Chris Hodges - Running With The Horses - Part 2
Well, it's great to see all of you here today for week number two of a series that we have called "Running With the Horses". I'll tell you more about that in just a moment, but like I always do, even though we are at church at home right now, church online, I'd like to take a moment and just say hello to all of our campuses. And know that Tammy and I pray for you every single day. We love you, we are so grateful to God for you, and your campus pastors, and the teams there. And Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we are going to be meeting in person again very soon. I am joined by some of our team that are here today, it's just a few in this big old 2400 seat auditorium. Y'all got to help me out today, all right? I need the shout of 2400 people, all right. Help me preach today.
We are also joined by some other churches that their pastor just wanted to take a couple Sundays off, praise God for that, and let me speak in their places. And what an honor that is. These are kind of spiritual sons of mine, if you will. These are pastors that I pastored. We are joined today by Coastline Church in San Diego, Pastor Eric Jane. And Action Church in Orlando, Pastor Justin Dailey, thank God for him. He's actually from our church here. The Chapel in the Tampa Bay area, Mark Quattrochi. Anchor Bend Church in Houston area, Jimn Kyles. Thank God for Pastor Jimn and Phyllis. And One Hope Church in New Orleans, Pastor Josh and Amber Canizaro, who are also from our church, God bless you guys today. Daystar Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, Pastor Allen Holmes. And Connect Community Church in the Boston area, Pastor Deryck Frye and Stacy. And Impact Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Pastor George Davis.
I know there's just a few of you, come on, put your hands together and say hello to all you guys. I'll put my hands together. And we love you guys so very, very much, and I want to speak to your congregation just for a moment and say thank you for being so faithful during these uncertain times that we have in society right now. And your faithfulness to the local church is so important. And at the end of the service, when we talk about our giving, be sure that you give and are faithful to your local church, and support them with all of your heart. What a great time to be a part of a local church. And you guys, hopefully you're taking the weekend off, you pastors. And just know that I love you so much.
We're also, of course, broadcasting this into some of the correctional facilities right here in the great state of Alabama, so hello to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. And again, hopefully very, very soon, we are going to be having in-person services. Our Coronavirus task force that I've assembled right here at the church is working diligently on our plan, reassessing and relearning from the few Sundays that we did have services. And we will be having services again in August. We'll give you those details in the... actually very, very soon. So, stay tuned, be sure to go to our website 'cause we not only have updates on the Coronavirus, we have updates on our commitment to diversity that we have posted there we would love for all of you to see.
And so, there's some good information there that you've got to check regularly, including the fact that in August, we are going to be having 21 days of prayer. And notice that I've added and fasting. Now, some of you are thinking, "Really, we're going to fast right in the middle of summer"? Some of us need it. I told you last Sunday, I have my quaran-15 on me right now. I don't know, being at home more has not been good for me. The pantry is a little too close, so I've got a button that's got some tension going on it right now. And seriously, I'm excited because I really believe that fasting is the ultimate act of humility. And that is really the one requirement that God asks for. He says, "If you'll humble yourselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from your wicked ways," that we'll hear from heaven.
How many of y'all believe we need to hear from heaven right now? I do. And so, we're going to be seeking God and not only fasting, but also felt led to invite other churches. And I'm happy to report we already have hundreds and hundreds of churches that are going to be joining us for 21 days of prayer. So, if you're a pastor watching right now, you'd like to join us, we'll give you a way to contact us so you can participate in this 21 days with us. I'm believing God for 1,000 churches, come on somebody, that'll pray and fast with us in the month of August, and believe God for a healing in our land. Well, last week, I started a little two-part series that I actually began working on back in March. When the Coronavirus thing happened, I actually started studying the end times.
Now, I'm not making a statement that we're in the end times, but I truly believe that the spirit of the end times is here. And if you really want me to give my own personal commentary of where we are in biblical prophecy and history, I truly believe that we are at the beginning of the end. Now, I believe that. I don't think we're in a tribulation, I think we're knocking on it. I think we are in the doorway of it. Either way, whatever your belief is, the spirit of the end times is here. Even the spirit of the antichrist is here. And 1 John talks about it when it says, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus..."
