Chris Hodges - Love It, Learn It, Live It
All right, we are starting today a brand-new series called "The Holy Bible," and I'll tell you more about that in just a second, but I want to take a moment, look into the camera, and say hello to all of our campuses. We are one church that has 23 rooms across this great state of Alabama and into Columbus, Georgia; and, of course, we always have the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. I want you guys to know that I pray for you every single day. You're not a project to us. You are our church family, and we love you very much, and we have people that are watching online somewhere. Thank God, through the miracle of technology, people can have church in their homes, or on their tablets, or wherever they are. Grants Mill, would you do me a favor and just welcome everybody on the other side of the camera? Come on. God bless you guys. Love you so much.
Before we get into this series, I also want to remind us that we are beginning today, today is day one of 21 days of prayer and fasting. This is something that our church has been doing, actually, since before the church began. Our church was founded in February of 2001. So, next month will be 21 years old, but we started our church, really, in January of 2001, sorry, and as a time of prayer and fasting. We had 34 people on what I called back then the launch team, and there was 34 people that believed in this dream that is now Church of the Highlands, and we gathered in my living room over in Meadowbrook in North Shelby County. And every evening at 6 o'clock in the month of January, we got together, and we fasted, and we prayed, and we really asked God to move in a powerful way.
And so, I always like to say, really, the church was born out of a season of prayer and fasting, and it's just something that we are very passionate about. If you know anything about us, we are a praying church. And so, for the next 21 days, Monday through Friday at 6 a.m., and then Saturday at 9; and then Sunday in the church services we're going to pray together and really just lean in to God. And we do this at the beginning of the year because it's a way to let God know you have the priority. I call it a tithe of our time. Before we do other things, before we do other activities, God, we're setting aside this time for you, and we're going to put you first. We're declaring our dependence on you.
And honestly, if you want to know the truth about why I do it, I've had people tell me, you know, "How long are you going to do this prayer and fasting thing"? And, you know, "Are you going to keep coming"? Because I don't ever travel, I don't do anything during these 21 days, and I always get my best invitations, and I quickly say, "No, I cannot do that". But honestly, out of desperation, that if ever we end up doing this, that we call church, under our own strength and by our own methods, without the presence of God, we're in trouble 'cause we're good, but we're not good enough. And we really need God, and this is my way to let God know I'm declaring my complete dependence upon you. And honestly, I think all of us should do that for our marriages, for our jobs, for our lives, for our minds. It's a way to say, "God, I'm gonna work hard. I'm gonna do my thing this year," right? "I'm gonna try hard; but God, I have to have you show up with me, and I'm setting aside this time to declare my dependence upon you".
I've called this year the year of great faith, and it's a year we're going to lean in to God with our faith life, and not just an average faith life, but an all-in faith life. This is one of the things that we challenge people constantly that many, many, many of you have done, but not everybody has done, and that is to be the kind of Christian that's not mediocre, that's not once-in-a-while, it's not just a part of your tradition. It's who you are. And the way I say it is, is that this will be the best year of your life, if it's the best year of your life spiritually, and I actually challenge you to see if this is truth or not, because I really believe that if you were to go all-in with God, like if you would feed the spiritual part of who you are, what you're going to realize is it has the greatest impact on the rest of your life in every way.
And so, I'm trying to lead you to that, to go all-in with God. And the way C.S. Lewis said, he said, "If you aim at heaven, you'll get earth thrown in with it; but if you aim at earth, you'll get neither". There's so many people that really are just, they have a spiritual life, but it's not the center of their life. And not only this prayer and fasting time, but a lot of people don't know much about how to fast, and normally I just point you to fasting resources that we have at our website. And I thought I'd take just a couple of minutes before we get into the message to talk to you a little bit about fasting. Fasting is actually mentioned 75 times in Scripture, and it's actually missing a lot in today's Christian culture. A lot of people don't know much about it, but the church and even Jesus talked about it frequently.
