Snowblast 22- Part 1
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Where is your heart?
Where is your heart?
Welcome to Snowblast 2022.
I can’t believe that we have made it here back to Baraboo, WI for Snowblast.
This year may be your first year or your 3rd year— thanks Covid!.
But no matter where you are— I am so glad that you all are here.
Of the next couple of days we are going to have a blast.
You are going to be feed a lot of information and I hope make decisions that will impact who you are and who you will become.
We are going to be diving into relationships, dating, marriage, sex, and everything in-between.
You are going to hear a lot of opinions and suggestions.
You are going to hear from leaders who all have different views of relationships, dating, marriage, sex and everything in-between.
I ask of you to open up your hearts, open up your minds and listen well.
Hear what the people around you are saying, ask questions, and be ready to be vulnerable, and honest with yourself and with others.
And as we kick off this retreat, I want us to be reminded of the most important relationship that is mentioned in the Bible.
And while marriage and singleness is mentioned from stories of Adam and Eve, to Paul speaking on singleness.
You could combine all of it and it would still only cover a fraction of what the Bible is truly about.
The vast majority of the Bible covers the importance of a relationship with God.
I know that may be crazy to think about when you are just bomb barded with that daily— it can be challenging to look past the noise of dating someone and rest in the importance of your relationship with God.
So this is where I want to camp out at tonight.
Because this is vital.
I say this with all the love I can possibly have— the relationship I care most about when it comes to each student in this room is your relationship with Jesus period.
I know we have lots of couples and that is great— My bigger question is not how is your two’s relationship— it is how are you doing following Jesus.
And if your answer is mediocre at best— or maybe it is nonexistent.
I’m just going to tell you that you should not be in a relationship.
If we can’t give the most important relationship the attention it needs or deserves how can we give somebody else that?
How can we give them the love they need when we are not experiencing that love in our own life.
I know this sounds harsh and I don’t mean for it to come across this way, but who we date while it is important, it is not the most critical relationship in your life— and it is not the relationship that God is most concerned with either.
Ben Stuart author of “single.dating.engaged.married” states: “We have to be connected to the source of life if we are going to be a source of life.”
You have to be on board with God before you seek a guy or girl.
You have to meet your maker before you marry a mate.
And look I get it we all want to be loved, but do in order to love we must know how much we are loved.
So let’s look at this question:
How do you know you are loved by someone?
Let’s take it from the secular world.
what do you guys think?
You can’t see love?
You can’t hold it?
It doesn’t come in a little cup.
You can’t buy it.
Yet when we see it play out on a movie or on a show we get it.
We can feel it we can sense it.
It captivates us— we root for it!
We cry tears of joy or shout with glee when they come together to share a kiss.
When they both realize they are in love.
We get this.
But how do we know it’s love?
So we once again ask that age old question of what is love?
We can’t see it, he can hold it, we can’t buy— it seems like love is like the wind.
If love is invisible how do we see it and feel it?
Let look at it from the movie or show side of things.
We first see that love sends.
Love expresses itself in action.
You know that love is present because the lover initiates it.
In the movie the Princess Bride (one of my all time favs) the beautiful Princess Buttercup is captured and she declares to her captors, “I know that my Wesley will come for me.”
How does she know this?
Because they have True Love.
The princess knows that her lover always moves to be with the beloved.
and we can think of other movies when there is a damsel in distress and naturally the bad guys says no one is coming for you.
And they declare that someone is coming— their true love.
We see it when someone likes someone else and they move to get their number.
In order to get my wives phone number— we hid in her car, me and another dude.
and I took my phone and placed it under the seat.
I did not scare her but upon leaving the car— I didn’t have my phone so I asked her if she could call it.
But before I could text her— she texted me “hey punk.” and it is that simple phrase hey punk that began our journey together, and 14 years I am so glad that love sent.
Love sparks up conversations.
Love breaks into songs.
Love writes poetry.
Love sends letters.
Love buys flowers.
Love crosses oceans.
I promise you that you will never see a young man coming to the realization that he loves a young woman return to playing a video game or a whatever they may have been doing.
No they will leave the game get off the couch and move?
Because love initiates.
Secondly love sacrifices.
Love gives all for the sake of the beloved.
In Titanic Jack rose to death in the icy waters of the Atlantic in order to save Rose from the sinking of the Titanic.
In frozen, Anna will throw herself in front of Han’s falling sword in order to save her sister Elsa.
Even Bruno Mars declares that he would catch a grenade for his love.
Even in Hollywood it is understand that true love will sacrifice itself for the beloved.
Lastly: Love stays.
Love delights in the presence of the beloved.
And love will stay, even when the staying is hard.
We declare this in our wedding vows: “I promise to love you for better of for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”
Why do we say this?
Because we understand that true love willingly commits to stay with the beloved, even if life gets really complicated.
This is why in the movie the Notebook, Noah stays long hours in the nursing home to read to his love Allie even though she has Alzheimer’s disease and can’t remember who she is.
