John Gray - Love Taps
Lord Jesus I pray that You will bless this word tonight, that You will speak to your people. That You will speak to our hearts and speak to our souls, and let this be fruitful in the building up of Your kingdom. This is my prayer, in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
1 Corinthians 13:1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, not just some. Apparently you can have all faith. So that I could remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing.
So what is the writer saying? Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy, love does not parade itself, it is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. All things. Love never fails. This is a scripture my wife used at our wedding. How many of y'all used that, how many of all had that at your wedding? How many married folk? Any of y'all use that? Nine of us. That's why you've been here tonight, 'cause you aint.
There's a lot of meat in these bones, I don't know how much I'm gonna be able to unpack tonight. But this idea that love suffers long and is kind, it doesn't envy, it doesn't parade itself, it's not puffed up, doesn't behave rudely, doesn't seek its own, blah blah blah blah blah, all of these things. Why am I talking about love? Because I don't know if you've noticed but there just seems to be a lack of civility in our society right now. We don't seem to know how to treat each other. If we don't agree, we immediately go from zero to 100. Real quick. Whether that is spiritual, whether that is political, even if it's something as simple as your favorite sorts teams.
Our mayor tweeted out something, said we want one of the teams from Texas to get to the superbowl, and he got so many negative responses because people are like you don't root for Dallas. This is Houston, this is H-town. And people are like genuinely angry and I'm like neither one of these teams are paying you. Neither one.
Love. We hear it all the time. There's songs written about it every single day. But what is the response and what is the responsibility of us as believers in an uncivil time in a very cynical time. How do we get back to love and what does love look like from a biblical standpoint? 2017 needs to be a year where the body of Christ displays the love of Christ in a way that causes people to want to know Christ. Love lifted me, love lifted me when nothing else could help love, lifted me, oh, love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else could help, love lifted me. Love, a word that comes and goes but few people really know what it means to really love somebody don't get me started, I might be singin' all night. And I will always love you.
And there's a difference between love and being stalked. Every breath you take every move you make every single day every you make I'll be watchin' that is a stalker song. Oh can't you see you belong to me whoever that is need to come to the altar if that is your love song. Love takes on many forms and it means different things to different individuals. I wanna talk about this idea of love and how we need to engage culture and how we need to engage one another. Because the truth is what the world needs now is love sweet love sing it. It's the only thing that there's just too little of yeah somebody over here was singin' solo. Trying out for the choir. You better go 'head.
Let me tell you about love. A couple days ago my wife was in the hospital, emergency. Wasn't feeling well. And I did not know which way to go. It was sudden and we were in the car and she started feeling really bad, and I overreact to anything. I'm always like she's like, oh, God, I pray in the name of Jesus, it's like, I'm, I just coughed. But this time it was serious and she said we need to get to the hospital and we need to get there now. Now, I didn't know where I was going. I got on the highway and started driving towards those two towers and I knew that if I kept going towards 288 and get off where the sign says hospital just go.
So I get over there but it's like 34 hospitals. So I was like well I can't take her to Texas Children's. Like she's nine but she's a big nine. So end up getting to a hospital and I go in the wrong driveway. I go where the ambulances go and I didn't care because to me it was an emergency. And I didn't know what was going on, so I was like let's go, we're going in this door. I'm the only vehicle, the rest are official vehicles. I was like excuse me, eagle's moving. Excuse me, we gotta get through, excuse me. She gets in. They start checkin' all of this stuff.
While we're there and we were there for hours and they were excellent people, gracious people, when we were getting ready to leave, there was a lady who came in and she was actually unconscious and while we were standing there she coded which is for those, who don't know that means she stopped breathing, her heart stopped. All of a sudden all these doctors and nurses began trying to revive her. See this thing about love is not just about survival it's also about revival. And when you tap into the love of God it doesn't just give you tingly feelings, it actually causes you to be revived in dead places. The love of God actually resurrects you from things that you cannot free yourself from.
Is there anybody here that can say love lifted me. The love of God. Are there any witnesses because heres the thing. There are people who need to know that God's love is available to them even if right now they're not living a life that other people think is worthy of that love. I'm getting ready to go somewhere. They started pressing on this woman's chest and I saw them working hard and I could tell that it was not going well. And I realized that maybe my wife's sudden illness was an assignment for us to be there at that moment to pray and the Holy Ghost said: pray for her. And for some reason one of the EMTs that was there said: you're John Gray? Man I come check you out on Wednesday's. I was like man, praise God. Who is that and where is her family? I wanna pray with them.
