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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - Finding Strength in the Stress

Chris Hodges - Finding Strength in the Stress

Chris Hodges - Finding Strength in the Stress
TOPICS: Let's Talk About It, Strength, Stress

All right, who's glad to be at church today, anybody? Come on. Come on, give God some great praise, everybody. Oh, it's good to see you. Really, really good to see you, and a big hello to all of our locations that are joining us right now. But I have to give a shout out to our newest campus, our newest church family. For years, we have had a campus out in Huntsville, but it's actually in the city of Madison. So, that campus is now called the Madison campus, because today we're launching in the city of Huntsville a brand-new location. So, come on, church, put your hands together and say a big hello to our Huntsville campus. God bless you guys. And we are so glad you're joining us and part of the church family. And I want to say a big hello to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections. We are in 22 of the 28 facilities across our state. It's always a joy to be a part. Yeah, why not?

Come on, everybody. And then, of course, there are people watching online. We get letters and cards from our servicemen and women who are deployed, who are watching, and our family members who are maybe on vacation or somewhere around the world on a work trip or something, but you're watching this live online or on demand. One more time, say the biggest hello, everybody, come on, yeah. God bless you guys. All right, we're beginning a brand-new series today, 5 weeks that is based off of the Easter survey that we did. So, if you were in our church at that time, we have so many new people, but every Easter we take the occasion that is Easter, since all of you decide to come to the same Sunday on that week, and we get information from you before we get into the message, and we ask a variety of questions that actually helps us pastor you better.

But one of the questions that we asked this year was, "Tell us about some topics that you would love for all of us to bring messages to you about. What are you thinking about? What is needed in your life right now"? And we're actually going to begin this brand-new 5-week series called, "Let's Talk About It". And here is actually the responses, the top six responses that you gave us, what you're thinking on topics you said. It was a 5-week series. We're actually gonna talk about stress today. Second most asked question was, "Help me understand my Bible better". So, instead of bringing that as one of the installments in this series, actually, your next series after this one, so in 5 weeks we're going to do an entire series on helping you understand the Bible, what it's really all about. Yeah, well, thank you.

Come on, all right. And so we are going to cover these other topics. I'd like to point out to you stress and anxiety, to which a lot of us think those are the same thing. Actually, we're going to approach them in a different way. Stress, I kind of think more of external forces that put pressure on us, things in the economy or family or, you know, there are outside forces that that make our life more difficult; where anxiety, everything can be going well around you, but you're struggling on the inside, so more of the internal struggle. So, this will be in two weeks, perfect Sunday to bring somebody far from God or someone who doesn't have a home church. So, I want to highlight to you that might be a good time to get your friend here in church. But of these topics, stress was the most asked question or the most requested topic. More than 35% of you said, "I'm either dealing with this," or "I need to know what the Bible has to say about this".

And I'd like to begin with just asking the question, "Why are we under so much stress"? And I came to this conclusion, and that's pretty much that because it's always something. Isn't that right, everybody? It seems like when we put one fire out, another one pops up. And as my father-in-law used to say, "That's what you call life". And we Cajuns say c'est la vie. I mean, that's just, that's life, and really there's not much we can do with the fact that all these forces that are external, that are out of our control, and so that's why I want to bring you a message on what do you do? What do you do when you're in the middle of something that's difficult in your life? Some stresses are a self-induced, and we talk a lot about that. But what about the vast majority of them? It's like we had nothing to do with it. It's just hard right now.

And the truth is you're either coming out of a problem, you are currently in a problem, or you're getting ready to be in a problem. Somebody said, "Why don't you be more positive"? I am positive you're going to be, it's gonna happen, okay. 'Cause, again, that's what you call life. And someone said, "Why is that? Why doesn't God get more involved"? Well, the truth is, earth is broken by sin right now. He created this perfect environment called Eden. It was a paradise. Sin came into the world and destroyed that paradise, to which somebody says, "Yeah, but why doesn't God fix it"? He did. He sent his Son Jesus to pay for the curse of sin (past, present, and future) in your life. Yeah, come on. Y'all are a clapping service today, and I like it, I like it. And you need to know, though, that his mission is to, from time to time, intervene on planet Earth; but, really, his plan is a rescue plan.

