Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - How Sanity is Restored

Chris Hodges - How Sanity is Restored

Chris Hodges - How Sanity is Restored
TOPICS: The Book of Daniel

All right, how's everybody doing today? Y'all doing great? Anybody love Jesus in this place, today, anybody, anybody? Yes, me, too. I'm really happy to see you. It's good to be in church together worshiping God. And I want to say a big hello to all of our campuses that are now joining us. They've had their own worship experience up to this moment. Now we get to share the Word of God together. So, love every single one of you guys. So, I want to say a big shout out to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. Got a great story for you. This morning at the first service, this big old guy walked up, probably 6'4", tears streaming down his face. He said, "Pastor Chris, it's so good to meet you". He said, "I got saved in the correctional facilities and just got out, and I'm here to worship our God together".

Come on, everybody. It was awesome. It was beautiful. And then you could just see Jesus all over his face. And I just think, "Man, that's what it's all about". And he said, "Tell the church how much I love them and for what they do for us". So, big shout out to the men and women there. We're in 21 of those facilities all across the state of Alabama. So, God bless you guys. And, of course, we always have people watching either on demand or live online somewhere. We're glad you're along for the ride, as well. We're in week number five. I've been telling you it's a seven-part series. It's grown to eight, everybody, okay? So, we have one more. You'll understand why when we get there, but this is a eight-part series now. It'll take us all the way through to the end of August, where we're studying verse-by-verse through the book of Daniel.

But before we get into that, let me just tell you about some things that are coming up you already know about. Actually, today is day one of 21 days of prayer, everybody. It's one of our favorite seasons of the year, where twice a year we call our church together for prayer. And if you're new to the church, what that means is we pray every day together. So, on Sundays in the services. Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. Central time. And we have so many people come, we have to have police directing traffic. It's really a sight to behold. And then on Saturdays, it's 9 a.m. If you can't physically come here, I know school's getting ready to start, and people are getting busy, but if you can't physically come, we will actually stream all of the prayer services live. So, maybe open up a computer or a tablet in your kitchen in the morning, or wherever you are, and pray along with us, or you can watch it on demand. It'll be available on demand for 24 hours until the next prayer service, okay?

So, I'll be back here, right here at this spot tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., all the campuses. Love for you to join us. And we always have this season of prayer. It's very different from the January season for two reasons, and one is, is to pray for souls. Pray for people far from God. I don't understand it; but just like in the natural there's a harvest season in the fall, the same is true in the spiritual. More people come to faith in Christ in the fall. I can't even explain it. And so we take this season to really pray for people who are far from God, and then we'll have series and different things planned to really present Jesus to them, so they can give their life to Jesus. And so we're gonna pray. Every one of us is going to pray for somebody who's far from God.

But the second reason we do it is as a season to actually pull all of us out of the summer slump. Unfortunately, some people not only vacation, but they vacation from God, too, over the summer, and it's just time to get a fire lit back up on the inside of us, and serve God with all of our passion and heart and soul. Can I get an amen, everybody? And then we're doing something that we've never done before. In the middle of the 21 days of prayer, we're having what we call revival night. The Baptists, come on, where are y'all at? Let's go. All right, so we're actually having four consecutive nights, beginning next Sunday night, where we'll have guest speakers, longer worship. We have people like Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor Dharius Daniels, CeCe Winans is coming to lead worship. I mean, it's going to be a powerful time together. We're really going to go all-in with God, and I really believe God's going to move in a great way.

The last of those four nights, Wednesday the 16th, sorry to tell you, ladies, that is for men only, and we're going to have our annual men's night on the final revival night, and then you do need to let us know if you're coming, because we're going to have lots of food, like a low country boil. Like, come on, everybody. We're going to have some food. I don't want to order too much, and I don't want to have not enough, so let us know if you're coming. That's the only reason why we need to know. Let us know on your app. And while I'm mentioning the app, if you'd like to follow along in this message, everything that I'm getting ready to put on this screen is on your app. You can actually go to the app, top right corner, a little banner that says "In Service Guide". And it's not only the things I'm going to put on here, so you can follow along, but you can also fill in the blanks, take notes, email those notes to yourself and keep them forever. So, you can have what you're studying out of God's Word.

