Loving Your Enemies.

Matthew 5:44

How many of you all have enemies? The truth is, there are people who hurt us, and wound us and misinterpret us and who think the least of us. On earth, in a sense, they are our enemies, but the truth is, you only have one enemy. As a born again believer, you see that that person is not your enemy, but that the enemy is your enemy. When your heart is so filled with Jesus, you are free to love and to pray for your enemies because you see the issues differently. You see the issues bigger because your heart is filled with the Kingdom of God, not the smallness of earth’s hate and justice.

It is such an amazing experience, instead of hating your enemies and longing for them to fail, to grace them in ways that make no sense and to pray for God’s best for them. When you begin to do that, it’s like the chains just fall off of you and the power that these people hold onto your life and your attention and your need for their approval, it just all evaporates!

In Matthew 5:43- 47 Jesus says, “You have heard the law that says, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?" 

So you ask, Pastor Drew, can we really do this? Do I believe that you can really love your enemies?
Not out of your heart, but out of the heart of Jesus, YES! Because God did that for us while we were still his enemies.

We are called to be different from everyone else. We are the son’s and daughters of God. Our hearts are captivated by the grace of God and out of the overflow of that grace; we are free! The real decision we are making here is which is bigger? The woundedness that we have received, the power of somebody’s hate, or the God of the universe? When we love in ways that make no sense, we get the opportunity to wake somebody up to see Jesus and in seeing Jesus, they might accept Him! 

Just as Abraham Lincoln was criticized by one of his cabinet secretaries saying “shouldn’t we destroy our enemies?” But Lincoln, proposing what would happen after the war said, “If we make them our friends, have we not destroyed our enemies?” So it is with the love of God. I want to challenge you to live the words of Jesus in a real world way that gives other people the chance to see a real world Jesus. If you are kind to only your friends, how are you different from anyone else? -Dr. Drew Shofner

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Open his eyes Lord, so that he may see.

Open his eyes Lord

In the kingdom of this world, we see by eye, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, we see by faith. That’s why the scripture says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” So often we live moments in which we are unconscious of God. In the kingdom of this world, we reason by the logic of this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, we reason by the power of God and from the promise of God. It is a completely different way of living; it’s transforming and we see life differently. 

In 2 Kings 6:16 we hear Elijah the prophet, through the Holy Spirit, say something to the servant that we hear angels say every time they show up. What does an angel say every time they show up? “Fear not or Do not fear.” Now, when an angel shows up on earth, where did they just come from? They have just been in Heaven with the power and the glory and the eternal majesty of God. 

Surrounded by the enemy, Elijah said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elijah prayed a prayer that I have already prayed for The Church at Severn Run. Elijah prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elijah.

So, here is Elijah standing on the wall, he is calm cool and collected, because he is living God aware and he is seeing by faith, not what the kingdom of the world can see, but he is seeing the kingdom of Heaven revealed around him. When he prays that prayer and the servants eyes are opened, then he too can see that the enemy surrounding them is also surrounded and that the army of the Lord was already there before they even saw it! 

This is true with us, and my prayer for you is that God would open your eyes that you might see. Just because you don’t see it or feel it right now or you don’t believe there is a way forward; that God is going to win in your life and that Christ can use you. That there is redemption and forgiveness of sin and there is new life and new creation and there is love and grace.

God has made you a winner in Christ! He will never leave you in a dead end. He will never lead you to a place of hopelessness or despair. At every step along the journey, there is a win for the Kingdom of Heaven to be had! That is the promise of God. Over and over again in the Bible, every time an angel shows up, you see panicked human beings who need to hear what happens when Heaven breaks through; Fearlessness and new vision. Fear Not! –Dr. Drew Shofner

Jesus is only lived from the heart!

Jesus is only lived from the heart. 

As Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount, the heart of God was beating on earth, and the very voice of God was speaking into the very ears of men and women and boys and girls in a way that never happened before. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Now, reading these words without the full context, I find this verse very discouraging. There is no way I can do this! But when you read them and understand the context they are speaking in, everything changes. 

I want to be really clear that being perfect in this context is not perfectionism. Perfectionism is a disease. Perfectionism is the expectation that things can and will be perfect here on earth and it is a lie! Perfectionism is idolatry. Perfectionism is trying to force Heaven into earth and that’s not what God is interested in doing. God is interested in saving you and leading you from earth into Heaven and the new earth. (Rev 21:1)

Perfect in this context means to be full grown; mature or complete. It means finished in purpose. It means don’t let anything keep you from growing until you become all that you are supposed to be! This is not about doing, this is about being. The call of God is not to do and earn, it is to be and to live. That is what God wants; for us to be as whole and mature and complete as all of the fullness of God Himself. 

