Love | Advent: Week 4

Love is more than an emotion, it’s an action. That’s why Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

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- Merry Christmas.

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I'm here today with my friend Chuck, our Oakley Community Pastor.

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- Merry Christmas. It's good to be with you, Lena.

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- It's so good.

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So, Chuck, you might remember the first time we met.

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- I actually do, yes.

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- We were around a lunch table at my parents' house.

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You were not on staff yet?

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- No.

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- And there was a fart machine present?

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- Yes, there was.

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- Underneath your wife Maria's chair.

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- Yes, there was. Yes, there was.

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Which that was her first time meeting your father.

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It wasn't my first time.

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And what a perfect introduction to Brian Tome, it really was.

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- That's right.

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And you stuck around and you've been on staff now for how long?

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- It worked. I've been around for 13 years now.

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- That's awesome. And you make our church so much better.

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- Thank you.

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- So we're so glad to have you.

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- Thank you.

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- Well, we're in this Advent series right now.

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And Advent purely means awaiting the arrival of Jesus.

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And so we've been in the Advent of Hope, the Advent of Peace

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and the Advent of Joy.

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What has this season or this series meant to you?

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- You know, it's brought back some freshness to Christmas.

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Christmas can feel like Groundhog Day oftentimes when you're a pastor.

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But every day with Advent, the things I've been doing with my kids

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and personally as my own study with Advent has been happening,.

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I really am excited about Christmas

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and about the meaning of Christmas this year.

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- That's great. Well, you did --

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We really enjoyed your week last week on Joy.

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You brought me lots of joy.

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- I'm glad to hear that.

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- Yeah. So this week we're talking the Advent of Love.

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And then it's Christmas Eve and we're talking all about Jesus.

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- That's exactly right, all Jesus all the time.

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- That's right.

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So what's happening at the Oakley's site on Christmas Eve?

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Yeah, at Oakley we are going to have three services: 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00.

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And it is a family friendly experience, a great tradition,

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it always ends with a candle light moment.

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And honestly, for me, it's one of those things that just tells me,

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hey, you know what? This is the end of the year and I love it.

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I'm just looking forward to it.

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We have family coming in town. They'll be a part of it.

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I'm excited.

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- That's great.

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Our Christmas Eve experiences across all of our sites

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and right here online are great for your whole family

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and your friends and your neighbors and your co-workers

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and anybody that you could get with you

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to experience church at Christmas time.

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Christmas Eve is the time for that.

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So 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 here at Oakley,

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also 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 live online.

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We'll be broadcasting from our Oakley location.

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And you could check out all of the other service times at Crossroads.net

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and find out when there's a service near you or join us right here online.

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So after Christmas Eve, we typically don't have services

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in our physical locations that New Year's weekend.

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- That's right. And we're doing that again this year.

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And so instead of having a physical service,

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we have a great online experience that everybody can be a part of.

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- Yeah. And why do we do that?

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- Well, we do it because this place runs because of amazing volunteers.

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When I say this place, whatever the physical location is and even online.

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There are a lot of people who make Crossroads what it is.

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And we just know, particularly at Christmas time, people are off

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and we want them to be able to maximize the time with their family.

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So we take off that we can give everybody a break

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and then we come back after it in the new year.

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- Great. So don't head to a location near you on the weekend of December 28-29.

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But join us right here online.

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We have a special service that you're going to be part of.

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- Yeah, I'm looking forward to it.

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- It'll be you, Ali, Kyle, and BT.

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And it's a reflection on 2019 and looking ahead to 2020.

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-Yeah, it really is.

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We'll be looking back at some of the high points of this year,

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calling out things that were personal.

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We'll talk about some things that happened in our community

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and then really get a sense of where are we headed for 2020?

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So I don't want anybody to miss it and I'm excited to be part of it.

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- So join us online on Sunday, December 29 for an online only service.

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It goes On-Demand at 8:00 a.m.

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on Sunday morning on Crossroads.net.

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And you know, one of the great things about Christmas is

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there's so many traditions around it.

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And one of the traditions that we celebrate as followers of Jesus is communion.

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And so we're gonna be doing that later on in the service.

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So you'll want to get a drink and something to eat

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ready for later in service to take communion

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if that's a tradition that you want to partake
in if you are a follower of Jesus.

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And without further ado, we're gonna get started with the Advent of Love.

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The world bound by darkness and sin cries out for a Savior.

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God sent His Only Son Jesus to rescue us

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in what seems like the unlikeliest of circumstances.

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He chose a virgin named Mary to bring the Savior into the world.

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When the Angel Gabriel was sent to deliver the message to Mary,

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she was scared.

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"The Lord is with you," he assured her.

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"His name is Emmanuel."

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The God of love, He doesn't stay distant and far away.

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He comes close.

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This is what the God of love says to us today.

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He lives here. He is with us.

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He wants a relationship with us.

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We are important to Him.

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Jesus, the unpredictable arrival of love.

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- I love Christmas.

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I love Christmas songs.

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I love the Christmas food.

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I love Christmas presents.

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I'm not ashamed to say that.

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I love presence.

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I love getting presents.

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I love giving presents.

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There's something actually really special about gifts.

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I think that we're wired to like gifts

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because God is wired to like gifts.

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He's a giver himself.

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You know, as a kid, I loved making my parents homemade gifts.

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My parents' Christmas tree is peppered

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with pictures of me at all ages and macaroni and sparkles.

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And, you know, the reason for that was because

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I wanted my parents to have something heartfelt.

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Well, another reason was probably because we made them in school.

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But let's be honest, you know, I got so excited

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to give my parents this homemade, cheap little thing on Christmas morning.

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I was cheerful about it.

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My parents loved receiving whatever I had for them

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because I was so cheerful.

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God wants us to be cheerful givers.

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He is a good dad who sees our heartfelt gifts that we want to give Him.

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And when we can do that out of the joy of our hearts,

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and we can do that cheerfully, it gives Him joy and He's excited about it.

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And so maybe this Christmas you want to be a cheerful giver.

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You want to give of what you have to God.

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You could do that by heading to Crossroads.net/give

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and consider giving God a gift of blessing His church this Christmas

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and do it out of a place of joy.

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We are heading into the last week of Advent right now, the Advent of Love.

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- Let me tell you what I love.

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I love this sweater.

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I do. I love this sweater.

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I love to Chipotle.

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I love black decaf coffee.

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I do.

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I love Yuengling beer.

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I love motorcycles.

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I love overlanding.

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I love my dog Peanut.

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I love my wife as well, Lib

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I love my kids.

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I love this great country that we're in.

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God bless America.

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I love 50 degree days that have sunshine and are crisp.

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I also at the same time, I also love a fresh blanket of snow.

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I love happy greetings in stores where people are happy.

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I love cheeseburgers with bacon on it, well-done bacon.

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I love -- all these things I love, yet some of them

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shouldn't be necessarily in the same category with each other, should they?

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I mean, is my love of my wife.

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I love my wife, should that be the same word as I love Chipotle?

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I don't think so.

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We have in our country a major love problem, a massive love problem.

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We don't understand it, let alone do it.

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Christmas is the time to talk about things

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that aren't traditionally talked about

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because it's amazing to talk about Christmas.

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I like tradition.

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I love tradition in many ways.

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I'm wearing a tradition right now.

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I said, love this sweater. I'm wearing a tradition right here.

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This sweater, if you've been coming to Crossroads

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for about 17 years you've seen me in this sweater for at least 17 years.

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This was given to me by a friend of mine, Steve.

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He didn't want it anymore, he gave it to me

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and I said, hey, that looks like a good Christmas sweater.

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So every Christmas series, normally at least Christmas Eve

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or the last weekend before Christmas, I'm wearing this sweater.

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It's kind of like a tradition.

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I can't believe it still works for me.

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It reminds me that Christmas isn't about thinking of new concepts.

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It's about going back to the old concepts that simply work.

