Chris Hodges - Lift Up Your Heads
It's so good to see people. Oh, so good to see you today. Thank you for joining us and those that are joining us online. We will for some time continue to offer both of these experiences and let you decide what is best for you during this season, so no pressure at all for those of you who still think it's best to worship at home. We will, again, continue to provide not only these weekend experiences for you, but also great children's content, be sure to check that out. I know my grandkids are using it throughout the week as well, and it's so good. But it is good to be with you today just to worship God together.
We are, Lord willing, next week, we are going to be adding children's ministry and nursery back to this experience as well. And so, we ask you to continue to pray for us as we lead and as we make decisions throughout this very challenging and unique season that we are in.
And want to let you know that this week also, we are having our first Wednesday experience. We believe that in September, we'll be joining back, but we wanted to take a month just to learn how many are going to come back. You know, with multiple services on a Sunday, it makes it easy to navigate the distancing. But for this month in August, Tammy and I are going to offer first Wednesday out of our home, and so we want you to join us. Get some communion elements ready, we're going to have a communion experience. I've already got a message on my heart that I can't wait to share with you. We're going to worship right there around my piano, and it's going to be a great time.
So, join us Wednesday night at 7 o'clock Central time. And then also, we're starting today 21 days of prayer and fasting, praise God for that. Yeah, put your hands together. Come on, this is the new amen, come on everybody, there you go. And so, yeah, we're excited about this. I think it comes at just the right time for us personally, for us as a church, and of course for us as a nation and a world. We need to seek God, can I hear a good amen, everybody? We really do, we need to go after God with all our heart. And of course, fasting gives you a chance not only to just to engage God in prayer, but also to humble ourselves before our God. It fulfills 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we'll humble ourselves and pray.
And so, we put a lot of resources for those of you who don't know much about fasting, they're on our website, check it out. And I would encourage everybody to do something, right? So, a food item, maybe kind of sweets for 21 days, maybe cut out a certain meal throughout 21 days. If you can't figure out what to do, here's a great idea, cut out all media and screen time for 21 days. That'd be good, yeah. Help for a lot of you, you'll experience revival in a great way if you just did that. And so, but just whatever. I know we could all use it spiritually and a few of us can use it physically as well. I've told you I have my quaran-15 on, everybody. It has turned into my COVID-19.
Anyway, so I really, it's so good to hear laughter again too. I have been funny for five months, everybody. All right, so it's just good to hear some laughter. But we will have prayer services live at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. We'll be right here at most of our locations, be sure to listen to your campus pastor whether we're able to host a prayer service at your location. But we will have live prayer services, I'll be right here at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. I'm going to lead the first day or the second day of the time together. And then it'll also be, of course, online and then on demand for 24 hours. So, if the 6 a.m. isn't the best time for you, you'll have an opportunity to stream it for 24 hours, and then we put the next one on, so be sure to check that out.
All right, today and for this month, actually we're at five Sundays in the month of August, we are going to go through a series of what I call standalone messages. And on the first Sunday of September, we're going to give you a vision Sunday. I have a lot of great news to share with you about what we're doing as a church and then how it impacts your life so you can have some vision for your life. And then on the second Sunday of September, we're going to start a nine week Bible study through the book of James. It's going to be a lot of fun, we got it all planned. And then after that At The Movies, and then it's Christmas, all right? So yeah, here we are, right?
Okay, so I'm just letting you know we have some plans for you, we have some exciting Sundays planned for you. And we have all five of these in August planned as well, but they're just kind of standalone messages with the exception of the first two. So, like this is another little two-week miniseries that I'm beginning today on the end times. And I've been studying and reading a lot on the end times. I'm consuming the biblical material, listening to prophetic words, reading, studying history because the Bible says in 1 Chronicles chapter 12 that there was a group of Israelites who understood the times they lived in and then knew what to do. And I don't know how you know what to do if you don't understand the times you live in. And I think you've got to understand the times you live in with a biblical perspective. Can I hear an amen, everybody, right?
