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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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      Christmas decorations are up, lists are coming together, and Christmas music rings through the stores. The holidays are fast approaching. It also means your college-age child is coming home, maybe for the first time all semester. You’re excited to have them home, but you may also be a little nervous about how your relationship is changing. Will they just sleep all day? Will they eat everything in sight? Is an outburst for independence on the way? Will they actually tell you how they are doing? Will they even talk to you? These are all questions many parents wrestle with this time of year. You want to welcome your child home with open arms, but you also want to give them space to rest, see old friends, and continue to grow. As parents of growing adult children, we have to learn how to interact with them in new ways. At the same time, they’re still your children, and you still have a lot to offer them as they learn more of who they are. 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The reality is this current generation will probably have jobs in multiple vocations. What’s comforting as a parent is knowing they’re surrounded by information and tools to equip them well in whatever vocation they choose. Going off to college opens doors they might have never have thought about before. Maybe your child has always been interested in science but never knew what was out there. Or they love writing but were never told they were good enough. Or maybe they’re discovering their passion for justice and want to explore a life of seeking to make the world a better place. College is a time for them to discover, to be creative, to try things out. Remind your child, in their conversations with you over the holidays, that they don’t have to have it all figured out. Just view this time as a brainstorming season and bounce ideas around. And be sure to encourage them in the talents and unique gifts God has given them. 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In Hebrews 2 we see this curious quote from Psalm 22:22: “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” These words are attributed to Jesus himself, who is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Isn’t that amazing? For worship leaders, the hope that gives us both humility and also confidence in leading God’s people is that Jesus himself leads us and sings with us. When we begin to experience Jesus’s presence with us as we lead, temptations toward self-glory and misuse of power begin to diminish, and we lead more creatively, more selflessly, and more fruitfully. I long for that in my own ministry—maybe you do, too. Let’s pray for a greater awareness of Christ’s transforming presence in the midst of our church gatherings, and may we experience renewal and revival as a result. View the full article

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