"In this world, you will have trouble," Jesus said. "But take heart. I've overcome the world". And, again, he does that from time to time here on earth; but, really, the real solution that he has for us is eternity. He's on a rescue mission to bring us back, by the way, to a paradise. It'll be paradise found once we're in heaven. But in the meantime, we have to navigate, live through, and endure this thing called planet Earth with all this curse and brokenness. And so I want to begin by talking about stress by defining it. I actually preached last year... by the way, your most requested topic last year was stress too. And I don't know if I didn't do a good enough job teaching on it, but we're doing it again. All right, everybody?

But if you go back and watch last year's message, I really focused on this concept, that basically what stress is, is when the pressure of life is greater than your capacity to be able to endure it. That's stress. All right, so I've got news, and I've got bad news, to which it always makes me, every time I say good news-bad news, it reminds me of this story we tell in Louisiana about Boudreaux who actually was told by the doctor, when he went and got some tests run, he wasn't feeling great, got some tests run. Doctor calls him back a couple of weeks later and said, "I've got good news and bad news". And Boudreaux said, "Well, tell me the good news first". He said, "Well, the good news is you've got 24 hours to live". He said, "My Lord, that's the good news? What's the bad news"? He said, "I tried to call you yesterday".

That's funny, I don't care what y'all say. That's hilarious, all right, all right. So, I've got good news and bad news, and I'm going to give you the bad news first. This isn't changing. I mean, you are in control of some of it, and some of our pressures and stresses are self-induced, but the vast majority of them are not. This is probably not going to change. What can change is your capacity to endure it, and the good news is that's the business God is in. The Bible says in Philippians, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I can. So, it is difficult. Paul actually wrote this in a prison cell, and he was making this statement that I can do this. I can do it, but God's gonna have to help me.

They way I like to say it is I can't control everything in my life. I'm never gonna be able to control what happens to me. And that bothers me really badly, because I'm kind of a control freak. I'm not even kind of. I am a control freak, and I like to try to control the things around me, but I can't; but with God's help, I can choose a different response, and that's what I want to give you today. I'm actually going to leave you today with six responses, that you can use all of them, or just some of them; or whenever the situation arises, when you face a difficult day, you're in a struggle, you're under stress, I promise you that God will help you, as you choose these six responses. I'm going to give you six today, because years ago I learned what I call the anatomy of stress or the progression or stages of a struggle in your life.

And by the way, I didn't make this up. I learned this from Pastor Rick Warren, who's someone I've learned a lot from over the years. I think he's a brilliant preacher and teacher and church leader. He went through what I consider to be one of the worst struggles a person can go through, when in 2013 his son took his own life. He had been struggling with mental illness for a number of years and took his own life. And I actually watched Pastor Rick go through that. In fact, a few pastors and I flew to California just to sit on his back deck and cry with him for half a day, and I watched him after that just navigate through the pain and the horror of something like that, and then he brought up this teaching that, honestly, in my life, has been one of the most impactful teachings I've ever learned, that when you go through a struggle, there's the shock factor of "my goodness, I cannot believe this happened".

And then you have this sorrow where you're deeply maybe depressed, or sad, or crying about the situation. So, maybe the shock's over, but you're in the sorrow phase. Some of you are in that phase today. Then there's the struggle phase. This is where you usually get mad and angry and wonder what happened. And why didn't somebody do something? And why didn't God do something? And you begin to question your life and question God. The whole thing begins to flip when you learn the surrender phase of a struggle, that I don't know how this is going to work out, but I'm not gonna make it on my own. I'm gonna need God's help, and I surrender to him.

