October 23, 2016
So glad to have everyone here and so glad to hear all the warm Fellowship. It's a good morning for warm Fellowship. Take a little the coolness off. Well, if you've ever been here before, you know that it is my custom to be down there moving all over the place. I'm going to attempt this morning like a circus performance write me of this morning staying up here on stage now, we'll find out if I can achieve that. I know I can't quit moving around because I don't think properly unless I'm moving around when I'm preaching if I Stood Still I went over to think properly my my brain would get confused. But I'm hoping I could stay up here because I think sometimes when I'm down there it's a little bit of a challenge like a ping-pong depending on where you're setting to say where to go where they at that kind of thing and I'm sympathetic toward that so we'll see if I can succeed will be a contest you guys at some point during I probably will unconsciously just go down the steps and you guys can all Snicker and say you did not succeed in doing what you're hoping to do. We're taking off a sermon series this morning Called Love does and it's based on a book by that gentleman Bob Golf and I know he looks like a goofball, but let me tell you a little more about him. He's actually a lawyer and a law professor at Pepperdine. He is a best-selling New York Times author of the book love does. He's also a diplomat to Uganda. He's an amazing gentleman when you see all his credentials and if you've read the whole book, you can discover some of those stories but he didn't start out at that level early in his life. He said, you know, I decided for for various reasons that I was going to try to keep my eye open for answered prayer my eye open for the way Christ was working in my life. And so he's collected all these stories and share that and he starts early in life sharing a story that made a huge impact when he was in high school. He said he was not a good student. He said you could Mark is so you could County CPS GPA up with two fingers. So he wasn't the kind of guy that you thought this guy is going to be a diplomat to you're gone. This guy is going to be a law professor at Pepperdine when he was in high school. He was not a good stew. He struggled so much so that he discovered that you could take a GED test and just skip out of high school and he thought that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be done with high school, but he said I couldn't figure out how to take that test. He said which should have been assigned to me that maybe I needed to stay in high school, but none the less. He just got in his his VW Bug and decided I'm leaving school. I'm quitting high school. I'm just going to go find a job and start life and he loved to rock climb. So we live in California thought he go to Yosemite and climb rocks get a job somewhere there in the park at one of the stores selling sleeping bags or tents or things like that. And that was going to be the beginning of his life. Now. He's met a gentleman named Randy who was a young life leader and young life is a Christian organization that goes in the high schools in try to introduce young people to Jesus and this Randy guy had been a friend and I'm always coming through the vents and hanging out with him and he thought well, that's fine. But he wasn't sure he was into Jesus, but Randy was a nice guy and a good friend. So the morning Shut up and thought I'm leaving high school. He went by Randy's house just to say goodbye. And Randy said you're leaving right now. And he said yeah got my car packed. I'm going Quinta high school going Yosemite going to climb rocks and get a job. And Randy said I'll come with you. He said right now and he said yeah, I'll come with you. He grabbed his backpack in the back of the car with Bob and they went to Yosemite 2/10 cuz when Bob got there as a high-schooler he can I thought you know, I didn't really think about it. I have no place to sleep tonight. I have no plans for my sleep tonight. So they snuck into one of the little tents that you can rent. Illegally. I suppose beginning of a long career in the back of that tent and slept in there. They said they slept next to the back in case a legitimate renter came in during the night. They could slip right out over the edge of the out of that tent so they slept there in the next look for jobs, whatever place you look said. We're not hiring no job for you. They slept there a second night and next day. He went look for jobs at all the places. He hadn't looked at the first day and every place said No jobs, I thought me and this isn't working out the way I thought it was going to work out. But no matter what his friend. Randy said, you know what Bob you can do it. I'm with you no matter what happens to matter what you decide I'm with you and that just really impressed him and impressed his heart and stuck with him, you know now as an adult and as a Christian he reflects on that and he realizes that's the thing you see in scripture again. And again when God speaks to us in Genesis chapter 3 after the sin has as brought this fall into the life of humanity and God severed our relationship the scripture say then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid from the Lord among the Trees of the garden. This is when they know that they send and they betrayed God and they hear him in the garden. You almost get this this this this habit. This is custom to come down and be with Adam and Eve but the Lord God Called to the man. Where are you? Because what God was interested in was being with Adam and Eve we seen this theme again and again when you look in Isaiah when God through the prophet is inspiring and the prophesy about what's coming in the future when Christ comes these words appear in Isaiah 7. