A Time For ... Love


Uploaded by TFHNYtv on 17.12.2012

Transcript:
Chris: All right, Father's House!
Are you glad to be here?!
These are incredible stories.
I want you to just look at somebody
and say, Merry Christmas!
Come on, mean it! Don't stress them
out cause you know they still have
shopping to do! But just say,
Merry Christmas! I'll tell you,
with three kids under the age of five,
amazon.com love me! It is a whole lot
easier to go there and click than go
to Eastview Mall. But anyways,
I'll leave that right there.
We're so glad that you're here!
This has been an absolutely outstanding
series so far. If you were here last
week, you know that you were blessed
by that message on forgiveness,
weren't you?! Come on now!
You were blessed, you were challenged,
maybe you cried a little bit.
I'm telling you, this has been some
deep, deep stuff. And it has been
beautiful and it has been absolutely
amazing! Why don't we take a moment,
we're gonna pray together. Then we
are going to dig into a message today
looking at sacrificial love. Let's pray.
Lord, as we have already confessed,
without Your presence we can do nothing.
Lord, we can do no good thing apart
from You. So Lord, right now we
settle our hearts and we choose to
lean in. And we declare that our
hearts are good soil, ready to receive
Your word, ready to grow and be all
that You have dreamt us to be.
And everyone says, Amen!
Now if you are a C. S. Lewis fan you
are going to be excited. Because
we are going to start today reading
together a quote from a famous
C. S. Lewis book called The Four Loves.
So whether you're a big fan or not,
would you please read it nice and
loud with me. Let's do it. "There is
no safe investment. To love at all
is to be vulnerable. Love anything
and your heart will certainly be
wrung and possibly be broken. If you
want to make sure of keeping it
intact, you must give your heart to
no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it up carefully, round with
hobbies and little luxuries. Avoid
all entanglements. Lock it up safe in
the casket or coffin of your
selfishness. But in that casket -
safe, dark, motionless, airless -
it will change. It will become not
broken. It will become unbreakable,
impentrable, irredeemable.
The alternative to tragedy or at least
the risk of tragedy is damnation."
Wow. C. S. Lewis was deep. He is
telling us that in our lives there's
a couple different consequences that
we can look at. We can look at the
consequence of giving and loving
sacrificially. And our hearts, and
I know that many of ours have already
been, after choosing to give our
love sacrificially, will be wrung and
be hurt and be damaged, and it will
be hard. But he said that there is
another consequence too, that you
can say well, as a result of the
vulnerability of the pain, of the
damage that could be inflicted on
me emotionally, of what I may not
get in return, and how this investment
may not work out to my benefit,
you can choose to not love.
But then he says, and man, this is
some deep stuff, he says go ahead and
not love. Put your heart in that
casket and it will be safe. It will
be dark. And it will be motionless.
And your heart won't become broken.
Actually, over time it will become
unbreakable. And some of us
know people. Maybe it is a sister or
a brother, a friend, a parent. They
were severely damaged or hurt, and
this is what they have done. They
have taken their heart and they've
put that thing in a casket. And as
a result, they really don't feel
a whole lot of anything. And they
have chosen that to be better than
the consequences of getting hurt again.
And I'm hoping by the end of today
that each of us will be convinced
it is better to take the risk and
get hurt than to choose to not love
like our God loves us daily.
Are you hearing what I'm saying?
All right, good.
So I want to define love today,
sacrificial love, very simply.
I want to say it is to give.
Can you say give?
Come on, say it again. Say give.
C. S. Lewis said if you want to
make sure of keeping your heart intact
give it to no one, not even to an
animal. That is easy for me cause
I got rid of my dog. I was so thankful
when I heard that my daughter was
allergic to dogs. God, heal her
of the allergy, but deliver me from
my dog, all at the same time, in the
name of Jesus! :) I'm sorry.
I just heard a dog lover kind of
mourn for a second. I'm sorry.
