Imagine a community where everyone is in it together — where every single person is contributing to change the world. That's the vision that guided us when we began our All In campaign three years ago.
I've got a bum wheel here so I'm going to be seated during the message today, but it's nothing serious. I have a bone deformity in there that when I overuse it I'm supposed to rest and I knew that. And then I didn't do that and so I had to see the doctor and he said well, now you will do that. So I've got two weeks in this boot here and then figuring it out. I've got to admit I've got to say all in is probably not, probably it is. It is the favorite sermon series, the favorite thing in campaign that I've ever been a part of and love to do as a pastor in my 20 years of ministry. This is one of the most joy-filled things that I get to do. When we began this three years ago, we began it and our goal was to have 100% participation, to give 100% away, and as we began we got out of the gate and we did really well. We had about 70, 78 or 79% participated of our congregation and we gave 100% of it away and we supported that first year 14 projects throughout our city, state and world. Last year the movement began getting some traction and people kind of knew what it was and we had 94% participation last year and supported over 21 projects throughout our city, state, nation and world. This year, I'm praying we cross the 100%. We have 100% participation and we will support over 27 projects throughout our city, state, nation and world. So I want to invite and encourage you. 2023 is the amount for all in per person, above your tithes and offerings. I want to invite you now. Let's be honest 99% of this room can do more than that, and so let's do that and let's see what God does as he just continues to unleash radical generosity throughout our city, state, nation and world, because when people see that amazing love, they see something that they're not used to. I remember our first year I was meeting with a guy named Woody. Woody is the head at the time was the head of the Omaha Police Foundation, and it was through the foundation that they could receive donations, and so we, as one of the projects that we supported through All In Together, we bought a underwater drone camera for the Omaha Police Department, and Omaha Police Department is the regional space that states from around the local states around us, four or five states around us. If they have a drowning or if there's evidence underwater, it's the Omaha Police Department and their water unit that goes out and finds that, and so they needed this camera because they didn't have that capabilities. So when I presented Woody with the check fully funding the camera, woody's eyes got big as he looked again. And he looked at me and he goes why would you do this? And I said, wait, what do you mean like why? Because we love you. He said I've never, ever, experienced a church that cared about our community, a non-secular church. And I said well, woody, I said we just love. We want everyone and everything in our community to be thriving, because we believe that's what God has called us to do, which is to be a blessing to others and a blessing around us. And he's like I didn't think anyone loved the police department. And I said oh no, we definitely do. And that's what I love about All In. And really, when I think about it, all In is a spot where we get to live out unconditional love. Matter of fact, I would say this as human beings, I think we're wired for unconditional love. I think we're capable of unconditional love. No one, when they have a baby, has to be taught how to love that child. We have to be taught how to care for that child, how to raise that child, but how to love it. No, the moment it's in your hands, you're like, oh, you're just. You experience this overflow of love like you've never experienced before. As a matter of fact, I don't even think this is just about humans. I think we have been built into love, even just all of God's creations. And things like like, honestly, who doesn't love a puppy? I mean, come on, everyone loves a puppy. Matter of fact. Here's a puppy, come on. Hey, come here. Wilson, what's up? Right, come on, who doesn't love a puppy? Wilson's 13 weeks old, right? And no, we're not going to do an All In raffle for him, though that would have worked. Maybe next year we'll think about that. No, but right, we love puppies, we love animals, and all of a sudden our hearts melt. Okay, now I have to give Wilson back, because otherwise none of you will listen to anything else in the message. There we go, thank you, thanks, ryan Leff, for letting us use one of their brand new dogs. So we're naturally wired to love. Matter of fact, I would say this I think we even have capabilities to have unbelievable, unconditional love for ourselves. Now, because of our brokenness, this gets messed up, but I want us, through this message, also to think about that. The reality is the way God loves you, and the way God loves others is even greater than what you think. So if you struggle with despair or discouragement, shame or guilt, please know that God never sees you that