Thank you so much for coming today it’s been a great couple of weeks for me. I’ve been travelling maybe more than I remember travelling in a long time to preach. Preachin’ my little head off and God has been faithful. I’ve been in the last four weeks to Sydney, Australia. Preaching in London, England. Preaching and… this week Seattle, Washington preaching and New York City… or actually I was in Brooklyn. I don’t wanna be offensive, because you know, if you say it wrong people get all upset. And I was… I was in Brooklyn, technically speaking. And it’s been crazy! But God has been faithful and you haven’t even missed me. I’ve been here every single week. Jet lag and all. And God is good! And I feel so energized about this new teaching series called the “Other Half”. We’re gonna talk about your relationships. How many are excited to talk about your relationships? Take a moment if you would and pity me. Would you pity me? Yeah… because how would you like to speak about relationships to a room this diverse? Would you enjoy that? Wanna trade places? Because I know… I know I’ve been doing this a while now. I know I look 23… but I’ve been doing this for a minute. And I know everybody has different kind of reaction. We’re gonna talk about relationship four weeks and then some people say, “Well, I’ll see you in five.” I’m not sitting through that. You know, because really… really they… they do. Some people have been through painful… terribly painful relationship situations and.. and you almost think you can predict what the preacher might have to say about relationships before he even says it So single people are already judging me before I even start my sermon. *sarcastically* “Here we go. Great.
Gonna tell me to wait. Made for the one.” “That I’m, you know… if he hasn’t come into my life yet, maybe I’m not ready.” “But my roommate was totally less ready than me.” *mumbles in annoyance* “I don’t wanna say anything about that. And they tell me not to have sex.” “And if I have sex, then I’m gonna get a disease and go to hell… gonna die.” But what I’m gonna do… I’m gonna go straight to the Bible and then if you don’t like what I have to say, you can take it up with my Boss! Turn in your Bible to Matthew, chapter 6, verse 31. And we wanna get into this… this series today called the “Other Half”. If I were to ask you the question, “Are you in a relationship?” and your hand didn’t go up, you would misunderstand the very nature of what we intend to communicate. This series is for everyone. Would you touch your neighbor and say, “This is totally for you.” *congregation* “This is totally for you.” When we do it, we’ll talk a little bit about if you’re married. That’s important. But there is half of the church that isn’t married. Statistics say half of marriages end in divorce. Let’s be honest. If we don’t have our relationship with God right, our relationship with our self right… we’re never gonna have our relationship with others right. So… I hope you’ll just listen with an open mind today. And… let me pick up in Matthew, chapter 6, verse 31. I’m probably partial to this scripture. My dad loved the Sermon on the Mount… and he would read it every morning. So he challenged me to memorize it… and I’ve memorized some of it, but he’d had memorized the whole thing. I didn’t memorize the whole thing… but I like this part in Matthew, chapter 6, verse 31. And I never really saw it as a relationship scripture, but now that I read it in this season of my life, I see that it’s… it’s nothing if not a relationship scripture. It is all about intimacy and provision, and you’ll see what I mean. And Jesus speaking says… people who don’t even know God Somebody say, “God knows… what I need.” And tell your neighbor too in case they’ve been staying up stressing about things that are outside of their control. Tell them, “God knows what you need. God knows what you need.” And that’s a good thing to say any time in your life you feel like that you don’t have enough, or you don’t have what you want, or you don’t have what others have. Just remind yourself over and over again that God knows what I need. Now, sometimes the reason that we can’t receive His provision in some areas of our life is because we don’t have our priorities aligned. And sometimes what we interpret as a lack of provision on God’s part is a lack of prioritization on ours. Can I go further? *congregation says “yes”* So He says… [verse 33] God says, “When you align your heart with My heart and your plans with My purposes, I will give you the things that the rest of the world has to grasp for.” “I will give you the peace that the millionaires can’t buy. I will give you… come on somebody… Every good and perfect gift comes from above and because I’m in a relationship with God, I have access to everything that I need… to be who He’s called me to be… to do what He’s called me do And so knowing these things, I seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other factors will be taken care of by my Father. Amen… sometimes when I’m preaching I just get into it myself and I forget you’re there. Now, the people that wrote the scriptures didn’t put a chapter marker here so I’m gonna keep right going on to chapter 7. Because it says here that this is a new chapter but to me it’s the same thought. And this verse… it comes