All right. We're in this book of Daniel. And the reason why I've chosen the book of Daniel is because of something you actually requested, and that is, "Pastor Chris, please help us navigate what we all know is a very pagan, shifting culture". We're all feeling it. You're seeing it in the news. Almost everything that is bad is up, and then there's a lot of confusion around sexuality, and gender, and schools, and we all see all this happening. And the question that people want to know is, "What should we do? How should we act? What stand should we take"? And I personally believe one of the greatest playbooks for the answer to that question is found in a time in biblical history where that already happened before, where the nation of Israel was taken into a pagan, ungodly culture called Babylon.

We're actually going to study Babylon, today. And God allowed them to be taken as slaves; because of their constant rejection of him and his principles, he allowed it. In fact, I'll show it to you in the first chapter. We've already read this. This will just kind of give you context. "It happened in the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim king of Judah, where Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered", in other words, the Lord allowed it to happen, "delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand along with the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off into the temple of his god in Babylonia and put them in the treasure house of his god. And then the king ordered Ashpenaz", we studied this in week number two, "Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Jewish people who were of the royal family and nobility".

In other words, they had education, and they had money. And he says, "And these are young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand". And instead of sending them out to the fields to serve as slaves, "Hey, bring them into our palace". And he was to teach them, indoctrinate them. And that's what's going in in our culture right now. There's always an indoctrination of the language and literature of the world, the culture, Babylon, to young people, and that's happening right now. We all know that. Not only that, "The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table". In other words, he said, "And you can't keep your Hebrew kosher dietary laws. You have to bow, and you have to eat food that you're not permitted to eat". And, "They were to be trained for three years, and after that enter the king's service".

And among these were the four main characters of the book of Daniel, and that is Daniel, and here are their Hebrew names: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, often referred to as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Okay, so all throughout this book, it kind of, I think, gives us principle after principle of how we're to live in the same culture from a generation that already had to do it. Today, I want to teach you about the locale that it happened in. So, the entire story is set in Babylon; and with the case I want to make today is that Babylon has been around before Babylon, that Babylon is not just a geographic locale. It's a mentality. Let me say it this way. It's a lie that the devil has been telling since the Garden of Eden. So, in Genesis chapter 3, the devil shows up, and the first thing the devil ever says is, "Did God really say"?

So, the first words out of the devil's mouth is to question God. And, basically, what the devil wants everybody to believe, and this is the Babylon mentality lie, and I'll show it to you, and that is that, "I'm all about you. And you need to do you, girl. You need to do you. And God, he's not for you. He's all about himself". And this is a lie, that if you buy into it, you have fallen for Babylon. And there are some consequences that come with it, and I'm going to show you what they are here in just a second, because it shows up again just a few chapters later after Genesis 3 and Genesis chapter 11, and it says they came, and these are the people here in Genesis 11, came. "They said, 'Come, let us build for". Notice the narcissism, "for ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens". And forget God. "We'll make a name for ourselves".

And then God named it, that's why it was called Babel, which is where the word Babylon comes from. The word Babel literally means "sown in confusion". Don't forget that. I'm coming right back to it. "That is why it's called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world". And it went into terrible confusion, which let me make sure you understand this. Every time you follow the Babylon lie that you need to be all about you, and the devil's all for you, and God's all about himself, when you buy into that lie, the net result is confusion, and you have all this disruption going on, on the inside. If there is one thing that could classify the culture we live in, it is they're confused, and they're disturbed. You can prove it. There's more money that's been spent than ever before on mental health issues, coping, medicating, numbing, why? Because they're feeling more pain. They're more mentally depressed, full of anxiousness, anxiety, fear, intimidation than ever before, why? Because they bought into a lie.