By the way, that's just end of story right there. The Spirit of God says, "Jesus is Lord". "And that he has come in the flesh from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist," watch this detail, "which you have heard is coming". So, he is an actual person who is coming. Whether he's alive or here now, we don't know. I personally again believe we're on the doorstep of the end of time. "But even you have heard he's coming, but even now is already in the world". In other words, he doesn't have to be here for the spirit of the antichrist to be here. Which means you need to be prepared for this in any way.
Now, if you know anything about the book of Revelation and how the tribulation begins, it all begins with the release, metaphorically speaking, of the four horses of the apocalypse. We studied this in detail last week, we're not going to get into detail this week. Just go back and watch it, it's there archived on our website. But the four horses, the first horse was a white horse that said he held a bow and a crown. In other words, there was going to be disorder, disruption, anarchy, all these types of things, but also saying, "Hey, and I know the way out".
So, there's going to be both disruption and deception. In other words, it's going to be hard to figure out, which is dangerous of course. And then a second horse, the red horse, he came out and just there was war. He says he came to remove peace from people's hearts. So, we know this spirit is here now. The spirit of fear and violence is in our land and really not just in America, it's in the world. And then a black horse came out that caused where just to buy a loaf of bread, it would take an entire day's wages. And that there would be literally economic collapse, and we have seen that happen not only here and in our country, but around the world.
And finally, a pale horse that said he would actually kill this... that disease or the sword would kill a fourth of the earth. And that's how, by the way, we know we're not in the tribulation because we haven't seen, you know, 2 billion people die right now. But that's going to happen. And Jeremiah, our theme verse says, "If you've been worn out in the normal days," so if you've been running, we're all running, right? We're running our race, we're just living our life and it feels like you're running. But if you've been worn out in the footrace just in everyday life, what makes you think you're going to be able to race when the four horses of the apocalypse come?
Now, it automatically implies you can run with the horses. To which all of us are thinking, "Well, no I can't. If a horse is running and I'm running, I'm not keeping up". But God. You literally can... you can have a set of values, principles, power that God gives you to keep up with the horses. And it goes on to say, "And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm," in other words if you are already having a lot of trouble before all this happened, "what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in the flood"?
Now, I told you last week that there's a lot of writings in the New Testament about the end times. Paul spoke about it quite a bit, the books of Peter talk about it quite a bit, there's a lot there. Of course, the book of Revelation, Jesus has his own commentary in the gospels in both Matthew and in Luke. But in Paul's writing, some of the best. If you want to get a quick read of what the end times are going to look like, just it'll literally take you about seven minutes to go read 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Thessalonians 5. What's interesting, after all this deep theology, the tone of the book changes.
It almost as if it doesn't fit because you have all this theology of a trumpet sound, and the Rapture of the church, and the dead in Christ are going to rise, and all this end time picture. And then it just gets real practical all of a sudden. I'm going to tell you what that means. Paul always meant to tell us and the Bible tells us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that, "Here's what's going to happen. You may not even be able to figure it out, but here's what you need to do". And you have this very applicable type of a list. You have these some of the shortest verses in the Bible after all this theology.
Here's the point. I think God wanted us to know the theology, understand what's going to happen the best we can, but say, "But here's what you do. Here's a..." I'm calling it a checklist. In fact, that's was my alternate title instead of "Running With the Horses," I just thought "Running With the Horses" sounded so cool. Come on, everybody, we're going to run with the horses. I just kind of feel good about that, you know? But if you want another alternate title of this little two-part series, "A Checklist for the End Time Living". If you want to know, if you feel like the season we're in is outrunning you, go to the checklist.
Now, here's what's going to happen. Of the nine things that the Apostle Paul mentioned at the end of 1 Thessalonians 5, you're probably already doing three or four of them, maybe a few more. But when we do all nine of these, I'm going to tell you what's going to happen. Look in my eyes and hear it. You're going to be running with some horses. They're not going to be outracing you, you're going to be keeping up with the season we're living in. And as a pastor, that's my greatest desire. I just want you to be able to keep up with this season, especially when God's giving you the ability to do so. Can I hear a good amen, everybody?
So, last week, I covered four of the five. Today, I'm going to give you the last five. Last week, we talked about how he starts right off, he says, "Man, you better not run alone. You better run with some covering, you better run in relationships". They are so important, you can go watch that message. You run with ministry. In other words, you ought to run not thinking about how it's affecting you, but what you can do for others. I talked to you last week about the fact that the greatest antidote to needing ministry is to do ministry. And it's very true. I'm going to run with grace. I'm not going to repay evil with evil.
