Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Love is…

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Every year in our youth ministry, beginning in February, we have a series of messages on “Love”. We used to call it the “Month of Love” series. But it almost always goes longer than a month. It usually involves lessons on sexual purity, saving yourself for your spouse…things like that. But, the Lord was very clear to me this year and I felt like; “sexual purity won’t matter, if the basics of real love are absent from someone’s life”. You will not want to “save yourself for your spouse” if you are “patient, kind, selfless” and aren’t “rude, selfish, etc.”. I think you get the idea. The next several posts will be taken from the my notes of those messages. 

Since this series is taking longer than a month, several of my student leaders would not allow me to call it the “month of love”. So, this is the “Season of Love” series. We going to take apart 1 Corinthians 13 and learn to  “Love Like JESUS”. 

One little word… “PATIENT”…. makes all the difference.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is PATIENT! Being patient is like a person who is able to avenge him or herself yet refrains from doing so.

“Let God be the reason you do what you do. Let His love be the reason you act the way You act.”

REAL LOVE does not ever give up! 

Nehemiah 9:30  “In Your love, You were PATIENT with them for many years…”

1 Corinthians 13:1-4  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

 

4 Love is patient, LOVE IS KIND…

 

Tonight: LOVE IS KIND…ARE YOU?

Mark Twain said; “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Kind: good-natured; giving; loving; gentle; compassionate; having a desire to do good toward others.

Antonym: CRUEL

Mother Teresa: “Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.”

Princess Diana: “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Unknown: “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”

As you and I learn to LOVE LIKE JESUS… we have to ask ourselves some questions. Because scripture is VERY CLEAR about how to love. And if you NEVER stop to study or ask about HOW TO LOVE…you won’t learn…and you won’t know. So…why do we find it easier to be UNKIND to people around us than to take the few seconds it would take to show just a little KINDNESS toward someone…anyone. Because, you see…I believe that EVERYONE needs a little kindness.

 

LOVE IS KIND!

We call ourselves Christians…which literally means “little Christs”, yet we treat each other in unChristlike ways.

We make jokes at the expense of other people.

We say unkind things and the feelings of others…

James 3:7-12   7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

We throw sarcasm around like it does not harm. If you find yourself using a phrase like; “I was just kidding…” alot; you may need to check your motive.

And then honest with yourself. What if someone said that to me? Ask yourself that question and then ask this; Will it really hurt me to be kind to ___________________? You fill in the blank. Seriously.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Let ALL that you do be done in love.

Why not take a minute (or 30) and think about some things that “ALL” could represent in YOUR LIFE!

1 Corinthians 13:4 “…LOVE IS KIND…”

 

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The Inverted Gospel

Posted: February 27, 2014 in general
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Reading a book by Mark Batterson called “All In”. He cautions the church about the fact we are presenting an inverted version of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve asked Him to follow us, instead of us following Him. I see that in my own life sometimes and believe that Mark is on to something. We speak, treat others, behave in ways that are completely contrary to God’s word and then blame God because our life isn’t “turning out” like we hoped it would. God forgive us! How dare we (myself included) refuse to follow our Lord Jesus and then be critical of and question His very nature because we won’t simply give up our rights and LIVE FOR HIM! We may all need a wake up call to the reality of who Jesus Christ was…and still is today! It’s something to think about for sure. May we all be confident enough in His ability to catch us and willing enough to fall on our knees and into His open and accepting arms. As a youth pastor for over 30 years, my heart’s cry is to see this generation become “normal” Christians…and live and love the life God created us to live! That’s NORMAL!

How have you enjoyed your pacifiers? Were any of you challenged to give up a “pacifier”? Let’s look back at a scripture.

Acts 17:24-25

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.

Why do you think a lot of us today live like we don’t believe that verse…“he satisfies every need”? Because we do not trust God.

Why don’t we trust God? Because we only have a shallow relationship with Him.

Some of us here tonight have stopped short of everything God has to offer us because we are happy with the “pacifier” of “salvation”. In other words, we are content to stay right where we are in life; just because we walked an aisle once, admitted that we needed Jesus Christ “IN” (but NOT LORD OVER) our life…and we committed (promised) to live our life for Jesus Christ. How may of you have an experience something like that?

