God Is Love

1 John 4:7-12, 16-21 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.

10 This is real love--not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

19 We love each other because He loved us first. 20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

You have probably heard the short phrase "God is love," it was a very popular saying when I was a kid yet we didn't realize how true that phrase is. In fact God's character and everything about him is defined by love, God is love, it is God's nature to love and love is the essence of His entire being. God is the limitless source of all love and he is the perfect model of what genuine love looks like.

Every child of God should understand that God's way of showing love is pretty extreme but the Bible teaches us to love like He loves. Just as God is a limitless source of love we need to grow more and more loving as we become more like Him. As we experience God and his love and allow his nature to have control of our life we will have to love him and everybody else more and more. We are not allowed to grow old and crabby!

Another popular phrase when I was young was "you are the only Bible that some people will ever read." Think about it, does your life look like what you say you believe? Does the world know more about love from looking at you as one of God's children?

Ephesians 5:2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.

Jesus love is brought to full expression for the world to see when they observe the effect it has on your lifestyle and on your character. If I do not live a lifestyle of love then God's love has failed to do what it set out to accomplish in my life. Hatred, envy, wrath, gossip and anything else that shows a lack of love, all have their source in something else other than God.

God's Children Are Loving

John 13:34-35 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples."

Just as we can say "God is love," this next phrase should be just as famous and just as true, "Christ disciples are love." Too bad that isn't really true so much of the time. They started out being known for their love but sometime after the New Testament the church got off of the love thing and started up with the power thing.

The early church went from persecution to power very quickly in the Roman Empire, when this happened the church lost it's first love and it lost a lot of it's effectiveness, instead of being known for love it became known for wars and for building huge cathedrals.

Can you imagine how attractive the church would be if it was known for loving the way Jesus calls us to love?

I need to remember that: God is the source of all love (1 John 4:7-8) he models what genuine love is (1 John 4:9-10) and he commands me to love the same way that he did. (1 John 4:11-12)

Extravagant Love

John 10:1-5 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Its amazing what extent people will go to each holiday season to get the hot gift of the year. This years must have gift happens to be Hatchimal. If you don’t have kids then you probably have no idea what they are.

It’s a toy that lives in an egg and when kids show it attention, it cracks open and a furry toy pops out that can learn basic commands. Who knew that this toy would be the must have of the season. Definitely not the makers of them because they have had to ramp up production and want be able to supply the demand until early 2017.

People bought them up at retail price at $60 and now they go for $130 to as much as $500. Crazy what people will do for the ones they love. I know we can read this and think we would never…but we all have done things that people on the outside might say is crazy but to do for those we love…we don’t even think twice.

Today I am thinking about the love a shepherd has for his sheep. The lengths that He would go to care for and protect them and the way that the sheep respond to only him. This is why that babe that came many Christmases ago is so important to us today. It reminds of how far love will go to reach the people they love.

I guess we can learn something from a Hatchimal this year. Remember I said that the kids never get the toy unless they take the time to give it some attention. I pray that you don’t get so wrapped up in all the season has to offer and forget to give the ONE GIFT that really matters the attention He deserves.

Just know that if you do neglect the ONE GIFT that matters then you will never know the true joy it might bring.


Instead of services on Sunday morning watch for us on Grace Falls Facebook for a Live Christmas Day devotion from Pastor Buff McNickle. We pray that it encourages you and that you and your family will have a blessed Christmas

Marriage Retreat 2016


In late-October we had a great time with licensed, Christian counselor Virginia Pignato, she came from Florida to be our featured speaker for our first Marriage Retreat. She helped our participants to recognize their individual temperament tendencies, and then helped couples to recognize the value of the similarities and differences between them. Through various exercises and activities, couples learned how to recognize stress indicators for their partner and how to avoid tension and obtain harmony.

At the conclusion of the weekend, couples observed the Lord’s Supper, prayed for one another, and left with a new understanding of their partner. The weekend provided such valuable information that couples are already requesting that Virginia plan a return trip in the near future.

While the four-session discussions provided the “meat” of the retreat, it was the luxurious accommodations that were the “cherry on top.” For as only God could, He connected the dots that reunited a fellow believer from Alabama and Pastor Buff.


The Complete Album Can Be Viewed Here

When Pastor Buff was invited to a Missions Conference in Alabama in early 2016, this man and his wife indicated that they own a vacation home on the Jersey Shore. They generously offered the use of their shore home to the Grace Falls family during the off-season.

