Chris Hodges - Choose to Follow God's Plan For Rest
All right, who's glad to be in church today? Anybody out there? Yeah, awesome. So glad you're here today. Big hello to all of our locations, our campuses. We are one church that meets all over the state of Alabama and right into Columbus, Georgia. And a big hello to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. Love you guys so much. We consider it the greatest honor to bring this service and really all that we are as church into more than 20 facilities across, and jails across the state of Alabama. God bless you guys today and those that are watching online somewhere around the world. We're so glad you're with us today. Grants Mill, do me a favor and say the biggest hello, come on, you can, to all those that are watching right now. God bless you. Thank you for that.
And also I want to just once again just say a big honor to the moms that are here today. And can we one more time just honor all the moms around us? God bless you guys, and we mean that. And today we have a little gift for all of you that are here today that just our team put together, our creative team. Got you a piece of chocolate as your benediction today, everybody. God bless you, all right. And so, and on the front it has the Scripture that we wanted to just give you and let you go home with to honor moms. And I'll put it, it's on the little piece of chocolate, but I want to put it on the screen here so you can see it. And would you join me in just saying the first two words out loud at every campus? Here we go. One, two, three. "Honor her for all that her hands have done. Let her works bring her praise at the city gate".
And we really feel that way. I honor my mom. I honor my wife, Tammy, and my daughter, Sarah, who's such an amazing mom, mom daughters-in-law, raising my eight grandkids, and all of you. We pray for you. We love you. And I like starting off with something a little funny before we get into the message, and I found this that I wanted to show you, and they asked some grade school kids some questions. And, of course, you know, kids say the funniest things. And one of the questions is, "Why did God make mothers"? And here's one of the answers was, "She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is". That's why God did that. Why did God make mothers? "Think about it. It was the best way to get more people". Think about it.
So, here's another question, and that is how did God make mothers? And one said, "Just use dirt, just like the rest of us". Yeah, that's how he did it. Here's another response. How did God make mothers? "God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just picked bigger parts". That's, one more question, and this one is why did God give you your mother and not some other mom? And here's the first one. This really is brilliant, if you think about it. "Because we're related," that's why. And this one's my favorite of all. Why did God give you the mother, your mother, and not some other mom? "Because God knew she likes me a whole lot more than other people's moms like me". They just, they just don't. So, anyway, that's a lot of fun.
We are in a series, week number there of a series called "Seven Choices," and I'm really enjoying this series. And honestly, I think this is what I'm going to point to for a long time, because it really doesn't matter what you think, believe, or even your values are if you're not acting upon them. So, your values aren't shaping you. Your choices are shaping your life. Our theme verse for the series is found in Proverbs chapter 2, and it just says, "Wise choices actually watch over you". And so what we thought we would do in this series is go to God's Word and find the seven most important decisions that you can make every day in your life. And in week number one, Pastor Mark Pettus began it with making the choice to be someone who's growing, taking "Next Steps". He used that language. That's the language we use here at the church, and that is so important for you not to stay where you started, that God has more for you.
And honestly, that's true for every one of you in this room. And if you don't like hearing that, that is one of the core messages of Church of the Highlands. It's why we named our church, Church of the Highlands, 'cause God's got more for you. You can go to higher heights, if you will, and God has more for you. And we think one of the most exciting parts of Christianity is growing, that you're just taking those steps, and we will encourage you to do that. Last week, I did part number two and talked about living a life of generosity, and it wasn't a money message. It was a lifestyle message of learning how to give your life away. I think it's one of the most important choices you'll ever make that will enrich your life. He who refreshes others will themselves be refreshed.
