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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Laboring for You to Grow

Chris Hodges - Laboring for You to Grow

Chris Hodges - Laboring for You to Grow

All right, who's glad to be in church today, anybody? C'mon, give Jesus a great hand clap of praise, everybody. Oh, you're the best church ever. God bless you today. Welcome to Church of the Highlands. All those that are joining us at one of our other campuses or locations, we're so glad that you're along for the ride as well. And to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections, always an honor to bring all that we are as a church into those facilities and for you to be a part of our church family and for us to be a part of your life and for those that are watching online somewhere or maybe on demand later, we're so glad that you're here. Grants Mill, say a big hello to all the campuses. Would you do it? Yeah, thank you.

We're beginning a brand-new series today. I'll tell you more about it in just a second, but the ending of this service is gonna be completely different from how it normal ends so one of the things that we do at the end, I'll just mention now and one of the things we do at the end is a time for us to express our worship to God through our giving and I just wanna thank you for your generosity. It's making a difference. I think you know that. And there's three ways you can give. You can give in the service. We'll still do that at the end when we sing a song, but we're actually gonna be doing something else that you don't wanna miss, but the buckets will be here but, of course, you can always give online or through texting and so, thank you for your generosity. It's making a difference. I wish I had time always to tell you all that your generosity is doing. Because of you, we are in two construction projects right now that are fully paid for.

We'll be in these facilities without debt. I think you guys know we have 24 locations and 15 of them already have permanent, paid-for facilities, but right now we are in construction for an Alabaster Campus building that'll be done in just a few months, and then we're building a second location in Huntsville and all of it's paid for. To God be the glory, everybody. Thank you for your generosity. So, and now our trustees turn their attention to Opelika, Oxford, and The Shoals, and so we already have land that you have purchased and own, and so now we'll begin to do that at the speed of our generosity and God bless you. And this year, we will be giving, we're on pace to really give more outside of our church to church planning, to missions, to feeding the poor, to helping people with medical supplies, to give more than $20 million outside of our church, and to our missions efforts.

C'mon, one more time, yeah, that's awesome. So thank you. So I don't have to ask you to give. All I have to say is just keep it up, guys. You're doing an amazing job and thank you for supporting your local church. Of course, last week was Easter and I told you that I would report on the survey n what happened at Easter. Last weekend, we had 97,700 people come to church, to God be the glory. I know. And that's because you invited them. Thank you for getting your family and friends here. We did a couple of Easter surveys. One of the survey questions was: "What topics do you want me to bring messages on"? For the 7th year in a row, the top most requested topic was on the idea of stress and anxiety and I just want you to know we hear you loud and clear and we understand that you may be smiling but life is incredibly difficult right now.

And I promise you I'll go to God's Word and study and bring you messages that'll help you through your stress and anxiety of life. We also asked you about how long you've been coming to Highlands. We had this hunch that the pandemic displaced some things and it was actually ended up being true, that 39% of you had been at Highlands 3 years or less, which means you've been here since the pandemic. That's almost 4 out of 10 people. And then about 17%, 10 years or more. So, what that means for you guys that have been here 10 years or more, is you're gonna hear my old jokes, all right? So anyway, all right, so, a real mixture. Everybody is caught up with who we are as a church in every way. And then finally, at the end of the service, of course, we had the spiritual survey where we asked people to identify where they are spiritually, either as A, B, C, or D: A, "I'm already a Christian and Jesus is my King". Or B, "I'd like to begin a real relationship with God". C, "I wanna consider it a little bit more. I'm not ready yet". And D, "I don't even intend on making that decision".

When I touch this screen, you're gonna see the number of people who made the decision to follow Jesus and checked B and it is way beyond what I had thought would happen, and God always surprises me. He gets all the glory. But I want to know heaven is rejoicing and so should we so give it your best. When you realize that, you ready, 12,576 people, c'mon, gave their lives to Jesus. C'mon, give him all the praise, everybody. So awesome. I know, and so to God be all the glory. We know who we are and that's all about Jesus, not about us. And then the people who said, "I wanna consider it a bit more," it was 1372 people who said, "You can talk me out of it, but you didn't talk me into it either". And I just want you guys to know that if you are still checking things out, you're not a person of faith yet, but you're here, you're welcomed here. You don't have to give, serve, pray, worship anything, just you're welcome to be here and check it all out and we want you to feel at home.