We are so thankful for their hospitality that allowed us to be able to provide an affordable Marriage Retreat in a beautiful setting at the beach. Six of our couples were able to take advantage of this valuable, relationship-enhancing opportunity!

Cape May Marriage Retreat

Coming October 28-30

You know that great marriages don't happen by accident. No matter how long you have been married, now’s your chance to take an intentional step toward strengthening your marriage as you and your spouse spend the weekend at a luxurious beach house in Cape May.

Our guest speaker will be nationally certified, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Virginia Pignato, who has been providing Christian-based counseling therapy since 1996.

The cost for this valuable weekend is $100 per couple, yet the value to your marriage and family could be immeasurable! This minimal fee includes lodging and meals. Optional, romantic and fun excursions will also be a part of our weekend getaway!

This event is intended for married couples and you are encouraged to make arrangements for your children, but if special circumstances arise, do not let this stop you from attending. Contact Cissy McNickle to discuss safe care options for your child(ren).


This beautiful beach home features nine bedrooms, large living area and beautiful views so don’t hesitate to confirm your participation. Register by making your non-refundable deposit of 50%. Full balance will be due October 23.

Everybody Is So Busy

Are we doing anything that really matters?


Have you ever thought about how the gospel message got out of the small geographic area that Jesus worked in to become know all across the globe? After His three years of ministry, Jesus hadn't traveled very far from home, if they had television back then the events of His life would have been on the local nightly news but the major networks would have never covered Him.

The only reason that the gospel got away from Jerusalem and spread around the world is the result of men that loved their job, they were passionate about what they experienced with Jesus, they were glad to work for Jesus and his church.

Colossians 1:24-29 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.

This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

Despite a lot of hardship and physical abuse the Apostle Paul was willing to be busy spreading the gospel, he could have stayed home in Jerusalem after his conversion, he could have had a lot more comfortable life if he told his friends and neighbors that he changed his mind about Jesus and then settled down. He could of got busy with a career, focus on losing weight, buying a home and finding a wife.

Instead Paul had to be a radical about this Jesus stuff, his life would be much more difficult and all of the normal cares of this world would have to be set aside. Instead of being busy pursuing the cares of this world he would be busy following the call that God has placed on his life.

John 12:26 Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.

Paul believed Jesus words about following and serving. We are busy people and we are probably seldom as thrilled to serve others as we should be. This idea of serving is so important that Jesus gave us the greatest example of it just hours before he was crucified.

Right after the crowds cheered Him on His way into Jerusalem, what we call the Triumphant Entry, he told them about serving and then again he told his disciples during the Lord's Supper when he washed their feet.

Jesus stepped down from the highest position and humbled himself, he made the greatest leap in condescension, we will probably never understand why he loves us so much that he would make this giant step from greatness to the lowliest servant.

John 13:14-15 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

It is difficult to imagine that Jesus had authority over absolutely everything, we can't even comprehend what that means, and yet he sat that aside and became our servant. And then he challenged us to serve the people around them as a symbol of our love.

I am a busy guy and I have to be careful that I am not too busy to serve. All of our work and our pursuits are usually focused on ourselves. It takes a deliberate effort to move our focus away from ourselves and think about serving God and other people. I need to have a passion to serve my Savior and my neighbor so that the gospel will be contagious to the world around me.



Don't Quit


1 John 4:9-11 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

The appeal of Jesus and the gospel is so compelling yet too often people are driven away from Christianity. The fact that Jesus followers can be less like him than they should be isn't surprising, I am sure that we have all been hurt by someone wearing the label Christian, as a group we can be "quarrelsome, hostile, and disputatious" and make people want to run away.

The power that changed the world is love yet we have lost our appreciation for the power that love has to make positive change. As Andy Stanley says we give up our leverage in culture when we focus on anything but love. If we loved like he calls us to love, people wouldn’t feel condemned by us.

Don't give up on the gospel lived out in a loving community, Jesus called  us to participate in mission together, it would be wrong to turn our back on our faith and it would be equally wrong to live out our faith as a "Lone Ranger" Christians.

Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

As a gospel community we know that Jesus is coming back for a unified body of believers and he expects us to be working together as a body to complete the mission that he gave us. We cannot possibly go into all the world and make disciples while we are busy fighting each other. We must love as Jesus did if we are going to draw people into our community and bring about change in their life.