Pastor Jon spoke on the third message in the series on community. He explained that we are a community of God’s love, which sets us free to worship Him openly. Pastor Jon offered three points of encouragement to the congregation: we are a community of God’s love, God’s love sets us free to worship, and God’s love sets us free to see as He sees. He mentioned that we are to “love God because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Pastor Jon also illustrated the concept of fear and explained how scripture references fear as ‘phobos’, which in Greek is where we derive the word phobia. The New Testament uses at least three different derivatives of this same root word. The first example references an anxious fear, phobos, and is found in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” The second refers to a respect, or submissive fear. 1 Peter 2:18 offers wisdom to respect the authority that has been placed in our lives: “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” Lastly, Pastor Jon explained the worship, awe, and reverent fear found in 1 Peter 2:17: “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” Pastor Jon concluded his message by mentioning that there is no fear in agape love, that all of the fears mentioned earlier help to emphasize God’s unfailing love for those who call on the name of Jesus. He also explained that we, as a church, are called to love others unconditionally. He also provided scriptural wisdom to married couples found in Ephesians 5:33: “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

The full reality of something is often impossible to comprehend through studying second hand sources. This was true of Pastor Jon when he experienced the Grand Canyon, and this was true of Isaiah when he encountered God first hand (Isaiah 6:3-8). God does not just want us to know about Him, he wants us to know Him. Bill and Jen gave a powerful testimony about how we can use worship to encounter God and how the experience of encountering God can radically change our perspective and actions.

Pastor Jon is joined by Kate Vacanti of Let Them LOL to speak on the importance of service within a community.