Archive for the ‘Unconditional Love’ Tag

God Brings His People Home!

Worship - Created to Worship 1

Part 1a: 24 min


Part 1b: 21 min


Full Message


Main Passages: Ezra 1:1-8 3:1-13


“God kept His promise to bring His people out of exile and back to the promised land. As God’s people gathered in Jerusalem, they made their worship of God their first priority and proclaimed God’s faithfulness through their actions. As Christians, we celebrate and give thanks to God for bringing us out of our exile to sin and death. In our worship, we proclaim the goodness of the Lord so that others might taste and see that He is good.” – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

Worshiping God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit should be the first priority of His people.

Christ Connection:

God kept His promise to bring His people out of exile in Babylon and restore their freedom to worship Him. Since Adam and Eve sinned, all humans have been in exile from the garden and are in need of deliverance. Jesus came to end this exile, bring His people home, and restore our freedom to worship.

“It is only when we grasp God’s unyielding desire to be with us that we begin to see the ultimate purpose of the cross. It is more than a vehicle to rescue us from death; it transports us into the arms of Life.” –Skye Jethani

Missional Application:

God The Holy Spirit calls us to make worship our first priority so others will see the goodness of the Lord.

“The primary reason the church gathers is to glorify God. We gather together for corporate worship to ascribe unto God the worship that is due Him.” –Matt Boswell


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Anticipating Jesus – Our Soon Coming King!

Jesus Christ King of Kings

Part 1a: 32 min


Part 1b: 25 min


Full Message


Main Passage:  Isaiah 11:1-10

“One of the prophecies from Isaiah, written around seven hundred years before the time of Christ, was written to the Jewish people in Judah to inform them of a future King. This unlikely King from the line of David would be filled with the Spirit and would bring God’s justice and redemption to the world. In seeing Isaiah’s vision of the coming King, we understand our need for God’s salvation and the reason we are incorporated into God’s people, who exist for His mission.” – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:
The Old Testament foretells the birth of King Jesus, sent by the Father as Jesus Revealed in the biblical New Testament.

Christ Connection:
Isaiah and many of the other prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about the coming King who will establish David’s throne forever. Jesus of Nazareth, the Father’s Son in flesh, is the King who fulfills these ancient prophecies.

Missional Application:
God The Holy Spirit calls us to anticipate the second coming of King Jesus by declaring His message of redemption and demonstrating His love in His Grace and Power.

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Questions And Responses!

Questions and Responses

Part 1: 25min


Part 2: 25min


Full Message:


Main Passage: John 14: 6


Who and What is The Gospel? And how does knowing the Gospel help us in responses to many of our questions? In other words, How can we know where we are going? and “How can we know the way?”

Jesus responds to this question unequivocally in John 14:6 ” I am the way, the truth, and the life.”, and FOLLOWED BY…”No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father…”

How does taking what Jesus says, seriously, help us in getting answers not only to where we’re going and the way to get there, but also to these two questions asked by members of the congregation?:

Question 1: Why do we baptize people and take the Lord’s Supper as The Church? Matthew 28: 16 – 20

Question 2: How can Jesus be God and yet not know when His Father is going to send Him back? Matthew 24: 36


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After Worship, The Spirit Sent Them Off! Part 2

Acts 13 (Paul and Barnabas)

Part 1: 40 mins”

Part 1: 38 mins”

Full Message”

Acts 13:1-5  After Worship, The Holy Spirit Sent Them Off!

This message was a reminder and refresher on some of the mission specifics of our local congregation in participation with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You may download the following document and follow along if you want:

NLF Organic Disciple-Making Strategy

As the Father sent Jesus that he might Love and Worship God and Witness to Him as a real man, on our behalf and in our place, so Jesus the God/Man sends us the Holy Spirit that believers might participate with Jesus, loving and worshiping God – Father, Son and Spirit and witnessing about Him to people in all the world – in word and deed!