This is not a church for church people. It's the church for church people and for those who are considering their faith journey and we're so glad that you're here. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. And then, of course, this number is always a bit disturbing to me, personally, in that 102 people said, "I'm never making that decision". And join me, please, in praying for them that they would get to a place in their life where they realize that God is the only answer. And he is the only answer. And so today we are beginning a brand-new series, and we're calling it, "All In". And it's gonna be a series that talks about a dynamic that I wanna show you in our theme verse. And our theme verse for the series is Jeremiah chapter 29 and it says this. It says: "God says, 'I have plans for you.'" So God has more for you than you're currently experiencing and that's for people that have been saved 30 years. You need to know that God still has plans for you and they're good.

So I grew up, actually thinking that if I did God's way, it would be bad. Or at least, he would sterilize my life down to some level of boredom, you know, I might go to heaven but I won't enjoy the journey. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Can I get a good "Amen," everybody? It really is. People think, "Man, if you're a Christian you have no fun, you have..." That's just not true. It's not true. God's plans are good. You would say that they are good. They also give you a future and that's the second most asked question that we get from people is, "I have questions about my life, where my life is going". God's the only one who can answer that question. And then, of course, he gives you hope and I think everybody needs a bit of that. But two verses later tells you the key to it all.

So just because God has a plan, has a future, has something good for you, gives you hope, you don't automatically get it. It comes with a condition and it's found in verse 13 where it says that "you'll find it if you look for me wholeheartedly," that it does require this kind of all-in kind of attitude. That you can only get the best of God whenever you give God the best of who you are. And there's a lot of people, unfortunately, I don't think it's you, but a lot of people actually kind of dabble in faith. They get just enough to, you know, get their fire insurance and go to heaven and they leave a lot, honestly, on the table and so their faith or spiritual journey is sporadic. It's when I don't have something else to do on a Sunday or, you know, maybe when things start going bad I kind of check back in with God and I'll pray when I need him. I don't need to talk to him when I don't, that kind of thing.

But no, the Bible says would you please consider, and I'm asking you to consider too. Would you please consider upping your game, basically. That you would go to a new level of your faith journey to a place where it's wholehearted. It's 100%. Where you could say, "I'm giving God 100%, because I'll never get the best of what God has to offer until I do that, until I give God my best". And that's probably one of the greatest revelations I've personally had as, you know, in my own faith journey. I was in church my whole life and it was a Sunday thing for me. I checked the spiritual box, went and lived my "other life," and it didn't take too long before you realize that that's a lie. That's not what religion or a relationship with God or faith is really supposed to look like.

And so I am intentionally preaching this Sunday service after Easter, a service, by the way, a lot of pastors take off because they can't handle how many people don't come the Sunday after Easter. But I love this Sunday 'cause I actually enjoy this one more than the previous one because we're not just a church that fills up our auditoriums and I do not live for the Sunday numbers. And I do not even live for the cards that have check marks on 'em. I am a pastor and I love taking people on a spiritual journey and you need to know that God has more for you and you have a role and that is you go all in. Now my job is to make sure you understand what that path looks like, but I'm gonna do the very best I can to get every single one of you, and especially the 12,576 to take your next step toward God. I'm talking to you today about this word that we've been using around the office and that is "engagement".

Let me ask you a question. How engaged are you in your faith? So I want you to think about that. Go and assess yourself, what level of engagement, how much of God do you actually have in your life? Like, is he a daily God? A weekly God? A holiday God? Like, how engaged are you in your faith and I'm gonna do everything I can to up our engagement and not only with God but also with our church. Now, the Bible word for that is disciple or discipleship. So Jesus said, "I didn't come for crowds on hillsides and I wasn't trying to gather the crowd," and he gathered crowds. But he kind of... he kept kind of whittling them down too to the followers, to the disciples, or discipleship. And I'm gonna define discipleship today is, it's how I grow after my decision to follow Jesus.