And today I'm going to continue this series. And here's a thought I want to give you that I think just summarizes this verse, and that the choices I make will determine the person I will become. And today, this is so true, and that is today, as we're going to talk about, the choice to follow God's plan for rest, for rest, how you use your time, the choices you make of how you pace yourself, because some of you are so tired, you're already planning to take a nap tomorrow. Come on, somebody. Where y'all at, right? Yeah, some of you, so for a lot of us, we're in a place where we're on empty, and honestly I get to this point every year, a little bit running on fumes myself. Every year, the point of the year where I am the most tired is about this time, you know, because we have a very busy beginning of the year with 21 days of prayer, and really February is kind of our biggest season of growth, and then you've got Easter, and I do a bunch of pastors conferences, and I get to this point, and I'm kind of running out of fumes.
And I've been studying this for the sake of pastors and leaders. I even preached a portion of this to our church staff at our staff retreat recently, and I really want to bring it to you, because you cannot give what you do not have. I really believe, for many of us, more is going out of our emotional and physical tank than we are putting in. And it's likened to like a car running out of gas. If you just keeping, and you don't pull over once in a while and refuel, you're going to end up on the side of the highway, right? You're going to end up in a very bad place. And for some of us, a lot more is going out than is coming in, and I'm going to teach you today what God's Word says about that. For some of us, you're in an emotional deficit.
And I think moms kind of epitomize someone who not only works for themselves, but works for so many other people, as well. They're constantly doing, I grew up with a working mom. I honor my mom. My mom and dad both had jobs, and honestly just 'cause they needed to. And my mom was the secretary to the chancellor at the LSU law school, and I actually rode to work with her and rode back home from work with her every day when I was a student, even though I only had like three hours of classes every day. We only had one car, so we had to, we rode together, and I watched my mom serve that chancellor, and I saw her work. And then, of course, we'd ride home. I had a little student job on campus while I was waiting for her job to be done and drive home together. And I saw her just literally go straight from the car, straight to the kitchen, start making dinner, and did this over and over. My mom had just the most amazing attitude through it all. She was literally the most peaceful, she brought peace to our family in so many ways.
And when my dad was stressed or worried about something, she had this way of even though at times it kind of felt like some of it was creating tension in the home, I watched her step in and just bring a calm to that whole thing. And as I told you earlier, my mom is still alive, but she's in memory care. She doesn't have hardly any of her memory at all, doesn't even recognize who I am, but I still love going to see her and just honor today. Y'all pray for my precious mom, everybody. But she was such an amazing woman of God. And my family were involved in church. I mean, we never missed church. And they weren't just your normal church goers. They had Xerox machines. Y'all remember that purple ink that you like kind of cranked out? Yeah, they'd make bulletins. I watched them in our driveway or our garage make bulletins for church.
I'm talking about people who were producing and working, but I saw her constantly give out. But what my parents were so good at, that I want to pass on to you, is they knew how to refuel. They honored their time off. We went on vacation every year, whether we had money for it or not. We, I saw them honor the Sunday, not just the church day, but like the whole day, and I want to give that to you because I'm afraid some of us are running on empty. In fact, there was a phrase in just one story of the Bible I'll start with. "One day Peter and John," Acts chapter 3, "were going up to the temple at the time of prayer at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gates..." Someone brought him there every day. "...called Beautiful, where he was put to beg from those going into the temple courts. And when he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for money. And Peter looked straight at him, as John did, and said, 'Look at us!' So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get some money from Peter and John. And Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have.'"
Watch this phrase. "'But what I do have, I give. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'" Now, we know that this is a healing story. The real story behind this Scripture is the fact that this man was healed. But I want you to notice that phrase. "I can only give you that which I have". And I felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to me, especially to moms, but really to all of us, myself included. If you get to the place where you're still giving, and you don't have, you're going to start seeing some signs. So, there'll be an edge to you. It'll come across a little harsher. And for some of you, you've even thought of yourself, "Why am I acting like that"? I'm going to tell you: because you're trying to drive a car with no gas in it, and it's puttering along.
