Hello and welcome to this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque. We're excited to hear from our special guest speaker, Levi Lusko, senior pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana and the author of Through the Eyes of a Lion. We pray that God uses this message to draw your heart closer to him.
If he does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at CalvaryABQ.org/giving. Now we invite you to mark your bibles at 2 Corinthians, chapter four, as Levi begins the message through the eyes of a lion.
Come on, who's excited to be in God's house this weekend? My family and I were having pizza a while back and it was too hot because they brought it out. But we were all hungry so, we wanted to eat it real quickly. And the girls were hungry and I was hangry and it was going bad quick. So my wife thought quickly. And while we're on the subject-- dang, girl, you look good. You just make everything look good. You make everything better. You are the wonderful gift of God on my life. Thank you so much.
So my wife says-- she says quickly, she starts tugging at all the pizza slices. She says pull them apart because they'll get cold faster. I sat back in my chair and said, woman, you're like the devil. That's marriage advice-- but don't worry, I'm a veteran of 10 years of marriage, going on 12, so that's 11, actually. So we're-- I'm just figuring this out right in front of you.
Did you know how much the devil does not like it when you get to church? If he can keep you all on your own, in your house, with your own thoughts, he can keep you cold. But he should never have let you get here this weekend because here you are now, worshipping together. There's power in the assembly. There's something special that happens when we come together, and we lift our voices, and we raise up our hands, and we open up his word, and we like truth hit our hearts. And we get to be filled with the spirit again.
He gets to give us power for this week, a brand new anointing for every trial, grace for every situation. Come on, celebrate if you believe that you are receiving strength today for trouble coming your way tomorrow. God's trying to give you something you're going to need a month from now. Come on, let's one more time sing it out.
Spirit of the living God, have your way. Come on. From the front to the back.
(SINGING) Spirit of the living God, have your way. Have your way in us. Spirit of the risen king, fall afresh. Fall afresh on us, God. Spirit of the living God, have your way. Have your way in us. Spirit of the risen king, fall afresh. Fall afresh on us, God.
If there ever was a prayer that God was in a hurry to answer, it's that one. He's not reluctant to revive and he is not stingy with his Holy Spirit. So often, the power we don't have in our lives is simply because we never asked. But here we are together, begging God for a downpour of his Holy Spirit. I'll tell you what, revival is happening right now. This is it.
And I'm so thankful I get to be here in this moment with you. Calvary Albuquerque, you all are a sight for sore eyes. I love you to pieces. It is great to be back with you once again. If you're new, welcome. Welcome to this church. First time guests, it's amazing to you here as well. I would just simply beg you, please do come back. The normal guy is much better and he's a whole lot taller too.
But I'm glad I get the chance to be here with you again. As my wife said, we love Pastors Skip and Lenya. They're my godparents and we named one of our daughters Lenya after your pastor's wife, Lenya. Our daughter, Lenya Lion, because Lenya means lion. We called her Lenya Lion. And we love this church, we love you, we love green chili, we love hot air balloons. Everything's better when you're in the land of enchantment. Don't you guys think? It's pretty good, huh, Kev?
By the way, it's been great singing with you. Thank you for being here with the us Fresh Live Worship. These guys are great, huh? You could take a seat, Calvary.
I want to talk to you this weekend about how to-- how to see life through the eyes of a lion. And that's a metaphor that stands for looking through the telescope of faith. That's what I want to talk to you about. Lions have spectacular vision. Did you know that?
They're what you call long-sighted. Long-sighted, because they can see a long ways away. Make sense? And the reason they're so good at seeing is because their eyes are approximately six times better than ours at processing light. And light is just-- sight is just light.
The reason we see is because light comes into our eyes and we have photo receptors in the back of our eyes called rods and cones that process the light, transmit the information through the optic nerve up to your brain for processing. Everyone knows that. You have millions of these rods and cones. Rods see shapes, cones see color. You take the light, you filter it, you process it, and that's what vision is.
So lions can see better in the dark and see a long ways away because they're better at processing light. Now telescopes help our eyes see because they collect and gather light and bring it to our eyes, making what's far away and hard to see magnified and bigger for us to process that light. There's a number of reasons that makes the eyes of a lion so good at processing light.
For one thing, their pupils are bigger than ours. The pupil's the entrance where light comes in. So if you have a bigger entrance, how much more light can come in? Significantly. Then, on command, they can stretch their pupil three times wider than we can. And so even more light can come in.