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The concepts of the transcendent meaning of Christmas.

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That Christmas has arrived.

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As we've gone through hope and peace and joy, we come today to love.

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And we're going to look at love through the lens of the story of the Magi

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or also known as the wisemen,

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or some people know them as We Three Kings of Orient Are.

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It comes the book of Matthew 2:7 and following.

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I'm going to read this and every verse or so I'm going to stop

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and I'm going to explain some things.

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So are we ready?

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Are you ready? Yes.

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Here we go.

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Let's understand who we've got working in this story here.

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We've got Herod.

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Herod is maybe the slimiest person alive on the planet at that time.

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Herod was somebody the Jews hated.

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Herod actually himself was partially Jewish from his heritage.

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And he leverages his Jewishness, his awareness of all things Jewish,

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of the holidays, of the family connections to squeeze more out of the Jews.

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He was the governor for Rome.

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Rome said, "Here is this Jewish territory.

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You govern it.

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You take care of it. Here's what we need to get in taxes.

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You just need to get us this much, keep the peace and all's good."

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So of course, Herod would give them what they need

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and he would exceed it for himself.

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He would abuse his power.

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The jews hated him as a result of this.

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Herod gets wind from these people known as the Magi.

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Magi, because the original word here is Magus, there's multiple of them.

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It doesn't say that they're kings,

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but they're people who are from probably Persia,

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who have had a spiritual apparition.

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And they're following this spiritual apparition.

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They're following this light.

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And Herod wants to know exactly what they're doing

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and how he can get in on this.

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And it continues, it says:.

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Herod is a liar, amongst other things.

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He isn't interested in worshiping this child,

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this child who's supposed to be the king of the Jews,

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this child is supposed to be the great awaited one.

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He wants to find him so that he can kill him.

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So he's basically got spies.

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He's trying to commission these people who
are into spirituality to be their spy.

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And it continues:

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They're following a star.

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There's a lot of conjecture as to whether or not this is an actual star,

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bright star that they're following.

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I tend to think that's not what's happening here.

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There's actually a star like light in the sky I believe

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that God's put there that they're following that star like light

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to find Jesus where Bethlehem is.

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Now, let's just all say, boy, Christmas is actually crazy, isn't it?

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Well, what are we talking about here?

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First of all, we're talking about virgin birth,

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a woman getting pregnant having never had vo-dee-o-dodo sex.

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Wow.

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00:25:11.790 --> 00:25:13.080
Can't really believe that.

250
00:25:13.170 --> 00:25:18.240
We're talking about angels coming to shepherds and with swords and stuff.

251
00:25:18.320 --> 00:25:22.200
Whoa, wait, we're talking about Magi,

252
00:25:22.200 --> 00:25:26.070
these spiritual people coming from Persia following a light?

253
00:25:26.340 --> 00:25:27.890
What? What are you talking..?

254
00:25:28.110 --> 00:25:29.580
I know, it's pretty awesome, isn't it?

255
00:25:30.450 --> 00:25:31.710
It is, it pretty awesome.

256
00:25:32.320 --> 00:25:35.880
Friends, if God were to come to the world

257
00:25:35.880 --> 00:25:38.280
and it was the defining moment in human history,

258
00:25:38.280 --> 00:25:41.010
we should expect unusual, crazy things.

259
00:25:41.520 --> 00:25:44.840
And if there's not unusual, crazy things, God is probably not in it.

260
00:25:45.810 --> 00:25:48.870
We've got to check our rationalism at the door,

261
00:25:48.870 --> 00:25:51.900
because if all you want is what is rational,

262
00:25:51.900 --> 00:25:54.720
then all you have is right -- what you have right now.

263
00:25:54.990 --> 00:25:56.400
All you'll have is what you can get.

264
00:25:56.430 --> 00:26:00.090
There is something with Christmas, you can get things that only God gives you.

265
00:26:00.090 --> 00:26:02.490
And today, specifically love.

266
00:26:03.150 --> 00:26:03.720
Love.

267
00:26:05.380 --> 00:26:06.430
Verse 11:

268
00:26:28.320 --> 00:26:29.800
How many of us like Christmas decorations?

269
00:26:29.800 --> 00:26:31.530
Go ahead. Don't be bashful. How many of us like 'em?

270
00:26:31.530 --> 00:26:31.750
Okay.

271
00:26:32.370 --> 00:26:36.810
How many of us are annoyed by people who put up too many Christmas decorations?

272
00:26:36.840 --> 00:26:37.700
Come on, let's be honest.

273
00:26:39.570 --> 00:26:41.040
My wife just keeps this,

274
00:26:41.040 --> 00:26:44.250
be putting up more and more and more Christmas decorations.

275
00:26:44.580 --> 00:26:46.220
I'm not ready to say I'm annoyed at her by that.

276
00:26:46.230 --> 00:26:48.990
I am annoyed that they keep going up earlier and earlier in the year.

277
00:26:49.020 --> 00:26:53.610
I'm sorry, Christmas should not be going up before Thanksgiving.

278
00:26:54.120 --> 00:26:56.190
I think what I'm going to do is I when we come down

279
00:26:56.190 --> 00:26:58.220
for the tree on Christmas morning, I've already said

280
00:26:58.220 --> 00:27:02.940
I'm going to have a Valentine's Day heart hanging from the tree,

281
00:27:02.940 --> 00:27:04.470
like no, no, no let's celebrate Christmas.

282
00:27:04.710 --> 00:27:06.060
Let's get ready for Valentine's Day.

283
00:27:06.110 --> 00:27:08.120
No, no. Let's separate the holidays.

284
00:27:08.130 --> 00:27:08.510
Right?

285
00:27:09.750 --> 00:27:11.940
It's one of the back and forths that we have.

286
00:27:12.690 --> 00:27:17.110
But what's great about Christmas is the decorations actually.

287
00:27:17.920 --> 00:27:20.910
One of them that you may have in your house, many people do,

288
00:27:20.910 --> 00:27:24.520
is a little manger scene where you've got Jesus placed in a manger

289
00:27:24.520 --> 00:27:28.740
and you've got maybe a little cow, little dog.

290
00:27:28.740 --> 00:27:31.380
Maybe you've got Bob Ross putting little birds up there.

291
00:27:31.660 --> 00:27:37.420
You've got some shepherds there, leaning on their staff.

292
00:27:37.760 --> 00:27:40.090
And you've got a little kitty cat maybe over in the corner.

293
00:27:40.760 --> 00:27:42.360
And you have Mary and Joseph.

294
00:27:42.930 --> 00:27:44.080
And then what else?

295
00:27:44.350 --> 00:27:47.080
You've got the Magi, the wise men are there.

296
00:27:47.170 --> 00:27:48.490
And that's when the record should [ screeching sound ] What?

297
00:27:48.490 --> 00:27:51.650
Magi, wisemen.

298
00:27:52.000 --> 00:27:54.150
There's a lot of things we don't know about the Christmas story.

299
00:27:54.160 --> 00:27:58.780
One thing we know for sure is that when Jesus was placed in a manger,

300
00:27:58.780 --> 00:28:00.550
the Magi were not there.

301
00:28:01.090 --> 00:28:03.700
So if you got a little scene like that of figurines,

302
00:28:03.700 --> 00:28:05.950
just take the Magi and put them on another table.

303
00:28:06.000 --> 00:28:06.230
OK?

304
00:28:06.790 --> 00:28:08.560
If you want to be accurate, put them on another.

305
00:28:09.100 --> 00:28:10.990
If you don't want to be accurate, you just want it to be cool looking,

306
00:28:10.990 --> 00:28:12.070
fine, keep the Magi there.

307
00:28:12.370 --> 00:28:13.420
But they weren't there.

308
00:28:13.480 --> 00:28:14.290
Why do I say that?

309
00:28:14.630 --> 00:28:16.830
A bunch of reasons. A few of them right here in this verse.