Yeah, just got to see it through the lens of Scripture. And so, if you study the end times and the Apostle Paul has writings on it, Jesus has writings on it, of course the book of Revelation and the Old Testament, there are just loads of prophecies. Basically, it keeps coming back to two big ideas, and this is what I do for you. I do all the heavy lifting and I break it down for you and say, look, basically it comes down to a couple things. And it's found here in these verses, where Jesus in Matthew 24 is talking about the end times. If you want to read the parallel passage, that would be Luke chapter 21, same dissertation, a few more details in each one of them. But basically every place, no matter who the writer is, every place you still, you end up with two issues that I want to address, one today and the other one next week.
And that is that because of the increase of wickedness, so one of the marks of the end time is a lot of disruption, there's a lot of chaos. There's an increase of wickedness as those days approach. Unfortunately, the love of most people, talking about Christians, is going to grow cold. Now, that's concerning to me as a pastor. In fact, I can't tell you how many times over the past five months that I've asked Ms. Tammy here just like, "Are they okay? You think they're okay? You think they're reading their Bibles still? Are they still praying or are they okay"? And I probably have thought about you more in the last five months than your mother.
Can I tell you something, right? I really have. We pray for you. I'm concerned because I know this is a reality. But the one who stands firm to the end, I'm going to give you the tools today, by the way, to stand firm to the end. Those are the people that are saved, so that's one dynamic. And then you can't miss it, every place no matter where you look, this other dynamic is in play as well, and that is this gospel of the kingdom will be preached. So, there's a lot of bad goes on, but there's a whole lot of good going on as well. Like God does his best work in crisis. God does his best work, in fact, we're going to see an increase of the move of God to the closer of his return. And by the way, that's already happening.
Now, if you need no other indication that we perhaps are living in the end of the end times, or the beginning of the end times, it's just the move of God 'cause there are loads of people coming to Christ. In fact, of 196 nations of the world, the gospel is growing three times faster than population in all but 20. So, in 176 nations, the gospel is expanding. By the way, America's one of the 20, so we got to get to work a little bit, all right? We'll talk about that next week just a little bit more. But this gospel will be preached. In fact, more people have come to Christ in the last 40 years than the previous 1,980 years before that.
So, there's a move of God going on, everybody, be encouraged. This will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. So, two dynamics, basically there's the danger of Christians falling away that I want to address today, and then there is the opportunity of non-Christians getting saved. I want to talk about that next week. And I want to deal with this first one because of, again, the dynamic that I know is happening. 'Cause I think it's important. I'm grateful to God for the online experience, we will always put our absolute best efforts and continue to produce quality content for the online experience.
But there's something about the gathering of the church, there's something about the reset that happens on the inside of us that needs to begin our week because the Bible again says Jesus said, "Because of the increase of wickedness". It's not even a few, it's most. The love of most is going to grow cold. And I don't need to rehearse that with you, you know that a lot of us are experiencing more distraction than we ever have in a long time. I think for a lot of us, being locked down and we're in quarantine, or in places where we can't have a lot of our normal activity, we're beginning to consume a lot of content that we really don't need to have our eyes on right now, that there is a distraction going on. I think there's a depletion that is happening in a lot of people. You just feel empty.
And again, there is the need, there is the absolute need, it's why you're here, there is the absolute need for us to be refueled and refilled, at least on a weekly basis. And then finally, some people are just, they're just discouraged. When you look at the news, you look at what's going on in our world, you look at the prognostication of what's going to happen with this virus, you see all these things, just people are like, "Wow, when can we get back to some type of normal again"? And if I'm honest with you, and I probably should be, I have had some moments of discouragement myself. There are just, there's things like, "Wow, is this what it's going to look like now"?
And I have spent not many weeks, but I had a few weeks where I just... wow. And I had a turning point that I want to tell you about, a turning point where I read a book, it's a secular book, about the cyclical nature of history. And how things just happen almost predictably, they just happen every... there's actually two cycles that America's experienced since the beginning of our country, a geopolitical type cycle and then more of an institutional cycle. And just all through, it's talking about how you just can't really do anything about it, they're just going to happen. And they converge, they're converging on each other. He began writing this book in 2015, he says, "And both these cycles are converging. The renewing of these cycles is converging on the decade that is 2020".
So, long before Coronavirus, long before any of the unsettling that's happening in our nation, he said, "Look, this is going to happen. There's going to be a reshaking". And basically, the gist of the book was, "Hang in there. Hang in there". If you can get through it on the other side cyclically and historically, it's always good on the other side if you can hang in there. And just reading this, I was kind of in... I don't know if you, I was kind of like in a week to week mode. "What's going to happen this week? Is this the week they figure out... is this the week..."