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign the Virgin will conceive and give birth to a signs and we and will call him Immanuel and then and Matthew when that prophecy is fulfilled Matthew record these words in Matthew chapter 1 verses 22 and 23 all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said to the prophets referring to Isaiah. The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel. Which means what? God with us. We see that theme again against that God's desire in the garden was to be with us Genesis 1:27. He says let us make Humanity human persons in our likeness so that we can have this fellowship with them so that they can be like us and and we can kind of expand that Circle. You've heard me talk about it before where I put chairs on the stage. You know, when there's these father Son and Holy Spirit these three chairs and they say, you know what, let's pull up some more chairs. Let's expand this Fellowship so that we can have relationship or fellowship with these human beings that were making To be with them. That's what Fellowship is to be with someone else to have this friendship. We see this theme again and again in in Matthew. At the end of Matthew when Jesus is sending the disciples off and tells them among the things there should do should teach them to obey everything. I have commanded you and surely I Am With You Always even to the very end of the age that's encouraging words is found what you need to know this. You've got this task to accomplish, but know that I am with you. I just word to them that score to Christianity to the gospel this idea and acts 10 when they're describing Jesus. They talked about how God has anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power how he went about Jesus went about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil for God was with him. You see that theme again and again and again through scripture. That's what the Incarnation are fursuits. That's what we celebrate at Christmas that God came to be with us. He didn't just send a message and say hey if there's a message for you. I'm too busy to come down. He didn't just send some sort of hero inspired document to say if you memorize these things, you know, all the secrets of the universe what he sent was his son. Himself because he wanted to be with us and when Bob looks back at that turning point in his life in high school. He realizes Randy as a Christian was demonstrating that was modeling that christlikeness that godlikeness when he said I'm with you I'm with you no matter what even Hebrews 13 scripture says keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said never will I leave you never will I forsake you so Foundation to are being obedient to following God's to not getting trapped in the culture and being a lover of money and not being content with things always looking for something else to satisfy us scripture says, you know what you can let go of looking for those other things to satisfy you because God has said to you I will never leave you nor forsake you I am with you. It's not only a fundamental doctrine of Christianity from Genesis Isaiah Matthew for the beginning to the end. It's a fundamental reality for us as Christians. We talked about this a few months ago in Colossians when we talked about the fact that since you've been raised with Christ that God is with us that sometimes we make the mistake of constantly praying Lord be with us, but the reality is one of the core teachings of scripture. Is that God Live with us. That's how he has expressed his Love To Us by being with us by coming in the flesh in Christ to be with us and by sending the Holy Spirit to ever be with us until we get in again. That's The Core theme of God's love expressed to us that he is with us. Bob says after that weekend after a couple of nights a wait at Yosemite. He just realized it's not going to work and so they went back and he went back to Randy's house and he said he just kind of followed Randy into his house cuz he felt like they were buds. They're welcome to the Randy had tonsil I'm with you when you got in his house. He said I saw these gifts laying around like there was a microwave in a blender and there was some packages and rapping and I thought it was it somebody's birthday and his girlfriend was there cuz her car was there and he thought well, maybe it's her birthday. But that seems like a weird, you know, all these things around and then it dawned on him. His friend. Randy had just gotten married traffic. He just got married that Saturday and Bob showed up on Sunday morning saying I'm leaving Home Quitman high school. I'm hitting the road.