And then the sanctification stage of when you actually begin to realize that God is going to teach you something in the middle of that struggle, so that I can get into the service phase, where I am beginning to help others. Well, I was reminded of this list, and I thought, there is a can do, a choice I can make in every one of those stages, and this is the sixth that I want to leave you with today, because I truly believe that if these become in your personal toolbox of how to respond on your worst days and when you're under stress, I promise you you're going to make it, in Jesus's name. And everybody said a good... All right, so go to your app, if you want to follow along. You can fill in the blanks, if you'd like, and collect your notes, and even take extra notes. Here we go. In the shock phase, again, this is the phase where, "Ah, cannot believe this just happened," and you're overwhelmed by it.

I remember probably the moment that I felt the most shock was when I heard the news that my dad had cancer. I was actually coming to this building to go to an appointment. My office used to be here. Now it's over at Grandview. But I was coming to an appointment. I'd just come back from a lunch appointment when my sister, who was my assistant, called and said, "Chris, Dad just got back from the doctor, and he's got terminal cancer". And I remember I was standing by my car. I had just gotten out of my car, and I remember it felt like a mule kick to my gut, and I literally physically doubled over on the hood of my car and just, you know, had a moment where I just wept. It was just shocking to hear that. It wasn't very many months later that Tammy's dad got the same news, that they found a melanoma tumor.

Looked like he'd stepped on a thorn, just on the pad of his foot looked like a little, just a little sore on his foot. Four doctors said, "It's nothing, it'll heal". The fifth one decided to biopsy it, and he was already at stage four melanoma in his brain and all over his body, and a few months later he was in heaven at 61 years old. Those are shocking, shocking moments. And I don't know about you. When I go through something like that, my first response is just leave me alone for a minute. Like, I don't want to be around anybody. I don't want to talk to anybody. In fact, I remember coming up to my office and my appointment was already sitting in the lobby, and I said, "I'm just gonna have to have a few minutes".

And I had this feeling of I need to process this, and I had this sense of needing to isolate. I'm not saying that that's all bad. Let me tell you something, though. For some of you, you've gone through something difficult, and you've stayed in isolation, and you're in a place, even though people around you, you've created this lowly place where you are alone in your thoughts and are alone in your pain, and isolation prolonged like that is a very, very dangerous thing. In fact, many of you are dealing with life's issues all by yourself, and it's extremely dangerous. And one of the first can do disciplines that we have to have (it's a biblical truth that'll help you through a bad day) is found in Ecclesiastes chapter 4, where it says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor".

And if you have a day where you're falling down, life is difficult, that other one who is with you can help you up. But pity the person, and I would say that to anybody in this room, pity the person who's going through one of life's stresses, one of life's struggles, and you're doing it all by yourself. And if you're doing that, you're probably never gonna fully get out of it, which is why, here's the truth, the principle I want to give you. "When life falls apart, don't run from God and people; run to them, even if you don't feel like it".

So, I'm going to tell you my personal discipline now is that when I face something difficult, and I, from time to time, get bad news about something going on in life or in the family. I have disciplined myself, I'm gonna let somebody know. I am not gonna be alone in this struggle. It was just this past week that I got some news about someone else, and it just discouraged the fire out of me, and I literally picked up the phone, called my pastor, and I called one of my best friends, and I just said, "I just need you to know". And I have three or four times this week, both of them text me, "How are you doing? You okay? You doing all right now"? And then just not being alone in our thoughts. Can I hear a better amen out there, everybody?

I'm telling you, and by the way, that's why we're a church of groups. We're not a church of groups because we think you need to go to church during the week and on Sundays. These aren't mini church services. These are places where the big church becomes very small, intimate, personal, where you can know someone, that someone can know you. And by the way, we don't go there just so people can watch after us. We go there to be that blessing to someone else, as well, which is why we tell you, get in a group, get in a group, get in a group. You need to get in a group. And it's not too late. The semester just got started. Most people are still shopping for a group. Get in a small group.