I would've given it to you if I
knew. Anyways. We are looking at
love, especially to love sacrificially.
Before I knew in my life as a man
what it meant to really sacrifice,
I figured that to really love
something was actually to like it.
And I'm telling you the truth,
cause I've been processing this
message this week. If you were to
say that you love your car, the truth
of the matter is, you probably just
like it a whole lot. If you really
do love it, that might be a problem,
I don't know. You say that you
love your job, and maybe you do.
But actually you just really like it
a whole lot. You can say you love
your spouse. I'll leave it right there.
I hope you do. You say you love
your God. I'm hoping that you love
your God. And you can say you love
your church. Oh, I love the worship.
I love Pastor Pierre. I love this
place. And I hope that you do.
But I want to tell you right now,
a true sign of when you really love
something is when you begin to give
towards it a whole heck of a lot.
Let me say that again. A true sign
that you really love your spouse is
when the two of you die daily to
serve one another. You are constantly
giving emotionally, hopefully physically,
never mind. If you're married that's
okay. You're constantly giving to
one another and that's okay.
Your resources, you're giving,
you're sharing, you're exchanging,
that's a good thing. That's because
you're sacrificially loving one another.
I want to say this right here.
The more you live, the more you
realize what you're really live you
give the most for. What you really
love you give the most for.
Let me say that again. The more you
live, the more you realize what you
really love, that thing that you
care for, you give the most for.
We like that things we hang around.
We love the things that we give to.
And there's a scripture that if you've
only ever been to church once or
watched church on TV or something,
I guarantee you've heard this
scripture. We're going to read it
together. John 3:16. Just the
beginning. It says, For God so loved
the world that He gave. Let's say that
again. For God so loved the world
so much that he what? He gave.
There we see that connection again
between love and giving. And we are
going to jump down to Ephesians 5:2.
And we're going to look at it again.
It says right here, And walk in love
as Christ loved us and gave himself
up for us. There we see it again.
We see this connection between us not
only being told to walk in love,
we see this connection between God
loving and God giving. So I want to
say again right now that loving and
giving go hand in hand. They work
together. You cannot say that you
sacrificially love something if you
are not giving to it in an extravagant,
rich, sacrificial way. That doesn't
make sense. Let me say this, we give
ourselves up for what we really love.
I'm going to say it again.
We give ourselves up for what it is
that we really love. Truly it has
our affection. So maybe a question
that we can ask ourselves together
today, that we are kind of bringing
this home, in our lives right now,
what are we giving ourselves up for
the most? Process that for a moment.
If to love sacrificially is to truly
give, what in our lives right now are
we giving ourselves up for the most?
There are a few things I want to mention
today that I believe love does and
that love doesn't do. I want to say
love doesn't ask for a receipt.
Can you say the word receipt.
I'd like to say that love doesn't
worry about regrets. Can you say
regrets. And I want to say that
love embraces consequences. Can you
say consequences. When my wife was
nineteen and I was twenty we got
married. That was twelve years ago.
And I know most people would say that
was really young, but when you are in
bible school, that's okay. It's like
cool to get married as young as
possible. It is like a race. It
really is. It is awesome. In the
normal world it is kind of weird.
You know, you graduate school and you
wait. In bible school it's like a race.
It's like a marathon. You know?
The younger you are, the cooler.
I got some bible school people
over here. I can feel it right now.
(laughing) And when I first got
married, I don't know why this was
the case, cause this wasn't necessarily
the example of my father, but I felt
that to be in control was to be a man.
And that I really had to be in control
of absolutely everything to express
my manhood to my nineteen year old
wife. Nineteen. Wow. That sounds
so young to even say it for some
reason. And one of the things I
decided that I would express absolute
total control was in the world of
money. And I must have forgot what
my tutor told me. And by the way,
I had a math tutor my whole life.
Do we have any math tutor people here?
