Today @ The Gathering: I Will Serve a Noble Cause (or wander aimlessly through life, bored, broken, beat-up and bitter)
You have two choices in life, it seems to me: one, be a taker, the other, be a giver.
The takers are easy to spot. We’ve seen them, been abused by them; some of us are even married to them: people who just seem to wander aimlessly through life, taking what they need without regard to why they need it, or without the feeling to give anything back.
In this series, we’ve been talking about living beyond the level of mediocrity. It’s at this point that mediocrity becomes easy to spot and well-defined. The person who is a taker, self-centered, selfish, and makes life all about them will always live somewhere in the mediocre middle. They never awaken to the fact that life is a gift, that our Creator created us in His image so like Him, we could make something of our lives.
Anyone who understands a life well-lived, understands that generosity is at the core. People who are generous succeed. As I’ve said many times, life severely punishes the lazy but lavishly rewards the diligent. The diligent are those who get up and pour into life, who give of their time, talents and treasures to make something of themselves; to connect to other people who are making something of themselves. The only question that the giver has is, “What is my noble cause?”
A noble cause can be defined this way: A noble cause is anything whose motivation is love and whose ultimate mission is freedom.
Two things I’ve found to be true in my life and the lives of others are: love is the power that truly sets you free and, once you’re set free by love, life begins to expand and open up limitless possibilities on how you too can love others for the purpose of setting them free. Free from what, you might ask? Well certainly political freedom is important. Financial freedom seems to be essential. But I am talking about a freedom at the core of our soul where we’re set free from fear, doubt, and the dread that life has no meaning.
This morning we talked about the importance of the four loves. These four loves are so important, I think you need to download the podcast, and listen to the mp3 here online to really understand what it means to express the four loves. Remember what we talked about: the love of self for self’s sake, the love of God for self’s sake, the love of God for God’s sake, and the love of self for God’s sake.
We also talked about the three freedoms, and there have to be three. Just like a milk stool needs three legs to stand up, freedom needs three important understandings to truly be freedom.
- There is the freedom from. Freedom from fear, bondage, the overwhelming feeling that my life doesn’t matter, that my life is aimless, that my existence is random, that there is no such thing as good or evil, right or wrong, or a future toward which I can aspire.
- The freedom under. Jesus said his primary mission was to come and set us free. But once He sets us free, that freedom is protected by living a life under His authority and lordship. When you go out in the rain, you put up your umbrella, and it’s under the umbrella where you stay dry and safe from the elements. A freedom from must also be a freedom under. A freedom from fear is only possible when you live with the freedom under the authority of Jesus Christ. You love Him, obey Him, and serve Him with all your heart and soul.
- The freedom to. The freedom to be all God had in mind when He created you to live up to your destiny and design, to make something of your life, your relationships, your gifts, and your talents.
We ended with the Renegade mantra: Live free, have fun, change the world. This is what all of us crave and what we blossom under when we live it out every day.
Make sure you join us next week for Easter as we begin a brand new series called HOW: Learning how to close the gap between belief and behavior. During this series we’ll give you practical steps on how to put feet on your faith. Also be sure to sign up for our Gathering 4 Guys beginning April 6th. I announced today where we’ll be meeting. And also check out our “Making Marriage Fun Again” web site and register for this live event on April 30th, just a little over a month away.
Marriage in America is in trouble because Americans don’t seem to know what it takes to be married over a lifetime.
We’re great at getting married. As a matter of fact, television is filled with shows about picking out dresses, and getting married, and brides gone wild, and a thousand other variations on the whole “getting married” idea. Few of us really understand what it takes to be married over a lifetime.
There are a lot of symptoms that people point to for the reasons marriages break up. My good friend Dave Ramsey says that the number one reason marriages break up in America is over money fights and disagreements. And with my experience counseling with couples I would tend to agree with that.
But I hear other experts talk about sexual infidelity, lack of communication, lack of shared values, and other important issues.
But if you take all of those symptoms (money fights, sexual infidelity, lack of communication) and really look at them closely, here is the conclusion, at least, I’ve come to. The number one reason why marriages in America break up is because you’re not on the same page.
Have you ever heard that phrase? Maybe it’s at work and you say, “You know we’re really not on the same page here on this project.” It’s true also in sports. Football has a playbook. You run the plays. You have to be on the same page to run the same plays. The truth of the matter is, that’s true in all relationships.
The question is, how do you get on the same page and stay on the same page? That’s equally as important because once you get on the same page, it’s work to stay there over a lifetime.
Ask yourself these questions: If you and your spouse were on the same page, would you be talking more? Would you be laughing more? Would you have more money if you were on the same page when it comes to your finances and particularly your philosophy of debt?
How about parenting? Wouldn’t that be easier, better, more productive if you were on the same page? We all know that children love dividing parents and pitting them against one another. How can they do that? You’re not on the same page.
One of the things Paula and I worked hard at on our “Making Marriage Fun Again” Live Event, is to help people get on the same page and know how to stay on the same page. Really that’s the key to an amazing marriage: getting and staying on the same page. Here is our promise for those who attend our “Making Marriage Fun Again” Live Events. We guarantee that before you leave this event, you and your spouse will be on the same page. Staying on the same page afterward will be up to you. But you will have new tools and motivations to make it happen.