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Tony Lynn - State Director of Missions

“I like you very, very, very, very, very much,” is what I read on the front of the pine wood vacation postcard from my girlfriend in 1975. I sprinted from the mailbox to my mother and said, “Mom, Jamie said that she likes me and she used the word ‘very’ five times!”


One month later after Jamie returned from her family vacation, the two of us visited in the shade of the willow tree in her family’s backyard on an August afternoon. Jamie picked up a five inch tender willow branch and tied three knots in the branch. During the course of our two hour conversation, she played with the knotted willow branch, tossing it back and forth nervously from one hand to the other. As I stood to leave on my ten speed bicycle for a seven mile ride home, Jamie silently pressed the knotted branch into my palm. I asked, “What’s this?”  Jamie replied, “Those are love knots.” I carefully carried that gift home the entire ride repeatedly cheering inside my head, “She said she loved me!”


For two years, after August 1975, the postcard and love knot willow branch were displayed on my dresser. It was only on the day of our wedding on August 6, 1977 that I threw them away. Their purpose was done. Tokens of love were replaced by bold declarations of love at our wedding ceremony.

Tony and Jamie Lynn on their wedding day.
Jamie and Tony Lynn - High School Prom

Paul in Romans 12:9-10 reminds us that boldly declaring our love for one another is a form of worship for our God. Paul writes, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (NLT).


Wow! Did you catch the part where Paul is calling out the pretenders?


How might we prove that we are not pretenders? How can we throw away token expressions and show ourselves genuine lovers of God and people? I would love to hear your ideas but until then I will suggest two ideas.

Jamie and Tony Lynn - High School Prom

Tony and Jamie Lynn on their wedding day.

Extending? Do you make new friends? Or are you always running with the same group? The chain of stranger to acquaintance to friend to fellow believer is a gold chain. I’ve lived on 3 continents, visited 22 countries, learned to speak 3 languages, and spent 13 years living overseas so I could tell others about Christ. Now that I’m serving in Michigan I want to make certain that I extend myself to those I do not yet know. What might you do to extend your testimony for Christ, this week? Join a new club, sport, or cause?


Tending? Do you keep up with existing friends? Are you there when they need you? Have you let a misunderstanding create a mountain of resentment in your heart? Our ultimate spiritual enemy has whispered into our hearts that relationships are disposable. Our God demonstrated that relationships are worth dying for two thousand years ago. I admit that trying to keep up with past friends and create new friends is a challenge. But what else are we going to do with the gift of time? Watch TV? Tend a garden? Wash the car? Dust off that useless collection again? How much time would it take for you to nurture a relationship from the past using your phone, right now? Thirty minutes?


Let’s recreate a Romans 12 love by taking delight in honoring each other. During those moments we worship our God.


Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.

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