way. He never does. God sees you with amazing, unconditional love, and if we would discover that amazing, unconditional love for ourselves, I can't even begin to imagine what the love for the world would look like. Notice John 4-8,. John writes this in that letter. He says whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. And what that means is that I mean, there's very there's only a few times, but one of the times too, where a characteristic is named for God. I mean, when God was asked who are you, he said I am who I am meaning, I'm all encompassing, I'm everything. But here we have the characteristic of God is love, which is actually backwards, which really just means that when we love, we are being God. Like that is God living out. That is a full expression of who God is, which means every single one of us has the capacity and the capabilities to be people of unconditional love, to love like God because we have love, god, eternal love living within us, and so we get to express that, we get to show that, and that means our lives can look so different. And here's the thing that means you and I, as those who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the ability to love unlike anyone else on this earth. We have the ability to be people who unleash unconditional love across the globe, and that love is a witness. That love is what people will look at and go. Why are you doing this? They'll ask in a healthy way, not the Toby way from the office of like. Why are you the way you are? Right, like, no, this is the good way. Why are you like this? Because of the love that's within me, which is God. And if I know Jesus, my love can be almost amazing. And I would ask even this question right, we see amazing amounts of love from people who don't know Jesus. Can you imagine if they did know Jesus? Can you imagine if we lived out the love of Jesus? Because he lives within us? It would lead people to ask why are you the way you are? So that unconditional love that lives within us which then leads us to love our neighbors, right, we have love for our neighbor, right. I remember we had some really great neighbors. We had ones in Michigan. They moved in about six to eight months after we did and we just, really like, began to hit it off with them. They were a little younger. They had a baby just a little bit after Tessa was born as well, and so we started taking care of their son and Tessa. They kind of grew up together and they're amazing neighbors. Matter of fact, we still go to their house Anytime. We go back and we spend a day at their house, or the girls will spend the night sometimes with them and their family, and they're just neighbors we absolutely love. Even though they're Michigan State fans, we still love them, right. I mean, it'd be like if you were a neighbor with a Colorado fan, right, you'd love that. Is it too early, I know? I mean it's true that we had a great, we played great defense yesterday. Defense was on point, right. But yeah, that can clap for that, you can get that. We have love for our neighbors, though, and I think, actually, when we hear this scripture, I think we often think about who our neighbor is and we have that name in our mindset and it's not always necessarily like our physical neighbor, but it'll be someone like a coworker, it'll be someone like that. And then we hear this word of Jesus from Matthew 22, 39, that says love your neighbor as yourself. And I think what happens with me and maybe this happens with you as well is I find myself naming someone in my head that I know that I don't necessarily, maybe like always love. And then there are person that's like, oh yeah, I just need to have a little more kindness, a little more things for that person. But what about the reality that Jesus isn't talking about just that? Like? Jesus is always expanding our mindset and expanding the view from us, which is very narrow to God, which is all inclusive. As I was thinking about this verse and for this message, I was convicted of who my neighbor really is. I live on Maple, right off of 132nd, so my route home is going up highway 680, and I get off the freeway and I turn left 90% of the time. There's a couple people that rotate out of there that are on the corner and begging, and I usually will have food or something like that that I'm bringing and I'll give to them, and there's one guy. That's really nice, that I really hope and pray someday that he's able to get out of this cycle, he's in and able to start to have a life where he doesn't have to bag on the freeway. But there's also one guy that I never, ever put my window down for. He holds a sign that says I'm too ugly and too poor but need to smoke weed. And I kind of have that mindset of like, ah, here we go, I'm not like you know. And then I've got to explain to Tessa what that is and all these things and I realized, wait a minute, he's still my neighbor. Even though I don't necessarily like what he puts on his cardboard, he's still my neighbor. And I think we find ourselves sometimes catching of like let's not love, because we think this right, if you're with me, at times maybe you've thought, yeah, I want to give to them, but