Creativity, Theology and Soli Deo Life: An Interview with Brother Love
On a hot afternoon not long ago, Soli Deo Life sat down to share a cold beverage with and to ask some questions of our resident theologian, Love F. You may have seen him on our site's videos, but these questions dig a bit deeper into his background and allow him to share more about his passion for God and his hopes for Soli Deo Life.
Soli Deo Life (SDL)- Thanks for sitting down with us today, brother Love. Do you mind if we start with a question about your name? I don’t know that I’ve ever met any person with the name “Love.” At least, it doesn’t seem a common name for a tall southern boy like yourself. Is there a story behind your name?
Love F.- Ah yes…! Love is a family name used often in previous generations, and it became popular within the family. It became my grandfather’s middle name, then my father’s, and then mine. I am the third.
SDL- Such a creative name which I’m sure fits in well within the community of artistically creative people represented on this web-site. From what we have seen on the videos, you seem like a Bible teacher or a theologian. Can you help us make the connection between Soli Deo Life, creativity and the truth in the Bible? In other words, why is there a Bible teacher in the midst of all of these artists?
Love F.- It has always saddened me when Bible teaching doesn’t compel people to hunger for more of God. In fact, even as a child I thought, “How can something like the word of God, and a subject so grand as the person of God, be made boring?”. Shouldn’t His creativity compel us to find new and exciting ways of presenting Biblical truth that both reveals His Glory and encourages us along this adventure of life? Isn’t good preaching and teaching also an art?
SDL- You seem pretty passionate about the Biblical themes you share. What made you want to become a Bible teacher?
Love F.- My father, Love F, Jr., was a man who knew the Word well, modelled its truths in our family, and taught it all his adult life as a pastor, evangelist, and teacher. He always told me, “Don’t go in to the ministry full-time unless you have a burning in your bones like the prophet Jeremiah!” As a young person I did not have that sense of passion. My plan was to become a lawyer: I wanted to argue and get paid for it!
But God had a different plan. While leading a team of fellow Bible college students to share Christ with articulate young atheists in a high school in Northern Europe, God really touched my heart. He began calling me to dive deeply into His Word and growing in me a desire to use God’s Word to point as many as I could to the knowledge of who He is. I wrote a letter to my Dad and said, “Now I know what you meant…I feel His calling burning in my bones!”.
SDL- That burning in your bones still seems to propel you in a specific direction and purpose. What are your hopes for those trying to live a Soli Deo (God centered) life and the Soli Deo Life web site?
Love F.- My hope is that the “abundant life” Jesus promised will be lived out by God’s people globally as we fall deeper in love with HIM! My prayer is that we would become the people He has called us to be, walking intimately with the Father and allowing Him to love this broken, confused and fallen world through us. Soli Deo points to “God alone.” He alone can heal broken hearts; transform hurting sinners; restore, renew and rejuvenate shattered families and through the power of His Son, “make all things new!” It is only GOD who can call out a people to Himself, wooing those who understand their need of a Savior. He is the One who nurtures creative and passionate worship from the hearts of new glory-bearers, and sets them free to invade all nations with the infectious beauty of the Gospel! He will set the captives free and build His Church in the most unlikely of places so that at the end of the day we will all fall on our faces and say “only God and God alone.”
Love F.- We are constantly tempted to believe our soul-thirst can be quenched in something other than God. Money. Fame. Security. Human friendship. Sex. Whatever! Literally NOTHING can fill that “God space” in our lives other than God Himself!
SDL- It sounds like you consider this to be foundational to our understanding of what it means to draw close to God. How has this Truth enhanced your own relationship with God?
Love F.- The choices we make reveal what we truly believe about God and ourselves. As I’ve grown in my understanding of this foundational Truth of knowing God and its priority above ALL other things, it has led to intentional and deliberate lifestyle changes. Through this process, I am slowly being weaned from the cult of self, the idolatry of needing to be thought well of, and the tyranny of jealousy and comparing myself to others. In response to this God-given thirst I am spending more and more time before His face, learning to be silent and listen. He is ALWAYS there, ALWAYS willing to listen and lead us beside quiet waters. He loves and accepts us as a true and faithful Friend. We can TRUST Him with all aspects of our lives and relationships.
SDL- What if someone doesn’t really feel the thirst you refer to in the video? Is there hope for them? What would be your recommendations to them about how to seek God?
Love F.- Our cosmic enemy is clever and effective at distracting us from what is TRUE and from God’s very best. If his attacks at the intellectual level fail, he focuses on our emotions or intensifies our fleshly desires. In shame, too many of us turn away from God at those times, believing we can handle temptation in our own strength, or that we have to somehow “measure up” before we may approach Him. Our thirst for God wanes because we don’t clearly see the full extent of our desperation and His longing to meet us at that point of greatest need. Until we allow our deepest disappointments, pains, discouragements and challenges in life to lead us TO God, we will continue to flounder in our pursuit of Him.
Nothing thwarts intimacy with God like self reliance and pride in our personal abilities or accomplishments and sense of independence from God. My recommendation is to ask God to help you see Him and yourself ACCURATELY! Take seriously the simple fact that He has given you His Word “to lead you into all righteousness.” Don’t allow any of your thoughts to take you to a point of passivity. Take seriously Paul’s admonition to “take every thought captive and bring it into obedience to Christ.” The spiritual fight within which we are engaged is intense, relentless and impossible to win in our own strength. Follow the pattern of Jesus who not only saw His need of the Father, but reordered His life in such a way that every aspect of His walk turned toward intimacy with Him. If Jesus, the perfect God-Man felt the need to always be in communion with His Father in order to accomplish His will, then why would we think we could do any less? This should be the passionate pursuit of our hearts and the ultimate motivation behind our decisions…regardless of how we may “feel” at any given moment, or how “impossible” the God-given task before us may appear.
SDL- Wow, brother Love, thanks for such a profound challenge for us to seek God’s help as we live out our lives in Christ!