Now, I'm just going to give you the end of the story now, and then we're going to come back to Daniel. This will be judged at the end of time. Somebody said, "Well, why didn't God do something about it"? Well, he's going to. So, when you get into the Great Tribulation, which is in the book of Revelation, this final seven years of human history, where God is judging the earth, one of the things that he judges is Babylon. In fact, the antichrist joins with what the Bible calls this woman, which is a metaphor, and it says, "The name written on this woman's forehead is: BABYLON THE GREAT". Again, not a locale, a mentality, an idea, a lie, "THE MOTHER OF ALL PROSTITUTES AND THE ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH".

In fact, God goes so far to say, of all the sins, this is the greatest, that this sin of pride, and I'm gonna be all about me, and I'm gonna do me, and I'm gonna reject you, God. This is the greatest sin ever, and I'm going to show it to you in one other place right in the middle of your Bible. I showed you the beginning, and I showed you the end. Go right in the middle of your Bible to Isaiah. In fact, if you read a paper Bible, it will have as a heading, before this verse here, the fall of Babylon, okay? And this is what the Bible says. "Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure". In other words, you're going to follow your feelings. You're going to do whatever...if it feels good, do it. Hedonism, I'm just going to, man, I'm just gonna live by my feelings, "lounging in your security and saying to yourself".

Look at the narcissism. Look at the focus on self. "'I am and there is none besides me.' And you have trusted in your wickedness". And that's going on right now. It's wicked, and they think it's right. "They trusted in wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.'" In other words, "I can do what I want to," when the truth is God is watching. And your wisdom and your knowledge, they even call it scientific evidence. Well, no, it misleads you when you say to yourself, "Hey, just do you. Follow you. Follow what you feel. Go, you can trust that". No, you can't trust that. And with the Babylon mentality, basically, if I were to summarize it all into one sentence, and this is just my sentence, and that is that it elevates self, trust self, self-feelings, and it lowers God, what God believes, what God says.

Now, that battle is going on, right now, and Satan is very involved in the process. In fact, I need you to hear something. Listen to me. Look at me. Satan is placing a bet, right now, on you following your self-interests. So, he's going for it. He's got all of his chips in on, "They're gonna do what they want. They're not gonna let anybody rule them. They're not gonna be submitted to". And even in Christianity, people love Christianity, "if God'll forgive me, love me, let me do what I want". But that's not Christianity. Can I get a better amen, somebody? Okay, it's not. In fact, he'll convince you, Satan and the Babylon mentality, will actually convince you that God is mean and restrictive, that if you really go after God, you won't like your life. You'll go to heaven, but you'll be bored along the way.

And it's not true, that if you follow him, you get less of what you want, when we all know that people who follow the Lord know that you'll get more than you ever dreamed you could get. Babylon mentality is pride, and the world even celebrates that, and that word, when the Bible calls it a sin, okay? It just says, "Let me do what I want". And as we're going to see now, as we study the text, the pride mentality doesn't turn out too well, and that's the story of Daniel, chapter 4. It took me all that just to get to here we go, chapter 4. Are you ready, everybody? Everybody breathe in, breathe out. Turn to your neighbor and say, "It's going to be all right, it's going to be all right".

All right, here we go. Daniel chapter 4, "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at my home in my palace, contented and prosperous". There's a whole point there that if I had time to teach it, because the reason why we get prideful, and we make bad decisions morally is because we're so blessed, but we only got blessed because we followed God; and we only followed God because we were in such a mess. So, it's a cycle. So, when we get a mess, we go, "Oh, God, I need you". And he goes, "Okay, here I am". And then he blesses you. When you get blessed, you find yourself prosperous; and when you find yourself prosperous, you do what you want to do; and when you do what you want to do, your whole life collapses again, and you turn to God and say, "Oh, God, we need you". Like, it's this cycle that happens all the time.