Additionally, the rear wall of lion's eye is covered in a reflective surface. So light coming in bounces back out and they get to use the light that came in a second time. We just get to use it once, they get to use it twice. Lines recycle light. Amazing.
That's why, by the way, if you ever take a picture of a cat, their eyes will always glow. What are you seeing? You're seeing the light that came in bouncing back out. Amazing. The more you know.
Then they have a higher percentage of rods and cones, so that makes them better with shape, worse with color. So don't ever take a lion shopping with you. Does this look good? It won't be able to help you with color. But if you ever need to see something in a dark place, call the lion.
Lastly, if you ever see a picture of a lion, I don't know, like that one, you will always notice there's a white stripe under the eye of each-- under each eye. And that's not only beautiful, but it serves a functional purpose. Here's why. If you ever watch a football game, you'll notice that oftentimes, the athletes will smear eye black under each other. That's to minimize glare. So they can see the ball and not be squinting in the sun.
God put the white under the eye of a lion. He smeared eye white all up under each eye. Why? To maximize glare. So that the most light possible will find its way into the lion's eye.
While we're on the subject, how amazing is God? Like this is all fantastic. I just-- makes me want to worship. let's just sing again because the lion's eye is awesome. And you're fearfully and wonderfully made, too.
I will say this. The lions don't have more light than we do. They don't have access to more light. They get the same amount of light as any other animal does. They just are better at using the light that's there. That's why we need to have the pupils of our souls dilated. Ephesians calls it having God's spirit breath on you to where you are enlightened.
That's not that you'll get more light. It's just your soul will be opened up to take in the light that's already there hidden, as it were, in plain sight. That's why we need faith, like a telescope that's going to attract and gather light and bring near what seems far. It will allow you to face problems and pain, but see God's plan, his purposes, his promises, and his presence. It will be for you what it was for us, the only thing that kept us afloat when life didn't go like we thought it was going to go.
In 2012, my wife and I and our daughters, we faced the most difficult thing we could ever have written for the script of our lives. And that was our young daughter, Lenya, who was only age five at the time, Lenya Lion, without notice, without advanced warning, without any time to prepare ourselves was taken from this world only five days before Christmas, after an asthma attack caused her to stop breathing and her heart to stop beating. And then we were one moment shopping for Christmas presents and wrapping, and the next moment, we were picking out a casket and having to choose a cemetery.
We didn't ever have the chance to say goodbye. It was shocking. It was sudden. It was horrendous. Yet, in the midst of those suffocatingly painful days, God gave us hope, he gave us strength, and he gave us peace, the past, understanding. We were afraid, but we were not alone. Our anchor held within the vale. I came to testify that we passed through deep waters, but did not drown. We walked through fire, but we're not burned. He carried us on eagle's wings and brought us to himself and helped us to see that though our daughter left this world, she got to go home.
And I'll tell you something. I'll tell you something. We got to see that our daughter had gone home for Christmas. And my mandate from heaven, both in writing this book and in communicating with you today n this wonderful church, is-- has been and is to share our field notes from this uncertain, rugged, savage terrain that is suffering. So that prayerfully, they could be of some benefit to you, no matter what kind of loss you experience in this world.
Whether it's the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of a dream, the death of a business, or any other kind of loss you face, because pain is real and hurting with hope still hurts. And I pray that this would be of some benefit to you. And I would also say that perhaps you're here and you're not going through any kind of difficult and you're having trouble tracking with me, I mean, don't get me wrong. You're thankful that a guy like me would come in everyone in a while and preach to those hurting people out there, but you just can't relate because it's all blue skies for you right now and Skittles and gummy bears.
And all I would say is please give me your attention, too. Perhaps the less you feel your need for this, the more you actually need it. Because you-- with all due respect, have your five year plan, and your money, and your savings account, and how you think it's all going right now, but I just got news for you. You actually have no idea what's coming your way and neither do I. And the best thing you can do would be to train for a trial you're not yet in. For storms reveal foundations, they're not tremendously good times to begin working on them.
See that tornado coming? Let's build a basement. Say hi to Dorothy for us, please. You want to be ready for the difficult day in advance. Amen?
I want to give your four ways to utilize your telescope of faith. That's what we're going to do in a moment. And these will not only help you to process light in the midst of darkness you face out there, when it's another horrendous reports from the news. And by the way, our country has been hurting with Albuquerque in these difficult days you've been going through. Our hearts are with you, our souls are with you, and we grieve with you as you go through what you have lately.
