St. Patrick’s Day Parade – walk with CPC Sunday, March 10 • 12:45pm
Join us March 10 for the Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Meet at Johnson Drive & Rosehill before 12:45 p.m.
We want to make a positive impact on the Shawnee community. We encourage everyone to walk in the parade with us. We will be passing out candy along the parade route! This is a great way to connect with the people of Shawnee. Remeber to wear green!
You know the feeling. That drawer in your kitchen that accumulates more and more stuff, making it harder to ever find what you’re actually looking for. A schedule so frenzied it’s increasingly difficult to be actually present anywhere. A life so full of noise, you can hardly hear yourself think – much less what God may be trying to say to you.
We know the feeling, too.
It happens to all of us. In the midst of all of those deadlines, diapers, and demands on our time and energy, we become dulled to God’s voice in our lives.
It’s why we want to help you do less over 40 days in order to experience more of God’s power in your life. Less is More – a 40 day season of focused prayer and fasting. We’ll be giving up things like convenience and control to attend more carefully to God’s voice in our lives.
We want to invite you to join us for a Reset Service as Bridgeway KC, Cross Points Church & Park City Church kick off this season of prayer and fasting. Wed, Mar 6 at 7p, we want to invite you to come and reset.
Today we’re going to talk about patience. How many of you get just a little bit nervous, like when things aren’t quite like going as quick as you want them to go? Anybody get a little bit like, you’re making me uncomfortable? Anybody here like that? Okay, good. This message is going to be for you then. This is perfect. We’re going to talk about one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit today. Patience. And how important patience is in our lives. That it’s not just a good idea, but it’s a god idea. And that when we walk in patience, God does something in us that’s really powerfully significant. I would say even more than that. It’s supernatural. God wants to develop supernatural abilities within us, and it comes through patience, this idea of being willing to wait on one hand, and being persistent on the other hand.
Would you join with me in prayer as we get started? How many of you were here today cuz you want God to speak to you, believe that he speaks, he communicates, and you want to hear his voice? Father, I pray for those who have their hands lifted high this morning. I pray Holy Spirit that you would open up our eyes and you would open up our ears that we might hear and know and understand and perceive what it is that you have for us today. In the name of Jesus. And everybody that wanted that said amen and amen.
Well, last September I was on a run. And if you don’t know, I’m a long distance runner. And I was on an 18 mile run. And I had made the halfway point. I turned around and come back, and I had about six miles left to go, and I saw this little park, and there was a a water fountain and a restroom and all that. And like I’m going to stop get some water and then kind of make my way onto the last part of the six miles. And soon as I get there, it’s a hot day, I’m sweaty, I’m just, I’m exhausted. I go to the drinking fountain and get some water and then I noticed that someone is watching me. And it’s this little old lady and she’s she’s dressed in a running outfit. She has like these powder blue shorts and pink top and she’s got her running shoes on. And she looks at me, and she’s sitting on a bench, and she says, I don’t bite, you can sit by me if you want to, cuz you look awfully tired. And I was like, oh thank you so much. I’m afraid that if I sit down, I’m not going to be able to get up again. And if you guys ever worked out like that and you’re like, I just have to keep going because if I stop right now, I’m not going to be able to keep going. And she says, I totally understand. And she looked at me and she was like, so are you out for a long run today? And I said yeah, you know, I’m just running 18 miles. And she said, Oh my, that’s a long way. And I looked at her and I said, Well, are you out running today too? And she says, Yeah, she says, I’m going six miles. And I said, Well, do you mind me asking you, how how old you are, or how young you are? And she says, I’m 81 years old. And I was thinking to myself, she’s running 6 miles, at 81 years old. Like, that’s impressive. And so we began then at this point, I went over to her and I sat down a little bit and I was sweating all over, and she’s like, so are you training for anything? And I said, Yeah, you know, I’m training for a marathon. She said, Oh that’s nice. Have you done any marathons before? I said I’ve done three or four marathons. Oh my that’s wonderful. And then I said, They’re all in different states and my goal at some point – maybe, I don’t know if it’s a real goal – it would be cool if I ran a marathon in every state in the country. And I said, There are people that do that. And she said, I’ve heard about that kind of thing. I turned to her and said, Have you done any marathons? And she says, Yeah. I’ve done a few. I said, Oh really? How many of you done? She said, Oh I’ve done 75. What?! I’m not kidding. I was having this conversation with her and I thought I was a little delirious. I was like, 75? Oh yeah, 75, every state. I’ve run all the marathons. So then I get up and I’m just like No way! You know, you’re just patronizing me, like a little grandma, patting me on the back. Then good for you. So I go over, get some more water in the drinking fountain. And another guy comes, and he starts kind of having the same similar conversation that I was having with her. And as I’m getting something to drink I overhear their conversation. And she said a hundred and seventy-five. And I said, What? What did you just say? How many marathons have you run? I thought you said you ran 75 marathons. She said, No no no. I ran a hundred and seventy-five marathons. Mind blown right there at this point. She says, I’ve run a marathon in every state at least three times. And I’ve run overseas as well. And I’m 81 years old, and I’m still running today. And at that point, I had nothing left to say. I say God bless you, and I went on my way and started running.
But my thought, as I was thinking about this lady, that 81 year old lady who still lacing up her shoes, you know what she’s doing? She still running the race of life. Like she hadn’t given up. It was like age wasn’t holding her back. Her bones that were maybe not as strong, or a little bit more brittle now in life, she was still lacing up our shoes. She was still getting on the pavement. She was still running the race that was set before her.
And I was thinking about that verse in Hebrews chapter 12 that says that we are to run with patient endurance.
Hebrews 12:1-4 TLB Let us run with patient endurance the race that has been set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. . . For consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin.
Can you turn to your neighbor and say patient endurance this morning? That’s pretty good. I don’t know if you quite got it yet. I’m going to stay one more time. Let us run with patient endurance. Tell your neighbor one more time patient endurance.