They took me in the room and I said I don't know what's going on in there. He said, I don't know what's going on with my wife. I said give me your hands, we're gonna pray. I said, do you believe in God? He said, yes sir. And I began to pray. And he didn't know that she had stopped breathing at that time. That her heart had stopped. I said: God revive her. We're asking for a miracle. Whatever you wanna do, do it now, but we're declaring that.
When we finish praying I told him, God was gonna take care of him and give him peace. We walk back around the corner. They was like she's stable. Was it because we prayed? I don't know, but I'm glad that I was there to pray and to exemplify and to offer the love of Christ in a moment of need.
Where am I going? I haven't given you my title yet, I'm gonna give you the title now. Because while they were pushing on her chest trying to revive her, I'm sure that there was some bruising that took place. I'm sure that there might have been even some breaking of the skin, who knows? But I'm sure it was a small price to pay for her being alive right now. The bruising and the pressure may have hurt, but it saved her life. I wanna talk to you from the subject love taps. Somebody say love tap. Just tap somebody real quick. Just love taps. Tap somebody. Brandon tap somebody. Do what I said.
Somebody say love taps. We need more love in this nation. Look at the news every day. Look at what's going on in our society. In every sphere of influence we need more love. And most specifically as a pastor, I would like to speak to those who call themselves believers. Because we need to handle people who don't believe differently than we have historically. People should be able to walk through these doors that don't know these songs and don't know our traditions and don't yet understand our faith and find the same amount of welcome as someone who has been here 30 years.
Is there anybody that understands where I'm going? Somebody say love taps. How believers treat, engage, interact, speak to, and handle unbelievers is the clearest indication of how they see Jesus. You don't have to tell me how you see Jesus. Live your life. Let me see how you talk to people. Let me see how you treat people. That'll show me what kind of Jesus you have, because some people's Jesus doesn't allow them to talk to certain people because certain people's issues are just very different from their own and they don't feel like that is something that they want to deal with. And if that is your Jesus may I offer you a different picture in the Word of God than the one you've been displaying?
Somebody say love taps. I'm tired of people projecting an image of Jesus that was not the nature of the man himself. You don't get to call yourself a Christian but not act like Jesus. I'm gettin' ready to preach but I wanna say it again because there are too many people that have been wounded by people who say they represent this Bible when in fact this Bible makes it clear that the character, the nature, the essence, the eternal aspect and attribute of God is love.
Somebody say love. Momma Dotey what's the name you used to call this place? The oasis of love? That's such a that's a old school name. Oasis of love, it sounds like somethin' from the 70s, you know what I'm sayin? But what's important for us to know is that that is the foundational characteristic of this church. From the very beginning the founders made sure that whoever walked through those doors knew that they were love and respected. In a time where there were still colored fountains in certain parts of this nation, black people could walk through the doors of Lakewood even when it was a feed store, and they found. I'm getting ready to help somebody in here.
Somebody say love taps. We need to get back to loving one another, not judging one another. Not beating each other up. It seems that there are different versions of Jesus. I've noticed more and more incivility even amongst believers. People who sometimes attempt emotion manipulation to get you to see Jesus from their perspective. Guilt tripping people and shaming people into some type of interaction with God. A Jesus who picks and chooses which sins he's offended by. But Jesus never saw people as his enemy, he saw the devil as his enemy, and the behaviors and the brokenness of people he had compassion on.
Where's the compassion that we are supposed to display right now? Not only towards unbelievers but to one another? Do me a favor, I know you've been busy today, you were trying to navigate through flood waters and it was tough in traffic, say hi to a couple people. Smile. Some people have had a tough day. Say high to somebody. Say hi. Ask 'em how they're doing and mean it. Talk, say something, little eyeloff. Is that your boyfriend? That's a handsome guy. He's a handsome guy. Say hi to somebody. Say hi to somebody you didn't know. Like two people away. Just stretch out and just shake their hand. Say I'm glad you're here. How are you dear? Hey hey. You understand me?
