Loving God, Loving People, & Bringing Life

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I have been reflective about my life lately. Probably because I have recently attended two memorials of pastors who were friends. Recently, I was at a service that memorialized Bob Swope, Jr. To my amazement, there was a crowd that appeared to be over 1000 people. Bob was an incredible man, and the turnout was a testimony to the way he lived his life.
As I drove home that afternoon, I thought of the way Bob impacted lives and made a difference for Jesus in this world. It brought to mind the passage where Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment was. He answered with the following words:

30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

That is the way Bob lived; loving God with all of His heart and loving people. The most moving part of the memorial for me was when Bob’s son Randy took out Charlie the “dummy” puppet Bob had used as a children’s minister and evangelist. Randy was working the puppet (with surprising skill for one who didn’t do this for a living) and Charlie the dummy said, “I always felt most alive when Bob was near me.” Because Bob loved God and loved people, that statement resonated for all of us who knew him well. We were always encouraged and blessed and felt the life Jesus brings when Bob was nearby.
I want to live that way too. Loving God, loving people and bringing life.
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