I want you to know that we live in a world today where far too many people quit and give up in life. Oh, I need to start preaching, some of your going to have to help me preach today. Far too many people give up and quit because it’s just too hard. I’m too tired. I can’t do it. I can’t make it. No one likes me. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult. Whine whine whine whine. It drives me crazy. Anybody else does that drive you crazy? Just me today? Good, I’ll preach to myself. That’s okay. Listen, the Bible says if you’re a follower of Jesus that we are called to run with patient endurance. You’re not in a hundred meter dash race. You are in a marathon. And this marathon race that God has set for you, it goes on and on and on and on – and some of you already tired – and it goes on and on and on let me take some water here for just a second – and on and on it goes on and on and on, the race that God has for you. He wants you to run the race until you take your final breath, until the final days of your life. God doesn’t want you quitting. He wants you to continue with this. Let us run with patient endurance. You’re going to have times when you feel really good about life. You’re going to have times when things are really difficult and challenging, times when you stumble, times when you fail, times when you’re embarrassed about the things that you’ve done or said. But we’re supposed to get back up. If we fall 7 times, we’re supposed to get back up seven times, and run the race that God has for you with patient endurance.
And how are we supposed to do this? Well this is what I’ve been talking about all month long in January, is idea of abiding, of connecting with Jesus. We don’t use that word abide but it means to connect or remain. It has this idea of patient endurance, that when we run the race with patient endurance, we don’t just run it in our own strength. We run it fixing our eyes on Jesus. In other words, we’re connected to him, and it’s his power and it’s his life been enabled us to run the race with patient endurance. And if we’re not connected to him, we’re going to have problems in the race of life. And then just so that we understand this, the writer in Hebrews continues, the writer says this:
Hebrews 12:3 TLB For consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary in your souls and give up.
I want you think about this. Jesus endured the shouts of the crowd that said crucify him. He endured the whips from the Roman soldiers. He endured the two nails that that went into his hands and into his feet. And he willingly lay down his life for you and for me. And some of you were here today, you never committed your life to Jesus and I want you to know that he went to the cross for you, so that you could run the race not in your own strength in your own efforts, but so that God could give you his very life, so that you could run the race that is set for you. You may feel overwhelmed but I want you to know, if you’ve never given your life to Christ today, you can give your life to him, and he’ll give you his life, and his power, and his spirit, and he’ll allow you to run the course that he has marked out just for you. And this is what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself. And then why why why why do we look at that? So that you, so that me, so that we will not grow weary in our souls and give up. God doesn’t want you to give up. He wants you to continue to remain, to stay, to connect. He wants you to abide in him.
And then the writer continues.
Hebrews 12:4 TLB You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin.
He says listen, you haven’t yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood as you struggle against sin. I mean, it’s not that challenging. God’s power and spirit wants to flow in you so that you can have patient endurance.
There are really when it comes to scripture, when it comes to the Bible, there are are two types of patience that we have. And I want to make sure you understand this really clearly this morning. When the Bible talks about patience, there are two ways in which we can talk about patients. And as hard as we translate from Greek for the New Testament into English, sometimes the words are hard to get an exact match in English, sometimes it takes two or three words to get one Greek word. But there are two types of patience.
The one is simply this: Patience means accepting delays or problems without anxiety, right? (Passive) makrothumia. It’s like when I’m up here and I’m not saying anything and you’re getting a little bit anxious. It makes you a little bit uncomfortable or let me give you a better example. Maybe it’s like you going to the DMV and you have to wait. Anybody ever done that before? How fun is that, right? No one wants to do that. But you have to wait. And if you’re patient, you’ll accept those delays, you’ll accept those problems without anxiety. I don’t know about you but I still struggle when I go to the DMV or when I’m at a red light or when I’m in a long line at the grocery store and I’m looking around going, Where is the extra help? Come on, I’m in a hurry. And is that just me or am I the only one that feels that way sometimes, right? So patience, that the Bible says, paint one way in which patience is lived out is that we accept the delays without anxiety. And I’m the first to say God, I need more of that, I need more patience in my life. But that’s a passive way.
What I find really interesting that I’ve never seen before until I started studying patience the last couple of months, I read this verse that blew me away. And it’s in 2nd Corinthians chapter 6:
2 Corinthians 6:6 NLT We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us. . .
Paul is talking, and this is what he says. He says we prove ourselves by our purity. We prove ourselves as Believers in Jesus by our understanding. We prove ourselves as Disciples of Jesus Christ by our patience. In other words, the extent to which you can be patient really proves to the world that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ. I never quite saw that way before. And then Paul wants to make sure that we understand that this patience isn’t of our self, but it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. In other words the holy spirit gives you patience. Like, you can try to work things up in your in your own way, in your own strength, but really that falls really short of the patience that God wants to develop in your own life. And so this idea of being able to wait even when things are difficult and challenging, it proved to the world that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ.
I’m sure many of you have gone through those, well, those situations in your life where things just don’t make sense. My wife and I we we wanted to have kids early on in our marriage. And we’ve been married for five years, and we were ready to have kids right? Ever since the time and so we waited and we waited and we waited and waited and there were no kids and we waited and we were trying to be patient. And nothing. Anybody ever had those scenario? It might be different for you, right? Might not be kids. But whenever it is, where you just have to wait and you don’t know why. And you don’t know why. And it doesn’t make sense. And you don’t know why. Why do I have to wait? Because God is doing something in your life that the world can’t see, that those around you can’t see. But there’s something and I’m going to use this word – supernatural – that’s taking place in your life. You can’t see it with physical eyes, but in the midst of waiting God develops something in your life that’s really important for your Christian walk. And so waiting is important.
But the waiting is not just passive in nature. It doesn’t just sit and wait – it does that and that’s part of it – but there’s a second part as well, and it’s an active part. It says this. Patience from a Biblical perspective is: It’s persistence in doing what is right. (Active) hupomone. In other words, not being able to be pulled from your convictions. In other words, patience is not just waiting, it’s continuing to do what you know you should do even when things are hard. Even when things don’t make sense.
You could put it this way. My wife and I, when we wanted to have kids and we waited for 3 years 4 years 5 or 6 years. Well, we didn’t just wait and say que sera sera. We’ll just wait, and I’m just going to be patient, and I’m not going to have any anxiety, right? It’s more than just that. It’s being persistent in doing what you know to be right. So we began to pray and to fast and ask God: God, would you move? God, why? And how come? And there was this inner feeling of us not being patient, and being patient. And other people were praying for us. And that we didn’t just pray, we went to the doctors, and all of these things. And patience developed something in us as we were persistently pursuing what we knew to be right.
