Selfless love 4 17-2010


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Selfless love talk delivered by Bill and Dawn Bowan at the Young Couples Fellowship at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. April 17, 2010.

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  • BILL
  • BILL Welcome As we focus our thoughts on what it means to show selfless love let’s read 1 Corinthians 1-8. It is the foundational passage for our series
  • Dawn reads Bill prays After we read the verse we’ll pray
  • Dawn Last week Shane & Andrea used 1 Corinthians and a number of other verses to speak to us about unconditional love Read / Briefly touch on all 4 points Today we are going to speak on Christ’s call for selfless love and cover how that specifically applies to a Godly marriage
  • Dawn Tonight we are going to contrast those expectations of selfishness with God’s desire for our lives and marriages First, we’ll consider why it’s so hard for many people to have an attitude of selflessness today Next, we’ll define a biblical understanding of selfless love Then, we’ll talk about our call to live that example and what it means Finally, we’ll apply selfless servanthood to marriage
  • BILL Discuss how society points to focus on the individual… prior to marriage, you may have decades of self focus. There could also be a fear that if you depend on each other, you will fall short. Perhaps talk about our cultures understanding of the role or self and defining selflessness in relationships
  • BILL It’s the “kid’s today” mentality for every generation to be critical of the next, but… Just about everyone in this room falls somewhere on the generational spectrum between Gen X and Millennial What we’ve been told is that our generation is exceedingly self-focused, even by the standards of our society We have little patience and short attention spans We want things now and we want them our way HR departments at many businesses now are offering specific training about how to handle our mindsets How did we get this way? Dr. Foster Cline and Jim Fay: 1990 book Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility [1 Many of us develop this mentality because we have what they term as “helicopter parents” that hover above and around us making sure everything works out by for us waking us up, doing our homework, harassing our teacher about poor grades, generally making sure we avoid the trials and lessons that are supposed to be part of the adolescent experience Example: One mom took her daughter’s entrance exams because she didn’t trust her daughter to do well enough to get into the mom’s preferred school This leads to a mentality that everything should work out in our best interests and if it looks like that’s not going to happen then we should quit or turn to someone that will bail us out. We have accepted and embraced this outlook In short, we become self-centered, self-focuses, and generally selfish And this is the attitude that we bring into our relationships and eventually marriage
  • Dawn Gary Thomas writes in Sacred Marriage that it takes most couples between 9-14 years to stop referring to “I” and “me” in marriage and start thinking in terms of “we” Unfortunately many marriages don’t last long enough to get to this point. According to the U.S. census bureau the average length of an American marriage is 8 years! As these statistics show, without Christ is almost impossible to sustain a selfless attitude towards marriage over time That’s why we need to look towards Christ’s example
  • BILL
  • BILL Jesus’ response to the mother of James and John when she requests that her children be seated next to him in Heaven She was the Biblical example of the helicopter parent! Disciples could only see the benefit to themselves at this point from following Jesus Believed he was the Messiah, but also thought his kingdom would be established on Earth
  • Bill This passage takes place just days after Palm Sunday when Jesus is hailed by the public as the “Messiah” Jesus’ personal example to the disciples only hours before he was betrayed Serves every disciple, include Judas who would betray him
  • BILL
  • BILL
  • Bill Add more detail / additional verses explaining what it means to “die to oneself” Dying to oneself and becoming a servant can take many forms – may be as simple as taking out the trash or picking up groceries for a neighbor May be setting aside personal time each day to pray / study scripture May be opening up to talk with your spouse showing vulnerability
  • Dawn
  • Dawn
  • Dawn
  • Dawn Each give an example of how we’ve served the other
  • Dawn
  • Dawn Many people pretend to love others – how to speak kindly, avoid hurting feelings, etc. We may even be skilled in pretending to feel moved with compassion when we hear of others’ needs… But God calls us to real and sincere love. This requires concentration and effort, helping others become better people No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ does
  • Dawn Husbands are called to follow the example Christ sets for the Church Wives are to strive to be the holy Church
  • Dawn Husbands are called to follow the example Christ sets for the Church Wives are to strive to be the holy Church
  • BILL As Shane mentioned last week, Pete Briscoe recently preached series of messages on Ephesians One of his main points about this passage is the concept that one + one = one! We are to be joined together as one in marriage and Christ and the Church are joined together This is why Paul continues the analogy of the Christ and the Church when talking about marriage Although we are told “two become one” on our wedding day the reality is that this process usually takes much longer Remember, Gary Thomas said the process can take 9 to 14 years from “me” to “we” Oneness means that we are both fully committed and engaged in our marriage Oneness means that we think about what’s best for “us” even if it requires one to be selfless to the other Oneness means we are selfless even when we don’t “feel” like being selfless
  • BILL
  • Dawn Greenup Story A couple we know who have been married for several years exhibits Selfless Love every day in a way that challenges Bill and I to think about love from Christ's point of view.  This couple has a love for life and for each other and for Christ that is clearly evident when you first meet them... the wife is bubbly and joyful and the husband clearly loves his wife and focuses on putting Christ first in their decisions as a couple.  They have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren who they love spending time with.  Over 20 years ago, they made the decision to have the wife's mother move into their home.  She was suffering from early stages of MS and needed care and they could not bare to put her into a nursing home facility.  There have been ups and downs over the years, but she remains in their home, under their care and watch after 20 years of her body slowly being overtaken by the disease.  This story strikes us b/c we think about the normal stresses of a few decades of marriage - career changes, children growing into teenagers, financial pressures, etc and to handle all of this with a mother-in-law under your roof puts the need to lean on Christ to a whole new level!  We hope that this story opens your eyes to the fact that Christ will give you strength and love to endure these types of decisions you may have to face in your marriage.
  • BILL & Dawn Bill will discuss the first 2 / Dawn the second 2 points Perhaps discuss how long it takes to build these habits in your marriage… 9-14 to think “us” vs “me”
  • Dawn
  • Selfless love 4 17-2010

