Levi Lusko - Red In The Shed
1. Moving The Needle
2. On Your Left
3. Camels and Needles and Spoons
4. Red In The Shed
And thank you for being a Fresh Life for the final week of the Compass Rose series, the Compass Rose Offering Weekend. It's here. Thank you for being here. And we welcome everybody joining in, however you're watching this. It's an exciting weekend. And if you're new to the journey of Fresh Life, or you haven't been a part of it for long enough to be here at a year end, you know, you could have been here for 10 months but not ever been here to see how we end the year, this is really how we as a church express our gratitude to God for Christmastime. There's a lot of ways that we celebrate Christmas as a culture that are right and appropriate. You're going to put lights on a tree, and give gifts to a friend, and drink fatty eggnog. It's all good. And we're like, happy birthday, Jesus.
But this is, as the church, how God's put the Commission on our hearts to honor Jesus for coming into this world. And really it's only appropriate. Because any other birthday we celebrate by giving a gift, not just to everybody in our life, but we give a gift to the one whose birth we're celebrating. And so we figure if it's Jesus's birthday, we're going to give a gift to God for his birthday. Does that make sense? That's what we're here to do. That's what this offering's all, I thought I was going to have some help from some Fresh Lifers on that one. Y'all were just sitting there. And so this is not an awkward thing. This is a natural thing. And our generosity flows out of our love and thanksgiving. It's not with a begrudging spirit or a sense of obligation that we would give. It's with our heads held high. Because we were dead, and we are alive. We were sinners, and now we're saints. We were lost, but now we've been found.
And the prodigal son, and that's us. We're the prodigal son. We're trying to show our Father. What can we give Him? He gave us everything. He gave us the ring, and the robe, and the fatted calf. But, we're not going to try. Nothing we're going to give to God today is going to be worthy of what He's given to us. It's not going to work. But that doesn't mean we can't put our money macaroni on the card and give it to dad, and say, thank you for loving us, thank you for saving us, thank you for forgiving us. That's this. This is our chance to say, here's our macaroni. You own cattle on 1,000 hills. So what's my gift, I don't care if you brought a $200,000 gift this week. It's still macaroni compared to the father who gave everything for you.
But that's our heart, is still to show it, still to give it. Because maybe, just maybe, we need it more than he does, to remind ourselves that we don't belong here, to remind ourselves this is rarefied air, to remind ourselves it's not our religiosity, it's not our 10 Commandments, it's not our halo-polishing merit-badge-wearing, good-deed-doingness that somehow has given us a place in heaven. It's the grace of God. It's the death of Jesus on Skull Hill. It's His radical love for us. So we as a church have a conviction to do that coming towards Christmastime. And so that's what this offering is and it's also how we as a church take strides forward. It's how we move forward into all that God has called us to in the coming years.
The title of my message this week is "Red in the Shed". You could jot that down, "Red in the Shed". Though to be truthful, I don't have so much of a sermon as just like a pre-fight encouragement for you. That's what's in my heart. We're in the locker room. And I'm telling you, you can do it, Creed. You can take him out. Take out Drago's evil offspring. That guy's clearly on more than Creatine. But you can do it. You know, I'm telling you about that left hook. That's my goal here. Because today is not about words. Today is about more than words. Today is about us all living out this sermon, living out this message of the Compass Rose. But my part in the order of service, before we all give together, is just to pump us up, hopefully, a little bit, with a devotional from scripture.
When I work out, I always stretch out first. Because I'm getting older, I know I'm going to get hurt. All my friends are starting to get hurt. They'll go work out, and oh, I can't do that. I'm hurt. And I'm like, you need stretch more here. I'll buy you a foam roller. And when I stretch, Vitor Belfort for told me, that's a really inappropriate, just, name-drop early in the service. But he told me, I was working out, and I was stretching my quads, I was working out in his gym in Florida. And he goes, no, and he has a really strong accent I will not try and imitate. But he says, work your shoulders. Warm up your shoulders. And I was like, oh, OK. I'll do whatever you say to make the bad man stop. Because he made me cry that day. And he said, work your shoulders out, "pa-store". That's what he called me, "pa-store". Because the shoulders are the only part of your body not connected to your main chain.