In 50 first dates Adam Sandler’s character will continue to romance Drew Barrymore’s character every day, even though her short-term memory loss means she forgets him every morning and he must start all over again.
True love stays even when it is hard.
True love stays.
Movies and novels and songs will continue to illustrate these attributes of love because we all know that when we see these activities, love is present.
Know I say all of this why?
You may be thinking what does this have to do with whether or not I feel loved by God?
We know that God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
For we know that God is love.
So let switch love sends to God sends.
In 1 John 4:9 it says this:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
That word manifest mean to revel or to be brought to light.
What did God bring to light?
You see John is declaring that when we saw something, it suddenly reveled to us that we were loved by God?
And what was that?
“that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
God didn’t send a note.
A list of to-dos.
He sent His best.
He sent his Son.
You do not get better.
There is no greater person that God could have sent to this earth.
In 1 John 4:10 it says:
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
And notice that John makes his distinction that it was not the love that we have for God that made Him send his son.
No it was the love he had for us.
That God sent his son to save us from our sin from the brokenness of this world.
God did not wait until you were worthy before you were sought out.
No before you were even born— before you your grandparent and great great great great grandparents were even a thought— God sent His love.
He didn’t wait for you to get life figured out or get your life together, he didn’t wait for you to get organized, sanitized, religous, moral or even good.
He came when you were far off.
Jesus still came.
How do you know that you are loved by God?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The appearance of Jesus coming to this world is exhibit A of God’s love for you.
Love Sends/God sends
Love Sacrifices/ God Sacrifices
Not only did He come for us, he sacrificed for us.
Recall 1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
That word propitiation carries a very important imagery from the OT.
An innocent lamb was sacrificed in order to cover the guilt, the sin of the people.
John declared the death of Jesus on the cross as fulfillment of that OT picture.
I think that most people realize that things are not as they should be.
That many feel this weight, this guilt, like there is something wrong with them.
So naturally the question that gets asked is How do I feel okay?
How do I feel right with the universe?
Heres the deal.
Jesus took on all the guilt, he absorbed all the short comings, and he paid for them all.
He resolved them.
He opened up the way for us to have peace with God.
God’s love propelled him to sacrifice whatever it took so that we could be fully who we were meant to be under God.
Many will wonder what must I do to feel okay?
Right Here John declares that Jesus has done it for us.
The weight of your guilt and show does not need to sink you in to the grave.
Jesus took your guilt and show and mine to the grave for us and conquered it and when we rose from the grave he left that guilt in the grave buried and in it’s rightful place.
BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT LOVE DOES.
(Roommate story? pg. 11)
How do you know you are loved by God?
Jesus left heaven.
Abandoned the prestige.
Relinquished all comforts.
Lived the life of a poor man.
Took the form of a servant.
And then sacrificed his life so that we could be forgiven, made clean, and brought into the family of God.
Jesus himself declared this:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
And that is exactly what he did.
There is no more he could have given.
In 2006 there was a Navy Seal named Michael Monsoor.
Who was fighting enemy troops in Ramadi, Iraq.
While he was in a sniper position with two other seals that day, a grenade was suddenly lobbed into their midst.
Without a moment of hesitation, Michael leapt upon the grenade and in doing so absorbed the blast and in doing so saved his teammates, by paying the ultimate price with his life.
When President Bush awarded his family the medal of honor in Michael’s name.
A teammate said durning his speech that “Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.’
He paid the ultimate sacrifice.
And he did it out of love.
Now let me ask you a serious question.
Those men who were there when the grenade was dropped in to his midst— do you think they ever question whether or not Mikey cared for them?
Do you think they wonder at times if he really treasured them?
I don’t think so.
His sacrifice silences any voice of doubt in a moment.
He gave all so that they might live.
That is the ultimate sign of love.
Now loved ones, do you question if Jesus loves you?
Do you wonder if heaven smiles frown on you or frowns?
Look to the cross
See Jesus flinging himself into harms way on your behalf, absorbing the fatal consequences of our sin and shame so that we might live.
You are loved.
If you entrust your life to the Son of God, then heaven smiles on you today and always.
You live under God’s mercy, not his judgement.
Love sends/God Sends
Love Sacrifices/God sacrifices
Love Stays/ God Stays.
This is the final way we know that we are loved.
God’s love abides in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
How do we know that we are loved?
Because when God invites us into his family, he never let’s go.
He puts his very spirit in us.
His love stays.
That word abide in 1 John 4:13 simple means “to stay right here.”
He knows that we will struggle in this life.
We will falter and fail.
We will be weak.
But no matter what comes, his love declares, “I am not leaving. I am staying with you.”
Because that is what love does it stays.
If you are in Christ, the most beautiful and powerful being in existence cherishes you.
He knows your name.
He sees you.
He gave all to make you his.
He will never give up on you.
You do not need to spend a single moment of your life trying to earn the love or esteem of others.