then they're probably gonna use that for this or that and we start qualifying why we shouldn't love that person, right? I mean, even even good intentioned people would say, yeah, I'd like to give to your cause or your church, but but you, probably, they probably use it for this, this and this. You know what convicted me as I was thinking about this and praise God. He doesn't do this. But God knows everything about me. Could you imagine if God said, yeah, greg, I want to give you these blessings, but you're probably going to use it to do this, this and this? Or you're gonna be selfish with it or you're not gonna do what? I think you could have done even better for it, because God could do that to me. God can do that to you, but God doesn't, because God's just saying I'm unconditional of love, so let me love you and you be responsible for you. What happens when we love like that, when we love our neighbors in that Unbelievably loving way? I Think this is what Jesus was getting at in the, the parable of the good Samaritan right? All the people that should have loved the right way just passed by the person who was beaten and robbed, the one who wasn't supposed to love. Does Luke 10 and the selected verses here right? They asked Jesus who's my neighbor? Jesus was going down to Jerusalem, to Jericho, when he was attacked and a man was attacked by robbers. The Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was and when he saw him, he took pity on him. No one would have expected the Samaritan to do anything. Matter of fact, the Samaritan should have spat on him and crossed the other side of the street and said you're getting what you deserve, but he loved. He loved in unbelievable ways and I think I think the problem is we have set everything up in life in a win or lose game. Everything is wins or losses. Winds are losses, and how we treat things right, winds are losses. In in our most most egregious and righteous arguments with our spouse, with a neighbor, with a co-worker, with a Boss or whatever, we set it up as wins and losses. If I get you to do what I want, I win, you lose, even the silly, the little ones, right, like it's wins or losses. And who's who's loading the dishwasher the right way, right, right, that's not an issue in our house. I do it the way Lord he tells me to do it, right. But wins or losses. And We've even set up love in wins or losses. Well, if they're doing it the way, I think they should do it, but they went. If not, then I'll win. If that was really the economy of God, we would have had a fleeting victory and an eternal defeat, because the day Jesus died on the cross, we won. We got what we called for. Give us for rabbis, crucify him, crucify him. God lost humanity one, satan, one for a day. But if God operated in a win or loss, on that third day when he rose, we would have eternally lost. But God is the only one, jesus is the only one that doesn't operate in a win-loss economy. He operates in a win-win. He rose from the dead, defeating sin, death and the devil and giving his victory to you and to me. It isn't. He rose from the dead, defeating sin, death and the devil and humanity it was. He rose from the dead, defeating sin, death and the devil and giving humanity victory. You and I have Victory because of Jesus and his resurrection and his victory. He gave you his victory. Your victory today is a win because Jesus operates in a win-win economy. There's not a win or loss with Christ. There's only a love, and that's what we get to live that out. And when we love that way, we can truly love our neighbors. But even then, god goes farther, because God is saying, yes, love your neighbor, but let me go even farther love your enemy. Now I want you to think about this for a second. Who's your enemy? Oh, maybe you're sitting there and you're going well, I mean, I don't really have any enemies, like everyone loves me. Nope, you're not self-aware. Someone in this world, someone in your circle of life, does not like you, and if you're sitting there going no, no, no, no, that's not true Then you don't have authentic friends and you don't know. I'm being honest, we all have someone that doesn't like us. Now, praise, be to God. That person doesn't choose who goes to heaven or hell, because I wouldn't get to go for some people, you wouldn't get to go for some people. I remember this guy in college and I wasn't mean to him. I wasn't especially like we weren't buddy buddy, but like I would see him, I'd go, how you doing, marty? And we would talk and all those things. Well, I found out years later Marty hates me, like he hates me, and I was like talking to a friend who's still kind of with circles with him and they said, yeah, greg, like your name comes up and Marty gets mad and I'm like what did I do to Marty and he goes. I'll ask him. And so he asked him and I was like what did he say? He said he just doesn't like you, like you're his Newman from Seinfeld, I was like what Right, you have someone that thinks of you that way too, I promise. But we also have someone we think that about. You have an enemy Maybe they're named, maybe they're not named. But it's kind of that person that you just go really just hope