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Summary: Second message about loving God from Mark 12:30. This one is about using the brains God gave us.

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Loving God with All Your Mind

Mark 12:30

January 17, 2010

NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."

Me: Okay, before we get started here, I just want to warn you that some of you might get offended by stuff I have to say today, but I'm going to ask that you just hang with me today, and you'll see that my heart isn't to do that, but in order for me to be faithful to what I think God wants to say from His Word today, I may say something you'd rather not hear.

It may make you uncomfortable. And I hate to tell you this, but it's not my job to make you comfortable. My job is to tell you the truth and help you become people who love Jesus and live for Him, and who help other people do the same thing.

Let's get started.

From time to time I come across folks, either personally or on the internet who think that being a Christian means turning off your brain and just jumping off the cliffs of reason in order to believe a bunch of fairy tales written thousands of years ago.

"Most Christians would rather die than think--in fact, they do!" (Bertrand Russell)

There's a huge stereotype out there that says you have to remove your brain in order to believe in Jesus and the Bible.

And I've encountered lots of Christians who fit that stereotype very nicely.

We: Have you ever met some of those folks -- either the non-believer who thinks Christians are stupid and ignorant or Christians who really are?

That's no fun, is it?

And sometimes we have to wonder if those Christians have actually read the Bible or taken the time to actually research what they just said, or if they get all their knowledge from their favorite TV preacher or televangelist, or the internet -- because you know if it's on the internet, it's gotta be true, right?

So how do we become people who don't fit those stereotypes ourselves?

How do we become people who can articulate what we believe, why we believe it, why someone else should believe it, and why biblical Christianity is a reasonable faith for reasonable people?

How do we show people that being a Christian is actually a smart thing to do, and the not smart thing is to reject Jesus without really checking Him out?

God: Well, Jesus gives us an answer for that in today's passage, and I think that if more Christians would take this passage as seriously as they should, then we'd see less of those things that the world would use to make fun of us and more importantly, to reject Christ.

We find the foundational passage of our time over these week in the midst of a conversation Jesus was having with some of the religious muckety-mucks who were looking for an excuse to get rid of Jesus.

But one religious leader seems to be actually interested in what Jesus has to say and he asks Jesus, "Out of all the commands, which is the most important one?'

And here in Mark 12:30, we find Jesus' answer:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Two weeks ago I gave you a phrase that I hope you will remember the rest of your life, and especially over this year. Read this out loud with me:

We love others best when we love God the most.

Last week I gave you a phrase that applies especially to last week's message but that I hope you'll remember the rest of your life also, and that was:

God wants us to love Him passionately.

Here's the phrase I hope God burns into your head and heart for today's message based on the words of Jesus here:

God wants us to love Him RATIONALLY.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I'm gonna try to give you some more insights on that, but really, the bottom line is that God wants us to use the brain He gave us to bring Him glory.

One of the things that separates us from animals is our capacity for both rational and moral thought.

Animals can learn certain things. But they can't think rationally, and they can't make moral decisions.

Except maybe Bolt. That dog was cool, man.

God created you with a brain. It's a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately not enough people, including many Christians, don't use that wonderful gift from God, especially when it comes to matters of the faith.

I was going to spend some time talking about how it's reasonable for people to believe in Jesus because biblical Christianity is a reasonable and rational faith.

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