In that moment. Ready had enough of God in his heart enough of scripture in his heart understanding that the way God loved us is by being with us. Betty said I'm with you. Now when you look at the rest of Bob Goff life and the difference, he's made you realize what a powerful moment was that Randy was obedient to the Holy Spirit obedient to what he knew from scripture to show Bob Love by being with him. What I've been tempted to do would have said Bob, you know, your timing could not be working. Look, I'll give you a 10 minute lecture, but then your scooting off my porch and getting off my property. Here's why you shouldn't do what you say you're going to do here is why you're wrong and I'm right you need to straighten up and fly right now just do the right thing and leave me alone. That was in the Temptation. What is it kind of given this little mini lecture and then said going your way. But thank God that Randy had enough God in his hard enough scripture in his mind that he knew the way to love was to be with him. What to say I'm with you now that was a sacrifice wouldn't it and he's part it cost him something to Love Bob to love this high schooler as a Young Life leader who committed yourself to love high school students who'd gotten to know Bob and saw this turning point in Bob's life when he was going to leave home and leave high school and just hit the road. I need made that decision to be a servant to be a minister of young life. He saw enough in that moment. This is a turning point. I'm challenged to live what I preach when I say to the world into high school is still God loves you. You know, what a hold up the John 3:16 song, you know, God loves you. He knew that he was challenged in that moment to beat like God to be like Christ and to love in person by showing up by being with him cuz love involves sacrifice, right? In this The Core teaching of Christianity for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but would have everlasting life. I don't know but if you can sense it in me, I am dying to come down the steps and every moment. I want to come I want to be in person. I want to be with you guys, but I'll try to be disloyal to stay up here something easier seen and heard. But the Core teaching of Christianity models this Truth for God so loved the world that he gave and so when we proclaim the gospel that God loves the world that God loves our neighbor that God loves our brother-in-law were invited by faith through the holy spirit's inspiration to take that step and not just say in word or deed be warm in field. Not just say God loves you, but make that sort of sacrifice that Randy did. And sacrifice for the sake of another. Again, you see the script this theme and scripture when it talks about Jesus in Hebrew to 17th. It says therefore it. He Jesus had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God's to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people Jesus understood even in the garden in Matthew when he's praying father. Is there any way that this cup can pass for me? He understood that to express love required a sacrifice. But he would have to sacrifice to love us to provide for us and he willingly made that sacrifice. Galatians 5:6 Paul says in Christ Jesus. The only thing that counts is Faith working through love. Now that's a pretty bold statement. The only thing that counts and in case you're worried about the little... This is his argument about circumcision and all I left out in the... Was in Christ Jesus circumcision or uncircumcision means anything. The only thing that counts is Faith working through life. He's frustrated with those in Galatians because they're all concerned about these religious rules of these doctrines and they're saying or what we got to get we got to get these traditions and place we got to get these rules of play and he says you've missed the boat. What makes what the only thing that counts is Faith expressing itself through love. You can say that the faith of Jesus and God the Father. That's the only thing that counts in Jesus making that decision to accept the cop in the garden Jesus making that decision to trust the father and go to the cross and lose his life. That love toward us express by his trust in the father. And you can also say what Paul is more directly imply that in our life the way we live with one another the way we live among one another the way we live in the world around us was essential what matters most is our faith our trust in the truth of the Gospel expressing itself in love.
Someone said to me this week. That scripture is wonderful and a good biblical sermon is wonderful and the word of God is wonderful and I agree with all that but they shared a quote with me that stuck with me they said but if we don't Appliance, you know, it's like paint not applied. You know, it's just still in the bucket unused what makes the word of God powerful in our life. What makes these truths that we just looked at from from these stories from Bob Goff life from from Genesis and Isaiah and Matthew. What makes these truth powerful is when we apply them. They're not kind of powerful and isolation if we're never going to act in faith or obedience their powerful when we apply them. So I'm going to be very practical this morning and give us a couple of ways to apply these truths this morning before we finish up one. Thank someone who has been with you through thick and thin. You can do that right now. If you wanted to you can take your phone out yet my full permission those of you who would love to have their phone out during the and text a friend. You know, I texted I texted someone this morning. Hey, thank you for being with me through thick and thin to all the times of my life. I hope and pray that everyone of us could think of at least one person