Summary: We have good reasons to praise the Lord.
Today we’re starting a four-part series on “The Lavishness of God.” To lavish means to be extravagant; to pour out; to shower. And God throughout the pages of His Word is described as that kind of a God…one who pours out to His people; one who gives. One who displays His grace and His righteousness and His goodness upon His people. And we’re going to be examining that.
I’m so thankful for my wife, Stephanie…so happy to be married to her. We have a great time together. And I’ll never forget how we first met. I was leading the youth ministry at Bethlehem in Morris at the time and Stephanie was a sophomore in high school. And so we got to know each other in that time and she had a crush on me, of course, so that was nice. But I knew she was a student and only I was 19 years old, but going into this I said, “Lord, this is your ministry here and I don’t want to have any relationships of any nature that aren’t just strictly a youth minister to the kids so, she was just a friend…but I thought she was cute. I did think she was cute.
But then it was later on when she was in college and I was in seminary that we started dating; started seeing one another. And I remember the excitement that I had going to pick her up…driving out to DeKalb on I-88 and getting excited because I was going to see her and I was going to pull up to her little apartment there and she was going to come out and we’re going to go out and maybe hang out together and get pizza down the road and awww, I just had that excited feeling. You know what I mean?
Do you remember that feeling that you had…those who are married? Do you remember that feeling…you’re getting ready for the night and you can’t wait to see your girl or your man and it’s just exciting? And I remember when we got married. It was awesome. It was one the greatest days of my life and we got married. My dad married us and it was wonderful and it was emotional and then we went on our honeymoon. We went down to Missouri for a week – stayed at a cabin. It was wonderful just to relax and just kind of unwind after all the preparations that go into weddings nowadays. Big deal.
Then we got to go to Rome. We went to Rome, Italy. We went back to my roots…and uh, ....a quarter of my roots – and went back there to Rome, Italy. And I remember the feelings of being in Rome and looking around at this ancient, ancient buildings and being in the places that the Apostle Paul probably walked and thinking this is amazing. My heart just overflowing with excitement and passion to be with my wife, Stephanie. You remember that feeling?
Maybe you’re not married, you’re single, but no doubt you’ve had maybe that feeling of excitement over someone. Do you remember what it was like when you first became a Christian? When you were saved? Do you remember when you came to know the Lord that excitement and that passion to know the God of this Book and the God of the universe and you knew Him personally and you knew Jesus and you knew His forgiveness. Wow! You were so fired up to serve Him and to know Him and to talk about Him and to live for Him and to pray and to fast and to get into His Word. Maybe you say, “Well, I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember.” Well, that’s the same with me. But do you remember a time when you rededicated your life to the Lord? And maybe you were going down the wrong track and you knew it. God convicted you of sin and you said, “I’m recommitting my life to Jesus today.” You were filled with that joy of salvation and you were overwhelmed and you couldn’t wait to live for him. Your joy to know Jesus as your Savior and Lord was so vibrant and so passionate.