310
00:28:16.870 --> 00:28:20.230
First of all, it says this: And going into the house.

311
00:28:21.190 --> 00:28:23.560
Jesus was placed in a manger.

312
00:28:23.560 --> 00:28:27.670
He was born in a cave likely where they kept the livestock.

313
00:28:28.560 --> 00:28:30.210
And now Magi are going into a house.

314
00:28:30.240 --> 00:28:32.830
Wait a minute, house, cave, livestock, manger?

315
00:28:34.170 --> 00:28:36.820
Well, yeah, because by the time I got there, Mary and Joseph had moved on.

316
00:28:36.840 --> 00:28:41.450
They weren't in a manger anymore or putting their child in a manger anymore.

317
00:28:41.750 --> 00:28:44.660
That was not an ideal circumstance for them to place their child there.

318
00:28:45.410 --> 00:28:47.690
So as soon as they could, I don't know if it was the next day,

319
00:28:47.690 --> 00:28:49.170
two days later, they were gone.

320
00:28:49.790 --> 00:28:52.400
So they find other lodging, they're in a house.

321
00:28:52.720 --> 00:28:56.450
The Magi show up at a house and that says:.

322
00:28:56.450 --> 00:28:58.320
And they saw the child with Mary.Mary.

323
00:28:58.790 --> 00:29:00.560
Not the baby.

324
00:29:01.280 --> 00:29:02.750
They saw the child.

325
00:29:03.110 --> 00:29:06.290
Jesus here is a child.

326
00:29:07.340 --> 00:29:10.280
The Magi, yet another freaky thing that happens to them,

327
00:29:10.280 --> 00:29:16.380
they have a spiritual dream that Herod actually wants to kill this child.

328
00:29:17.340 --> 00:29:21.690
And so they leave another way and they don't tell Herod about this.

329
00:29:21.690 --> 00:29:24.810
Herod then what he does is he wipes out --

330
00:29:24.810 --> 00:29:28.950
he wipes out all the children in the area who are under 2 years old.

331
00:29:29.370 --> 00:29:29.910
All of them.

332
00:29:31.090 --> 00:29:33.640
Now, by the way, just because it's crazy to believe,

333
00:29:33.640 --> 00:29:36.910
does mean there aren't things that point to this actually happening.

334
00:29:37.330 --> 00:29:39.610
I've been to Bethlehem a number of times.

335
00:29:39.640 --> 00:29:44.770
I've been to caves, burial vaults for the dead in Bethlehem.

336
00:29:44.770 --> 00:29:48.610
And there is crazy, crazy, a bunch of children's skulls.

337
00:29:48.610 --> 00:29:52.270
That radioactive dating says this comes back to the first century,.,

338
00:29:52.270 --> 00:29:54.460
Of kids, infants, 2 years and under.

339
00:29:55.500 --> 00:29:59.760
Like perfect amount of skull's, perfect time period,.

340
00:29:59.760 --> 00:30:01.470
It's probably where it happened right here in this,

341
00:30:01.470 --> 00:30:02.860
some of the evidence of it.

342
00:30:02.860 --> 00:30:04.190
This is real, you can see these things

343
00:30:04.190 --> 00:30:06.100
You can till go over the Middle East and see some of this stuff.

344
00:30:06.300 --> 00:30:08.070
You're not going to see a star up in the sky.

345
00:30:08.790 --> 00:30:11.340
You're not going to be able to find an angel talking to shepherds necessarily.

346
00:30:11.940 --> 00:30:14.790
But this stuff, there's a big, big part of this history

347
00:30:14.790 --> 00:30:15.990
that you can see with your own eyes.

348
00:30:17.410 --> 00:30:21.850
Why does Herod kill everybody two years of age and under?

349
00:30:21.910 --> 00:30:28.450
It's because that's when the Magi left and didn't let Herod in on the idea.

350
00:30:28.480 --> 00:30:32.170
The Magi got there when Jesus was probably just under 2 years old,.

351
00:30:32.170 --> 00:30:33.820
A year and a half old or something like that.

352
00:30:35.390 --> 00:30:38.300
It really gives us unique perspective on this story.

353
00:30:38.330 --> 00:30:44.510
Now throughout this entire thing, we're going to see God's love.

354
00:30:44.900 --> 00:30:45.770
We're going to see that.

355
00:30:46.640 --> 00:30:49.820
Even though the word love isn't here,

356
00:30:49.820 --> 00:30:52.880
we're going to see God's love throughout this entire thing.

357
00:30:53.210 --> 00:30:56.390
I believe that the reason why Christmas.

358
00:30:56.390 --> 00:30:58.670
Is the favorite holiday for most of us,.,

359
00:30:58.670 --> 00:31:00.620
I believe the reason Christmas.

360
00:31:00.620 --> 00:31:02.840
Is the most commercially marketable holiday.

361
00:31:03.170 --> 00:31:07.250
I believe the reason why we as Americans.

362
00:31:07.250 --> 00:31:11.300
Watch more movies about Christmas than any other thing.

363
00:31:11.300 --> 00:31:14.450
Is because we are a very emotional people.

364
00:31:14.720 --> 00:31:17.150
We're actually ruled and run by emotion.

365
00:31:18.250 --> 00:31:20.840
And I don't mean this inherently negatively.

366
00:31:20.870 --> 00:31:22.130
I mean, it is very emotional.

367
00:31:22.340 --> 00:31:28.370
And Christmas is a warm, fuzzy, emotional
holiday, more so than any other holiday,.

368
00:31:28.370 --> 00:31:30.170
more than Valentine's Day, more than Halloween, more than St.

369
00:31:30.290 --> 00:31:31.040
Patrick's Day.

370
00:31:31.670 --> 00:31:32.990
And it just keeps going and going,

371
00:31:32.990 --> 00:31:36.560
which is why we have so many songs around Christmas,.

372
00:31:36.560 --> 00:31:39.020
Because it makes us feel warm and emotional.

373
00:31:39.020 --> 00:31:39.380
We want this.

374
00:31:39.590 --> 00:31:43.370
It's why we have so many movies about Christmas,.

375
00:31:43.370 --> 00:31:47.300
Romance movies or whatever they are, because we like to feel as Americans,

376
00:31:47.690 --> 00:31:49.970
Christmas makes us feel.

377
00:31:49.970 --> 00:31:54.200
And some of these classic Christmas movies might just make you feel right now.

378
00:31:56.430 --> 00:31:58.250
- The TV's broke. What are we gonna do all night?

379
00:31:58.380 --> 00:32:00.580
- Celebrate the birth of Christ.

380
00:32:01.710 --> 00:32:01.890
- How are you doing? What can I get for you?

381
00:32:01.890 --> 00:32:03.960
- Does Santa really work in the North Pole?

382
00:32:04.080 --> 00:32:06.930
Oh, no, he don't work.

383
00:32:06.940 --> 00:32:08.590
He lays on the couch and he drinks all day.

384
00:32:08.740 --> 00:32:10.330
It's trying for me. I have to pay all the bills.

385
00:32:10.590 --> 00:32:10.870
Kind of like your mama, now bye. Next.

386
00:32:12.450 --> 00:32:15.670
- I'm up here, you morons. Come and get me.

387
00:32:19.780 --> 00:32:22.330
You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?

388
00:32:22.820 --> 00:32:23.470
- No, I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action

389
00:32:23.470 --> 00:32:23.480
Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

390
00:32:33.290 --> 00:32:34.760
- You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

391
00:32:36.650 --> 00:32:37.850
Merry Christmas.

392
00:32:38.060 --> 00:32:40.410
Ho, ho, ho.

393
00:32:55.050 --> 00:32:56.060
[belches] Did you hear that?

394
00:32:56.060 --> 00:32:56.070
[chicken sounds]

395
00:33:04.930 --> 00:33:09.440
- Do you mind telling me what you do want to do?

396
00:33:09.630 --> 00:33:13.890
- Well, sir, someday I'd like to be a dentist.

