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Right after Jesus has finished washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus tells his disciples in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” With all the of the outrage and anger expressed in our world through social media and politics as only a couple of examples it is clear that escalation and revenge do not work, even if at times they can seem emotionally satisfying for a brief moment. Our problem though is simple, we cannot love without Jesus. He loved us before we loved Him as John will say in 1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. Jesus didn’t just say He loved us, but He showed us through His actions by dying for us when we could do nothing for ourselves. This Lenten season let us remember the grace of Jesus and put our faith in Him anew or for the first time. Also, let us grow in abiding with Jesus and His grace, through spending time with Jesus in prayer, Scripture reading, and other spiritual disciplines. My desire and prayer is to see Jesus transform each of our communities’ local congregations into the loving grace filled communities that Jesus wants them to be. That they be marked and known as places where Jesus’ love, hope, peace, forgiveness, and mercy can be found. Many are looking for a place to feel love that only Jesus can give. I believe if that is you that you can find that by connecting with the Christian community again. My prayer is that for the congregations in our community and in our country can be known as places to receive the love and grace of Jesus. Many outside the church think that Christians are critical because they have heard voices speak in ways that I wish had never happened. I pray that hear in Bowman/Slope County our churches will be known for our love and compassion that we show for those that are hurting, because we have been loved by Jesus, changed by Jesus, and now are growing to love each other like Jesus loves us.

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