In fact, Jesus said, when John's disciples came to him and said, "How is it that the Pharisees are fasting, but your disciples aren't fasting"? And Jesus's response was, "How can the guest of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they'll fast". In other words, "Don't fast now while I'm here; but after I'm gone, I want you guys to fast". And Jesus actually sanctioned it, ordained it, commanded it, if you will. So, the early church often fasted. In fact, they would fast just for about everything, many different reasons to make a simple decision, for this is an example. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabus and Saul for the work that I've called them to".
And before they'd even sent these guys out to another work, they fasted and prayed and then laid their hands on them and sent them out. That's how serious they took fasting's a part of how you make a decision. And Paul himself said of his own life, he goes, "I have weariness, I have toil, I have sleeplessness often. I have hunger and thirst, and I fast often". And so, we teach this in our church. Say, "Chris, why do we do this"? Well, let me tell you what fasting is not. Fasting is not some form of penance, like it's not a way just to suffer and, you know, make your life hurt to prove to God that you have some kind of worth. That is, a lot of Christian traditions have taken that as the spirit of fasting, and it's absolutely not.
The simplest way to understand it is, is that you are a triune being. You have three parts to you. You have the body, by the way, that we put a lot of stock in and a lot of attention on that came from dirt and is going to return to dirt. In fact, the Bible only calls it a tent. It's just something you live in while you're on planet Earth. But you have a body. Obviously, you have a soul. That's your mind, will, and emotions. That's inside your body. But we're the only living creatures that God created that has a third part called a spirit man. The Bible says we're made in the image of God. Well, the image of God is a Spirit, and we are a spirit being. The way I like to say this, we're not natural beings having these spiritual experiences. We're spirit beings having this temporary natural experience or this earthly experience.
And so, but here's the deal. Of those three, one of them is always the strongest, and the strongest one is always calling the shots. And so, you can be a Christian and struggling, and you're wondering, "Why am I struggling"? It's because your body is in charge. It's calling the shots. And some of you are Christian, but your soul's in charge, so you get depressed easily, or you lose focus in your mind, or you find yourself, your mind wandering to things that are not good. You say, "Well, why is that happening"? It's because your soul is too much in charge right now, and it's kind of like that little game that only if you're my age, 50 years or older, do you remember this game, because y'all have video games now.
But we had this game we used to call "King of the Hill," and we'd go find a dirt pile or a mud hill, and we'd climb to the top of it, and just all the guys would challenge each other to see who could stay at the top for the "King of the Hill". And, of course, the strongest guy always wins, now lean into this, and the strongest part of you is what's winning right now, too. So, you can be a Christian. You're going to heaven. You love God, you know God, but you're struggling deeply. It's because the wrong things are in charge of your life. Now, if you want a deeper study on that, jot down Romans chapter 8. Just read the first 12, 13 verses, and it talks about the person controlled by the spirit versus the person who's controlled by their flesh, and you'll see that struggle that takes place.
In fact, Paul even discussed his own struggle with it in chapter 7 when he says, "I want to do the right things, but evil's always there right with me". So, what do we do? Well, fasting is just this opportunity to actually kill or to starve is a better way to say it, to starve the parts, other two parts of us that are not the spiritual parts, that you can't do it forever, because you didn't eat anymore, or didn't feed your soul in some kind of way. It would actually die. You don't want to kill it. You just don't want to make it the strongest part of who you are. Fasting allows us the time to take back those other two parts and just have a season where they are starved; and at the same time, we feed our spiritual man. We spend more time with God.
So, for 21 days, actually 22 days, because there's a Sunday on the front and on the back end of this 21 days. We'll be in church, I'll be in church for 21 straight days. I'm inviting you to come join me. You can come in person, or you can watch it online or stream it, but for 22 days we're gonna hear the Word of God, and we're gonna worship, and we're gonna pray 22 straight days. Now, we don't do that any other time all year long, and we do it again in the month of August. But when we do that, when you starve something and then feed something else, a dynamic takes place. Well, I could say this. Whatever we starve dies, and whatever we feed thrives. And you'll see during this season, just try it.