But you don't just need the telescope for the stuff happens out there in this world, this hard world, this cruel world, this often dark planet. We also need it, I believe, for God to help us to see you correctly when we look in here, when we face ourselves in the mirror. You need to look at yourself through the eyes of a lion, to see yourself not as you are, but as God sees you.
And what will you find if you look at yourself with a telescope of faith? You will see-- listen to me-- that you are destined for impact. You might feel ordinary, you might feel normal, with all you've done, with where you've been. You might not have a lot are following on Twitter, but let me tell you something. You are a chosen generation. You are a royal priesthood. You are-- you are a holy nation, God's own special people. He brought you out of darkness and into his marvelous light that you might proclaim his praises.
He is for you, not against you. He chose you. He loves you. He called you. He equipped you. He is faithful. He's appointed and anointed you to take your place and to change the world. Come on, give God the glory if you believe that you're destined for impact.
He's got a plan for your life. There's a calling on your life. He wants-- by the time your life on this world is done, for you have been able to take place in a bigger story than just your own. You were saved by the blood of Jesus. You were sealed with the Holy Spirit. You are seated in heavenly places.
He didn't just save you so you wouldn't go to hell. He saved you so you would shake the very gates of hell. To quote Loki, brother of Thor, "You are burdened with glorious purpose." Four ways to use the telescope of faith-- if you take notes in church, jot them down. If you don't take notes in church, jot them down. Because you should take notes in church.
Why? So you can remember this crap for later. Am I allowed to say that? I don't know, I just did. We'll find out later, if I ever get invited back. If you never see me again, it was fun. Therefore-- plus, the way I see it, we're also ADD- squirrel-- that taking notes is kind of like Ritalin for church. You know what I'm saying? It just keeps you tracking.
And then when you want to tweet me and quote me, you can have-- just can copy and paste because you took notes on your iPhone. I'm just given you-- just cheater lessons here. I met a substitute teacher after the last worship experience. He was a substitute at Hope Christian School, where I graduated from. And I'm an alumnus for right here among us. And I just-- I needed to apologize to her. Because I was like every time I saw you, I didn't do any work. It was--
The first is this. You've got to look beyond. Look beyond. Look what Paul says-- so jot that down. Look beyond. Than jot this down. 2 Corinthians 4, because here's what Paul said about using the telescope of faith. He said, "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day." Pause right there, your attention, please.
There's two things happening simultaneously. There's what you can see. There's what you can't see. There's what's right there. There's what's actually there. There's what's happening. And There's what you don't know is happening, at all times. We're living constantly in a war, a battle, and it's called the war of lenses. What lens are we going to look at stuff through?
Are we only going to see the physical or we going to believe God for the supernatural and the eternal? Paul says, if I look at my body, I'll get stressed out because my body's dying. Hey, did you know you're getting older? Hey, did you know your body's breaking down? Hey, did you know you began dying the moment you were born? Hey, did you know that every day you live longer in this body, the worse it gets?
But did you-- hey, God bless you. Have a great week, all. No, I'm joking, just joking. But did you know Paul says, if I look at that, I'll get stressed out. If I look at that, I'll fill with anxiety. But I have to also look beyond that to what I can't see with the human eye, that is my spirit is getting renewed every day. Come on, on the inside, we age like Benjamin Button, and we're getting more and more mature, more and more Jesus. If we yield ourselves to him, we can get more peace, more glory, more grace, more strength. We can be kinder, we can be more loving.
Come on. Thank God that you don't have to stay as you are, that on the inside, he can make you the person you were born to be. And so Paul says you can't look at what you can see, we've got to believe God for what you can't see. But then he continues in verse 17, he says, "For our present troubles are small."
No, they're not, Paul. Didn't you get beaten with rods? Didn't you get shipwrecked? Didn't you get stoned, with rocks, not weed? Didn't you get-- yeah, that's huge, bro. Yeah, but he says, no, no, they're small, only if I look at what I can't see. What is that? That they won't last very long, yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.
I can't get bogged down with what I see here because I know there are invisible things happening, hiding in plain sight, stuff my rods and cones can't even handle. Verse 18, "So we don't look at the troubles we can see now, we fix our gaze." That's a key phrase. We fix our gaze. We fix our gaze on what? "Things that cannot be seen, for the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
You've got to learn to look at what you can see, but then believe what you can't see. You've got almost look at your life with your eyes closed and your ears open. Because the scripture says we don't walk by faith. That's not right. That's completely wrong. I'm preaching heresy.