things don't go well with them, like you may not be, you know, like just have that overtly out. You're maybe not saying that, but just kind of deep down you're just like things happen and you just go yeah, I don't like them. I had two people that I would pray with every Wednesday in a prayer group and it was about 2002. We would do this prayer time and Tom, he would pray and he would say and this was his prayer almost word for word, because he said every Wednesday he said dear God, today I lift up and pray for Osama bin Laden. I ask the Lord that you would convert his heart and bring him to Jesus and God, may he become a powerful witness to all the Muslim nation of what true love is with Jesus. And as he would pray, that Sylvia would sit across the table from him and her eye would be open and she'd be giving him this stink eye, she'd be watching him and even just before, he would say in the name of Jesus. She would almost begin because she wanted to make sure her prayer was right after Tom, so there wasn't even a breath for anyone else to pray, and she would pray word for word. As he would say in the name of Jesus, dear Lord, I pray you would rain down justice on Osama bin Laden and wipe him off this earth. May he receive his full punishment for what he's done to this nation. They prayed against each other. Bin Laden was her enemy and she loved Tom. But, man, that was not a righteous prayer for her. Who's your enemy? And I want you to think like me for a minute. How often have you been praying for your enemy? Matthew 544,. Jesus says but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Whoa. Now you might be thinking to yourself well, who really persecutes me? Like? Who's trying to get where you're at? Who wants to see you fail? Who wants you to lose? Who wouldn't feel bad at all if you lost at all? I want you to have in your mind right now who those people are. Who's your enemy? Who's a person that, if it was like hey, we've got a free dinner at Mahogany and this person is there, you're like I'm out, I'm not going. I want you to have their name in mind and I want to pray for them right now. We're going to do it because Jesus called us to do it, and this is what love is, when love lives within us. So, right now, I want you to have that person's name in your mind and I'm going to pray, and then I'm going to ask you to say their name, and you can either say it quietly, out loud, first name only. You can say it in your head, but I want you to pray for them. Let's pray, father, god, today we pray for you. Lord, god, we ask that you would send legions upon legions of angels of blessings upon Lord. We pray that they would have blessings physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually and abundantly. Lord we pray for and God, we ask that their life would be better than ours, that their joy and their celebration would be daily and continually. We ask that they would flourish in all the endeavors that they do. And, Lord, god, we pray that we would stand next to them forever in heaven, physically Blessed. Today, oh Lord, in the name of Jesus and all God's people said, I wanna invite you to press in daily, to be praying for those who you're against or who are against you. And this is love. And if you're sitting here today saying I don't think I'm capable of that love because of maybe some atrocities and maybe they're a righteous enemy, Let me tell you right now you are capable of it because God lives within you. You're capable of that. It doesn't mean that it will be easy and it doesn't mean it will be joyful. It didn't say pray with joy for that person, but it does say pray for them. And so when we can pray unconditional love for our neighbors, for our enemies, we can even look at praying for each other. And what is it? When we love one another man, when we love each other, the bond that happens within us is crazy. When we love other people, there's a bond unlike any other bond that can happen and that happened for me. I had a few experiences where that happened. That happened in high school and this amazing bond we had. But it also happened in college with a few of our college roommates, and for us in college it almost became this utopian society, like our room. We just all said let's love one another. Like it wasn't, like we didn't say those out loud because that would have been weird for a bunch of college boys. But what we did do is we just started living it. Like some way. Somehow we recognized we were all from different parts of the country. We also recognized that we all had different abundance of blessings and giftedness. We also just wanted to hang out with each other, and so we would care. And so when it would come time to go out like if a friend of ours would say, ah, guys, I wish I could come tonight, but I can't afford it We'd always look and go, we got you, no worries. And there was one where we would just do that. And so the dinner we'd be like, oh, let's all go get Chinese food tonight. And we would order our Chinese food and we would go pick it up and we'd come back and we'd be like yeah, it's $15 a person or whatever it is. And then one guy would always kind of just, we knew that that