And in your own life, you need to be persistent in doing what you know to be right even though those around you might be able to say well, why are you doing that? That’s stupid. That’s dumb. Why are you continue to follow Jesus? Why? Why don’t you just lie, like everyone else is lying. Why don’t you just sign right here? Why don’t you just you fib on your taxes? Why don’t you do this or that? I mean a whole myriad of things. But no. We’re persistently pursuing what we know to be right. That’s called patience in an active sense.
There’s this study that was done by this grad student who was from the United States and he traveled over to Japan. And when he was in Japan, he studied the fourth graders who were excelling in math. And they were beating the score of the Japanese scores in math were really, you know, so much higher than the American scores. And so he wanted to know what were they doing? And why and how come they were so much better? And so he was in this fourth grade class. He was sitting in the back and he was observing and it was a crowded classroom and everyone that day was trying to draw a 3D cube on their paper. That was kind of the the lesson for the day and he’s sitting in the back and he’s watching all these students and as they begin to write and to draw, there with this one particular student that kept having lots of difficulties and he would raise his hand and the teacher would come over there and try to help him a little bit, and then he would raise his hand again and then the teacher would come over and try. . . And so after about 5 or 10 minutes of this, the teacher looks at his drawing and says what you don’t quite have it. It looks cockeyed. He said this is what I want you to I want you to go to the board and show your work to the rest of the class. And internally this grad student was like, why would you have him go to the front of the class and write on the chalkboard? He doesn’t know what he’s doing. And so the student dutifully got up, went to the went to the chalkboard, started drawing it out. and after a little while the professor came to the board and said class, got everyone’s attention, said class, Does he have it right yet? And everybody said, nope. He doesn’t have it right yet. And everybody went back to their drawing. And then the student kept working on it. And then about a couple minutes later the teacher stopped everyone and said, does he have it right yet? No, he doesn’t have it right yet. And this grad student was like, oh my god she’s totally embarrassing this kid, what is wrong with him? This is so bad. The grad student said that this went on for 45 minutes. 45 minutes. And he would continue to interrupt the class. Does he have it yet? Nope. Nope. Don’t have it yet. Finally he said at the end of the class the teacher went up to the board and he got the class’s attention and he says, class does he have it right yet? And the class said yes, he has it right. He figured it out. And at that point the class gave that student a standing ovation.
What this grad student learned from this professor was simply this: that too often we tend to elevate those whose life is perfect. Who gets it right on the first try. Who, they never have any problems in life, and that life is easy. And so we went out lift those people up because they never have any problems or difficulties or challenges in life. But what they did is they flipped it on his head, and took the student that was having the most difficult time. And saying listen, when you persistently pursue what you know is right in terms of the math issues, when you continually do and work hard on it, you will finally solve the problem.
And how much so should that be in our lives? That you and me, that we have problems and difficulties that we fall and we fail and we make mistakes and we say things that we regret and often times we look around and the people that we hear from are those whose lives are perfect. And we feel terrible. Because I’m not praying enough. I’m not reading my Bible enough. I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that. And everybody else has got it easy. When in reality all those other students were having the same problems that student was. So it is for us. So it is for me. I want you to know that as we run the race that God has set out for us, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail you’re going to scream and yell and you’re going to do things that you regret. But let me tell you something. The Bible says that though a righteous person falls seven times, they get back up each time. And they get back in the race. And I want to encourage all of you today, that you can learn one thing today, and that is: Don’t Give Up! Can you tell your neighbor this morning? I’m not going to give up. Oh, come on. Tell the next neighbor like you mean it, I’m not going to give up. Because I want to Pastor a church that’s persistent. That even though we make mistakes and even though that we fail, we continue on with the chorus that God has set out for us.
And so as we look at the New Testament, James, who is the brother of Jesus, he says this:
James 5:10-11 Brothers and sisters, think about the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. They are an example of how to be patient when you suffer. As you know, we think that people who don’t give up are blessed. You have heard that Job was patient. And you have seen what the Lord finally did for him. The Lord is full of tender mercy and loving concern.
He says, brothers and sisters, I want you to think about the prophets spoke in the name of the Lord. They are an example of how to be patient when you suffer. and these prophets, often times, if you know anything of church history, they they were beaten, they were persecuted, they were put in chains, they were put in dungeons. Many of them were killed and tortured. But they were patiently persisting in what they knew to be right, even though no one else around them was listening.
And I want you to know this: In your own life, you’re going to have people that are going to cheer for you, and you’re going to have people that jeer for you, right? There are going to be people that tell you that you’re doing it wrong, and you don’t know what you’re doing, and why are you doing this. . . And you need to take a lesson from the the prophets. The writer says here continue to do what you know is true.
And then the writer continues. James continues and he says, as you know, we think that people who don’t give up are blessed. Why don’t you focus on that just for second. The Bible says that that you are a blessed person when you don’t give up, when you don’t quit, when you keep going, even when it’s tough. Even when everyone else is falling away. When you continue on the course that God has for you, you’re a blessed person. Something supernatural takes place in your life from heaven above from God’s holy spirit, that he pours out on you a blessing in your life when you don’t give up. I think that’s really powerful. I want to I want to be looking at a whole bunch of people here today who don’t give up, who don’t quit, who continue to walk with God all the days of their life.
And then he says well you’ve heard that Job was patient. And you have seen what the Lord finally did for him, that the Lord is full of tender mercy and loving concern. If maybe you’re not familiar with the story of Job, Job was one of these wealthy guys in the Middle East. I mean, he owned lots of land, he owned lots of cattle and sheep and I mean he was super, and they said that, the Bible says that he was one of the most wealthy men of his time. He wasn’t just wealthy. Like, his family was prosperous as well. He had seven sons and three daughters. And he had everything that anyone could wish for. Not only did he have wealth, but people respected him. He was wise and intelligent, and he would sit at the city gates and he would he would help dispute arguments that would come his way. And people wanted to know what Job thought. He was that kind of a guy.
And one day as a sitting at the city gates a messenger is running full tilt, says, Job, Job, I’m so sorry to tell you, but there was some raiders from the East, and they took all of your cattle and all of your sheep, and they raised your crops. And there’s nothing left. You’re penniless. You don’t have anything. It’s all gone. And then while he was finishing his statement another messenger comes and says, Job, I’m so sorry, I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but there was a wind storm that came to the plains, and your seven sons your three daughters, they were having a huge party and and the house fell and it crashed. And I’m sorry to tell you, you’ve lost your sons and your daughters. They all perished in the storm. And Job lost his, well, he lost his family in a day. It says that was at that moment that Job stood up, and he tore his robe, and it said this, he shaved his head as a way of saying that he was in mourning. And he fell to the ground and he worshipped God. I came naked from my mother’s womb and I’m going to be naked when I leave. The lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. But praise the name of the Lord.
