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Craig Groeschel - Mission-Driven Relationship Goals



Well, it's great to have you with us today at all of our Life.Church locations all over the world at Church Online. And our Open Network Church Partners, we love you guys. Is anybody ready to hear from God's Word today, all of our churches? You are really ready, I can feel it, on the first row. Now, we are in Part Two of a message series called Relationship Goals. I hope that all of you in one form or another have some very meaningful goals. You likely have some financial goals, you might have some business goals, you might have some spiritual goals, you might have some fitness goals. I hope that you have some relationship goals, that we're seeking God, to honor him in our relationships.

If you're on social media, you'll likely see the hashtag every now and then, #relationshipgoals. It's been used 11 million times. If ever I post a picture with my bride, Amy, inevitably, somebody says, #relationshipgoals, we want something like that. I don't recommend you always click on the hashtags because there's some funky stuff on the hashtags, but I've found some fun and entertaining pictures under the hashtag relationship, well, let me show you a couple of them just for fun. There's three things wrong with this picture. One is the cat in the lap. The second is the cat by the TV. The third is the choice of what they're watching together, but if that's your goal, that's fine with me, you can honor God in many different ways. This next one is funny to me, #relationshipgoals, whatever, okay? This is the photo you take right before going, whoops, sorry, we're going to the emergency room. I'm sorry, dear, that didn't mean to let go.

The third one, I've got no idea what this means. What part of any of that is a goal that any sane person would ever have in their whole life? I'm just imagining being on vacation with Amy, looking at some sharks, and saying, I got an amazing idea. Just put you in a skimpy top, I'll hold you with one arm as you hang over at the right time. You do this, hanging over sharks, and we'll call that a really meaningful day. If you have some goals in your relationships, I hope they're incredibly meaningful goals. In this message series, we recognize we don't want what normal people have when normal is hurting, afraid, divorced, broken, insecure, we want something different. To have something different, we must have some different goals. We have four of them for our marriages. If you missed last week, let me review them. The first goal that we have is we want to be Christ-Centered in all that we do.

There's a big difference, though, between calling yourself a Christian and actually living a Christ-Centered life. We also want to be Mission-Driven, we'll talk about this today. We're Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Devil-Kicking, standing strong together, and we are Covenant-Keeping. I would love to have all of you at all of our churches help me out, let's say these aloud. We have some goals, what are they? We're gonna be Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, devil kickin', Covenant-Keeping. Again, like you mean it, what are our goals? We're gonna be Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Devil-Kicking, Covenant-Keeping. Today, I wanna talk to you about being Mission-Driven, but I must warn you, up front, this message is going to take some work on your part. If you were with us last week, I talked about being Christ-Centered, and I gave you one small application to simply pray together every day. A 30-second prayer, a 60-second prayer, I even wrote the prayer for you. It doesn't get any easier than that. This one, though, is going to take a little bit of work, and I need to warn you ahead of time.

If you're ready to do a little bit of work, say I'm ready, are you ready? Whenever I used to do pre-marital counseling, I had a technique. I tried to push the couple in different ways to help them prepare. Here's my little secret behind the scenes. I would almost always look at the couple a few minutes into our time together. They would walk in, always the same, lovey dovey dovey dovey, snuggly, snuggly, snuggly, snuggly, touching each other all over the place, you know, hearts floating in the air, and at some point, I would say, you know what, I'm a little bit confused. I'm not really convinced you should get married. And I'd watch the blood drain out of their face. And what I would do is I'd try to force them to defend and to give me a real strong reason why they should get married. And so I'd say, why do you wanna get married, anyway? Why do you think you're supposed to get married? And almost inevitably, they'd go silent, and then one of them, whoever's the spokesperson, there's always one.

And if you don't know who you are, you're the one. The spokesperson would always speak up, and I'd say, why do you think you're supposed to get married, anyway? I'm not sure you are. And they go, oh. It's long, and one thing. And then say somethin' like, because we'll be happy? Because we're in love? Because all the love songs on the radio make sense? Because we'll be happy! And what I would try to help them see is that the foundation of a Godly marriage isn't happiness, it's unity, it's unity. Happiness may be the byproduct of a unified marriage, but happiness can come and go. We must be unified around something bigger than ourselves. I wanna talk to you about that today. We're gonna talk about being unified in mission, being Mission-Driven. Genesis 1:27 says this, God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God, He created them, male and female, He created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Go do your own thing". Follow your heart, do whatever makes you happy. No, God blessed them and said to them, the man and the woman, "Be fruitful and increase in number. Fill the earth, and subdue it".

