The first time I remember Valentine’s Day – like really, genuinely, more than the candy hearts and all that – was somewhere around middle school. This, of course, is probably not an accident. Middle school is the time when life is changing and all of a sudden we’re realizing that we have these feelings of attraction towards another person and we’re trying to figure out what the heck we do with all of that. I remember that for some reason that year my school did a fundraiser that involved sending a valentine to another person. I remember a friend of mine boldly sending one to a girl in our class that was incredibly cheesy and over the top, something like: “If liking you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” It was so memorable because it was so bold.

It was also memorable because I remember Valentine’s Day and seeing her open the valentine. I remember her reading the valentine, looking at who it was signed by, crumpling it into a little ball and throwing it in the trash all in one swift motion. And that was that. He was crushed. All of us were scared right out of sending valentines to anyone else in middle school. Our hearts, longing so deeply to send love that is received and reciprocated, had learned to maybe guard that heart a bit, to not share it, to not let it get crumpled and thrown in the trash.

God has a heart that is wildly bold in sending love forth. God doesn’t need us, and yet He chooses to create us; He creates freely, with no regard for Himself, giving Himself absolutely knowing that many of us are going to crumple up that gift and throw it straight in the trash. That Heart, the Heart of God which creates all things out of love and holds all things in existence, has a very strong and particular love for each and every one of us and He will continue to lavishly pour that love out on us no matter what.

This year, inspired by the theme of Life Teen, we will focus our youth ministry on this same theme: the Heart of God. Using this theme, we’ll dive deeply into the question: what does it mean to look at the Heart of God and be loved by Him? How do I respond by giving Him my heart. You can click here to read Joel Stepanek’s reflection on the theme, if you’d like, and learn more about where this year will take us.

Prepare your hearts, my friends, as we take this year to dive into God’s heart and see what love He has for us.



“May we be found chasing after God’s heart… only to realize that God, in His infinite mercy, has been chasing us for far longer.” -Joel Stepanek



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