Levi Lusko - Potato Salad, World War 2, and the Early Church
Levi Lusko: Hey, Jennie and Levi Lusko here. And we're so excited you're watching this message from Fresh Life Church. This is a part of a series called The Spitfire Fund and you're going to learn a lot more about that. It's like, what is Spitfire Fund?
Jennie Lusko: Oh, you're going to find out.
Levi Lusko: Check this out. We put together an amazing presentation. It's a really creative way to do Bible study. I'll be back in just a minute to wrap things up. And I have a word from God for you, as well, I'm really excited for you to hear. So make sure you stay tuned to the end. But enjoy this message that's moving us towards December 6 when everybody gets a part of Fresh Life Church. Wherever you live in the country or world, we're asking you to consider what God would have you to give as a Spitfire Fund offering. A one time above and beyond your tithes and offerings gift that would help God do his work in the earth. God doesn't have to use us. We need His blessings a lot more than He needs our resources. But He partners with us to do this great work. So enjoy this creative Bible story presentation, and I'll see you in just a moment. Let us know in the chat, too, where you're watching from. We're going to check back on comments. Let us know in the YouTube archive, Facebook, wherever you're watching this. Let us know where you're watching from, what God's doing in your story. How you even became a part of Fresh Life Church. What you like for breakfast, what you're wearing. Really, anything. We love to see that. And thank you for participating in this ministry.
Come on, now, does that excite you? As the old country preacher said, if that don't light your fire, friend, your wood is wet. I tell you what, this is what we are here for. This is what God has saved us for. This is our calling. Church was never meant to be a bless me club. It was never meant to be about what we could get out of it. God redeemed us so we might be positioned to touch the world. And that is what these days are all about. So many people have written in, what is the Spitfire Fund? What is the Spitfire Fund? That's the Spitfire Fund. The Spitfire Fund is us recognizing the call of God on our lives and how great the salvation is, and how it's too great to keep to ourselves and really what can happen. In these days, we've been mobilized. And we believe that God has given new dreams and new visions, and we want to say yes to those things.
Every church has a birthday. Our birthday is January 14. That's when our first Fresh Life worship experience ever happened. In this new normal post-COVID, mid-COVID, whatever, good Lord, please let it be near the end of COVID world. Someone said, what is it like when you preached to small crowds? I'm just like, it can't get smaller than 14. First time we ever had a Fresh Life service, there were 14 people. And so, I guess, it could get smaller. 13 is smaller than 14. But we haven't had a day since the opening of our church where we had less than that. And so I mean, when you think about the small, humble beginnings of what God intended to do, and as we look back now on this almost $3 million mark of outreach dollars given out to outreach partners, I just marvel because I was in the room when it happened, when 14 people gathered and we said, welcome to Fresh Life Church for the first time. And God saw this moment in that moment. And so that means then that as God sees this moment as we gather now an army of people all over the world, who are a part of Fresh Life Church, you realize that?
There are people all around the Earth who are bought in, linked up, by the technology that God's given to us. And we now together approach this moment saying, God, what's in your heart? We're here to crowdfund heaven's dream. And I love that. I was just thinking about our birthday as I was reading in Acts 2, and we just were brilliantly guided through that by my friend, Joel, who is a theologian, and has helped us greatly. He is an expert at really looking at the whole counsel of God's word and finding in a message the theological core. We've had him help us as we've worked through books we published before, both Jennie and myself, and I always love talking to him because he's so dang smart. But Joel brought us from Babel to Pentecost. And that really is an arc of scripture. In Babel, we were weakened because the collective crowdfunding power was being used for evil. And so God confused and divided those who were there to defy him. They were saying, let's make a name for ourselves, and let's stay together. And God had said, scatter around the world, be blessed, and be a blessing.
