Sub30 “What Is Love?!” Update & Notes

Highlights and Message Notes from our Sub30 group “What Is Love?! Baby, Don’t Hurt Me”.

It always amazes me how young people flock to challenging messages on the cross and love and selflessness. Sometimes we assume that you can’t want “too deep” with young people, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. This generation seems more hungry than ever for substance and truth.

Last week, Christina and I began our Sub30 group called “What Is Love?! Baby, Don’t Hurt Me” for our church, Celebration Church.

IMG_3027

I thank God for my church!

I thank God that He has a plan for our lives. He knows what we need more than we do! Almost ten months ago, God spoke to my wife in prayer that we should go to Celebration Church. We’ve been so blessed by the grace that is on this house!!

IMG_3028

Message Notes “What Is Love?! Baby, Don’t Hurt Me” Wk 1

Who has ever heard the song, “What is Love?!”

Let me quote the great 90’s poet, Haddaway,

“What is love?! Baby, Don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.

What is love?

I don’t know why you’re not fair. I give you my love, but you don’t care

So what is right and what is wrong? Gimme a sign 

What is love?!

Okay, we’re being funny. But the guy asks a great question. What is love?!

Culture throws this word around all the time. It’s like people’s favorite word today. Bumper stickers and songs and movies and slogans. “Eat, laugh, love”. ” All you need is love”

It seems “deep” if you use the word.  Simply say “we just gotta love, man” to any of the world’s problem, you sound real deep!!

But what does that really mean???

And maybe more importantly, what does it look like in our lives? How do we actually walk out love? Here’s what love looks like,

1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-7

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. [love never fails]

Okay, so in this passage, we see the scope of love is bigger than we generally think. 

Love is more than a feeling. It’s not some elusive good vibe out there. This stuff deals with the NITTY GRITTY of our lives.

But what’s the common denominator between all these virtues listed in 1 Corinthians?

Christina and I sat down and tried to pull together different things we’ve heard and come up with a “working definition” for love and this is what we came up with.

LOVE IS SELFLESSNESS, GUIDED BY WISDOM, FUELED BY FAITH.

SELFLESSNESS

Ultimately, love is a selflessness towards others. Love is a pure selflessness.

But it’s a SELFLESSNESS, GUIDED BY WISDOM.

Because there’s a selflessness NOT guided by wisdom in the world.

Example: Girl dating a guy who is not good for her. Friends are trying to talk some sense into her. “Girl, he’s walking all over you. He’s going out and doing things that are not good!” 

“But I love him!!”

This is NOT the Biblical kind of Love.

LOVE IS FUELED BY FAITH

or you could say it like this,

REAL LOVE COMES FROM RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.

1 JOHN 4:17 says it simply: “WE LOVE, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US”

This is the “How”. WE are able to LOVE. WE CAN LOVE. BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US.

Jesus loved us with a PURE love. He loved, and gave His life on the cross.

Jesus loves us with a love free of control and selfishness of any kind!

AND BECAUSE WE KNOW HE LOVES US, WE CAN TRUST HIM WITH OUR NEEDS. 

We can give our “SELF” over to God.

And this is HOW we love. We give our needs over to God, so we can be selfless to others.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

How I Lost 80 Pounds and Kept It Off

11885033_10107386997634341_6448003434483640264_o

4 practical tips we gleaned from God’s Word to keep off the weight.

It’s been a little over two years since I lost 80 pounds. (My wife was able to lose over 50!) Though I fluctuate a bit, I thank God I’ve been able to keep the weight off.  (My wife, too!)

Today, I want to share with you 4 practical tips from God’s Word that have helped us to lose the weight and keep it off.

  1. You can’t live off sugar: Many Americans today literally live off sugary drinks and processed carbs (which is basically sugar). This is not good. Try building your weekly diet on more wholesome carbs, like Ezekiel bread and sweet potatoes. Pick a strategy to cut your dependance and your “taste” for refined sugar. My wife and I found the first “phase” of the south beach diet was effective to get us off the white stuff. Grit your teeth. Train your tastebuds. And pay attention to how much better you feel not living on junk food.

Scripture: “It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.” Proverbs 25:17

  1. Find a way to exercise: Not everybody has to weight train six days a week. Find what works for you. My wife and I have gone through several different exercise routines since we first sought to lose the weight in January of 2015. At the present, I am focusing on stretching and core strength. My wife is full-body light weight training. As my friend, Jared Graybeal, of E3 fitness coaching says, “If it comes down to diet or exercise, choose diet”. But exercise is great, and has tons of benefits to help us live more productive lives. That’s why the Bible labels it as a good thing.

Scripture: “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

  1. Plan “free” meals: The Bible says honey is good, it’s too much honey that’s not good (Proverbs 25:17). It also says God has “given us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). So there’s balance, and a time to enjoy the food we love. Depending how much weight you have to lose, you may not be able to do many “free meals” when you first start. But in “maintenance mode”, my wife and I are able to pretty much eat what we want on weekends. During the week, we don’t keep junk food at the house and do our best to eat clean, but we still love going out to eat. To me, free meals are just as important as clean meals. Just like there is “binge eating”, I think there’s “binge dieting”. Both are compulsive and often short-lived.