Oh wow, not that many. That's kind
of embarrassing. Well, I had a math
tutor my whole life. I excelled in
other areas. But boy, me and numbers,
it's like speaking French. I just
don't get it. I try my best, but
it's difficult. But in order to
be a man, I felt like I had to be
in absolute control of the money.
I was kind of like a living, walking
ATM. If my wife wanted money,
she came up, she punched in the right
code, she'd try to get it. And if
she didn't, too bad. You know,
drive around, try again, we'll see
how this goes. You know what I mean?
Better call the bank. Something's
not working, right? That's how
life was. And if you want to pray
for Tanya right now, that's okay. :)
She'll receive it, you know?
And over the course of twelve years
I realized, wow, my wife is actually
brilliant with numbers. It is
actually part of what she does to
make money. Well, we should probably
brainstorm these things together.
My tutor looked at me one day and
she said, Chris, I want you to
promise me something. And I said,
what? She said, that you'll always
use a calculator. I'm like, that's
what you've got for me after...?
Never mind. One thing that I've
learned is that receipts are very
important. And I want to tell you
why. Receipts are important because
they keep track of what you are
spending. And I put right here,
in order to make sure that what
you're spending is balancing out
with what you're receiving. That's
the purpose of keeping track of these
receipts. I want to tell you that
love does not balance out like a
checkbook. I've seen many marriages,
even in our own church, relationships
and friendships fall apart because
people expected this thing to balance
out like a check book. Like you
would look down and the
expenses and what you're spending
would somehow always be reciprocated
by what is coming in. I want to
tell you that is not how sacrificial
love works. When it is the most
beautiful, and honestly, a lot of
times when it is the most difficult,
when it feels like you're consistently
pouring out of a place of humility
or what at times even feels like
death and hardship and it feels like
nobody's pouring back in, that's
what sacrificial love looks like
a whole lot of times, doesn't it?
And when we look at Paul in his
journey with the church at Corinth,
I want to tell you right now,
he experienced what very difficult
sacrificial love looks like.
If there is anybody in the Bible
when it comes to pastoring and
fathering these churches, I want to
say Paul understands what it is like
when you are constantly filling
something out in the check book and
it looks like there is not enough
coming in. As he was loving the
church of Corinth, let me tell you
some of the stuff they were dabbling
in and getting into. And imagine
this, you are planting churches and
you can't even get on an airplane to
go see how they're doing. There is no
email, there's no Skype, there's no
FaceTime. You write letters.
Think about that for a minute.
You're fathering, you're planting,
you're casting vision through letters!
Can we even imagine that in our time?
And this is what Paul is doing.
And this is the report that he is
hearing. He is hearing that in the
church of Corinth that there's
divisions, that there's jealousy,
that there's strife. That they are
criticizing the leaders, taking each
other to court. There are all kinds
of sexual immoralities. Prostitution.
He speaks about marriages and divorce.
They're eating meat that's being
sacrificed to idols. There's disputes
over women's hair length, right?
They're getting drunk at the Lord's
table. I mean, come on now, how's that
even happen?! Right? There's pride
over spiritual gifts. And there's many
people in the church or in that
community that are actually even
denying that the resurrection even
happened. Now could you imagine trying
to love and to pour into a group of
people through a letter over so much
distance? I want to read a scripture
and I hope that somehow this scripture
becomes a mirror in our lives. How
are we loving sacrificially with the
opportunities that God is consistently
providing to us? Let's read
II Corinthians 12:15. Come on,
nice and loud. Paul says to the
church, I will gladly spend myself
and all I have for you even though it
seems the more I love you the less
you love me. Wow, let's read that
together again, please. I will
gladly spend myself and all that I
have for you, even though it seems
that the more I love you, the less
you love me. Right there when it
says, I will gladly, if we look at that
in the Greek, in the original language,
it means with great pleasure.
