Experience the awe-inspiring depth of God’s love in "He Loved." This sermon explores how God’s love is not just vast and boundless but also personal and intimate. It serves as the foundation of our faith, providing comfort, strength, and assurance in every aspect of life. Join Pastoral Intern Renee Bennett as she helps us grasp the profound commitment of God's love and His desire for a personal relationship with each of us.

Renee Bennett

He Loved

John 3:16
John 3:16
July 7, 2024
Experience the awe-inspiring depth of God’s love in "He Loved." This sermon explores how God’s love is not just vast and boundless but also personal and intimate. It serves as the foundation of our faith, providing comfort, strength, and assurance in every aspect of life. Join Pastoral Intern Renee Bennett as she helps us grasp the profound commitment of God's love and His desire for a personal relationship with each of us.

What does love look like to you? When you think of someone demonstrating their love, what comes to mind? A new parent cradling a baby. Love of an elderly couple. The love of a friend who’s standing vigil by a dying friend’s bedside. The love of two young people who just can’t take their eyes off each other. When you think of God’s love, what comes to mind? God’s love for us is a Roman torture device. This makes no sense to the world. God’s love for us is on the cross. Please open your Bibles or your devices, and we’re going to look at John 3 16, and we’re going to read it together. On the screen, we have the new King James Version. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is the word of the Lord. Let us pray.

Gracious and heavenly Father. The Bible tells us you loved us so much that you gave us your only begotten son to die for us so that we can have the promise of everlasting life with you. Open our ears now, Lord, to hear your promise, especially during those times of doubt when we question the truth of your word, Amen. God’s grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Have you ever done something that you later regretted? I’m giving you time. Maybe what you did happened a long, long time ago, but you’re still haunted by the memory. Or maybe it’s something that you did more recently that keeps you kind of ridden with guilt. I’m going to tell you a story about my two twin brothers and something that they did when they were little. I can tell you this story because they’re not here to defend themselves and there is no way I am going to tell you something that I did when I was little. When my brothers were two years old, my brother Doug pushed his cradle against the window of our first story house and proceeded to push my brother Greg out the window. I was in the front yard with my dad and I heard a baby crying. I rushed to the backyard and there is my brother Greg. looking like a baby bird who had just been booted out of the nest. Yes, for years my parents told that story. Here I am 58 years later still telling that story. My brother Doug’s misdeed stuck to him like glue. Even when my boys were little, I regaled them with the misdeeds of their Uncle Doug and Uncle Greg. Have you ever felt like you just can’t shake your past? That it sticks to you like glue? Maybe you feel like you are forever going to be tethered to the past. to your very worst sin. Well, maybe your family keeps reminding you of that day, or that week, or that year, or years that you messed up. Or maybe the enemy.

He, uh, shows up in the middle of the night, and he whispers to you, You’re no good. You’re not going to be good. Your future does not look good. Maybe you wear your sin like a second skin. It’s just stuck on you. Newsflash! We’re all sinners, and we’re going to be sinners until the day we die. But the enemy is a liar. Because He wants you to think that Jesus is not for you, and that He doesn’t love you because you’re a sinner. But the Gospel of Matthew reminds us of why Jesus came and died for us. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. See, Jesus knows every single sinful thing that you have done or will do in the future. But Romans 5, 8 says, but God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. While we were still sinners. That is incredible. Can you imagine loving someone who denies your very existence? who uses your name as a swear word? Can you imagine loving someone who is embarrassed to talk about you even if they do believe in you? Can you imagine loving someone who is the very reason you died on the cross? That’s the love of God. I asked you what comes to mind when you think of love, and because of our sinful, selfish nature, love in the world is more often than not an exchange. You give me love, and I’ll give you love. Or, sometimes we feel that we have to earn it. And if we don’t earn it, or if we betray it, we lose it. That transactional love is the way of the world.

Praise God that God’s love is not transactional. It’s not an exchange. It’s a promise. And a promise doesn’t depend on anything from us. A promise is all about who’s giving the promise. And this promise comes to us from God, God so loved. Now, later this month, we have the Paris Olympics, don’t we? And can you just imagine how it would feel to represent the United States in the Olympics? I mean, we love our athletes, don’t we? When they bring home the gold, oh, it feels so good. But what happens if they do something to embarrass us? if they do something unbecoming of an athlete representing our country. Do you remember Ryan Lottke? In the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, he lied about being robbed at a gas station. Ryan Lottke went from hero to zero. We’re all very fickle about our love for people, aren’t we? They win, they’re in. They lose, or they do something wrong, or they hurt us, oh, they are out. Thank goodness God’s love doesn’t work that way. You don’t have to win God’s love, therefore you’re not going to lose God’s love. You see? God has loved us from eternity, from before the world began. Conditional love is not the love of John 3. 16. Now, last week, in Pastor Todd’s sermon, we looked at the word love, and we looked at the Greek and the Hebrew words for love found in John 3. 16. The Greek word for love here is agape, agape, everlasting, sacrificial.

The Hebrew word, Hesed, Hesed, And Hesed is unconditional, it’s loyal, undeserved kindness. Agape and Hesed are not the love of the world. We think of love in terms of an affection, a feeling. God’s love is a decision. It’s an action. He created you and he loves you. Sinners and saints have equal space in God’s heart. He’s tethered to both. Your goodness can’t win God’s love and your badness can’t lose it. Martin Luther once said about John 3. 16, he said, it’s the gospel in miniature. He said, nowhere else in the Bible do 27 words sum up the entire Bible. Now I’ve got my math people out here who are adding up the 27 words. I don’t know what translation he used. But the point is this, There is no other place in the Bible that so succinctly summarizes God’s relationship with us and the way of salvation. I think it can be said that if you know nothing about the Bible, start here. And If you know everything about the Bible, return here. Now, we’ve been talking about God’s love. But who does God love? John 3. 16 tells us, God so loved the world. God so loved the world. Think about how incredible that is. That means that Christ came for all people. He came for the whole world. God loves every man. He loves everyone equally. That means salvation is possible. for everyone. God loves us not because we’re deserving, but because we’re not deserving. God didn’t love us in order to get something from us. He loved us in order to give everything of himself to us. The enemy, by contrast, he wants you to be identified by your sin, glued to your sin, unable to shake your sin.

He’s right. We can’t shake our sin. Christ’s death on the cross is the only thing that can do that. Our sinful nature. It is. It’s stuck to us. But the enemy, the enemy is lying. He wants you to think that because you’re a sinner, you’re outside of God’s love. Please, please know this. God’s love for you is bigger and stronger than your biggest and strongest sin. He is not going to let you go. Psalm 136 tells us 26 times. His love endures forever. God’s decision for us is in the cross. God so loved the world. That he gave his only begotten son. So whoever, whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. His love endures forever. His love, not our sin, sticks to us like glue. Let us pray. Lord, we give thanks to you for loving us. Your chesed is unconditional, without end. You love us as we are, real men, real women, broken and sinful. You loved us while we were still dead in our sin, and we can never repay you for this sacrifice. And you know we can’t repay you for this sacrifice, and yet you still gave us your son. Your love endures forever, and so do your promises. Amen.

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Follow Jesus

Whether you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

Sign up today!

Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)