And I was kind of in this... I think I was experiencing so much discouragement because I was so hopeful in the immediate return of something. Just fix it right now. As soon as I kind of got my brain around that this could be eight years, ten years, this could be a decade, aren't you glad you came to church today, everybody, right? No, this could be a while. I don't know, something rose up on the inside of me. And I literally had like an attitude breakthrough. I just had a breakthrough of even how I'm going to lead, how I'm going to think, and I'm going to pass some of that onto you today.
A few weeks ago, I told you the illustration about flying in a commercial airliner, like so if you've ever been to Birmingham airport here on a rainy day, you get on the plane, you're kind of discouraged already 'cause you see your little luggage coming up that conveyor belt getting soak and wet. You're already in a... I'm already in a bad mood, like all my stuff's wet now, you know, just for that few seconds that it travelled up the belt there. And you know it's not going to be a fun ride. You just know it's not. In fact, they tell you, "It's going to be a little bumpy". And so, you're taxing out and it's raining and it's dark even though it's in the middle of the day. It looks terrible.
And then the captain comes on and says, "Like make sure it's good and snug because probably we're going to experience some bumps," they call them bumps, of where you're going to... as you're going to be going climbing into altitude. But then all of a sudden, you break through the cloud layer. And all of a sudden, it's just this smooth. And you hear this, "Bong. You are now free to move about the cabin". I almost called this message, "Bong, You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin".
I need to let you know that, yes, there is a lot of disruption, and it is very real, and it does affect you, and you really are wet. Like it really, it is dark, but if you can break through the cloud layer and see things from God's perspective, I'm just telling you. And I'm going to help you do it today. You're going to be so encouraged about this message 'cause Jesus said in Luke 21, same place as Matthew 24, that when these end times things begin, all this bad stuff begins, freak out. No, no, he didn't say that, he said, "Stand up, lift up your heads because your redemption draws near".
The title of today's message is "Lift Up Your Heads". I know what you see. We're all seeing the same things, but I need you to see not this and not this. I need you to not go through life looking around. I need you to go through life looking up. I need you to see it from God's perspective, and so I began this biblical study that it took me all week. And I found about 13 reasons why you ought to be very optimistic right now. Like from a biblical perspective, why you ought to really be encouraged and not discouraged. I don't have time for 13, let me give you my favorite three. And here's the first one, I mean just why you should be okay even though things are not okay, and that is we're going to heaven.
So, I did a memorial service this week, and every time I do one, it fires me up all over again about heaven. 'Cause every time I do a memorial service for someone, I just, I always talk about heaven 'cause I think the most important thing the family needs to hear is the heavenly perspective. Because one of the most beautiful things that I can say to someone who's grieving the loss of a loved one is you're going to see them really soon. This is going to feel like a mist compared to the length of eternity. Hey, be encouraged, it's going to be fine.
In fact, I know this sounds terrible, but I love preaching, I love funerals. I can't stand weddings for the record, everybody, all right? Too much pressure, especially from the mother. Anyway, there's too much going on there, okay? But funerals, 'cause you know everybody just needs to hear some good old truth. Well, here, you want some good old truth, you ready for it? When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. Like we're going to heaven. Like I think too many of us have kind of put up our lives on this earth. And everybody, we are aliens on this earth, we are passing through. Our citizenship is in heaven.
See, not everybody's clapping. 'Cause for a lot of people, we have put way too much stock on thinking earth is all that and a bag of chips. In fact, a lot of us are discouraged 'cause we'd love for things to just go back to normal. When can we have... I just liked my life the way it was. And the Bible comes along and says, "No, no, no, you got the wrong perspective. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve". We do not grieve like the rest of mankind around us, why? Because they have, say the last two words, they have? We have hope. Why? 'Cause we believe that Jesus died and rose again. "We believe that God will bring Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive..."