Job 1:20-22 NLT Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
And the scripture says that in all of this, in the loss and hurt in the heartache, when you lose your job, when your kids run away, when you’re not able to conceive, when you lose someone in your family, when you’re hurt, when you are – you fill in the blank – when they don’t respect you at work, when your boss is stabbing you in the back, whenever it is. Job said he praised the Lord. He worshipped.
The thing that Job didn’t know in life, and I believe he never found out, I don’t think he knew this, but there was something happening supernaturally behind the scenes in the spirit world that was going on that Joe didn’t know about. There was a conversation between God and Satan. And God responds to Satan and he says, have you considered my servant Job? He loves me, he’s righteous, he’s pure and everything that he does is perfect and blameless. And Satan responds, and Job is not hearing any of this, he doesn’t know any of this is going on, and Satan says, Well, of course he loves you, of course he’s righteous. You’ve protected everything around him. Who wouldn’t love you? Who wouldn’t be righteous if they had all the wealth that he has? And God says, Okay, you can take away all his wealth. You can do whatever you want to with it. God even says to Satan you can even touch his physical body but you can’t kill him. And it’s at that point, that after his sons and daughters are taken away, and after he loses his crops and his wealth and all of those things, that Job then begins to develop boils all over his body, excruciating pain. This man who was once so looked upon is now sitting in a pile of ashes. And it says this in Job chapter 2:
Job 2:8-10 NLT Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
That job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. And his wife said to him an encouraging word: Are you still trying to maintain your integrity Curse God and die. Did that lift you up right there? Did that spark something wonderful in you? I don’t know how I would have responded or been flip flop if I had said that my wife or whatever. But Job respond in such a powerful manner. He says you talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God? And never anything bad?
It’s a question for the ages. Like, for you and your own life. Should you only accept the good things from the hand of God? And never any of the difficulties with the trials? Because Job said, in all of this, Job said nothing wrong. He said nothing wrong. Patience is persistently doing what is right. Despite what anybody else says. Despite what anybody else tells you to do. It’s doing the right thing over and over and over again.
You can almost put it this way. That endurance and patience are twins. I have twin boys. My wife and I, we finally were able to conceive. And when they were first born you couldn’t tell them apart at all. Like I mean, they were like really hard to distinguish. But they’re fraternal twins and the older they got, the easier it became to distinguish between them. So that now you wouldn’t even know that they’re twins at all. I mean, they’re so radically different. But endurance and patience are twins.
Then this is where I want to go. When you first look at the word endurance and patience you think all those are completely different. But the more you look at it, the more you’ll realize that endurance and patience are really quite the same thing. And then the bible really translates endurance and patience the same way. Endurance holds up when things get difficult, that it continues even when things are challenging. And patience is willing to wait and be steadfast and immovable even when things are hard. So you have this passive side and this active side. And maybe some of you are going, okay that’s great, I understand what patience is.
But I want to give you the secret to patience this morning, Okay? So I’m going to dive into the meat just for a little bit and then we can be done here. But here’s the secret to patience, okay? I don’t want you to lose this. I want to go back. Job did something really powerful, in a regular way constantly in his life, that helped him develop patience. And it’s found in this verse Job 1:5. He said this: when these celebrations ended, and the kids had their big party, Job, it says, sometime after they had partied for several days, Job would purify his children. Notice it before they had passed away. But Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, well perhaps my children have sinned, and have cursed God in their hearts. And he would pray and he would intercede on behalf of his children. And the end of this verse says this was Job’s regular practice. You see what Job was doing, day-in-and-day-out, was praying. He would get up early in the morning and he would pray. Unbeknownst to job, he was putting down deep roots in his life. He was building a foundation for a day that he didn’t see coming.
And you have an opportunity in your life to put down roots and to build a foundation for a day that you might not see coming in your own life. That when you build this foundation, when you’re able to do that, and put down roots. It develops something in your life – that this idea of being willing and being able to be patient when the difficulties come. Job he prayed. And in verse number 20, he did something else that I think was a regular habit of his. It says that he stood up, tore his robe in grief. I’ve already read this before but I want you to look at it.
Job 1:20-22 NLT Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.
It says that he shaved his head and he fell to the ground and worshipped. He fell to the ground and worshipped. You see, he only responded in a way in which, when difficulty and heartache came, he responded to his default position, which was worship and prayer. He had built this up so much in his life that it was a natural response to the difficulties in his life.
And I guess the question I have for you today is what is your regular practice? In other words, when the challenges and difficulties come in your life, how do you respond? Do you get angry and frustrated and yell and scream? Do you twist the knife in someone else’s back? Do you? What is that? If we don’t have the regular practice of seeking God, and praying, and reading the Bible – if you don’t have those practices then it’s easy to respond in a wrong way. But the Bible says that when you can sink down your roots into the soil of who God is, then this is the kind of person you’re going to be: It say this in Psalm 1:
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Blessed is the one who doesn’t walk in the step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, who reads the Bible day and night. You know what that person is like that person is like? That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not whither. And check this out: And whatever they do, they prosper. Whenever they do, they prosper.
When you begin to have the regular practice, when you begin to have those regular practices in your life, something changes, something spiritual happens. And when those difficult days come, you’re able to respond to them in a right manner. this is what we’ve been talking about all month long. Connecting to Jesus. Abiding with Jesus, remaining with him. And that’s the way patience is developed. It’s through prayer and worship. It’s taking time every single day. And opening up your Bible and reading a little bit of it. You don’t have to read massive amounts of scripture but take the regular practice and read the word. Take moments everyday and ask God for help and his power and his authority in your life. Like that’s the secret weapon to developing patience in your life, is reading the word and worshiping God like Job did. And he made it his regular practice.
I want to challenge you this morning. Would you would you make a regular practice in your life of reading God’s word and praying, reading God’s word and praying? Pastor David, that’s just so elementary. I’ve been in church for a long time. And of course I know to read my Bible. And of course I know to pray. I know. But my question for you today is, is it a regular habit? Is it something that you do? 7 days a week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday? Like, this is not just a Sunday thing that we do. We do it every day of the week. Like God should be involved in your life. At work, and at home, and in the car, at the grocery store, and yes, even at the DMV. God should be involved. When you make it a regular habit to seek God and to connect to him, something supernatural takes place.