next. This is the verse that everybody who smokes weed likes to quote. I just woke them up uptown. How can you say to your brother or your wife or your husband… whoever… your boss, your kid I’m speaking to somebody right now, who is selling yourself short and lowering and compromising your standard. Jesus said, Maybe you need to send a text to that guy before you leave church today and say, “Give me my pearls back.” Don’t even explain it or put a verse by it, but you’ll know what it means. I’ll finish with verse 7 because we gotta stop somewhere. I wanna call this message, “Fix Your Focus” because I believe that the only thing you are ever always in control of is your focus So many factors in your life are beyond your control, but one thing you can always control, if you learn how to do it and if you’re committed to it, is your focus. I think that many relationships fail not because of a loss of love but because of a loss of focus. That would be one of the reasons that a church fails as well, while we’re at it, is that you lose your focus when you stop caring about what God cares about. God will no longer back you in your endeavor. And so… sometimes what we call failure is really just broken focus. It’s the reason why the passion that exists in some parts of relationships when it’s getting started tends to link and you wonder where it went. It wasn’t necessarily that you lost the love. You lost the focus. It’s very difficult to keep that first love focus in any relationship. I think Jesus is calling us back to focus. If you’ll notice the bread on the sandwich from the little passage that we’ve just read, both of them start with ‘seeking’. Seek first His kingdom. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. On both ends of this passage, where Jesus is speaking on several different subjects, is this idea of focus. Especially, in our culture I think the focus when it comes to our relationship tends to be a little broken. When I say that’s it’s broken, I mean that it’s misplaced and misleading. Sometimes we’re so focused on falling in love that we are very uneducated about the process of staying in love. Talk to me any time you want to. And there’s a romantic notion that is reinforced with every romantic comedy, that the falling part is where the excitement is. I was looking at an article getting ready for this series, where the author said, “There’s a reason that fairy tales end in marriage.” “Because nobody wants to see what happens next.” Nobody wants to talk about the other half. So today as I open the series… and it really will get better every week I hope that you’ll bear with me today as I lay a sort of foundation. I want to talk about four decisions of focus that you are making [in] every area in your life. And I know that some of you should be teaching the marriage seminar… all of you patron saints of marriage… been doing it 30 and 40 years and all of that. I’m not quite on your level yet. I just celebrated my 14th year. And while somebody is clapping for that, somebody else is like, “Pshhh. That ain’t nothing. I’ve been married longer that you’ve been alive, boy. Imma let some whipper-snapper in some skinny motto-cross jeans talk to me about this?” ‘Tight Jeans’ up here tryin’ to tell me how to be married.” But… regardless of the stage of the relationship, it requires a certain kind of focus. That’s what I wanna talk about today. So I wanna lay out four areas. I want you to take notes. Everybody write something down. If your neighbor ain’t writing anything down, it’s cuz they don’t love God and don’t care about His word. Now, watch this. The first area you gotta decide, you gotta decide your focus cuz you can always decide your focus. You can’t always decide about all the factors. You can’t always decide if someone is gonna stay with you or leave you. You can’t always decide if someone is gonna ask you out. You can’t always decide if they’re gonna text you back. But you can always decide your focus, so is your focus, number 1, on ‘finding’ or ‘becoming’? Finding or Becoming Jesus said, seek first the kingdom and the other stuff will move into position. But if you seek first the other stuff, then you will have no center of gravity for the stuff to revolve around, so it’s important that your focus is not… I’ve been teaching this for years man. I used to go around to youth camps, and I would teach dating seminar and I would say… You know, it’s not an original quote from me, but I’ll say it all the time cuz I think it’s true. “Happiness isn’t finding the right person. Happiness is being the right person.” Eric, my best friend in the world is here, I mean Holly’s my best friend. (laughter) But, my best friend that’s a guy. Other than my sons. One of my friend’s Eric is here. (laughter) But I stopped and asked him a question, I think is a good question, and I said, “And what will you do when you catch them?” Isn’t that a good question if somebody’s looking for a woman or looking for a man? “What will you do, if you catch them?” But we are so focused on the catching that we don’t even pay attention to the commitment that is required. back to my notes so what is your focus is it what you can’t control
which is what God is doing in your life or is it finding, you know i gotta find the woman in this independent fundamentalist baptist church church