And here he was. "I had a dream". He had another dream. We studied one of these other a couple of Sundays ago. He had a dream. "As I was lying on my bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me". There's that troubled soul that is attached with everything called pride. So, let me tell you the dream, instead of reading it, because I've got a lot of text I want to read to you. But, basically, he sees a tree. It's lush, and it's covering everybody and protecting everybody, and then it got cut down, but the stump remained, and the roots stayed alive. And, of course, Nebuchadnezzar hoped that was his enemy's tree that got cut down. So, he called in his enchanters and magicians, they interpret the dream, and once again, they couldn't.

So, they called in Daniel, because he interpreted that other dream that we studied a few weeks ago. And Daniel says, "Okay, I hate to tell you this, but you're the tree". And then he describes what it looks like. Watch this. "You will be driven away from people and live with the wild animals: you will eat grass like a cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven years are going to pass until you acknowledge that the Most High is the king and is sovereign and over the kingdoms of men. The command". Watch this. This is cool, and it shows how good God is. The command to let there be a stump that has roots that are still alive, even though the tree is cut down, is the mercy of God. In other words, he cuts you down, but he's giving you a chance to come right back up, if you'll make the right decisions again.

So, the command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom could be restored, but it only happens when you acknowledge that heaven rules. If there is a message I would love to send the culture, in that instance, that your life's going to get cut down. You follow the devil's way, it never ends up in a good place, but God always is a merciful, forgiving, loving God, who'll allow your tree to come right back, if you'll acknowledge that heaven rules. Come on, give God some great praise, to be grateful that he's merciful, and kind, and good. And so the Bible goes on and says that, "All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later..."

So, a year, he just didn't believe the prophecy, didn't change anything. "And as the king was walking on the roof of his royal palace of Babylon, he said, 'Ah, isn't this not the great Babylon I have built? I am, and there's none besides me," the Babylon mentality, narcissism, pride. "I did this by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty". Which, by the way, he did build something great, the hanging gardens of Babylon. You can go study it. It's one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. He created irrigation systems for trees long before there were irrigation systems, created beautiful gardens that history records.

But "Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, and said, 'This is what is decreed for you King Nebuchadnezzar: your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and live with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like an ox. Seven years are going to pass'", and here it is again, "'until you acknowledge the Most High is sovereign over the kings of the earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.' And immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people, ate grass like an ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird".

Now, scholars say, some say this was a metaphor of just sheer insanity. He actually literally lost his mind, and others believe he literally ate grass in a field, went crazy. Either way, the brother is not in a good place, okay? And neither is anybody who walks away from God. Like, I don't even, I don't even yell this stuff, preach this stuff, get in people's faces. You know why? Because life will preach it to you. There's nothing the devil has to offer that will end up in a good place. We're seeing this in culture right now. We're seeing it in the different movements that they thought were solutions, only to find out that the solution that they tried made them worse off. And there is a dysphoria, they call it, a sadness of the soul, a confusion, and they're just looking for solutions in all the wrong places.

I'm not even saying that the dysphoria, or the sadness, or the confusion isn't real. I validate it. I say that the solutions that they're attempting are the ones that are never going to work, and your hair's gonna grow out, and you're gonna be damp and claws, and you're going to go insane. And I dedicate this message to anybody who says, "I have so confusion". That's Babel. "I have Babylon going on, on the inside of me". And it happens when we believe a lie and reject God. So, I've entitled this message today, "How Can I Get My Sanity Restored"? because of the next line. It says this: "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and", I think this is what everybody in culture wants, actually "my sanity restored. I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation".

This is Nebuchadnezzar saying this. "All the people of the earth are regarded as nothing. He can do what he wants. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven, the people of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'" Who can question God? Who are we, by the way, to question the righteousness and the judgments of God and what God says in his Word? He says, "What? Nobody can say, 'What are you doing God?' At the same time, I said that 'You are king and you rule,' my sanity was restored". Watch this. "And my honor and splendor were returned". This is what people don't know about our God, and that is whenever you choose his way, he doesn't make you one of his peasants. No, no, no. He'll restore your honor, and your splendor will be returned for the glory of your kingdom, your family, your life, your job.

