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Radical Kinship

Pastor Steve Mickel begins a new series on love from 1 Corinthians 13.


let me ask you guys a question is like we launch a new series today I want to ask you how many of you only so only have friends or family that agree with you those are the only people that you have any life anybody anybody only people agree ok nobody I'm so proud of our church this weekend telling you yeah obviously we have differences right and here let me give you a typical the typical Thanksgiving dinner at the mikkel home every year it includes about 38 people to be exact at my house that's okay it's all fine and very different groups of people we have young and old we have liberals and conservatives we have someone that was a die-hard Trump supporter put even put stickers on her house and support and we also have a young young very liberal again you know against guns and very much for gun control and we have people from England people from Malaysia we have yeah and pastors as well in the mix and and that's Thanksgiving dinner imagine the conversations it's funny though that people don't usually bring up politics unless I want to have a little bit of fun and I just gotta admit I have to admit sometimes I'll bring up an issue that I just know is polarizing just it's fun it really is kind of fun and I as I think about this series we're gonna we're launching a new series called radical kinship the way of Jesus in our relationships and I and I think about the polarizing the polarization that's going on in America and it's it's it's awful the the we there is this separation that happened we look at people through the lens of their social groupings now so I'm a 48 almost 48 year old white male and I'm in a group I didn't I didn't choose to be in that group I just am in that group and based on being on that in that group people believe certain things about what I believe that they don't even bet they don't even know me see what I was seen are saying we have groups to sexual orientation groups we have groups based on religion we have groups based on race and gender etc etc and I don't think I don't think the way of Jesus would get rid of those groups but I want to challenge us today is in through this series is to look at people primarily and first through the lens of God's love for them and secondarily through these other lenses that I do think are actually important but the the first lens we have to look at through that people is through the lens of God's love and whenever we and whenever we get that switched people never experience God's love they don't it because of differences that we all have in our families in our community and even in our church and so how does the way of Jesus speak to our relationships now let me just say something to those that are not Christ's followers first I'm so glad that you're here seriously it's so awesome that you came to a church and and I'm glad that you're here and to that even though we're talking about the way of Jesus um if like we were sitting over coffee at a coffee shop and I was telling you about the way of Jesus's how I would describe it is that regardless of whether you're a follower of him or not the things that he has to say about how to live are good for us there they're just helpful for us and so there's things for us to learn regardless of where you're at in your spiritual journey about relationships and love and how do we connect with each other at a deeper level than just our kind of our social identities you know what I'm saying and there's something deeper there that I want us to look into and and let me ask you a question if I was to ask you what are Christians primarily known for in our region what would you say go ahead you can talk to me beer great no problem with that at all okay judgment kindness what pressure voted for Trump okay conservative on that on the political arena liberal generous what love Jesus loving kindness yeah so across the board right and and I don't think there's one I'm not looking for a specific answer but I just think there's this that the reality is is that most Christians most people when they think about Christianity think about our moral stances and what we think about certain things politically and the first that Jesus said that you'll know you people will know that you're my followers how if you love one another if you love one another not they won't know you're my followers if you vote a certain way they won't know you're my followers if you think a certain way about certain people they said they will know you are my followers by how you love one another and then Paul takes that the Apostle Paul who writes a lot of the New Testament takes that teaching of Jesus and then he begins to extrapolate it in first Corinthians chapter 13 what that love means to you and me in relationship to one another so if you ever buy I will turn to first Corinthians 13 and as you're turning there let me just mention this word this word love for in the New Testament is a Greek word and the Greek word is agape so let me say it got bad so agape is is one of four different words that the Greek language uses to define love we have one word and we put everything in that word affection romance kindness the whole enchilada is in that word love and the Greek helps us because they it distinguishes different types of love and this word agape refers to unconditional love love without limits love without conditions that and it's God's love express to humanity is described in the with this term agape and what's great about this is that it's it transcends humanity it's it's I believe it's a transcendent idea that that can impact every relationship regardless of where you're at on the spiritual continuum and the reason I say that is because agape comes from God God is what love God is agape and we are made in the image of God every single one of us your neighbor as well as your children as well as the people that you don't like etc etc right we are all made in God's image and therefore we have agape in us the potential to love like God loves us is in us and this series is really about how do we activate that love in relationships with each other and I love first Corinthians being the book of first Corinthians if you've never read it it's really a great book because we can identify with it today this was a church that was experiencing disagreements for a variety of reasons they were accused of being a cult Christianity at that time there was differences in religion even within the church