Let me tell you why I love this church. Because this church loves people. And it doesn't just love people that are perfect which by the way there are no such things. And let me tell you I grew up going to church my whole life and I've been in churches where I knew the Lord was there but I only knew the Lord was there because of a supernatural encounter with God, not necessarily the interaction with some of the people. But the people here? These people actually love for real. My pastor Yo. Like he loves everybody. I've never seen somebody who gets hated on more and still loves more. What a phenomenal example of the love of Christ. You attack me, God bless you. Say whatever you want, God bless you. I'm praying for.
Get in a good Bible-based church. If he wanted to he could open a thousand satellite campuses and they'd all be packed. But he would rather push the local church because that's what Jesus died for. That's somebody that's not puffed up, that's not someone who's proud, that's not someone seeking their own, that's someone saying you gotta get to Jesus yourself. That is love. When your around a leader like that, it gets in the culture. See we need a culture change. We need to start treating people right. Stop looking at me based on my color. Don't assume that you know me because of the color of my skin. Get to know who I love and why I love God, and you'll find out that your Jesus and my Jesus are very much the same person even though we worship in different ways.
And don't assume if you see me messin' up that I should be written off. You don't get to throw me away because God specializes in redemption. I feel like a praise break in here. You don't get to tell me that God can't use me. You might catch me doing any number of things. Guilty as charged but his love has covered me, has cleansed me, has forgiven me. Is there anybody that's been forgiven in here? There are people, I'm tryin', don't scare me. I don't know how long I have to live, but however long I got I wanna be known for loving every single person that comes through the door.
Watch this, very important, write this down. Love does not mean agreement. You need to get this because we think love is the I love you. What we're really saying is I agree with you, you think like me. No, that's not love, that's agreement. Love means I will pursue God's best for you even if you don't do the same for me, or never do the same for me. 'Cause some people are like: well, if I sow love, I'll reap love. Now that's talkin' about marriage, it's a separate thing. But I'm talkin' about people that you don't know. You got to love people and you've got to exhibit love and display love, and just offer a love tap so people can get a seed to know that they're not by themselves. Somebody say love tap.
When you get angry at your children, does it last forever? Why'd you get angry? You got angry because there was an expectation that they would do better or that they knew better or that you taught them and they did not respond to the teaching or manifest what it is you've invested in them. The same way God corrects, adjusts, and chastens his children. Hebrews 12:11, now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful: nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Somebody say, love taps. God's been correcting you and dealing with areas of your character because he loves you too much to let you walk through life incomplete. And no one's gonna clap on that, because it's like, that doesn't feel good, because correction never feels. Nobody's like, spank me again, Jesus. Lay it on me, Holy Ghost.
I'm ready to shed some painful tears in this church tonight. Nobody wants correction. But his love says I know what I need to do in order to mature you. And what we need in the body of Christ are mature believers because we are living in a very uncivil time where people are angry, they are bitter, they are myopic, and they are going at each other like never before and I fear and I prophetically see that if something doesn't shift, we're going to see even more division, and the place where there will be unity that will change the culture will be inside the church the way we love one another, the way we talk to one another, the way we engage one another.
And so how does that happen? It doesn't happen on Wednesday nights. It doesn't happen on weekends. It doesn't happen on Monday nights with our new Bible study. It doesn't happen in a corporate setting exclusively. It happens at your house. A songwriter said, your house is a house of love, and I learned. What's that, five heartbeats? My wife makes me watch those movies. I just, I'm with her. If she wants to watch it, I'm like yes! I don't know what I'm watching. This is good. How's the love in your house? I'm asking. You got quiet. It was like, don't get in my business. Worry about your house.
Is anybody here with a family member? Let me see your hands if you're here with your family. Look at 'em real quick. How's the love, how's the love, how's the love? Look at 'em. It's hard too. You're like, don't say nothing, don't say nothing. He's looking at us. Don't say nothing. Don't say anything. Just keep smiling. Love taps. Go ahead. If your family's near you, just go ahead and just, love you. Just go ahead and just give 'em. You flicked him. I saw you, you flicked him. She flicked you. I saw you. Heather, tap that man. If you're married and they're next to you, just give them a gentle caress. Set it up for tonight. Just go. If you're single, keep praying. God got you. He got you. You're going home alone tonight, baby. Trouble don't last always.