397
00:33:14.900 --> 00:33:15.690
- A dentist?

398
00:33:16.230 --> 00:33:18.660
- They want you to say grace.

399
00:33:20.990 --> 00:33:22.140
The blessing.

400
00:33:29.010 --> 00:33:35.230
- I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

401
00:33:35.230 --> 00:33:39.840
And to the republic for which it stands, One Nation, under God,.

402
00:33:39.840 --> 00:33:39.850
Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

403
00:33:47.120 --> 00:33:48.350
- Amen. - Amen. - Amen.

404
00:33:49.350 --> 00:33:50.940
- I'm starting to get a bad feeling up here.

405
00:33:52.260 --> 00:33:53.300
- Merry Christmas.

406
00:33:55.380 --> 00:33:57.790
- If this is their idea of Christmas, I've gotta be here for New Year.

407
00:33:59.680 --> 00:34:03.240
- Hey, let's just really clear, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

408
00:34:03.240 --> 00:34:04.420
Okay? I don't know if you know it or not.

409
00:34:04.870 --> 00:34:07.560
Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

410
00:34:07.570 --> 00:34:09.670
One of the best ones ever that's out there.

411
00:34:10.060 --> 00:34:13.150
And if you want to hear more about that actually in the Crossroads app,.

412
00:34:13.150 --> 00:34:15.250
Which I use regularly, I've got an article on that.

413
00:34:15.250 --> 00:34:16.940
You can check that out in there, if you like.

414
00:34:17.040 --> 00:34:22.060
Now, there was clips there that make us feel.

415
00:34:22.120 --> 00:34:26.140
I believe Christmas is our favorite holiday,

416
00:34:26.140 --> 00:34:30.430
not because all of us in our country have spiritual roots and ties to Christmas,

417
00:34:30.430 --> 00:34:32.530
because it makes us feel.

418
00:34:34.420 --> 00:34:36.670
Here's the crazy thing, three big ideas is this today.

419
00:34:36.730 --> 00:34:40.180
If we're gonna talk about love, let's just state the obvious.

420
00:34:40.570 --> 00:34:45.340
Culture says -- our culture says that love is what you feel.

421
00:34:45.820 --> 00:34:48.460
God says love is what you do.

422
00:34:49.940 --> 00:34:52.400
Our culture's understanding of love is all about feelings.

423
00:34:52.670 --> 00:34:54.980
Oh, I feel nostalgic, I love this sweater.

424
00:34:55.240 --> 00:34:59.620
Oh, I feel something when I have comfort food and chicken.

425
00:34:59.660 --> 00:35:00.490
I feel something.

426
00:35:01.010 --> 00:35:04.190
And so if I feel something for you, then I love you.

427
00:35:04.550 --> 00:35:05.630
That's not love.

428
00:35:06.620 --> 00:35:09.940
It could indicate, it could indicate that you're about to do some love.

429
00:35:10.130 --> 00:35:12.760
It could indicate that you've done something loving.

430
00:35:13.160 --> 00:35:16.280
But feelings are not love.

431
00:35:17.580 --> 00:35:20.220
It is what you do that is love.

432
00:35:20.640 --> 00:35:26.820
The Magi here are incredibly loving towards Jesus in this entire story,.

433
00:35:26.820 --> 00:35:28.800
And yet we don't see the word love at all.

434
00:35:29.400 --> 00:35:31.320
They sacrifice their time.

435
00:35:31.350 --> 00:35:32.880
They are doing time.

436
00:35:33.130 --> 00:35:37.910
They're spending two years seeking, in search of.

437
00:35:38.430 --> 00:35:40.290
This is love.

438
00:35:40.770 --> 00:35:44.700
They actually sacrifice and bring forth and do gifts.

439
00:35:45.030 --> 00:35:48.210
They're generous bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh,.

440
00:35:48.210 --> 00:35:49.440
Which we'll talk about in just a moment.

441
00:35:50.550 --> 00:35:55.020
They are incredibly loving because they are going to go the other direction.

442
00:35:55.020 --> 00:35:58.860
And they're going to risk their own lives in not telling.

443
00:35:58.860 --> 00:36:03.300
The most powerful person that they've encountered, Herod, where Jesus is.

444
00:36:03.570 --> 00:36:06.080
They decide to disobey his plea.

445
00:36:06.720 --> 00:36:08.010
This is love.

446
00:36:08.020 --> 00:36:10.020
Love isn't what we feel.

447
00:36:10.350 --> 00:36:12.420
Love is what we do it.

448
00:36:13.540 --> 00:36:16.420
And we feel in our culture, if I feel it's love.

449
00:36:16.500 --> 00:36:18.940
Think about it this way, we say, well, I'm just not feeling it.

450
00:36:19.180 --> 00:36:19.690
I must not feel it.

451
00:36:19.830 --> 00:36:21.070
What do we say? I'm not feeling it.

452
00:36:21.100 --> 00:36:25.690
That's always a reason for us not to love, for us not to do something.

453
00:36:26.140 --> 00:36:28.990
That's why many of us have an outage with love.

454
00:36:28.990 --> 00:36:30.700
Is it is only feeling based.

455
00:36:30.970 --> 00:36:32.950
It's only emotion based.

456
00:36:34.740 --> 00:36:37.680
One of the perks of my job, I have a number of perks.

457
00:36:37.680 --> 00:36:39.210
I'll tell you what the great perk of my job is.

458
00:36:39.680 --> 00:36:45.960
It is that whenever I preach I get to live with that truth in a profound way.

459
00:36:45.960 --> 00:36:47.580
For a whole week leading up to it.

460
00:36:48.330 --> 00:36:53.190
It's not just that I have the content and stuff to think about afterwards,.

461
00:36:53.190 --> 00:36:56.460
But when I come to a topic like this, which is love,.

462
00:36:56.460 --> 00:36:59.700
That whole week like my mind has been marinating in love.

463
00:37:00.180 --> 00:37:03.000
I've grown more this week in love because I'm thinking about it.

464
00:37:03.000 --> 00:37:03.530
I have to it.

465
00:37:03.600 --> 00:37:08.010
It's a huge perk and benefit that I get to go do a deeper dive.

466
00:37:08.010 --> 00:37:11.010
On certain things because I've got to have enough to talk about.

467
00:37:11.010 --> 00:37:11.790
And I've got to own it.

468
00:37:11.790 --> 00:37:13.020
Right?

469
00:37:13.020 --> 00:37:16.320
So this week has been a week of love for me.

470
00:37:17.190 --> 00:37:20.010
It hasn't been a week, by the way, where I've had a lot of feelings.

471
00:37:20.370 --> 00:37:24.900
I must admit, I cry much less than the average person.

472
00:37:24.900 --> 00:37:27.450
Now, as a male ages, he cries more and more.

473
00:37:27.450 --> 00:37:29.960
He gets more and more, you know, emotional.

474
00:37:29.970 --> 00:37:32.850
But I see some of you folks, like I'm jealous.

475
00:37:32.880 --> 00:37:34.640
I don't know what that must feel -- it must feel good.

476
00:37:34.940 --> 00:37:35.910
It looks like it feels good.

477
00:37:35.940 --> 00:37:37.650
I don't know. I don't feel those things.

478
00:37:38.340 --> 00:37:38.700
I don't.

479
00:37:38.720 --> 00:37:41.190
So somebody would think, well, you must not feel love.

480
00:37:41.490 --> 00:37:49.230
No, I do love under the godly understanding of doing -- doing love.

481
00:37:50.890 --> 00:37:55.220
So I decided to get a flu vaccination this last week.

482
00:37:55.240 --> 00:37:57.720
How many of us get flu vaccination?

483
00:37:57.730 --> 00:37:58.240
Just curious.

484
00:37:59.530 --> 00:38:01.540
How many of us trust God and decide not to?