Would you close your eyes and bow your heads with me this morning? I want to ask you one simple question and this is just for you, it’s not for anyone else. It’s just between you and the Lord. I want to ask you a question. If you wouldn’t mind just maybe raise your hand just acknowledging it, just for yourself. I think something happens when you self-identify. Say yeah, that’s me. If there’s some of you here today, that would say yeah, I know I need more patience in my life. I really want to be a more patient person. Would you just lift your hand right now? And I just I just want to pray for you. God you see these hands? I’m not waiting around. I pray for those who have their hands lifted high. Lord I pray that you would enable them by the power of the Holy Spirit to be patient. Lord, that they would have a regular practice of seeking you in their life. Lord, they may fall down seven times but Lord each time they get back up. Maybe they’re going to miss a couple of days or maybe they’re going to miss a week or a month, but God I pray they would get back up, and instill that regular habit in their life. Lord, I pray that no one would feel ashamed or condemned today. But Lord that we would have that eye of the tiger attitude that says I’m going to get back out there, and lace up my shoes. I’m going to get back in the race God that you have for me. I pray that you would impart that kind of spirit into those that are here today. That they would have a regular practice of worship and prayer and reading the word. God that we abide in you. I pray that you would do it supernaturally spiritually, God enable us to not just wait in a passive way but enable us to be persistent in doing what we know is right. Just this year and next year, but Lord next decade in the decade after that, until you call us home. Lord, I pray that you would impart that with your people God. Fortify us Lord with that intention to follow you. Fill us, I pray to overflowing. In Jesus name. There, you can put your hands down.
If you keep your eyes closed your head down there. Maybe some of you here today, you’ve never committed your life to Jesus. Like you’ve never received him in your life. This moment is just for you. I want you to know that Jesus went to the cross for you and for me. Like he paid the ultimate price. He laid down his life so that you can have a relationship with him. So that he lay down his life so that you could run the race of life not in your own strength, but with his strength. And I wonder if there is anyone here that would raise their hand this morning that would say, Yeah, that’s me. I need Jesus in my life. I never fully committed my life to him. But today I want to give my life to him. I need his power in my life. And I’m sick of doing it in my own strength. If that’s you right now, just lift up your hands. Say yeah, that’s me. I see that hand right there yeah. Anyone else would say, yeah, I need Jesus? I see that hand back there. Anyone else that would say, Yeah, I need Jesus in my life? Amen. Yeah, I see those. Yeah, that’s great. Amen, let’s just pray. There were two or three that raise their hands. And we’re going to pray together as a church, we’re going to invite Christ to come in your life. And when he comes in he’s going to make all things new for you. But just repeat this prayer after me as the whole church joins in. Say Jesus I need You. Forgive me of my sins. I believe you died on the cross. And that you rose again to give me new life. I turn from my wicked ways. I’m going to follow you all the days of my life. Come into my heart, fill me with your spirit. In Jesus name. Lord, right now I pray for those that raise their hands, right now would you just fill them with your presence God, that you would transfer them from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. And I pray, Jesus, that you would move powerfully in their lives, as they commit to follow you all the days of their life. In Jesus name. And the church said amen. Can we give a big shout of praise and a clap offering for those? Welcome into the family of God.
If you wouldn’t mind, go ahead and stand with me this morning. I’m so glad that you prayed that prayer. If you pray that prayer I would love for you to connect with our prayer team right over here to my left and your right, they would love to meet with you, and kind of give you some next steps in your journey of your walk with God. So please make your way over there. Also if you need any prayer, or maybe you have a physical need in your own body, we believe that God heals today. Please make your way over there and they would love to pray with you. We want to see Miracles take place. And God is ready to do a miracle in your life. If you’re new at Cross Points Church, maybe even coming for several months and you like to learn a little bit more about us, I teach a class, it’s called Grow, and you get a chance to learn a little bit about me, and I get to learn a little bit about you, and we have a free lunch that’s available just for you. If you like to come and learn a little bit more about us, meet us over by the coffee house. There’s a banner that says Grow and I’d love to connect with you in a deeper way.
Alright, everyone else, if you wouldn’t mind lifting up your hands as a way of receiving God’s blessing in your life. Father, I pray that you would be with your people this week. That they would have a regular habit this week to seek you. That they would forget the past, and have eyes toward the future. Lord, would you empower them with your presence this week to follow you wholeheartedly. In Jesus name. And a church that wanted that said Amen. Amen.
All right! Welcome to Cross Points! Thank you all for being here so much and guests that are here today, thank you so much for being here with us.
Okay, so we are in the middle of a series called Abide. It’s not a word that we use much anymore, but abide simply means this: to remain, to connect, or to stay. Okay, remain, connect or stay. We are as Christians. If you’re a believer in Jesus today, God wants you to remain and connect and stay with Him, and if you found yourself here at Cross Points and maybe you’re checking out Christianity and you haven’t fully like, not quite sure about the whole thing, maybe someones invited you to come, I want you to know that God is inviting you to abide with Him, to remain with Him, to connect with Him, to stay with Him. And as you do that, the scripture says when you receive Jesus into your life, when you remain with him, then God makes all things new in your life. We just sang this song that says I’m not enough, God, I’m not enough until you come. You see, when you begin to say I’m not enough, and god I know that you are when you begin to say that, God comes on the inside and he’ll take away all the sin and the mistakes and the failures of the past, and you believe and trust in him then God makes everything new you become a new person in him. And so today maybe you might be here, I’m gonna give you an opportunity at the end of the service to maybe receive Christ, to receive Jesus into your life. He died for you and he loves you so very much. He doesn’t want you to just wander through life aimlessly. He’s got a purpose and a plan for your life. So we’re talking about abide. And many of you are believers in Jesus when you abide. Jesus uses this illustration of the vine and the branch, and the vine represents who God is, that he’s the source of life, and you’re simply a branch. And when you abide or connect or remain in the vine that life force, that life flow from God Himself then is in your life as well. When you sever yourself or take yourself out of the branch then you begin to wither and die. So it’s important for us to continue to remember that we’re called to abide, to remain, to connect. And as we do that, God’s life continues to flow in our heart. Last week I talked about the idea of love, that when we connect or abide to remain in Jesus, one of the fruits of it, one of the results, one of the overflow of abiding in Jesus is love. There’s this supernatural love that takes place when we abide into the branch who is God himself. Last week I talked about this idea of loving one another, that the world will know that you’re his disciples by the love that you have for one another. It’s a big deal, like loving one another is a huge deal. If you weren’t here last week, I encourage you to go back and watch that message because it really sets kind of a platform of kind of where we’re going.