We don't walk by sight, we walk by faith. So we don't look at just what's there, we believe God for what he says will be there. That's how we live. So you've got to master the double take so that you look beyond. You look at what's happening. You're not in denial, you're not pretending it's not there. You're not in blissful ignorance.
Oh, everything's OK. You're like great. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, your leg's been cut off, you're bleeding everywhere, but it's only a flesh wound. I'll bite your kneecaps off. No, no, don't do that. We're not that guy. We are aware that there's hard stuff happening and we understand that. We're not putting a nice face on an ugly thing. We just look at it, then look away, believe God's promises, and look at it again with faith.
We look at it again seeing the unseen. We look at death but believe he's the resurrection. We look at loss, but know he's our shield, our exceeding great reward. We look at loneliness and believe that he is with us always, even to the end of the age.
So for us, what does this look like in the real world? This morning, when we woke up, we were day 1,039 days into this thing called grief. What do you call it? I don't know. When you lose your parents, you're called an orphan. When you lose your husband, you're called a widow. What would you describe someone who's lost their child? I guess there's not a name for that thing. And perhaps that's fitting because words really can't describe what it feels.
1,039 times we've woken up on this earth and our daughter hasn't been on it. And I'll tell you, if I'm honest with you, sometimes that's overwhelming because I often have to listen to a video to remember what her voice sounds like now. And she feels like she's slipping away because that's a long time. And soon, she'll have been gone for longer than she was with us and that will be hard.
And if I just look at what I can see, I'll feel such anxiety, crippling anxiety. But if I remember with the lens of faith to look at it accurately, I'll remember that she's not in the grave, she's in heaven. So I'm not getting further from her, I'm getting closer to her. It not that she's 1,039 days away from me, it's that 1,039 days I've woken up has brought me closer to her and she's more a part of my future than she is my past. And I'm heading in the right direction.
But it's all how you look at it. It's all what lens you choose to look at it through. That's what you need to do. You need to learn to look beyond. That's the first. The second is live with the spirit of earnest expectation. Jot that down, earnest expectation.
Did you know that lions never walk flat footed? They never-- they're he-- watch a video of a lion if you don't believe me. Get your National Geo on. If you look at a video of a lion, whether they're walking or running, their heels never strike the ground. They will always be on the toes, always be on that the pads of their feet.
That was a long hair I just pulled off my leg. That was weird. Don't know whose that was. My hair is short. I blame my wife. She always sheds on me. The things I say out loud that I should have just left in my head-- lions are always on their toes though.
And this serves a useful function because it's harder to knock something over that on it's tiptoes. If I stand here on my heels, you could just shove me and I'd fall over. But if I get my-- if I get my float like a butterfly, sting like a be on, if I stand like Ali, let me tell you something. I'll have traction and I'm going to be able to be like Neo and get the bullets whizzing over me. And I'm going to be fine.
So it is inside your soul. Listen to what JB Phillips said in Romans * 19. "The whole creation is on--" say it out loud if you believe it-- tiptoe-- "tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the coming of the sons of God into their own." All right, check it out. When you get up on your tiptoe, you're posturing yourself with anticipation. And when you fuel your life with the anticipation of what God is going to do instead of just dwelling on the difficult things that you've been through, God gives you traction. He gives you strength. He gives you firm foundation and then it fuels you with forward progress as you face now, the future.
So there's something to it. Get up on your tiptoes. When you face loss, get up on your tiptoes. When something difficult happens that makes you want to drink half a bottle of wine, and pop a Xanax, and pull the comforter over your head, and then go back to sleep, instead get up on your tiptoes and believe that God's up to something. He's doing something. He's working. He's present. He hasn't forgotten about you. He hasn't lost control of the universe.
Believe. I dare you to believe that suffering is not an obstacle to being used by God. It's an opportunity to be used like never before. And that where God allows there to be impossible pain, he's setting you up for incredible power, incredible power. Little theology to back that up, would that be OK?
God does not cause evil, but he is in control of it. Anything bad you've ever gone through, it wasn't God who made it happen, yet he had to allow it to happen and it couldn't have happened without his approval. The devil has to ask God to do stuff is what I'm saying. The devil asked God's permission to afflict Job. The devil asked the Lord Jesus permission to sift Peter's wheat. True or false?