485
00:38:01.540 --> 00:38:01.720
[laughter]

486
00:38:04.510 --> 00:38:07.930
Well, I like getting a flu vaccine, so this week I was I was going to do it.

487
00:38:07.930 --> 00:38:09.550
And when you do this, you've got to plan it.

488
00:38:09.580 --> 00:38:10.350
Right?

489
00:38:10.350 --> 00:38:13.990
So I'm going to go to this pharmacy and I know how lines are,.

490
00:38:13.990 --> 00:38:16.420
So I'm going to go during the week day, it's another perk of my job,.

491
00:38:16.420 --> 00:38:18.340
I have flexibility with my job.

492
00:38:18.340 --> 00:38:18.640
Right?

493
00:38:18.640 --> 00:38:20.560
So I'm going to go in the middle of a workday,.

494
00:38:20.560 --> 00:38:22.550
Not the middle, actually the middle of the afternoon workday.

495
00:38:22.580 --> 00:38:27.390
I'm going to go around two o'clock because that'll be past the lunch rush,

496
00:38:27.390 --> 00:38:28.630
before people trying to get home.

497
00:38:28.810 --> 00:38:32.170
And there should be nobody there, no lines to get my flu shot.

498
00:38:32.200 --> 00:38:34.380
And sure, of course, that's exactly what happens.

499
00:38:34.390 --> 00:38:36.130
I walk in. There's like nobody there.

500
00:38:36.370 --> 00:38:38.920
I look behind the counter. There's three people with blue jackets on.

501
00:38:39.220 --> 00:38:40.240
And I go and I say, hey.

502
00:38:40.780 --> 00:38:42.550
I would get like a flu shot.

503
00:38:42.620 --> 00:38:46.150
And then the woman says, OK, that'll be about a half an hour.

504
00:38:48.090 --> 00:38:52.300
I looked around, like no one here, "Half an hour, what?

505
00:38:52.410 --> 00:38:53.350
Why half an hour?"

506
00:38:53.350 --> 00:38:58.050
"Well, the pharmacist is filling orders right now.

507
00:38:58.090 --> 00:39:00.610
It'll be a half an hour before he can get to you."

508
00:39:00.610 --> 00:39:02.970
So I guess there's one pure pharmacist and two other people

509
00:39:02.970 --> 00:39:04.970
who are filling pill bottles or stuff.

510
00:39:05.000 --> 00:39:06.880
I don't know how the whole infrastructure works out.

511
00:39:07.180 --> 00:39:11.760
So, I'm thinking to myself, "Um, OK.

512
00:39:12.360 --> 00:39:13.460
OK."

513
00:39:14.040 --> 00:39:17.550
I look at my watch, thought I could do some work while I'm sitting there.

514
00:39:17.550 --> 00:39:19.310
So in fact, work on this message.

515
00:39:19.310 --> 00:39:19.620
Fine.

516
00:39:20.040 --> 00:39:23.130
So, I go over and I sit and I'm waiting and same thing.

517
00:39:23.190 --> 00:39:24.420
No one's coming in.

518
00:39:24.450 --> 00:39:25.470
No one's there.

519
00:39:25.800 --> 00:39:29.760
Maybe like two people in the next 15, 20, 25 minutes and time's going.

520
00:39:29.760 --> 00:39:32.920
I'm thinking 15 minutes and I'm going, "Certainly they're going to get me in.

521
00:39:32.940 --> 00:39:37.480
Because certainly they see I'm the only one here, a live person here.

522
00:39:37.580 --> 00:39:38.160
Here."

523
00:39:38.770 --> 00:39:40.500
15 minutes goes by, nothing.

524
00:39:40.590 --> 00:39:42.810
20, nothing. 25, nothing.

525
00:39:42.810 --> 00:39:44.700
30, nothing. 35, nothing.

526
00:39:44.850 --> 00:39:46.320
40, nothing.

527
00:39:46.560 --> 00:39:51.900
43 minutes I get up, I said --

528
00:39:53.140 --> 00:39:54.350
Well, here's I wanted to say.

529
00:39:55.040 --> 00:39:56.090
I thought about this. Right?

530
00:39:56.480 --> 00:39:58.040
I thought about this.

531
00:39:58.370 --> 00:40:01.300
I wanted to say this,

532
00:40:01.300 --> 00:40:05.060
"Hey, I don't understand how it is you have a real human being here,

533
00:40:05.060 --> 00:40:08.670
a customer, a real customer, that you don't want to satisfy.

534
00:40:08.690 --> 00:40:12.110
You made me wait 30 minutes when nobody is here.

535
00:40:12.380 --> 00:40:16.430
And not only 30 minutes, you made me wait 43 minutes.

536
00:40:16.460 --> 00:40:19.070
I don't understand how you can't keep your word.

537
00:40:19.220 --> 00:40:22.600
And it's a stupid policy that I have -- I've been here a lot.

538
00:40:22.730 --> 00:40:25.260
I spent a lot of money in this store."

539
00:40:25.390 --> 00:40:26.570
I wanted to say that, I really did.

540
00:40:26.780 --> 00:40:28.460
But I'm talking about love.

541
00:40:28.470 --> 00:40:30.410
Right?

542
00:40:30.410 --> 00:40:36.800
So I go up. I go, "Hey, I just need a refund of the whole insurance thing.

543
00:40:36.800 --> 00:40:38.210
Just cancel because I can't wait.

544
00:40:38.240 --> 00:40:39.290
I have to leave."

545
00:40:40.040 --> 00:40:41.770
And she starts apologizing, "Oh, I'm sorry.

546
00:40:41.800 --> 00:40:43.220
He just--"

547
00:40:43.220 --> 00:40:46.600
And there again it was like, "Well, you should have apologized.

548
00:40:46.610 --> 00:40:48.260
That's good. You should. You should apologize.

549
00:40:48.610 --> 00:40:50.150
You should have done even more than that.

550
00:40:50.180 --> 00:40:50.420
You know?

551
00:40:50.420 --> 00:40:52.730
And I don't know if you know it or not, I'm kind of a big deal."

552
00:40:52.820 --> 00:40:56.900
You know? I want to I wanted to say all of these things, too.

553
00:40:57.920 --> 00:41:00.020
But no, I wanted to give love.

554
00:41:00.050 --> 00:41:02.180
And so, you know what it was, "No problem.

555
00:41:03.230 --> 00:41:04.490
It works that way sometimes.

556
00:41:04.850 --> 00:41:07.510
Hey, you have a great Christmas."

557
00:41:07.510 --> 00:41:08.710
That was love.

558
00:41:08.900 --> 00:41:10.300
They they were ready for it.

559
00:41:10.510 --> 00:41:12.120
because they know that's what customers do.

560
00:41:12.840 --> 00:41:16.270
Instead. I gave them love, but noticing it.

561
00:41:17.670 --> 00:41:20.390
Go out to eat someplace and the service is less than ideal.

562
00:41:21.280 --> 00:41:24.580
And I wanted to stiff the person and be rude to them.

563
00:41:25.180 --> 00:41:31.930
But love -- love says maybe this person just lost a loved one yesterday

564
00:41:31.930 --> 00:41:33.280
and they're not on their game.

565
00:41:33.530 --> 00:41:36.700
And the last thing they need is judgment from you.

566
00:41:37.150 --> 00:41:43.480
What you need to be is God to them and love them and tip them

567
00:41:43.480 --> 00:41:47.680
and be kind and encouraging to them when you leave," which is what I did.

568
00:41:49.860 --> 00:41:53.580
I went to the Awaited opening night with our family.

569
00:41:53.700 --> 00:41:54.250
That was good.

570
00:41:54.270 --> 00:41:58.620
And it was love to buy those tickets for nine family members.

571
00:41:59.310 --> 00:42:04.950
It was an act of generosity to do that for all of them, to do that.

572
00:42:04.980 --> 00:42:08.000
And I sat there and I watched it.

573
00:42:08.490 --> 00:42:12.060
And I actually was overcome by emotion as I watched it.

