Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Solution To Our Three Greatest Problems

(This was spoken on March 27, 2005. )

As you just saw on the video many people don’t realize the importance of Easter.

They think it just has to do with Easter bunnies, eggs and candy. I loved all those things when I was a kid and don’t have anything against them now.

But today the significance of what we celebrate today is so much more than that.

Easter is the day that we remember and celebrate the culmination of the greatest events in history.

It’s the final thing that God did to solve our 3 Greatest problems.

I’ve been watching my two sons Will and Jack recently and I’ve realized how so many times they don’t realize what they really need, how to fulfill their needs in the best way or even which are the most important needs.

When they’re hungry they know they have a need, but they don’t realize that eating only sweets or candy will make them sick.

A couple months ago Jack ran outside and he was only in his underwear. I guess he thought being outside was a more important need than being dressed!

They know they need to be safe, but they don’t really know when they’re in danger.

The other day Jack somehow got into his medicine and took some of it. I had to remind him Jack you don’t ever take this unless Mommy gives it to you! OK? And I moved into a new spot that’s even higher out of his reach.

Most of us adults are the same. A lot of times we don’t know what we really need or how to fulfill those needs, or which ones are our most important needs.

We have so many needs calling out to us in our minds, that most of the time the most important ones get drowned out my the others.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow theorized that we are motivated to satisfy 4 categories of needs. He called this a hierarchy of needs. He said you don’t focus on the need of one level until the needs below it are satisfied.

If you haven’t eaten in 24 hours, then your main motivation would be physiological. Once your physiological needs are met you’ve quieted those needs enough to focus on the next level where you’re still unfulfilled. You’ll want to do whatever you can to feel safe and secure. Once you feel these needs are basically met you then seek affection and a sense of belonging. As each step is fulfilled it doesn’t motivate you anymore.

Here are the needs Maslow listed from the first (lowest) needs to our last (highest): (Remember: The first need needs to be fulfilled - at least temporarily - before we pay attention to the next.)

Physiological Needs
Food, Water, Air, Rest, etc.

Safety Needs
Safety, Stability, Protection, freedom from fear and anxiety

Belonging Needs
Affectionate relationships, friends, a sweetheart, kids, and belonging

Esteem Needs
External: respect, fame, glory self-respect

Self – Actualization
Higher meaning in life - Philosophy & Religion

*The danger for us is that we could live our whole lives not realizing our real needs – never focusing on our most important needs. We live a really unsatisfying life.

In Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Illych” Ivan Illych says, "What if my whole life has been wrong?"

If we don’t come to realize what our greatest needs are, then the same that happened to Ivan Illych can happen to us.

I want you to imagine something with me…

You’re standing in the middle of a village.

As you look around you begin to notice how poor and run down a place it is. The houses and buildings are shacks made from random things.

You look closer at the people and they are dirty and dressed in rags. They all seem to be covered with scabs and to really be malnourished and sick. You watch them as they buy and trade different pieces of garbage that they’re treating like treasures.

The thought that’s running through your mind is how sad a place this is.

All of a sudden you hear a familiar voice behind you. You swing around to see who it is and you’re shocked by what you see.

There standing in a crowd behind you dressed in rags, dirty and covered with scabs is someone you recognize. It’s you!

You’re standing there clutching to a piece of garbage talking a group of friends in your same condition that you also recognize from work.

You’re standing there confused when all of a sudden your view of the whole scene changes. Your view scene begins rise above the crowd slowly and you see that this isn’t just a village your seeing but it’s a city, as your view raises higher and higher you realize it’s not just a city it’s a whole state, it’s the whole country it’s the whole world.

Your staring and realizing that the whole planet is in this condition when suddenly your view of the scene begins to lower again.

As you get closer and closer you notice that everything seems back to normal again. You’re finally back standing in that village again, but you now see that it’s just your neighborhood and everything is normal again.

At that moment you wake up and instantly sit up in your bed. It suddenly hits you and your realize what you’ve just seen.

You just saw the spiritual reality of the world.

You get up and try to go through your normal day, but everywhere you go and everyone you see reminds you of that poor, sad village you saw.

Today, I want to show you three of the greatest problems that we have. These are three of our biggest problems, because they each have a severe affect on us and there’s nothing we or person else can do to solve them.

After we look at these problems I want to show you how Easter is God’s solution to these three problems.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Missing Ingredient To Success In Life

(This was spoken on March 20 , 2005. )

Today, I want to talk to you about something that's missing in a lot of our lives.

This missing ingredient is the thing, that if we would add it to our lives it, it would have a powerful effect on us.

I want to talk to you today about a simple idea.

A simple idea that chould help you grow to the next level in your life. A simple idea that could help you to experience new things and see results like you never have before!

But first, I want to talk to you about a strange phenomenon that happens with caged canaries.

