want to love. Strangers. Enemies. People who won’t love us back.

But like Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what good is that? Even sinners love those who love them back.” The love of Jesus leads us towards those we have no earthly reason to love. And if that just seems wrong to you, well then you’ll find good company with the prophet Jonah. We’re stopping to take a seat next to him underneath the unpredictable plant, and listening as he argues with God about the unfairness of God compelling us to serve our enemies. Then, we’ll hear what God has to say about it.

Let Love Lead // Love Leads Us to a Garden // Kate Murphy

Last summer, our young people returned from the Montreat Youth Conference full of passion about all they’d seen and heard. They spent a week worshiping, studying, and reflecting on the theme “Let Love Lead.” As they shared their testimonies, we all saw how this radically simple concept gave them a powerful way to claim their Christian identity.

I listened, that day in July, and thought we need this here, too.

So for the next three weeks, our worship theme is “Let Love Lead.” We’ll dig into the beautiful hard truth that God is love. We are comfortable with that truth, as long as it stays a slogan on our coffee mugs, but when we let the Holy Love of God lead us, we end up in hard and dangerous places.

So come on in and join us (in spirit and in podcast) for worship. Let the holy truth that God is love catch your soul on fire. See how that love will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death, loss and pain—into the glory of freedom and salvation.

This Is Us // Everybody Can Be Led By the Spirit // Panel Discussion

Our fifth guiding principle at The Grove is “We seek to be led by the Holy Spirit.”

Who among us could argue with that ideal? We all agree that following the Spirit is faithful and leads us to a life of loving abundance. We’d all like to turn over our most difficult choices to God. But, how do you actually do it?

How do you figure out what to do? How do you know if you are following the Spirit or if you are just doing what you want to do and calling it faithfulness?

This Sunday, four of our very own Grove friends (listen in to find out who!) will each share a story of a time in their life when they allowed themselves to be led by the Spirit. You’ll hear about what the Lord called them to do, what it cost them, how it blessed them, and what they understand now about being led by the Spirit that they didn’t know before.