was steep, so we'd be like, hey, yours is five. He'd be like come on, guys. And we'd be like, no, don't worry about it, it's all covered. And that was just love, where we just lived out this generosity of love. And today all of us would drop anything and everything to be with one another in times of need. Matter of fact, when we finished college our friend is kind of a just a stat math type person, and so he he came to us as we were kind of lamenting leaving and excited about next level. He was lamenting leaving, he looked at us, he goes do you guys know that over the past couple of years, the bus leaving together that you've given to me over $6,000? And I was like I didn't think we had $6,000. I seriously, but it was just. It was just this bond of love that came out, and I believe that's what the church can be when we live out of an outflow from Jesus. I believe this is what Paul was talking about in Galatians 6, when he said carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Love God, love your neighbors, yourself. That we're not alone, and that's the beauty too I love of this. All in we, we, with 100% participation. Together we do a measurably more than what we could ever dream or imagine. And I love watching people try to like do the math of it and be like oh well, what, what? And I go, don't. It's not about the math, it's about the participation, it's about us caring, and some carry greater than others, but it's a challenge of us walking together, knowing I'm not alone in this. I'm shoulder to shoulder, together with this, and so we carry those burdens of one another. And this was the Acts church. This is what the Acts church did when they would lay down before the disciples feet. They would lay down their assets, they would lay down their property, and there was not a need amongst them because the church said this isn't ours anyways, this is God's and we are together and that that's a love for each other. That then leads us to see that this love, it is forever and it's for everyone. This love is forever and it's for everyone you love and it's a witness to others of Jesus. I got to tell you I don't think people need to hear you always be saying do you know Jesus? They need to see you loving, like Jesus, and then they want to know why are you the way you are? And you get to talk about Jesus. Others witness you and how you love. Love with words, love with action, love with giving, and we together get to be united in that love Together, united in what Christ is doing. John writes this by this. Everyone or Jesus says this, and John writes it by this. Everyone will know you are my disciple If you love one another. Everyone will know you are my disciple If you love one another. How we love each other will share a light for Jesus Christ, and this is so important for us to think about as we live out. All in how we love one another shows a light for Jesus Christ. It's why I love that old song. They will know we are Christians by our love. We want people to know that you are a Christian. It's how we love each other. Think about that. They will know we are Christians by our love. Think about this as we sing these words. As we sing these words, and sing them with me, we are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord.Speaker 2:
We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord and we pray that all unity will one day be restored and they'll know we are Christians by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love.Speaker 1:
Stand up. Let's sing that again we will walk with each other.Speaker 2:
We will walk hand in hand. We will walk with each other. We will walk hand in hand and together we spread the news that God is in our land. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love.Speaker 1:
They will know we are Christians by our love. We will work with each other.Speaker 2:
We will work side by side and we'll guard each men's dignity and save each other's pride. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love, by your love. They will know we are Christians by our love.Speaker 1:
By your love, they will know we are Christians and they will grow to know Jesus by our love. And so let us go forth as God's people, sharing and showing love, knowing the love of Jesus forever and being the love of Christ, because he lives within you and God is love. God's love is all in for you. Let us be all in with love for Him, for our neighbors, for our enemies, for each other, for everyone Forever. I invite you to extend your hand for the cup of blessing From Romans 15, 13,. May the God of hope fill you with peace and joy as you trust in Him and you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit that worked within you today, tomorrow and forever. Your cup has been filled to the brim with blessing and will overflow to be a blessing to others. Go forth into the world and transform lives with. His love and all God's people said I want to invite our prayer partners to come forward. If you would like to receive prayer, if today you're saying I want to know more about who this Jesus is and I want to come to Him, come forward, Our prayer partners will pray over you. God bless your week.