In other words, the very first thing God said to this couple was, here is your mission, should you choose to accept it, is going to be to go create, multiply, subdue, conquer the earth. It's so interesting to me that the very first thing that God says to the very first couple is, you have a mission. The very last thing that Jesus said before He ascended into heaven is, here is your mission. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, make disciples, baptizing in the name of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do everything that my Father's commanded them to do. You have a mission. Why should you get married? Because we can serve God better together than we can apart. The very first thing God says, here is your mission. Go out and multiply, subdue the earth, conquer it. Verse 24 of Genesis Two says, this explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are, what, let's say it aloud, the two are united into one.

What does God want to do? God wants to unite, God wants to unite, God wants to unite. The problem is, what God seeks to unite, the devil schemes to divide. Whatever matters to God, our spiritual enemy hates. You can look at the story of Adam and Eve, God creates them, God gives them a mission, they are happy, they are blessed, they are content, they are fulfilled, they are satisfied, they're in love. After all, they're naked in Paradise. How much better could it get than that? Then, an enemy comes up in the form of a serpent. And the enemy, the force of darkness, wants to disrupt their relationship with God, wants to distract them from their divine mission, and he wants to destroy their unity. So what does the serpent do? What God wants to unite, the devil wants to divide. The first thing the serpent does is he separates Eve from Adam. Psst, Eve, come over here, psst, psst, away from your spouse. Psst, psst, psst, psst, psst.

I just imagine this, maybe it's hissing. I don't know what it is, this is, you say here. Yeah, psst, and then, the serpent says, did God really say you're not supposed to eat from the fruit of that one tree? The first thing the serpent does is questions the Word of God. And then, the serpent presents her with some pleasing fruit in some form, and says, doesn't this look delicious? You want this, what you don't have is what you need to be happy, fulfilled, and satisfied. She takes a bite of it, and it opens her eyes, and she runs over to her husband, says, this is amazing, you've gotta try this with me, it's so incredible. And he eats it, and suddenly, sin enters the world, and they realize, we're naked, and we feel so ashamed. God comes onto the scene, and says, what in the world happened? And suddenly, what was united becomes divided. What does Adam do, the first thing Adam does is he blames both God and Eve. Watch him, he says, God says, what happened? Adam says, well, this woman who you put here with me, gave me the fruit to eat. Eve blames the serpent, and the serpent doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Hashtag #dadjoke, hashtag #preacherjoke, hashtag #I'vebeenwaitingtousethatsinceseminary, hashtag #I'llprobablyneveruseitagain, but you never know until you try. You guys are so gracious. My kids will correct me on that later on today. Dad, Dad, don't ever say that again. The two will become one flesh, what God united, the devil schemed to divide. Unity in mission. Amos 3:3, Amos asks this great question, he asked the question, can two people walk together without agreeing on direction? Do we have agreement? Are we moving in the same direction? Imagine if I'm with Amy, and we're goin' on a walk. Can we get to the same destination if I say, I'm going this way, and she says, I'm going that way? We cannot get there. In fact, if the enemy was to divide, what is division, di means divided or two, vision is direction or mission, division is simply two different directions, two visions. How can we get somewhere with two visions? How can we please God with two different visions? In fact, Proverbs says this, where there is no vision, the people perish. We could loosely apply that to marriages. Where there is no unity in mission in marriage, we often find ourselves struggling. I'll do my thing, you do your thing, what God wants to unite, the enemy wants to divide. Why are you supposed to get married? What's your marriage about, um.