So let me ask you this question: How are you growing since your decision to follow Jesus? Now, let me build the theological side of this and then we're gonna get into the practical, okay? So the theological standpoint: Ephesians says it this way: "For it is by grace you are saved". The word "grace," by the way, means you getting something you didn't deserve. Mercy is the opposite of that. Mercy is not getting something you did deserve. And he gives you both, but you're saved by grace. He gave you something free that you didn't deserve and that was, by the way, your sins paid for. And the reason why you didn't deserve it is 'cause you're the one that committed 'em, all right? And he took 'em on himself and paid for them, "and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God," and notice the language, "not by works," so there's no work involved.

So you can't give enough, attend enough, read your Bible enough, pray enough, ask forgiveness enough, to get saved. Jesus just gifts it to you. It's free. You can't earn it, it's not by any works, otherwise you would say you're the one that got yourself saved. But I want you to notice the next verse, 'cause a lot of people just leave it there. "Grace, grace, grace. Grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace. It's all free. I don't have to do anything. It's free. God loves me, no matter what I do". It's not true. Now, he does give you salvation freely. You can't earn it, but that is not what the Bible says. 'Cause the next line says: "For we are God's handiwork". One translation says "masterpiece". "Created in Christ Jesus," to get to work. So now it actually is time to, not to get your salvation. You can't earn that. So we don't work to get saved; we work because we are saved, "which God prepared in advance for us to do". In fact, Philippians says it this way: "Work hard," not to get saved, but "to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear". Says it again. "For God is working in you".

Let me say it this way. God wants to work in you. And the question is are you allowing him to? So you may be going to heaven but are you still allowing God to work in you and, if you do, this is so cool. Please don't miss this. If you make a choice to take these steps toward God and allow him to work in you, you might not feel like doing it. So in other words, when we say things like, "Hey, read your Bible very day, you think, 'Well, I don't want to.'" Or why don't you pray every day. "'Cause I don't want to. I really don't have this draw inside of me". The Bible comes along and says, "That's right, you might not feel like it until you actually do it". Like, you might not even wanna read your Bible until you read your Bible and realize, "Oh my goodness, this is feeding my soul". You might not wanna pray until you connect with God in thinking, "Oh my goodness, it's so great to have a conversation with God". So it says: "God is working in you," and what he'll do is give you "the desire and the power to do it".

So that means you might not have the desire at first and that's why you have to take some steps. It's kind of like working out. I don't have the desire. In fact, yesterday, I had this thought that I ought to go outside, it was a beautiful day, and just go run a few miles and I took a nap and the whole desire went away, praise God, right? So some of us treat our faith that way. Like, I know I want to, I just, I don't want to. But I sure would love the trimmer body that that 2 miles would have given me. We all want the result on the other side, we just have to be talked into taking these steps. Are you all listening to me, everybody? Okay, now I stand in this position not to just bring you a homily, a sermon, a feel-good, go home, God loves you, you're gonna be okay, see you next Sunday. I want this for you so bad, to take steps and to grow and to be discipled and have all that God has for you, but I gotta have your participation, involvement. I'm almost pleading.

I want you to know God so well, I want you to have freedom so much, I'd love for you to know your purpose and do something with your life that actually matters and I feel like sometimes I stand here and I just strain and, like, come on. It's kind of like raising kids. When you're raising kids it's like, they don't wanna do it. "Get out of bed". "I don't want to". "Yeah, but I don't care. Get out of bed. It's time to go to school". "I don't like school". "I don't care. You're going to school today". "You're torturing me". "I know it and I love it. Get out of bed, right"? But then at 20, 30, they're like, "Thank you, Dad, that you pushed me and you forced me into this torturous thing called school so that I could have money and a career and a job and a", right? It's the same thing. And I found a verse that kind of expresses that. And it's in Galatians where it says: "Oh, my dear children"! And Paul is looking at the church going, "You're like kids to me".

And that's the way I think of you, even if you're older than me. I'm the poppa of this house, like, and I see you as my spiritual kids. "And I feel like I'm going through labor pains," Paul said. Now, I won't make that claim, 'cause I did it once. That's like, "Man, this feels like labor," and a woman looked at me like, "You have no idea what you're talking about, young man, like". So I've chosen to never use that anymore, but Paul did, okay? He says: "I feel like I'm going through labor pains for you again, and my labor pains are continuing until Christ is fully developed in your life". And this is the way I feel. I feel like, if I knew what labor felt like, I would feel like I was going through labor. Just working so hard to get something so precious. I've actually, for those of you that are new, my wife and I, Tammy, will have been married 37 years next month. To God be the glory, yeah.

