Some children were asked, “What is love?” One little girl answered,

“Love is when your mommy reads you a bedtime story.

True love is when she doesn’t skip any pages.”

A few summers ago I took a youth group on a mission trip to Ashland, Kentucky. Our goal was to build houses for Habitat for Humanity by day and build our faith by night. Most of the kids went with tons of enthusiasm and tidbits of skill.

But there were two Junior High boys who came under duress. The only reason either of them joined the trip was because the other one came along. They kept to themselves most of the time, barely participating in group activities and snickering over inside jokes that left everyone else out.

Cooler Than Thou

Nothing seemed to penetrate their “cooler-than-thou” veneer. Nothing, that is, until someone mentioned a skateboard ramp. Unfortunately, we were booked with activities every night.

On our last day we quit at noon to have some fun. Everybody piled in the vehicles, and we went swimming. That night during our last worship service, we took turns around the circle talking about a time when we felt God’s love in our lives. It turned into a very moving and sacred time.

At the end came the fearsome twosome. We braced ourselves for sheer chaos as one of the guys began to speak. “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt God’s love,” he said. “But this afternoon, when you guys went swimming, Tom (one of the counselors) stayed behind with us, got directions, and walked over an hour to find the skateboard ramp. He watched us skate for an hour and a half, and then we walked back. I’d say if I have ever felt God’s love, it was then.”

Being There

Love, at its most basic level, is being there. It doesn’t always involve a lot of words. Rarely is it connected to material things. Instead, love opens the door of our lives and says, “Come on in. You are so important to me that regardless of all the places I could be or all the things I could be doing, I choose to be with you.” 

Maybe that is why it’s so powerful when the Creator of the Universe goes on record saying,

I will never leave you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:5

God says he will be there for us. God’s love is so sure that regardless of the story line in our lives, he promises not to skip any pages.

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Roger Ross

A native of Cambridge, Illinois, Roger has served as a pastor in Texas, the British Channel Island of Guernsey, and Illinois. While in Illinois, he led teams that planted two new churches and served for 10 years as the lead pastor of one of the largest United Methodist Churches in the Midwest. It was his privilege to serve as the Director of Congregational Excellence in the Missouri Conference before coming into his current role with Spiritual Leadership, Inc (SLI).

Roger now comes alongside pastors, non-profit leaders and their leadership teams as an executive coach, specializing in leadership that inspires change. As a side gig, he loves teaching evangelism and church planting as an adjunct professor at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas.

Other passions of his include SCUBA diving in warm blue water, Krispy Kremes, and board games with family and friends. He also has a weakness for golf.

Roger is the author of three books, Meet The Goodpeople: Wesley’s 7 Ways to Share Faith, Come Back: Returning to the Life You Were Made For, and Come Back Participant Guide, all through Abingdon Press.

Now for the best part. Roger is married to Leanne Klein Ross, and they live Bloomington, Illinois. God has blessed them with two adult children, a son-in-law, several tropical fish, and one adorable granddog.