And so God said, I have to stop you from doing the thing you're doing because it's evil. And in the church, what we find, the birthday of the church is a reversal of Babel. And that's Acts 2. I'm going to read it to you. It's on the screen if you didn't bring a copy of the scripture. Some of you are like so relieved, like this is finally Bible study. Y'all, that was a Bible study. We were taken to church a moment ago. Could we thank our team who put that together? So many different people worked on that. And I think it's such a creative telling of the story. God, it touched our minds, it touched our hearts. It's just brilliant. But Acts 2, it says, "When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord, in one place. And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues as a fire, and one sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance".
In this moment, God reversed what had happened at Babel, and the church was now united once again, and given a collective power to fulfill a united mission in one accord. And when the Spirit came upon them on that day, there was something you could see, and there was something you could hear. There was something evident to the eye, and there was something audible to the ear. The text says you could see flames that appeared upon their heads, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. But what you could hear was a utterance. Was words of prophecy, was words of knowledge, was words of Scripture, was words of life that were being spoken that would unite and lift up the name of Jesus. Babel was about a name for ourselves. Pentecost was about there's a name that's already been given that's above every name, the name that God has sent, the name of his son, the name that heals, the name that saves, the name that builds. So what you could see was a flame. What you could hear was a word. They all began to speak the word of God with power.
So you might say when the church was born, you could see fire, and you could hear them spitting words of revelation. Y'all, it was a Spitfire day the day the Holy Spirit came. On the church's birthday when we gather, there's a Spitfire. That's the result. And I think that that's what God is doing in our hearts right now. I think in these days, that's what God wants more than ever. He wants his church united in the name of Jesus. He wants his church to come together. The world needs nothing more than a united church, because it's a divided world. It's a broken world. So we need a united church. We need a church that's filled with fire from heaven that is, therefore, our weakness. I'll have you remember, the church was so beaten down by the crucifixion. So many of the disciples were war torn, ready to give up, when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus had to chase down two of them as they were leaving town, like bouncing on this whole dream. No, come back, come back. And they ran back, seven miles back to Jerusalem.
And so I think in this moment as we all absorb these events that we've gone through, survived some of us might even say, of this year, we might feel a little bit like, man, it's just been one thing after another thing. Some of you can relate to that. Beat down by the savageness of life. Someone said that life can be an all out assault on the notion that God is good. And I wonder how you resonate with that? For the church to be given a mission to go reach out, it's almost like, gosh, we're barely surviving here. That's how they felt, until the Holy Spirit came upon them. And when the Holy Spirit comes upon you all of a sudden, you look at an old challenge with new resolve. And I believe in Jesus' name, even though some of you are like, we're just holding it together here, man. We're just coping it to get... we're just coping from day to day, paycheck to paycheck, hanging on by a thread here.
I really believe that as the Holy Spirit comes upon you, flame upon your head, and words coming out of your mouth, there will be a new strength where there was weakness. There will be new power where there was once worry and fear. And worship and exaltation of Jesus in our hearts is going to cause us to come together in one accord, and the roar of the lion of the tribe of Judah will be heard in all the earth. I believe we are here for such a time as this. And if you didn't already in the day, next days or so, you'll be receiving this in the mail. We sent these out. Many of you... raise up your hand. Did you guys get that in the mail this week? This is a list of the Spitfire Fund initiatives. This is 30, you saw three of them enlarged upon the video. But 32 different projects we want to undertake that will be felt around the world as a result of the Holy Spirit of God coming upon us.
And I saw considering above and beyond tithes and offerings. How might we end one year and begin another? How might we honor Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time by an offering that we would give that we've called the Spitfire Fund? Some of you will be able to give what would be a huge gift to others of us. And others, if you might give what someone else might not be a big gift, but that's why I want you to remember. And there's a magnet in the gift that you're going to get that I hope you put on your refrigerator as you give. It's got a verse on it from Exodus about the people all giving with willing hearts and touched spirits the gift that they were called to give. It's the bullseye for you. And your bullseye is different for me. What my wife and I are planning, we have a separate account that we put money in all year long for this gift, above and beyond our normal tithes and offerings. But the gift that we're going to give that sacrifice for us, that stretch for us.