I know it sounds strange but you'll see how this fits in a minute.

If you have 100 canaries that have been raised from an egg and spend their whole lives in a cage, then what do you think will happen if you left the door to their cage open one day?

You're going to be surprised at what happens...

You'd think 100 canaries are going bust out the door? Right? Sorry try again... :)

Get this... 60% of the birds won't even notice! 60 out of 100 birds won't even notice that the door to freedom is right in front of them!

They're too caught up with their little busy canary lives, going from the perch to the food, to the water... Can you believe it? Well, ok. We still have the other 40 canaries right? They're going to head for the door right?

Nope! 20% of the birds will notice the door is open (good job guys -- that's better than the other 60!), but when they do notice it's open they have thoughts like this...

"Hey wait a minute! There's a hole where the cage is supposed to be!!! Something's wrong with our cage! Get back everyone!"

And 20 birds will fly as far away from the door as they can! 20 birds will run from their chance at freedom!

Things seem a little hopeless for our little friends here doesn't it? Well we've still got 20 more birds that can make us proud.

Let's see what happens...

What do the last 20 canaries do? The last 20 canaries notice the door is open and become curious. But only a FEW of them will be brave enough to take a step onto the ledge and peek out at what life behind the bars looks like.

And only an even smaller amount of the brave ones that peek out the door -- will be actually brave enough to take a leap out into freedom!

Why am I telling you a story about canaries?

We think, "Stupid birds!" But you know what? A lot of us are like these canaries.

The door to the cage we've been trapped in all our lives has been left open. We have a chance to live a better life - a better life than we could ever hope for. Jesus died to set us free, but we stay trapped in a lot of ways, instead of being free. Why? Because a lot of the time we never take action on the truth that we know! Many of us here HAVE taken action SOME action.

We’ve asked Jesus into our lives, we come to Sunday gatherings... But if we were honest with ourselves, how much of the truth that have read in the Bible, heard in Ben’s messages, have you really applied IN our lives?

A lot of us have heard read passages in the Bible containing powerful success secrets. We've heard life-changing truth straight from the "experts" themselves, but we a lot of the times we don't see much change in our life.

Again, why? It's because we haven't taken action and applied the truth in our lives!

*Action or application -- whatever you want to call it -- is the missing ingredient in many our lives! *

We don't need more knowledge. We need more ACTION. We need more APPLICATION.

If we had more action -- more application of the truth-- our lives could be changed powerfully forever!

You might not believe this, but a lot of you ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW to see massive results happen in your life. You just need to start doing what you know! :)

That’s what Jesus was talking about. Turn with me to Matt. 7:24-27

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Our Secret Weapon

(This was spoken on February 27, 2005 6th message. Note: There is no audio for this message. )

As a kid I thought James Bond was cool, because of his crazy secret weapons. Weapons like these:

-Blue X-Ray Glasses: (The World Is Not Enough, 1999) 007 picks up this pair of blue sunglasses when he’s in Q's lab. They’re both stylish and functional and their X-ray ability allows Bond to wander though a casino viewing concealed weapons.

-Rolex Plus: This wasn’t an ordinary Rolex. It turned into a spinning blade that could cut through rope, a magnet, and even created a shield around 007 that could deflect the path of a bullet.

-Bond's Skipole Gun: While escaping from his attackers, Bond turns around and fires his ski pole, which doubles as a flare gun.

-Ring Camera: At Zorin's estate, Bond uses this small camera to photograph different people.

-Branch Keychain: This key chain had lock-picks that could open 90 percent of the world's locks. Plus, it had stun gas and an explosive. All three of these features were eventually used.

Explosive Pen: The now-famous exploding pen that armed up after three clicks. Boris loved this pen; until it blew up.


As Christians, God has given us certain things to help us make it and survive in this world. One of the things that He’s given us is like a secret weapon.

It’s like a secret weapon, because it doesn’t look like a weapon, it doesn’t seem to be that powerful, but it’s one of the most powerful forces that God has given us to use!

You’ve heard of it before, but I bet you never realized how powerful a weapon it is.

Want to know what your secret weapon is? LOVE!

When we usually think of love we think of soft, mushy, gushy kind of feelings. That’s NOT the kind of love I’m talking about today.

The kind of love I’m talking about is a rare kind of love. It’s the kind of love that God has. It’s the kind of love that you can’t get from anywhere else, except from God!

This love is a powerful, not weak.

So when I say the word “love” today that’s what I’m talking about.

Some of you probably think I’m exaggerating when I say love is a powerful, but I’m not.

Love literally is the most powerful weapon that we have!

Think about this…

  • Anger can make a friend become an enemy, but only love can make an enemy become your friend!
  • Jealously can separate, but only love can bring together or unite two people.
  • Hatred can hurt, but love can heal/help someone.
  • Bitterness wants to expose people’s sins, but love wants to cover them.