you had Judaism still prevalent and then Christianity and you know there was other things you know worship of gods and all of this other thing and then you had Christians distancing themselves from the community around them become moral reason for moral reasons and Paul actually in the very first chapter first Corinthians kind of rejects that idea and and and then you see divisions and quarrels inside the church based on doctrinal differences does this sound familiar to anybody I mean this is like what we live today and and and then Paul right in the middle of the book he comes to this chapter and it's at first Corinthians 13 and by the way it's not for marriages I mean it's for marriages but that's not who he wrote it he didn't write it to first Corinthians isn't written to couples that are married it's written to churches people who are trying to figure out the way of Jesus and how it works in relationships with each other and with the rest of the world and first Corinthians 13 we're gonna redeem it from the weddings and I'm saying I mean it's fine if you're getting married and you want to use first Corinthians 13 use it it's a great chapter but it's not primarily just for you it's for all of us and in 1st Corinthians 13 Paul says this I'm gonna start and chapter 12 the very last sentence because it's kind of a bridge sentence and he says but now I want to lay out a far better way for you say better way this is a better way I was gonna say this is the only way and that's not really that this that's just kind of actually kind of divisive it's a better way you might think there's a lot of other ways to live I just want to let you know this is the better way and it's not because I'm I'm religious anybody that that wants to take a close look at the teachings of Jesus will find that his way of love is just simply a better way to have relationships with other people it's more life-giving more caring more concern more open it's it's all of those things and so Paul writes this these he continues on chapter thirteen verse one if I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy ecstasy what you usually hear from me on Sundays that kind of idea yeah angelic ecstasy that would never describe me am i speaking beau I think you're closer and I don't think that's because you're a woman I mean I when I hear angels when I think I hear angels I think there are women for some reason I never hear a man's voice I don't look I don't hear angels I'm way off track way way track this focus focus if I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate if I speak God's Word with power revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day and if I have faith that says to a mountain jump and the mountain jumps but I don't love I'm nothing if I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr but I don't love I've gotten nowhere so no matter what I say what I believe and what I do I'm bankrupt without love it's beautiful love never gives up love cares more for others than for self love doesn't want what it doesn't have love doesn't strut it doesn't have a swelled head it doesn't force itself on others isn't always me first love doesn't fly off the handle it doesn't keep score of the sins of others it doesn't revel when others grovel takes pleasure in the flowering of truth it puts up with anything trust God's I'll trust trust God always it always looks for the best and never looks back but keeps going to the end love never dies inspired speech will be over someday praying in tongues will end because he just got done talking about that in Chapter 12 understanding will reach its limit we know only a portion of the truth and what we say about God is always incomplete but when the complete arrives when Jesus comes back our in completes will be canceled jump to verse 12 well we don't yet see things clearly we're squinting in a fog we're peering through a mist but it won't be long before the weather clears and the Sun shines bright we'll see it all then see it all as clearly as God sees us knowing him directly just as he knows us but for right now this time in this era in this day until that completeness comes we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation trust in God uh nope unswervingly and love extravagantly and the best of these three it's love yeah give Paul some credit what guy deserves some credit every once in a while love never gives love never gives up it never fails it keeps going to the end this this the phrase here never gives up is in some of your translations that says love is patient and it's the Greek word I'm sorry I'm just learn a lot of Greek ideas just I just want to know what Paul meant when he wrote wrote the words that he wrote and so it's easier sometimes to get it's not easier it's the only way to really know what he wrote was just like what did he write he wrote it in Greek so here love never gives up it's the Greek word macro through Mayo I'm not sure that's how you pronounce it but we'll go with it macro through Mayo and it's in its it means I'm gonna love you regardless I'm gonna I'm gonna suffer along with you if I have to suffer along with you I'm going to love you even if we have differences it's even used to say that I'm going to be patient even in the midst of suffering I'm gonna I'm gonna wait I'm gonna wait with you I'm going to long with you second Peter 3:9 Peter uses this word macro through Mayo here the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but his patience his macro through Mayo towards you not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance you know Paul wrote in first Corinthians 13 that there's gonna be a day where Jesus returns but it's not this day and there's a lot of Christians who are just like oh I can't wait for that day you know why that day hasn't come yet it's right here because of his patience because of his macro zoom a oh man he doesn't wish that any should perish but all should have eternal life so he's going to keep waiting and waiting until every single person has an opportunity to hear the patient love of Jesus Christ spoken in their own language in a way that they can understand and that they have the chance of receiving and then tell that day he's gonna wait and that's where we come in our our love our agape that comes out of us as we become more like Jesus causes others to turn to him pastor Bo I love this she said love stays it sticks love literally pinned itself to a cross and said I'm staying until the bill is paid that's the love of Jesus for us he was constantly going further than