So, my goodness, I get to have so much fun. You know, it's unbelievable here on the floor of the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. I'm very excited about this interview that I have in front of me now, as we're doing NRB Chronicles 2022.
So, we have an author, Aaron Taylor, but Aaron's book has got a very compelling title. It kind of grabs you because it says, do you love me? There it is, a great big question mark.
And then you got three choices. You know, you would think it's either yes or no. Well, do you remember when you were a little kid?
First, second grade, I fell in love for the first time, thought it was love. And I wrote a little note to a girl and said, do you love me? Yes, no. And then I thought, well, that's a lot of commitment, maybe. And I put a maybe on there. And did she say maybe? She said no.
I had a lot of them say yes and no and a few maybes, but you know, it worked for me. And isn't that cool? I mean, isn't it cool how God like reminds us of those original places where our hearts were tender and we're looking for acceptance?
You know, there were so many things, man, that I can remember when I was little and being smitten with love and getting this first taste of what that feels like. And so, you know, anybody that looks at this title is going to kind of go back to that note because it is exactly what it looks like. Right. That's what it was meant to be. Yeah. And so take us there. How did? Well, it's a play on words from when John 21, when Jesus said to Peter, do you love me?
Three times. And Jesus, Peter responds to him and says, you know, I love you. And, you know, I hate it when people use Greek and Hebrew terms and then define them. But in this case, you have to because Jesus didn't say, do you love me? He said, do you agape me? And Peter didn't say, I love you.
He said, I filet you. Well, the difference is unconditional love versus brotherly love or Philadelphia. If you're good to me, I'm good to you kind of love. Right. So do you mind if we go into that?
Because it's a great thing to go. It's really the basis of the book, which allows us to look at love in so many different ways that are powerful. I studied this passage recently and I do study Hebrew, but I also know a little Greek and I certainly know the Greek that was used here because it's, it's a classic study of Greek, right? Then here you've got three different, you know, kinds of four different, four total. But in the case of Hebrew, there's just one, by the way. Right. No, I know.
Just one. And however, from my perspective, if, if you have a brother in, in, you're a Jew now, this is their culture, right? That to Peter, what he saw was Jonathan and David were, were their souls reunited. And so it wasn't like Peter saying, well, you know, I kind of like you, Jesus. It wasn't that he was saying, man, we are brother. Like we are. Yeah.
Do I, do you love me? And he wasn't understanding. Jesus is where Jesus was going. I think he was ready for this. Yeah, I'm ready.
All right. So what is the best definition? Is it a Greek term? The best definition of God's kind of love is what Jesus laid down his life for his friends, right? What he taught about love. So do you unconditionally love God? I know this is a lot to ask. You may not even be a believer. I think you are, but, but do you love God?
I mean, how many people would raise their hand? I unconditionally, I agape love Jesus. See, I don't think Peter's doing it because, Oh, I denied Jesus. I don't think he's doing it because, well, I, you know, I'm not quite for sure.
Try this one for size. If you love God, if you unconditionally love God, did you love him first? No, he loved me for, I mean, wait, well, there's other okay.
I get that. Did, did he, did you love him when he denied you spit on you? Didn't care about you. Did you still love Jesus? No. Okay.
Okay. But, but, but you still love God. So did you love God when he had nothing to offer you at all and you had no expectations because he had nothing to give you in return?
No, cause he did. So I have a question for you. Is it possible that what Peter heard when he heard, do you love me unconditionally with the kind of love I've taught my whole ministry? And Peter went, I can't, but you know, I can brotherly love you. I can love you like you loved me. And then what are the next words? So did he leave Peter with a hopeless inability to love him?
No, not at all. He showed him how to love. He said, go feed my sheep. Go find somebody to love first. Don't wait for them to come to you. Go find somebody who doesn't deserve your love, but you're going to love them anyway.
Go find somebody who can give you absolutely nothing and show them love. And when you've done it unto them, you've done it unto me. That's what I believe that interaction primarily was. Is Peter yes, loving Jesus, but not knowing how to answer that question and Jesus showing him how to truly love him. Well then that brings, I see where you're going. Yeah.
All right. Took me a while to get there. Now it also follows what happened afterwards, right? Like he's going to tell Peter how he's going to die and it's like, well, I can't yet to the point that like, Oh yeah, you are. Um, like, Oh yeah, you are right. Cause that's going to take a love that is a fruit.
I got me. Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, right? It's not just a love.
It's not arrows. It's not brotherly love. And yet we, we love our mates.
Another part of this. We love our mates. How well brotherly, my wife's good to me. I'm good to her. She makes me dinner. She meets my expectations when she fulfills all the needs I have.
We're good. But that is not what Jesus asked. He said, would you copy like I've loved the church. I want you to love your wife. That's a whole different story when she's not going to give, when she's not my expectations have to be lowered.