Now, this is describing the rapture of the church, okay? This is so cool. "That we who are left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep". In other words, when the Lord returns, when the rapture of the church returns, the dead in Christ for those whose bodies have been buried, they're going to meet their spirits in the air first before we go. I don't know why it's happening that way. Jesus just thought, "You know, they've been there a while, let's let them go first". You know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. Like their spirits aren't, but their bodies, right? So, and it goes, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet call of God".
By the way, if you see or hear any of those things, repent. No, get ready, all right? All right, just get ready. "And the dead in Christ will rise first". That's the Methodists. No, I'm just kidding, I didn't mean to say that. All right, so anyway, all right. I just love hearing laughter again. I don't know, I just about will say anything, right? Okay, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together". By the way, the word "caught up" in the Latin is raptir, where we get the word "rapture". "Caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". And so, you get to see all of your loved ones again. You get reunited with them and with the Lord forever. And then it says, so, hey, tell the church that in the middle of the end times. Encourage them with these words.
So again, some people, it's like, "Ah". I had a young person tell me, "Ah, I don't want to go to heaven. I want God to fix it all here. I want to do it here". And it's because you have a bad idea of what heaven is. See, a lot of you have followed the religious understanding of heaven, so you think you're going to turn into this fat, naked baby with a harp. You're going to sit on a cloud or sing in a choir for the rest of your life. No, no, no, that's hell. That's hell, all right, okay? In fact, how many of you know this, but you won't spend eternity in heaven. You spend eternity in the new earth. So, he comes back down here and fixes everything. No pollution, no cancer, no traffic on Highway 280. No bills, can I get an amen at the first of the month, right? None of that. Like there's no sickness. Like it's better.
And a lot of people don't think it's better, but I promise you heaven's better than Birmingham, it really is. You need to know that. And if you don't know that, you won't get excited for it. And if you're not excited for it, you won't have one of the tools you'll need in your arsenal during the last days that will get you discouraged if you don't have the hope of heaven, everybody. Like it's better. Like the hot light at Krispy Kreme is always on. Like Nick Saban retires from coaching, heaven. It's better. "And he will wipe every tear from their eyes". You'll never see another person cry again. There'll be no more death, no more funerals, no more mourning, no crying, no pain, "For the older order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne," that's Jesus, he stands up and he says, "It's because I am making everything new. Write this down, put it in the books 'cause this is a trustworthy saying".
And your pastor got on the stage today to tell you I know it's raining on the outside, but I'm trying to get you to climb up to that other perspective and let you know heaven is better than Birmingham. Get excited, get excited. Like you're okay everybody, yeah, could stop right there. And that's why, when Jesus encouraged his disciples, he never encouraged them about a better now, he always encouraged them about a better place. So, in John 14, let me just show you and I'll get to the next point. He looks at his disciples and they were all discouraged, and oh, woe is me. And he says, "Don't let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me".
And if you didn't know the text, what'd you think the next line would be? Like, "So we're going to win, bro. It's going to be fine, I'm going to do a miracle right here". That's not what he says. Watch what he says, next line, "In my Father's house, there's a bunch of rooms. And I'm going there to prepare a place for you". So, his plan for encouraging them was heaven. He says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I'm going to come back". We just read that. "And take you to be with me that you also may be where I am". To which Thomas said, "We don't know where you're going, how are we going to get there? How do we know the way if we don't know how..."
And so, Jesus gave us one of the most beautiful passage of Scripture that you need to know. He goes, "I'm the way. If you're in relationship with me, I got heaven taken care of for you. I'm the way, the truth, the life. In fact, no one can come to the Father except through me". Hey everybody, we're going to heaven. Be encouraged, we're going to heaven. I know it's tough, it's dark, it's hard, I know it. Hey, but we're going to heaven. And we need to recapture some of the energy our grandparents had. We sing so many songs now that almost demand God to fix it all right here and right now in this reality. But our grandparents, they sang those old heaven songs. "Some glad morning, when this life is o'er, I'll fly away". And they would sing all these beautiful songs about we're going to heaven, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be".
They just... why? 'Cause they knew that was the ultimate, in fact the Bible calls it the blessed hope. Say amen, everybody, this is good. Here's the second one, second thing and reason why you should be excited and optimistic is there is going to be the wrath of God near in the end of times. So, there really is a tribulation and there really, like you can go read it. Don't read it before you go to bed, okay? It's in the book of Revelations, and it's crazy, it's a lot of stuff. And I had one of my sons call me and said, "Dad, I saw a YouTube video and it was some prophecy and breakdown of the book of Revelation, all this stuff's going to happen".