I want you to consider some type of fast, something that you're going to starve out of your body and your soul and at the same time hyper feed your spiritual man just for 21 days, and just watch. You'll be so surprised at what God does inside of you. "So, Chris, what kind of fast do I do"? Well, that's up to you. But let me tell you the four types real quickly, and then we'll get into the Word of God. There's what's called a complete fast. I don't necessarily recommend it, but it's in the Bible, so I'll tell you about it, and that's where it's either water only or liquids only; and, of course, you have to use a lot of common sense with that or maybe even medical supervision, if you're going to do that type of fast, but you're denying yourself the pleasure of chewing for 21 days.
The second type of fast, and these are in the Bible, is what's called a selective fast. So, I'm not gonna fast everything. I'm just gonna select some things that I'm not gonna eat for 21 days, maybe like cauliflower. No, you've gotta do more than that, everybody, okay. But that's what I would choose. Anyway, I've been fasting cauliflower for about 50 years. Anyway, so there you go. But you select some things, maybe desserts, or sweets, or some of you may have heard of the Daniel fast. That's no meats, sweets, and breads. Another one is a whole 30 fast. That is no dairy, sugar, or gluten, or grains. And just but picking some things. Maybe it's just one food item. It's called a selective fast.
The third is a partial fast, and it's where you're complete fasting, but not all day. So, this is where you might fast breakfast, or you might fast all day and eat the evening meal. A lot of the Jewish people would fast in this type of a way. And then lastly, I actually, I think I coined this phrase. I never heard it until I started teaching it, but what I call the soul fast. And a soul fast is just something that I've allowed my mind, my will, or emotions to have that I'm not gonna let it have during these 21 days. And it might be social media. I know a lot of people just get off of social media for 21 days, and you have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in your heart when you do. I just, it's better, your life is better without hearing all of the stuff that sometimes is on those platforms.
And maybe you're gonna fast secular music. You're just gonna listen to Christian music for 21 days or just maybe you're not gonna watch the news. That's one of the things that I do during the 21 days. I just get off the news, and it's glorious. I mean, somebody will tell me what's happening, and I just don't watch it and watch all the garbage that sometimes gets added to just the regular news, whatever it is, but you pick that. I want to encourage you to get in the spirit of fasting with us. And if you weren't prepared today, start tomorrow morning, and let's just have 21 days where we starve some things, and then feed our spirit man, and just watch what God does. And your campus pastors talked about the pastoral care update card. I want to just encourage you.
I want to give you my encouragement that this is very, very important 'cause we'd love to have good records so that we can take good care of you. But at the bottom, there is a place to put a prayer request. And honestly, I don't want you to put a prayer request. I want you to finish this sentence. "I'm believing God for," and then write it out. And these will show up at all of our services tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. I'll be here, and we're going to be praying over these cards, and we're going to believe God for great things in 2022. Can you say a good amen, everybody? All right, I love the fasting time. It's gonna be great.
All right, getting pretty fired up about it. And we're starting this new series called "The Holy Bible". "The Holy Bible". And the reason why we're doing this series, honestly, I made the decision, I think it was around September or October, and I was hearing some stories about how some of the trends of what's called deconstruction, where people are picking apart the Bible, calling it false, picking certain things they want to believe, and it just, I don't know, something rose up inside of me, and I thought, "I'm gonna start the new year with our church and make sure they understand that this is not just a Bible. It's the Holy Bible, it is set apart, and we need to set it apart in our lives".