Are you kidding me? And so it begins to look at love different. You look at love where Jesus is the vine. We're the branches and we produce love.
Greatest of all of these is love. And so what are I producing fruit for? Well, for people to come and just eat it. Well, what are they going to do for me?
I don't know. I'm going to get that from the great reservoir of Jesus. When I start getting what I need from Christ, I can give without worrying about it running dry. That's so that's the basics.
Very basics. Well, it's like what's hugely illuminating because interestingly, I interviewed a pastor not long ago who talked all about that very idea that the fruits of the spirit are not like, oh, I'm going to go love. And so it's not like that, that this is something that you have to tend the garden. You got to keep the weeds out. You got to, you got to be fed in the word. You got to abide. You got all this stuff. And then as a fruit, then you get patient or, or long suffering, depending on how you want to define all that.
Then you get this. And so what you're talking about, I've tracked with that because I'm like, okay, so he's told them to feed my sheep, take care of my lambs. In other words, he's giving him a practical way to love, tend his garden and that it would bear fruit. And then what's the greatest fruit of all is that all these things we do, we do as unto the Lord for the purposes. And, and if I get, if I not see, I think I've turned my wife into God. I needed the things I needed. I wanted her to supply and she being the most wonderful woman in the world, doesn't still measure up to God.
Right. My friends don't. And so I'm crying out clearly doesn't, well, I'm just saying, I'm crying out my soul. My soul's crying out. Do you love me? Do you even really care?
Cause you're not meeting my needs, but I'm trying to get her to meet the needs that I need Jesus to meet and cease to, to, to tap into the, what God is doing to flow through me also causes my branches to grow and I get, I get strengthened. Wow. What a, what a, what a tremendous, what a tremendous insight. Again, the book is, do you love me? Yes. No, maybe experiencing and extending tremendous love by Aaron Taylor.
So, well, who's Aaron Taylor? Well, let me tell you one more thing that's in the book. Then I'll tell you, right. One of the chapters, just to get you wet your whistle. One of the chapters is how to destroy a good church, how to wreck a good church.
You know, that's exactly what happened. I started out in ministry. I, I, so I, I was born out of, I know how to say it other than this. My dad raped my mom, 15 year old pushed his way into the house, raped my mom. I was given up for adoption and you know, I was adopted into a family where God allowed me to grow. At 12 years old, I'm giving you a real Reader's Digest version, but at 12 years old I preached my first sermon. I knew I was called of God, got baptized in the Holy Spirit.
I had my first sexual relationship with an older woman. I got drunk for the first time. I had got stoned for the first time, did drugs and meth for the first time at 12 years old. There was a weighing in the balance of trying, God trying to reach me and the enemy coming far hard against me. I say that to say that God restored and helped, walked me through a lot of rejection, a lot of hurt, a lot of pain and the answer of trying to get people to love me had to, had to get resolved. It took, it took not only my high school years, it didn't only take coming to Jesus. It didn't take just knowing and walking with Jesus. It took years when, when finally I realized that God loves me.
He genuinely, and you know, you, you don't appreciate that kind of love until you display that kind of love. And when you display it and you realize what it takes to love somebody, not for what they give you, but because God loves them. So we, we write this because it wrecked our church.
I went from having millionaires in my church and full to, to take an hour. We love to love people from an arm's distance. We, we'd go out and love them from a long ways away.
You know, we had great ministries to feed the homeless and clothe them and help them. And one guy, one day God just said, but you don't journey with them. You don't walk with them.
You don't get down in the mud and lift them up. You reach out to them, but you don't embrace them. And we're to bind up their wounds. So we wrecked our church. We started inviting in the homeless, not hoping they come, not allowing them to come, but compelling them to come.
We began to encourage our people. Find somebody that's broken. You see someone along the street, don't give them food. You go take them somewhere. You talk with them and you listen to them.
Build a friendship. We started feeding right out of our church on a Sunday morning, not a, not a Thursday night, not a celebrate recovery, a Sunday morning and said, come to church with us. And it, we lost a lot of people and we gained the love of God demonstrated to our people as discipling them in loving others. And it's been the best journey now financially.
Was it tough? Yeah. And you know what? God has abundantly provided in unique ways because, because they didn't have anything.
The ones we were loving didn't have anything. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it.
It's been beautiful. I, so Aaron Taylor's a pastor and of a church where? In Eugene, Oregon.
Oh wow. How cool is that? Right in God's country with every liberal in the world. I think they hold the convention between Portland and Eugene all the time. But interestingly, I have my car, my radio shows on in Portland and I have some of the best listeners, um, that I have great place to live. It's difficult and all the, you know, that all the Christians seem to be leaving us. I mean, I can, I cannot start to count how many people moved to Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Montana, Idaho. And I'm like, could anybody stay here? Are we just going to let this part melt into the sea? But you know what?