574
00:42:12.090 --> 00:42:15.420
As a normal audience member in the first row of the top balcony

575
00:42:15.420 --> 00:42:16.190
at the Aronoff Center.

576
00:42:16.190 --> 00:42:18.820
And by the way, in case you're not familiar with this backstory,

577
00:42:18.820 --> 00:42:20.580
let me let me tell you a little bit about the story.

578
00:42:21.480 --> 00:42:28.710
1999 I came out of a play in Cincinnati called a Christmas Carol.

579
00:42:29.340 --> 00:42:31.680
And I'd watch it now two years in a row.

580
00:42:31.710 --> 00:42:35.450
And I noticed a lot of people were there who'd been there the year before.

581
00:42:35.460 --> 00:42:37.860
I thought, "Man, the city I live, Cincinnati,

582
00:42:37.860 --> 00:42:40.560
they love Cincinnati traditions around the arts.

583
00:42:40.770 --> 00:42:46.710
What would happen if we could create a show

584
00:42:46.710 --> 00:42:49.860
that actually told the story of Christmas

585
00:42:49.860 --> 00:42:53.400
and it could become a Cincinnati institution?"

586
00:42:53.400 --> 00:42:55.140
That was an act of love.

587
00:42:55.170 --> 00:43:00.360
And out of love for people hearing and understand that story,

588
00:43:00.360 --> 00:43:02.550
understanding God, we embarked a couple of years later

589
00:43:02.550 --> 00:43:04.980
on our first try, it was called Imagine and it was awful.

590
00:43:04.980 --> 00:43:06.510
You can't imagine how bad it was.

591
00:43:06.540 --> 00:43:07.240
It was awful.

592
00:43:07.650 --> 00:43:11.640
But love compelled us to try to do anything possible

593
00:43:11.640 --> 00:43:13.650
to help people understand the love of God

594
00:43:13.650 --> 00:43:16.560
that comes in the form of Jesus placed in the manger.

595
00:43:17.750 --> 00:43:20.600
And then love compelled us to try a whole new rewrite

596
00:43:20.600 --> 00:43:22.230
and it was Awaited.

597
00:43:22.510 --> 00:43:26.060
And love caused us to keep innovating over the first few years

598
00:43:26.060 --> 00:43:27.710
when it was very, very mediocre.

599
00:43:28.190 --> 00:43:32.300
And love caused us to endure on and endure through

600
00:43:32.300 --> 00:43:35.360
even when someone died on an opening night one year.

601
00:43:36.700 --> 00:43:41.740
And love caused us to keep spending money and spending resources

602
00:43:41.740 --> 00:43:45.430
because we felt this message of God's love needed to be understood

603
00:43:45.430 --> 00:43:47.390
to an artistic mind and we kept doing it.

604
00:43:47.410 --> 00:43:49.570
And finally, for a bunch of reasons we've talked about before,

605
00:43:49.810 --> 00:43:54.340
we had to end on its run at Crossroads and it went into the theater.

606
00:43:55.030 --> 00:44:01.630
And I sat there having paid for a ticket, watching a very moving show

607
00:44:01.630 --> 00:44:03.360
and seeing love on display.

608
00:44:03.370 --> 00:44:05.410
Seeing people sing their hearts out

609
00:44:05.410 --> 00:44:09.010
just like performers had sung their hearts out onstage.

610
00:44:09.010 --> 00:44:13.000
And I was moved by what would happen -- what could possibly happen

611
00:44:13.000 --> 00:44:18.700
if that story of love was done on stages in metropolitan areas

612
00:44:18.700 --> 00:44:20.470
all across our city?

613
00:44:20.770 --> 00:44:24.730
And I was moved because I was seeing the act of love.

614
00:44:24.760 --> 00:44:28.510
It was love that was being done, not me feeling love.

615
00:44:28.560 --> 00:44:30.430
It was love being done.

616
00:44:31.060 --> 00:44:34.660
And our culture says that love is about feelings.

617
00:44:34.660 --> 00:44:36.750
It's not friends, it's about doings.

618
00:44:37.720 --> 00:44:40.480
And the reason why there's not a real love in our culture

619
00:44:40.480 --> 00:44:44.990
is because we don't feel there's many people who deserve that kind of love.

620
00:44:45.360 --> 00:44:49.360
But the second point: culture says love is for those who deserve it.

621
00:44:49.880 --> 00:44:52.150
God says love us for the unworthy.

622
00:44:53.900 --> 00:44:58.430
See if someone is making me feel bad, making me feel bad emotions,

623
00:44:58.430 --> 00:45:01.970
then I certainly can't do any love to them, I can't give them any love,

624
00:45:01.970 --> 00:45:04.550
I can't do anything nice for them because I'm not feeling it.

625
00:45:05.680 --> 00:45:09.250
We only give love to people who deserve it,

626
00:45:09.250 --> 00:45:13.150
but God gives love to those of us who don't deserve it.

627
00:45:13.180 --> 00:45:15.180
Now I'm going to blow some of our minds.

628
00:45:15.190 --> 00:45:17.560
You're not going to like what I'm saying right now, but it's so true.

629
00:45:17.590 --> 00:45:20.850
I'm as sure of it as I am of gravity.

630
00:45:23.220 --> 00:45:30.630
When we are opposed to God and when we are not on His plan

631
00:45:30.630 --> 00:45:32.580
in right relationship with Him,

632
00:45:32.580 --> 00:45:35.820
He does not have good emotional feelings towards us.

633
00:45:37.150 --> 00:45:39.400
There's a lot of people here right now, hear my voice,

634
00:45:40.460 --> 00:45:44.210
I want to tell you, God does not feel good about you at all.

635
00:45:45.020 --> 00:45:45.770
At all.

636
00:45:47.510 --> 00:45:54.510
And He still loves you, because He still does things for you,

637
00:45:54.510 --> 00:45:56.380
even when we don't deserve it.

638
00:45:56.400 --> 00:45:58.680
This is the gift of love.

639
00:45:58.860 --> 00:46:03.660
Jesus comes to the Earth, not because we deserve His love,

640
00:46:03.660 --> 00:46:04.740
because we need His love.

641
00:46:04.830 --> 00:46:09.780
We need Him to do something because our rebelliousness

642
00:46:09.780 --> 00:46:11.820
has put a wall between us and God.

643
00:46:12.000 --> 00:46:14.220
And God is not feeling it for us.

644
00:46:14.500 --> 00:46:16.290
He's actually doing it for us.

645
00:46:16.320 --> 00:46:19.590
And He sends His Son to do for us what we can't do for ourselves.

646
00:46:19.890 --> 00:46:22.380
He dies for us.

647
00:46:22.590 --> 00:46:29.670
Those little pink hands that the Magi saw,

648
00:46:29.670 --> 00:46:33.390
those little beautiful pink feet with no calluses on them at all

649
00:46:33.390 --> 00:46:38.010
were going to have become adult full-grown hands and feet

650
00:46:38.010 --> 00:46:40.710
and there were going be nails put through them.

651
00:46:41.400 --> 00:46:48.670
That back that was so perfectly pure, maybe didn't have a freckle on it,

652
00:46:49.850 --> 00:46:53.270
was going to be whipped and scourged

653
00:46:53.270 --> 00:46:58.580
and was going to scrape up and down on a wooden Cross,

654
00:46:58.580 --> 00:47:02.240
catching splinters as Jesus push Himself up and release

655
00:47:02.240 --> 00:47:04.910
in order to inhale and exhale as He was hanging on a Cross.

656
00:47:05.890 --> 00:47:08.440
That was love.

657
00:47:10.040 --> 00:47:15.110
Book of Romans describes how crazy this kind of love is when it says:

658
00:47:20.660 --> 00:47:22.820
What is it like when you're not on the page with God?

659
00:47:23.060 --> 00:47:25.040
You're not God, you're un-God.