In fact, the word "Bible," if you're interested to know a little trivia for you, the word "Bible" simply means book. That's what the word means, biblios in the Greek. There's actually a city called Biblos, and the city of Biblos was the number one exporter of papyrus, paper. In fact, that's where people, the books were sent from, or published, or bound, and so the word biblos is where we get the word Bible, but it's not just the Bible, y'all. It's the Holy Bible, hagios in the Greek, which means it's set apart. We say that it's ordained, it's of God, it's inerrant, it's infallible, it is true, it's God's love letter, his story to you and me, and our attitude toward it is very important.
And I actually miss the days that when we used to preach, I've been doing this, coming in 39 years of ministry now. You start messages off like this, and I didn't touch a screen. I would say, "Open your Bibles to," and you heard, 'cause everybody in the room had a Bible. And I look across and hardly no one does anymore 'cause we've made it so easy for you, just like to look up at the screens. Can I encourage you guys to start bringing a physical Bible to church? And just even if you never look at it, just out of the habit of saying, "I'm gonna have this Bible, and I'm gonna see it in my Bible". I'm actually holding to you my personal Bible. I don't usually bring it out of the house. In fact, I never bring it out of the house. I decided just to bring it out here today.
In fact, I almost, we came this close to just getting rid of this screen, and we was gonna do everything straight out of the read it to you Bible. I may pull a message like that on y'all coming up. So, just bring your Bibles, bring some notepads, but I want you to own a paper Bible. And I thank God for the digital platforms, all of that. It has helped get the Word of God in places it has never been, and I thank the YouVersion and all the team at Life.Church that has done that great work, but listen to me. You need a paper Bible. You need your own Bible. Can I hear an amen, everybody? And if you say, "I don't have the money for it," you ask your campus pastor, and I'll pay for it. I'll buy it myself.
I want you to have a Bible. This is the year of great faith, and the Bible says that faith comes, so, like, if you're gonna have great faith, well, it comes by hearing and hearing by, say it out loud with me, by the Word of God, the Word of God. So, my goal today in this simple little message is to get you to love it as much as I love it. I love this Bible. I've had this Bible since 1982. I was a freshman at LSU. Go Tigers. Thank you very much, all right. There's one LSU fan here in Alabama. All right, there we go, okay. And but I was a freshman. I was on fire for God. I mean, and I had a Bible, but I wanted a bigger one. I've actually had this one since 1982 and had it rebound a couple of times since then, and I have all my old notes in here. I don't know if they can get closeups on this, but I have just pages and pages of notes.
I don't know why they put the maps there, but they were kind of in the way, so I just found all this blank page. I didn't need to know how to get there. But anyway, there's all that. And but I just, even, I just marked in it. I still have to this day have a highlighter that I mark in my Bible, and it's very personal to me. And I don't know where everything is in the Bible, but I know where it is in this one. And I can tell you which side of the page Psalm 23 is on. Like, I know, I know, I know where things are in here, and it's become personal to me. And I almost lost it. I would travel with it and preach with it like a lot of ministers do.
And I'll never forget I had this one trip to San Diego many years ago, and I was going to speak at a church in San Diego that I was going up to Vacaville, California, in the Bay area to do two different churches. And the pastor picked me up in San Diego, took me to a little Mexican restaurant, and we were like in the middle of a town, people everywhere. We probably weren't 50 yards from our car. And after we ate that meal, came back to our car, our car had been broken into, and everything in the car was gone, all of our luggage, my backpack, my computer, everything, and that was the first time I felt impressed of the Lord, this is a true story, right before that trip, not to bring my Bible.
And I remember the first thought after we got broken into, that I can replace my toothbrush, and I can get another pair of socks, but I would be devastated if I lost this. And over the years, I've developed a love relationship with the Word of God. And my message for you today is simply I would love for you to have that kind of love relationship with the Word of God. I had this one simple goal, I'm gonna try to do it in ten minutes, is to get you so fired up about the Bible, to love it, to love it. And when I was thinking about loving it, I was thinking about the psalmist David, who said this in Psalm 119, which by the way is the longest chapter of the Bible, Psalm 119. Psalm 119 has 176 verses, and the whole chapter, every line, every, all 176 verses of Psalm 119 are about the Bible.