I'm still there and we're still going to preach Jesus. Thank goodness. Right. Yeah. Plan for God.
Like I am just so thrilled. Um, at what God, you know, it's just, it never ceased to blow me away that I've been really thinking a lot about that passage lately. Um, we actually do a Bible study in my neighborhood. Yeah.
Um, and I'm, I'm involved in a lot of different things, but in my actual neighborhood with my neighbors and we're, we just like two weeks ago, we're right here studying this very thing and, and, and broke out into this large discussion. And this one person was saying, well, Peter was just saying, man, I, you know, I like you. And I said, no man, it wasn't just, I like you. It wasn't, it was more than that. But, but this brings a new light to that, to where, and I always had the sense that Jesus was calling him to something that was more than just restoring him.
I know he was restoring him, but he was really calling him. And, and now I see calling him into relationship, right? I mean, and you say, well, wait, he's no, when you do it under the lease to these, my brother, you're loving me. And again, it's not my relationship with God gets better. It's like, it's like when you, when you don't have kids, you think you know about it, then you have kids and you go, Oh, that's what having kids is about. And that's what that kind of love that stirred you. That's what that kind of love is.
You don't know it. You think you know it till you do it. And then you know it and loving others. Once you love like Christ, you have, you're bonded with him.
Like he didn't know you were. So I, um, I teach special needs, um, at my church. Funny story along these lines is that I was invited to teach the largest Sunday school class, which had about 150 people in it. And without checking with my wife, I immediately thought, Whoa, yeah, that's me.
You know, we're going to do that. And, and so they immediately, they were so excited about it. They went and voted the church. I was the teacher before my wife knew anything about it. And so I go to my wife and I was like, Tammy, this was 22 years ago. I said, Tammy, good news. We're now the teachers of the ham Sunday school class. And she goes, no, we're not like, what do you mean? No, we're not. And she goes, no, I really feel like God's called me that we're going to teach special needs. Well, we have no special needs in our family.
I have no connection with this. I'm like, and this is how arrogant. Okay. Just so anybody that thinks that Robbie's not arrogant, here's our, and I was, I said, honey, what am I going to do all this?
I'm the believable Bible knowledge that I have. I can't share it with those people. It's a total waste. Yeah. She looked at me like, you know, that's the beauty of having a wife, you know, like, are you ridiculous or what?
I mean, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Like we are, this is what we're doing. I'm telling you, this is what we're doing. So I have this men's group. I go and meet with them. And one of these guys was an old missionary.
Like he's on the field for like 30 years or whatever. And, uh, and I'm telling them all my story thinking they're going to totally go with me. Right. And like, they're going to vote with me on this.
This is the no brainer. And they like, and Archie looks at me, I'll never forget it. The last day he says, Hey, you know, Robbie under the lease to these, my brother. And I was like, you dog, you dog, you know, like, and, and so I'm like, okay. So I, I, I laid down the ham Sunday school class. I go to this class, right? And I, I come for like three weeks and these people are like punching the air and they're acting and these are adults.
So they're in their thirties, forties, fifties, some of them older than me. And I'm just like freaked out. Like, I don't know what to do. And about the third week, the teacher of the class says, you know, Robbie, I hear you're a pretty good teacher. You know, let's next week we're going to teach on the fifth commandment. You know, what do you think about doing that?
And I'm like, what the heck? I can't teach my own kids the fifth commandment. How am I going to teach that one?
Right? It's honor thy father and thy mother. So I'm like, okay. So I start the week and like, okay, God, how do I, how in the world do I teach this? Because I had the, he had me right where he wanted me. Like there's no way in the world I know how to teach this. And he said, Robbie, how do you honor? And I said, well, I guess you get down on your knees. And so he said, yeah, there you go.
There you go. Just show it just as simple as it can get. Just make it simple.
Okay. So I go to the class that day and, and I teach this thing. I get a flannel graph of a mother and a father and I do everything I can cause I really don't have a clue what I'm doing. And this, um, uh, you know, they're looking out the window, they're doing anything but looking at me and I am certain that I've done absolutely nothing for an hour long class. Tell the parents show up. And when the parents show up, guess what happens? They get down on their knees and the parents go, what's this? Well, and one of the late teachers said, you know, Robbie was teaching on honor thy father than the tears.
Like their kids learn something from him and like, Oh my gosh. And what happened? I would have told you, God taught me what, you know, like, you never lose. Right. Right. And so when you say, because I went into that thinking I got nothing, you know?