So it's most essential you work your shoulders up first because that's the most likely part to get hurt. How many people do you know with rotator cuff injuries, and shoulder injuries, and scapula injuries. And so we spent 15 minutes literally just doing this, and then chicken wings, and then he would get me a five-pound weight and have me go like this. So in the spirit of getting ready, could you just kind of grab, don't punch anybody in the face. Church online, this will be easier for you. Come on, let's just warm up those shoulders. Come on, get a little, you can do it like this. You can do it little. Get some rings. I know some of our worship experiences have really little itty bitty little seats. In Kalispell we got some new seats coming. It's not going to be long. We're going to be in our new church. It's going to have that new church smell. I can't wait to show you around. It's not going to be long.
But we just gotta, come on. How about these? Get a little of that. It feels good. I'm telling you. Maybe we should do this every weekend. Maybe y'all would help me preach a little bit If you got warmed up a little bit. But so that's the heart today. And we're going to just do, not a sermon, but just a little pre-flight checklist that is, who am I trying to kid? It's my favorite message of this whole series. That's what I got for you. All right, so Matthew chapter 2 is where we're going to be. Turn in your bibles to Matthew 2. And every week of this series, I said I was going to give you a word for the week. And the word for the week this week is worship, which is really what we've come to do. Worship is certainly singing.
I said before, worship is not less than singing, but it's more than singing. Worship does include singing, but what we're about to do in giving is without a doubt, without a question, an act of worship. And in case you missed any of the previous weeks, no judgment, they are all on YouTube, and all on the podcast. But the previous words we've covered have been as follows, nostalgia, sunrise, ends, and now we're finishing up with the word, worship. Matthew 2, the scripture says, "after Jesus was born in Bethlehem", man, I'm so tempted. Like if I was preaching this really, not just given a pre-flight checklist, or a pre-fight warmup, I would talk about how everything we do for God is always after Jesus. And that we can never puff our chests up and be like, I did this for you, God. Did you see that? Because it's always after Jesus' gift, after Jesus' sacrifice, after Jesus who loved us. That's why we even love him.
So we're going to walk away today, no matter what we do, not feeling like a big shot. We're going to walk away going, I just did like what Jesus did. And that's what Christian means. I don't know if anybody ever told you why we call ourselves Christians if we're Jesus' followers. That was actually an insult before it stuck. There were some Jesus followers who just tried their hardest to be like Jesus. And some people were like, hey, you guys are so lame. You're just a bunch of little Jesuses, little Christs. That's what Christian means, little Christ. And the Jesus followers were like, do you mean it? That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. Hashtag goals, right? And so they literally, it was like The Greatest Showman. They put that insult on their paper crown, and wore it around town because they were so excited.
That's why we today, 2,000 years later, call ourselves Christians, because there were some people who happened to look a lot like Jesus. Would that name have been suggested if we were the first Jesus' followers? I don't know. We need to look and live like Jesus, after Jesus. But I'm not preaching, so I'm not going to talk about that. "...was born in Bethlehem and Judea during the time of King Herod. Magi came from the east to Jerusalem". Which direction did they come from? East. East. Where does the sun rise? East. Why should we live facing the sunrise? That's where Jesus is going to return from. By the way, I've been loving, some of you have been helping me out. You've been listening to me preach on coordinates, and directions, and the compass, and all this stuff.
And some of you have been sharing little amazing tidbits. Like somebody contacted the church and wanted to let me know that the reason that we use the word, southpaw, to describe a left-handed person is actually a baseball term. Because back in the day, when they would orient baseball diamonds, they would always put it toward the batter was facing the east. So that in the afternoon, when most games take place, they're never looking into the harsh sun when they're trying to see a fastball coming potentially at their head at 100 miles an hour. So I googled it, found out that's not true. It's actually a boxing term.
Oh, and then someone else, this was cool, one of our podcast listeners, this gal, she said she watches our sermons every single week. She's a mountain biker. So she gets her bike on a trainer indoors, and she rides her bike and listens to our messages. I don't get calorie count for that, sadly enough. I'm with her on the bicycle even now, perhaps. Go, girl. You got it. Just kick it into high gear. But she said she had to share a little tidbit. She said, Pastor, you could tell them that if they ever get lost, and they don't know which direction is what, and they don't have a compass, and they don't want to wait till the next sunrise, because that could take awhile, all they have to do is find a cemetery, and they'll know instantly which way is east because almost all cemeteries in this country are orientated to where if you took the dead person and raised them up on their feet, they would be facing east. And that's because Jesus says he's going to come from the east.
