When presenters open up and get real, I feel it. The more they open up, the more I feel it. This weekend I listened to my friend and pastor present his sermon, and I was moved more deeply than usual. I asked his permission to share this with you.
If you have heard me talk about Vince http://vinceantonucci.com, you know that he had an emotionally abusive father. He grew up with challenges I never dreamed of as a kid. In fact, his dad was on the TV program, America’s Most Wanted, and got caught as a result.
At a counseling session with his wife, Vince’s counselor, whom he refers to as Obi Wan (The Jedi Master from Star Wars), asked him to write a letter to himself about himself from God. This made no sense to him, and he had no idea where to start. He could not imagine what God would say to him other than Biblical scripture. Obi Wan said that was fine; do that.
As part of this week’s sermon, Vince read his letter. Trying to imagine what God might really say to me made me think. I hope it makes you think, too. Here is Vince’s “letter to me from God.”
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The Letter I Wrote About Me To Me From God
(Because Obi Wan Made Me)
by Vince Antonucci
I am love. I am compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love Ps 103:8 I showed you my love by sending my one and only Son that you might live through Him. Love is not that you love me, but that I love you and sent my Son to take away all your sins. 1 Jn 4:8-10 Therefore, there’s no longer any condemnation for you. You have been set free! Ro 8:1 Not only that, but I have poured my love into your heart through the Holy Spirit, who I have given to you. Ro 5:5 I have great love for you and I am rich in mercy, so I raised you up with Christ and seated you with Him in the heavenly realms so I might show the incomparable riches of my grace, expressed in my kindness to you.” Eph 2:4-7 So, Me loving you isn’t about you; it’s about Me, and it makes Me look great.
Vince, if I am for you, who can be against you? If I didn’t spare my own Son, but gave Him up for you, how will I not also graciously give you all things? Who will bring any charge against you, who I have chosen? I am the one who justifies. Ro 8:31-33 So take joy in this: nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Ro 8:35 You are more than a conqueror through Jesus who loves you! Ro 8:37 Though you are more than a conqueror, you will still struggle. But since I am a high priest who is able to empathize with your weaknesses, who has been tempted in every way, just as you are – yet did not sin, you can approach my throne of grace with confidence, and receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. Heb 4:15-16
I have lavished my love on you, so you could be my child. And that is who you are. 1 Jn 3:1 You are my child. You are my friend. Jn 15:15 I like you. I like spending time with you. And I have called you to come to me, because I know you are weary and burdened, and I want to give you rest. Walk with me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-30
So stop worrying that you aren’t good enough or doing enough. And stop striving to impress or to earn approval. Straining and trying don’t help. They’re a way of your staying focused on you. Instead, consider everything less important than just knowing Jesus. Phil 3:8 Stop relying on yourself. That’s religion. I have called you into grace. So rest, understanding that you can know and rely on my love for you. I am love. Live in love and you will live in me, and I will live in you. 1 Jn 4:15-16 Stop living in fear that you’re not good enough. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jn 4:18 And though you are not perfect, my love for you is. So there’s nothing you could ever do to make me love you less, or to make me love you more.
Really, I don’t care about what you do for me; I care about your love for me. I want a relationship with you, which is why I have invited you into the dance. So focus on knowing Jesus. Ph 3:10 And as you are being rooted and established in love, I will give you the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, to know my love, that you may be filled with it and live a full life. Eph 3:17-18 Remain in my love Jn 15:9 and do everything in love. 1 Cor 16:1 Because the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 And live out your calling: I have called you to speak to the saved on behalf of the lost, and to the lost that they might be saved. See Pr 31:8; Ro 15:20-21. It’s fun for me to see you do what I made you to do. And remember, I am the vine; you are a branch. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing. Jn 15:5
When it comes down to it, it’s all about Me, and My love. (Remember, I am love.) And I am bigger. Bigger than your need to make a difference with your life, have security, or make sure everything is problem free. Bigger than your desires for other things. Bigger than your past, or your future. Bigger than your understanding of me, or your lack of understanding of me. Bigger than your sins, or your achievements. Bigger than how you feel other people feel about you. Bigger than your love or lack of love for me. Bigger than the impact you make or don’t make for me. It’s about Me, and My love. It’s not about you. So you can rest. You are free. So stop striving, and thinking, and worrying, and just focus on me.
I AM love.
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Could you relate? What do you think God would write to you?
Thank you, God, for Grace, Truth, Love, and Laughter,
(Reminder, this is just a journal of my mistakes, experiences, and thoughts along my journey to having a closer relationship with God. I do not claim to be an authority on the subject. If you want to know The Way, read The Bible.)
What church do I attend? Verve Church in Las Vegas http://vivalaverve.org
P.S. Thank you, especially, for grace.
Want to see more God Blog posts? https://darrenlacroix.com/category/godblog/
Darren, this was wonderful. Please thank Vince for allowing you to share it. I certainly hope he will publish it widely. This was incredible. The style reminds me of the devotional Jesus Calling which also ministers to me in a special way.
This is your best email I have received in the last year.
Vince, you have the received the greatest love of all.
I pray many will read your letter of truth and be blessed as you are.
May you both have wonderful futures!