What Sponsors Your Life?


As we start the New Year I thought I'd share my most recent sermon: December 17, 2017:

Today we will be reading from Matthew 7:11-12:

11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

12"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

As you know, in eight days we will celebrate Christmas. A day where we not only exchange gifts and presents but as Christians we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. To me, this is my favorite time of year.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to take some of our youth that are less fortunate Christmas shopping. And one of our rules is that they have to buy something for someone else as well as something for themselves.

But before I get into those shenanigans I just want to describe for you in detail the scene…

So, we start off the day with a 30 minute drive to the illustrious Florence Mall. Yes, we could have gone right up the road to Eastgate Mall, but most of these teens have been there a million and one times, so we like to take them away from their normal surroundings.

Again, we take a nice 30 minute drive to Florence, KY and when we turn on to Mall Rd the oooohs and ahhhs start happening. If you have never been to Florence Mall it’s a two story mall. A lot larger than Eastgate.

But, before we go to the mall we eat. Now, there’s a reason for this. Teens can get a little cranky if you didn’t already know when they are hungry. Well, let’s be honest we all can be…I myself have been known to become a little hangry from time to time. We went and we ate at a nearby restaurant. And again for some that went this is something that they rarely get to take part in.

The idea here is to get them nice and full so they will be slow enough for me to keep up with them through out our time at the mall.

Once inside the mall we walked here and there and from this store and that store. The teens had a great time and were really well behaved. Honestly, I was very impressed with all that went.

Back to describing the scene. We walk in to the mall and the first thing that we see is a two story Merry Go Round. And beyond that is the food court. Just having eaten we made a bee line through the massive amounts of people standing in line for their food and proceeded to the actual shops.

Or so we thought.

So many people. So many conversations about window dressings, the kiosks in the middle of the giant walk ways, sales here and there. You could smell the Yankee Candle company and want the Summer Sausage from the Hillshire kiosk.

For the most part the bustling customers were staying in their respective lanes carrying their many bags of purchases. But occasionally you would have someone going the wrong direction as if they were from England or some other wrong side traveling country. (laugh a little).

Over all the mall was hot and steamy and the lines were long and tiresome. And I am glad we made it out of there alive.

Like the video we saw earlier, (https://youtu.be/R5-lwTqiPiI) there was everything in that mall you could possibly ever need or want. Food, beddings, candles, clothes, toys, shoes, glasses, entertainment, and even Santa Claus.

As we were walking around and waiting in line to purchase different gifts for these teens I wondered how much does this “stuff” cost us every year?

Let’s quickly talk about the top 10 things that are bought on Amazon.

10. Cosmetics and Fragrances

9. Vitamins and Supplements

8. Personal care products

7. Games

6. Electronics that cost over $50 or more

5. Tablets

4. Toys

3. Cd’s DVD’s…

2. Electronics that cost under $50

1. Books. Real, paper books.

Now at the end of the day…I am not even talking about the financial aspect of it all. I am talking about the social, emotional, and psychological aspect of it.

You see on one hand you have the opportunity to light up someone’s world in way that will make them happy and feel loved.

But on the other hand, how long will they really enjoy that something? Will it take them away from spending time with others? What is that gift really doing for them?

We don’t really think about these things much? Yes, we are worried about how much we are spending, but are we worried about how this will affect the person receiving the gift as well as those around them?

Please don’t think that I am trying to be a Scrooge or that I am telling you to only buy your loved ones books, Bibles and learning toys…that’s not what I am saying at all.

What I am saying is we must put a limit on how engrossed we become with all the stuff we are giving and receiving. We must understand that this is just stuff.

1 John 2: 15-17 says:

15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Matthew 6:19-21 says:

15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

John and Jesus are not saying, “Stop buying gifts for each other or ourselves.” What they are saying is don’t let these things consume us.

Do not let these things be what we live for. Like the video, these things are not what make us go. They don’t bring our lives wholeness, completeness.

Let’s look at Matthew 7:11-12 again,

11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

12"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Jesus is saying this, Look, you are all sinners. If you can go to the mall and pick the perfect gift for your child or someone else and they find joy in it, just imagine that the gift God our Father has is in store for us is 100 times better.

Jesus doesn’t stop there though. He pushes a little more. See, if you didn’t realize, Jesus was thinking about mankind in 2017. Us crazy humans running around being so consumer driven…

He says in verse 12, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” And this is huge.

We see such an upswing of kindness during the Holidays. It’s awesome and sometimes a little too over the top than what we are used to. But why is this only during the Holidays. Jesus tells us “In everything” not just on Christmas day or Thanksgiving. In everything!

Why in Everything? Because God, the Father despite “EVERYTHING” we had done, are doing, and will do in the future, gave us the ultimate gift. He gave us His only son, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we may have eternal life.

I want to give you a challenge. Over the next eight days, take some time to not only love on someone, but to show them the real reason for this season.

Don’t let the $170 Billion Dollar Apple company, or $56.4 Billion dollar Coca Cola company, or $34.1 Billion dollar Nike company consume them or you for that matter.

Be the Christ they may have never seen before. Share with them the Ultimate gift. And maybe give them a little something for Christmas!

Amen! Jesus Loves You!

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