And some of you need to learn to choose God's recipe, God's plan for rest. Can I hear a good amen, everybody? Now, I'm going to give you three warnings and three solutions, and I'm going to start with these three warnings that I love teaching when I talk about stress, or time, or our time use, because I love studying the verse by verse through the Bible. In fact, I think it was 2017, we did a verse by verse through the book of Daniel. I even wrote a book called, "The Daniel Dilemma". I love this, one of my favorite Old Testament characters, for sure. And what's interesting is the book of Daniel is 12 chapters in length. Six of it has history in it. The last six have prophecy in it. And so if you know anything about the Bible, the Bible is grouped by types of books, so it's not chronological. So, if you're one of those that ever tried to read it and think, "This doesn't make any sense," it's 'cause it's not chronological.
So, all the poetry books are together, all the law books are together, all the prophecy books are together, and all the history books are together. They're grouped in piles of books, right? So, when you have a book that is half history and half prophecy, where does it go? And what's interesting is, is that the history-prophecy book is in the prophecy section, and I believe it's there intentionally by God to let all of us know, watch this, that the history is prophecy. In other words, it didn't just happen. It still speaks to us today, and I think this message is prophecy. I think it's a warning from God that happened thousands of years ago, that is still a warning from God for us today.
So, I want you to even listen to it like prophecy. And it's the handwriting on the wall story. In fact, a lot of you know that phrase, even if you're not a Christian. That's one of the many colloquialisms, I can't say that word, colloquialisms that are in the Bible. The handwriting on the wall means imminent doom. Whenever you say, "Wow, the handwriting's on the wall now," that means it's all getting ready to crash, right? This story is called "The Handwriting on the Wall". It's found in Daniel chapter 5, and it says, "King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine from them". Watch the story. "And while Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem".
Now, this is the time period in the Bible that's called the exile, 70 years where the nation of Israel was literally kidnapped, taken to Babylon, which is modern-day Iraq. They were brought to Babylon, and they were treated as slaves for 70 years. And God warned them this was gonna happen, if they ignored him. So, now this Babylonian king says, "Hey, bring in that stuff we stole from Jerusalem, and let's drink from it..." Notice the callousness toward God. "...so that the king and his nobles, and his wives and concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, and his wives and concubines drank from them. And as they drank the wine," watch what they did, "they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone".
Now, these are all things that you either mine or produce. So, this means human effort or human attainment, watch this, and they were mocking God and praising their own efforts, what they had accomplished. And that got God's attention. And I would say to you, I think even believers can get a calloused heart toward God. And if you're overworking and not stopping, then you're literally praising your own accomplishment. "And suddenly the fingers of a human hand just appeared". Now, we don't know if it just floated in air, or if it came out of the box like the Adams family. I don't know.
All right, so, but it "appeared, wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace, and the king watched the hand as it wrote". And it became a warning. "And his face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees" had fellowship with each other, all right? "And then the king summoned the enchanters, the astrologers, and the diviners. And he said to these wise men, 'Man, I need somebody to interpret this. Whoever can read this writing and tell me what it means,'" because he's freaked out. He knows God is trying to get his attention. "'Whoever does that, I'm going to clothe them in purple and have gold chain placed around their neck, and they will actually be made third highest ruler in the kingdom".
I just need somebody to tell me what this means. Well, I don't consider myself an enchanter, a magician, or a diviner. I am your pastor, and I'm telling you today I'm going to help you understand that I truly believe that God is trying to say to us, and I think this old story from a thousand years ago still has prophecy in our lives today, if you'll receive it that way. I believe the handwriting is on the wall for some of us. Some of you are pushing too hard. You're going too long. You're smiling, but the truth is you're burned out, you're worn out. I made a study this like that we are working harder than we ever have worked before. Now it's 8.6 hours, 7 days a week is the average for the average person, and over 62% of the American population would classify themselves as burned out, and it's just too much.