And we have... thank you for that smattering of applause, yeah, all right, so, and so but we have five kids and eight grandkids now, and I know five kids is a lot by the way. I had, actually, a guy when I was preaching in California once come up to me and said, "My God, five kids"? He says, "You must really like kids". And I said, "No, I don't, I really like my wife," but anyway that's a different topic. That's one of those old jokes, anyway. So that's for you 39%, okay, so. But I was there for all five of the deliveries of these labors. And you have to understand, when we had kids we were living in Colorado Springs. We were youth pastors, and in Colorado they have such a naturalist mentality, I guess the mountains and all of these... so the OBGYNs, most of them, didn't even offer epidurals or anything.

So Tammy had all five of our children naturally. She didn't have an aspirin. I mean, like, I had the epidural and it was great. But, no, I'm just kidding. But she, like, I saw, like, real labor, like, labor labor. And we didn't know any different so, in fact, we went to these "Lamaze" classes, they call 'em, and that's where you learn how to have natural childbirth, which I always thought was funny. If it's natural why do I have to be taught it? But anyway, but I had, so we were in these classes and we learned how to breathe, and it was my job how to comfort her and it was so much fun. We sat on the ground with, you know, eight other couples and they taught us all this process and we had such a best time until that day. And I just went, "Come on, baby". Pa-tow, she knocked me into another room. Like, you know, and if you know, Tammy is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most soft-spoken, never says one single word of guile or negativity out of her mouth ever, like ever. She literally is the nicest person.

We always say if you can't get along with Tammy, you might be the Antichrist. Like, she's sweet. But not on that day. Lord, have mercy. "Rub my back. Get your hands off of me". I mean, you couldn't do, I could do nothing right. I have scars on my arms to this day. But I watched her in labor. And she screamed and then the smile. And I'm telling you, it is how you feel. There's days I have screamed in the presence of God for your life. God, they don't have to go through this. They don't... there's a better way, God. You scream and you wish. I wish you could have what's available to you. And then when you meet the people and there's... I'm looking at you across the room that have, it's like holding this precious... you forget all the pain 'cause you're like, "Oh my God, look how beautiful. Look how beautiful this life is now". It's this verse. And so I found myself this week, thinking, "What would I say to the 12,576 if I got to talk to 'em one-on-one"?

And I'm gonna bring this message to that group, but I have this hunch that there's a bunch of you who didn't check B; you checked A, you already are that still haven't taken some of these steps. And I'm gonna do everything I can in my power to beg you to do them. Not for my benefit, not for the church's, but for yours. And here's four. Here's the first one. And that is to make your relationship with God more public. Public, meaning share your faith and, if you've not been water baptized, to get water baptized. Now, 27 times in the Bible, it, when somebody gave their life to Jesus, the next thing that happened was they dunked 'em in water. You say, "P.C., why do they do that"? God picked that, okay? First of all, let me just say, let me say it. Let me say it a little bit more non the way I say things.

So I'm just gonna say it really direct. I'm not very direct. I like to, 'cause I wanna woo you. I don't wanna tell you and make you. I want you to agree. But let me just tell you one time. You shouldn't even question it. If he asks you to do it, do it. Like, he bled, you can't get your hair wet? You know what I'm saying? It's like, so just, like, do it. But I'll try to woo you now, okay? All right, but I shouldn't have to. He said, "Believe, be baptized". And it's 27 times and so it's not like, it's not even. It's a command. But here's the woo. "Those who accepted the message," that checked the B, basically, "were baptized, and about three thousand of them were added".

By the way, the Bible talks about numbers. Somebody said one time, "You talk about numbers too much". I think the Bible does. Why? Because people matter. They're... I don't have... I have five kids, not somewhere between three and seven, you know? 'Cause you count what matters, and you matter to us. So we know, these weren't rounded numbers, these weren't "I think so". These were names and addresses, we know it to the number, how many people gave their life to Jesus, and I'm grateful for it, amen, everybody? But they were baptized. Now baptized, if you want a little theology, baptized is what's called a transliteration, meaning we didn't have an English word so they took the Greek word from the original language and used a Greek word to create an English word. The Greek word is baptizo and so we didn't have that word in the English language so they created the word "baptize".