When somebody's nasty to me, I'm not going to be nasty back. No, no, I'm going to have some grace, I'm going to live a grace filled life. I'm going to let people off the hook whether they deserve it or not, and that's going to help you keep up with the season we're in. And finally last week, we gave you the fourth principle that the Apostle Paul gave, and that is I'm going to run with joy. I'm going to make a choice every day to... I'm going to choose joy. Every day, I'm going to say, "You know what? This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it".
Here's the fifth one, take some notes with me if you will please, 'cause the next thing that he mentions, these short little verses, is that we're going to run with prayer, prayer. And he says, again if you memorized, you always want to memorize a verse of the Bible, here's an easy one to memorize, and that is 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 17, "Never stop praying". Now, I'm going to address two things right there 'cause he says, "Never stop praying".
I want to answer the first question, why do we pray? I mean, just think about this, why do we pray? If God knows everything, why do we pray? 'Cause a lot of people think that prayer is getting God to move toward me, but prayer is me moving toward God. It gives me this reset, this moment in my life every day where I cast my cares on the Lord. And I'm going to tell you, I don't know how many times I've told Tammy, who's sitting right here on the front row, the first lady of this house, I said, "Baby, I'm so concerned about our people". And I've just simply said, "I hope they're praying. I just hope they're praying. I hope they have a moment every day where they just kind of unload and make sure they're anchoring themselves to the Lord".
Because if you're not, if you only pray when you're in trouble, you're in trouble. Can I say that again? If you're only praying when you're just like this fire alarm 911 moment, you're going to get, you're going to end up in trouble. But man, if you'll do as Jesus did, and that is very early in the morning while it's even still dark. Can I just say this to some of you that are watching today? Well, just try that this week, to kind of go back to your morning devotions and watch how much better. You'll be able to compare it to the previous week, how much better your life is going to be when you get up very early in the morning while it's still dark. Jesus left the house and went off to a solitary place and he prayed.
And remember the verse says that we pray without ceasing. That means it doesn't even have to be an event in the mornings. It can be throughout the day just, "Oh Lord God, help me through this". And just little, I call it popcorn prayer, just it pops up here, it pops up there, a sentence here, a sentence there. And just living a life that's calling on the name of the Lord. During this whole Coronavirus and all the season that we've been in as a church and even my own life, one of the things that has been sweeter than ever before, and I think it's because I'm not really traveling much, can't travel right now, so I'm having more time just to spend with the Lord, especially at my house and in the mornings. And y'all, it has been sweet. It's been special.
And I've had this phrase that I'm going to pass off to you that I think it will help you. And that people say, "Well, all's well that ends well". And that's not true. It's all's well that begins well. If you can have this moment in your day, I'm begging you to try it this week, where you just get alone with God. And it doesn't have to be fancy, we're not talking about any King James prayers. He's not looking for the way you say it. People say, "Well, I don't know what to say". Well, you know how to talk. Prayer is just this conversation with God where you can unload the cares of your life. And I love this quote that I have just leaned on for years and years that prayer is the difference between the best I can do and the best God can do. it hooks me up to a power source first part of the day that gives me the strength to run with the horses. I don't see how you can keep up with the horses if your prayer life is suffering right now.
Let me just say it plainly, okay? And that's why it's on the checklist as number five. Here's number six, and that is that we're going to run with gratitude. Just I'm just going to be a person who is just thankful. "Well, I don't have anything. In fact, everything's been taken from me. How am I supposed to be thankful right now"? Well, the Bible says, next on the list, this is the checklist for the end times, "Be thankful in all circumstances". So, when something's closed, well, praise the Lord, now I can go home, spend some time with my wife. Well, can't travel right now, well, I get to be more with Ms. Tammy. Just, it's a mindset that I'm just going to be a person who's thankful. It's a mindset that says, "What I have is more than enough".