So, I know I'm at least probably talking to six out of ten of every person in this room. And here's the warning, and it's in the language that he didn't understand: "Mene, mene, tekel, parsin". What does that mean? Well, they didn't know, so they brought in Daniel. They said, "There's this Jewish guy that we kidnapped, and he knows how to interpret prophecy. Bring him in". Of course, Daniel did. He refused the robe, by the way, the purple robe. He just wanted to show them that God is the one that he worshiped. And he said, "This is what these words mean: Mene..." Which literally means, literally translates numbered. "Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign," or your life, "and brought it to an end".
Here's the first warning that we all need to do and that is remember that our days are limited. Our days are actually numbered. I have a pastor friend of mine who, while he was racing his kids, when they got to, from like six years old, from grade school years to the end of high school, until they left the house, he counted the number of weekends that he would have with them from first grade to leaving the house to go to college. And whatever that number is, he put that number of marbles in a pickle jar, and he left it on his counter. And every weekend, he would take another marble out as a physical, something he could see, a reminder of how many weekends he had left to pour into his kids. Well, this is a smart person. This is someone who's not just asking the question, "What time is it"? He's, which everybody asks. "What time is it"? The better question is, "What am I doing with my time"?
And the Bible says if you're not careful, you get into a trap, like Job describes, where, "My days are going by faster than a runner; so they're flying away without seeing any joy". And again, there's the symptom that always arises if you're doing it wrong, 'cause now you've lost the joy of your life, because you're not putting your life in the right place. So, the Bible says, "Remind me, LORD, how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are," say it out loud, "my days are, they're numbered". Man, Hebrews says it this way: "God has appointed your times, and we're all destined to die". Aren't you glad you came to church today, everybody, all right? Yeah, yeah, we have a day, we have a certain span of our life. And he says, "And my life is no longer than the width of my hand. And an entire lifetime is just a moment to you. Human existence is but a breath".
James says the same thing. Our life is a mist, it's a vapor. Years ago, in the earlier part, years of the church, I think it was third or fourth year, I had this idea to do a series around what would your life look like if you only had 30 days to live? So, we called the series, "Thirty Days to Live". And I simply asked the question, teaching this kind of material, "If you had 30 days, what would you change"? Like, you only have 30 left. What would you stop doing that you are doing, but would you start doing that you're not doing. That was the whole series. And then we actually found four people, each week was a four-part series. Each week, we had a different person on video who a doctor had given a death date to. And most of them were under two months.
So, these were terminally ill people who we just, they gave us, they were so kind to give us the permission, and I just interviewed them and said, "Tell us how your perspective is different". And the thesis was, in light of eternity, we really have 30 days to live, so to speak, so we should be a lot more intentional like they were. And their perspective was amazing. By the way, I'm happy to report that two of them that were given less than two months to live, one of them's still alive, and the other one lived 12 more years. It was my mother-in-law, who got healed of cancer. Can we give God some praise that he still does miracles in people's lives, right? But I want you to think through that.
The second word, the second warning, if you will, is found in the word "tekel," and Daniel said, "I can interpret that for you". The word "tekel" means weighed. And then he said this, and he says this to us prophetically thousands of years later. "Your life is being weighed on the scales". So, it's not in balance. It's out of balance, and it's found wanting. In other words, one side is higher than the other, but that's not your values. And it reminds us that we need to remember how easy it is for our lives to get out of balance, and it's true for all of us, myself included. So, you can say, "Man, I really value this," but our time isn't showing that. So, what do we do? We have to get it back in balance. In fact, just for fun, I actually spent some time yesterday just doing some research on how much time we spend on things that we don't really have a value for. Like, we eat out.
In your lifetime, you're going to end up eating out 20,436 times, if you're the average American, okay? And by the way, that's, in that 20,436, 3,773 are to McDonald's. Don't do that. All right, so if you don't hear anything else today, just change that, right? So, you're going to spend ten years watching TV. You're going to spend 9.5 years of your life, by the end of your life, on your phone. You're going to spend 5 years waiting in lines, and you're going to spend a whole year looking for misplaced items, everybody, all right? Yeah. And there's over 25% of your whole life just on this screen, and none of us would say, "Yeah, that's what I live for". Well, that means that's how easy our lives can get out of balance is the point.