What does it mean? Well, baptizo means to fully immerse or to submerge, to put fully under water. So I know there's a lot of different baptism styles, but that's why we fully submerge someone in water, and God picked this so for us to demonstrate our love to him and we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Now, there's, actually there's two places: one place where it says: "Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," and then there's other places says, "Baptize them in Jesus's name". And believe it or not, there's a war among some about what you say when you do it and if you don't do it right, it doesn't take and they go to hell. Now, they couldn't be more wrong. I'm like, I'm so sure you're gonna come to heaven, right before you enter in to the Pearly Gates, they say, "Hey, I got some bad news. You were underwater, didn't hear a thing, but they said it wrong. So sorry".

You know, like, that's not gonna happen. And by the way, just to get it all covered for those who still are sticklers, we baptize, just so you know, in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus's name, so we got 'em all covered, okay. But it's believer's baptism, we call it, because there's not a single infant baptism in Scripture. So if you've done it, that's not bad but that's not what the Bible described. So that's... we would consider that more of a child dedication. So we dedicate babies and baptize believers. So, and if you've been Christened or dedicated, that's just beautiful. I'm not undermining it whatsoever. But you still need to be baptized because all the baptisms are post decision. So let me say it this way. If you've made a decision to follow Jesus and have not been baptized after it, then you need to. And it will do two things.

The first thing it'll do is it'll demonstrate to the world your changed life. And what I mean by that, that's why God picked water as a symbol. The water does not save you. What the person says does not save you. You're already saved. It demonstrates I've been saved. "In baptism," 1 Peter says, "we show that we've been saved". And it doesn't clean our physical bodies. The bodies are washed not by the water, the body. No, it's a symbol of us "turning to God and our hearts have been cleansed". It's a symbol. In fact, in the old days before there were beautiful baptisteries like we have now, that by the way have professional skimmers on 'em. The water's as clean from the second person as it was for the first. I mean, we have all this professional equipment to do this in a great way. 'Cause I had one lady one sometime say, "Doesn't the water get a little icky"?

I like, and I really, I was like, I was nice but, like, "Really? Really"? But I answered it and, like, no it doesn't get icky 'cause we have professional skimmers and cleaners and it's as clean for the last person as it was for the first. But in the old days they didn't get baptized in tanks like that. They got baptized in rivers. And they would wear white clothes and then put old dirty soiled clothes on top, and they didn't lay 'em back like we do. They just went straight down and they would unbutton the dirty clothes and, as they came up, they would take the dirty clothes off and they'd, so they'd go in dirty, come up white, and let the dirty clothes flow down the river. And that's the picture, it's the picture of demonstrating a changed life. But it also lets the world know I'm a Christian. And God wants you to do this.

So I call baptism the wedding band of Christianity. This ring on my hand does not make me married. It tells people that I am married. And it says I'm off the market, ladies, sorry. No, no, just, I know you're not thinking that, but anyway, it's fun to say. But it says I belong to Tammy. That's what this says. It says I belong to Tammy. And baptism says I belong to Jesus. And there are people that say, "Well, my faith is private". But that's not in the Bible. In fact, there are other places it says, "Let your light shine. Let your faith be like a light on a hill". And Jesus himself said, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I'll acknowledge before my Father in heaven". But if you say, No, I don't wanna do that. I wanna keep it private, "If you disown me, I'll disown you before my Father in heaven". And that's why I'm begging you, everybody, that if you've not been baptized, to be.

Now, listen to me. We're gonna baptize at the end of the service. That's the surprise. And we have a fun... you're gonna love how we're gonna end this service. But if you came here not prepared to do that, you need to change your plans, give us 15 more minutes and go and get baptized. You say, "Well, my hair's gonna get wet and we're going to lunch". Then let the world know. Then let the world know. I'm asking you to do it anyway. 'Cause they're gonna say, "Did you just get out of the shower"? Say, "No, I just got baptized. I declare..." You're gonna get a chance to say that to somebody. "Well, Mom's got, she's already texting us, saying the roast is ready". Tell her you'll be late. Tell her, "P.C. said you were gonna be late". Put it on me. Get water baptized.