Here's the second phase of our stresses and our struggles, and this is when we're just depressed. I'm just sad. And shock, by the way, is a human emotion. God cannot be shocked, because he cannot be surprised by anything. He already knows everything. But sorrow is a godly emotion. The Bible talks about Jesus, when he heard the news of his friend Lazarus, who died, Jesus wept. In fact, Isaiah 53 says Jesus was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Now, grief's not all bad. In fact, you need to grieve healthily. Sometimes when people get bad news, if they had a passing in their families, I'll call or go by the hospital or to their house, or wherever. And there are a lot of times when they're crying, they'll go, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry". I say, "No, no, no, don't be apologizing. Grief is a positive thing". You love them, you miss them. Cry.

Now, there is a stage where grief can become overwhelming, where it's perpetual, like we don't get over it. And some of you are perpetually sad, perpetually depressed. And the Bible addresses this. It says, "Hear my cry, O God". This is King David. "Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth, I'm crying. And when my heart gets to this place, where it's overwhelmed". Look in my eyes right now. Some of you have an overwhelmed heart, and you need to know what to do when you face that kind of stress. There's a reason why 35% of you said, "I need some help with this," because your heart's gotten overwhelmed with sorrow and grief. What do you do? When my heart is overwhelmed, I'd better find me a rock, notice the language, that is higher.

Now, we all know that that Rock is Jesus. Can I hear a good amen, everybody? Okay, the question is how do you go to that Rock? And I want to offer to you do you go to the Rock that is higher? That's what worship is. When you worship God, not just know him, not just even pray to him, but when I worship God, when you worship something, you elevate it. You lead it to something that's higher. So, my problem is big, but when I worship I'm going to elevate my God bigger than my situation. I say it this way: "Worship reminds me how much bigger God is than whatever I'm facing".

So, if you're like me... actually, this news I heard this past week about a friend of mine, it just discouraged me. I came in, I was a little, not sad, but I was still carrying that. In fact, even on the way into church today, I spent time in the car praying, and I was praying for this particular situation with my friend, and I was just kind of carrying it still. And one of my prayers was, "God, where are you at? Do something in this situation for him". And I got here and heard that song, "All my life you have been faithful". And I'm gonna tell you, y'all, I experienced the power of worship in the worship service today. I don't know if it touched your life or not, but as soon as I declared, "You always have been faithful, you always will be faithful, and you're going to be faithful in this situation, as well," and I watched my own heart, come on, somebody, give God praise.

It's the power of worship. And I just hope you have that in your toolbox. I literally disciplined myself that when life gets difficult, I call somebody. I am not gonna be alone in my struggle. But I'm gonna tell you what else, what else I do is I go into my prayer closet. For me, it's the basement of our house, where my office is, and I put on some worship. And for me, it usually doesn't take more than 6 or 7 minutes. I get halfway into the second song, and I've got the victory, because I've reminded myself how much bigger my God is than anything that I face, and I want you to have that in your life. Come on, y'all.

The third one is struggle. Now, when you're in the struggle stage of stress or a problem, when you're in the struggle, this is where you start asking questions. This is where you go from sad to mad. Now, you're even questioning God. Like, where are you? What are you doing? This is where you want to blame someone else. This is where you're having kind of a bad hair day. You know what I'm saying? I mean, Jeremiah, I love this verse. It just makes me feel better when I see these Bible greats complain like this. He said, "Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow and to end my life in disgrace"? How many of you know Jeremiah was having a bad day right there, right? Even Jesus, by the way, was on the cross and questioned God.

One of the seven statements that Jesus made on the cross, I think it's the fourth statement he made on the cross. "My God, my God, what in the world? Why are you leaving me here? Why have you forsaken me"? I love the fact that the Bible allows us to see not just the divinity of our God, but also the humanity of our God, that even Jesus, ready for this? Questioned God. And I want you to hear something, that when you're in the middle of a struggle, you need to know this, that this side of heaven, there are some things you ain't never gonna understand. And that's why we have a generation now that is questioning things and deconstructing God.