Some of our favorite memories, this is our seventh year of doing this. Some our favorite, we've had a lot of fights as we dialogue about the gift. But bullseye for us might not even take faith for you. If you saw our amount, you might go, that's cute. That's OK. It just needs to be a bullseye for me. The Spitfire Fund itself, yeah, Lady Houston gave enough to buy multiple planes. Great. But Peter Bottomley from Guildford, England, he gave enough to purchase one rear tire. And a rear tire's necessary for a Spitfire engine to land. And every time a Spitfire was heard over skies, Peter Bottomley, you better believe he ran outside to see, is that the tire I paid for? And what I love is that as we all would give what's a bullseye gift for us, a safe gift, a sacrifice, let's use that word and make sure it's worthy of being used, that it represents a sacrifice for us. I believe that the small gift, the large gift, they're all going to mix together. And guess what? We will all have ownership of what is done. The building in Polson, the building here, the equipment that allows us to send this broadcast out to be watched in hundreds of countries around the world, every single day in the United States what has allowed all of these decisions for Christ over the years, guess what? You did that. And I did that. No one can say that was me. We can all say that was us. Y'all, this is us.
I know NBC has been running with it, but that's always been our story. This is us. This is who we are. This is what we do. We are the church. This is God's plan A to save the world. It has always been. It will always be. We're the blood-bought, spirit-filled sons and daughters of the King of kings sent into a broken world to feed hungry people, to clothe the naked. And we will hear in eternity what you have done for the least of these, you have done for Me. And we'll say, what'd we do for you, Jesus? And He will say, when you did for the poor, what you did for the orphan, what you did for the widow, what you did for the single mother, that was Me. I was hungry. You fed me. I was in prison. You visited me. We are here to spit fire. We are here... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to preach. I was just going to close the service out. But y'all get me so excited with your faith. It overwhelms me to think of such a hard year for all of us to be the perfect circumstances under which we would all hold these envelopes and say, how are we supposed to integrate with the series? What will it take for us to sacrifice? What is it going to look like for us to sow some seeds? What does The Friendship Center of Helena mean to us?
To give to kids who are the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. What does The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City mean? Women who are in inpatient recovery programs who are addicted to drugs and alcohol who need help. It's been a hard year for all of us. But it's been a really hard year for people who are the most vulnerable. And I believe we are positioned to have the greatest Christmas we've ever had. I believe we are positioned to the greatest ministry days we've ever had church. I believe all the dreams of all the buildings, all the things we want to do are going to happen. But I believe they're going to happen from us putting other dreams before our own. And I think in a year where many of us feel like, I just don't even know how I could even begin to think about others. I'm just coping here.
I'm telling you, some of the best times have come in my life when I want to focus the most on me, but I choose to focus most on other people. It was the Stanford economist, Paul Romer, who once said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And in a pandemic, and in economic uncertainty, and in a time when there is racial division and political division, y'all, Thanksgiving is coming. It's going to be real sitting across the table and hearing from Uncle Joe about his theories. But who can argue with doing the work of taking care of people who are the most vulnerable. And I think this is our time to shine. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. So why not now? Why not now should we not believe in faith for the greatest above and beyond offering in the history of Fresh Life Church? Why not now can we believe that people are going to hear the word of God, and find freedom in their calling, and find help and strength and stand?
I'm so excited for what is going to happen. I'm thrilled and humbled. I'm excited. It's going to take faith. I mean, these outreach projects, these 32 projects, they amount to $470,000. So before we do anything that we need to do, believe me, we've had a hard year, too, all right? Every business and non-profit and church in the country has taken hits. This one included, all right? But at the same time, I have to believe that faith is our course, and it will never be a mistake to trust our unknown future to a God we know, a God whose name is Jesus. And so as I've said, these 14 almost years of First Life Church, my butt is puckered. I feel like we're skiing in front of an avalanche. But I believe I've heard from heaven. And so this is the way, right? Is that OK? Can I say that? This is the way. Anybody with me?