The devil-- go with me-- had to ask God's permission to crucify Jesus. He's the one who raced up the evil men with their intent to do what they did. So whenever God allows something like that, it's not that he caused it, but he had to allow it. Now if we could time out there and go TiVo for a second? I wonder if maybe, like me, you wonder sometimes why God says yes to stuff. Like my theology causes me to have to know like God allowed it, didn't cause it, but allowed it. And I sometimes-- like why didn't you just say no, God?
Like why didn't he say no in Oregon? Why didn't you say no to those shootings? And why didn't he say no here? Seems like the devil has too much leeway sometimes. And so why does he say yes or now and-- you know what? That's above our pay grade. That's above our pay grade. And a God who is small enough for our mind, would be too small for our problems.
If I could understand him, I wouldn't need him. I wouldn't worship him. So I just go hey, hey, your ways are above my ways. Your thoughts are past finding out. I believe you have more intel than I have. Who am I to stand in judgment of you with all my 33 years of experience on this earth? I'm going to give you a tongue wagging? You've been alive since before the foundation of the world and I just am going to give you the space to be God.
However, know this. When he does allow evil to happen, he always, always, always has a plan to sabotage it. He always looks-- sort of gives the permission to the devil. But on the way out, he inserts the Trojan Horse virus that will be the undoing of what the devil caused. So that at the end of the day, all things would work together for those who love God and are called according to do his purposes. And so that what was meant for evil would accomplish his good pleasure.
How did the Book of Job end? I can't remember. Oh, that's right. Job was twice as blessed as he was at the beginning and had twice as many children, both those who got replaced to ones he lost with and the ones who he lost who were waiting for him in heaven. They were all his. Joke was on the devil.
How did the book the story of Peter's fall end when he was sifted like wheat? Oh, that's right. He was restored and he strengthened his brethren. And the broken bone of his humility became a source of great strength for him. And God used him more powerfully after his darkest days than he ever had before that happened.
How did the cross of Jesus Christ end? Oh, that's right. The ruthless hands that took a hold of them and took the life of the Prince of Glory, God raised him from the dead on the third day. And today, he offers life and immortality to anybody who believe.
I got this picture in my head of the devil being like some punk who's never stayed in a hotel room and opens up the mini bar to see all this loot and thinks, oh, my god, I'm taking this all and starts loading his suitcase up with all the alcohol and all the candy bars. He just thinks it's-- he's taking the linens, he's taking the towels, he's taking the robe, not knowing the front desk has his credit card number on file and that God's going to make the devil pay for everything he was dumb enough to do in your life and in mine.
Come on, praise him if you believe it's true. Crushing always releases anointing. I told you a second ago you were a royal priesthood-- royal priesthood, kings and priests to our God. Do you know what kings and priests had in common in the Old Testament? They both had to be anointed before they could begin their ministry. And so it is with you and I.
The crushing-- I dare you to believe it's the pressing that is causing the olive oil to run down. That is going to be God's holy spirit's anointing upon your life for your next level of usefulness in his hand. And that your greatest praise is going to come out after your darkest days.
I just wonder if this isn't true. And just tuck this into your heart. It maybe seem like an insult almost to say this, but it is an incredible honor to be trusted with pain. God always gives his most difficult assignments to his most trusted soldiers, so suffer well and don't waste a drop of it. Earnest expectation will help you to see that.
The third is this. You need to understand the new normal, how to deal with the new normal. Now that's a phrase that's yanked from every grief manual. It's going to be hard to deal with the new normal. What is the new normal, you might wonder, if you're not grieving in some way. The new normal is the shock over what's been taken from you and now confronting what you never thought would be your experience anymore.
This is the person who is now single at 50 and they meant their marriage vows and divorce was always something to happen to other people. But now, you're almost disoriented. Which way's up? The new normal is the pain of, for us, walking into a restaurant and hearing the hostess say how many in your party. And I think there should be six, should be Jenny and I, our four daughters. But instead, I take a deep breath and say five. It's the new normal.
The new normal is hard to get used to. But I want to turn that phrase upside down and I want to talk about how to see whatever is normal for you in a brand new way, especially if your normal is like really, really normal, to the extent that when earlier, I was all like you're a chosen generation and your appointed and anointed to change the world, you were thinking, yeah, that's great, pal, but I did 11 loads of laundry this week. Please tell me more about my glorious purpose.
You're thinking to yourself, dude, I sell discount tires. Tell me about how I'm destined for impact. How do we live out an extraordinary calling while doing ordinary things? Maybe, just maybe it's not new things we need to do though, just looking at old things in a new way.