And so the idea was, raised to life in newness of Christ when the dead come back to life, which is what Jesus said is going to happen. That's pretty good. I googled it. It's true. Went to my daughter's grave. Hello, it's true. And I think it's pretty special, pretty fantastic to think about the hope that we have in Christ, the blessed assurance that, I don't have time to preach about that either. But the wise men said, "we saw his star in the east and have come to", what? What's the next word? Worship. Worship. That should be our word for the week. It is. "When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed". That could be his biography, actually, "he was disturbed". That's the story of his life. You want to hear more about Herod, come to Fresh Life Christmas. I got a little message. I got it in the crock pot right now. It's been brewing for a couple of weeks. I can't wait to let that sucker out. "And all Jerusalem with him". Because you're never disturbed by yourself.
If you don't deal with your demons and your dysfunction, the rest of the people in your world will have to. And that's why it's so important that we declare war on stuff holding us back. Otherwise, our loved ones are going to have to deal with the collateral damage. You could write a whole book about that. And I did. Verse 4, "when he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law", that's scripture. That's the first five books of the Bible. "He asked them where the Christ was to be born. 'In Bethlehem, in Judea,' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written.'"
He now quotes from another part of the Old Testament, a prophecy. "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah. For out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me so that I too may go'" and murder him. I mean "'worship him.' After they had heard the King, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures, and presented him with gifts of gold, and of incense, and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod", notice, "they returned to their country by another route". Or one translation says, "they went home a different way".
And commentators have pointed out, again and again and again, that the word chosen for "another way" or "another route" was a particular word that was a play on words that described that the road they took home was not the only thing different when they went home, that they went home another way, meaning they were completely different versions of themselves than they had been previously. And I'm just telling you something, an encounter with God will rock your world. When you worship Jesus, when you truly do what they did on this day, and you bow down before him, and worship him with something meaningful, when you give to him a treasure, I'm telling you something, when you confront Christ, you'll never, ever, ever be the same. You won't even recognize yourself. You'll start loving different stuff than you used to love. You'll start reacting differently than stuff you used to react to.
I'm praising God. I'm happy this Christmas. Because these wise men went home a different way. And I believe in that kind of change for us this Christmas, that we'll react differently to stress this Christmas, we'll react differently to hardship. We'll go home a different way. Maybe we should all drive home a different route this week just to mix it up a little bit, just to remind ourselves, I'm not who I used to be. I'm growing. I'm changing. I'm a work in progress. God ain't done with me yet. I'm going home a different route. I want to talk to you about compasses for a moment. And of course then we're going to get to the real business, and we're all going to bring our gifts. And the reason I've chosen the compass as a symbol, as an analogy for our time together in the series and the season in the lives of our churches, and families, and generations that are going to come from this moment is because I believe that God often gives compasses instead of maps.
I think if we were honest, if we had it our way, we would have God give us a map. I know I wanted that when I was 17. What is this going to look like if I go to college or if I go to Bible college? It was like communications and this, and I had people speaking to this. And I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted to know what's going to happen after I was done being a student pastor. My wife and I wanted a map if we were going to be willing to move to Montana. We wanted a map of what was, and God often just gives us compasses. He doesn't give us maps that will spell out what's around the riverbend so much as He sets us on a direction. He says, go this way. Set out this way, and watch what happens. We've said it again and again in this series that generosity is not a destination, it's a direction. The generous man schemes generous things in his heart, and by his generosity, he will stand.
So I'm not here trying to tell you, here's exactly what the blessing of God on your life is going to look like. Here's exactly what's going to happen if you take a step of faith today, if you take a gutsy, risk the ocean kind of step. I don't know. What's going to come of Fresh Life in the coming year? I don't know. But I know the one who holds Fresh Life. I know the one who holds the universe in the palm of His hand. I know the one who loves us and has a plan for us and says to set out a certain way. And I'm willing to follow Him not knowing what's going to come of it, not knowing what's in store for us. These wise men, they didn't know where they were going. They had no idea when they left the east, and they were guided by prophesies, we don't have time to go into it, written by Daniel, long before, even God's way of overcoming bad things that had happened in a previous generation.
And so these guys just kind of set out. And they don't know where they're going. But you know what they knew? They knew that they were seeking someone. And you don't need to know where you're going so long as you know who you're seeking. And we're seeking first the Kingdom of God. We're seeking first his righteousness. And like these wise men, we come seeking Jesus. We come seeking the King. But not just seeking to worship Him, seeking to worship Him by bowing down and giving treasures from our lives to Him. Why? Because that's what love does. Love gives. You can give without loving. It's possible. You can have motives. Giving can be tainted. But you can't love without giving. Love something, and you will naturally flow gifts towards it, flow time toward it, flow treasure toward it. When love is in your heart, there will always be gifts that are present in your hand. And God proves it. God always goes first. After Jesus, right?