anyone else in relationships I think about his relationship with women scandalous of his day he went further than anyone else went in relationship to women including them in his ministry giving them opportunity to shine I just I love that he embraced and even ate with those that the religious people called sinners church this is like a little side note but you know what I want us to be known now by by all the other religious by the religious people in our city if you guys heard about Westside West siders you know what they do they eat maybe even drink with sinners that we would be known as Jesus was known by the religious institution of our region man they're a bunch of and they're radical like like hang out with people far from God people who don't think like everyone else thinks in the church people who are far from him people who who who some would say are sinning and living molest ciders are so patient and loving and caring and kind to those that Jesus embraces he even forgave those who put him on the cross while he was still on the cross when Peter his best friend denied him three times Jesus didn't reject him he come he came running to him after the resurrection and restored him to relationship when Thomas and Philip to his other followers doubted who he was he was patient with them even Paul who was known as Saul was persecuting the church Jesus the followers of Jesus Jesus chases after Saul to win him to Christ to win him into a relationship with Jesus because he is long-suffering and he waited for you and put up with you and your stuff that I imagine you still got going on and he is patient he suffers long his love never gives tell somebody next to you his love never gives up go ahead I'm gonna make preachers out all yea at some point today love one another Jesus said as I have loved you this is it this is where this is where the rubber meets the road is that God is asking us and and I'm sorry you came today that's just the way it is you know that that he wants you to be patient with those in your life that drive you crazy you got anybody like that anybody guys people he's just they they say something about their political ideology or they say something about what they think of a philosophy of life or or whatever and just something in you just like oh man these people are so wrong anybody Jesus wants to challenge the way you approach those people let me give you my example I have a nephew and just to protect the innocent I'm gonna call him Jackson it's an inside joke anyway Jackson used to drive me mad like when he was five he actually acted like he was five so stupid I mean but then when he was 10 he kind of still acted like he was 5 and then and then here you know I got 30-some years on him and when I'm interacting with Jackson I'm acting like I'm 5 anybody where you know you know you have people in your life who bring the worst out of you and this is what we do we blame them well if they just thought more like like right if they were more like me I'd get along with them and that'sthat's the problem Jesus doesn't say that's that he just says love everyone always right as Bob Goff says and start with the ones who freak you out right I would say start with the ones who make you crazy just love them because his love never gives up and so we feel like our impatience is warranted we and and and and so we allow people's philosophies of life that their opinions their beliefs their choices to cause an emotional reaction in us we allow at that we can choose to respond however we want to respond Jackson doesn't control my response to his craziness I I have that choice I can respond to him in any way that I choose and I have often chosen to respond to him would like I'm not gonna talk to him yeah was I gonna talk to anybody do that anybody have any facebook friends former Facebook friends you've blocked them because you don't like what they say well I'm gonna come back to that in a minute I want you to think of your relationships in three categories throughout this series and we'll kind of keep coming back to this I want you to think of your relationships with family you know a spouse children parents aunts and uncles cousins people that you're related to that that you know crazy uncle adds those kinds of those kinds of relationships who do you have in your family that that it's difficult for you to be patient with I actually want you to start putting names down write them down think about them make a mental note of actual names of people in your life family what about in York in the church oh no we all we get along all of us get along is there a pastor that you don't like don't answer here is there someone that you don't agree with that stands up here occasionally anybody there see this is see this is where this is where this is where you know we work out how we're becoming more like Jesus is in our relationships with those around us you know there's some people in our services and I imagine in every service who did business with each other and and and and they had a friendship and they both still attend here and once it's over here and once it's over there and they sit over there they sit in separate on purpose you know I'm saying that's that's the real that's the real life of church and and and what and I'm not saying we should just all get along and everything should just be like you know utopian love love will always wins the day I'm not saying it's that easy but I am saying that we're going to pursue that as a community of faith that love will never fail if we lean into it and if that we if we macro through Mayo if we're be patient with one another what about in the community people in the community that you co-workers if you're a teacher some students that drive you crazy if you're a student some teachers that drive you crazy I'm friends so who is it who are the people you don't need to say it out loud right now but it actually gets some names in your mind who are the people that could use a little more patience from you it's hard for you to be patient with and then I want to I just want to quickly walk you through four real simple things that you can do this week in those relationships I believe will help you be more patient in those relationship here's the first one practice empathy put yourself in their shoes this was revolutionary for me in my relationship with Jackson is that I used to just get mad at him and then I put my son I put myself in his shoes and I realized that my what happened was my heart started to break for him and you you you like you all get like