If we don't get this, if we don't figure this stuff out, then we're going to have a disconnect between what we believe God's called us to do, do great things for his name, and what actually we need to do, what fills up the minutes and the hours of our days. And this'll cause you-- if you don't reckon this, if you don't reconcile this, it'll cause you the confusion. And you'll almost feel like you're not doing your calling. You'll feel guilty for doing what you're supposed to do because of what you should be doing. And you'll unnecessarily live with calling envy, looking at other people who are called to do certain things and feel like I should do that, like I should be in India washing the feet of lepers.
And now, to be fair, if God does call you to leave everything and move to India and wash the feet of lepers, what should you do? Do it, because he's God. Like totally listen to him, he's huge. But maybe, just maybe, that's not the only way to live out a God sized calling. And perhaps there's opportunity all around you in the ordinary, in the normal, in the mundane.
Perhaps God would open the eyes of your soul up that you would see it though the eyes of a lion and understand that tucked within your natural is something super that God wants to do. It's not in spite of your life that he's going to use you, it's in the midst of it. Don't miss a ministry that's right under your nose.
This is the classic mom having her quite time, getting her praise on. Lord, zips up her Lululemon, Lord, just use me to touch a life today. I just got my Beth Moore Bible Study done and it said I'm supposed to pray for a life to-- shut up, Billy, mom's having her quiet time. I have to-- Lord, just-- sorry. Lord, just give me a li-- get off, Billy-- Billy. Baby girl, your prayer has been heard. His name is Billy and he's just as important as the leper in India.
And what you do for him, you're doing for God. Every diaper you change, every lunch you pack, every tire you rotate, every pizza you make, every house you frame, every plan you engineer, let me tell you something, God wants to use your normal ordinary to do extraordinary things to his glory. You have permission to approach your life with passion now. You have permission to believe that God doesn't just send people to the other end of the world. He sometimes sends people to the other side of the cubicle wall.
I want to step out. I want to step out. Hey, God just maybe calling you to stay put. But I want to do something faith filled. There's very few things more faith filled than being faithful. I think sometimes we celebrate the people who are just the spiritual step outers. And really, they're just flaky, not faithful. Man, they're just always are doing together. Yeah, they've done very little at the 12 churches they've attended.
Wow, is that too real? Should we just not talk about it like that? Or can we actually call it how it is? I just think that that right there in the midst of what you're doing, if you'll just put your roots down and realize that are reaching the nations on the ends of the earth is important, but also we should step up to the end of our street, too. That God wants to use us right where we're at. But you got to look at your normal in a new way. Amen?
I got a fourth. You want to hear it? Should we just end it right now? Fourth? All in favor? There was 11 of you that were excited about that. The rest of you were like we're kind of hungry, so maybe-- the fourth is this. You're going to need some scare tactics.
If you're going to live out your calling, you're going to need some scare tactics. Wait, you mean like the way the media scares us into doing certain things or going to-- no, no, no, I'm talking about your own personal tactics for when you're scared. If you are going to do all that God's called you to do, you will be frightened. You will be afraid of times.
And so you need to determine, in advance, what you're going to do, lest you make the biggest mistake you could do in this world, and that is live your life by your feelings. Live your life by your feelings. How you feel will often be wrong. But my heart says yes. Your heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. You need to have a higher authority than how you feel.
Some of you, for too long, how you feel determines what you do. But we do not live by feelings. We live by obedience, in obedience to the word of God. And so we have to preload our obedience. And here's what I want you to do. I want you to determine in advance that when you feel afraid, you're going to face your fears. You're going to run toward the roar. That's what we're going to do, in Jesus' name.
Now let me back this up about with a little story about how lions hunt. Lions do life together. They live in prides. And when they hunt, they send a few lions to hide behind whatever they're going to try and kill. And then one comes from the front and let's loose one of those great big roars that causes the wildebeest to be frightened and to make the biggest mistake, the last mistake of its life, running away from what it's scared of towards the ambush it never knew anything about.
So it's counter intuitive, but the safest thing it could do would be to run towards what it's hearing, towards the roar. Run toward it's fear. Because it's actually faster than the thing that's chasing it. The only reason it gets killed by the one hiding behind it is because it has the element of surprise upon it.
And so it is in life. So often, things that God calls us to do scare us, and intentionally so. Because if there were no risk, if there was no element of fear, we wouldn't need faith. And the faith is a chance to trust God. It's that-- it's that option, trust him, even when all around us is it's so scary. It's David knowing Goliath is bigger than me and has been fighting longer than me, but instead of running away from Goliath, the Bible says he ran toward the giant. He ran toward the roar.
