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Ever since I was old enough to run, I have enjoyed playing sports and watching sports. Being born and raised in south Texas, football was the most popular sport, followed by baseball, both of which I liked playing. At my age, playing those sports is in the rear view mirror of my life. But I continue to enjoy watching the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. I'm not a fanatical fan, but I do cheer them on to win. Winning is great, losing not so much. In our United States of America, I hear a lot about winning and losing. I hear about winning politically, economically, and other ways in which one group of people wins and another group of people loses. Winning is never really mentioned explicitly in the New Testament, except in a brief section of the 9th chapter of the 1st Letter to the Corinthians, where the metaphor of winning in sports is used. The winning in this letter is not about winning politically and economically. The winning is not about ways one group of people wins while another loses. Instead, the winning in the 1st Letter to the Corinthians is about winning people over to the way of the gospel, winning people over to Team Jesus. "For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.....I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings" (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). With Team Jesus, love wins. Jesus showed this in his life of gracious and generous love. In fact, Jesus focused primarily on reaching out in love to those whom society viewed as "losers." The poor, the disabled, the lepers, the outcasts, the marginalized. Carrie Underwood has a beautiful and powerful song, "Love wins." I encourage you to watch the music video on the internet. The refrain is: "I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers. And I, I believe we're made to be here for each other. And we'll never fall if we walk hand in hand. Put a world that seems broken together again. Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins." I agree with Carrie, as this is the life and teaching of Jesus the Christ: Love wins! Rob Bell wrote about this in his excellent book, "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived." Bell concludes the book by encouraging the reader with these words: "May you experience this vast, expansive, infinite, indestructible love that has been yours all along. May you discover that this love is as wide as the sky and as small as the cracks in your heart no one else knows about. And may you know, deep in your bones, that love wins." At Fairfield Glade Community Church, love wins! We are champions of unconditional love. Our goal, our aim, is to love. We are winners!!!

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