"Well, then I'll make up my own God, my own way, my own rule. I'm gonna make up a new way". And it's a very dangerous place to be. So, what do you do? What is the can do of the struggle whenever you're in this, you know, I'm questioning God? I'm angry. What do you do with that? And here's the key, and that is to remember that God is at work in ways I cannot see. I have to remind myself I may never know, but when I know I'll be okay with what I find out. I'm gonna say that again. I may never know, but when I know, one day, 1 John talks about the moment that we see Jesus face to face, when we're in heaven, and it says our eyes will be opened, and we're going to see everything that happened, and we're gonna say, I am sure of the fact that we're gonna say, "You were always at work. You are always in control, and you always do the right thing".

Does anybody else in this room believe that with me, today? It's true. I don't know if you guys remember this show. Tammy and I don't, we don't have like a series of shows. People always ask us, "What are you watching right now"? "Ah, nothing". We hold hands and watch Jeopardy. Come on, everybody. That's what we do. But there was a show years ago that we were very into. It kept us up way too late at night, because we always wanted to watch one more, and the series had already happened, and so we weren't watching it as they were releasing it, but it was that Jack Bauer "24". Did anybody watch that? Do y'all remember that? Some of y'all do. Old people are like, "Yeah, I saw that". Okay.

Young people, it was this crazy show. It had 24 episodes, and it covered an entire day in real time. So, it was, they did 8 to 9, 9 to 10, 10 to 11. These were each one of the shows, and it was a counterterrorist unit, and they were trying to overcome terrorists who wanted to blow up stuff and bomb stuff and all of this. So, it's fascinating, but to keep you watching, they made the end of every hour, or every show, a cliffhanger on its own. So, I don't know how they did it, but you thought at the end of that first episode, so, you only just covered one hour of the day, but you're, at the end of that episode, he's dying, he's dead, he's dead. But then you remind yourself but they've got more episodes coming. And so in your heart, you don't know how he's going to get out of it, but you know he is.

And I think that's something we ought to bring into the faith world. I don't know how God's gonna do it, but if I read the back of the book, he wins, and we win. Don't know what it is, but I know there's more episodes. And I think we sometimes have this, I call it the American gospel. We think where God has obligated himself to work out everything here on planet Earth, when the truth is God is working out things in a better way than we could possibly realize. There's a chapter of the Bible, you ought to go read it, if you're not familiar with it, there's a chapter in the Bible, if you're notetakers just jot it down, Hebrews 11. You can read it in about 3 minutes, but it goes through, just every line is a different person and a different miracle that God did on planet Earth, and he calls them people of faith, because, you know, Red Sea's parted, the dead were brought back to life, things like that.

But at the end of the chapter it says, but there were others who were still commended as people of faith, who it didn't work out so well. They were tortured, persecuted, mistreated, the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, mountains, living in caves, holes in the ground, and they are commended for faith, too, yet none of them got what they thought God had promised them here on planet Earth. Why? Because God had planned something, say it out loud, something better. And if you don't believe that, this earth will hurt you. If you don't know that God has something better, even when it's not working out like I think he should work it out, then you're losing a tool in your spiritual toolbox that you need for stress, that when it feels like this life is falling apart, then I'm gonna keep my eyes, what I call the eternal perspective, that God has something better for me.

So, I can't control it, but I can do that. I can call somebody. I can worship. Come on, everybody. I can know that there's a life to come. Here's a fourth one, and that is the surrender phase. So, this is where, okay, I'm about to give in. I've gotta let God do this work in my life. And by the way, this is the stage where you actually begin to heal and find the peace of God. This is what Jesus did, by the way.

I believe it's the sixth or seventh statement on the cross, where Jesus, after he questioned God, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? he says, "Into your hands I commit my Spirit. Now I'm going to give you my life". And he did. He modeled that for us, and this is what Proverbs talks about when it says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways commit, or submit, or acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight". It's a decision that I can't control all of this that's going on in my life, but I can choose to trust God, knowing that that is actually the pathway to real peace in my life. It's not when my situations all work out like I'd hoped. It's when I know that my God is at work. And I promise, if you do that, you'll experience the peace of God.