I'm asking you to do this because Jesus commanded it for us. But if I was to continue and we're gonna come back to baptism in just a second. The second thing that I would want for you is that if you're a new Christian now and even if you're an old one, and have lost this value, to spend time with God every day. And listen to me. I know some people that have been knowing God for a long time that have stopped doing this. And I'm not asking for a lot, 'cause God would rather hear from you every day than once a month, all day. See, he wants a relationship with you just like anybody else would. Just talk to him every day. We call this a "quiet time" in some circles. I don't call it that because mine's not quiet. Mine's very vibrant and active and, but I encourage you to start the day. "In the morning," the Bible says, "LORD, you're gonna hear my voice; and I'ma lay my requests before you".

Now I want this for you because if you do this, I promise you more peace, more trust, more assurance, more faith. If you get this opportunity to have this few minutes with God every morning, it'll change your life. So if you're in the 12,576 or in the 50,000 of you that have stopped doing this, get back to these 3 things: 5 minutes in the Word, 5 minutes in worship, 5 minutes in prayer. I don't miss a day, even if it's only for 5 minutes. Mine is about a hour, honestly, and I'm not setting a goal. I'm just telling you what I do. I don't miss it. It's my favorite thing. I get coffee, and then I get the Highlands app, and then I read the one-year Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverb, little bit, little devotional. Takes me a few minutes, and I get fed the Word of God. Then I just play one song and lift my hands and sing, "God, you're great. And I'm gonna face some challenges today but you are great".

And then I lay my requests before him and I offload, I cast my cares on him. Why? 'Cause he cares for me. And I want this for you, so badly. If I was having coffee with you and you're in the 12,576, I would say, "Please make it public 'cause Jesus commanded it. And please spend time with him every day". And this would be the third thing I would say. I would tell you, "Hey, let's talk about the friendships, let's talk about your relationships". So when I got saved, I was hanging out with some very ungodly people and I had an ungodly relationship with my girlfriend, Darla. My girlfriend Darla, I always wanted a girlfriend named Darla because I grew up watching "The Little Rascals," and I know. Only the old people think that's funny, like, young people, you don't even know who I'm talking about, and I had this girlfriend named Darla and I had three friends, Sam, Micah, and Benton. And when I got saved, my youth pastor said, "Now, listen to me. If you hang out with the wise, you'll get wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm".

In other words, you show me your friends, I'll show you your future. And by the way, this is true. Everything I did wrong for the first time, I did spending the night with those three friends. My first magazine, my first cigarette, my first taste of alcohol, all happened with a companion of fools. And it's true. And I don't care if you checked B last week. You hang around the wrong people, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company will corrupt your character.'" It'll corrupt your decision. And so that's why I tell this story that when I got saved, I told my three friends, "You'll let me lead you to Jesus or I have to step away". And by the way, I led all three of those friends to the Lord and all in one night, yeah. All in one night. Darla said No to Jesus and I broke up with her. Haven't seen her since. That was 45 years, it's a long time. Anyway, it's a long time ago, all right. Forty-five years ago. And the same is true for all of you. You show me your friends, I'll show you your future. It's just a fact. And I want you to be in right relationships. You cannot have a strong growing faith without right relationships.

So, very quickly, if you're a note-taker jot these down, you need a church now. If you're a new Christian, the B's not enough. Get in a local church. We think this is a good one. It could be a different one. And by the way, we always start our membership class on the first Sunday of every month. So May 7 is your next opportunity but come join our church. Like, be a member, don't be an attender. Be a member. Be a member. Get in a relationship with a small group. We are not a big church. We're actually a church of small groups. We have 5500 groups. There are more people go to small groups than come on Sundays, which hurts my feelings a little bit but I'm glad for you, 'cause we want people connected in discipled relationships studying curriculums, praying for each other, growing, having accountability, somebody who knows when you're doing well and not doing well.

Somebody you can help whenever they're having a bad day. You need a small group and then you finally need a team. We think one of the healthiest ways for you to stay healthy in your faith is to actually serve with some people that you enjoy serving with. And don't take my word for it. Go talk to the parking team. They picnic together, they hang out, like, the worship team, the children's team. There are 31 different types of teams you can be on and everybody knows it's more fun to be on a team doing the last thing I would tell you. So I'll tell you go public, I would tell you spend time with God, I would tell you, "Hey, let's talk about your friends and your relationships".

