Greatest Love lyrics 

(Verse 1)
You’re my greatest love 
You’re my greatest love 
with me in the furnace flames 
You’re my greatest love 

Through hills and valleys 
Death and healing 
Joy and sorrow 
You are my God 

(Verse 2) 
You’re my greatest love 
You’re my greatest love 
With me in the fiercest storm 
You’re my greatest love 
You’re my greatest love 
You’re my greatest love 
Teaching me, faith over fear 
You’re my greatest love 

Jesus I hope 
In Your Great Love 
You will lead me 
Through the storm 
Jesus I know 
You’re my Great Love 
You stand with me 
In the fire 

You’re with me every time 
You’re present in my trials 
In sickness and in health 
My life is Yours 
You’re with me every time 
You’re present in my trials 
You’re stronger than this storm 
My Greatest Love 

Verse 2 
In peace and panic 
Health and sickness 
When fear sets in 
You’re on the throne 

I choose to put my faith in You 
I choose to place my trust in You 
I choose to lay my burdens down 
I know that You are with me God 

JoHanna (Double Chorus) (Last Chorus)
By my side, when fears arise, all my life is Yours 
By my side, when storms arise, You’re my greatest love 

(Verse 3)
You’re my greatest love 
You’re my greatest love 
I lean into Your strength and grace 
Jesus my Great Love

How Can One Person Promote Unity? (Original Post: February 15th, 2018) 

Fractions within the church are deeply personal. In many cases, these fractions have caused people to leave the church altogether. It is easy to feel lost in the midst of these divisions in the church. The church is meant to be our safe place and when it isn't we feel great uncertainty about what actions to take to help. Yet even in the darkness, one individual can contribute positively. One person can be a unifying voice in the midst of the dissension. One person can contribute to unity, but one person cannot accomplish unity on their own. Unity within the Church can only be accomplished when individuals practice grace and compassion within community when the Church emulates Jesus' humble example, and when reading and obeying the word of God is a top priority. 

Human beings were created by God for fellowship with one another. Community provides one of the clearest ways to encounter the grace of God in our lives. This was made clear when God stated “It is not good for man to be alone” in Genesis 2. In most cases, people begin to isolate themselves after they are hurt by the church. Isolation within the church is one of the key factors in disunity development. The popular idiom; “hurt people, hurt people'' has an underlying truth to it, but the better phrase would likely be; “all people, hurt people”. Jesus is the only man who treated each person perfectly in His time on earth. One of Jesus' most common proclamations to his disciples was a reminder to love one another. Today, we exist in the most isolated and independent time in history. We don't rely on others in the same way previous generations needed to in order to survive. Our self-reliance has slowly deteriorated into self-indulgence, even inside the walls of the church. We seek grace from the pastor's message, from the worship team, and from the smiles we receive from others as we walk out the door. This form of Christianity finds its success or failure in what “I” receive out of going to church. Grace doesn't work in self-indulgence. Grace is shared among a fellowship of like-minded people working through their differences and growing to love each other. Grace factors into unity in Paul's famous line in Romans 5:8; “Christ died for us.” This beautiful “us” Paul is referring to is worth fighting for and believing in. We come together and find the best of ourselves when we lay down our self-indulgence and fight for others' greatness above our own. Isolation and division are only broken down in the confines of trust and compassion. Compassion is actively choosing to respond with grace to someone else's pain. It's a picture of coming underneath someone and lifting them up. Compassion is neither passive or free, it requires something from you. 

Jesus is the head of the church and all things were made through Him. No one can contribute to unity 

like Jesus. The humility of Christ provokes us to emulate His example. In order to emulate Christ, we must change the way we look at the church and at ourselves. Philippians 2 is one of the clearest passages in the Bible on humility. In the passage, Paul speaks on “lowliness of mind” and “esteeming others as better than ourselves”. Lowliness of mind is not immaturity, but a practical childlike faith that places love as the highest goal. When love is prioritized it matters more than being the smartest person in the room. The greatest resistance to unity within the church is each person's individual pride. This is why Paul exhorts the Philippian church to change their mindset to be like Christ Jesus. Jesus was the most intelligent person who ever walked upon the earth, and yet He carried himself with complete humility and kindness. To esteem another above yourself is to love as Jesus loved. Jesus did not die for us in our best moment, rather He died for us when we were yet sinners. Outside of the church people are capable of loving each other when they have reason to, but we as Christians are called to love beyond what is deserved. We love one another in our weaknesses and in this we accomplish humility towards one another. 