So, again, I think we have an American gospel where we've only been used to, "Come on, he's going through it. He did it before. He'll do it again. Praise the Lord. Go home". Right? And I do believe that. I am a person of faith. I have watched God do miracles. I think there is a teaching in the church that might be missing, though, and that is the theology of suffering, of knowing, by the way, which most of the body of Christ in the world has to learn that theology, because their circumstances are way worse than ours, and we ought to be very grateful that we literally live probably in the best expression of the human experience on planet Earth right here in the good old United States of America and especially here in the deep South. Can I get an amen, everybody, right?

All right, we've got a lot of things to worry about, but come on. When's the last time you looked at how somebody else lives? But the Bible talks about suffering as much as it talks about blessing and miracles, and it talks about how you can endure in the middle of it. And I don't know. I got a hold of this teaching over the last few years, especially, you know, the pandemic and all the things that have been happening in America, and I literally began to study it and dive into it, and so many verses on this beautiful theology, but I also ran across this prayer. You probably know the Serenity Prayer. And the Serenity Prayer goes like this: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference".

And I thought that was the end of it. And found out there's more to the prayer. "Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I might be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the life to come". And all of God's people said a good... Now, that's peace. It's the right perspective. To me, that's what surrender is. I can't control my situations, but I can worship. I can call him my friend. I cannot go through this alone. I can remember eternity, and I can trust God. Come on, somebody, right?

Here's the fifth one. It gets even better, because there's also a stage of your struggle, your stress, where God is actually trying to do a work on the inside of you. This is where, listen to me, you're not gonna like this, but its' true, whether you like it or not, God doesn't create problems. Anybody who says, "God created that problem," no, he didn't. God uses that problem. Only good and perfect gifts come from above, the Bible says. So, when you see a bad situation, don't blame God for it, but God will use it to teach you something, to which I always say, "Lord, I'm okay with being dumb". Isn't that right, everybody? Like, you don't have, but you need to know, whether you like it or not, he's committed to your growth, to your sanctification; and if you don't cooperate with it, then it's a struggle for you.

But if you cooperate with it, you appreciate it, and now I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Here's what Romans says. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings. I still have yet to meet the person who does that. "Woo"! "What's going on"? "Suffering". Nobody does that, okay? No. But the Bible says we glory, we glory in our sufferings, because we know that our suffering is producing something. Producing what? Perseverance, character, and hope. This is where God says your loss can be a lesson. What you're dealing with can be something that'll actually shape you into a better person. And if you have that attitude, you realize that my situation isn't a jail that imprisoned me. It's a school that teaches me, shapes me, makes me into somebody that God wants me to be. Are you all with me, everybody?

And if you cooperate with that, then you get a can do statement that says this: "I can't control my situation, can't control what my kids did, can't control what the economy is doing, but I can learn something it the middle of it all". Everybody in this room knows, if you've ever asked somebody, "Tell me your greatest life lesson that you've ever learned," they never go to a perfect situation where they've made all the right decisions. They always tell you about a struggle where God showed them something and showed himself faithful in that situation. I can do that. I can't change it, but I can grow in the middle of it.

And here's the last one, and that is the sixth stage that Pastor Rick taught. In every struggle, in every stress, I hope you get to this place, where you realize that what I'm going through can help somebody else, that God'll take my pain and use it to help somebody else. And this is what it says in 2 Corinthians. This is so good. Man, church, I really hope you get to this place; because if you do, there's so much joy and peace on the other side of this statement, that, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles". Why? "So that we can comfort those who are experiencing the same situation. They can receive the comfort that we've received from God".

Now, I'm going to take my situation, can't change it, wish I could, but I can use it, and I can help somebody else that's facing this. I can realize that there's always purpose in my pain. There's always a purpose in my pain. One of the stories that I love to tell, it's one of my favorite stories. I actually discovered it while I was doing the research for my book, "Out of the Cave". And I was actually studying depression not only from a biblical standpoint, but was trying to study it from a psychological standpoint, as well, and I kind of, I knew who he was, but I never read his work, Viktor Frankl, who was a Holocaust survivor. He's a Jewish guy from Vienna, Austria, and he was actually writing a manuscript for his book, and the Nazis stole it, burned it, killed all of his family. He was the only one in his family that survived.