So, the longest chapter in the Bible is about the Bible. I don't know if that tells you anything, but that tells me that this is a priority to God, to really appreciate, accept, love, love the Word of God. And right in the middle, verse 97, the psalmist David pauses and said, "Oh, I just love the Bible. I love your law, and I meditate on it all day long. And not only do I love it, and do I think about it, and work it through in my mind, meditate on it, but I take it with me. It's always with me, and it makes me wiser than my enemies. It's doing something that benefits me".
Three things that I've highlighted in this very simple, but I hope powerful message for you, and the first is I wish you could just love the Bible. I want you to love the Word of God. And when I say love it, I don't know if there's anyone that you love, that you would love them so much, you would defend them. You'd fight for them. Like, when they mess with that person, you take it personal. It's like, "Ah, don't be talking about my mama". You're like it stirs something up on the inside of you. I've actually only been in one physical fight in my entire life. Come on, say amen right there everybody, right? Aren't you grateful your pastor isn't a regular fighter? But anyway, I've been in one fight. I think I was about 14, 13, 14 years old, and I was never as strong and muscular as I am now. Come on, everybody, right?
And so, I was timid actually to fight anybody, and I would try to outwit them, but I never would fight them. I thought, "I'm gonna lose that if I get in a physical fight". I was actually scared to fight people. I came out of my house, 13 years old, 14 years old. I'll never forget it. I walked down the driveway. I looked two houses down, and there was a group of guys around my sister. I have a baby sister named Carol. She's my only sister. And had three or four guys surrounding her, pulling her hair, picking on her, punching her. And, y'all, I mean the incredible hulk, like I wanted to rip my shirt. I know I turned green, I know I did, and I felt something rise up in me because they were messing, it became personal now.
Now, I didn't know how to fight. This is a true story. This'll probably make you laugh, but I went over there, but I lost my mind, and there's no way I was gonna win the fight against these three or four guys. I just jumped in the middle, y'all, and I got there, and I put my fists out and just started spinning real fast. That's what I did. I know. And it worked. So I guess they thought I'd lost my mind, so they all left, right? And Carol cried and hugged me, and thanked me for rescuing the damsel in distress. Come on, somebody, right? But I'm talking about that kind of, I feel that way about the Bible. I love the Bible, and now it's getting picked on, maligned, derided. People are changing, calling it untrue. And, y'all, I want to put my fist out, because this is the Word of the living God.
You say, "Chris, why do you love it so much"? Because it's God breathed. Forty people didn't write the Bible. It has one author, and his name is God. Man held the pen, but God wrote these words, and it's useful. Like, it helps me. It's useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, so that the servant of God, Chris Hodges may be thoroughly equipped for my marriage, my mind, my children, my money, my decisions. Like, it speaks to every part of my life and makes every part of my life better, and I just love it. It's God's autobiography. It's his love letter of redemption for my life, and I've just fallen in love with it. It's not a book; it's a person. It is the Word of God; it is God.
Come on, say amen right there. And I just want you to think about your attitude. What is your attitude toward it? If somebody were to say something about it, do you want to put your fist out and spin around in a circle and say, "Nah, this book will change your life". Paul praised the church at Thessalonica when he said, "We thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God..." Received the Word, that word there in the Greek is dechomai, and dechomai is the same word that's used when you welcome a guest into your home that you've been preparing for. So, you vacuumed the floor, cooked a meal, you've waited for them to come, and you open the door and go, "Oh, we've just been waiting on you to come. I'm so glad you're here".