"In fact, my advisors and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before". He gave him a second chance. And then he gives us the prescription, and I'm going to leave you with this prescription, because he gives us three things. He said, "I made three decisions to get my sanity back". And I'm going to show them to you. They're just out of the text. I didn't make these up. They're in the Bible. And I say this to anybody right now, your way is confused, your whole emotions, every part of your life is sown in confusion. It's Babylon on the inside. And you do what Nebuchadnezzar did, and here it is. "I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorified the King of heaven, because everything he does is right, and all his ways are just". He can't do something wrong, even if I don't understand it. He can't make a wrong decision. He's God. "And those who walk in pride he is able to humble".

You want your sanity back, and you want your sanity restored? It happens, first of all, when I exalt the King of heaven. And notice the word, circle it, underline it, look at it, the "King" is the word. And the King, you can't just exalt God. You have to exalt him as King. Now, if you were here at Easter time, you remember me bringing a message to you about the risen King, because that's the word that's always used when it talks about the resurrection. He's the risen King, King, King, King. And I made the case that for a lot of people, you don't understand that word, because we don't live in a kingdom.

We live in a democracy; and in a democracy, my opinion matters. I get to vote. I am self-governed, and that works when it comes to countries. I am all for it when it comes to countries. But we don't live in a democracy in our faith. We live in a kingdom; and in a kingdom, the king rules. We are ruled by the king, and I don't get a vote at all. It's only his opinion that matters. And when you understand that, here's what you do. You will submit yourself to it, knowing that he doesn't make you a peasant. He brings you into his royal family. Y'all are getting it, aren't you? Yeah. And that's why King David says, "I will exalt you, my God the", say it out loud, "my God the King, and I will praise your name for ever and ever". 'Cause kingdoms don't have opinions. They have absolutes, and I find Christians who love his attributes, but they don't like his absolutes. And he's not giving you a choice to make a difference between the two.

So, what do you do? You submit, you bow, you offer. Like, I don't listen to my body. I am so tired of people talking about, "Well, this is how I feel". Well, when should that ever be governing your life? If I did what I felt, I would not be your pastor. Come on, somebody. No, I have a life that's submitted. I take my flesh, my feelings, the things that are going on, on the inside, and I submit it. I honor God with my body. Every day, I offer my body to God. "I belong to you". Now, this is the truth. You don't even have to believe it, but this is the honest to God truth. I stand right over there by that presidium, just where you can't see me during Highlands News. And there's a little sign there that says, it's kind of my play like a champion today sign, just got my hand on it, and it says, "It's a privilege to be on this stage. Thank you, God, for choosing me".

And it reminds me that I didn't pick me. God picked me. But while I have my hand on it, now I say, "Now, God, since you picked me, you could unpick me. I'll go anywhere. This is not mine. This is yours, and I belong to you, and I'll go work for somebody else. I can go to any country in the world you want me to. I love this. I would be grateful if you allow me to keep doing this". Because I love this. I don't want to do anything else, because I love you so much; but if my King told me to go do something else, I will be done that day, and I will go serve whatever he says, because he's my King. I follow my King. And, honestly, I'll even say things like fasting, praying, Bible reading, tithing, everything I do, I do because he just said so. I don't ask why or if. No, no, no. "If that's what you want, that's what I do. It really even belongs to you. Even the part I keep, that I didn't give, it belongs to you too".

I said when Tammy and I give together. We tithe. When I give, we say, "Now, Lord, we're not giving this". Because you can't give what you never had. "We're returning this portion, and thank you for allowing to keep the other part, so we can turn on the air conditioning". We really appreciate that, right? But we honor. I'm honoring him. Why? Because he's my King. We don't, "We don't feel like doing this". We don't feel like anything. We submit to the King. You want your sanity back? Submit to the King. Submit to your King, Jesus. The second is he said you get your sanity back when you acknowledge that God does everything right.