Can you imagine that?! With great
pleasure I will continue to love you
and be poured out as an offering
for you. Another translation says
even though the more emotional
checks I sign, the more spiritual
checks I sign, the more I constantly
give you, I'm full aware the less
that I am getting back. But I will,
with great pleasure, continue to
give toward you. I want to tell
you right now, even though it hurts
when I say it, that's what sacrificial
love looks like. Sacrificial love
does not balance out like some kind
of a check book. A lot of times it
doesn't make sense. And that's why
it is difficult. You know you are
loving sacrificially when it's
difficult and it's hard. I want
to tell you that sacrificial love
doesn't worry about regrets. Can you
say regrets. To regret is to mourn the
loss of something. I'm about to ask
you a deep question. So look at your
neighbor and say, get ready! Come on.
I hope you came to church today,
you're joining us online, you're ready.
Let me ask you, do you think that
God regrets or mourns sending His
Son, Jesus, every time you and I do
something stupid? Let me ask it again.
In a world where the porn industry is
a fourteen billion dollar industry and
human trafficking is a thirty billion
dollar industry, do you think that
God looks down from heaven and He
mourns sending His Son, Jesus, because
of the stupid decisions that you
and I make at times? Do you think He
is regretful about that? The Bible
says that God gave because God loved.
And actually, it was the joy that
was set before Jesus that causes him to
endure the cross. Him knowing, being
man and God, knowing that He was
enduring for a people that were
going to do a whole lot of good.
But in the same sense, we're going to
do a whole lot of bad. So let me ask
you this. If God's mercy is new over
our lives every morning, you can
celebrate the fact that when you woke
up this morning, even in our brokenness
and in our desperate need for God,
you can celebrate. When you woke up
the Bible says His mercy was brand new!
And who says hallelujah to that?!
So if we know that God does not regret
and God does not mourn when we do
foolish things, let me ask you this,
why do we regret and why do we mourn
when we sacrificially love and we
sacrificially give and people do a
whole world of stupid? Let me ask
you again. Because some of you,
you have sacrificially given. You've
poured into your son or your daughter's
401K or you poured into their wedding
and they went ahead and they got
divorced. You poured into their
college education and they went ahead
and they dropped out. They did these
things and you have been regretful
over that. Well, let me ask you,
how would it feel if our heavenly
Father was regretful over our foolishness?
What kind of relationship would that
be like with our God and our Maker?
And every time you or I did something
stupid? And I don't know if you are
like me, but that happens a whole lot.
If He looked down from heaven and
He said, I'm so regretful that I sent
My Son for this idiot! Can you imagine
if my God held me to that standard?!
Why do we hold people, human beings
in our lives, to that same standard?
We need to love sacrificially with
the same mercy and unconditional love
and kindness, even when it's brutal,
even when people hurt us. Just
like when we hurt the heart of God.
Are you hearing what I'm saying?
I know it is easier said than done,
but I'm a believer in that I've been
created in the image of God.
And I'm a believer that the same
Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to
rise from the dead is resting and
making His home in my heart. And even
though it's difficult and even though
it hurts so bad, I'll tell you right
now. I prayed for a man last week
at the downtown campus. We were
talking about forgiveness. And I
said, hey man, who you trying to forgive?
And he said, my step-dad.
I said, okay, well, what do you know
that you've done to forgive this man?
And his eyes were teary. You know
what he said to me? He said, I went
to his sentencing. His sign of
forgiveness is that he went to the
sentencing for whatever this person
had done to him. That was his
expression of forgiveness. And I
want to tell you that the God of
mercy, whose mercies are new every
morning, will fill your heart with
enough mercy to forgive and love
sacrificially, even if you've been
wounded beyond belief. Or you can
put your heart in a casket. It's dark,
motionless, isolated. It will be
safe, but over time it becomes
unbreakable. And you just learn to
not feel. I'm gonna prophesize to you
right now, that's not God's will for
your life. That's not God's will
for your life. Are you here with me?
I want to say it again, that we would
show the same mercy. I'm going to
read this to you one more time,
because I think that this quote is
significant for us today. And the
quote we read in the beginning,
I'm just going to paraphrase.
To love is to be vulnerable.
