What is the purpose that He's called us to? What are we focusing our love and faith on? It comes down to John 3:16. We're here to share the good news that Christ loves us. Take Young Life for example, If Young Life quits tomorrow, we'd say, "Gosh, what a shame. Now, what were we talking about? What's our strategy? What's our next step?" You're not here for money, you're here for kids. Let's look at Philippians 1:21, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Then verse 22 says, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far -- but it is more necessary for me to remain in the body." Why can't we have that passion that kids know Christ, that our friends know Christ. Turn to Romans 9. Do you get the picture that he would give up anything in the world for Christ? Verse 2 says, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers..." How would you like to have him on your Young Life team or as a friend --with his passion for others to know Christ? Will they see our passion, or do we just communicate that it would be nice for them to know Christ? Could I even come close to saying, "I wish I were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of these kids, these friends to know Christ." Is your heart like this?
Let's look at 2 Corinthians 11, starting with verse 23. Paul says, "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked.." You know, I wonder --I keep looking for it here between the lines. I'm looking for some crack in here that says, "gosh, why me?" But Paul says no -- look, I'm here for you! All right let's find a place where he is not in danger, in these next few verses. "I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles..." I think that covers it!"... in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea..." I mean, where is this guy going to go?"... I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.. besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." Is there a passion here? How would you like to have him be your friend are on your Young Life team? Would it make a difference? How would he love the furthest one out and the closest one in? Do you think anybody would have any problem with him giving his life for anybody there? Do you think he would bellyache about the food, about how he was treated? What would happen if all of us here would make the commitment that from this day forward that we are going to do everything we can to let God at us, to be the person in Him who would absolutely give our lives for kids and friends to know Christ? Because if we don't, I don't know anybody else that would do it. I have been going to the high school for 30 plus years. I absolutely know that the churches are doing a good work. I know that, and I am thankful for them. But in 30 plus years I have never run into anybody that is there. I know there are exceptions, but I never have seen it. It is our passion that kids know Christ, is that why we're doing this?
Let's take a look at Jesus' passion. Look at John 4, at the woman at the well. Jesus is resting because he is absolutely exhausted and sends the disciples on ahead, and this gal comes up, this Samaritan "evil woman," I mean, she's a lonely gal. This is why he came --his love for the lost. We already know that he gave his life, but instead of choking her and saying, accept me as the Messiah, he says, will you get me some water? He's tired, but all of a sudden he comes to life when this woman comes up. You see him this way all through the Scripture for the lost. I am positive that he says with love and acceptance, where is your husband? And then he tells her he's the Messiah -- and she brings the whole town out to see him! Now do you think she went into town and said, come on, I want you to come see the Messiah that just condemned me to judgement? No way! His passion was how she felt his acceptance.
Remember in Mark 6, he sent them out two by two. And then they came back so excited and exhausted. Let's take Young Life for example again. You know how we feel after club where we've really given ourselves and we come back exhausted? And Jesus prompts them and says, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Wouldn't that be fantastic? They were exhausted, and Jesus says, come away alone. So they get in the boat, and some people saw and ran over to the other side. Now when they get to the other side and see this, now that's when I'd want to grumble a little maybe if I were a disciple. But Jesus comes alive at this point, and it says, "He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd." And then the disciples sit down for this wonderful talk, and I'm sure they were glad now that the people didn't miss it. Then the disciples come to Jesus again and say okay, here's a quiet place, it's late, send them away. And Jesus says no, let's feed them. I don't 'think he wanted to do some huge miracle, I think he just had compassion for them. Can you see his passion? Would it make a difference if Young Life or a church had him as your speaker? I'm talking about the attitude. Would it make a difference if we had that passion? Take Young Life summer assignment teams for example. Everybody on the assignment team, the work crew, the summer staff, is there for Christ, and the passion should be, "Gosh, we may never have another chance!" Would that make a difference? Every lunch, every canoe breakfast, every ropes course.. so that at the end, during the say-so that night, you can't beat those work crew kids and those summer staff folks out of that say-so club, because those campers were on their prayer list, and they have a passion to see what happens in their lives, like Paul, like Jesus, like you do.