Luke 6:27-30 NLT 27 But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.
Who is my enemy?
Today, I’m gonna take it just another step further because I want to kind of mention to you what Jesus tells his disciples when he says to them, I don’t want you just to love those who love you, I don’t want you just to love one another. Jesus says this in Luke 6:27 He says, but to you who are willing to listen. How many of you are willing to listen this morning? You’re willing to listen? Okay, good! That’s most of you, eighty percent. That’s pretty good. Okay. But to you who are willing to listen I say, love your enemies – whoo okay, we’re gonna get deep today, I hope you’re seatbelts on, ready to go – Jesus says, If you’re willing to listen, love your enemy, right, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give, give, give to anyone who asks, and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Now I want to set the stage this morning by letting you know those aren’t my words, okay? I didn’t make him up, I didn’t print him, I didn’t put him down. These are the words of Jesus. And if you’re a follower of Christ these are his words to you. And these aren’t just suggestions. These aren’t just good ideas. This is how God wants you to live. But the problem is, as we read through this passage, I think for many of us, when we have to ask the question, who is our enemy, who is your enemy? I was thinking about this passage and reading over and I saw lots of messages and lots of people talking about who is my neighbor. But when it came to the question of who is my enemy, not so much. I think most of us think of maybe we think of the Taliban or we think of Isis or we think of maybe old school like we think about the Nazis, you know those bad guys back there, out there, way out there, way over there. Those guys that are in the Middle East, those guys, and we, and if we’re not careful, we think of enemies as those way out there because I think most of us would say, well I don’t really hate anybody. I I really don’t have any enemies, not real enemies. But Jesus is clear here in this passage that enemies are not just someone somewhere out there that’s no name, no face. That’s not what Jesus is talking about. Here I want us to read, reread these verses again with just a different context in mind. So we can go back, He says but you, if you are willing to listen, I say love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. In other words, they know who you are. You know who they are. And they hate you. Bless those who curse you.
Now I’m gonna put this in like, right where you live, there may be somebody in your life that really doesn’t like you because maybe you got the promotion that they wanted to get. Or maybe just maybe you were driving down the road and you cut someone off and they began to curse you. You ever had that happen? They flip the middle finger off at you? And on they go, or maybe there may be someone in your life that hurt you, that stabbed you in the back, that twisted the knife, someone that you really loved. Someone that was close to you, and they did you wrong. Maybe it’s someone at work. Maybe you weren’t real close to them. Maybe you were just co-workers and they said something behind your back and as a result of that, maybe you got demoted, or you didn’t get into the project that you wanted to get into, or maybe you were at school and maybe someone posted something online about you, and they said some nasty stuff about you and you ended up seeing it. Or you didn’t get invited to the big party that everybody was, that everyone else got invited to. And so you find yourself with some some real life people that you don’t like. And they don’t like you. I mean this is what Jesus is talking about here. And probably right now, there’s someone in your mind maybe that you can think of, that if I were to say their name, you would get just a little bit squeamish on the inside, then maybe the blood would begin to boil just a little bit, you would feel just a little bit uncomfortable. This you see that person, that individual, that’s who Jesus is talking about. He’s not talking about some enemy far away that you don’t know. He’s talking about the enemy that you live with, and work with, interact with, know and engage. That’s who he’s talking about. So what does he say again? If you’re a follower of Jesus – I’m not making this up – this is what Jesus says. He says, Do good to those who hate you. Pastor David, I can’t do that, that’s really hard! Yes, it is. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. But you don’t know what they did to me! I mean, it was so wrong! I’m sorry, not sorry. Jesus says, Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on the cheek then offer the other one as well. If someone demands your coat, take off your shirt. Give to anyone who asks. Maybe some of you have had some people in your life that have asked some money from you, and they’ve never paid you back. And you know how much they owe you, and they know how much they owe you, and they’re not saying anything. Jesus says, Give to anyone who asks and when things are taken away from you don’t try to get them back.
I had a conversation on several months ago here in the lobby. It was a couple that was visiting. They’ve been here for a couple of weeks and they were moving out of town. They were moving somewhere else but they chatted with me and said, Hey we’re involved in this lawsuit. These people that we know, they did us really wrong. I mean they owe us thousands of dollars, they said. So do you think it’s okay for us to to take them to court? I said, Well, you’re not gonna like my answer. They said, Well, what do you mean? I said, well, you just need to let it go. But you don’t know what they did to us. Like, it was really wrong! We’re just trying to get justice. I said, I know, you should just let it go. I said, That’s what Jesus said to do. See, this is what God calls us to do. And it’s not easy. I’m not saying that it’s easy. G K Chesterton – he was this writer author, he was also a little bit of a theologian as well – he said this:
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. – G K Chesterton
In other words, for for many of us, it’s so hard that we we just we can’t do it. It’s too difficult, Pastor David. I can’t do that! That’s too hard! I’m just curious because I want to take a pulse, make sure I’m talking to right crowd. When I talked about maybe someone that makes you irritated, that maybe has rubbed you the wrong way, your oil and why can’t anybody got anybody in mind? Just lift your hand, I’m just curious. . . Okay, good. I’m sorry, I just wanted to make sure I was talking to the right crowd, cause I can raise my hand too, okay? So I’m trying to make sure that the rubber meets the road today. I’m not trying to talk up here, I’m trying to talk about where you are. Jesus says you’re to love those people, to do good to them, to pray for them. So then the question becomes, well why why why does Jesus want us to love our enemies? Why? Well, in Matthew chapter 5 Jesus makes it clear. He says this. He says, you’ve heard that the law says love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. We’re saying the same thing here. Then He says this, He says, in that way you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.