All right. All right all right all right. You're going home today. The Bible says God is love, so what is love? Well we know what love is not. So let's go back to this scripture in 1 Corinthians. Let's run through it. I won't get through all of it, but let's just go ahead and break it on down. Love is patient. Anybody could use some work on your patience? If you need work on any of these things, put your hand up or just keep it up. Some of you all are just like, I'm getting up, I'm leaving. This is... I need all this. Love is patience. You could be a little more kind. Doesn't envy, doesn't parade itself. It's not puffed up. Doesn't behave rudely.
You know who we're rudest to? The people we're closest to. I got all kinds of grace for strangers. You ever been nice, I mean just straight, no teeth, just, bless your heart. Thank you. I appreciate that. You're going, like what? But you get home, like, hey baby. Hey to you! Been waitin' on you 12 minutes. You said you was gonna be here. Can I have a hug? No you can't have a, you have a hug when you on time. Sick of it. What you say, what you say, what you say, what you say? Don't try me. Don't. Don't try me. Don't try me. Why is it that we don't display love for the ones closest to us?
Could it be, pastor Lisa, that it's human nature to take advantage of what you know is always gonna be there? What if you could lose the thing that you take advantage of if you didn't appreciate it? It got real quiet. But here's the thing. You and I both know that what if won't happen because the love is so real that even when y'all get mad y'all can't stay mad for long. How many people know what I'm talking about?
Me and my wife, we have some spirited disagreements. You're not hearing from my perspective, John. No, no, listen to my heart. I need you to hear my heart. Hear. No, I need you to listen. When I see her getting animated and she starts using all of her college words... Your disposition right now is so disconcerting. You know what? Never mind. I walk in, pull up the boxers to about right here. We're like, give her the love tap, like girl, you know you want this. You want this.
Woo woo woo woo. She's the only one that want it. And she busts out laughing because when you're in love you can't stay angry forever, and in the same way it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit, and when God corrects you, he doesn't stay angry forever, and we need to be grateful that when he gets mad it's only because he loves us, but then he looks at us and he falls in love with us all over again because he sees us through the lens of the blood of his son, and it's a love tap. Is there anybody grateful that God's love for us is never ending? It is unfailing. He forgives much, believes much, hopes much. Is there anybody grateful for the love tap?
For a second praise break right there. Write these down. I want you to write down a few love taps. Write down these love taps. Number one, love taps into the best of you even while you're manifesting the worst. Love taps into the best of you even while you're manifesting the worst of you. The Bible says Christ committed his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. So if that is the perfect example, that means we must display love to nonbelievers, to people who don't look like us, who don't think like us, we must love them, give them respect and give them honor. It's very interesting.
I was talking to somebody who comes to this church, a brother that I know, and he was just talking about how he feels welcome here, and he was talking about this relationship, him and this guy. It didn't work out, but he still found love in this church, and I thought that was interesting because depending on who you are and how you choose to live or define your life, there are certain places that will do this to you. But to know that somebody can walk through a broken place and know that this is the posture of Jesus, that you can come as you are, that you can walk in no matter what your issue is. Nobody wants to clap 'cause nobody wants, they're afraid to touch certain things, but we have today a new type of leprosy, and depending on who you are, the church won't touch you, but let me tell you something.
If you belong to God, if he created you, if he put his breath in your body, there's a chance for redemption, there's a chance for salvation, and nobody is beyond the reach of the blood. And so we as the body of Christ need to keep our doors wide open and our arms wide open and our mouths speaking life to people who are broken, because you don't know what people are going through and you don't know what tears they've shed and you don't know what the abuse was when they were little and you don't know what the addiction was and when they first put the needle in their arm, and you don't know how many times they were beaten by a stepparent and you don't know how many foster homes they were in and you don't know how many things they saw, but none of it matters because there's enough love for everybody.
I wish somebody knew that no matter where you are love will tap you and say, come home. Love will tap you and say, come out of that addiction. Love will tap you and say, come out of that relationship. Love will tap you and say, come out of that situation. Is there anybody where love tapped you? No, I need to know. Don't be religious. It was the love of God that touched you. It wasn't your goodness. It wasn't your tithe and your offering. It wasn't that you knew all 66 books of the Bible. It was God saying, enough is enough. I'm getting ready to deliver you. Enough is enough. I'm getting ready to restore you. I'm getting ready to redeem you.