God so loved the world, he Gave his only Son. Yeah, he didn't give us a sermon. He gave us his Son. He gave the most precious thing he had. And so it's great to stand up and say, I love God. Have you written on your Facebook page? Yay, you. But I'm just telling you something: it's not just about words, it's about actions. It's about letting that generosity flow through us, letting our worship and then our words become more than words, where we show through a costly gift, that God actually does mean something to us, that we follow in his footsteps, that we love God so much that we give. And as we do, I would say, being that we're 12 years in as a church now, in January, we'll celebrate 12 years of Fresh Life. And then of course we have locations in four states. Not every one of them have been there for all of this. But many of us have been through this time and time again.
And I would say to those of you who maybe were here for Wild Blue Yonder or were here for Blood and Thunder, or were here for Multiply, and the rare few, who maybe were here for Let it Be and all of that, that it would be the most dangerous to us who have been around the block a bit, this series, that we could go through the motions. We know, OK, that's right. This is where you ramp up, Pastor. And this is where you really, you know, oh, wow. And then we could almost like, yeah, I'll do something. Should we do something? Well, jolly well, we should. Did you just become British? What happened? Almost like it's the blase, nonchalant, yeah, it's the end of the year, charity is good, Tiny Tim needs something as well. Can't have him hobbling around on that bad crutch. Let's get him a wheelchair. And kind of like this mentality of almost like cruise control generosity, I think, is dangerous to us.
And I think that's why we should use the word, sacrifice. I think we should shock our senses a little bit. It should be a little bit crazy. Here's why. You cannot receive new anointing from old obedience. And if I'm just sitting around telling you stories about when we risked the ocean, moved up here, and when I was walking uphill both ways in the snow, and how hard it was originally, there's got to be sacrifice again. There's got to be risk again. We got to go for it again. And there's a warning to those of us who have been a part of it before. And the warning is this. When we stop going out to battle like kings, we'll get into trouble like fools. That's what happened to David. Bathsheba took him out because he was lounging around the palace in a robe when he should have been suiting up in his armor to go take some new country.
And so that's why I'm, as a church, calling us to pick a fight. Let's go pick a fight with some captivity in prison. Let's go pick a fight, take some new ground. Let's build a new building. Let's do something new. Let's stretch. We could just stay here. Heaven help us, we could just stay where we're at. We never needed to do any of these things. Do you think it's easy doing lots of new churches? Do you think it's easy doing new initiatives? You think we don't get flak for some of the things we do, some of the things we stop doing? I'm telling you, there is an opinion against everything. There is an opinion for everything. But we just got to keep fighting. We got to keep putting that armor on. I'm telling you, I'm not going to rust out. I'm going to flame out. I'm going to die in battle. I'm going to die with my armor on. I'm not going to die like Hugh Hefner, with a robe on, and I'm not going to be like Hugh Hefner at all, actually.
So that's the why, if you need a why. And just, I think, so easily, bloat, and feature-creep, and comfort can choke out. And some of us are worried about our lives being destroyed. But the real danger is our lives being wasted, and getting to heaven, and finding out what could have been if we just would have trusted God. So three things we need to do if we're going to keep red in the shed, three things that we've got to do if we are going to keep the red, because that's how we're going to give today, with red in the shed. And you would say to me, that's great. I want to know your three things. But first, it would be helpful if I had any idea as to what it means to have red in the shed, because you're weirding me out now. And I brought a friend, and they're weirded out also.
You know, I would say, if you did bring a friend, it's the perfect weekend to bring a friend to church. There's no better weekend. Because it's actually where we show our heart's actually in this thing. They're going to watch you giving, you what? Because you bring them any other weekend, and we'll have great experiences and all that. But when you are participating in something that Jesus said is the one thing actually linked to your heart, and that's your treasurer, where your treasure goes, this is a chance to show to the world, we really do love you, God. Come on. I think it's a fantastic thing. And if you're as a guest here, feel no obligation, though your participation, of course, is welcome, should the Lord move in your heart in that way. Red in the shed, what does it mean? It's a compass term. And I've got a little compass here that's called a baseplate compass, and we're going to show it to you on the screen so you can get a picture of it if you've never seen one.