And when the war was over, he went back to Vienna to resume his practice as a psychiatrist, and the entire clinic was filled with Holocaust survivors, who were all suicidal. End of the story, not a single one of his patients in all of his life ever committed suicide. And he was at odds with Sigmund Freud's theory that life is all about pleasure. If you find enough pleasures, that's how you enjoy life. And Frankl says, "No, you've got it all wrong. Life's not about pleasure. It's about purpose. And if you don't have purpose, you dull your life with pleasures".

So, you're trying just to satisfy something that's always been missing on the inside, and that's why, whether it be vacations, or sports, or whatever it is in your life, you're like, "This is gonna make me happy," and then it doesn't, because that's not what life is ever all about. It's about your purpose, and he created, I say that jokingly, honestly, he created, because he didn't create this. You'll see it in a second. He created a therapy that he called logo therapy, and logo therapy was three things. Everybody needs some type of meaningful work. Everybody works, but have you found meaningful work? Everybody needs a community of friends to do that work with. And then everybody needs to learn how to take their pain and use it to help somebody else.

And that's why I say he didn't create that. That's been in the Bible for thousands of years, that you need meaningful work and a community of friends, and take your pain and turn it around for the good. And, again, not a single person committed suicide under his watch. That's the power of purpose. That's the power of taking, "I don't know what you're going through," but taking it, finding somebody else that's going through it, and pray for them, and love them, and share and empathize and watch the life come back inside of you.

Church, I wish I could tell you how to make your stresses go away. I wish I could tell you the economy is going to be better. Your mother-in-law is going to be better, everything is going to be better, right? Probably not gonna happen. But I can, there are some can do statements. There are some things that I am in control of, and that's my decision to follow God's will in God's way to these six principles. So, I'm gonna put them up on the screen one more time. And if you believe them, I want you to say them out loud with me, as loud as you can. All right? Let's say them out loud together. All right?

I can't control what's going on around me, but I can run, I can do that, I can talk to God. And I'm not gonna escape it. No, I'm gonna run to God, run to godly people. I can't control what's going on around me, but I can, I can worship. I can remind myself of a Rock that's higher than I am. I can't control everything that's happening around me, but I can focus, yeah, there's a better day coming. I can't control everything, say it out loud with me, but I can trust God. I'm going to trust God. I don't how it's going to work out, but I'm going to trust him. I can't control everything that's happening around me, but I'm gonna learn. I'm gonna get better. I'm gonna let this improve me in some kind of way. And I can't control everything that's happening around me (one more time, every voice) but I can use, yes, I can, I'm going to use what I'm going through, and I am going to serve somebody else and watch the peace of God touch your life, in Jesus's name. And everybody said...

Let's pray. Let's bow for prayer. I'm gonna ask you to stay very still in every auditorium just for a few minutes. We always end on time, and today will be no exception. But this is a point in the service where people make decisions of faith. And some of you, your soul is hanging in the balance. Let me say it this way. There are those of you who are listening to me right now, you know you're not right with God. You know it, and you might be a Christian, not a Christian. I don't know, but you know it's not where it should be. And guess what? Today is your day. Today is the day you get to surrender completely and go all in with God. And if you feel the Holy Spirit knocking on the door of your heart right now, listen to him, respond to him right now, and just surrender all that you have to God. You can do it in a heartfelt single prayer. I'm gonna help you with the words. If this is you, don't worry about anybody else around you. Just whisper this or say it out loud in your heart. Say:

Jesus, I need you. I need you in my life. I'm tired of living my life my own way, and today I completely surrender. I'm giving you my life, everything. Forgive me of living my life my own way. I repent of my sin, and today I turn to you. Be the Lord of my life, number one in my life. Today, I believe you are the Son of God, and I believe you rose from the dead, and I'm putting my faith and my trust in your will and in your way. Thank you for setting me free, and thank you for being my God and my Friend. In your name I pray, amen.

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