*picture courtesy of

God The Trinity’s Dysfunctional, Covenant Family!

God's Dysfunctional Family Genesis 27”

Theological Theme: God is sovereign over all of life, and He will work out His plan of redemption despite and sometimes through our dysfunction.

Christ Connection: Jacob’s story is a good example of why humanity needs a Savior. Like Jacob, we seek a blessing that is not ours, but we cannot lie, deceive, or trick to receive it. Instead, Jesus shared His blessing with us when He took the judgment we deserve so that we might receive the blessing He deserved.

Missional Application: Because God specializes in showing mercy to unworthy people, we should look for ways God can make visible His grace through our struggle with ongoing flaws and dysfunction.

Eulogy for Tipper

Queen Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman!

Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman, born Friday, October 13, 2000, passed away peacefully on Friday, June 6, 2014.  She was the eldest dog of the Kuhlman clan and the first pet for the Kuhlman children.  She was procured by way of a newspaper classified that read, “Pure bread beagles – $60.” When her human dad picked her up way out in the farm country around Wilshire, Ohio, he was greeted by a large litter of barking hounds and puppies, all contained within a chicken wire fence and all apparently living in a small chicken-coop-like building.  She was the smallest of the puppies, and probably the dirtiest, as the bathtub was left with a grimy ring after her first bath, the remnants of her country life.  Once clean, the name “Tipper” was given to her because of the white tip at the end of her tail.  Her middle name came later, in honor of a beautiful African-American contestant on Donald Trump’s TV show The Apprentice.

Her acute sense of smell gave her a unique appreciation of both food and other less obviously appealing substances.  In fact, even when her eyesight and hearing began to diminish, her sense of smell still gave her great pleasure.  One of her favorite pastimes was to stand facing into the wind, velvet-floppy ears blowing back from her face, taking in all the smells the wind could bring her.  Even when food no longer brought the enjoyment it once did, she still took pleasure in the smells of outdoor air, innately understanding how choosing joy in any given moment makes life worth living.

Though misunderstood and barely tolerated at first by her human mom, she grew to be a lesson about what unconditional love can do to a hard heart.  Her willingness to love became an opportunity for grace to break open a heart that at first valued new, clean carpet more than a puppy.  Over the years that heart began to soften, and regret for past impatience, resentment, and other harshness began to come forth. Once Tipper was diagnosed with bladder cancer and again was pottying on the carpet (just as she had as a puppy, only more so), her human mother had a chance to “redo” the past; this time, though, her hardened heart had cracked open and compassion, patience, and love filled the places where resentment had once been.  This time, the messes were larger, yet the love was larger still.

To most people, Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman was only a hound dog, but to her human mother, she was a spiritual teacher, a creation of the living Word used by the Father, Son, and Spirit to show how love and forgiveness play out in relationships. Tipper amiably allowed a human to learn compassion by enduring the hard work of grace. May we all be such willing instruments in God’s hands as we learn how to love with compassion in all our relationships.

~by Nan Kuhlman



 A few weeks ago, I attended the funeral of my 54-year-old cousin, Rodney Winkle, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.  He was an outstanding person who lived a full life, participating in many good and charitable activities and organizations.  His oldest daughter gave a moving eulogy, and one of the memories she recounted was that he would always say to her and her sister, “I love you unconditionally forever.”  These words soon became so familiar to them that he created an acronym (ILYUF) to use in text messages and on greeting cards.  Both of his daughters conveyed the security they felt growing up, knowing that whatever they did (right or wrong), their dad’s love for them would never change.

That feeling of unconditional acceptance and love is one that isn’t often a part of most families.  Many go through life believing that they have to perform to earn the love and approval of their peers, their families, and even God.