So you you could almost say that when we love our enemies, when we do good to those who persecute us, when we pray for those who persecute us, then then we’re acting like God himself. In other words, I’m gonna put it this way. I’m gonna say this a couple of times. Your identity is not wrapped up in the hurt and the pain that someone else has done to you. Your identity is wrapped up as a child of God who loves you. And if you’re not careful your identity will be wrapped up in the people that have hurt you and done you wrong. I can go back years in my own life where this one person stabbed me in the back who shall remain nameless, but really did me wrong. What happened isn’t that as a result of my bitterness and anger and frustration and hurt and wounds as a result of that my identity was was trapped in that relationship which was so negative. It kept me from being all that God intended me to be because my identity was in that, instead of in my relationship with God. I think there’s probably many of you here that your identity is being formed by the hurts and the wounds that are around you instead of your identity being in Christ. So you have an option. If you can love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you something releases supernaturally in your lives. It’s what I discovered, it took a while for me to discover, but I began to put what I was reading in Scripture into practice. I began to say to this person who shall remain nameless, God I don’t like them, but I pray that you would bless them. God they’ve hurt me, but I pray that you would pour out your favor upon them. It was really hard. I was like, God, this is hard. And I don’t like it. And I don’t want to be around that person. But God, would you bless them, cause your favored to fall upon them. And as I began to do that, my identity was less in this relationship and more in who God and I were. I was making myself a true son of God Himself. And when you begin to do that, what will happen is that those chains of identity into the hurt and the pain and – all of those things will begin to be slowly cut from your life. And as a result you’ll be able to experience the floodgates of God’s favor in your own life. But see when you find your identity and the hurt and the pain and the anguish and all of that, then you’re all tied up, and you can’t receive the goodness that God has for your own life. So in reality when we forgive others, really what we’re doing is, we’re releasing freedom in our own lives. You need to do that.
That’s why Jesus came. He came so that you might have life, life to the full. He came to set you free from the power of darkness, and he’s given you that ability. He’s given you that power, by receiving Christ in your life, okay? When you receive him in your life then you become his child. You’re not just made in His image, now you’re his child. And as a result of doing that, you’re gonna act like a true child of your Father in heaven.
Look at this next part of the verse.
Matthew 5:43-48 NLT 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Why should we love our enemies?
He says, For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good. You see in a sense God doesn’t play favorites. He sends his rain on the just and the unjust alike. And then Jesus makes it really clear. He says if you love only those who love you what reward is that? And then just to make sure He lands the punch He says, even corrupt tax collectors, even corrupt politicians, do that much. Hello? Everybody there, you hear what I’m saying? Jesus says, I have a better way for you. You see, the world the world will say, get even. The world will say, stab them in the back. If they put you down will you put them down. They said something about you online, will you go ahead and put one over on them, and put something else online? What’ll happen is that the heat and the noise will get louder and louder and louder. Jesus says, that’s what the world does. That’s what everybody does. They’re gonna love the people that love them, and they’re gonna hate the people that hate them. But Jesus says, if you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Jesus says but you are to be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect. You see, the reason why we love our enemies is because it proves that you’re a child of God, that you’re different. This is why Jesus came. Like, He’s a revolutionary. I think we forget that in our 21st century American culture that Jesus came to go against the grain of the world. He says take the low road. Take the humble road. Take the soft approach. Don’t try to make more of yourself than you are. To forgive and to love others – that’s radically different. And it’s hard to do. Jesus says love your enemies. Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.
He says this, then your reward from heaven will be very great. Your reward from heaven will be very great. There’s rewards involved. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s hard for us to kind of put our heads around that. But God wants to reward you when you do the very things that he’s called you to do. Part of that reward of letting go is allowing him to pour out his favor in your life. I don’t care about the rewards of the world, I don’t care about a promotion or more money. I want God’s favor in my life. That transcends any other reward I could even begin to think about, okay? Yeah, a couple of you got it. I want to say this one more time. God’s favor is worth more than a million dollars. God’s favor is worth more than owning the business that you work for. God’s favor is worth more than a billion dollars. It’s worth more than anything. You can’t put a price tag on it. So I want heaven’s reward. I want God’s reward. I want to step into his favor. When I let go and I forgive people and I’m doing good to those that internally drive me crazy, when I bless them and begin to pray for them, and actually are kind to them and do like acts of kindness towards them. . . oh my goodness! Not just driving through a drive-through and paying for the guy behind you. It is actually the people that irritate you the most. I’m challenging you this week to do something good to them. When you do that your reward will be very great. You’ll be amazed at the favor that God begins to pour into your life as a result of acting like him, because he looks down and he smiles. He says that’s my boy. That’s my girl. That’s my son, that’s my daughter, I’m proud of them. Then he lavishes his grace and his favor and his goodness and his kindness and his mercy in your life.
I want that. I want that. Then your reward from heaven will be very great and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those – look at this – He is kind to those who are and thankful and wicked. Anybody know some unthankful, ungrateful people in your lives? Let me see your hands out there if you know some unthankful, ungrateful, maybe even some wicked people. Well, Jesus says, what are you supposed to do: love them, pray for them, do good to them. Why? Because your reward will be great. Not the reward of the world, but the reward that God has for you. So here’s how he wants you to act, okay? He wants you to have what the Bible calls agape love. Agape is a Greek word. It just simply means love, but it’s a deep kind of love. It’s an unmerited, undeserved, unconditional kind of love. This is not just the kind of love that we have for one another. This agape love is the love that we’re called to love those who hate us, and the ones that we don’t like as well. That’s what we’re called to do. Know you are not enough. Can you repeat that after me? I am not enough, okay? Let me just say that one more time. I am not enough, okay? I want to make sure you understand that. You can’t do it in your own strength. You’ll fail. That’s part of what Christianity is all about, is you saying I’m not enough. God, I need you because you are more than enough. You’re more than able.
So when we abide in Jesus we’ll be able to love our neighbors. Follow with me just for another moment or two, and I’m going to close. If you try to love those that you don’t love, and that you don’t like, in your own strength, I promise you it’s gonna come back and bite you. You’ll get hurt. You’ll get disappointed. You’ll falter. You’ll fail. You’ll get tired of it. You won’t see any results and it’ll be just tragic for you. But when you’re able to stay connected into Jesus and his love, his agape unconditional, unmerited favor flows through your life, then you’ll be able to continue to love those people that are unlovely all the days of your life, even if they don’t change, as long as you stay connected to God. Why? Because when we stay connected to God, our first understanding should be, God, I was your enemy, I made all kinds of mistakes and failures and sins, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with you. I made so many mistakes and so many regrets in my life, but God, You loved me even when I was your enemy. God, You loved me, You died for me. You went to the cross for me at my worst, lowest moment. Even when I was at my best, which was nothing compared to who You are, You still died for me. You still gave Your life for me. You still loved me unconditionally. Even to this day when I make mistakes and I fail and falter, You still love me. You see, when you’re connected into that kind of vine, that life flows through you. You’re able to say to the people around you, I’m still gonna love you, even though you don’t deserve it, even though you irritate me, even though you make me mad, even though you know your blood boils when I’m around you. I’m able to love you. I’m able to pray for you. I’m able to ask God to do wonderful things in your life because it’s not me doing it, it’s an overflow of my relationship with God. So abide.