who's always been there for us. No matter what's going on whether we're huge success that day or whether we blew it. Royally. Hopefully we can think of at least one person. Who is there who's with us? No matter what would say I'm with you I'm with this is the biggest mess up I've ever seen in corporate history, but I'm with your brother. We're going to get through this we're going to push through it or I can't believe you said that to your kid. They're not going to speak to you for a year. You're going to have to backpedal your wife. I'm sure how much we screwed up. We've all got somebody there with us. Hopefully who would say I'm with you no matter what I'm with you. So your first application today right now or this week is to think of that person and to thank them. agreed we all do that this week is good for the soul to dwell on gratitude. To thank somebody who's been there for us to count our blessings II way. I want to invite us to apply this truth is to think of someone or some way you can be that with some one person this week. You may damn it legal to think of someone who needs somebody to be with him. Maybe there's someone someone that you can take a meal to maybe there's someone in the hospital that you can visit maybe there's someone who simply at home and lonely and don't they don't get visits and you can be that person this week who's with them who goes by for half an hour and and sets on their front porch when their living room and spends time with them or if you can't immediately think of someone who fits that category think of some way you can do that. I have a friend of mine and Minister who said he's trying to train his kids from an early age and so his daughter when she started elementary school, he would tell her remember, who are we going to look for today? And she'd already heard this from him. He's already talked to her about it again against she said we're going to look. The lonely people and where we going to do we're going to care for an awesome early age. He would train her or culture train just to walk into a room, especially in a school type culture and if we see somebody sitting all by themselves, we think that person must be a loser, you know, and so over here is a table full of people that are laughing and popping her. I'm going to make a beeline for that table. We don't naturally train herself to say that person's alone. Maybe Christ in Me. Maybe the holy spirit in me if I would pause my prick my heart. To pay some sort of Price Rite some sort of sacrifice might be my reputation. Why did you go sit at that table? That's the person that no one sets with they smell funny or are there a Louisville fan or whatever it is. They all this made them for Tennessee fans even worse, right? Whatever it is. It's made with a girl. I'm not going to go but what if we love by being with people And what if by faith in God that he's got our back that he's bigger than this life that he's bigger than our bank accounts. He's bigger than a reputation to you because everything that we've worried about what is through faith in God, we expressed love to others even if it meant like Jesus people would be whispering about who they saw you with.
What if we took that action? I'm going to buy the worship team to come forward to last thoughts. You might be saying I don't know how I can do that because my life is already packed. So solid and soul. I can't imagine finding the time to be with someone. I can't even imagine going at a pace that would allow me to notice that someone was alone around me. I just go at such a Breakneck speed that before I know what the week is through you might need to make what Bob Goff calls to don't list. You might need to sit down and make a list of things that you need to quit. Mom says that he quit something every Thursday no matter what he find something to quit every Thursday because he's discovered that in order to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in order to be taking these scriptures that we've been taught since childhood and trying to live them out to Love Somebody by being with them that he's got to constantly keep carving room out in his life so that he has this freedom of pace and schedule to see that lonely person to see somebody who needs somebody to be with them and to stop and be with them. Do you know that he placed his personal cell number in the back of the love does book? Millions of copies and his personal cell number was sent out with that book on purpose so that he would be practicing what he preached is giving away all of the proceeds from the book that's been a best seller for years now to start schools all over the world to help people in need. So you might you might say that's a great sermon Robbie, but I don't know where I'm going to start. You may have to start by making that to don't list. Honestly, sometimes in the life of the church, we have great opportunities for people to be with others, but we hear most often. What do you think the number one thing Church staff hear from members of the congregation when we say there's some little children that need a Christian adult to be with them for an hour a week. Teaching a Bible Lesson. Help him get a little juice in a cup be a loving presence with them. What do you think? The number one thing we hear is, you know what it is, right? I'm too busy. I just do not have the time. Listen, the thing that you should have the time for no matter what as a blessing to yourself even from a purely selfish perspective. Carve out the time to be with others. to love others slow down your life so that you're able to love your wife and your children and you're able and I'll be nice to scripture to love your neighbor.
What the word work to your life that way? You know as a bonus this week, and I can't stand any longer.