Love anything and your heart will
certainly be wrung and possibly be
broken. Skipping around, if you
want to make to keep it intact,
give it to nobody. Put it in the
casket. It will change.
It will become unbreakable.
Let's be honest here for a second.
Who has ever experienced buyer's
remorse? Don't lie. I had one dude
start shaking his head violently as
soon as I said that. I'm like, he's
living in the house or something.
Right now. Come on, you know.
When the government did that whole
cash for clunkers thing or whatever
it was called. I saw people driving
in like a 98 Escort and driving out
in like a battle tank, like a Hummer.
I'm like, wait a second. How's that
even possible? You only got like
$4000 for that thing. You could see
buyer's remorse everywhere when that
whole thing was going down.
It's like, well, my car smelled so
bad and it was stinky. And now this
one smells good but I can't afford
groceries. I don't know which was
worse. I'm trying to work this out
right now. We lived in a 400 square
foot apartment for five years. And
there was this gentleman underneath
us that was from a very hot country.
Even in the summertime he had
his heat at like 120°. And he cooked
fish every day. This is true.
And if you are watching from that
country, we love you, and welcome
to The Father's House. :) Bless you
and all the fish. This is true.
It was so bad, I'd get out of the
shower and wrap my towel around my
head and it smelled like fish.
I put my shirt on and said how did
your fish get into the drawers in
my bedroom? My shirt smelled like
fish. I got so ticked off one day,
I went to Best Buy and I bought
the most expensive window air
conditioning unit they offered.
I got home and it wouldn't even fit
in any of our windows, it was so big.
My wife looked at me and she said,
we can't afford that thing. I walked
right back into Best Buy with my
air conditioner. I walked out
feeling rich, walked back in feeling
poor. I had buyer's remorse.
I can't afford this air conditioner.
I want to say to have buyer's remorse
is to realize you've spent what
you cannot afford. Sacrificial love
is when you realize you have given
what you cannot afford. When you
look at the check book of your life,
you say I cannot afford this.
I can't afford to love you this way.
I can't afford to have another phone call.
I can't afford to deal with you anymore.
Sacrificial love doesn't balance out.
It is when you realize you have gotten
yourself into what you can't afford.
That's the mercy and that's the grace
that's given to us every day through
our God. And I pray that His people
who are created in His image,
we can be a people that would
go out and love so sacrificially
people will think we're crazy.
People would think we're crazy.
Easier said than done.
But I believe that we can do it.
The last point that we're going
to look at today is to love
sacrificially means to embrace
consequence. So we've looked at to
love sacrificially is to not keep
track of receipts, that it doesn't
balance out. We've looked at to
love sacrificially is to love without
regret, and that God's not regretful
over our stupidity. So why do we
get all regretful over other people?
Why don't we just be merciful toward
other people like He is toward us?
We can truly walk in the likeness of
our God. And the last point, before
we pray, is that sacrificial love
embraces consequences. I'd like to
share with you one more story.
In 2008 there was an earthquake in
China. You can look the pictures up
online today. Absolute devastation.
So many homes that were built out of
stone and rock caved in on families
and people, only just to leave them
crushed. And as I was scouring the
internet looking for stories and
studying scripture this week trying
to find something not just for you,
but something that would stir my
heart and speak to me about a
greater level of sacrificial love,
I came across a story of a mother.
As a group of rescue workers were
going from crushed home to crushed home,
they came upon one and they saw a
hand in the midst of all the rubble and
the concrete. And what was standard
procedure was that they would go ahead
and try to get a pulse on that hand
before they would uncover it. Because
if that individual had already passed
away, they would come back to uncover
the body, but go look for more life
in the meantime. So they took a pulse,
and this individual had passed away.
Maybe you've heard this story.
