Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Monday, June 23, 2008

YFC and A Father’s Love

Scriptures: Luke 8:1-3, Eph 6:6-9, Luke 15:11-31, Eph 5:22-27,
Matt 25:31-40, 1 Cor 13:1, 13

Sunday, Jun 15 was Father’s Day. Since the Keller’s were leading worship, Richard played guitar while Lorette started off the day by reading Psalm 71 which describes a perfect Father.

Pastor Lorne was giving the message at the Pilot Butte Rodeo on behalf of the Christian Cowboy’s Assoc and he’d taken Jessica to provide music for the service.

So back at COTH, our guest speaker was Mike Zorn from Grenfell who is the Director of the Kipling Youth Centre, which is affiliated with Youth For Christ (YFC).

He said he had two messages to pass on to us today.

The first was to talk about his recent sojourn into Ontario with YFC and how it affected him. Mike talked about how our thinking is changing with the times. People aren’t hearing what we say so we have to find other ways to tell them about Christ.

Mike said he’s always struggled with the idea that missionaries have to rely on other people for their needs. Mike comes from a farming background and although they had money, like most farmers they always needed it. But he said if you wanted something, you worked for it.

He said working at the Youth Centre for YFC is like being a missionary. That’s his job. And he’s not used to asking for money. Before he went to Ont, pride got in his way. But then God opened his eyes to what ‘support’ really means. There are biblical scriptures to back up the need to support missionaries. Mike told us to look at the first 3 verses of Luke 8 where we find Jesus and His disciples traveling from one town to another. Verse 3 says, ‘Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ So where does it leave Mike’s pride if Jesus, who has everything at His command, was accepting support from the women.

Mike said another thing opened his ‘missionary’ eyes. Churches across Canada are comfortable sending missionaries overseas and yet YFC is a mission for the youth of our nation here at home. He said when you think about it, you can go down to the mall and if you see a group of youth with their tattoos, crazy hair, etc, do you understand what they’re saying? What image are they trying to project? Why are they angry?

Mike said we don’t see the value in over missionaries to tribes in the jungles. We don’t see the end result. But we live in a country that needs missionaries to our people. In fact, other countries are sending missionaries to us. He said there are even some Korean missionaries living in Grenfell.

Mike said his calling is a missionary to the youth of Canada. He said our culture is changing so rapidly...the way we think...new technology...our language...our priorities. But he said, without spending time with teens, you can’t understand them. We need people to speak into their lives. So that’s what Mike is doing. He said he’s taking 10 hand picked kids from the Kipling Youth Centre to summer camp. But Mike said these kids can’t afford to go so if God is laying it on anyone’s heart to give support, he’ll accept it thankfully.

Mike then said the 2nd message he wanted to tell us was about our Father’s love.

He started by telling us a joke about a man taking a job as a gorilla’s caretaker. I was so engrossed listening, that I didn’t get it all down but it ended with the man in a gorilla costume falling into a lion’s cage and finding out that the lion was also just a man wearing a costume. The point of Mike’s story is that we wrap these things like costumes around us and it hides our true natures. No one is a hypocrite on purpose. But sometimes we are ‘in costume’ and sometimes we aren’t depending on who we’re talking to.

What does it mean to be a child of God? Mike said he tries to be loving and generous and yet he’s human and often fails. He gets down on himself. There are times the whole born again Christian thing is a lot of work and gets him down. But the other times when he’s running on 8 cylinders and he’s on a high are the times God has touched him.

Mike said the week in Ont was the best one in his life. God touched him and did some amazing things in his life. The whole Christian walk isn’t that hard in those times – it flows out of you. You love people. You love everyone. And that’s an exciting place to be. He said he thinks that’s a place God wants us to be. Life is hard...it’s not all cloud 9 but God wants us to minister out of Him...not out of us. That’s a trap we fall into.

What does the love of God entail? There are two loves in the bible:

Worldly love – the love of us: I do for you and you do for me. That’s a trap. We put expectations on people and if they act my way I’ll accept them and drop them if they don’t.

Mike said his first experience with love was when he was 8 years old. She was fair-haired, beautiful, cute and funny. But he was tongue-tied and couldn’t speak to her. So, Mike corralled a friend into speaking for him. Mike said he stared as his friend whispered in her ear. And he stood there as the fair-haired beauty walked up to him – and poured hot chocolate all over him. That’s worldly love.

Mike said in Greek, God’s love is agape – unconditional love. The love of a Creator for His creation. The love of a baby for his mother. Not - if you do this I’ll like you, but love with no strings attached.