This, right here, is a baseplate compass. And you'll notice that, of course, there's the needle right here. And this one has a glow-in-the-dark bit on the top of it, which is handy. But there's a little outline that looks a little bit like a tall, skinny shed. And it's a really skinny shed. It's like a shed for the Empire State Building or something, right? And yet that's what they call the shed. It's actually where you want to get the magnetized needle, by orienting it in the proper, wait for it, there we go. Now, right now, red is in the shed, because I have the magnetized needle in the little shed it's supposed to go in. Someone called him Fred. And they said that the goal, the number one thing in finding your way with a compass like this, is just get red Fred in his little red shed.
Just remember that. You got to get red Fred in his red shed, or you're going to be dying in the woods, not sleeping in your bed. Hey, right, see? That's good. And so that's the goal. And so that's the heart of figuring out where we want to go, but then just keeping, because with a compass, you take 10 steps, and you look down, and oh my gosh, I got way off course. You got to keep fighting to keep the red in the shed. Keep your red in the shed. All right, so three things that should be on our mind as we do that. Number one is true north. Please jot that down, true north. You got to keep finding true north every time you grab that compass. And why do you have to do that? Because there's more than one north. There's not just true north. There's also magnetic north. And those are very different. You're like, how different could they be?
Well, here's a picture that shows you. REI put this together. This shows there can be a really big difference. You would think: you see one at the top is what you're hoping to get to. That would be true north, where Santa lives. And magnetic north, which is on the right is, on this map, somewhere off the coast of Canada. And so if you follow a compass like this one right here, where it's going to take you is to magnetic north. And this is a moving target. It's always moving. It can move as many as 20, 30 miles in a single day. They estimate it has historically moved as many as 1,000 miles. But currently, it's about 300 miles shy of actual north on the globe. Why is this moving? Because the earth is full of a core that's solid iron, and then there is an outer core of molten liquid metal. And it's sloshing around. And as this metal sloshes around, it is constantly tweaking and changing where the actual north pole of the compass, which is a giant magnet inside of our planet is. And so it's playing fast and loose a little bit.
Hey, you want to come over here? Hey, hey, everybody. Hey, hey, hey, magnet, hey. Hey, I'm over here. Hey, psych, I'm over here now. And that's not cool. That's not cool. That's really not cool. So what you need is you need a compass that can handle a declination. And the declination is the degree of difference between true north and magnetic north. This compass that I have here, the baseplate compass, like I said, they came about in about the 1930s. It has lots of handy features, like a protractor, and a little magnifying glass. And it's meant to be used with a map. But on almost any map, you'll find on the bottom, a declination scale for where you're looking at, and then the year that was printed so you know how current it is. And then, basically, if you're in Portland, Oregon, your declination is 15 degrees to the east. If you're in Salt Lake City, Utah, it's 12 and 1/2 degrees to the east. If you're in most parts of Montana, it's roughly 13 degrees east. And you take the little key that's on the lanyard, and you basically spin it until you get the declination lined up where it needs to be.
Here's what happens. I'm going to show you this now. So if I find my way to north, and then get red Fred in his little red: there we go. He's in his little red shed. Now check what happens. What happens is, though the, I don't know if you can see that. Though I'm pointed straight at north, it's a little bit off. So that is magnetic north, and that is true north. But it auto-does it for me. And so basically what I have here is something to help filter and make sense of the difference between what I see with my eyes and what's actually going on out there. And that is why we need scripture and we need the Holy Spirit, and we need faith.
The wise men needed it. Because what human understanding would say is, a King's been born, it's got to be in Jerusalem. That's why they followed the star to a general area, and then they had to pick, where in Israel are we going to go? What did they do? They went to the main city. They went to where the temple was. They went to the big spot. Because if a king's getting born, that's going to be the place. It's London, it's Rome, it's Constantinople. But that's magnetic north. That's just earthly thinking. That's not how God thinks. God figured, I'll go to the dumps. I'll go to a spot no one would ever go to. I'll go to a spot that people would make fun of and say, could anything good ever come out of Kalispell? Could anything good ever come out of Nazareth? Could anything good ever come from Butte?
And God just has a way of thinking different than people of this world think. They're thinking it's going to be New York City. God says, I'll change the world, and I'll do it from Montana. I'll touch people in every single part of the United States, every single weekend, through church online. I'll touch 60,000 or 80,000 people a week through the podcast. I'll send out the message on television all around the world, on satellites that were built by men, with thinking that the programming was going to come from Madison Avenue. But I got news for you. God's ways are not our ways. So He doesn't look at it and say magnetic north. He's never been tricked by liquid metal inside the Earth, not even one time. And He does stuff that doesn't make sense on paper.