Now, we, as Christians, believe that's found in the Bible, that all his ways are just, and that includes the part that you don't like or understand. Okay? In fact, I think it's always so funny when people say, "Well, I don't know if I agree with that". Doesn't matter. You know what I'm saying? Kind of doesn't matter. The other day, somebody asked me, "What do you think about", and they named an issue. And I said, "What makes you think my opinion's important"? I don't have an opinion about this. I follow God, and the truth is what God calls the truth, and sin is what God calls sin. That's it. Can I get a better amen out there today? He gets to say. "So, let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon".

Why would we do that? Because he's bigger than you. He knows more than you. As my thoughts are not his thoughts, neither are my ways his ways. In fact, as high as the heavens are above the earth are God's ways higher than yours. It's like a one-year-old saying, "Why can't I have my 20th serving of chocolate"? In their mind, it makes all the sense in the world to have more, but we are higher, and we think, "No, because it's just not going to work out very well for you if you do that". "I don't understand". "It doesn't matter. You're not having anymore". "Why"? "Because I said so". And then one day they grow up and go, "Woo, well, thank God". Are y'all following me, everybody? I mean, who are we, again?

And for those who believe what they like in the Bible, but don't believe what they don't like, well, it's not the Bible or God you trust. You're trusting yourself. In the words of Tim Keller, the late Tim Keller, who just went to be with the Lord, Redeemer Presbyterian New York City, one of the great minds of our generation, he says this. He said, "If your God never disagrees with you, you might be worshiping an idealized version of yourself". And he's right. So, I'm going to call him my King. Come on, everybody. I'm trying to get your sanity back. Let him be your King. Follow his way, his rule. He says it, do it, period. And you'll like it; but even if you don't, follow him. He's your King. He'll bring you into the royal family, but follow him. And then just acknowledge he's right, and all his ways are just. And then, finally, walk. "I will get my sanity back when I decide to not make life all about me".

We live in an umph world. Umph. It's become so narcissistic. We've been told, "Do you". No, don't do you. Don't do you. It won't end up good for you. Do God, follow God, serve God, let him be the Lord of your life. John the Baptist said it this way. "I must decrease; he must increase". That's why we're going to pray tomorrow. Pride says, "I don't need God. I am God". Prayer says, "I need God". I cannot tell you how true this is, that I cannot do what God's called me to do without these two 21-days of prayer efforts. In fact, I'm not even willing to do it. If people only knew the half of it, of how we're just not this good, and you have no idea how intimidating this all is to me, privately, and how insecure I can feel at times when I don't feel the strength of God in my life when I know it's really right there.

And that's why we lean into these seasons, because I have to have God. This is not about me, never has been about me. If it was about me, you wouldn't like it at all. But we need God. We walk in humility. And I want to give you... I don't give these kind of warnings often, but I want to give you this warning out of Isaiah 66. "The one I will esteem," God says, "is the one who is humble, contrite, and trembles" at his word. And I want to give a prophetic warning. I don't have a prophetic type temperament. I'm not a yeller type preacher. I'm not an in-your-face preacher. I'm not against it. It's just not my personality, but I do want to give you a prophetic warning, if you'll look at me just for a second. You're either going to have humility or humiliation. Like, one of them is gonna happen; and one of them, you initiate, and the other one will just come to you whether you want it or not. Life will initiate it.

And that's why I call the church to prayer and call the church to humility, and that's why we give God all the praise and all the glory, and we stay dependent upon our God. I get so tired of talking about the world. I feel like ending our service today by talking about the most humble man I've ever met in my life. So, I grew up in a church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, named Bethany. And at 20 years old, this pastor named Roy Stockstill hired me. I don't even understand why. He hired me, and I was a full time Bible college student, and that was 40 years ago, literally, this summer, celebrating 40 years, of being in ministry. And he was a very meek, I can't even describe him.

