From the President

​The Most​ Powerful Prescription.

What do Steve Romnes, Stevie Wonder, the apostle Paul and Jesus all have in common?

They all have the same powerful prescription for what is ailing our society in the midst of racial injustice, hatred and misunderstanding (on top of a global pandemic that has taken over half a million lives as of this writing).

OK, I am quite positive everyone knows these last two men, and likely most of you have heard of, if not enthusiastically listened to, Stevie Wonder. So who is Steve Romnes? Steve is a husband, father, small business owner, amateur boxer and, very importantly, a Young Life leader, donor and all-around partner in our ministry, who lives in Mankato, Minnesota. Steve is the kind of guy you want as your friend, and I am glad he is mine.

Now for their powerful prescription for all of us — LOVE.

Hold on for just a minute before visions of Hallmark cards run through your heads. The kind of LOVE these men are prescribing is the strongest substance in the entire universe, and it’s the only thing that will allow us to overcome the troubles we are facing today.

In addition to all the things I said about Steve Romnes earlier, he has also developed a deep principle he lives by — “Double-Down on Love!” This principle has been hard fought for my boxing friend, as he has faced troubles in his own life, and faces down troubles in all kinds of kids’ lives as their Young Life leader. His number one strategy each time — LOVE. His number two strategy, LOVE. Steve says that’s all he has.

And in his experience, LOVE is always worth doubling-down on regardless of the situation.

What about Stevie Wonder, one of the most acclaimed recording artists over the last 60 years? Back when I was in eighth grade, 1976 to be exact, Stevie released a landmark (and I would dare say prophetic) double album called Songs in the Key of Life. Remember the troubled context of our U.S. society in those years after the civil rights movement, MLK’s assassination, the ending of the Vietnam War, heavy economic issues and political strife?

Stevie’s first song on that 21-song double album was entitled: “Love’s in Need of Love Today”:

Good morn’ or evening, friends.
Here’s your friendly announcer.
I have serious news to pass on
To everybody.
What I’m about to say,
Could mean the world’s disaster,
Could change your joy and laughter
To tears and pain.
It’s that love’s in need
Of love today.
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away.
Hate’s goin’ round,
Breaking many hearts.
Stop it please,
Before it’s gone too far.”

I would highly recommend you listen to this song in its entirety, and if you get hooked, then listen to the double album. It’s truly amazing, and amazingly relevant.

Almost 2,000 years before Stevie Wonder wrote his powerful song about LOVE in the midst of profound trouble, the apostle Paul wrote his own poem about LOVE. We all know it well from 1 Corinthians 13. To mix it up a little, I will share verses 3-7 in The Message version:

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, 
but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. 
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, 
I’m bankrupt without love. 
Love never gives up. 
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, 
Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always ‘me first,’ 
Doesn’t fly off the handle, 
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end.”

The LOVE Paul is writing about is strong and persistent in the face of challenge. And, it’s not weak nor passive. It’s tough, it’s active and it’s what we need today.

Of course, Paul got his example of LOVE from the God he knew and served, especially his and our Messiah, Jesus.

When asked to name the most important commandment of all, Jesus answered:

The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31, ESV).

Of course, Jesus’ LOVE for us moved Him to become one of us, suffer in countless and unimaginable ways on our behalf, and then die a cruel and tortuous death on a cross — all because of LOVE.

Inside of God’s LOVE, we can see and know all of His other attributes — among them, His justice, mercy, grace, patience, kindness and even righteous anger.

So how are we doing? How would we score our LOVE these days?

Would we be willing, with Steve Romnes, to make “Double-Down on Love” our strategy in all of our ​relationships?

Would we join Stevie Wonder’s prophetic lament and sing with our very lives that “Love’s in need of Love today/Don’t delay, send yours in right away”?

Would we with the apostle Paul apply a God-given love that “cares more for others than self; takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth; trusts God always, and always looks for the best”?

At the foundation of it all, would we follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, by loving God with ALL of our being, and then loving ALL of our neighbors sacrificially, with ALL we have?

There’s no greater nor more powerful thing we could do today.

Newt Crenshaw
Young Life President​