Here's the third word, and it's the word "peres," and peres literally means divided, and then Daniel prophetically said it then, he says it today, if you don't get those first two things in order, your kingdom, which means your kingdom, your life, you have your own little small k, kingdom, "will be divided and given away to the Medes and the Persians". By the way, that actually did happen in real history. But prophetically for us today, it causes us to remember that a mismanaged life will always cost you something, something that you wish would've never happened. And I've been talking to pastors a lot lately about ending up in a place that we're almost too late to fix something. 'Cause I try to mentor a lot of pastors, and a lot of times there's a mismanagement of their time and their life, but a lot of times you never find out how bad it is until there's things that you can't fix. And I liken it to, and I've been teaching this, I liken it to staged disease.
So, somebody has cancer, and just literally just got cancer, you can't tell they have cancer. They can still go jogging and do all the things they normally do when it's in the early stage. Listen to this. Early-stage disease is hard to detect, but we all know it's a lot easier to fix. The opposite is true with late-stage disease. It's easier to detect but harder to fix. And the point that I believe that the Holy Spirit has me sharing this for some of us is even if you don't feel it, or think you are, you're the one that should be listening to this. Would you at least just analyze your own life and make sure your life's not out of order, 'cause you want to catch it at stage one, when it's maybe harder to detect, but easier to fix, than when it's too late, and it's easier to detect, but harder to fix. Can I hear an amen, everybody?
It's so very important. And that's what Jesus said, basically, in Luke 21, which, by the way, is an end time chapter. You ought to go read the whole thing. Jesus said, "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with," and I love this word, "dissipation". Dissipation is the word evaporation. And if you got a glass of water and just looked at it, it's evaporating, and you can't see it. You come back two or three months later, it will be lower than where you left it. That's the word. You can't notice it sometimes, but it's happening, which is why I really believe the Holy Spirit's having all of us listen to this message. Drunkenness, anxieties, and that day doesn't announce itself. It closes on you unexpectedly like a trap.
So, what do we do about it? Well, God has a recipe for rest that, unfortunately, many people ignore. I know in my own profession, pastors, I hardly ever find one who takes a real Sabbath. Now, that can't be on Sunday. Somebody say, "Is Sunday your Sabbath, too"? Said, "No, this is a day of work for me". I always jokingly say, "We know for a fact that Lionel Richie was not a pastor, or he'd never wrote, 'Easy Like Sunday Morning.'" Come on, somebody. Where y'all, right? It's easy like Monday morning for me. My Sabbath is on Monday, and I really, I take a true Sabbath, and I've been preaching this to pastors for years, most of which, if I'm honest with you, a lot of them completely ignore it, work just as much on a Monday and a Tuesday. And I keep telling them, "It's going to catch up with you one day. You need to take a full day off and honor the Lord". You cannot keep going, and I'm going to say the same thing to you. You cannot keep doing that. God has a plan. You say, "Oh, Chris, that's Old Testament. That's in the Ten Commandments. We're not under the law".
Well, check out Hebrews chapter 4: "There..." Say the next word out loud, every voice. "There remains..." There you go. So, there's, that's New Testament. "There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God's rest," God's plan, that's by choice I'm asking you to make is to choose God's plan for taking care of yourself, your time use, your rest. "...also rest from their work, just as God did. So, let us, therefore..." I love this line. "...make every effort to enter that rest". Work to rest. You need to work harder on your rest. And if I put the whole message in a sentence: a lot of you are working hard, but you're not working hard on your rest.