660
00:47:25.520 --> 00:47:30.350
Whatever God is, UN is you, is me, was me, ungodly.

661
00:47:33.200 --> 00:47:34.940
Every once in while someone will put themselves

662
00:47:34.940 --> 00:47:37.580
in front of a train for a child that they love.

663
00:47:37.610 --> 00:47:39.140
That seems to be pure.

664
00:47:40.040 --> 00:47:41.750
Though, perhaps for a good person.

665
00:47:42.020 --> 00:47:43.190
One would even dare to die.

666
00:47:43.220 --> 00:47:46.520
But God shows his love for us,

667
00:47:46.520 --> 00:47:51.440
and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

668
00:47:51.560 --> 00:47:53.450
He shows us His love.

669
00:47:54.280 --> 00:47:57.720
Now, while we were sinners, while we were unlike God,

670
00:47:57.720 --> 00:48:01.470
while we were getting bad emotional vibes for God,

671
00:48:01.470 --> 00:48:03.720
while God was not feeling anything for us.

672
00:48:04.470 --> 00:48:07.620
I mean if you think that God is feeling happy, happy, joy, joy

673
00:48:07.620 --> 00:48:10.890
about people who aren't about Him, gosh, not true.

674
00:48:11.400 --> 00:48:12.000
Not true.

675
00:48:13.170 --> 00:48:17.190
But if you think you've got to earn God's love, not true either.

676
00:48:17.700 --> 00:48:21.630
That's the amazing good news of Christmas: God gives love.

677
00:48:22.470 --> 00:48:24.000
He blesses.

678
00:48:24.000 --> 00:48:29.190
He comes and He lays His life down for us when we don't deserve it.

679
00:48:29.880 --> 00:48:31.210
That is crazy.

680
00:48:31.210 --> 00:48:33.310
amazing, beautiful.

681
00:48:34.980 --> 00:48:36.830
We're gonna celebrate communion a little bit.

682
00:48:37.050 --> 00:48:39.300
And this is why communion is so powerful and profound.

683
00:48:39.300 --> 00:48:42.690
We're celebrating the love that Jesus gave us.

684
00:48:42.690 --> 00:48:47.880
Not the love that Jesus felt for us, not the love the God fell for us,

685
00:48:47.880 --> 00:48:49.260
the love He gave us.

686
00:48:49.500 --> 00:48:52.080
He broke His body for us on a Cross.

687
00:48:52.290 --> 00:48:54.360
He spilled out His blood for us.

688
00:48:54.660 --> 00:48:57.090
That is what His love is.

689
00:48:57.120 --> 00:48:58.080
Tim Keller says this:

690
00:49:08.460 --> 00:49:14.730
Grace means God doing something for you that you and I don't deserve.

691
00:49:15.150 --> 00:49:19.150
Psychology Today every once in a while gets it right.

692
00:49:19.890 --> 00:49:24.730
Sometimes our modern mindsets, we accidentally stumble on the truth

693
00:49:24.730 --> 00:49:27.360
and there's something deeper right underneath that.

694
00:49:27.370 --> 00:49:28.530
Here's what Psychology Today says:

695
00:49:49.890 --> 00:49:53.880
Don't give expecting somebody to deserve it, love,

696
00:49:53.880 --> 00:49:57.000
do something loving expecting nothing in return

697
00:49:57.000 --> 00:49:59.160
and not waiting for somebody else to deserve it.

698
00:49:59.220 --> 00:50:01.980
See culture says that love is earned.

699
00:50:02.580 --> 00:50:04.770
God says that love is given.

700
00:50:06.220 --> 00:50:08.530
Now, I want to show you, I just want -- I'm doing everything I can

701
00:50:08.530 --> 00:50:11.740
to crucify this idea that feelings is love.

702
00:50:11.770 --> 00:50:13.360
If you're feeling something, it's love.

703
00:50:13.370 --> 00:50:15.000
It's not. It's not.

704
00:50:15.190 --> 00:50:16.900
It's a feeling. It's a good feeling.

705
00:50:16.900 --> 00:50:20.410
Your feeling might be going along with love, but our feeling is not love.

706
00:50:20.440 --> 00:50:22.200
Check this out in Luke 6:35.

707
00:50:22.640 --> 00:50:24.670
You've heard this many, many times before.

708
00:50:24.790 --> 00:50:28.420
Even if it's your first time ever hearing anything in a church,

709
00:50:28.420 --> 00:50:34.040
you know it: love your enemies, love your enemies and do good to all.

710
00:50:34.060 --> 00:50:35.980
And it goes on and on, this is about love your enemies.

711
00:50:36.020 --> 00:50:38.300
Can I just -- what does it mean to love your enemies?

712
00:50:38.340 --> 00:50:39.520
I'll tell you what it does not mean.

713
00:50:39.810 --> 00:50:43.000
It does not mean feel good emotions about your enemies.

714
00:50:43.030 --> 00:50:43.840
It does not.

715
00:50:44.470 --> 00:50:46.660
That is utterly impossible.

716
00:50:46.990 --> 00:50:53.320
If love is good, positive emotions, then this verse makes no sense

717
00:50:53.320 --> 00:50:57.700
because enemies means we have negative, nasty emotions.

718
00:50:58.420 --> 00:51:01.720
If we could have good positive emotions about someone,

719
00:51:01.720 --> 00:51:02.860
they wouldn't be our enemy.

720
00:51:03.040 --> 00:51:04.000
What's it saying here?

721
00:51:04.560 --> 00:51:07.250
It's not saying have good emotions, because you can't just change your emotions.

722
00:51:07.260 --> 00:51:10.420
Just, "Oh, God says they have good emotions about the people who've abused me.

723
00:51:10.630 --> 00:51:11.590
Oh, okay, I'll do that."

724
00:51:12.340 --> 00:51:15.530
"Oh, God tells me to feel good and feel love to people who stole from me.

725
00:51:15.530 --> 00:51:17.530
Oh, oh, Now I do and feel good."

726
00:51:17.880 --> 00:51:19.000
No, it does work that way.

727
00:51:20.490 --> 00:51:24.510
Loving your enemies means you do something that's loving.

728
00:51:25.110 --> 00:51:27.300
It means you send them an encouraging text.

729
00:51:29.350 --> 00:51:33.940
It means you give them a good reference if someone calls you

730
00:51:33.940 --> 00:51:36.850
because they're trying to hire them maybe.

731
00:51:36.850 --> 00:51:41.680
That means that you buy a gift for them maybe.

732
00:51:41.690 --> 00:51:44.260
I don't know what it is, but that's love.

733
00:51:44.290 --> 00:51:49.510
You can do those things and hopefully and maybe the emotions will follow.

734
00:51:50.170 --> 00:51:53.890
But the emotions, the things we feel or our intentions,

735
00:51:53.890 --> 00:51:57.190
even our intentions, that is not love.

736
00:51:57.590 --> 00:51:59.740
And I'll tell you, our culture will be a lot better

737
00:51:59.740 --> 00:52:01.450
if we would understand this, because then

738
00:52:01.450 --> 00:52:03.850
if we could get off this emotional thing,

739
00:52:03.850 --> 00:52:05.560
maybe we'd actually start loving each other

740
00:52:05.560 --> 00:52:09.280
and we would actually feel something from each other.

741
00:52:09.280 --> 00:52:12.430
Maybe our culture would start to turn the tide.

742
00:52:13.470 --> 00:52:15.810
1 John 3:16 says this:.

743
00:52:27.270 --> 00:52:31.620
How do we know love? He laid down His life and we ought to do the same.

744
00:52:33.000 --> 00:52:36.450
We're gonna do our normal exercise here of taking this card

745
00:52:36.450 --> 00:52:37.500
that we've done every week.

746
00:52:38.490 --> 00:52:42.630
You got when you came in or a piece of paper wherever you are

747
00:52:42.630 --> 00:52:44.460
at your coffee shop or your home, wherever you are.