mad at me right now if I told you Jackson's story of when he was two and the state took him away because his mom and dad weren't able to keep keep them and his Grandma and Grandpa Clifford Georgina Murray adopted him and his older brother and imagine what it's like to grow up without a mom or a dad I mean right you see what I'm saying it's like all of a sudden your heart begins to soften when you empathize when you get into their story when you when you when you begin to and this comes out this is the second one when you begin to listen actively you ask questions rather than accuse you listen before you speak you you you want you want to know why do you think this way I have my nephew he's we had an amazing conversation he's from England and he doesn't believe in I mean he's shocked when he comes to visit and I tell him that a lot of people in my church own guns and he's like what I mean it's a moral issue for him then we've talked about homosexuality we've talked about abortion we've talked about marijuana just a few light topics we've talked about and and he and I disagree on a lot of things not everything but a lot of things and but the conversation is life-giving and you know one of the reasons why is that he's not trying to convince me and I'm not trying to convince him I'm not trying to convince him that he's wrong and I'm right and he's not we are learning about each other we love each other and we want to know what why we believe what we believe because of love and by the way no matter what he decides on on on the issues that we disagree on he's got my love forever I'll love him right into eternity and he may never change his mind about issues and and and politics and you know what I but I do believe and he might be listening I got to be careful but I do believe he's gonna change his mind about Jesus and this will shock some of you and I don't and I'm not gonna press him to change his mind about everything else I just want him to change his mind about Jesus about the love that God has for him right so you're really mad right now and you need to take a deep breath count to five and say Jesus give me more patience even with the preacher listen actively practice sympathy here's the third thing share appropriately put this here because if you like me when someone says something that's close to me and I disagree with them there's an emotional response of your experience that anger frustration you know disappointment whatever it is and and then and then what we do and and we're wrong to do it is we share out of that emotion too quickly and we get really defensive we start to fight for what we believe and we do and I'm not saying we shouldn't say what we believe I'm not saying that at all but I'm saying share appropriately know when to do when to talk about what you believe and when to just listen actively think just take you know and every relationship you have allow the emotion to subside before you begin another conversation with someone that you don't that you don't agree with that makes sense share appropriate listen actively practice sympathy here's the fourth one take responsibility here's the reality is that I asked you to think of people in your life who you disagree with and I just want you to know you are that to someone else you really are yeah no really you are I hope I hope to not too many people but that's the reality is that we are that person to someone else and we need to take responsibility for that reality and say I and at times you'll need to say especially it listen parents practice this early on with your kids be the first one to say I'm sorry I was wrong please forgive me um be the one to recognize that when you've overstepped when you when you shared a little too fast and a little too emotionally out of anger take responsibility and say you know I'm so sorry even make it weirdly spiritual you know I'm trying to be more loving like Jesus and I just and he wouldn't have done that and I did and I'm so sorry and they'll look at you weird they're like Jesus you know what a great a testimony that we're being changed because we're getting closer to him in his way right so practice sympathy listen actively share appropriately and take responsibility it's reframing how we relate to each other and it's not about who's right and who's wrong is not about who has a morally high ground and who doesn't all those issues I'm not saying around important I'm just saying there's something more important than all of that that people experience and see the love of God in Christ Jesus in you that's more important and someone might get mad at you or me for being a Christian and I'm still going to be patient with them there would be people who disagree with you and you might be you might happen to be married to them you know or Facebook friends with them or neighbours to them or coworkers or children right out and I'm just not I just don't want to be defensive I don't want to start attacking them love sticks love wins and love never gives up let me just speak to this issue I listen actively I forgot I was gonna mention this I know there's kind of a wave right now of like D friending people on social media because of their belief systems and can I encourage you not to do that I want to encourage you not to make that a point a place of conversation social media is not the place for conversations about deeper things but what it is it will help you to listen it'll help and and and it will and it'll keep drawing out that emotion so iíve never defriended anyone and I've got some crazy friends who think crazy stuff and it helps me understand them it helps me know what they're thinking what they're believing so I mean that's just a little side note do whatever you want no matter to me but I just encouraging you to keep keep doors open keep doors open all right let's finish up you guys let me ask you who deserves a little more agape today from you someone say everyone everyone who is it that God put into your heart into your spirit right now as I've been talking last few minutes would you do something for me it might be a parent it might be a spouse it might be a child it might be a co-worker it might be a boss it might be a friend it might be a teacher or a student it might be a neighbor it might even be a congressman or a president it might be a facebook friend would you do something right now would you write a note you may never send it to them I encourage you to but you may never but you would write a note to them expressing your love for them and if you're brave enough you might