Right. But that isn't it at all because it is that like, man, God will show you stuff. So one of the things in the book, I talk about this reservoir of love because you know, people are always worried about burnout or we're going to, we're going to lose. I, you know, when we tap into this reservoir of love and realize that no matter when I go back, my needs are met, that God is there, an unending flow of his love and acceptance for me, it changed forgiveness.
It changed all that. And what you're talking about, I think pastors, I'm guilty of it. You know, we take a subject like this, really, this is a simple thing, yet it's really deep and complex. Isn't that exactly what Jesus does in his word? He takes these really intellectual, really deep subjects and he makes them simplest to these fishermen and to the prostitute and to the tax collector. And he shares the gospel in such a simple way.
I think love's been overlooked. We know that we know what it's supposed to be, but we're disconnected with it. And you know what those disabled people did for you. They showed you how abled that you can be in God. I mean, I, I start to realize, wait a second. I started, you know, I need some more respect, but what happens when I share the simple things and, and you know, it's really the simple ones that hear the word and they don't have so much baggage.
They respond to it and it brings, I mean, yeah, it does. And for me to take this how great God is and to be able to share that with somebody and it seems so much bigger than life, so much more than I can share. And then you look at them and you think that, you know, I've been pastoring forever and I've traveled all over the world. I've been to Africa, the Philippines, and I've been, I've held little babies that are dying. And you start to realize, you know, I don't have to be all that because really we preach trying to make us, us sound good and be somebody. Oh, I get it.
And this book to me changed everything. When I can share the simplest love, it might be what I say. It might be what I do. It might just be showing respect to somebody who hasn't earned it because you know what? God earned my respect, right?
God earned my love. So they don't have to, God has forgiven me. I forgive others only because in fact, one of the things in this book that I share, I'm gonna have the whole book done if we're not careful. One of the things I share in this book, and you talked about groups, we, I wrote it so that you could read it into individually, but I also wrote it so you could get together as a church group and answer some questions after each chapter so that as church groups you can get together and study through this. And we sell it in bulk on our website at mycrossfire.com. We sell it so that church groups can, you know, get 10, 15. We give them a big discount and say, hey, you do it together.
Grow together as a community. But I, my wife, I always was, you know, hey, if, you know, if you're faithful to me, you know, I'm faithful to you, we'll stay together. Right? Like it was some kind of a threat. Like, well, as long as you never cheat on me, we're okay.
Right? As long as you pull your weight, we're okay. That's not unconditional love.
No. You say, well, but the church gives, I mean, the Bible gives the right for divorce and, you know, if there's infidelity. Yeah, because we can't forgive, but we can with the grace of God.
And, and look at this for a second. I went to my wife, God laid this on me. And one day he just said, Erin, you've been unfaithful to me and I forgave you. Now I have a wife who's never been unfaithful that I'm aware of. I have no reason to think she ever will be. I have the best wife in the world, mainly because she's doing the same thing I'm doing. We're going to love Jesus and let him love through us.
Right? Well, it makes it a lot easier when that starts to happen, but, um, I gotta say this. I went to her and I said, honey, I just want to tell you something. If you were to cheat on me in the future, or if you have, I want you to know we're going to work through it and I'm going to love you. I'll never divorce you.
And she's like, where'd that come from? I said, because I've been unfaithful to Jesus more times than I want to count. And I want him to forgive me and I want him to love me. And it brings up the story of the prodigal son. When he came back, he got a ring and a robe and he got shoes and a steak dinner. Yeah.
And a steak dinner. You know about those shoes, something we miss those shoes allowed him to not be a servant and not be a slave. Those shoes gave him the ability to walk away and keep. And you're not in true relationship until you give the power for somebody to walk away from you.
If they don't have the power to not love you, to reject you, then wow, that's heavy. Yeah. And I realized I was trying to hold my wife to a law instead of giving her shoes and saying, I love you and I'm going to love you in a way you'll never want to walk away from me again. I got a call from this. Someone read the book.
This man reads a book. He calls me, he says, pastor, he says, my wife cheated on me. I left. I moved out. I was going to fight for my kids. I hired a divorce, divorce attorney.
I was done. And I read your book and I went home and I asked my wife if I could move back in. And I told her, not only, not only have I forgiven her, I then told her all the failures that I had done that I didn't tell her. I told her I was struggling with pornography and masturbation and I wasn't being the husband because I wasn't living right.
And I asked her to forget to do it. He said it changed our whole love. Once I let God love me, I learned how to love someone else. Isn't that awesome? That's powerful. Well, we got to go. I hate it. Again, the book is, do you love me?
Yes, no, maybe. Experiencing and extending tremendous love by Aaron Taylor and again, your website is mycrossfire.com or you can go to Amazon and just put, do you love me? It'll pop right up.
Aaron Taylor. Awesome. Thank you so much. Great talking to you. Great stories. Oh yeah. Wow.
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