Come on, say it with me. Say this is the way. This is the way. This is the way. And I'm going to pray, and we're going to close. But I just want to also add how thrilled I am that I get to give my gift that I'm going to give alongside the gifts of not only you, but your children. And that when you give your gift, it's going to mingle in with the gifts of my children. And we gave at our Fresh Life. By the way, those of you, church online, Facebook, YouTube, archive watch parties, if you did not receive one of these, we took our records of people who have given in years past and we sent these in the mail to those addresses. But perhaps you've moved, or perhaps as many... and this has happens all the time. So people have given gifts, but in our old system, it didn't require you to give an address. And so if you didn't get one, and you're like dang, why do you guys not love me? I've given here before. I have needs. I need a magnet.
I want, please go to freshlife.church/spitfirefund and you can request to get there. We would be thrilled to send one your way. We also have kids giving gifts, which allows them to decorate an airplane that they get to build. And then they get to collect a, find a jar or a receptacle in the house to collect their gift. And then everyone in the church who will give on December 6 as we give that offering, we get to do it together. And no one's gift is more important than anybody else's. And no one gets to feel like mine didn't matter because God uses it all, nuts and bolts, and wings and propellers, and fuselages and cockpits. Anybody with me? Let's celebrate in Jesus' name.
I'm going to pray. And when I pray in a moment, I'm going to give you space and time to just acknowledge weariness. I preached to a pastor's conference this week, 600 pastors. They gathered together and they... I said, what do you want me to preach about? I'll do anything. How can I best serve these men and women, is what I was asking. And the pastor surprised me because he said, would you please give some kind of message that would remind them that being a pastor is good? I was like, yes. And he explained, he just said, so many pastors in their network, at least, have been feeling like they're going to quit. And many of them have forgotten how, because they've had to become a TV studio. They've had to do so many things they never were taught to do or resource to do. And he said, would you please just help them to see that it's worthwhile. Because a lot of them are feeling like wanted to quit. And it just made me realize like there's probably a lot more people than just pastors who got that feeling inside them.
And so as we pray, I just want to just give you space and time. If you would say there's something I feel like quitting on. I feel weariness creeping into my bones, something real deep. And I'm going to pray for you. Bow your heads, close your eyes with me and... fathers, we think about that original gathering, 120 in an upper room. A daunting task lay before them. How do we get this Gospel all across the Roman Empire, all around the world? What sense of fear and foreboding must have been theirs.
Thank you, Father, that you never intended for them to do your work without your power. That's why you said wait until the Holy Spirit has come, the Comforter. You chose the best word to describe your Spirit, a Comforter. How we love our blankets on a cold morning when we still have more time to sleep. That's your Spirit. The Comforter is coming. And when you came, you not only comforted, you resourced, you empowered. When we see Peter preaching fearlessly going to his death, God, sacrificially, we're like, who is this? This is the scared Peter denying you before a servant girl? This is what Peter looks like filled with the Spirit, spitting fire. And so, God, as we come to you trembling, as we come to you, many of us exhausted, as we come to you feeling like, did I make a mistake?
I sense there's someone here who's wondering if maybe they made a mistake moving to where they live now. That's just Montana weather for you. It'll get you. I wonder if there's someone who took a new job and you were so excited about it, but now, the sexiness has worn off, and now it's just hard. And you're wondering if maybe you made a mistake. Maybe someone's feeling exhausted because of a relationship that is just requiring more emotionally than you have to give. You feel drained. You feel rundown. You feel weary. That's OK. You just need to have a power supply to go to to receive new strength. And that's the Holy Spirit. He is there to give you the ability to do what you cannot do on your own, to become who you can never become on your own. This is the Spirit that Jesus wants to live inside of you. Maybe you had a relationship with the Holy Spirit at one point, but today, you feel so far from him. The good news is the Bible says you can ask to be refilled, and refilled, and refilled. And you need to be refilled tomorrow and next week.