That's the word. He says, And the church at Thessalonica treated the Word of God like, "Oh, I'm so glad you're here," and they "accepted it not as something that man wrote, but actually as it is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe". And he had this attitude about it, and they loved it. And I just want you to love it. So, this might be a little weird for some of you guys, and I'm just gonna do it anyway, I'm gonna tell you anyway, especially for you men. And I'm not telling you, you have to do this. I'm just telling you my story. And before I tell you, I am tough. I have a truck, and I hunt. Anyway, I want y'all to know that, okay. But I kiss my Bible every day. When I read my Bible, I finish, mm. Thank you, Lord. It's just like a, and I'm telling you that story intentionally 'cause I want you to love the Bible.
I want you to see this as God's love letter. It's breathed. So, these aren't even normal words. They contain power, for their fulfillment can change your life. Let me say it this way. I'm a pastor, and there's nothing more that I want for you. So, if you don't come to our conferences, if you don't get in small groups, you never find your calling, like, I would love for you to love and to get your life into this book. You make me pick one thing, and I would want you to treasure the Word of God. I want you to love it, not just love it, but I want you to learn it, learn it. You say, "What do you mean, learn it"? I mean learn it by like, do what you're doing right now, by listening to God's Word. Like, listen to it. We preach. We preach on first Wednesdays.
I've got archives of messages, but go find other preachers. I listen to probably ten sermons a week, just 'cause I love the Word. I love preaching. I love the Word of God. Jesus said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine, puts it into practice, they're like a person whose life is built on a rock". And I tell you, storms are happening to everybody, but having different effects on everybody, and that's a fact. So, we're all in the same storm, and we're all going through it differently. And Lord knows I've had my share of storms, and I promise you, before God, they have not moved me one inch. I have the joy of God on the inside of me 'cause I have my life built on the rock, everybody. You read it, read it, read God's Word.
Jesus said, "You can't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". Set aside time to read it. Like, pick a time. Mine's in the morning. I get a cup of coffee, get in my little ugly chair that's got a big old tear in the ottoman. Tammy begs for me to get rid of it. I just love it. It's my chair. And I light a candle. Come on, y'all. It's a manly scent, all right? Anyways, the first thing I do every day is read my Bible. I'm encouraging you to have a Bible reading plan. I encourage the One Year Bible. We put it on our website. It's a little Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, and a Proverb. If you read it every day, you would've read through the whole Bible in one year. And by the way, all of us miss a day. And don't go back, like, "Well, I have 17 days to catch up". No, no, no, just be free, everybody. For those of y'all, sometimes you get on these apps with those Bible reading plans, and they tell you how far behind you are.
Next thing you know, you have 94 chapters to read in one day. Be free, in Jesus' name, okay? Read today's reading. It'll be there next year. It'll be there again. Don't get into a bondage with it. And then finally, don't just let the, don't just read the Bible. Let the Bible read you. Close it and say, "Lord, what are you trying to say to me today"? I want to encourage you in this. Listen to it, read it, and finally study it, study it. Get in a small group. Say, "Chris, why do we study the Bible, just so we can be smart"? No, no, no, that's what the Pharisees did. Jesus said, "You study the Bible because you think that by studying the Bible you'll get eternal life". Jesus said, "No, the whole reason is it testifies about me". Find Jesus in it. So, we get in groups, and we study God's Word. I just want you to, I want you to love it. I want you to learn it.
And here's the last thing, and we'll go. And then we can live it, live it. What do you mean by living it? Now I can use it as a weapon. Ephesians chapter 6 says it now becomes a tool that I fight the devil with. If you're familiar with the armor of God, every part of the armor of God is defensive. Only one thing is offensive: the Word of God. And for some of us, we don't have anything to fight with. So, if something happens in my day, I grab a verse, ah. Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa. That's why David said, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity"? Only one way. I'm speaking to some young person in this room right now. You're never gonna live the life you know you were intended to live until you live according to the Word. "I seek you with all my heart. Don't let me stray from your commands". How? "I hide it in my heart that I might not sin against you". So, I'll tell you one final story. I got saved at 15 years old. And y'all, when I say I was on fire for God, I was on fire for God.