All of these other emotions are so inferior and powerless compared to love!

Love is so powerful it can actually…

Destroy anger and erase hate. Romans 12:20 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Example: It's hard to stay mad at your parents. Their loves diffuses your anger!

Dissolves fear. 1 John 4:18 says “Perfect love drives out fear.” Example: I remember being afraid at night until one of my parents came in the room.

Heals hurts. Example: When you're a little kid you can get hurt and think you're going to die, until Mom gives you attention. Suddenly, by a miralce :) you're better!

In an old video game we used to play when I was a kid, they had what was called a smart bomb. If you hit the smart bomb at any time it would destroy everything on the screen that was trying to get you.

Love is like our smart bomb. It can defeat anything, be used at any time and it always works. You can never use it too much!

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
1 If I speak in the tongues F32 of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, F33 but have not love, I gain nothing...

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Love is powerful. It is the greatest power we’ve been given.

Today, I want to show you some things to help you understand this kind of love I’m talking about, so that you can see how important it is and be able to use it more in your life.

Turn with me in your Bibles to 1 John 4:7-12

One of the biggest reasons that we don’t use love in our lives the way God wants us to is because we don’t really know what love is.

  • In a movie we see two people meet each other for the first time, not even know each other’s names, and then have sex. We’re told that’s love. It’s not it’s lust.
  • We see a woman on a talk show that’s been abused by her spouse, totally mistreated, but she won’t leave him. People in the audience will be “dump him!” but she will just say “I can’t because I love him!” That’s not love. That’s co-dependency!
  • We see a guy who won’t leave his ex alone. He won’t get on with his life, because he says “I love her!” That’s not love, that obsession – fatal attraction!

For many of us, our own experience with so called love hasn’t helped much

  • We’ve had people tell us that they love us and then later reject us.
  • We’ve had people tell us that they love us and then abandon us.
  • We’ve had people tell us that they love us and then cheat on us.

No wonder we don’t know what real love is! All we see is fake, weak, wanna-be imitations!

I have a friend who, when she was young had her uncle and cousin pull a prank on her. They taught her to count to 10 wrong!

They rearranged the encyclopedia's in this order:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 8, 10

They told her this was the correct way. When she went to school and they taught her how to count she got into an argument with her teacher about it. She didn't believe her teacher!

Unless we know what the real thing is, it’s easy to be fooled! If we don’t know real love, then we’ll never be able to show it to others!

So, how can we know what this kind of love is like?

Look at V. 9

We don’t really know what life can be like until we ask Jesus into our lives. We live a different quality of life in Jesus, than we do without him.

Do you want to see real love? This is it! Look at V. 10

4 Different words to describe love in the ancient greek language:

Eros – We get our English word erotic from this word. It describes intense or passionate love, highly sensual and even intoxicating. It describes strong desires ranging from patriotism to sexual love.

Storgeo – This word describes natural love, family love, love which is native or inherent in people. This especially describes the kind of love between a parent and a child. It describes sympathy or closeness because of some kind of bond.

Phileo - This word describes love of personal affection, fondness for something, often the love of friends. This kind of love is based on the loveliness or attractiveness of a person or object. We love like this because we find qualities in a person that appeal to us, give us warm and personal fondness for a person. This is what we’re usually talking about when we talk about love.

Agape – This love comes from the person giving it. It is based on choosing to love someone. Example: God placed such a value on us so that even though we deserved rejection and punishment because of our sin against him, he chose to love us and send Jesus to die for us and save us. This love loves someone because they need it, not because they deserve it!

Think of this as Extreme love.

This is a love you can only understand from experience! You can only begin to understand it, when you realize what God has done for you!

So how are we going to possess and express this kind of love?

This kind of love can never start in our hearts. It can only come from God through us!

Look at verses 7-8

Winter Retreat Story
When I was a youth pastor we let this guy come with us on our Winter Retreat who we barely knew. All we knew was that he had threatened a teacher.

Somehow we decided it would be no problem to come with us. :)

When we got to our retreat place the students started a snowball fight. This new student got hit in the face with one that had been packed too hard and it really hurt him.

He got in the face of the student who threw it and they were about to fight. I had to get in the middle and stop it. I thought me and him were about to fight!

The new student got so mad that he got hit and that I wouldn't let him hit the other student that he said he was leaving - and started to walk home. Me and Ben (the other youth pastor) ended up talking to this guy on the side of the road for about half an hour.

We were trying to convince him to stay. Finally, I went in to the cabin and gathered the youth group.

I told them that we could just stay mad at this guy and hate him, which was easy. OR, we could ask God to help us to love him and CHOOSE to love him even though we didn't want to.

Somehow everyone agreed to try and love him! :)

We could never love this guy on our own. It wasn’t possible. We had to ask God to help us. And he did. As we made the choice to love him no matter what, God helped us to do it.