One of the greatest tragedies in marriage is when two people are together, but they're not united. When two people are together, but they're not united. If you ever asked me, what's your favorite couple in the Bible, there is this amazingly cool couple that many people have never heard of. My favorite couple in the Bible is not Adam and Eve, it's not Ruth and Boaz, though they're pretty cool. It's not Rachel and Jacob, though they're pretty cool. It's not Mary and Joseph, it's not Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines, but you gotta admit, it's the most complicated thing you could ever imagine. Imagine 700 weddings, imagine 700 women getting mad at you, all wanting to jump out of a moving vehicle when they're mad at you. You had to be here last week to know what I'm talkin' about, but that's a whole 'nother story. My favorite couple in the Bible is a couple you may not have ever heard of. They're only mentioned six times in the Bible, but what I love about this couple is every time that one spouse is mentioned, the other spouse is always mentioned. You never hear the wife without the husband, the husband without the wife, you always hear them mentioned together, and if you ask me what made them strong, I'm gonna answer you beyond a shadow of a doubt what made them strong is this couple was Christ-Centered, and they were incredibly Mission-Driven.

I'll show you this couple, their names are Priscilla and Aquila. Romans 16:3-5 gives us some insight about this married couple. Give my greetings, Paul says, to Priscilla and Aquila, my coworkers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. Now, watch this, in fact, they, not one of them, but both of them, one time risked their lives for me. Paul says, I'm thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home. What do we know about this couple? We know they together supported Paul's ministry. We know they both risked their lives for Paul at one point. We know that they led a Life Group. Did you see that? Greet the church that meets in their home. They led a Life, and what we know about them is they were incredibly powerful because they were united in mission. Priscilla and Aquila. God wants to unite you together to do something significant for His glory. Now, for those of you that are not married, you may go, oh, my gosh, I hate this sermon, now, what does this apply to me? What am I supposed to do with this?

Well, if you were here with us last week, we talked about the idea of this. If you ever desire a Christ-Centered marriage, if you want a Christ-Centered marriage in the future, you're gonna wanna live a Christ-Centered life today. Let me apply this week's message this way. If you want a God-honoring, Mission-Driven marriage in the future, then you live a God-honoring, Mission-Driven life today, to you not waiting on some spouse to complete you. Jesus is the one who completes you. You can serve him fully and faithfully today. Your greatest goal is not to get married. Your greatest goal is to honor God. If he chooses someone to come along beside you, you worship him for that, but you don't need that to honor him today. You don't wait until the future. You live a Mission-Driven life today. In fact, I heard about this one girl, that was a amazing young girl raised in the church, godly parents, and she went off to school, and she joined a sorority like a lot of girls do. And you know what they do in sorority, you got little chants, you know, well, I don't know how it goes. But anyway, they invited her to a party during rush, and she went to the party, and they were, everybody's drinkin' from the keg, and she never did that, but she thought, well, everybody else is, I'm gonna do that. She drank a little bit, and then she drank too much.

So she did it again and again and again, and before long, someone offered her something a little harder, some drugs, and being drunk, she compromised, took some drugs, ended up going too far with one guy. Since she went too far with one guy, she went too far with many guys, and she fell head on into the hard party scene. Great Christian girl gets tripped up. Couple years into it, she's lost in the middle of this very dark world, and she sees a guy that's everything she wanted the whole time she was growin' up. He's cute, he's Godly, he's bold. He's a leader in his fraternity, and she goes home and says, Mom, I saw the most amazing man. He's everything I've ever dreamed about, I prayed about this guy when I was growin' up. And she described him to the mom, and the mom looked back and said, sweetheart, not in a condemning way, but in a very loving way. She said, baby, you need to acknowledge, a guy like that is not looking for a girl that's living like you're living right now. You don't wait until the future to get your life on track with Jesus.

If you want a God-honoring, Mission-Driven relationship in the future, your only plan is to live a God-honoring, Mission-Driven life today. I said it last week, I wanna say it again, I'll probably say it next week. You don't build a life of righteousness in the future on a foundation of sin today. What do you do? If you're not married, and you hope one day for a great relationship, I like what my friend Pastor Andy Stanley says. He says, become the person that you're looking for, is looking for. Become the type of person that you'll want to marry one day is looking for. Today, you live a God-honoring life. So what do you do? With everything in you, you say, I'm just, I'm walking towards Jesus, I'm pursuing Jesus. Jesus is my focus, He is my will. I wanna show His love in this world, I wanna make a difference in this world. And as you're walking towards Jesus, every now and then, what I want you, keep your eyes focused on Jesus, the author and the director of your faith.