Scripture: “My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.” Proverbs 24:13

  1. Find what works for you: Seek wisdom. Remember, there’s a weight range you should stay within. Don’t obsess over a number, because you fluctuate based on water weight and other things. Use a BMI calculator online to check your ideal weight to give you an idea of where you should be. There’s tons of great programs to lose weight. Also, maintaining your ideal weight looks different for everybody. My wife and I have found we both require slightly different plans. So pray over it. In this way, your weight loss endeavors will be about more than the outside man; they’ll be spiritual—developing self-control and disciple within you.

Scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” James 1:5

14656414_10109424291037031_6166338898845303925_n

Me and Christina in 2014. Our weight had reached it max during the tough years of church planting.

 

God Our Trainer

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 3.43.40 PMMany of us fear correction from God because we lack understanding of His ways. 

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the training and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 4:18

Notice above, God’s appeal to parents. When it comes to adjusting a child’s bad behavior, the Father says to “bring them up with training”. Not beating, shaming, or threatening. But training. This is God’s way. He is a Trainer at heart. And He wants you to be a trainer as well—especially to those entrusted to your care.

Many of us fear correction from God—we see it as a scary or negative thing.

I believe this fear comes from a faulty view of God. We envision God as an angry, all-powerful being up there, with smoke blowing out of his ears. We screw-up and do something wrong, He’s like some massive spirit-being awoken from his slumber— straight-up Temple of Doom style—there to lay the smack down. 

Even Christians who know better can still struggle to shake this feeling that God is angry, and always mad at them. It’s one thing to know in your head that Jesus has forgiven you. It’s a whole other thing to have this revelation sink down into your heart.

In fact, that’s why the Apostle Paul was always praying for his churches to “really come to know” and “experience for themselves” the love of God in Christ. (Ephesians 3) And that all believers would know what they have in Jesus. (Ephesians 1)

Training: God’s Style of Correction

Let me ask you something: is it shocking for a fitness trainer to show their clients what they’re doing wrong?

Of course not! When we hire a trainer of any kind— whether fitness, business, or life coach— we expect them to reveal our shortcomings. We obviously sought someone out because we know we have some things to change. So all training involves correction, right?

But here’s the thing: a good trainer has a way of helping us change—redirecting and reshaping our behavior— without losing their connection with us. They can offer criticism without breaking trust and discipline without causing us to lose heart.

Think about a great football coach. He builds a bond with his players. Can you imagine a head coach who doesn’t train his players— he just sits passively on the sidelines, rolling his eyes at them, taking potshots at the running-back, pestering the quarterback to throw better, then walks off the field shaking his head when they screw up.

No! A good coach creates an environment for growth. He doesn’t walk away the first time the players make a mistake. If all the players had it all figured out, they wouldn’t need a coach! That’s the whole point of hiring a coach.

A coach is there to help them get it right, not to prove to them how bad they are.

This is God’s heart towards his spiritual children: He wants us to get it right. He’s not there to prove to us we’re terrible. I mean, if He wanted to prove that, He could of just left us to our own devices. He wouldn’t have to mess with us at all.

But God is for us! And He wants to shape us and mold us into His image. Is there correction? Of course, there is. We show up to the field with an attitude, then God is gonna deal with it. We make a mistake, He will guide us to the right path. But when we mess up— even when we mess up big— He never breaks connection with us. He never withdraws His love. In fact,  when we make a mistake, He draws us even closer, like a loving and gentle father, and He says:

“Ok, my man. That’s not how it’s done. We’re going to do it again, okay?”

And God won’t give up on us until we get it right. That’s what training is all about. That’s what a trainer is for. He’s there to help us succeed.

 

Say these five confessions out loud:

1. God is my Trainer.

2. Because of Jesus, God is not mad at me.

3. God is not ashamed of me. He is not fed up with me.

4. God is patient. He is a loving Father to me.

5. God is training me. He is helping me to grow daily!

Update & “Letting God Love You” [Video]

WHAT IS LOVE- GROUP LOGO

(New logo for our Fall group for Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida)

I’m excited because starting on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017, Christina and I will be starting a group for my church in Jacksonville, Florida. The group is called “What Is Love?! Baby, Don’t Hurt Me”. It will be one of the break-out sessions at Sub30, our midweek Young Adults service here in Jacksonville. I’ll be reworking some of the content found in my message, “Letting God Love You”, into a group teaching/discussion format for eight sessions over the Fall semester in the life of our church.

The group is about learning to receive love from God, so that we can love others by faith. 

Here’s the skinny: we must learn to receive love from God. The more we can rely on God for our affimation and support, and not people, the more grace will come upon us. 1 John says it like this, “We love, because He first loved us”. In other words, the more we’re able to receive directly from our Heavenly Father, the more we can be selfless to others. Also, I have found that when God teaches us to receive love from Him, it makes it easier for us to receive love from others.

But how can we be truly selfless towards others? How can we display a love that is not tied back into how people make us feel, or what we can get?

Here’s the key: We entrust our “me” over to God. We can be selfless, when we are looking to God to meet our needs, trusting that He loves us. 

Below is the message “Letting God Love You” from my time at Victory Church of Gainesville a few weeks ago.