And so we look at it, and we have to see that they got to Jerusalem, they were confused. So they go to see the king. They're like, hey, have you heard of a new king being born? Totally awkward interaction, right? And then what does he do? He consults the scribes, who point him to the scripture. And the scripture tells them to go to Bethlehem. So if you're following the story, the star got them to Jerusalem, but the scripture got them to the stable. The star got them to Jerusalem, but the scripture pointed them to Bethlehem. So the world seeing the heavens, and the stars, and the orca whales, can tell you there is a God. But you need scripture to tell you he has a name, and his name is Jesus Christ, and here's what his plan is, and here's what he's doing.
So we have to always pull in the lens of faith. And so as we're giving our gifts this weekend, the question would be, am I giving through fear? Am I giving through human wisdom? Am I giving through human understanding? Or is that just magnetic north, and I need to give based on true north, which is faith? I need to give based on true north, which is not what my family would say is an appropriate gesture of benevolence this time of the year. And yes, it's jolly well good that we should all, you're British again, right? All my hypothetical objectors are British. That's because I'm American, baby. And so here we sit, wanting to keep true north on our minds. Does that make sense?
Second thing: direction of travel arrow. That's a mouthful, Pastor. I know. But if you look at this compass here, there is, at the top of it, an arrow that, when you're going through the woods, this arrow here always needs to face away from you. This arrow, the direction of travel arrow, always needs to face away from you. So you don't make your way to where you want to go, look at it one more time, this way. You don't have the arrow pointed at you. You're not going to get to where it's pointed to on the index line if you have the direction of travel arrow pointed at yourself. OK, check this out. We, as a church, never want to exist just for ourselves as a church. We don't want to be drinking our own bathwater.
And so that's why the first thing that's going to happen when this offering comes in this weekend is we're going to give the first and the best 10% out to non-profits and charities not run by our church, to believe in the dreams God has put in other people's hearts. That's going to be the first thing we're going to do. And we vetted them. And we've been doing this for a bit. It's not our first rodeo. So we're actually in a place to actually start getting grant requests in from non-profits. That puts us as the head, not the tail, saying, what are you going to do with it, how are you using it, being able to interview, and investigate, and actually look into you, and then have a good sense of what they're going to do with our hard-earned dollars. And it's an amazing thing now. We've got a roster of as international partners, national partners, church planning partners, charity water partners, Samaritan's Purse, and what Franklin Graham is doing with Operation Christmas Child.
I've been a friend with the Graham family for a long time. I love that we're going to give to them. I'm telling you, we've got national stuff, we've got local stuff, every city we got a campus in, we're going to be helping feed hungry people, every city we got a church in. We're talking local charities. We're going to be giving checks out this week like crazy. We're going to be like Oprah, and you get one, and you get one, everybody gets a check. I'm telling you, it's going to be raining dollars as a result of our offering. Why? Because the arrow is pointed away from just us. And we actually just recently hit a milestone as a church. Doesn't this make you happy? Check this out. This is how much outreach dollars we've giving out as a church in our history, over $2 million million million million, come on, we've given $2 million dollars away.
And let me tell you something. We could have used those $2 million, as a church, a lot of ways. You don't know the sleepless nights. You don't know the times of prayer. You know how many times since we started that we've ran out of money, and things, and it's just difficulty, and what's going to happen. And yet we have a conviction. We have a conviction about keeping that arrow pointed away from us. We don't just preach generosity, we practice generosity. We believe God is going to meet our needs, not as we hoard, but as we have an open hand, and a light touch, and a giving spirit. And I encourage you to live that way as well, direction of travel arrow away from you. Don't be like Herod. Herod wanted to find out where the king was because he was threatened. Because Herod only cared about Herod. We'll talk more about him as the Christmas season unfolds. But basically, Herod notoriously locked up 100 leading men of the city. And he gave strict orders that the day he died, they were to be executed as he died. Why? He knew no one was going to cry for him, but he wanted there to be tears shed on the day of his funeral.
How sick is that? Write these two words down: memory and legacy. And I think we all got to search our souls and ask ourselves which is more important to us, our own memory, people remembering us, or legacy. That is, our lives doing good long after we're gone. I don't want to live my life, and die, and everyone remember me. Oh, remember him? That's a big thing: names on bridges, names on benches, names on plaques. Like, remember me, which is the desperate attempt at clutching at some sort of immortality. But I don't want to live on through my name being on a bench, y'all. I want to live on through being alive forever with Jesus in heaven, and to know that my life is still being used by him because I was spent for his sake. And I'll tell you. I'll just tell you right now. The day I die, there are going to be tears, but tears of joy, because of what I've put into motion with my estate, because of what I've put into motion with lawyers and contracts.