What does it practically mean?
I’ve given you a couple of ways throughout the last couple of weeks. The first one is, I want you reading your Bible, because when you read your Bible, it’s like the words of Christ come into your life and they continue to transform you into the image of who God wants you to be. So if you’ve been a believer in Jesus for more than 10 years, I want you reading through the whole Bible this year. And if you’re a believer maybe less than five years or so, then read through the New Testament. Take the whole year and read through the New Testament. You can find it on a Bible app, and find it online. Pick up a Bible and read it. I promise as you do that you’re abiding in Christ.
We abide in Christ by connecting with one another. I want you to go back and sign up for our connect group, a small group. It meets six weeks and I promise as you do, that you’re abiding with others who are abiding with Christ. When we have those relationships that are all loving God, it affects us as well. One way to abide with God is to abide with each other, to love each other, that we don’t isolate ourselves from one another. That’s another way in which you abide. So go back and sign up in a small group if you’re not in one and then today.
The next thing I want to challenge you to do in you’re abiding with Christ. . . you need to spend time worshiping Jesus throughout the week, okay? I just want to push you towards this. Like, you need to get in your car, if you’re driving to work, turn off talk radio, turn off the news, find a station or put a CD or an mp3 or whatever it is that you have in your car, and put some worship music in there, and start driving to work. All week long worshiping Jesus. Or you get home, take 10 minutes before you go to bed. Pop on some headphones and play some worship music. Because the reason why would you begin to do that, when you begin to worship God and sing and begin to have your eyes lifted from the things that are going on in the world, when you have your eyes tilted towards heaven, you begin to realize, God You’re good. You’re merciful. You’re kind. You’re loving. You’re beautiful. You’re wonderful. You rule. You reign. You’re the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You’re the One who forgives me and loves me and saves me. See, your mind is now taken off this world that irritates you, and it’s put on Jesus. Then you can recognize who He is. Then you’re being able to look at people around you, and you can say, I can love you the same way that God loved me. But you can’t do that if you’re not abiding into the branch, if you’re not connecting and remaining with Jesus. That’s why he wants you connected to the vine. It’s only as you do that, that you’ll be able to change the world with the people around you. And you just might – here’s the beautiful part – you just might see Redemption with someone that irritates you. You might just be the one that leads them into a relationship with Jesus. God may have put them in your life on purpose so that they could see the redemption of God. It’s much like Joseph who was thrown into a pit. His brother sold him into slavery. His own brothers were his enemies. Joseph didn’t get bitter, he got better. He trusted God, he worshipped Him. Throughout his entire life and years later, almost three decades later he sees his brothers. Instead of having bitterness in his heart, he has forgiveness. And as a result of that, his brothers are redeemed. They’re saved. Joseph said, what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. Could it be in your life, the people that are in your life, that God may have placed you there for a purpose? So that they could come to know a good God that loves them even when they are unlovely?
Would you close your eyes and bow your heads with me this morning? I know some of you you raised your hand with someone you thought of that irritated you or frustrated you, or maybe you might even have the courage to say, that person is my enemy right now. . . I want you to have that person or persons in your mind and we’re gonna we’re gonna pray. I’m gonna pray for you, that God would enable you to love them, even as he loved you. If you have that person or persons in your mind, and you really want to love them, then you know that you need to, and you’re asking for God’s help and grace, would you just raise your hand? I’m gonna pray for you right where you are, and ask God to give you the strength and the ability to do do that. God, I pray for those who have their hands lifted high, they know who those people are, that person is, and I pray that You would give them a supernatural love that would go beyond themselves. Lord, I pray that as they connect and remain in You this week, and in the weeks to come, that the overflow would be love, that agape love that’s unmerited and undeserved. May it flow through your people. God, I pray that we would see the miraculous take place in relationships, God, that people would be blown away by the goodness of your people here in this place. Lord, with those that are contrary, Lord, those that have put them down, have hurt them, that have been offensive to them, Lord, I pray that we would be able to release all of that. And that God, you would do the impossible in our lives, Lord, I pray that we would let go and allow your Holy Spirit to flow through us. Would you use us to pray for those people that have heard us and stabbed us in the back. God, I pray that we would be different. That we would be just like you – loving those who are hard to love. God, I thank you that supernaturally God, you’re gonna do something, Lord, even right now as we have our hands lifted high. It’s a stake in the ground that says that I’m gonna live differently now, and I’m gonna offer forgiveness and love towards the unlovely. I pray that you would do that with your people, in Jesus’ name.
Wednesdays X Student Ministries • 7 PM (6th-12th Grade)
Directions to Cross Points Church
ADDRESS: Cross Points Church
6824 Lackman Road,
Shawnee, Kansas 66217
Approaching Kansas City from the West (on I-70): I-70 East, exit to I-435 South. 2 miles past East end turnpike toll plaza.
On I-435 South, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway (Exits 6A-B)
Bear left, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway East (Exit 6A)
East on SM Pkwy, exit to Lackman Road, turn right (south)
Church is 1/8th of a mile on the West (right) side of the street
Approaching Kansas City from the North (on I-35 South / I-635 South):
If on I-635 South, Exit to I-35 South
On I-35 South, exit to Shawnee Mission Parkway WEST
West on Shawnee Mission Pkwy 4 miles, exit to Lackman Road.
At Lackman road, turn left (south), 2 blocks. Church is on the West (right) side of the Street.
Approaching Kansas City from South (on I-35) or Southwest (on K-10): If on I-35 North, exit to I-435 West / North.
If on K-10, exit to 1-435 North
On I-435 North, exit Shawnee Mission Parkway East.
East on SM Pkwy, exit to Lackman Road, turn right (south) On Lackman Road, 2 blocks:6824 Lackman Road. Church is 1/8th a mile on the West (right) side of the street.