Last week, just to recap, we talked about the BxB campaign that Reliant is doing.
I want to hear from some of you guys, what do you think the Brick by Brick campaign is all about based on what we talked about last week?
We learned that this campaign is about our spirituality, our faith and the community around us. This isn’t just about raising money; it’s about how we can use our money to draw us closer to Christ, and help the people around us. We have an opportunity to change the families in this community. There are men that don’t know how to be the proper husband and father to their families in this community. There are single moms that are working hard just to buy food for their families. God has given Reliant an opportunity to make a huge difference in these families and to ultimately restore them through the Gospel. The words Brick By Brick symbolize God framing people together to do something amazing.
We gave everyone hodge-podge rocks with a map of Paulding County on them to remind you guys every time you see these rocks to ask God what part he would have you to play in this campaign.
At the end of the sermon we are going to take up an offering for the campaign. I want to remind you guys that this should be a spiritual decision for you. If you give, I hope that it’s out of faith and wanting to trust God more with your lives, not just because you feel like doing it.
Christmas - opened stocking and got pokemon cards - charizard
I remember one specific Christmas like it happened last night. I was around 5 years old, I woke up and ran into the living room. I knew Santa had come, because there were way more presents than there were when I went to bed. It was a tradition in our house to open stockings first, so I grabbed mine and went to town. I was looking for one thing specifically, and I got it: Pokemon Cards. And the reason that this Christmas is so memorable is because of the card I opened: Charizard.
Lived for pokemon cards - tried to trade in school when I could bring them - battling at home - begging my parents for more sundays
I lived for Pokemon Cards back in the day. I would have eaten them and slept in them if I could. These things literally controlled the way I lived. In school I was always trying to make trades with other students. At home I was battling against myself. And on Sunday I was begging my parents to stop at the stand by the Church so I could buy some more. Rinse and repeat.
Charizard was the moment I dreamed about - what did I do with it? Gave it to my friend for his birthday
So, when I opened this Charizard, my world stopped. This was the moment every child my age dreamed of. So, what did I do? Did I immediately get it framed, knowing it would be worth over $1,000 one day? No. I got a burst of kindness in me and gave it to my friend a few weeks later on his birthday. I still would still say that’s my worst regret to this day, but that’s another story.
A few years go by, and Pokemon cards didn’t matter to me anymore. I was on to bigger and better things.
We live a life attached to things - attachments go away but new ones come
We live a life of attachment to things. My attachment to Pokemon cards went away, but I became attached to other things. Then those attachments went away and again I became attached to different things. We love stuff! Whether it’s cars, computers, games, phones, money, or cards, we are constantly attaching ourselves to stuff.
This attachment to these things shapes the direction of our lives - living a life trying to please women - living a life about video games - attention determines direction
But what we don’t really think about is the fact that our attention to these things determines the direction of our lives. If our attention is on girls, we live a life of constantly trying to attract women. If our attention is on video games, we put all of our focus on getting better so we can be the best at the game. This might mean spending countless hours trying to perfect the way we play the game, or spending a ton of time on dating websites, or staring at yourself in the mirror for hours. Stuff effects the way we live. Attention determines direction.
And what we find is that, eventually, these things no longer interest us. All of the time and effort we put into them was all in vain because they’re useless to us now. Those Pokemon cards are nothing but memories now, even though I spent a ton of time and money on them.
And, usually, our attention to stuff takes us away from God. Let’s see what scripture says about the direction our attention takes us. Turn to .
Here, the Bible tells us that if we were smart, we would put our attention on eternal, heavenly things, not temporal, earthly things. What we focus on lights the pathway for our lives. And in verse 24 you can really replace the word ‘money’ with ‘stuff’, because money buys us stuff. So, you cannot serve God and ‘stuff’.
So let’s talk about a man in scripture who was too attached to his stuff and see what happened. Turn to .
So let’s talk about a man in scripture who was too attached to his stuff.
This is a man who was raised to live by the commandments. He thought that the way to get to Heaven was by living a good life and following these commandments. When he asked Jesus how to have eternal life, he thought it was something he could do to achieve it. Jesus spoke to him on his level, telling him to follow the commandments. The thing about the commandments is that they were designed to show people that they could never live a holy and righteous life because they could never live by them. They are there to show us that we need a savior. But this man thought he could do them, so Jesus told him “If you’re perfect, go and sell all of your stuff and give it to the people that need it. Then come follow me.” This man walked away sad because his heart was too attached to his stuff. He had broken the first commandment, “Thou shall have no other God’s before me”. This man chose money over Jesus.
Does anyone know which commandments God considers the greatest? Love God, love your neighbor. This man decided he loved himself more than his neighbor and he loved his stuff more than God.
I think this story is very important for us to think about because we have the same ability to value our stuff more than our relationship with God.
Heart check - what do you spend most of your time, energy, money and attention on? Where will this take the course of your life over the next year, 5 years, 10 years?
So tonight we are going to do a heart check. If you heard Bill’s sermon on Sunday, you probably heard something similar to this. I’m really not copying him, it just seems to be where God has led both of our talks. I want each of you to think of the one thing that you spend most of your time, energy, money and attention on. Then I want you to try to imagine where your attention to this thing is taking the direction of your life. Where will this thing lead the path of your life? Is this something you think you’ll be doing in 1 year? 5 years? Do you feel like this thing is going to positively or negatively affect you?
Would you be willing to give this thing up right now if Jesus walked through the door and asked you to?
I want to be clear about something, God doesn’t mind us having stuff, the problem is just that we put the stuff before God. We love things more than we love God. Jesus asking the man in the story to sell all that he had was Jesus asking out of love for the man to put down things and follow the path to life.
Campaign may be a moment God is asking you to commit to him - God should be more than first, he should be the center - don’t choose what the young ruler chose (stuff) over (God)
This campaign may turn out to be one of those moments in your life when God is asking you to commit to putting Him first in your life. Really, God shouldn’t just be first in our lives. Everything we do should come from our relationship with him. He should be the center of our life. He may ask you to give up something you love or do something that is difficult for you to do. Whatever He asks, make the decision to follow him! Don’t trade something temporary for the life-long experience of getting to know Him.
I told you guys last week that tonight and 2 weeks from tonight we are going to be taking up an offering for the campaign here from the youth. We have a couple of offering plates on the back two tables if anyone has decided to give. I want to remind you guys that this should be a spiritual decision for you. If you give, I hope that it’s out of faith and wanting to trust God more with your lives, not just because you feel like doing it. And I also want to say thank you and I am proud of you if you do decide to give, because giving has brought me so much closer to God and I wish I did it when I was younger.
Let’s pray and then we will split into small groups and discuss.