just text them right now if you have your if their cell phone number that's bold and nobody's doing it right now that's okay but I give you permission to pull out your cell phone and go like you know it might be the most important thing you do today and it's certainly more important than anything else I'm going to say for the rest of this day I can guarantee you that and and it could begin a conversation with people in your life relationships been broken alright I've made you all uncomfortable enough this is what I know you guys is there are tens of thousands of people just in our region alone who have given up on God and Church because what they experienced was not first Corinthians 13 agape and they they can take ownership for whatever they need to take ownership of I whatever I know there's I know there's complement complications and complex issues but I know this is what I see for our future as a church and for other churches because this is all I talk about with other pastors is that there would be thousands of people running back to God in to church because they saw authentic love agape being lived out in community and they would go I want that when I tell my non-christian friends that that you didn't that you've embraced me and my brokenness and I've told you pretty much everything like wondering if you missed a Sunday you might want to go back and listen to a few of them and you still embrace me when I tell my non-christian friends that you know what I see in their eyes I want to be a part of that kind of community because the cool thing is and it's a sad thing but it's a cool thing because we get to enter into the gap because nobody else is doing that in our culture today nobody is embracing the other in their other nests we're grouping everybody and if we're not part of that group we're just building up walls and what if the Church of Jesus Christ began to tear down those walls and said I don't see you primarily as someone who has chosen a certain way of life I haven't even I don't see you through your race primarily I don't see you through your sexual orientation primarily I don't see you through the choices that you've made and the damage that's been done in your life by other people I don't see you primarily that way I you first and foremost as a child of God loved by him and who wants desperately a relationship with you that's how I see you and out of that will flow love compassion empathy kindness gentleness self-control all the fruits the Spirit of God did you close your eyes with me and Josh Cordell this last first Wednesday service he he was preaching and he said the more we realize how loved we are by God the more we can love others and ourselves do you know do you truly really know how loved you are by God if you if you think God loves you and there's conditions attached to that then when you try to love other people there will be conditions attached to that and you need to experience some of you for the first time today the unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus that be what that while you were still broken that while you were still in your shame and embarrassment of the things and choices maybe that you've made whatever the sin that you've had in your life that the mistakes that you've made while you're in that place Jesus died for you he comes to us out of his great love for us and embraces us right where we are and he holds us and he comforts us and he teaches us and he shapes us to be more like him if you'd like to receive the love of God today you already have it you just kind of need to recognize it and say yes to it and if that's you which you just simply raise your hand right now and say yeah I want to receive the love of God today in Jesus Christ yeah if you need a fresh infusion of the love of God maybe it's gotten stale maybe it's gotten rote you know yeah I know I'm loved by God but you don't really really really know and you just need a fresh infusion of God's love which you just tell him that by lifting your hand to and just say God I need a fresh touch of your love today we are so loved by God I don't think there's anything else to say I don't think there's anything else to do I don't think there's anything else that we've got to try to achieve if we can sit in that place of being loved by him and knowing it every single day every moment 24/7 no matter what we do that we think breaks his heart that his love is constant thank you God for your love Jesus words can't even describe the gratefulness in us for what you did in showing us your love for us by dying on a cross thank you Jesus name Amen right on so be it good deal can we celebrate those that kind of received the gut God's love for the first time today so good right so good all right I've kept you long enough from the pumpkins to three two things I want to mention to your prayer teams are available they got little blue lights on so you can recognize who they are and trust them with your life in terms of like guys that I just need prayer man there might be a family member that you just like your I've Sharon and you know that's the person you got to reach out to but you're like I don't have any idea where to start go to the prayer team let them pray with you over your relationships connect event is happening out in the atrium right now just like it was last weekend great opportunity to connect with ministries volunteer opportunities classes groups don't stand alone don't walk alone you have no excuse to walk alone if you if you call us this week and say yeah it's really hard to connect at Westside Church we're like did were you not here on Sunday it is so many opportunities to connect out in the atrium and it's as simple as going up and giving them your name and shaking somebody's hand and I encourage you to do that pumpkin patch is open listen I know some of you are kids at heart and you think you deserve a pumpkin you don't [Laughter] they're not for you all that's just to say we didn't have we didn't buy enough for everybody it's just for the kids and so make sure your kids get out there and get a pumpkin and next week I want to invite you back I know this series is going to be challenging I know it's going to be some hard truth to listen to and to hear but I want I hope you can make it back next week I'll be talking about love is kind and boy can't we need we need a little bit of kindness in our life and for the world as well so all right god bless you guys go in his love and have an amazing week we'll see you next weekend [Applause]

Other sermons in this series