And so it is for you. When you feel frightened, in the midst of something, God's told you to do a calling he's put up on your life, and you feel like bolting, you've got to-- you've got to double down and tell your gut, sorry, bro, we're running toward the roar. I'm going to keep on writing.
I'm going to keep on painting. I'm going to launch this business. I'm going to stay in school. I'm going to fight for this marriage. I'm going to stay in this church. I'm going to keep on serving. I'm going to keep on going. I'm going to keep on believing. I'm going to keep on dreaming. In Jesus' name, to the glory of God, till heavens full, or hell is empty, or I'm dead trying. Amen?
And I'm a little bit excited about it. You've got to look beyond. You've got to live with earnest expectation. You've got to see the newness in the normal. And you've got to have some scare tactics. Or to put it another way, you've got to see life through the right lens. Come on, that's good. See how it came full circle there?
And like approximately three of you were thrilled about that. Thanks for-- all the hard work, it was worth it. I'm so glad to know. A telescope's only as good is its lens. And that's what you'll need, the right lens.
I told you earlier about how lions' eyes were built so they could see. Let me show you my Lenya Lion. This is her here. God built her eyes to help other people see. The night she went to heaven, the hospital called us after we got home. And they said something that was so hard to hear. They said, Mr. and Mrs. Lusko, there's no easy way to say this, but how do you feel about organ donation?
And my heart sank. We fell to the floors of our home, crying. And we wept, and then we said, you know, I think Lenya and God would have us to make this decision. And what they were specifically asking about was her eyes. They said would you allow us to take her corneas to give them someone else. And we said yes. And we found out months later, that not one, but two blind people received sight because of Lenya's corneas.
It's so beautiful because right now, there are two people on this earth who literally see life through the eyes of a lion. And they're not the only ones. You see, on the night my daughter died, I was given a job no dad should ever have. And I had to reach out and close the eyes of my child.
But what I never knew was that God was going to use her to open mine. And I believe with all my heart that Jesus wants to do the same thing for you, for many of you, this weekend. You see, the Gospel tells us that God so loved the world that he gave consent for his son to be an organ donor, and he gave his whole life, he gave his whole body on that tree, so that his righteousness could be transplanted into your heart.
And so that when you die and stand before God to be judged, that you are clothed in Jesus' righteousness and not your own sin. And that's what we need. Listen to me. Forgiveness is our greatest need because sin is our biggest problem. All of sin in falling short of the glory of God.
And if you're here this weekend and you've never trusted in Jesus for salvation, and perhaps, it's for a lot of reasons. Maybe-- maybe it's because you're religious and you feel like you're good enough on your own. Or perhaps it's because you are objecting to a God who can save you because of all that you've been through. I would just say this. Don't let your hardship keep you from him when it's in the midst of that very hardship that he comes to you, that he loves to you, that he rushes to you.
So even though you don't understand why everything's happened that has happened, don't let that keep you from him. Listen to me. Run to him, not from him in your pain, for he cares for you and his compassion is real. And his grace is real. And he'll put his arms around you. And one day, you'll know even as you're known, but until then, at least you'll be saved. At least you'll be forgiven. At least you'll have his spirit inside your heart.
So we close with this question. Would you like to give your life to Jesus Christ? Would you like to know that when you die, you're going to go to heaven and not hell? And would you like to walk the streets of this world with Jesus in your heart and with his plan unfolding all around you? If that's you, I hope you'll respond to this invitation we're going to give.
Would you bow your heads and close your eyes with me? All of us, praying. Father, we thank you for your great love. And we thank you that even now, you're moving in hearts and lives. You're drawing us to yourself. Thank you for the Gospel, thank you for Jesus, who came, because we could never earn our way to heaven. Thank you that he died for us and rose from the dead so we can live. If we would look to you with faith and call upon your name.
And even now, with heads bowed and eyes closed, how many of you in this moment would say I want to give my heart to Jesus, Levi. I want to be forgiven. I want him to come in the madness that is my life and begin to make a message out of it. I want you to take my sin and turn it into my song. I want you to turn my trash into triumph and I want to believe that my best days are in front of me, not behind me.
If that's you I'm describing, would you just raise your hand up in the air right now? Just put it up in the air. You're saying I want to give my heart to Jesus. Praise God for you in the front, to my right, right here, in the front. In the family room, I see your hands. On my left, in the back, in the very back, in the very, very back. How about in the balcony? Anyone receiving forgiveness in Jesus' name this weekend and you're saying I want to give my heart to Christ. God bless you.