This idea that we have to do something or behave a certain way to be loved by God makes us almost superstitious, thinking that whenever we happen to suffer, we must have displeased God in some way, and we’re being punished for it.   Ancient Greek and Roman religions had a similar view, where sacrifices were made to keep their capricious gods appeased or run the risk of enduring their wrath.  These views, unfortunately, have tainted our Christian belief about the Triune God and have needlessly heaped a heavy burden of guilt on us all.

What if God were really like a loving father, one who said and wrote, “ILYUF,” on hearts and cards and text messages?  Jesus shares a story in Luke 15:11-24 that illustrates the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father for each one of us.  A father had two sons, and the younger son wanted his inheritance right away.  He took his inheritance and wasted it in a foreign land. When he was desperately hungry, he decided to go back to his father, ask his forgiveness, and go to work for him as a hired hand.  But the father had been watching and waiting for him:

                “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him.  His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.  The son started his speech…but the father wasn’t listening.  He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick.  Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him.  Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it.  We’re going to feast!  …My son is here- given up for dead and now alive!  Given up for lost and now found!'” (Luke 15:20-24, The Message).

The story shows that the son didn’t have to confess, repent, or offer to do anything to be welcomed with open arms by his father.  All he had to do was accept the lavish, unconditional love (ILYUF) given to him by his father.  That’s true for us, too.

I like this new acronym ILYUF (thank you, Rod Winkle).  I plan to use it to remind my family and friends that no matter what, I will always love them.  That’s a tall order, given that I’m fallible and so is everyone else.  But it’s also a reminder to me that I am accepted and loved by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that every day the Triune God is whispering in a myriad of ways, “ILYUF.”

~by Nan Kuhlman


With three teenagers in the house, I hear a lot of music.  Most of the time, I can’t make out the lyrics (which is probably for the best), but when I was chauffeuring my daughter on her paper route one afternoon, a song by the artist Pink caught my ear.  Maybe it was because I could understand the lyrics, but I think it was because those lyrics struck a chord in my heart.  I bet they will in yours, too:

Pretty, pretty please

Don’t you ever, ever feel

Like you’re less than,

Less than perfect.

Pretty, pretty please,

If you ever, ever feel

Like you’re nothing,

You are perfect to me.

(F*&%$n’ Perfect, Pink)

The song lyrics (and title) actually have an expletive in them, which was censored for radio and for this blog.   Rather than dismiss the song because of its strong language, I prefer to think the expletive usage expresses how passionately we desire to be recognized as special and unique.

My husband and I have had three children together, and we have marveled at how different their looks and their personalities are.  Two of them have brown hair; one has blond.  One loves to read, but the other two hate it.  Two of them are social butterflies, and the other often prefers to stay home.  If we, as parents, feel such joy at discovering the specialness of our own children, why would the Triune God feel any differently about relating to and watching his children express their unique personalities?

Acknowledgement and acceptance of our individual personalities is one of the most basic human desires.  I’d like to assert that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit actually do that, and not in a patronizing way.  The Triune God doesn’t just tolerate us; they truly like us.  They delight in our uniqueness, in our individual beauty, even our quirks.  Ephesians 1:3-6 tells us that long before we were ever born, the Triune God planned to adopt us through Jesus Christ:

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.  Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.  (What pleasure he took in planning this!)  He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son” (The Message, Eph. 1:3-6).

It’s a difficult message to come to terms with, given the unreachable standards doled out by the media and our culture.  Even most churches, though they don’t realize it, sometimes make people feel as if they have to change themselves before God will find them acceptable or like them for who they are.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit like, love, and include us in their fellowship (through Jesus Christ), and that we are perfect, even in the midst of what we think are imperfections.   As we embrace whom we have been created to be, we gladly extend that same acceptance to others.  Like a stone dropped in a pond creates ripples outward, love that doesn’t ask for change is the kind of love that is transformational and healing.

When I hear that song by Pink, I hear the Triune God passionately saying to us all, “You don’t need to change for me.  I think you are perfect.  F*&%#n’ perfect.”

~Nan Kuhlman


photo courtesy of

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