For those of you who knew Pastor Frank Barker here at Briarwood, he was, just like had all this meekness and authority at the same time. It was the strangest combination. And so, anyway, I never had a conversation with him, really, much. I was on staff, but we weren't really close until I came to Birmingham. And when I came to Birmingham 23 years ago, he said, "Brother Chris". Now his son, Larry, is the senior pastor. He says, "Chris, can I meet with you before you go to Birmingham"? I said, "Well, yes, sir, Brother Roy". And we met for two hours. I took eight pages of notes. He told me things that changed my life, and I'm going to read a few of them to you.

He told me things like, he said, "Chris, now listen to me. The devil will continually question your call. You have to reaffirm your calling. Go back to the place where you were called". I said, "Yes, sir". He said, "If the church doesn't have enough money, there's waste somewhere. Fix the waste, and the offerings will go back up". Like, oh, my goodness, that's great. He said, "Don't ask people for anything. Ask God. God will talk to the people". Well, listen to this one. He said, "Don't have too many plans, because the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord".

Oooh. And I have eight pages of that. It changed my life. And so fast forward 16 years. We're in our 21 days of prayer in 2016, and I don't travel during the fast, period. I get my best invitations, y'all have no idea. You would actually think I was crazy. I get invitations to do, like, the dream speaking opportunities and dream, and Tammy is my witness, I don't care what it is, the answer is no. I give God the first of the year, period, end of story. I'm so sorry, can't go.

It happened again two weeks ago. Somebody invited me to something. I said, "I can't do it". God gets that first 21 days anyway, but I felt like I heard God in 2016 say to me, "Go to Baton Rouge for a day during the 21 days," and it broke every principle I believe in. I'm a very principle-oriented person. And so, I went to our elders, and I said, "You tell me if this is God. If you say yes, I'll go; if you say no, I won't". But I felt like God wanted me to go back to Baton Rouge just for one day to the place where I got called and spend a day in prayer there. And they said, "We think you need to go". So, I go, and there's this football field behind the church where I went to, and that's where God called me in the ministry, and I prayed there all day long. The phone rings, and it's Pastor Larry, my pastor. He said, "Hey, I heard you're in town. Would you like to come see Dad"? Brother Roy. Now, he's on his death bed. And I said, "It would be the honor of my life".

And Tammy and I, together, went over to the house. In fact, I've got a picture of it right here. That's me. He's holding my hand, and he's prayed over Tammy and me, and he gave me more Brother Roy-isms. He said, "Brother Chris, the devil hates what you do for missions. Keep giving the missions. The devil hates people who get saved. Keep winning souls". And like, I'm just, I'm weeping. And then he made this statement. Tammy was there. He said, "Brother Chris, stay low, because the man on his face can never fall from that position".

We came back home. We came back home. And two weeks later, Brother Roy had passed away. I was literally the last person to be at his bedside. And so Tammy and I went back to Baton Rouge to attend the memorial service. I think it was February 11, 2016. And, in fact, I was the only non-Stockstill to speak at the service, and it was one of the honors of my life. And it reminds me, as you look at the peace, the fulfillment, 97 years old, stepped into eternity talking about souls, humility, missions, because there's a mentality out there that will pull you into the confusion and the junk of this world, but then there's the presence of God, whenever you make him your King. You acknowledge all his ways are just, and you walk before him humbly. And all of God's people said a good, come on, give God praise, everybody.

Let's bow for prayer. Stay very still, very quiet just for a moment, and let's let people make decisions. If you're here today, you need to make him your King. Can't think of a better time or place. You say, "Chris, what's involved in that"? Make him your King. Decide you're going to follow him, you're going to ask him to forgive you of going your own way, and just put him on the throne of your heart. I'm following your way, and all your ways are right and just. If that's you, today, pray this prayer. Say:

Jesus, you're my King. Today, I place you as the priority relationship in my heart. Forgive me for going my own way. Today, I repent, I turn to you, and I acknowledge that all your ways are right and just, and I must decrease, and you must increase. I believe you are the Son of God, and I believe you died and rose again; and today, I'm making you the Lord of my life. Thank you for restoring my sanity and bringing me your peace. In your name, I pray, amen and amen.

Are you Human?:*