You have his.
You do not need to look for anyone to fill up your tank of love.
You can find an abundance in him.
When we understand this, when we rest in his loving care, we have the resources within us to enter the world as givers rather than takers.
We can be fountains and not drains.
We can use our resources and our gifts to bless others rather than use others to try to make us feel blessed.
Love embraced becomes love extended.
I hope that you understand how much God truly loves you.
God loves you enough to send you, His very best.
God loves you enough to sacrifice His very best for you.
God loves you enough to stay, and be at his very best for you.
He loves so greatly and when I am reminded of that kind of love that God give so free.
It brings me to my knees in humility and submission to the King.
God loves so freely.
He has never let us down.
He is the one who jumped on the grenade for us.
So we know how much he love us.
So if I may just ask a simple question tonight, one that will get us pondering and wondering.
Do you love God?
This isn’t a question of insecurity but rather a heart check tonight.
And I don’t us to just answer yes of course.
I want to think on this question.
Because this question tells us where our heart truly is at.
If we answer I don’t know?
I think we know that answer deep down.
We just don’t want to say it.
Because of we did love God then we would spend time with him rather then keep on make excuses for while we are too busy.
If we loved God then we wake up and begin each day, everyday, the same way on our knees in prayer and in time in his word getting to know him.
If we loved God we would move, we would send.
Action reveals our love for God.
And if we are not being moved daily to spend time with the almighty.
To make time for our most important relationship.
We have messed it up.
When we put other things over God we will continue to be left empty.
It is now wonder the world is full of fruitless pursuits.
If we loved God we would sacrifice ourselves to him.
If we loved God we would stay with Him.
We would find ourselves present with God.
Some of us treat our boyfriends and girlfriends better then we treat our God.
I mean let’s be real here for a moment.
If the only time you spoke to your boyfriend or girlfriend was one day a week how long would that relationship last?
Or when you were with them on that one day a week— you just spent your time scrolling through social media.
You might stand and just sing songs of affirmation but the words hold no weight— because to be honest you don’t really feel in love anymore.
So we blame it on our boyfriend or girlfriend we say I am just talking to a brick wall— I feel so alone.
And the truth is you are the master builder of isolation and it is you that just keeps building the walls around you.
If you just spent one day with your boy or your girl they would not tolerate it.
So why on earth we do treat God this way.
The one who loves you the most of all beings in this planet.
The one who lived and died solely for the purpose because he loves you and want to have a relationship with you.
Why do we do this?
This is not meant to make us feel guilty but we need to address this giant elephant in the room that we treat our dating relationships with more attention, love and importance then we do our relationship with God.
Maybe that is extreme— but maybe its the truth that we all need to address in our lives.
Maybe we need to come to terms with what is the most important relationship in my life?
It has to be our vertical relationship with God.
If its not can we honestly say that we are ready to date?
Or even be with someone?
I have a hard time saying yes to this question.
I am not saying to get everyone to be single as a Pringle forever and ever.
No I am not— but when we enter into relationship with other sinful people— because I know that I am sinful— and we all know that the other person is sinful— if we are both not pursuing Jesus then we are only going to be setting ourselves up for failure.
Of course everyone’s relationship with Jesus can always be better— I get that, but we must come to terms that we may not be giving our relationship with God the fair amount of time.
And if this is you tonight, I believe that you are not alone— because this goes for many of us in this room—
I am not asking for perfection; I am just asking that our priorities change to putting God on the throne of our hearts.
And everything else under his feet.
And if you are sitting out there and you are thinking— I’ll never date then— I’ll never be ready.
You will be— but it just may not be right now.
And that is okay.
Can I have a leader grab the end of this tape measure for me.
I want to show you what lies ahead of you.
You see for you all in this room— being told to wait for something is like a death sentence but maybe this will give you some perceptive.
From birth to 18 years old is right here.
It is just this amount of life lived.
Now if we walk this back to the end of the room how far are we?
look at all the life that is still ahead of you.
There is no need to rush now— what our focus needs to be one right now is how do I become more like Christ?
How can I grow in my faith so I am ready to lead the person that God brings into my life.
When we stop pursuing our desires and wants and start pursuing God’s we will see God move and act in ways that we can only dream of.
Stay focused on your first love and don’t let anything distract you.
God love you so very much and he wants to have a relationship with you, a relationship that is the most important in your life.
So how are you doing with that?
Is God the most important or does he play second fiddle to someone else?
Only you can answer that.
But if there are us in the room that know we have not been giving God the attention he deserves then let’s change that right now, right at the front end of the week at snowblast.
That you begin next year— focused on your relationship with God above all else.
If want this then confess and make a change tonight.
Repent to God about putting other things above him and commit to loving Him.
We know that he is crazy about you.
That he loves you— he moves towards you, he sacrificed to get give you freedom and he will never leave you.
Go all in— I challenge you to go all in on kind of relationship.