And I'm telling you, you say, "Well, pastor, I don't feel that way. I wish I had more right now". But what if you took on the mindset of what I have is more than enough? I'm just going to be a grateful person. A lot of you guys know, I've told this story before if you've been a part of our church, that my grandmother on my dad's side moved to Birmingham. We didn't know this, but it would be just a few years before she would go to heaven. She actually died at 92 years old. And my grandmother was one of the most positive people ever. My grandmother saw her mother die when her skirt got caught in a fire where she was actually boiling clothes. My great grandmother's skirt got caught in the fire, and she literally burned to death in front of my grandmother when she was like 12 years old.
My grandmother went through some real bad heartache. In fact, my dad, right after my dad was born, my grandfather got killed in a car wreck. Something I don't think I've ever told any of y'all, this is going to be the big reveal of the day, my real last name isn't even Hodges. My dad's dad's last name was Hampton. I'm a Hampton, y'all, by blood. And my grandfather when my dad was just born got killed in a car wreck, and my grandmother remarried another man years later whose last name was Hodges, and they adopted my dad, and so I have an adopted last name.
Come on, somebody, y'all learned something new about your pastor today, all right? And but for years between those two, here she is, now a single mom because of this accident, and she worked several jobs. In fact, she used to tell the story how she would leave dad at the house, worked at a little local restaurant, and had to leave him alone while she goes serves tables, and then come back on like every 30 minutes on a break to check on dad or to nurse him. This is her life. And all the years I knew my grandmother, I mean, watching her mom burn to death, losing her husband, having to live this way, I never ever heard her complain.
In fact, when she was here in Birmingham before she went to be with the Lord, she had the worst arthritis. In fact, she used to sit in the chair and just you could see the grimace on her face of the pain. Her knuckles were just huge, swollen from the arthritis, and they were just curled up like this. And she sat in the chair, and I was so concerned for her. Every time I saw her, I said... we called her Maw-Maw. "Maw-Maw, are you okay"? And she refused to complain. Her answer was always the same, "I'm better off than most". In her mind, yes, this is bad, but when she thought about what other people have, what I have is more than enough. I'm better off than most.
nd that's an attitude and a biblical principle that can cause the speed of your running to catch up to the horses of the end time, when you're not like, "Well, I don't know. I hate that... why can't...we don't even have any toilet paper. I don't have this". And no, no, no, "What I have is more than enough". All of a sudden, your speed catches up to these times. Can I hear a good amen, everybody? It's a biblical principle, I'm going to tell you, of gratitude. Paul said, "I know what it is to have plenty, and I know what it is to be in need. And my God shall supply all of my need". It's just an attitude that causes the speed with which you run your life to be more successful.
Here's number seven, y'all getting anything out of this today? This is just the Bible. I'm not even making up any of this. This is all just God's Word teaching itself. Number seven, run with discernment, discernment. Discernment means I am going to see things differently than I'm seeing things. I'm not going to take it for face value, I'm going to discern it. He says this, and Paul says, next verse in chapter 5, verse 19, "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit". Do you know who the Holy Spirit is? He's the one that's still here on earth living inside of you and me. Listen, trying to say, "Ah, ah, ah, don't go that way. Ah, ah, no, no, that's not what you think it is. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Oh no, go, go, go here, go here".
He's trying to lead us and to guide us. And the Bible says, "Don't take things at face value. You better be sensitive in listening to the person of the Holy Spirit living inside of you". And look what it says next, "And do not scoff at prophecies". Now, prophecies usually are telling us things that we can't see, but are actually happening. And the Bible says "if you're going to be successful with the horses in these end times, you've got to be someone who's kind of more spiritually in tune and not just taking things for face value".
When I was traveling a lot, of course flew a lot. And any of you guys that have ever flown, you know, I've many times here in Birmingham been out on the tarmac sitting on the airplane and it's raining here in the south. It rains a lot, right? And you're just sitting there in that plane, and it's just grey and nasty. And then when you're kind of taxing out, the captain will come on and say, "Hey, you need to be sure your seatbelts are really fastened tightly 'cause we're going to experience some bumps going out of this storm that's over. We're going to be fine, but it's going to be a little bumpy". And I always get it real tight. Like I don't know, I just like, I snug it up really good 'cause I don't know. Kind of all these years I've flown, I still... I believe that verse that, "Lo, I'm with you always".