Every now and then, just glance to the side. Just for a moment. Not for long, your target, but just, just look for a second, and see, is there anyone relatively attractive walking towards Jesus like you, with the same passion, the same pace? And if you see her, or you see him, you just kinda, and then you start walking together. And you develop a friendship around serving Jesus. Not around taking your clothes off and playin' knock-knock in the middle of the night. Don't you get all holy on me and act like you don't know what I'm talkin' about. Preacher just say that, you, gah. Not around your favorite sports team, not around whatever your favorite rock group is, "♪Bop bop bop♪". You're walking toward Jesus with everything, you develop a spiritual relationship. And then, one day, when you recognize, I actually think we can serve Jesus better together than we can apart. You quote Scripture to that person. I'm gonna give you my line I said to Amy. I said, hey, come, glorify the Lord with me.

Let us exalt His name together. Hashtag #preachergamerightthere, okay? You invite them. Why you gettin' married? I'm not so sure you should get married. There's no um, why you gettin' married? Because we can serve Jesus better together than we can apart. What's your goal, my goal is to be Christ-Centered. Somebody help me, to be Mission-Driven, to be Devil-Kicking and to be Covenant-Keeping. And that is why we're comin' together. What's your mission? What do you stand for? If you are married, let me ask you. What is your mission? Where do you serve, where do you glorify God? You might say, I don't know what you're talkin' about, Pastor Craig, does that mean we drive the golf cart together at church, maybe. But it's probably much broader than that. It may be partially what you do to glorify God in the church, but hopefully, it's also what you do to glorify God outside of the church. Because the church was never meant to be contained inside of a building, but we are the body of Christ released into the world to make a difference seven days a week, all for the glory of God.

What is your mission, together, as a couple? What unites you? Think about this, what are the most unifying forces on Planet Earth? If there's anything that unites, what unites? There's two things. There's a common mission that unites, and a common enemy. If we're in, tryin' to do somethin' together, that unites us. If we hate the same thing, that unites us. You know how it is at work, you can hate that girl all day long, and then you get a boss that everybody hates, and you hate the boss together, and you like that girl you didn't like before because you hate the boss together? Maybe none of you are that real, okay, I don't know, but I've read about it before, okay? It's a common enemy and a common mission that unites us. So I'll ask you, if you are married, what do you both righteously love, the mission, and what do you both righteously hate, that thing that just, that you look at it in the world and say, God wouldn't like this, on behalf of Him, I don't, either. And where you see those things unite, that's often an indication to a great place to perhaps God has joined you together to make a difference in this world.

Maybe you both love hospitality and cooking, and so you see it as a very real ministry to show the love of Jesus by making meals. Oh, I've been on the receiving side, it's a great thing. When someone has a baby, when someone loses someone, you make meals. Maybe you hate whenever people are coming to church and feel all alone, and so you, together, take the 8:30 service at your campus, and we're gonna aggressively-passively show the love of Jesus to people as they come in. Maybe you used to be in debt, and you took a class, and now, you're out of debt. You love financial freedom, and you hate the bondage of livin' paycheck to paycheck. So you lead a Financial Peace University class together to help other people find their way out of debt. Maybe you both love kids, love kids, love kids, and you hate that there are many kids in your community that don't live in a great home. And so you recognize what we love and what we hate leads us, maybe, God is calling us to foster a child.

What are you called to do together? What's your mission, what's your mission? You're not just together to be happy. You're together to make a difference, here is your mission, should you choose to accept it. I'll tell you about some couples from our church that make a difference together. There's this one couple that has a heart for students around the world. So they changed their basement into a room, so for years and years and years, they've hosted international students that come in. The students come in, and they're not up into their face about Christianity. They just live a very Godly life, and these students see how this amazing family is living, and over time, many of the students ask questions, and many of them have come to personal faith in Christ because this couple, together, sees this as a common mission. I know one couple that, unfortunately, one of the spouses strayed in their marriage, and it was devastating, as you can imagine. But with great counsel, and with their church family together, they not only healed from the unfaithfulness, but now, their marriage is stronger than it's ever been before.