You say, "Chris, then well okay, you've got my attention. What's God's plan"? Three simple phrases. God's plan is for you to divert daily, every day. Every day you stop, you honor God. And for some of you, you have the value of a quiet time and a time of God, but you haven't been taking it lately. And by the way, he's the most generous, loving, forgiving God you'll ever serve. So, just tell him, "So sorry, I'll get right back to it". Because we need to spend time with God, not just in church once a week. You're doing that, you're here. But Jesus prayed, "Give us this day our daily bread". And notice, he never asked you to ask for more than one day. It's one day at a time, today, and I'm asking you to reinstitute that daily time with God.
"Well, what do I do"? Read the Word of God. Doesn't have to be a lot of it. And we even provide like the One-Year Bible on our app, and it's about 15-20 minutes of reading, if you read it slow like I do as a devotional. A little Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, and Proverb. But I'd rather you read one verse than nothing at all. And by the way, God does not mind, I talked to somebody the other day, and I said, "Do you read the One-Year Bible"? He goes, "Yeah, but I'm still back in February". It's like, no, brother, don't do that. Like, I have 200 chapters to catch up, you know, get to today. No, don't do that. Just read that day, and sometimes all you need to read is that Psalm that day or that Proverb that day.
By the way, I read a study this week that those who read their Bibles three days a week, it almost has little to none effect in that person's life. But when you go from three to four or more, it drastically changes. Feelings of loneliness go down 33%. If you're four or more in the Word of God, feelings of bitterness in relationships goes down 40%. If you read the Word of God four or more days a week, sexual lust and temptations go down 60%. It drastically changes. Read the Word of God. This is God's recipe for your rest 'cause some of you, it's more going out than coming in. Then secondly, spend time in worship and prayer. And when I say spend time in worship and prayer, don't make this complicated. There are days I just turn on worship and just let it sing over me. And some of you should do the same.
Just let that worship minister to you. And if you want to sing out loud, go for it, but I turn on a little music every morning, and it calms the savage beast on the inside. And all of us have that anxiousness, that part of us, listen to me. You'd better find a few minutes to spend time in the Word, spend time in worship and prayer. I always say this is God talking to us. This is us talking to God. And then take a few minutes and think through and plan your day. It's one of the greatest tools I've learned only in the last five years of my life, maybe even four years, where I've included in my time with God, I actually write out three little tasks, just three little tasks; that if I can get those three done today, I could call today a success. And I put it in my time with God.
And listen to me. That's just like power comes into my day now 'cause I honored God, I've listened to him, I've worshiped him, and then I put my day before him. This is God's plan. Doesn't have to last all day. If I'm in a rush, I can do this in 15 minutes. I like longer than that. Spend time with God. Divert daily. Second is, is withdraw weekly, and you're doing that right now. You have started your week, first day of the week, Sunday, in worship. But listen to me. It's not the Sabbath hour. Listen to me, church. It's not the Sabbath hour. It's the Sabbath day. It was never intended for you just to go to church, check the box, and go back, right back to work. No, no, no, it was supposed to be a whole day. "You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh is a," not an hour of rest. "It's a day of rest".
And just some of you need to hear that. It's an important part of the recipe that God gives you. What do we do? Rest your body. Like, take a nap. Lay down. Some of y'all haven't even given yourself permission to do nothing, and I'm giving you permission today. In fact, if somebody fusses at you for taking a nap, say, "Well, my pastor said, I'm just doing what my pastor said". We did this. When I was growing up, we went to church without fail, never missed. Went to Grandma's house for lunch every Sunday. We'd eat for two or three hours. And then we went home. We didn't go to the movies. We didn't play sports. I was with my parents. They weren't strict about it, but they were strict about it. "Now you're gonna go and we're just gonna do nothing the rest of the day".