I'm telling you something, this church is going to be flush with cash on the day that I die in Jesus' name, not about memory, about legacy. I want our leadership college funded. I want leaders upon leaders upon leaders being told, hey, your scholarships taken care of because someone just went to heaven who cared more about heaven than about earth. What about your kids, Levi? I'm going to make sure they're taken care of, but one of the best ways I'm going to do that is by making sure they don't have too much handed to them that could destroy them. I want them to know that heaven matters more than this earth. I don't want them back focusing on magnetic north as much as true north. Anybody with me on that? I think, through estate planning, we can deliver crushing blows to the devil when we're lying sick in hospice. And I think it's exciting. It makes me happy to think about God using our little lives on this earth to do something bigger than ourselves.
Let's be anti-Herods by keeping that arrow pointed away from ourselves. Let's not build shrines and memorials to our own greatness. Let's live pointing to the one who gave it all to give us breath. Last thing, then we're going to give. The word, bearing: write down the word, bearing. This one's very simple. Because these men came bearing gifts, did they not? We sing it every year. "We three kings from orient are bearing gifts, we travel so far". OK, now check this out. This is my gift. This is our family gift, not my kids' gift. They've given on their own. This is Jennie and I's gifts. And to me, the question I want to ask myself is, is it a treasure? Because the wise men gave a treasure. That's not a word you should just use lightly. Treasure: you don't give a treasure flippantly. And so what we should be asking ourselves is, is it a treasure?
Now that doesn't mean, is it as big as your neighbor's gift, as big as someone three gifts down from you. Is it a treasure to you? Because God doesn't look at the portion in our hands. He looks at the proportion of what we've been entrusted. And the danger isn't that we would not give what someone else can, but the danger is that we wouldn't give what we can. So what we all have to all ask is, is the word, sacrifice, right? Because worship should always be costly. David said, "I will not worship God with something that cost me nothing". And I hope that for all of us there's a tiny sting. Pastor Tim Keller said, "when we give an offering, there should be a gulp test". Meaning, did you gulp when you wrote the check? And whatever that looks like for you. A single mother could go writing a $500 check, and God is pleased with that. And yet for some of us, we could write a $200,000 check, and not gulp.
And in that sense, we would need to up the ante so that we could actually have faith exercised as we give in that way. And by the way, I don't have any problem talking like this. Because if you were here last week then you heard that I believe God wants to bless you so we can do more through you. I pray for the day that we're giving away $2 million as the 10% of our year-end offering. I pray that God will bless your life, and bless my life, and bless all of our lives with so much, imagine what good we could do. What good could we do should we be blessed like that, so long as we're all giving a costly gift, bearing. But I love it because bearing is also a play on words. Because a bearing is also a direction you're heading. On a compass, there's four bearings, right? There is what: north, south, east, west. I wish there was a handy way to remember those four because sometimes I forget.
You know what would be cool is if we could take these four words right here and do something like that with them, like, I don't know. That would be cool, nostalgia ends sunrise worship. That's cool. Come on. That took me a whole week. All right, so check this out. It's good preaching, too. Because our nostalgia is going to end when the sun rises. And then we're just going to worship him because we'll be with Him. When Jesus comes back, we're not going to have homesickness anymore. We're going to be home. Come on, somebody, celebrate. Christ is coming back. He's coming back. He's coming back. All right, so, sit down, sit down. This is so good. This is so good. What you're bearing will help give you bearing so long as it speaks of Jesus' bearing.
The wise men gave what, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Those three things spoke of king, priest, and dead man, king, priest, and dead man. Myrrh is embalming fluid, frankincense is the fragrance of a priest, and gold is the gift for a king. And those all three spoke of the bearing of Jesus's life, where he was heading. They gave a gift that prophetically spoke of what that baby was there to do. Because he was going to die, and then he was going to be priest standing before God, interceding for us on our behalf, and then he's going to come back as king, and reign forever. And all that was in that baby. Did you know that? The Resurrection was in the manger.