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. In God's word, we find our greatest hope for unity. Christians all over the world unite around God's word in a variety of circumstances and challenges. God's word sifts through our intents. When we emphasize God's word we allow God to sift our intents and motives. We enable God to unite us in obeying His guidelines for unity. Leaders within the church are wise to prioritize God's word above any self-help books or worldly ideals towards unity. Within the church, God's word functions as an anchor, setting boundaries and providing clarity. The church must not only read the Word of God, but we must also obey the Word. Jesus' brother James' exhorted the church in his day to not only be hearers but also doers. Unity in the church happens when the Bible is living and active in us. As we embody the word to one another, we unite in the fellowship of God. 

Unity within the church cannot be accomplished by one person's strength or zeal. It requires grace, compassion, unity, and an emphasis on the word of God. One person can contribute to unity by embodying the character of Jesus Christ. By emulating Christ, we encourage others to seek His face and obey His word. It changes the conversation from what we want our church to be like to who we want our church to be like. The wounds of disunity and brokenness were put upon the cross with Jesus. His words still echo through time into our hearts today, as we remember His sacrifice. He laid down His life for us so that we may lay down our lives for one another. In this sacrifice we find unity.

The Value of Each Individual (Originally Posted July 16 2016) 

As I'm writing this the world counter online says there are over 7.4 billion people on the earth. Approximately 358,000 children were born today and roughly 150,000 people breathed their final breath. About 21,000 people die each day from hunger. All these statistics make us numb and make us feel small, but here's something that shocks me. It is estimated that you and I likely know about  600 people. That's a small world to live inside in the context of 7.4 billion people around the world. Want to make it even smaller? Statistics say that the average person knows about 10-25 people enough to trust them. (a) I realize there are always exceptions to every statistic, but it truly is amazing how little of the world we actually see and interact with on a daily basis. In reality, these friendships are few and far between as we pass by thousands upon thousands of people and don't even think about it. The question is; How well do you value those 20 or so people that you currently trust? 

I think what worries me in the age of social media and technology is that discipleship is often done through our phone screens rather than face to face. Facebook and Twitter have come to be pulpits for our ideals and for our reactions to the world around us. I have found it's easier for me to say things to people behind my phone rather than looking people in the eye. The noise of dismissal and superiority are deafening on social media. How many people have you dismissed today? How many people have you overlooked? Thank God for mercy in trying to love each other well. We fail at it more than we could ever realize. 

Somehow in God's crazy design you are reading this right now and I am someone you know in some social capacity and you decided to read this. I value your time and that you chose to read this, and I value you probably much more than I have stated to you. I know personally that one of the greatest desires I have is to express what I'm feeling in my heart and to have it be understood. I don't think I am alone in that desire. I believe the greatest ache on our planet right now is by hurting people wanting to be seen and heard. They are your friends, coworkers, and family. They need you! 

So today I'm focusing on the value of each individual. The value of loving each other as Christ loves us. I hope this can express the desire God has to use the church to disciple one another just like he discipled 12 young men. I believe the greatest struggle of a ministry internally is to care about each individual as much as the congregation as a whole. We are one body made up of many parts. Each part is vital for the success of the entire body. I hate to be the guy that makes sweeping statements, but I truly believe that the church is failing in valuing individuals above the seats they occupy. We have to get back to the basics and start from there. 

I often look at these massive worship events like Onething or Passion and I see 20,000 young people worshipping Jesus together which is an amazing thing! But I often think about what happens when music and teaching stop. I remember when I was 17 years old and I was just one person among those 20,000. In my heart, I was signing up to follow Jesus for the first time in my life. As I made the decision to start following Jesus I was worried about the world I was going back to once the conference was over. In fact, I thought about it the entire 8-hour car ride back to Minnesota. I knew I would be walking into a life I had built with no real accountability and no Christian friends. I knew I would be trying to tear down the facade of a good Christian that I had built to actually build something real. In plain terms; I really needed someone who was like me. I wasn't looking for answers to questions as much as I was looking for a friend to walk with me and be there when I stumbled to help me to get back up. 

There are plenty of people out there who are willing to mentor someone which basically is a nice way saying you see yourself above them. My question is are you willing to be a friend? Are you willing to stand beside those that need you? Are you willing to get over how long you've known Christ to actually be like Christ to someone? What if your calling isn't to impact thousands but rather to impact the faces you see every single day. What if the church valued each person the way Christ does? What if the monotony of everyday life was tricking you from seeing the treasure that is found in the people you see each and every day? 

3 quick practical ways to apply this in real-life interactions 

1. Be present in your conversations. Value the person you're talking to by being focused on them. 

2. Listen. Encourage them. Point to the Bible and to Jesus. Don't act like you know everything! 

3. Tell the people you care about that you care about them. Simple, but so important! 

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another"- John 13:35