I'm not preaching this sermon under the anointing of last year. I cannot expect a blood and thunder anointing, or a wild blue yonder anointing, or a compass rose anointing, or a 2020 anointing. This is now what you want to do in these days. Our relationship with you must be in the present tense. We need you for November like we didn't need you in October. It's a new need. It's a new season. It's a new trial. The election's over, but I still feel tired. We need you, Jesus, every hour. Can I just ask while we're praying with heads bowed and eyes closed, if you're on YouTube or church online, or in one of our watch parties, or in a location, and you would just say, Father, I'm exhausted. I'm so tired. If you just raise up your hand to submit that. I'm tired. I'm tired. I'm tired. I sense the Holy Spirit ready to rush in and reanimate your efforts, ready to come upon you like power from above. By raising your hand up right now, you're saying, I want a flame above my head, and I want God's Word to come rushing out of my mouth. I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind as if our good Father in heaven is eager to give the Spirit up to us who ask for him. We have not though often because we ask not, so Heaven, hear us cry.
We need you, God. We want You upon us. We don't want to do this on our own. We will be like Samson with a haircut. We will easily fall. But with you, God, we can outrun a fast army. We can leap over a high wall. We can do the impossible, Father, with your strength inside of us. So hear us today, God, asking for more of You, wanting a flood, wanting that flame, needing that wind so we are not weary. I thank You that You've heard us cry today. I thank You that You've filled us with power. I thank You that we will see Your glory.
You can put your hands down. I sense the Holy Spirit so thick in our midst. And I believe whenever that is happening, wherever there is ministry taking place, it's also the opportunity for salvation. Listen to me, friend, while we pray. For I believe there are some present who have never made the most important decision. And that is the decision to open your soul up to your Creator's touch, to allow Him to come in and meet the deepest needs of your soul. Not the need for food, or for money, or for human affection, those are all important. The most important need is the need for salvation. Two things are true. God loves you, and your sins separate you from that love. You are created to know and to walk and to live in a relationship with your Creator. But sin has come into the equation because of our own transgressions. Don't take offense to that. You're like, you're calling me a sinner.
Listen, I'm owning that I'm a sinner. And I think in your heart of hearts, you'd know that you've done wrong. That's why you feel guilt. And that sin is bad. There's no excuse for it. And that sin is separated you from God and has brought judgment upon you. And that judgment, left unfixed, will lead to hell. But God loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, not just for you, but as you. As He hung there, it was as though He was strapped into the electric chair for a crime you committed. He died as though He were you, as though He were Levi Lusko. And it was for my sins that He perished. But He didn't stay dead. After He died, He was raised back to life. And He is today alive at the right hand of His Father, and He is willing to save you if you believe in Him. But you must confess your sin. You must open your heart up to His love. And that can happen right now.
So with heads bowed, eyes closed, I believe God is using internet, and I believe He's using fiberoptics and satellites to right now send His mercy flooding into your life. And if you listen to me, if you don't repent, you will perish. And you will have no one to blame but yourself, for God has done everything short of violating your free will to save you. So in this moment, just turn to Him, just right in your heart right there, just turn To him. Open your heart, unclench those muscles. I know there's lots of good reasons why you're so resistant to Him. People who called themselves Jesus people have burned you. You've read stories in the newspaper about hypocritical pastors. I understand all that. But God in heaven will never let you down. God in heaven will never be a hypocrite. And He's the one who wants to save you. So right there in your hearts, I want you to pray a prayer, and I want you to say it with your mouth. And I would ask the church family to pray with you to say that we're with you.
Dear God, I'm a sinner, and I can't do anything about that, except bring my sin to You and ask You to forgive it because of what Jesus did on the cross and when He rose from the dead. So right here, right now, I give myself to You. Invade my soul with Your love, and make me Your son, daughter. I belong to You. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.