Did you know that the second coming, the way, the truth, and the life, was there in this table. The cross was in Bethlehem's manger. You could say that red was in the shed. Red: it was in the Father's heart all along. That was the plan for Christmas. It was a rescue mission. There was red, come on, there was red in the shed. And so our generosity, our bearing, should speak of his bearing, and then God will use it to give our lives a new sense of bearing. So here's what's cool. These kind of compasses now, they have more than just four. Because you'll see I do have nostalgia end sunrise worship. But I also have 360 numbers in a circle. So it's much more specific and comprehensive. All I have to do now is set a number. Like I could set it to, oh, here's a good one, 18. So I said, I want to head, keep the arrow away from me, put red in his little shed, right. And then I just got to go to 18, and that's where I'm going to get to.
Now check this out. This is so very cool. I would do 18, because the year is 2018. And in this year, 2018, we've seen over 1,800 decisions for Christ. How's that for red in the shed? God forgiving and touching people. That's this year, through our church. And in 2018, where we've seen 1800 decisions for Christ, it's not our first year doing this thing. And in our whole history as a church, we've seen over 18,000 decisions for Christ. 18,000 plus people coming to know Jesus. But I'm not going to pick 18. That's too big of a number. I'm just going to set it to one. I think our heading, our bearing as we give our gifts, should just be one. I'm going to give my gift, I hope you're going to give yours, saying, Father, just one more, just one more, just one more. Yeah, it's been great, 1,800, yeah, it's been great, 18,000. But Jesus, just one more, just one more person who doesn't know you, just one more lonely person, just one more desperate person, just one more person who needs to know your love. God, let's keep giving, let's keep fighting, let's keep red in the shed until everyone's reached, one person at a time.
Jennie, come up here, because I need to shut this down. Before we give, I started this series talking about Albert Einstein holding a compass in his hand as a little boy. Hold that so I don't lose it. The compass Einstein held supposedly started him on his journey that led to E equals MC squared and all the rest, holding a compass in his hand. But did you know his story involved roses, too? Because as the story goes, he ended up in Zurich, Switzerland, where he worked in the patent office and all that. But then eventually two top scientists from Germany came to recruit him at the command of the president, Kaiser Wilhelm, on behalf of the nation, Germany, the suppression empire.
They wanted to bring back some of the sexiness to Germany by getting top scientists to come work there. And they wanted him to leave Switzerland, come back to Germany. And he didn't know if he wanted to because he was comfortable in Zurich, comfortable in Zurich. And he said, here's what I'll tell you. You wait at the train station, and just before you leave on your train to go back home, I'll show up. And I'm holding white flowers, the answer's no. And if I'm holding red flowers, then yes, I'll come with you. I'll move back to Germany, I'll work for the University of Berlin, all that. So they're waiting. And literally, their train's about to leave. Einstein hadn't shown. I saw this on the History Channel. I'm not making this up.
And then they saw him, his crazy hair at the back crowd. And they could see him approaching, but they couldn't see his hands because there were so many people in front of him. And they're waiting. What color are the freaking flowers? Is it roses are red, or is it white? Screw you. And then, when he finally emerged, they could see in his hands a bouquet of red roses. His story started with a compass, and ended with a rose. Come on, that's a bow tied on something, right? And I love it so much because basically the flowers that day were his way of saying yes. The flowers were a yes. And I feel that's significant. Because the gift that we all hold in our hands is our way of saying yes to generosity, which is in God's heart. And I believe that if we say yes to what's in God's heart, he'll say yes to what he has put in ours. Do you receive it?
Come on, in Jesus' name. Jennie, would you pray for him for us to have faith as we give:
Father in heaven, holy is Your name. In this moment in time, God, we as a church, collectively and individually, this is our response to you, our response of saying, yes, Lord, yes, God. We want to walk in obedience. We want to do what you've called us to do. We want to walk in where you've called us to walk. And right now, God, we surrender. We just thank you so much that we get to have this opportunity, this privilege to get to give generously together, to get to give sacrificially together, to get to give radically together. And it is the honor and the joy of our lives. It's ridiculous. It doesn't make any sense. But you call us. You involve us in building your kingdom, and in risking the ocean, and in doing things that are scary so that we can trust you in new ways. And so God, we lift our eyes to you. We lift our hearts to you. Your word says that your eyes scan to and fro throughout the whole earth, looking to see anyone whose heart is upright toward you so that you can show yourself strong on their behalf. And so God, this is our cry. We're calling out to you, and we're saying, God, our hearts are upright before you. And we want to surrender. We want to give what you've called us to give. We want to radically give what you've called us to give. And we thank you, God, for this moment as we link together, all across our church, giving generously together. Thank you for this great privilege. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.