    1. 1. Love Like Christ April 17, 2010
    2. 2. I Corinthians 13: 1-8 <ul><li>1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. </li></ul>
    3. 3. I Corinthians 13: 1-8 <ul><li>4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Last Week’s Focus: Unconditional Love <ul><li>Unconditional Love is Active </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditional Love is Sacrificial </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditional Love is Kind </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditional Love is Persevering </li></ul>
    5. 5. Selfless Love <ul><li>Does our culture encourage selfless love? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we model Christ’s example of selfless love? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it important to be selfless? </li></ul><ul><li>What does selfless love look like in marriage? </li></ul>
    6. 7. First question – How selfless are we? <ul><li>Generation X through Millennials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short sighted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short attention spans </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How did we get this way </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helicopter parenting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What does it mean for our marriage? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are we committed to ourselves or our marriage? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do “two become one”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can we live our faith in our marriage? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Marriage Statistics <ul><li>Marriage, like most things takes time! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most couples need 9-14 years to develop a “oneness” in marriage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average marriages only last 8 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfortunately Christians follow this trend </li></ul></ul>
    8. 10. Matthew 20 : 26-28 <ul><li>26 …whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. </li></ul>
    9. 11. John 13 : 4-5 <ul><li>4 So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. </li></ul>
    10. 13. Philippians 2 : 3-4 <ul><li>3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. </li></ul>
    11. 14. Daily Focus on Selflessness <ul><li>“ Each day we must die to our own desires and rise as a servant. Each day we are called to identify with the suffering Christ on the cross, and then be empowered by the resurrected Christ. We die to our expectations, our demands, and our fears. We rise to compromise, service and courage.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage </li></ul>
    12. 15. What should drive our selfless living? <ul><li>“ The first purpose in marriage – beyond happiness, sexual expression, the bearing of children, companionship, mutual care and provision, or anything else – is to please God. The challenge, of course, is that it is utterly selfless living; rather than asking, “What will make me happy?” we are told we must ask, “What will make God happy?” </li></ul><ul><li>- Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage </li></ul>
    13. 16. Romantic Sunset on the Lake?
    14. 17. Family Trip 2009
    15. 18. What do we need to remember about selfless love? <ul><li>We need to be God-dependent and not self-dependent or spouse-dependent. </li></ul><ul><li>There are times to be a servant and times to be served. </li></ul><ul><li>Our sacrifice might go unnoticed at times. </li></ul>
    16. 20. Romans 12 : 9-13 <ul><li>9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. </li></ul>
    17. 21. Ephesians 5 : 25-33 <ul><li>25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkles or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. </li></ul>
    18. 22. Ephesians 5 : 25-33 <ul><li>29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect the husband. </li></ul>
    19. 23. One + One = One! <ul><li>We are to be joined together as one in marriage and Christ and the Church are joined together </li></ul><ul><li>When we are joined together in marriage we cease to be separate individuals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often this reality does not manifest itself immediately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oneness cannot happen without </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Selflessness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A personal relationship with Christ </li></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 24. Celebrating Our 6 th Anniversary
    21. 26. How can you demonstrate selfless love in your marriage? <ul><li>Understand the value in the small stuff. </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge yourself to respond as Christ would. </li></ul><ul><li>Make spiritual growth an individual priority and a priority as a couple. </li></ul><ul><li>Think long term when responding to your spouse. </li></ul>
    22. 27. Small Group Discussion <ul><li>Jesus was the most powerful person to ever walk this earth, and he chose to serve. How does this example speak to the way a Christian husband and wife should treat each other? </li></ul><ul><li>Name an example of a time when your spouse demonstrated selflessness. </li></ul><ul><li>What practical ways have you and your spouse focused on spiritual growth in your marriage? </li></ul><ul><li>Name an example of a married couple you know who exhibits selflessness and who are God-focused. </li></ul>