Beyond perfectionism, there is this God call on your life to keep growing, to not settle, to refuse to stay and live small. So, why settle for being less than God’s best? There are all kinds of reasons, but remember we are not talking about acting religious, we are talking about living from a changed heart. The only way this is possible, is if we receive a heart transplant and have our diseased heart replaced by a healthy one. 

It is so hard to try to live Jesus from knowledge, it’s draining and it just wears you out; there’s no life to it! You cannot, in your own strength, live in a way that accomplishes this from your heart. This isn’t a case of having to be good enough, it is simply a case of allowing a heart exchange to happen so that you let go of your old broken dying heart and allow the heart of Jesus to exist inside of your chest. We need to stop trying to live Jesus from knowledge and realize that Jesus is only lived from the heart! -Dr. Drew Shofner
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Love can't stay small.

Matthew 22:37 

The reason that so many of us settle for less than Gods best is because we don’t love God! I’m just telling you, that is the biggest mistake that any of us could ever make in our lives. When our hearts are ignited by Jesus, and we love well, we will live bigger than our circumstances, bigger than our problems, bigger than life around us! God is infinitely bigger than all of our problems, but our biggest problem is that we have a view of God that’s just too stinking small. The reality is that "LOVE CAN’T STAY SMALL!" But the only way that this is possible, is if you let God love you! 

If you let love do its work in your life, you will grow spiritually. You will commit to following Jesus in a way that will take over your life and bless you and everyone around you for generations to come! Jesus made it simple, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and all of your soul and all of your mind.” (Matthew 22:37

If you have opened your heart and dared to believe that there is a God who knows you and loves you and delights in you. If the joy of that has seeped inside of you, it will continue to grow and take over. It is a fire that will ignite your heart and your life and it will grow and you will give your life away to Jesus! It’s not about acting and being religious. It’s about being a new person with a new freedom and accepting the love of God and accepting who you are in this world! 

Guys, remember that love can’t stay small. If you love God, your life will change and it will change for good; this is called “growth”. What I want you to do is to commit to growth by becoming spiritually mature. God’s love was never small for us. Remember the scope and the scale of this "God story" that we are in? For God so loved the world…in all of its brokenness...that He left Heaven and He came down to earth and He gave His one and only son and now, in response to love, if anyone of us would believe in Him, we are not going to perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

Our lives aren’t going to be hopeless and chained to addiction or caught in a generational curse and unhappiness. Our lives aren’t going to be utterly broken and drowning in self pity. Our lives aren’t going to be circling the toilet. No, on the opposite, we are going to have life of an everlasting quality and quantity that we can't even imagine! That’s the “God story” that we live in, and it’s not a story of legalism, it’s a story of love. It’s the Jesus Story! –Dr. Drew Shofner

The flame may be pretty, but it burns really hot!

The Flame may be pretty

Few things in life are more powerful than sexual desire; and few things destroy life more quickly. This world is selling the idea of ‘total satisfaction.’ This deadly myth, that you can be totally satisfied in this world. The world literally pumps this message into the media and into our conscience, that we are to seek sexual satisfaction and that it is our right. I just want to tell you that is a lie from hell!

You will never be sexually satisfied and fulfilled in the way that hell wants you to believe on planet earth. There is so much selfishness around the beauty of sexuality, it’s not even funny. The truth is, some of you are thinking, “Well, If my wife/husband were only more giving…if they were only more present," and you close your heart to your spouse because they aren’t the fulfilling sexual partner that your fantasy created. Get real! 

It is the nature of our brokenness and disconnection from God that nothing on earth will ever be complete and whole; only Jesus makes wholeness happen. So that means that when you are hurting and when you are wounded inside and when you need completion, you go to Him first. Let me just tell you that an affair will always be more exciting in the beginning than the reality of true life together in marriage. It’s kind of like the flare of a match. It’s going to burn real brightly, for a moment, right before it burns you up! 

When you and I have set our life on desiring Jesus and the truth of God, which will last forever, then out of that desire, what we pursue in life fills our life with great things and eternal things. But when our desire is corrupt and broken and when we give our lives over to brokenness, it just breaks our life and breaks the next generation’s even more. Isaiah 64:6 says “…our sins sweep us away like the wind.” 

I just want to leave you all with this; the only thing that can save your hurting heart is Jesus. If you are in a place where you realize that nothing else can save you, nothing else can answer the emptiness and the pain and the desire for connection and intimacy and significance than Jesus. If you are willing to sacrifice what is false for the sake of what is true, then go to Jesus and ask for His help. You and I have to make a foundational decision in our lives. Are we going to seek salvation from Jesus or are we going to seek salvation from sexuality? The flame may be pretty, but it burns really hot!Dr.Drew Shofner

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