My name is Augie Ristow. My home is Las Vegas, NV. My vocation is as an intentional interim pastor for a Lutheran Church body that believes the Bible is God’s verbally inspired word.
My avocation comes as a result of what I usually found as I entered an interim church. Frankly, sometimes it was not very Christian, certainly not very loving and they weren’t very united in what they wanted to do. My training as an intentional interim pastor helped me see these problems. I knew there had to be a better solution.
My observations told me that there had to be a fundamental change in the hearts of the people and the church. It had to be more than a temporary patch. The change had to be permanent.
It took a while to find an answer to the three problems most interim churches seem to face: not being very Christian, not being very loving and not very united on what they wanted to do. I have been around long enough to know that every pastor, leader and church have the same basic problems – not very Christian, loving, or untied on what they wanted to do.
The answer that I found (amazingly) is God’s Love. It was such a simple answer to solving those three problems! I couldn’t believe it!
Teaching Christian pastors, leaders and members of God’s Agape Love became my avocation. Some like to poke at me and call me Pastor Agape instead of Pastor Augie!
You might say, “Well I tell people to love all the time!” So did I, but it never worked! Because it did not work I began a decades long journey to find out if the love of the Bible is the same as the love I was talking about. What I discovered was truly a spiritual revelation!
I wrote about what I discovered in my first book, “Agape, the Forgotten Teaching of Jesus.” God’s Love is called Agape. And Agape is used every time the New Testament speaks of God’s Love, the reason why He Loves us, what His Love does in our lives and the greatest revelation – God pours His Agape Love into our heart. It is right there in Romans 5:5.
As I studied more, I found out that Agape was used over 260 times in the New Testament, roughly a hundred times less than the other important word in the New Testament – faith. I discovered that in our Savior’s last will and testament of John 13-17, Agape is used over thirty times. The same is true in 1 John. So Agape must be important. I share the importance of this in my second book, “Agape – A New Theology.”
Here is what I came across in my study of Agape. God is Agape Love. When He created man, He placed this very same Love into man. We have agape, but by virtue of sin, it is corrupted. Our agape changed into a very selfish and self-centered love. I believe that our corrupted love is the cause for many of the problems we have in our lives and in our church.