That Is Good News! Becoming intentional about how you love

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, May 5, 2019

Courtesy photo
Pastor Brad McKenzie, second from left, with his daughter, Anna Claire, left, son, Jack, and wife, Emily, as they announced he accepted the position as pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene.

The months of May and June provide opportunities to celebrate both mothers and fathers.  

In over 20 years of ministry, I have learned that not every person you meet has necessarily had a positive experience with their mother, father or even both.  The subject of family is often a painful one for many. It may not be bad parents that cause grief or pain, but the loss of a mother or a father and the hole that exists in their passing.  

As a pastor, I am determined to do all I can to proclaim the truth of God’s word and work to be a positive solution to difficulties that exist in the modern family.  The family is still a sacred institution created by God to be an example of His Holy love while also being the training ground for children to become all God has created them to be.

I ask you this question: “what are you intentionally doing to be a positive force in your family and in families that you are connected?”

Last week, the Orange Leader posted the divorces that were reported by the Orange County District Clerk for the week of April 1- April 19, 2019.  This list included 19 couples for the week of April 1-19. That’s a divorce a day for the first 19 days of April in 2019. That report broke my heart, and I believe that it breaks the heart of God as well.  

Let me set this straight, if you are divorced or come from a family that experienced divorce, God’s grace, mercy, and love are still just as available to you and your family as it is to those who have not been through a divorce.

The Lord does not love a divorcee any less than He loves someone who has never been through that difficult reality.  

Even so, it breaks the heart of God when His people experience broken relationships and live through one of the most painful events a person can endure.  Let me assure you, my friends, there is hope and a future for you and your family, even if divorce has existed.

All the couples I have married over the years have heard me give my definition of marriage: “the Total commitment of the Total person for the Total life!”  

That’s a lot of totals, but it is necessary for two people to commit to a relationship that God intended to be separated only by death.  

Where we find God’s grace today for the family is found in that word, “intentional!”  God has intended a lot of things for His creation, but because of sin, many of those intentional desires and plans have been missed by humanity, but humanity is not without hope.  

Being intentional is a word and a concept that I use, teach and preach repeatedly as essential to life.  We must be INTENTIONAL about what we do with our lives and how we allow God to use our lives. Being INTENTIONAL is absolute when it comes to mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, and families thriving and not just merely surviving.            

How can we be intentional about the state of our families and how we participate?  

Ephesians 5: 1-2 tells us: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Intentionally thriving families have mothers, fathers, wives and husbands that are committed to being imitators of God by living a life of love.  

That is Holy love, not Hollywood love.  

Holy love is shown to us by Christ, a love that leads to life and fulfillment.  Hollywood love is shown to us by an industry that is more interested in how we spend our money than proclaiming life and ways that lead to life.  

Choose your example of love carefully!  

Will you join me in being determined to share the truth of God’s love as a positive solution for the sake of the families in Orange County?  I hope you will.

My friends, no matter what status of your family today, you can begin to take the first step to become intentional about how you love, and your family can always get a fresh start.  

That Is Good News!


Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Frist Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.