And man, he was a little freaked out, he was just... in fact, can I give you this little word? Don't watch YouTube videos. Anyway, there you go, okay? But I'm going to tell him what I told you 'cause it encouraged him. And there is going to be the wrath of God displayed, but we're not going to suffer that wrath. I'm going to show you why. Now, Romans says there is going to be wrath. The wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven against the godlessness of wickedness of people, who suppress the truth. So, not a great group to be in, the suppressors of truth. But Romans 5 says, "Since we, Christians, have now been justified by Jesus's blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Jesus"?
So, in other words, when Jesus went to the cross, one of the things that he did is he basically created a contract with God the Father, and said, "Okay, I'll take on all their sin, past, present, and future. We'll put it in the contract that your wrath will be completely satisfied forever, that everyone who comes into a relationship with me would be included into this contract". Contractually, you can't suffer. Contractually, you can't go through it. It would break God's own word for you to suffer the wrath that is coming. You can't go through it. And that's why the Bible says, "Now, brothers and sisters, about the times and dates," which everybody wants to know, that's what my son wanted to know, "Dad, is this it"? I said, "I don't know, I don't know". "We don't need to write you, for we know every well that the day of the Lord is going to come like a thief". You don't know. "But while people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction is going to come suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape".
Now, we do not know the day or hour, just like I did not know on the five days that my five children were born, I didn't know when it was going to happen. All of a sudden, she goes, "It's time," right? That's how it worked out. But brother, I knew about a month before a baby's coming out of there eventually, right? Okay, I do not know the day or hour, but can I tell you the world is... I'm telling you, which is why he was concerned, and rightfully so. 'Cause no one can deny the pregnancy of the hour we're in. It's coming. I don't know if it's today or next week or next month or next year, but it's close. "But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you," so don't freak out. "Like a thief, you are all called children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like the others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober," which is why we're praying and fasting.
"For those who sleep, sleep at night. Those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, vigilant, faith and love as a breastplate, hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died, Jesus died so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him". And here's the phrase again, which is why I'm preaching it to you, "Therefore encourage one another, build each other up, just in fact as you are doing". Which is why I'm bringing it to you. Listen to me, yes, it's going to get bad, but you're not going to experience this. In fact, I'll even go so far to say this, that this is as bad as it'll get. If you're a Christian, this is as bad as it gets. It only gets better.
If you're not a Christian, the opposite is true. This is as good as it gets, it only gets worse. And I say that to you saying, you're trying to talk me into salvation? Yes. Give your life to Jesus. Escape the wrath that is to come and be encouraged today. All right, here's the last one, and this one fires me up, and it'll lead into next week's message a little bit. And that is the third reason why I think you should be so optimistic right now. First is you're going to heaven. There's nothing earth can do to you. When you have the hope of heaven, nothing... it just you can't stop that person. When they told the Apostle Paul, "We're going to kill you," he goes, "What, that'd be great 'cause to live is Christ, but to die is gain. That settles the debate, go ahead, cut it off".
Like what do you do to the person who knows they're going to heaven? Nothing. And what do you do to the person who has the right theology of the end times, eschatology to be able to know that, look, we're not going to suffer the wrath that is to come. I'm going up in that first elevator, amen everybody, right? But you also need to know this, and that is that we are at the doorstep of a great revival. Now, I don't say that as a point of whoo hoo, just being positive. No, that is the truth, and I can prove it biblically and historically. That every time there has been the increase of wickedness, there has been the increase of the move of God.
Historically, even in those cycles, those 50-year cycles that this author was talking about that has happened in American history knew nothing about really biblical history, didn't even cite it. but even noted in the 60s, 50 years ago when we had unsettling and riots and all kind of things going on in America that we're just trying to figure out who we are, what we believe, "Time" magazine on April 8, 1966, I would've been three years old, put up this on the cover of their magazine. "Is God Dead"? There was so much negative going on in the world in 1966. The church had begun to be impacted, the love of most grew cold, and they wondered and they actually opined to the fact, "Is God dead"? And almost hoping that it were true. And even the Soviets got involved.