God loves us 3 ways:

God loves us like a master: Look at Eph 6:6-9. In particular, v8 says, ‘...the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.’ What kind of a boss is God? Mike said for him, he’s had many jobs and many bosses. There was one that you just knew that as soon as a dirty job came Mike would have to do it. The boss would do the easy ones and Mike would get the gross ones. Mike said it bothered him. He didn’t like that boss because the boss didn’t care for his employee. And the result was that Mike gained a bad attitude toward bosses. Then, he worked for another boss who paid well and taught him what a good boss was. He was always there before the employees, stayed later than everyone and did the dangerous jobs himself. He didn’t get mad when things broke and expensive repairs needed to be fixed. He didn’t raise his voice, just got it fixed and carried on. He wouldn’t get mad if you were trying but he wouldn’t put up with wanton destruction or bad behaviour, either. Mike said it opened his eyes to the way God is a master to us. God doesn’t give us all the dirty jobs. He is a loving master. He’s so in love with us and He’s proud of us.

God loves us like a father. Mike said to look at the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31. He said that many fathers love their sons but when they get into trouble, they say, ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’. But in the parable of the prodigal son, the father saw his son a long way off and he ran to him. Mike said you have to understand the culture. First, to have seen his son a long way off meant the father was watching for his return. Next, his father was a rich man. Rich men in those days wore robes. And they didn’t run in their robes. Mike also said it was hot and so the men wouldn’t wear anything under their robe. The slaves just wore a loincloth but the rich men wore these heavy robes and walked everywhere. But the father of the prodigal son, lifted his robe and ran! He was so passionate for his son he didn’t care about his position, pride or what he looked like – he lifted his robe and ran to his son. That’s the way God loves us!

God loves us like a lover. Mike said to look at Eph 5:22-27. He said these are the ‘powder keg’ verses...wives submit to you husbands...husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. He said in the history of the church these verses have been abused especially by men toward women. And many times women have a hard time with these verses. And yet when you look in the context of the scripture, it shouldn’t be abusive. Mike told us that Christ was God and equal to God and yet He came to earth and served the church and died for the church. He said imagine finding a man that you knew would die for you in a second. That you were the apple of his eye. He would give up the riches of the world...anything...for you. Would you have a problem doing something for him, submitting to him if you knew he would never do anything to hurt you? That’s how God loves us...like lovers. It’s not a control issue.

How are we to love the world? Mike said, so often we say we need to show the world love but love isn’t a show. If we need to pretend to love or accept someone to show them love, it isn’t love. It has to be more than that...more than the programs in church.
Sometime, someone puts a burden on someone’s heart to do something but once the goal is met, you lose heart. He said especially for things like youth centres. It’s defined for kids that are hurting but after awhile it’s all about the program and raising money for the centre and sometimes the kids needs get lost.

God’s love is not a show. Mike said he’s heard it said that we may be the only Jesus the world ever sees. If that’s true then we’re in trouble because we’re not a very good Jesus most of the time. In fact, the opposite might be true. In Matt 25:31-40 Jesus is explaining that when you feed someone who’s hungry, offer clothes to someone who needs them, take care of the sick, visit someone in prison, etc, then you’re actually doing those things to him. Is that the Jesus people see in us?

Mike said that even in our current society, so often the church battles against culture but culture is culture. It’s the people and it’s what people think. We work with the people. He said in the past, you’d be expected to give a tract and walk away, letting the people find Jesus by themselves. You’d give some effort to bring Christ to the people but then the matter would be dropped. But the culture is changing. Now, people won’t even accept the tract. So, our focus needs to change – we need to get involved with people.

Are we actually moving towards Christ or away? Mike said the whole idea of friendship evangelists – that is becoming your neighbour’s friend so you can spring Christ on them at the right moment – well, he said – as soon as you steer a conversation , it’s no longer a conversation but a sales pitch. Consider the telemarketers pushing something at you. They don’t care about you, just the end result. Some people treat evangelism like that. Some people say they try and if someone doesn’t respond to the Word, they drop them. But imagine Jesus doing that. Imagine Jesus spending a few days with some prostitutes and if they don’t change, would he walk away saying I give up on you?

Mike said we need to be close to people so that Jesus’ love will overflow. To just love people and trust God to do the rest. Can we trust God to do the rest? Can we trust God to change and convert them? Is it our job? No, it’s God’s job. It’s just our job to love them. People are more in need of our presence than our knowledge.

Mike ended with these 2 scriptures: 1 cor 13:1 ‘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.’ And then in v13 ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’

If you would like to speak to Mike Zorn about this msg or YFC, please email here and I'll pass your msg along.
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