By the way, I've never stopped being on fire for God, but I was on fire for God when I got saved, and I went to a public school. It was called Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge. And it was not a good, it wasn't a good place to grow your faith. Let me say it that way, okay? So, I begged my parents to put me in a Christian school 'cause I thought that's where all the Christians are. Ha, ha, found out that's not the case. But anyway, all right, so, but they had chapel every week. At least I could go to church in part of my school experience. And they had an elective my junior year. It was Scripture memory. I had a Scripture memory class. We learned whole chapters of the Bible as a part of my curriculum. I loved it. They taught us how to do it. We'd read it five times. We'd think it five times. We'd say it five times. We'd close it and be able to, and then every day we would do the same verses we learned the day before.
And after a few weeks, we'd learn whole chapters of the Bible. I can still, the first one we ever did was James chapter 1. "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. Greetings. Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must have its finished work that you might be mature and complete, not lacking anything". I mean, like, we'd just start memorizing these verses. And I noticed that the more I had in my heart, the more effective my life was. I was going through a tumultuous, same temptations everybody has and probably then some, but living a pure, full of joy, guided by the Word of God life, and I want that for you.
And I'm gonna close this service today the most odd way we ever have. I've never done it before. We're gonna memorize a verse together. So, I picked one for you, and we're gonna read it twice, and then I'm gonna turn it off, and we're gonna say it together, all right? And then we're gonna close. You ready? All right, everybody, everybody, everybody give me your full speaking voice, not loud but not soft, okay? Just your speaking voice. You ready? Come on, everybody. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". Say it, "Psalm 119:105". One more time, every voice, here we go. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path", Psalm... Here we go. "Your... and a..." Give yourselves a hand, everybody. It is, it is a lamp, it's a light.
And Father, I pray this for the people. Because if I'm going to pastor them, there's no way I can do it unless they love the Word, learn the Word, and live the Word. And so, God, I'm asking for an appetite, a hunger for the Word to stir into the people of Church of the Highlands, in Jesus's name.
Heads bowed, eyes closed. Campus pastors, come to the stage. I'm gonna turn it over to your campus pastor in just a second. This is the year of great faith, and there are some of you, listen, listen. Don't stir, listen. There's some of you that need to go all-in with God. I'm talking about great faith. Let me say it this way. You need to become a believer, a believer. I believe. And some of you have faith, but it's not where it should be. You know it. You don't have strong faith. You don't have great faith. And today you're ready to step into great faith. You're gonna believe in God. Some of you are Christian, but some of you are not. Some of you don't know the Lord, but you're trying to reaffirm your faith today. Some of you have fallen. You're a Christian, but you're not where it should be. And let's make a decision today. If you want to be included in this closing prayer, where you're stepping into great faith, you're gonna trust God with your life, you're gonna go all-in with God today.
I'm not gonna have you stand up or come to the front, but if that's you, make up your mind right now, if that's you, and you want to be included in this prayer, lift your hand high right now and say, "Count me in". Lift it high, there it is, all over this room. Lift it high. Be bold today, in Jesus' name. Pastor Blake, come on, just lead them in this closing prayer. Blake: Yeah, that's awesome, so proud of each one of you. Yeah, good, good, good, gotta see hands all over the room. Thank you, both hands, that's amazing. Let me lead you in a simple prayer. If you didn't raise your hand, but you know you want to pray this prayer and go all-in with Jesus today, just whisper these words. Say:
Jesus, I give you my life. I'm going all in, and I'm not holding anything back. Forgive me where I've messed up. Make me brand-new right now. Give me a real relationship with you. Jesus, thank you for giving your life for me on the cross, and I'm grateful that you're alive, and now you live in me. I give you complete control. I surrender my life to the power of your Word and your Holy Spirit. Have your way in my life because I know I'll never be the same. Thank you. (Come on, say this) Thank you for changing my life just now. In Jesus' name I pray, amen and amen.