Are there any redemption stories in the church tonight? If you're a redemption story, stand up if I'm talking to you. It used to be drugs but now it's Jesus. It used to be men but now it's Jesus. It used to be women but now it's Jesus. It used to be men and women but now it's Jesus. It used to be liquor but now it's Jesus. It used to be gluttony but now it's Jesus. It used to be lying but now it's Jesus. It used to be every other sin you can think of, but now it's Jesus. It used to be adultery but now it's Jesus. It used to be fornication but now it's Jesus. Whatever it is, it was his love that tapped you in the middle of your sin and said, I'm gonna save you because I've got a plan for your life and I won't let you go and I've got a purpose. Somebody give God praise for the love tap.
Remain standing. We're gonna go ahead and leave. Love taps into the best of you even while you're manifesting the worst. Love taps into your future regardless of your past. Is there anybody grateful that God gives you a future even when your past should have disqualified you? Love taps on the door of your heart. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Love taps on the door of your heart to bring you into relationship with Jesus.
Watch this. Love taps at the hard places that have been built up due to being let down by people. How many of us have been let down by other people? I put my trust in people. They let me down. It happens. You know why? 'Cause they're not God. They're human. But the love tap taps on that hard place where you don't trust. Jesus says you can trust me. I don't have any motive. I just want to see you win. I want to see you soar. I want to see you excel. I want to see you as the best version of yourself, and that can only happen with relationship with Jesus.
Watch this. Love taps into the desert areas of our lives and refreshes us and reminds us of who we are in spite of our circumstances. Hallelujah. It's all right, sis. It's an oasis of love. What made you drive through traffic, floodwaters, a labyrinth of parking lots? What made you come here on a Wednesday night? This is not religion. You've been touched by the love of God. This is a reaction to love. Oh I need you to know this. It's in my notes. I'm gonna have to give this one to you next week, but love has side effects. Y'all want it now? Nope, got to come back next week. The next three weeks we're gonna be dealing with this love taps. I'm gonna be right here. Bring all your cousins. We're gonna be in here.
Listen. With some ribs and some catfish nuggets and some vegan pita chips. Hummus. Love has side effects. I have some medicine that I have to take while God is helping me to get the discipline necessary to be free, and I'm almost free from this insulin. I'm almost free from the insulin, almost free from the insulin. But when you read some of the medicines, they have side effects. I need you to know when you get tapped in, when you tap in to the love of God, it has side effects. You want to know what they are? Next week. Love taps. Watch this.
How many of y'all used to be drinkers? You still are. He was like, me. I've never been a bar guy, unless they had wings, but... I've been to places. I've been to bars at restaurants that had bars, and sometimes they bring you stuff in cups or they'll say, well we got certain beers on tap. And all they gotta do is pull the lever, and what you order comes out. Most of the time it overflows. Not only does God give you a love tap, he's got love on tap. And when you need it, pull the lever, open your mouth, and the oasis begins to fill the desert places, those dry places to overflow.
I don't know about you, but God allowed some desert places and he allowed the relationship not to fill you so you'd have to come to the love tap. Because only he can fill the empty places. Only he can fill the void. Only he can heal your heart. Only he can love you like nobody else. There's love on tap. There's some side effects. You're not drunk as you suppose. No, that's next week. But when you get filled with the love of God you just, can't help but throwing up on other people. Just God loves you and so do I. He forgave me, he can forgive you. Look what he healed me from. Look what he restored me from. Look where he found me and turned me around. Ah, never mind. Let me let you go. Lock Elbows. I want you to get connected 'cause I don't want you leaving out of here. Some of you are like, just go with me, just go with me. Just go, just go, just go, just go.
Father, in the name of Jesus I pray that even as we are connected one to the other we will feel the love tap, the sweet touch of the Holy Spirit calling us to a deeper place of relationship, a deeper place of fellowship, a deeper place of encounter and engagement with you. You tapped us when we were at our worst, speaking to us like we were at our best, and in the same way that you loved us, may we have love on tap for those closest to us and those who are far from us, those we don't know. But may we first display that kind of love in our homes, in our marriages, with our children, with our close relatives, because that's the hardest place to give unconditional love. My prayer tonight is that as we leave this place we will be reminded of the places where you tapped us when we didn't deserve it, where you forgive us. We had no hope outside of you. This is my prayer. Bless this great church and these great people. In Jesus' name, amen, hallelujah.