The change in him and in us was amazing! On Saturday night (the incident was on Friday), at the end of our altar time, this new student stood up and apologized to all of us!

The crazy thing is that we ended up really loving him, once we decided to let God help us.

I actually do love the guy still now. I care about him. He still calls me every once in awhile and I actually like hearing from him and talking to him.

And it was all because we chose extreme love, love that loves someone because they NEED it, not because they deserve it.

You know why should love people like this?

We owe it to God and other people to love them -- especially when they don’t deserve it -- because God loved us this way.

Look at verse 11

The word translated “ought” here means “owe to be indebted to someone.

Matt. 5:43-47

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor F27 and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies F28 and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"

Buzz Lightyear
My son, Will, loves this toy. (Push button to make him talk.) He plays with him all the time, he talks about him all the time and he wants to watch he movie everyday, over and over. Will even sleeps with this thing like it was a stuffed animal. He’s got 3 of them!

Do I love this toy? No. But I love Will. Because of that, I’ve wiped chocolate from Buzz'sface, I’ve made him fly in the air, I’ve searched around the house for him, all because Will loves him. I show the toy love because of Will.

On Friday, Will was handing me all 3 of his Buzz Lightyears and I jokingly threw them on the ground and said “No Buzz!” You know what happened?

Will started balling not just tears of sadness, but anger and pain. I actually hurt his feelings when I hurt what he cared about. I ended up telling Will that I was sorry and showed him that I love Buzz by giving him a hug.

We should show love to others if for no reason except for the fact that God loves them. When we show them love God is happy. When we hurt them God is hurt.

Look at verses 19-21.

We owe it God. He’s loved us not cause we deserved it, but because we needed it.
Now all he asks is for us to love others in the same way.

Not with the fake, imitation love that we see all around us, but with the rare, powerful kind of love that he has shown us.

Verse 12

When we love like God does, then people will see God in us and be drawn to us and ultimately.

This concept of the power of love has actually been written about in some recent secular books: “The Radical Leap” by Steve Farber and “Love Is The Killer App” by Tim Sanders

Tim Sander Definition of love in business…

“.. a manager of people, an owner of a business, or a colleague should take to heart that when we get up and go to work, no matter what we do, we're supposed to grow other people without expectations. That's love in business.”

Tim Sanders describes a certain kind of person he calls a Lovecat. This is what he says…

"A lovecat is a person, to me, that is committed to growth; the only rational thing they do is grow people. And they do it by sharing really value-added knowledge. They do it by giving away their network, a person, a relationship where it makes sense. And they do it by learning how to sense and respond to people that need their compassion. And they commit themselves to that. It's a lifestyle.

"The lovecat reads books X amount of hours a week. A lovecat spends X amount of time organizing a personal network, and going through different rituals to try to connect people. And a lovecat's always got the radar on for an opportunity to show love. It's a lifestyle."

Tim says we should give away… "sensibly sharing your intangibles - your knowledge, your network, your compassion."

In an interview, Steve Farber said this…

“business and leadership is really all about love.”

In his book he uses the acronym L.E.A.P. It stands for Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof.

He explains it through one of his characters like this…

“The Extreme Leader consciously and intentionally cultivates love in order to generate energy and inspire courageous audacity. And he or she must provide proof that it’s all been worthwhile; proof through the alignment between word and action; proof through standing up for what’s right; proof through measurable, tangible signs of progress; and proof through the experience of phenomenal success as well as glorious failure.”

He encourages people to fall in love again with what they do for a living, fall in love with the people they work with and fall in love with their customers.

Remember V. 7-8

“Whoever does not love, doesn’t know God, because He is love.”

We have to start loving the people that God brings along our path. We can do it. He’s shown us how and given us the ability if we let Him love others through us!

My challenge to you this week is this: Use Extreme love! Use it in 3 ways…

1. Pick 2 people that you know and choose to show them love this week in word and in action. Think about what they really need and give it to them. Share your knowledge, your encouragement and your friends with them. Don’t tell them that you’ve chosen them just do it. See what happens in them and in you.

2. Show love in words and in action to whoever crosses your path. Whenever you see anyone this week look for what’s loveable in them and help them feel your love towards them.

3. Pick one person you have a hard problem even liking. Choose to show them love in the way you talk and act towards them this week. Again, look for loveable things in them.

If you do even one of these things this week, I can almost guarantee this will happen:

You will feel different and so will the people you’re loving. You’ll feel better and so will they!

If you make this into a habit – a way of living, by continually saying “yes” to this way of living, then you will become more likeable than ever before, you’re become more influential, and you’ll be happier.

The best thing is that you’ll be more like your Father in heaven and you’ll be making the lives of the people around you better!

Start using you secret weapon and you will change yourself and change your world!

-----End of message----

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