Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

from “The Summons,” John Bell, 1987

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Through him we have received God’s grace and our appointment to be apostles. This was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake. You who are called by Jesus Christ are also included among these Gentiles.
To those in Rome who are dearly loved by God and called to be God’s people.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:5-7

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“To those…who are dearly loved by God…”

What motivates us to continue to follow our call to be God’s people? The unfailing love of Jesus.

Joseph must have known this love and trusted the presence of Jesus to carry him through a future that was uncertain at best. In Romans 1, Paul writes about that same loving presence of Jesus. How else can we explain the radical change in Paul's life? How can we account for this preacher, Paul, who spent his life preaching and teaching? Only the love of Christ can provide such change and motivation to love others. How can we love others? We can love others because we are unconditionally loved by Jesus first.

Luckily, that little baby Jesus didn't remain in the manger. He grew and lived a life that motivates us, even today. He is the reason for us to open our arms wide and love the unlovable (and some kind of cool people), too.

Can you allow the love of Jesus to flow through you to those who need him most?

Dale Tadlock

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Jesus, your love is greater than I could imagine. Even when I doubt or try to walk away, your love pursues me and reminds me gently that you are always there. In the midst of my holiday celebrations, help me to love others with the same unconditional love that you have showered upon me — one dearly loved by you. Amen.

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Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

from “The Summons,” John Bell, 1987

Dale Tadlock

Dale Tadlock is a veteran youth minister who now serves as a Coordinator at Passport Camps. A Mississippi native, Dale now resides in Birmingham, AL, with his wife and two teenage daughters.

Advent Waiting: Wexford Carol - O Come LIttle Children

David Burroughs

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