Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  
1 John 4:7-8

Loving Yourself

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV):
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”


  • Give yourself time
    • Take 15-30 minutes everyday to do something uplifting.
    • Enjoy a hobby, something that brings you joy.
    • Listen to music, take a hot shower, savor a cup of tea, enjoy flowers, smell the fresh air...
  • Give yourself space
    • Maintain healthy boundaries
    • The image of God = The ability to say yes and no
  • Give yourself credit
    • Take a few minutes everyday to appreciate your progress
  • Give yourself a break
    • Sabbath rest (rest & recreation)
    • Leisure (schedule it, prioritize it). Being too busy is undisciplined.
    • Wind down at the end of the day and get adequate sleep.
  • Give yourself forgiveness
    • Don’t beat yourself up.
    • Forgiving yourself means moving on. Put the past behind you if it's not encouraging your growth and development.
  • Give yourself patience
  • Give yourself nutritious food

Loving the Elderly

Psalm 92:12-15 (ESV):
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

  • Honor- Be polite, ask for advice 
  • Respect- don’t argue, don’t prove your point 
  • Serve- find an elderly neighbor, shovel their driveway when it snows, rake their leaves, take them to doctor appointments, help them with needs around the house. 
  • Spend time- write letters, sit and listen to their stories 
  • Provide for parents
  • In-person visits can help improve a senior's health
  • Eat together!
  • In your family, learning about your heritage can be beneficial for both you and them
  • Volunteer - Meals on Wheels, Senior Centers, etc.

Additional Resources:

Loving Children

Mark 10:13-16 (ESV):
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

  • Talk kindly to children
  • Only say encouraging things about kids behind their back - kids are astute and will pick up on hidden attitudes easily
  • Participate in Boxes of Love--a local ministry dedicated to providing foster children with needed items as they transition into new households. 
  • Ask parents in your neighborhood if they need a babysitter--become the “kid” house in your neighborhood! 
  • Listen to kids when they speak. Don’t dismiss them (this is especially important for teenagers). 
  • Help mentor teenagers for adulthood. 
  • Pray for kids daily -- Pray for our Student and Kids Ministries! And pray with them when the opportunity arises!
  • Pray for parents and encourage them. Befriend them.

Additional Resources:

Loving Single Parents

James 1:27 (ESV):
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

God cares about kids who are missing a parent, and he cares about parents who are missing a spouse.

  • Offer to help with yardwork, vehicle, or home maintenance
  • Watch their kids
  • Have them over for a meal or provide a meal for them
  • Do FUN things with the parent. Single parents are often working so hard that they do not take time for themselves. They need friends of all ages to do fun things with them.
  • If their kids are older, offer to teach them life skills that their parent might not have time to
  • Help with birthdays or Christmas
  • PRAY for single parents and their kids. There will be needs that only God can fulfill in their lives.

Additional Resources:

Loving the Disabled and those with Special Needs

Luke 14:12-14 (ESV):
When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

  • Be intentional about using the preferred language regarding the disabled. There’s no sense in causing unnecessary offense. 
  • Provide respite for caretakers (for most caretakers--they don’t get the luxury of a day off)
  • Be intentional about providing dignity for disabled people. They are often overlooked and made to feel like they aren’t normal. They are normal. 
    1. Learn their name and what they like and don’t like
    2. Take them seriously when they speak
    3. Take them into consideration when making plans and make necessary changes to accommodate their needs
  • Look into foster care-- disabled kids are hard to find good caretakers for. There is currently a young girl living in a hotel with caseworkers (here in the Metro area!) because there’s no families who are willing to take her in. This is hard and difficult work, and requires giving all of yourself away. But it can be so incredibly rewarding. 
  • Volunteer in the disabled classrooms at the school
  • Spend time with those who are disabled in our community. Love on them, become their friend… learn how they communicate and make the effort to change communications styles for them. 
  • Volunteer with Special Olympics!
  • There are many kinds of disabilities-- if you know someone-- learn about their specific disability and how you can support them. 

Loving the Incarcerated

Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV):
35 'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

  • Volunteering for prison ministries like Prison Fellowship, Kairos Prison Ministry, Know Me Now 
  • Become pen pals with a prisoner - you can write back and forth sharing life testimonies, your story and hearing theirs. Talk about life more and more which could give them hope and possibly a new friend when they get out! 
  • If you know anyone in prison or in jail you could go and visit them even if you haven’t seen them in a long time. They would appreciate it and it would help them to feel cared for. 
  • Pray for the incarcerated that God will meet them where they are at. Pray for revelation and salvation for the lost.

Additional Resources:
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (book/movie)
  • Rethinking Incarceration  (book) by Dominique Dubois Gilliard.

Loving Immigrants

Leviticus 19:33-34 (ESV):
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.  The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

  • Use language that is kind ("undocumented" is kinder than "illegal")
  • Be careful of assuming someone who is speaking Spanish is undocumented
  • Be compassionate and patient when someone doesn’t speak English well
  • Educate yourself on the topic of  immigration in the United States - The immigration Coalition is an organization that seeks to help people build a biblically balanced worldview on the topic of immigration. 
  • If you know someone who immigrated, ask them their story and what they miss most. Get to know them personally, bring them coffee, gifts, invite them over, listen to their stories, get to know their kids.
  • Donate time and money to Faith Based orgs who work with immigrants
  • Pray for the safety of immigrants
  • Pray and care for our missionaries who are immigrants to other nations

Additional Resources:
  • Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (book) by Jenny Yang and Matthew Soerens
  • The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong (book) by Karen Gonzales
  • Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of a Global Refugee Crisis (book) by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, and Dr Issam Smeir
  • Refugee Care Collective

Loving the Homeless/Unhoused

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (ESV):
7 If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

  • Partner with an organization
  • See a need, meet a need
  • Create a support system as a church

Additional Resources:

Loving People of Color

Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV):
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

  • Be okay with being uncomfortable especially when listening through tough conversations. People may share viewpoints and feelings we have never thought about because their experience is different. But as Christians we want all people to feel seen and heard. We need to be a safe place for people to express their experiences and their thoughts. And we need to remain humble and teachable. 
  • Be willing to examine your own biases concerning other ethnicities and nationalities. Although unintentional, we may be carrying views about others that have been influenced by our own culture and bad experiences. We must be willing to examine ourselves to see how our thoughts may be influencing how we treat our brothers and sisters from certain people groups.
  • Don't tell people of color that you are colorblind - it diminishes their experience and uniqueness. God created different ethnicities and cultures for a reason and engaging in those differences brings rich and soul satisfying relationship!
  • Develop friendships with people of color if you don’t already have some.
  • Be willing to learn about racism and how it has affected church relations over the past few centuries. Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions or to pick up a book or read an article to help you understand how racism today affects your brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Support businesses that are owned by people of color.

Additional Resources:
  • The Color of Compromise (book) by Jemar Tisby
  • Reading While Black (book) by Esau McCaulley
  • Just Mercy (book and movie) by Bryan Stevenson
  • Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race (book) by Michael O. Emerson

Loving Muslims

Hebrews 12:14-15
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

  • Learn about their culture/religion - be sensitive and consider your own stereotypes
  • Befriend a Muslim person, show them respect and kindness in public
  • Pray for Muslim People
  • Recognize that not all Arabs are Muslim and not all Muslims are Arab

Additional Resources:

Loving the LGBTQ+

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV):
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • This is a complex issue for Christians. Watch the video.