As a bonus this week if you're if you want to read more of the book and by the way, we got some on the table out there. You can take one home with you. They're five bucks. If you don't have five bucks in your pocket than just take one. We want you to have the book and read it as a bonus this week. You could read chapter 9 in this book and Bob can I talked about how he was learning to say yes to Opportunities. That's how he ended up being a diplomat to Uganda. When's open on his radar when something he planned? He was just saying yes to Opportunities and suddenly that happened you goes to Uganda. I think I read that he goes once every 100 days and stay for a week to ten days continues to go to the court system to try to free children who've been victims of up sentences without a trial has started a school down there with I think 250 students and all this other stuff that just kind of happened when he started opening his eyes and sang. Where's God working? And how do I carve out time in my life? To be open to saying yes. Honestly, I think that that young like I probably had no idea that making that that decision to sacrificially care for Bob would be this Domino that would lead to all these things that Bob has done in his life hundreds and hundreds of children all over the world given education and schooling that they need over 200 children in Uganda freed from prison who were in prison sentences without a trial and he went down and worked out getting a trial for them and out of all the kids with the trial 200 were freed. All because Randy said I'm with you. Who knows who we're going to encounter this week? We might say to them I'm with you. It might just mean you're going to a restaurant and you're in a hurry you're planning on getting your burger and eating in your car and you see somebody eating by them self. And you might go over to hey, can I eat with you and I did not say no. Don't know you not eat with me then again. They might say yeah that be great. Maybe somebody that eats lunch Everyday by them self. Nobody slowing down enough to notice. Now, I'm really I really want to preach for a moment. We think about what it is that makes us separate from the world. And sometimes we think in terms of well, I dress a certain way or I don't smoke or you don't we have good intentions with some of those rules that we think about so don't miss him. We have good intentions, but when I look at the culture today, I wonder if one of the Prime challenges that Paul or the Holy Spirit or Christ himself might give us in our culture is Christian one of the ways to distinguish ourselves from everyone else in this culture might he say to us slowed down.
What you probably rather have you up here saying stuff, like don't play cards or now. We really started stepping on toes. Right? But I wonder if that would be one of the words from the spirit to the church today in our culture slow down.
Slow your pace a little. Make that to don't list. So that you can say yes to the good things and the right things. So you can notice people in need. So that you can get on the floor with some children and play with Play-Doh or clean up spilled juice or teach them a Bible lesson. Is there honestly what are we doing? That's more valuable than showing others the love of Christ
allowing him to show us his love because so often when we open ourselves up to that sort of obedience. We discover that were experiencing his love more than we do. Otherwise I told you before if you if you long for an experience of God's love in your life, then look at scripture and realize that he's directing his love for the least and the last and the lost constantly in scripture. You see that until he's aiming his love in that direction. And guess what if you join him and what he's doing in this world, you're stepping right into the path of that love. And you can experience his life more fully because he wants to pour it through you to others what he says and John 14 and 15 that disciples the way I've loved you as I love you. I want you to love others. And so when we become a channel that God can love Foo when we open ourselves up to pour that love out to others hit flows more freely. Sometimes when we when we damn it up and we just kind of stopped it at our self it might become stagnant with a ghetto. I just don't feel that you don't feel the presence of the Lord the way I wish I did and maybe it's because we need to lift that damn. Open ourselves up for God to love through us have our eyes open for others and to pay a price for it. You know, if I believe me, I understand but I mean, it's probably going to cost me some money and then it's going to cost me sometime and then they're probably going to ask me for my name and number one contact me next week when they need something else. And yes, yes. Yes.
Take the risk. Love others. It may be a family member. Maybe need to give your wife and kids your cell number. Maybe they don't have it.
Maybe you're a workaholic and it is and you just always doing that and made it. Maybe it's very internal if you got to pause and say you know what I got to start taking Saturdays off or something.
The song what it is for you. And say yes. Practice that true that love does then just speak or wish but it does.
And we're going to sing our Hymn of invitation here in just a second. And this is an opportunity for anybody who's not given their life to Christ was not made that decision to do so or if you're not sure but you're thinking you got questions come to me. I'll be in the back and love to answer your questions or to pray with you or anything. You have concerning that sort of decision and they'll be other folks in the back and the front for prayer so during this time if you don't have a decision to make but you just want to pray with somebody or somebody to pray for you. Please come to the front or the back to one of the folks you see and let us pray with you for all of us. It's a chance to celebrate and really think about God's love how amazing it is. And if it's so amazing for us that we received it and he's giving it to us then maybe we can sing this song and ask ourselves. Can I be an amazing?
Love distributor this week. Can the amazing love that God has given to me be something that I hand out this week when I see somebody in need or somebody who's lonely. Can I try to be like God and show them Amazing Grace? People who think with that kind of guy would never talk to me. People who think will I know that guy and he's mad at me and he'd never talk to me. Could we breach some broken relationships this week? Good week then to others The Amazing Grace that God has extended to us. If we do, I think we'll find out that were equally blessed. Please stand as we sing.