748
00:52:44.880 --> 00:52:46.860
And I want us to think about that first.

749
00:52:47.100 --> 00:52:49.920
What would happen as we reflect on this

750
00:52:49.920 --> 00:52:53.520
and we wrote down things we were going to do that was love?

751
00:52:54.120 --> 00:52:57.420
What would happen in our neighborhoods, in our cities?

752
00:52:57.420 --> 00:53:01.800
I'm telling you right now, if we have a high percentage of us

753
00:53:01.800 --> 00:53:06.540
that actually started doing love, oh, my goodness, things would change.

754
00:53:06.840 --> 00:53:10.200
So let's take a minute right now and see if God prompts us

755
00:53:10.200 --> 00:53:11.700
with something we to write on this card

756
00:53:11.700 --> 00:53:14.860
that we're actually going to do out of love.

757
00:54:19.950 --> 00:54:23.700
I tell you what, if these things on here get done,

758
00:54:23.700 --> 00:54:26.250
get ready for wherever you are to be different.

759
00:54:26.250 --> 00:54:30.000
Because when love crashes in, things change.

760
00:54:30.330 --> 00:54:34.260
When Jesus crashed into our world, when the Advent of Love came,

761
00:54:34.260 --> 00:54:36.720
when Jesus came, this world changed.

762
00:54:36.720 --> 00:54:41.550
When the Magi saw love, saw Jesus, they gave Him gold,

763
00:54:41.550 --> 00:54:42.870
which is what a king would get.

764
00:54:43.170 --> 00:54:46.110
They gave Him frankincense, which is what a priest would have,

765
00:54:46.110 --> 00:54:48.210
a high priest, a smelling aroma.

766
00:54:48.540 --> 00:54:53.410
They gave him myrrh, which is a really sick gift to give

767
00:54:53.410 --> 00:54:55.240
because it's embalming fluid.

768
00:54:56.020 --> 00:55:01.210
This is a child who is destined to die, who lays down His life.

769
00:55:01.420 --> 00:55:07.800
When they blessed Him and they did love to Him,

770
00:55:07.800 --> 00:55:11.640
the world started to change and yours can too.

771
00:55:12.450 --> 00:55:13.540
Do what you put on that card.

772
00:55:13.630 --> 00:55:13.980
Let's pray.

773
00:55:13.980 --> 00:55:19.170
God, as we get ready for lighting our candle and for communion,

774
00:55:19.170 --> 00:55:23.700
we just want to very soberly say, God, we don't understand your kind of love.

775
00:55:23.700 --> 00:55:24.840
It's a brand of love,

776
00:55:24.840 --> 00:55:27.620
it's a depth of love that's beyond our comprehension.

777
00:55:28.290 --> 00:55:34.950
But we want to act on whatever we know because we want to be more like you.

778
00:55:37.270 --> 00:55:39.000
And God, I also think to myself right now

779
00:55:39.000 --> 00:55:41.490
and as we do communion in just a little bit,

780
00:55:41.490 --> 00:55:43.440
I think there's some of us in here right now

781
00:55:43.440 --> 00:55:45.390
who are going to receive you for the first time,

782
00:55:45.390 --> 00:55:50.460
-where this can be their first communion, who we can receive Your love

783
00:55:50.460 --> 00:55:51.870
and give our life to you.

784
00:55:52.560 --> 00:55:55.530
We pray that You would do that and hear these prayers today.

785
00:55:56.130 --> 00:55:58.160
In Your name I pray, Amen.

786
00:56:00.680 --> 00:56:03.200
- We're actually going to take communion together.

787
00:56:03.230 --> 00:56:07.010
And so if you've received Jesus as your Lord and Savior,.

788
00:56:07.010 --> 00:56:08.030
This time is for you.

789
00:56:08.360 --> 00:56:11.630
And so I want you to grab some coffee or juice.

790
00:56:11.630 --> 00:56:14.720
Or something to eat or drink near you.

791
00:56:14.720 --> 00:56:19.460
So that we can do this together as a
church from anywhere that you are right now.

792
00:56:19.460 --> 00:56:23.630
Because, you know, the ultimate form of God's love was Jesus.

793
00:56:24.140 --> 00:56:28.070
When God sent Jesus to die for us so that you and I could have life,.,

794
00:56:28.070 --> 00:56:31.340
So that you and I could spend eternity with our Father,.

795
00:56:31.340 --> 00:56:34.850
The God of the universe, who knows you and loves you.

796
00:56:35.210 --> 00:56:37.400
It's worthy of remembering.

797
00:56:37.640 --> 00:56:41.030
And so we're going to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made.

798
00:56:41.030 --> 00:56:44.990
And the way that He's loved us by taking communion,.

799
00:56:44.990 --> 00:56:47.990
The way that followers of Jesus have been remembering Him.

800
00:56:47.990 --> 00:56:52.610
And celebrating His love for generations and generations

801
00:56:52.610 --> 00:56:54.290
since He was on the earth with them.

802
00:56:54.560 --> 00:56:58.200
And so grab your muffin and your coffee, whatever you have.

803
00:56:58.200 --> 00:57:02.090
I, right now, have a piece of bread and a little bit of coffee.

804
00:57:02.090 --> 00:57:03.890
And we're going to take communion together.

805
00:57:05.480 --> 00:57:08.390
First, grab that food that you have in front of you.

806
00:57:09.200 --> 00:57:12.950
This is Jesus's body that was broken for you.

807
00:57:13.400 --> 00:57:16.340
Eat it and remember His love for you.

808
00:57:22.770 --> 00:57:25.650
Grab your coffee, your juice, your water, whatever you might have right now.

809
00:57:26.910 --> 00:57:29.940
This is Jesus as blood shed for you.

810
00:57:30.690 --> 00:57:33.900
Drink it and remember how much He loves you.

811
00:57:40.450 --> 00:57:46.750
We're going to light the final candle of Advent, this candle of love,.

812
00:57:46.750 --> 00:57:51.100
To remember the way that God loves us and to remember the way.

813
00:57:51.100 --> 00:57:53.200
That in Jesus breaking into the world,

814
00:57:53.260 --> 00:57:57.970
it was the ultimate form of love for you today and for me today.

815
00:58:08.620 --> 00:58:11.610
Well, hey, I hope you have a great week.

816
00:58:11.610 --> 00:58:14.500
And that you experience the love of Jesus this week.

817
00:58:14.740 --> 00:58:19.990
And we'll see you back for Christmas Eve at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00.

818
00:58:19.990 --> 00:58:22.660
Right here online or at a location near you.

819
00:58:22.950 --> 00:58:23.930
Have you have a great week.

820
00:58:35.070 --> 00:58:40.410
- Whoever said loserliness is next to godliness?

821
00:58:40.410 --> 00:58:41.880
A loser, that's who.

822
00:58:42.570 --> 00:58:43.860
You want to win this year?

823
00:58:44.610 --> 00:58:45.960
I want to win this year.

824
00:58:46.290 --> 00:58:51.030
God Almighty wants you and I both to win this year.

825
00:58:52.720 --> 00:58:53.710
Are you ready to win?

826
00:58:54.430 --> 00:58:59.380
I sure am. Let's win, win this year.

827
00:58:59.380 --> 00:58:59.620
WIN!
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend Follow Up.

  1. Love might be the word with the most mileage on it in our American language. Why do you think our culture is so “love” obsessed?

  2. Talk about a time in your life when you felt good feelings, but didn’t put action behind it. Now, tell us about a time when you put action behind those good feelings. How were the results of those two situations different?

  3. 1 John 3:16 says “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” What does this tell us about God’s love for us?

  4. When we experience God’s love it changes us. How has this love changed the way you live your day to day life?

  5. Where do you need more of God’s love this holiday season? Who is going to benefit from that love at work in your life?

  6. Pray: Everyone say a prayer for each person in the areas they shared this week.

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Dec 21, 2019

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