Summary: Luke 12:15: “… life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” (MSG).

Over the next several weeks we are going to be doing a series called, “Life Beyond Me.”

Someone once said, “Life is short, twill soon be past; only those things done for Christ will last.”

Life is not about you! There is so much more to “this life” than getting up everyday for school or work … earning a degree … getting a job that gives you 7 digits of income – without the decimal point!

REAL LIFE is all about what we do for Christ and His Kingdom!

What keeps us from living a “life beyond me?”

It can all be summed up in one word … SELFISHNESS!

Selfishness (def.) = n: stinginess resulting from a concern for your own welfare and a disregard of others.

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

What are some examples of selfishness?

•It’s my way or the highway

•Going out on a date and all you talk about is yourself

•Lying so you can stay out of trouble

•Not inviting another friend to an event because you don’t want to pick them up

•Cutting in line so you don’t have to wait

There are a lot of things that we do that show “life is all about me.”

Real life is not measured by what we get, but by what we give.

As Christians, we are called to live a “life beyond me” – a life that focuses on God, others, and ourselves last!

Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV).

LIFE PRINCIPLE: If we take care of God’s stuff, He will take care of ours.

So, tonight, I want to speak to you about something that all of us struggles with understanding … “The Art of Loving.”

Man, we really don’t get the depth of the word “love.”

For example:

- we love our parents like we love ice cream

- we love our friends like we love a good movie

- we love our boyfriend/girlfriend like we love working out/exercising

LOVE is a value word … it is reserved only for people, not things!

When was the last time a “thing” loved you back? When was the last time a “thing” called you after a brutal break-up? When was the last time a “thing” showed up at the funeral of a loved one?

LOVE is something we all want to give and receive!

Let me share with you the 3 Greatest Loves of our Lives.

1. God

Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (ESV).

God needs to be the greatest love our lives. He needs to be number one!

If he is not the number one love of our life, then everything else in life will tank!

That’s why people live their whole lives searching for happiness and they never find it – because God is NOT number one!

Deuteronomy says that we should love him with ALL our heart (emotions) … with ALL our soul (will) … with ALL our might (actions).

This love means God dominates every feeling … every decision … and every action!

Let’s love God more!

2. Others – family and friends

John 15:12: “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you” (NLT).

How did Jesus love people? Simple – he gave his life for them … life was not about Him … it was about God’s mission for his life!

We need to love one another … not for what we get out of them, but for what we can give to them!

Loving people is tough, isn’t it?

It’s tough to love the person who knifed you in the back! It’s tough to love the parent who just took away all of your privileges!

Jesus was the greatest example of love … we must learn to love others more!

3. The Unconvinced

John 15:8-10: "What if a woman has ten silver pieces of money and loses one of them? Does she not light a lamp and sweep the floor and look until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together. She says to them, ’Be happy with me. I have found the piece of money I had lost.’ I tell you, it is the same way among the angels of God. If one sinner is sorry for his sins and turns from them, the angels are very happy” (NLV).

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