And so this couple realizes, we must steward what's been given to us, and now, they help other couples who are in the very same place heal from the brokenness of adultery and find strength on the other side. There's one couple very close to me that lost a child. If there's one thing I would never wanna endure with Amy, it's losing one of our children. They lost a child, and as you can imagine, their life sank to the lowest point it could ever be. But because this couple was Christ-Centered, now, around their greatest tragedy, they are Mission-Driven, and years on the other side of healing from this loss, now, they help other couples heal from the loss of a child, they're Mission-Driven. I know one great couple, they're very good in business, and they know all the demands, opportunities, and challenges of leading a Christ-Centered business. So they take young adults in their 20s, young couples starting out in business, and say, here's what you wanna do, here's what you don't wanna do, and here's how you can survive and really thrive in the middle of leading a God honoring business.

There's one couple that lost, probably combined, somewhere near 100 pounds. They're into CrossFit like crazy, and they've created an amazing community where other people join them in CrossFit, and they just love them and encourage them and give them this physical progress, and after a while, once they have a relationship with people, they also invite them, not just to make physical progress but also to make a little bit of spiritual progress. What's your mission? What do you do? Now, when I talk about this, that I told you early on it's gonna take some work, like, ah, I don't know. I mean, we're just tryin' to pay the bills and not kill each other, you know, fair enough. This doesn't mean you have to go, like, start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and do something big together. Here's what I hope you'll understand. Unity in marriage, it doesn't mean that you're the same. Unity means that you are together. We are in this together, we're in this together.

If there's one thing that's really helped my marriage with Amy from the very beginning, we've been Mission-Driven. Our first mission was a Sunday school class. We weren't even in ministry yet, but we were leading a Sunday school class together. Then I went into single adult ministry, and she was right there by my side, and we were helpin' people enter into Godly marriages. Then, we got married, and we started the church, and she did everything with me. Then, every time I looked at her, she got pregnant, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, six times. We're raising six drunk squirrels, I mean, six kids, all over the house, you know, and so I'm super involved out doing church work, and during that season, her mission changed a little bit. She was much, much, much more of a mom, but in doing so, we together were doing what we were called to do to have a broader impact.

Now, years later, our youngest is 14, and she could run the world. Her name is Joy. We joke, some of my kids, if we left town for a month, we'd come back, and they would be dead. Joy, if we left town for a month, we would come back, and she would have a staff working for her at our house. And so Amy's got a lot more free time. She came to me a few years ago and said, I have a burden on my heart. I wanna start a home for women coming out of human trafficking and drug addiction and prison and back in the world. And I thought to myself, I've never had that on my heart, but what's on your heart is on my heart. Because we're together. And so now, I'm all up into helping women transition out of very difficult lives. Amy doesn't just have one home that she helps lead, she has five homes, and last Monday night, I sat on the front row, I did nothing but sit on the front row, cheered her on. I support her with my experience in building an organization. I support her vision financially, I support them with counsel, and I am behind her as she leads something that matters to her.

It doesn't mean that we just have to be doin' the same thing, but it means that we are together. I support God's call, you support God's call. Don't settle for somethin' less than that. Don't settle for somethin' less than that. Don't just share an address together. Don't just have a sex life with somebody. Don't just evolve into roommates 'cause your life's only about the kids. Don't just be about, oh, we like this sports team, ah! Don't just be about your house or your amazing yard or your incredible Instagram showing, look at my shoes, my purse, woo. Oh, why you gonna get married? Because you can serve Jesus better together. What are we, help me. We are Christ-Centered. What are we, we are Mission-Driven. What are we, we are Devil-Kicking. What are we, we are Covenant-Keeping.

Years ago, I did a wedding ceremony for my good friends Scott and Shannon Streller. At the end of the ceremony, I had typed in a typo on my notes when I said the two would be united. Unfortunately, I'd typed in the word untied. Bad mistake. Later on, I looked at my typo, and I realized, there was only one letter that was out of place. When the letter I was in the right place, you read united. When I am not in the proper place, you become untied. Any time I am not under the Lordship of Christ, unified in our marriage, we become untied. Where God wants to unite, the devil wants to divide. One of the greatest things you can do is have something, a driving force. We both love this, we both hate that. Therefore, God is using us to make a difference in this world. It doesn't have to be somethin' big. It just needs to be something together. I told you this was gonna be a difficult message. At the end of most of my messages, I try to end with passion to inspire you or with something emotional to connect, to move you. But this one is gonna be more difficult, because I'm not closing this message. The end of this message is 100% up to you.
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