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Summary: Message regarding loving God practically through service in the church.

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Loving God with All Your Strength

Mark 12:30

January 24, 2010

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

Me: This is part one of a two-parter on this whole idea of loving God with all our strength.

Today I want to lay some groundwork, and then next week we’re going to look at some real hands-on kinda stuff to help us love God with all our strength.

My biggest mistakes in ministry and life in general when it comes to relationships stems from the fact that I have, over my life, neglected the principle I’ve been wanting God to burn into our hearts over these last 3 weeks:

We love others best when we love God the most.

Remember, love is not primarily an emotion, but an action (1 John 3:18).

And one of the hardest things for me to grasp early in my Christian life was the idea that God had something for me to accomplish.

I’m obviously not the most athletic guy in the world. I’m not the smartest guy I know. I’m not the best-looking guy around.

What did I have to offer to God – I mean other than the fact that I like to talk a lot?

We: My guess is that I’m not the only one who has struggled with those thoughts from time to time.

Or you’ve come across the passage of Scripture that we’ve been using as the foundation for this series and wondered, “Just what does it mean to love God with all my strength?”

Or maybe you’ve tried serving God in one way or another and it hasn’t worked for whatever reason, so you’ve quit trying and you’re wondering if God can really use you.

Well let me tell you something: God not only can use you, He wants to use you. And as we go through the message, you’ll find that this is exactly what Jesus is talking about when He talks about loving God with all your strength.

God: We’re going to look at a couple passages to help us get a handle on that, but before we look at those, I want us to take another look at our foundational passage for today.

This was Jesus’ response to the question of what was the greatest commandment in all the law.

Mark 12:30

“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 said we need to love God passionately.

Last week I said we need to love God rationally.

This week I want to tell you that we need to love God PRACTICALLY.

This is loving God with our talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts. In other words, loving God with the tools He has given you.

Today I want to lay a groundwork for why this is so important – besides the idea that it’s important that we love God this way.

Loving God practically is wrapped up on one word: service. And I don’t mean the Sunday morning church service. I mean serving Christ by serving His people, and helping other people become His people.

By being available to be used by God in the local church and around the world.

We love God practically by serving Him.

I’ve already given you a key sentence for this message, that we are to love God practically.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road with this deal, and the main point I want you to grasp today:

“Sideline service” is not an option for the Christian.

Christ expects all of His followers to be involved in serving his Kingdom.

There is no place in Scripture that lends itself to the idea that it’s okay to just be a Christian and sit on the sidelines while others do the work of the Kingdom.

Loving God with all our strength by serving Christ and His Kingdom is not reserved for those who would be considered “professionals” like pastors, missionaries, and such.

It’s for every believer and follower of Jesus.

I want to be totally clear about something here:

The main place for service to Christ is the local church.

The local church is Christ’s main vehicle for spreading the gospel around the world as well as for worship, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry.

Obviously you can serve God outside the church. I love para-church groups like InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Campus Crusade for Christ, the Navigators, or places like Aberdeen Christian School.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be involved with that stuff as God allows.

But if you consider this to be your church home, and especially if you are a covenant member of this church, you are expected by God to serve His kingdom through the local church.

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