Look at Luke 16 at the parable where the rich man dies. He ends up in hell, "where he was in torment." He calls to Abraham, "Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire." Now this is Jesus telling this parable --not some radical evangelist talking about this, it is Jesus saying a rich man is in torment in hell. So the rich man finds out he is stuck in this torment and he begs Abraham, "Send Lazarus... let him warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment." Is there passion? Jesus said they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. This is one of the greatest passages on the authority of scripture. I don't read it much, I've never shared it in club, but it is the truth. Without Christ, there is no hope. People die like flies on this earth, but here is another life where, without Christ, there is no hope. The consequences are devastating.
There was a guy that lived across the hall from me in college. He was on the football team with me. I'll tell you, he never would have wanted Christ. I never asked him to come to the Bible studies in my room. I ran into him at a Young Life conference years ago, and I was so happy to see him. "Marv, it's fantastic to see you here!" He says, "Why didn't you ever tell me about Christ?" I just thought up some funny response, and he said, "No, why didn't you tell me?" I joked again, and he said, "Really -- why not?" You know, I probably didn't want to hurt his feelings, I probably was a coward, and I probably didn't think he would be in hell some day with his finger in his mouth begging for a drop of water. I don't think God wants us to choke people with the gospel, but I think he wants us to be passionate lovers, prayers, accepting everyone. I know some people who don't want us to have the say-so at the end of Young Life camp, because it might make people feel bad. You know, I'd rather have someone feel bad there at the say-so than with Abraham begging him to go warn someone else. We don't have to be afraid of the effects of the gospel. So often we try to get our campaigner kids to live for Christ, so that their friends can see the effects of Christ, and then when a new kid comes to Christ and is excited, we want to hide him! We would rather be cursed and cut off from Christ for them. If they know that, then that's great. But let's not hide the truth that Christ changes people --and that these new ones in Christ can be happy about it. We can affirm those kids that don't stand and say, "Hey, I love you, and I'm with you as you take your time with this decision." And they are saying, "Gosh I wish I had done what Joe did and stood up."
Without love we are nothing, without faith we are nothing, but without Christ's passion for the sake of the lost, we are lost--we are lost in what our call is. Again with Young Life and their camps, they're at camp to see Christ, and they are going to see it in our attitudes, our work, and the way we look at them and draw them in. Why can't we be that person at camp and at club and at work? Why don't we want to give our lives so that others know Christ? If I am in ministry and I don't feel this, I want to get another job then! It's not worth it otherwise.
How many of you have seen "Schindler's List?" In 30 plus years of never seeing anybody at the high school, I'll tell you, Schindler was there. He was with these depraved Nazis -- he was a buddy of that guy that shot little kids. We're buddies with people just like that. Thank God. And so was Paul, and Jesus -- he hung out with Judas! But he was there -- you and I are there, right? We're there at the school and in our work place and with our friends and family. And then Schindler begins to get with it. He begins to absolutely have passion for these people, and you see it. And he doesn't withdraw then -- he was there, like you are. And then Schindler makes a list. And then one day, he makes his move. He's going to buy the Jews with all that he had made in his business. And he goes through his list. You know, if kids knew what you and I knew, they would beg you to be put on your list. Do you have a list? Why did Schindler have a list and you don't have a list?
So then the war is over, and Schindler tells the Jews he saved, "I'll probably be captured as a war criminal." We might be misunderstood, too. Some of our parents, friends, and neighbors don't understand. So one of the Jews gives him a ring made out of gold fillings from their pulled teeth. So Schindler puts it on his finger, and then he just breaks. "I could have done more." He began to look around -- the pin on his lapel, his hat, his car --things that he could have sold to buy more Jews' freedom. "I could have done more." At the end of the movie, it shows the number of descendants of those on Schindler's list. How is our list coming along? There are going to be thousands of kids and adults that will find out what it means to be able to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, to love others and be loved, and we can have a part in that. We want to be a people of passion in this call. That's all were about.
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