Salvation is great! Knowing that you are going to spend forever in Heaven with God after you die is a great thing. Missing out on spending eternity in Hell…“priceless…

But if you stop at just knowing you’re going to Heaven, your life can end up like you’re living in Hell on Earth. If you or I stop at “just salvation”, and begin to believe “that’s all there is” to being a Christian”…we will be missing out on a lot of God’s promises for life here..right now.Some of you just heard; “yeah…but that’s not for me…”, or “no…I’ll just keep my current “pluggerdoodle”, that’s enough for me.

There was a couple about to be engaged, named Matt and Crystal. Matt wanted to come up with a really creative way to propose to Crystal. So he came up with a treasure map. When it came time to set his plan in motion, Matt had Crystal come to a certain location. When she got there, she found a clue. This clue was actually just a part of a series of clues Matt had set up for her follow. Like a step-by-step treasure map, each clue led her to a place that had been significant in their relationship. It didn’t take Crystal long to figure out what treasure was waiting for her at the end of the map! Of course, when she reached the last stop, there stood Matt, anxiously waiting for her to arrive. When she arrived, Matt dropped to one knee, asked Crystal to be his wife, and sealed the commitment by placing a beautiful ring on her finger. (The Great Divide-Guzzardo)

What does this sound like? Our relationship with God?

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (NLT)

Delight-a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; something that gives great pleasure. Antonym-disappointment.

Psalm 37:4 Do what the Lord wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire.

If Crystal would have stopped along the way because she enjoyed the moment and wanted to remember that part of their relationship, completely content to stay there…would she have the experience of the complete treasure…the total package? NO! But, she could have some good memories of their relationship up to that point…sacrificing the great memories of a life together with the man she loved!

We will often read (or hear about) one of God’s promises in the Bible and think that it should apply to us—even though we aren’t doing much (if anything) that God has told us.

How many of you have more than one Bible, including your app if you have a smartphone?

How many of you read it more than once a day? 

Only once a day? Once a week? Hardly ever? God’s word is not just a love letter to His family (us)! It’s a treasure map GIVEN to us BY GOD so that we can experience the most awesome life possible. And we choose NOT to even pick it up or open the app more often than we choose we open it!

We compare ourselves with other people and wonder why we don’t experience great things in life…some of which are God’s treasures, but we have NEVER taken the time to follow His map!

 Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (NLT)

How does this look…in your life? To delight means you spend time with Him, make Him a priority, pursue Him value His direction!

Another scripture that goes along with this one… 

Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Does this look more like a treasure map? Are you seeking Him first? Or the next “thing”?

Jesus is talking here in Matthew about how you and I will run around, acting crazy pursuing clothes, things, relationships… instead of just STOPPINGPRAYING…and ASKING God if this “thing” is even something He wants us to have. If it is….then we need to ask HIM what HIS plan is to obtain it!  And if it’s NOT HIS PLAN…now or maybe even ever…we have the opportunity to realize…

Psalm 84:11 The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

From who…? FROM THOSE WHO DO WHAT IS RIGHT?

So…are there things right now in your life that feel is being “withheld from you”? 

Are you doing what is right? Easy question. Easy answer!

ALL of God’s promises are meant to be fulfilled. ALL OF THEM! BUT…we will not experience them unless we are willing to do what He says. We will demand God’s blessings without doing what Jesus tells us to! 

Mike Guzzardo-The Great Divide asks it this way. 

“Would we expect to experience a mountaintop view if we weren’t willing to climb the mountain?

Are we going to experience the rush of a live concert if we aren’t willing to purchase a ticket? Would we expect to enjoy the warmth of a hot shower if we weren’t willing to turn on the water? Like every other area of life, our experience of God requires certain things of us.”

Even John 3:16 backs this up. 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB)

 John 10:1-10 (MSG)

1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” 6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

So…don’t be afraid to see what pacifier you’re holding on to. If it’s not Jesus and EVERYTHING He is…flush it! Really…get rid of it!

Being youth ministry for over 30 years offers a perspective that I am very grateful  for. I’ve seen the lives of young people changed dramatically. Some have learned how to make great choices that transform their life and propel them into greatness. Others, have made…no-so-great choices and they have suffered the consequences. Regardless, it is the responsibility of any concerned adult to do our absolute best to lead, guide, direct and be a positive example for this “next generation”. They are an amazing bunch! And they are worth fighting for!