And I'm telling you, I loved, I think we need to return to some of those old patterns again, where we rest our bodies, we charge our soul. By the way, the Jewish people believe that you recharge your soul by good food and the right people. Like, eat great meals, long lunches on Sunday, with the right laugh. Don't leave the table too soon. And then finally, to refocus your spirit, where you spend time with God. So, I'm going to divert daily. I'm going to withdraw weekly. And here's the last one, and that is we all need to abandon annually, and abandon means, that's why I call, vacation is called vacation, but the first part of the word "vacation" is vacate. Don't work as hard on your vacation, like, leave your phone. Some of y'all don't need to go to DisneyWorld. You just need to leave your phone and go anywhere. It'll be better. You'll feel more rested. Can I get a better amen out there?
We've got too much going on in the head right now. And the Bible says, "If your ax is dull and its edge unsharpened," when you go back to work, it's still nothing's going to work. "More strength is still needed". Why? Because you didn't stop and take and file that edge down. And I'm going to use this opportunity to tell you, right now, Tammy and I are getting ready to take some time off. And like I said, "I'm the most tired than I ever am all year long, right now, and we always take about three weeks off, and our elders are very gracious". And just about six or seven days ago, Tammy and I were in the car. We were talking about what we were going to do with our time off. And Tammy just looked right over at me. She goes, "You need more". She says, "You need more". She goes, "We need more".
And I said, and I honestly, I don't, when Tammy, she don't say much, but when she says something, I listen. Y'all hearing me, everybody? And I actually called some of our elders, and I said, "Tammy said..." And our elders said, "A hundred percent". And so we're going to take some extended time, not a lot, but we're going to take, I'm going to get off my phone. We're going to get off, I ain't gonna watch the news. I'm just gonna, I'm gonna pull up to that gas station and refuel. And we've got great speakers lined, you're gonna love, you're gonna love it. You're actually gonna love it. In fact, I hope you want me back when I get back, right? It's gonna be, we have a great summer planned for you, and I'll be back long before summer's over, but we're gonna take some time, and I'm gonna ask you for a favor, that I'm also gonna reciprocate. I'm gonna do this for you, and that is every time you eat a meal, pray for Tammy and me, and we're gonna be together every single day, and just pray for us.
And then every time we eat, we're gonna pray for you and just ask God to bless you, and just y'all let your pastors get a little rest. Is that all right, everybody? All right, 'cause I want to do this the rest of my life. So, here, we're gonna end the service a little differently, so don't leave. You're gonna want to be to the very last moment. So, Jesus actually now gives you the same invitation. "Are you tired? Are you worn out? Get away, and you'll recover your life. Get away with me. I'll show you how to take a..." And I love this language. "You've been taking a rest, but it's not a real one. Walk with me, work with me, watch how I do it. Learn", I love this, "the unforced rhythms of grace".
And today I've asked the worship team to minister to you before you leave. So, they're going to sing a song, and you're not going to sing it, at least not the first half of it. They're going to sing it over you, and I've asked God to start the process of refueling you here on your Sabbath today. So, would you bow your heads in prayer? And they're going to come take the screen out from behind me. You just close your eyes. Our worship team's going to come up behind me. Before I do this, before they sing, if you're here today, and you're far from God, you are one heartfelt prayer away from your life being changed, your sins being forgiven. If that's you right there and you need Jesus, you need Jesus in your life, he's not your Lord, he needs to be your Lord, pray this prayer right there where you are. Say:
Jesus, forgive me. Today I repent. I'm turning my life around, stop depending on myself. I'm going to depend upon you. Be the Lord of my life. I believe you're the Son of God, and you rose again, and today I put my faith in you, in Jesus' name, amen.
Congratulations if you just prayed that prayer. Campuses, stay with me. if you prayed that prayer, let us know on your connection card. Here's how it's going to work. They're going to sing this song. I want you to stay right there and just receive it. And then about halfway through, CJ's gonna say, "Let's all sing it together". And if you'd like to give, that's when our ushers will pass containers, and they'll just do it right in the second half of that song, and that's up to you. If the Lord's leading you to give today, God bless you. It'll make a difference in people's lives. But today we speak this blessing, sing this blessing over you, in Jesus' name. Amen, everybody?