[The weekend of Oct 16-18, 2020 was meant to be the 2020 NCS New England Retreat, and J. Kevin Butcher was scheduled to be our Spiritual Guide. Our theme was to be Embrace an “F-Word”: Freedom. The COVID pandemic changed all that, but Kevin graciously and generously agreed to speak to a joint meeting of the NCS New England Chapters on what would have been the first day of the 2020 Retreat (the Retreat is rescheduled for November 5-7, 2021 with Kevin).]
Kevin Butcher is like us because he is an NCS brother (a member of NCS Grosse Pointe). He is like us because he is a man. He is like us because he has struggled with the difference between “knowing Jesus” and “knowing ABOUT Jesus” (and we all know that the lyrics of the NCS theme song “Knowing You” by Graham Kendrick says it is about “knowing Jesus”). He is like us because he spent years filling the emptiness in his heart with all the wrong stuff (none of which works). Kevin shares with tremendous NCS vulnerability his “performance” life and where it led him.
But Kevin Butcher is unlike many of us because he finally “got it”. As he says, our lives begin when we realize God loves us. Butcher explains that we can’t live out the commandment in John 13:34 to love others as Jesus loves us if we have not realized Jesus’s love–not “knowing” in our head He loves us but “experiencing” His love. Kevin emphasizes through stories from his own experience how much the world is broken and hurting, how much people are looking for the healing love of Jesus, even if they don’t know it, and how healing the love of Jesus can be when poured out by us.
Butcher runs through a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching list of the types of things men use to fill the emptiness. He shares that these are “signs” and not things to “fix”–they are “signs” that we are still living in bondage, which means we may be “functional” but we are not “free”.
As we begin to get lost in the pain of seeing ourselves on (or all over) that list, Kevin then provides a path to freedom–the freedom necessary to heal a broken and hurting world by truly loving others as Jesus loves us. That path is focused on three key relationships:
- Our relationship with ourself (hint: we have to stop lying to ourselves about ourselves)
- Our relationship with God (hint: we have to see God is an Abba father who loves us)
- Our relationship with others (hint: we need to move toward one another in the body of Christ to bring and receive healing through love).
Kevin Butcher is coming out with a new book to be released April 6, 2021 called “Free”. Click HERE to visit Kevin’s page at Tyndale House Publishers.
There is another song by Graham Kendrick (who wrote the NCS theme “Knowing You”) that perfectly captures John 13:34–it is called “Love Each Other”. Together, these two songs are a wonderful accompaniment to Kevin’s message. Here are the official lyric videos.