I'm talking to old people. I'm talking to young people. I'm talking to middle aged people, people who have done a lot wrong, people who've only done a few things wrong. I'm talking about people who have grown up in the church, but now you're realizing you're far from God. Praise God for every single hand. More of you, I wonder. Who needs to receive this? Come on. Come on. Don't miss this moment. Don't miss this moment.
You can't just come to God whenever you want. You can only come as the spirit draws you. Respond to him now as he knocks on the door of your heart. You could put your hands down. Come on, church, help me praise God for all that he's doing in so many hearts this weekend.
And even now, I want to give you an opportunity. For those of you who raised your hands, I want to give you a chance to sort of put your money where your mouth is and to take a stand, a courageous stand of faith, to run toward the roar, I guess you could say, by, in just a moment, getting up out of your seat and walking down these aisles and standing facing me at the front of the stage. And when you get here, we're going to pray a simple prayer as you sign your life over, as you sign the pink slip of your soul over to the one who made you and who loves you.
Why would I do this? I'll tell you why. Because Jesus died publicly for you. He wasn't afraid to die with the whole world watching for you. And he wants you to live for him. And he said if you confess me before people, I'll confess you before my father and the angels in heaven. So here's a way for you to come to Jesus openly and publicly, to cross that line, to take a stand for him.
So right now, with everyone watching, with every open, I want those of you who raised your hands up to stand up. Come on, stand up all over this sanctuary. Stand up all over this room. Come on, praise God for you, for the courage it's taken. And get up on your feet and come up here.
Leave your seat, leave your row. Come on up here. Come walk to-- come walk this walk. Do it with your head held high. Do it knowing how much God loves you, how he's forgiven you, how he's chosen you, how, before he laid the foundation of the world, he picked you. And you're saying I want to receive this love. I want to walk in this love. I want the whole world to see me.
Come on, we're sing a chorus and I want you to leave you seat in the balcony, to get up out of the family room, to leave the overflows, to get out of your seat, to leave your sin, to leave your same, to leave your old life behind and come to Jesus. Come as we sing this song. Come now.
(SINGING) Come alive in him, let your heart be filled always, forever. Step out from the grave and be raised to life always, forever. Come alive in him, let your heart be filled always, forever. Step out from the grave and be raised to life always, forever.
Come on, church, we got to celebrate. This is too good to be true. We're seeing prayers answered in front of our very eyes. And I wonder if there's not some more of you who need this, who you're going to walk away from here regretting it if you don't get out of your seat and join these up here. Let us have the honor of praying with you as you give your heart to Christ.
Come on, celebrate for this couple right here. Fantastic Anybody else? Just get out of your seat, leave your old life behind. Give in. What do you have to lose? You have everything to gain. We're going to sing it again. Get up out of your seat and come down.
(SINGING) You let your heart be filled always, forever. Step out from the grave and be raised to life always, forever. Oh. Love is waiting. Heaven calls out. Give your life and all to him. Forgiveness is yours, freely given. Jesus will make all things new.
I don't about you, but I just am filled with a sense of joy and awe seeing people give their lives to Jesus. Because the Bible says that there is joy in the presence of the angels over one person turning over the life to Jesus, and we're getting to see so many today. And this causes heaven to rejoice and we are thrilled. Church, let me just ask-- beg you, to never let this get old, to never let yourself not be moved by seeing a person come from darkness to light. It's the best thing happening on this earth.
I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer for you just give your life to Jesus. I want you to say this prayer out loud after me and I want the whole church to say it out loud with us. Just their way of saying we stand with you in this decision. Amen? Say this prayer. Say dear God.
I know I'm a sinner.
I know I'm a sinner.
I've done wrong things.
I've done wrong things.
I can't fix myself.
I can't fix myself.
But I believe Jesus died for me.
But I believe Jesus died for me.
He hung on that cross.
He hung on that cross.
In my place.
In my place.
I believe he raised from the dead.
I believe he raised from the dead.
And he's here with us now.
And he's here with us now.
Come into my life.
Come into my life.
Make me yours.
Make me yours.
I give you me.
I give you me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
Come on, church, go crazy.
We've hoped you'd enjoy this special service from Calvary Albuquerque, featuring our guest speaker Pastor Levi Lusko. How will you live out what you learned from this message? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at CalvaryABQ.org/giving. Thank you for listening to this special message from Calvary Albuquerque.