So they went on to the next house,
but there was something inside the
leader of this particular rescue effort
where he said I've got to go back to
this other crushed house. So he goes
back and he begins to, with his own
hands, he begins to remove these
massive pieces of concrete and rock
to uncover what was a woman who had
passed away. And she was in a kneeling,
praying position. Again, you can
actually look up these pictures where
she was on her knees, almost in the form
of a right triangle, as those she is
bending over something or she was
trying to protect. They moved her
dead body and they found under her,
untouched, clean, a baby that was
sleeping peacefully. A three-month
old boy. Not even dusty. Not even
dirty. And it was completely covered.
This little, teeny baby was completely
covered by the body of his mom.
And as the house crushed her back and
her head, the baby didn't even know
and earthquake was happening.
Now when I read that, I thought what
a beautiful story of sacrificial love
that embraces consequence. But it
goes even deeper. The mother took her
cell phone and she sent a text message
to herself, hoping that the rescue
worker would find that phone and keep
it as a message for her son.
The text message said, if you can
survive, you must remember that
I love you. I want to tell you that
to sacrificially love is to give
yourself up to something. And when
you truly sacrificially love that
individual or love that mission,
you are willing to give yourself
up to it. And even when that house
comes crashing down, your natural
instinct is not to run out of the
house. It is to cover that thing and
even die. The Bible says that Jesus
gave himself up. What that means
in the Greek is that He gave himself
over to the power of another. That
Jesus was willing to give himself
over to the power of another for the
sake of you and I and our eternity
and our destiny so that we can
watch online, we can be in a room
like this, and we could know that
if we choose to receive Him,
we can be in heaven with Him.
We can be in fellowship with the
Holy Spirit every day. So let
me ask you, what have you given
yourself up for? Will you love and
not constantly keep track of receipts?
Will you love and not be regretful
and mournful when people do all kinds
of stupid? And I want to say, if
you've been in an abusive relationship
and you've been hurt and deeply wounded,
we pray for your healing right now in
the name of Jesus. And we declare over
you that God will give you courage
to continue to love in a way that will
set an example to your kids, your
grand kids and all the generations
to come. That it will not stop you.
And that you would be able, you and I
this holiday season, that we'd be
able to love without consequence.
Cause check this out before I pray,
I promise, I'm done. You're gonna
be around some people this time of
the year, that check book is so
unbalanced it's not even funny.
Every time you look at them, you
just see a big ol' fat unbalanced
checkbook. Like, you owe me.
You owe me, like, years on my life!
You owe me time,lots of time.
And I want to encourage you to have
the heart of Paul as he is ministering
to the church in Cornith. They are
doing all kinds of stupidity. He says
what? With great pleasure I will
continue to give to you, even though
the more I give to you, it feels
like I'm getting ripped off. And you
don't give it back. I will continue
to do it with great pleasure.
So why don't we pray for a minute
because we know anything good we need
God's help to do. Isn't that the
truth? We need his help. But we
can't do it. Look at your neighbor
and say, you can do it! This is hard
but you can do it. If God's mercy
can be new over us every day, we can
live this kind of life. Is that the
truth? All right. Let's pray together.
God, right now I just sense in my
heart, knowing with the incredible
amount of people that are joining us
through online and here at this
campus and across our campuses,
when we speak about sacrificial love,
there are people that have been
wounded. They gave freely. But while
their arms were open giving, Lord,
that they received a blow of some
kind that has damaged their heart
and their emotions in some way.
And as a result, they've taken
their heart and they put it in a
casket. But Lord, as a result, they
have chosen to not feel. They have
chosen to become numb. And right now
in the name of Jesus we declare
freedom over your hearts, to be
able to love and not keep track of
receipts. To be able to love with
an unbalanced emotional check book.
To be able to love without regret as
we remember that God is not
regretful over His giving towards us,
even in the midst of our foolishness.
And to be able to love and embrace
consequences even in the midst of
terror and difficulty. We will do it,
we will embrace it, God, as people
created in Your image. We will not
be fearful. Lord, help us to set
a new standard as we walk through
this holiday season, to love
sacrificially, in Jesus' name.
And everybody said, Amen!