Come on, somebody, right? Just I don't know, just I get a little scared. And but I tighten it up. And what's so amazing, let me... you'll be going and bum bum bum, bum bum bum, bum bum bum bum bum bum, you can feel that bump. And all of a sudden, you break through that cloud layer, and the sun is shining on the other side. It's beautiful, it's calm, it's different, and it was always there. I couldn't see it, couldn't experience it. And for some of us, we really need to have an attitude of discernment that says, "I know this is what I see, but God is at work. There is a calm on the other side".
I'm telling you, 'cause what a lot of you don't know, you wouldn't know this unless you study it like I do, that during all the chaos the past 40 years that 1.6 billion people have come to Christ, ready for this? More people have come to Christ in the past 40 years than the previous 1,970 years combined. What does that mean? That means God is at work. There is worldwide evangelism going on in the midst of all of the chaos of the earth right now. You need to know there's a move of God happening, God's at work. And that's another reason why I believe we might be living in the end times. And that is there is more receptivity to the gospel than ever before in the season we're living in, which is why I believe why the devil is so busy right now as well. And Jesus said that when you see these things begin, now this is one of the chapters where Jesus talks about the end times.
And the things, by the way, are all bad. If you want to go read them, just go read the verses before verse 28. It's just like wars, and rumors of wars, and earthquakes, and pestilences, okay? He says, "But when you see these things begin, freak out and run for your life". No, he doesn't say that. He says stand up, lift up your heads because your redemption, you're getting ready to break through the cloud layer. Your redemption draws nigh. The way I like to say it is you got to go through life looking up, not looking around. That's what discerning people do. They live for heaven and they prepare to meet Jesus. They're just in a different attitude how they see things. And I'm begging you not to see things for face value. If you're going to keep up with the horses, you got to be a discerning person. Amen, wasn't that a good one? That one, that'd be a series by itself.
Here's number eight, and that is I'm going to run with wisdom, wisdom. Now, knowledge is knowledge, I know some stuff. But wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge. How many know, I know that working out every day is important. Wisdom does it. So, I'll just confess I'm a little knowledgeable on that one, not as wise as I need to be, right? But wisdom is this ability to act, to apply, to do the right thing even in difficult situations. And that's why Paul says next, "Test everything". In other words, don't react to everything. Can I just say, please don't react to everything. No, no, no, take a step back. You know what? That might not be what they meant to say. Or you know what? I might be reading that wrong. I'm going to test everything. I'm going to hold onto the good. I'm going to spit out the bones, stay away from the evil. And it just says, "Hey, walk, slow down a little bit and walk," in what the Bible calls the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs, an additional verse here for you, the Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". Now fear, by the way, does not mean be afraid of God. The fear of the Lord is that you know what? God's in control. God's bigger than all this. God is awesome. He's powerful. He's got this. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the holy one is understanding. It's a person who says, "You know what? I'm not going to freak out all the time. Before I say anything, before I do anything, will you give me a little time to go get alone with the Lord and watch how things change"?
By the way, if you want a simple application for this one, just write the word in your notes, worship. Worship. Worship gives you more, I believe, of the fear of the Lord than anything else. Worship, worship will change your whole perspective on what you even feel about something. You can be so discouraged. Come on, somebody, just go put some worship on and watch your whole perspective on that thing change. Billy Graham said it this way, that knowledge is horizontal, so I can learn some things, but wisdom is vertical. When I get worshipping God, connecting with God, it comes down from above.
By the way, I want to give you a challenge this week. I literally want to offer a challenge. I've already told you would you please, if you're not praying, could you take a week to spend some time with God? Let me put a little bit more specifics to it, 15 minutes. Fifteen, I need 15 minutes where you do three things, five minutes each. I would love for you to spend five minutes in God's Word, five minutes in prayer, and finish it with five minutes of worship. Five minutes in God's Word, five minutes in prayer, five minutes turn... that's one song. Find your favorite worship song, turn it on, shut the door of whatever room you're in, lift up those hands, and sing it out loud.
Come on, if you're in the room by yourself, take that mask off. Come on, somebody, and worship your God right there. And I promise you, you're going to respond to everything differently because you'll be wise, you'll be connected to the Spirit of God on that thing. Here's the last one, and that is I'm going to run with vision, vision. Now, you remember the second one I gave you was ministry. Watch this, ministry is all about others. Vision is all about you. So, ministry is important, but they're different 'cause vision says, "I'm on this planet on purpose. I'm called. I have a heavenly assignment. I don't have time for the trivial". Why? Cause I have a job to do.