And the last thing I would tell you and the next thing I'm gonna show you here would solve more problems in your life than you realize. This one single thing I'm getting ready to show you would solve more of your problems than you realize. That you need to go start making a difference in the lives of others. Because the solution to your problems isn't solving your problems. The solution to your problems is having something in your life bigger than your problems. And when you do, your soul comes alive. And don't take my word for it. Go talk to the 21,000 dream teamers who are serving our city, making coffee, parking cars, playing guitars, behind cameras, in children's ministry. They're doing something that matters. Today, they're worshiping one and they're serving one. And they'll tell you, they love the one they serve in better than the one they worship in, because the one they serve in is worship.

And God loves it. And I wanna encourage you, and we have a value around here that we don't just have attenders. Attenders are just, they just consume. They consume the message, they consume the worship, and they go home. We're spiritual contributors, not spiritual consumers. Why? 'Cause we're the church. We don't exist for us. We are the church, we exist for the world, and that's why we're gonna give $20 million or more to missions and why we're gonna volunteer millions of hours of service to our state this year. Why? 'Cause it matters. Why? Go back to the verse. You're a masterpiece. You're not a pewsitter. You're a masterpiece, created to get to work, which God prepared in advance for you to do.

So here's my closing. I've got an announcement. And that is for over a year, I have been sharing this with my team. I said, "Solve this for me. I need a way to engage our church better. And I need a way for it to be easier for them," 'cause when you're a big church, you're sending a lot of messages, like, for instance, like the Motion Midweek. When you don't have kids that are that age, but you have to listen to it. And I would rather engage with you more one-on-one and we found a tool that has already worked well in, if I named the companies that use it in the world, it's a phenomenal tool that actually just has produced mega results. And then a church got a hold to it and it totally revolutionized the engagement level of this church. We've been studying it for a year, spent a lot of money, working on it. I put a lot of man hours on our team on it, on an app that is like nothing else before. We've completely updated the app experience.

So it's not just products like the messages and the one-year Bible, which it has all of that. But it has two other features and that is a personal dashboard so your app looks different from everybody else's app 'cause it's you, and it shows you what you've accomplished and not accomplished. In fact, this is a little picture of it. See these little badges across the top? And when they're filled in, that means it's been completed and when they're not, it's yet for you to do. And every one of them are individual for every single one of us. In fact, there's a "For You" section and you're ready for this? So that you'll only hear announcements or opportunities that apply to you. For instance, if you've already been water baptized, you'll never see that again on your app. But if you haven't, you will.

And not only will you, but if you're a young person, you'll see a young person being baptized in that. And if you're an older person, you'll see an older person being baptized. It's completely customized to engage you. And I'm asking you, in fact, I'm begging for you, if you love me please try it. Just try it. Everybody download the app. In fact, when you leave today, we're gonna give you a little QR code on a card. So QR stands for Quick Response. You put your camera on it, it gives you a link, you push it, and you can download the app. And when you do, you're gonna have to create a profile just one time, so it's gonna say, "Good things ahead". It's gonna look like this. And you create your profile and it's gonna allow me to communicate not to a group, but to you. And we think it's gonna revolutionize everything so we can take our steps. I am laboring.

I've never worked harder on something and got my team working harder. Why? 'Cause I care about you. Honestly, guys, can I just say it plain? If we didn't care about you, it'd be a lot cheaper and everything just to have services and tell you to go home and not even think about you again. But we do care about you. And we want everything that God has for you. So, I'm gonna pray, but you can keep your eyes open. I'm asking, "God, help every person grow to their full potential. God, I'm laboring with you, Lord, that every member of Highlands is fully formed, fully developed, and receive all that you have for them". And today, if you're not a believer and you'd like to become one, then you can whisper this prayer right there where you're seated. Say:

Jesus, I'm a sinner, and I need a Savior. I don't wanna pay for my sins. I receive what you did for me on the cross. Be the Lord of my life. Take over my life. Forgive me, save me, change me. Because you're the Son of God and you rose from the dead and I put my faith in you.

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