If you're old enough, you remember that back in the 60s, we were in the Cold War, and we were also in a space war. And not only we were at odds each other and they were battling the nuclear possibilities, but also you had America and the Soviet Union fighting to be who could be the first to the moon. And I'll never forget in the 60s this article about this Russian cosmonaut that said, "I'm going to go to space and orbit the earth, and I'm going to do a spacewalk, tether out into space, and look around to see in the heavens if God is actually there". And it became all this big news, and the Soviets were all interested to see. Look, if we send somebody to the heavens and they look around and God's not there, that proves there is no God. And so, he went up in space and started orbiting the earth, tethered out, looked around. Headline of the paper, "Boga Nyet: No God".
How many of you all know if he'd just unhooked that tether, he'd have found God, isn't that right everybody? All right, but that's beside the point. And everybody thought, "It's over, we're done". Five years later, the church began to pray. And in 1971, this was the cover of "Time" magazine, "The Jesus Revolution". People started praying, the church started asking God, "God, would you move in our land again? Would you bring another great awakening"? They started crying out for revival like we're going to do tomorrow. And here's what "Time" magazine actually said, "Jesus is alive and well and living in the radiant spiritual fervor of a growing number of young Americans". Stadiums in the 1970s were being packed full of young people going to crusades to hear about Jesus.
By the way, I'm a product of the Jesus revolution. I got saved in 1978 during this revolution. How about you and I lead the next one, anybody with me? How about we lead the next one? Why not? "And if anyone mark clearly identifies them, it is their total belief in an awesome, supernatural Jesus Christ, not just a marvelous man who lived 2,000 years ago, but he's a living God," "Time" magazine. So, what am I saying? I'm saying you have a choice to make about how you're going to look at the circumstances that are going around us. And your pastor showed up today to tell you there's reasons for you to be encouraged. It's just your choice about how you're going to see it. You're going to see it below the clouds or above the clouds? Like it's our choice. One last verse.
So, Jesus was basically asked this question that I'm asking you 'cause he said, "My soul," and that's the emotional side of you, it's not the spiritual, "My soul is troubled". By the way, it's okay to be troubled, there's nothing wrong with that. We just can't let our souls take over. He says, "My soul is troubled". Now here's the key, watch this, please don't miss this, "So what shall I say about that"? Okay, I'm living in the same reality you're living in, but what are you going to say about it? "Shall I say, 'Father, save me?'"
I can tell you that's the prayer I've been praying for months. Jesus says, "No, don't pray that prayer. Pray this one, 'It was for this very reason I was born into this hour.'" Like I was made for 2020. I was made to be a pastor in the middle of a pandemic. Highlands was created to be a leader in a generation of people who would be discouraged and confused and looking around. We were made for this hour. And that, my friends, is the view above the clouds. Bow your heads in prayer right there. For me, it was about four weeks ago, I just flipped a switch. Literally in a moment, I just decided, "I'm going to see things from above the clouds, and I'm going to see things from God's perspective".
And I pray, God, for your church today. My goal today was just to encourage them with the truth of your Word that we're going to heaven. God, we're not suffering any wrath. And God, we get to live in one of the great moments of history for your church and for the world. Lord, let them leave here with a spring in their step. God, replace the discouragement of their soul with the hope of the truth of your Word in Jesus's name.
Heads bowed, eyes closed. If you're here today and you don't know the Lord, like you're not in a relationship with him, and you're far from God, I want even those of you that are watching online just to close your eyes and just ask, you know, "Do I need to know God? Do I need to be in a relationship with him"?
Let me tell you how easy it is. It comes in declaring that he is the Lord, he is God, and you surrender the control of your life to him. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to join this church, just giving him the control of your life, making him Lord of your life. It would be my honor to lead you in a prayer right now, to pray for you. With heads bowed, eyes closed at all of our campuses, the correctional facilities, to everyone watching online wherever you are, whisper these words. Say:
Jesus, thank you so much for dying on the cross and paying for my sins. Thank you for the contract you made with the heavenly Father. Thank you, God, for including me. Today, I ask you to forgive me, save me. I declare that you are God. Jesus, you are the Lord. I believe you died, you were buried, and you rose again. And today, I put my faith in you. Thank you for setting me free.