This may be one of the most powerful ones that keeps me running with the horses. 'Cause y'all, I'm going to tell you, there are times over these 20 years at Highlands, I can name to you at least five different times at Highlands where I was not running as fast as the horses, the horses were outrunning me. I was tired, frustrated, defeated. And I promise you, as sure as I'm standing here, the one thing that has kept me going is I go back to my calling. If I will take my mind and my heart back to that place where God said, "I've got something for you to do," it puts wind in my sails. And that's why the whole book ends this way, watch this now. "Now may the God of peace make you," say this word out loud, "make you holy".
Now holy, by the way, does not mean pure and perfect. It's the word "hagios" in the Greek, you know what it means? Set apart. It's not perfect, it's assigned. There's purpose. There's an intentionality about your life. "May the God of peace". I don't think you can get the God of peace without knowing how called and holy you are. Called, set apart. "And may your whole spirit, soul, and body," that means every part of your life, "be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again". Why? 'Cause I'm going to stand before the Lord not about who on earth was happy with me or not happy with... no, no, I live for an audience of one. I really, the end of the day, I only have one, one that needs to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Amen, everybody? And then he ends this way, "God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful".
That we don't just need, you know, everybody's talking about the economy, it's important. But we don't just something to live on, we need something to live for. And brother, as soon as you remind yourself for me, you ready for it, Barnes & Noble. If you've been around Highlands, you know. Twenty years ago, I was here to watch a baseball game. Went out to a little coffee shop at the Barnes & Noble at the Summit, heard the Spirit of God as I looked over the six lanes of Highway 280 jam packed with cars in both directions. "You're going to pastor some of the people down in that traffic jam".
That one sentence, that one moment with God caused Tammy and I to sell everything, move to this city, and to give our lives to this vision. And every time I get discouraged, I just go back to Barnes & Noble. And life comes back in my soul, in my heart. And my speed gets going, and all of a sudden I'm back up with the horses 'cause I'm called. Come on, everybody, you're called. You're called. Lane, you're called. Haze, you're called. Bronson, you're called. Matt, you're called. Tammy, you're called. You're called. You're called. You have a call on your life. And when you run with that vision, the God of peace, it's just, it's God's Word to help you keep up in the season that we're living in. Close your eyes right there where you are.
Father, I'm praying the God of peace, the God of peace, peace is not going to be around me, but it can be in me. When I hold onto your Word today, God, we're going to run with prayer. We're going to run with discernment. We're going to run with wisdom. We're going to run, God, with vision. God, we're going to be people who follow your Word and let the God of peace strengthen us, fill us, help us. Lord, I pray right now for every person who's watching, every member of our church, every one of these other churches, God, strengthen them today I pray. Let us be people who are prepared for the season that we're living in right now.
Heads are bowed, eyes are closed. I don't understand it fully, but every time God's Word is preached, the Holy Spirit will begin to do a work on the inside and say things I didn't even say. I didn't even talk about perhaps the sin in your life or the condition you find yourself in, but the Holy Spirit's been talking to you the whole time. You know who you are. The Bible says that the Spirit of God will draw you to Jesus. For some of you, that's happened just in the past few minutes. You feel this, this desire to be closer to God?
Let me say it this way, you've missed him. You've missed God. You miss him. You might not even believe in God, but you miss him, you want to be with him. You all of a sudden had this feeling of being connected to the heavenly Father. And guess what? You can by letting Jesus forgive you of your sins, and by you surrendering your life to his control. Can I lead you in that right now? Say, "Chris, what do I do"? Romans says that if you'll call on the name of the Lord, that if you'll confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you'll be saved, that's it. Can you believe that? Simplest thing you'll ever do, but it will cost you everything. Can I lead you into that confession?
Lord, today, we call on the name of the Lord. Jesus, we thank you for paying for our sins. We declare you as our Lord.
If that's you for the first time, just say, "Jesus, be my Lord". That's it:
Jesus, be my Lord. Take control of my life, be the Lord of my life. (Now make the declaration, Romans says) I believe you're the Son of God. I believe you died, you were buried, and you rose again. And today, I put my faith in you. Thank you for saving me. In your name I pray, amen.