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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - It Will Change Your Life

Craig Groeschel - It Will Change Your Life

Craig Groeschel - It Will Change Your Life
Craig Groeschel - It Will Change Your Life
TOPICS: Lead Like It Matters, Leadership

I wanna ask those of you who are followers of Christ, and I don't want you to raise your hand, but I wonder how many of you would say that there's a time in your life that you are closer to God then than you are now? I wonder how many of you are really honest would say, yes, I am a follower of Jesus, but there is a time in my life that I was actually closer to God then than I am now, a time when God seemed really near all the time. Like, you'd read His Word, and it was like, He was talking directly to you in His Word. Like you'd open it up and it's like that verse for me and then you'd go to church and you'd hear that very same verse, and you'd like, wow, how'd that happen? You would pray and you would just know that God would hear your prayers, and then you'd often see him respond.

It could be little things like you'd go to the mall and you'd ask for a parking spot and you'd get the very parking spot or you'd love a song at church and you'd drive out, and that song would be on the radio. You couldn't wait for the weekend and you'd get to church early and you wanted to get to the front row and you'd bring your friends, and it was just amazing. And God would seem like He was all around, and then some time went by and you still believe in God, but it's just not the same. You still show up for church or you watch online, kind of sort it every now and then, but you've lost some of the passion. You, you still have the light, but we might say the light has dimmed. I wonder how many of you, we're closer to God at another part of your life than you are now. You had it, that's something special that passion, that sense that God was with you, that he was for you, that he was directing you, that he was answering your prayers. You had it and it feels like you lost it.

I wanna show you a text that is very emotional. The Psalmist penned these words in Psalm 42:4-5, and maybe you can relate to the emotion that he described. He said, "my heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be". You could almost just feel the heaviness, I used to be so close to God. He says, "my heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be. I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration, But why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad"? You can almost feel it, maybe some of you can relate. Maybe you haven't even stopped to think about it, but now that you do, you're like, why was I close to him then and I'm not so close to him now? You feel like you had it, but you lost it. I wanna help you get it back. And if you don't really know what I'm talking about, you say like, I've never had it, well, I wanna help you get it. And so I'm calling this message, "It Will Change Your Life". Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, we ask that in your presence and by the power of your Word, you would draw us close, to know you intimately God, and to serve you faithfully Help us to get it, to know it, to experience it, to share it, to give it freely, we pray in Jesus' name and everybody said, Amen. Amen. Amen.

Would you look to the person sitting next to you and just tell 'em if you don't have it, look at the person sitting next you and tell 'em, "If you don't have it, it's time to get it". Look at your second choice, the other person, the one you didn't choose and tell him, "you gotta get it too, you gotta get it, you gotta get it. You gotta get it too". I wanna talk to you today about, it. Everybody say, I want it. I want it. I wanna talk to you about, it. When I was in college at first I was not a follower of Jesus, I was on the wild side. Was anybody ever on the wild side? Some of you're still on the wild side, I know that. And I was kind of partying away, you could say I was building my testimony, right? Okay. And my life got completely transformed by the love of Jesus.

I'm talking about like one day lost, and the next day, like so excited. You would say spiritually, like I had it. I mean, I had it, this passion, this faith, this intensity, I had it, someone would say I was full of it, but that was a whole other deal, right. And we, I mean, was so into it, when I met Amy, we made Christian t-shirts, it's kind of cheesy, but you know. That was phase one, I actually finished hers and hers said, Christian Babe. So we put that it was like, babe, and I had one that said Christian Stud, which is probably a sin. I repented of that I didn't know any better, but it was, we wore cheesy t-shirts and I came out of the party scene. So I went back into the party scene and I just told people about the Jesus who changed my life. And it was, it was so real, they believed it.

And one, after another, after another people's lives were changed and it was so special. And I would pray and I'd see these miracles. And I was... I played on a championship tennis team, and in fact, they were so good that they won five national titles the year after I left. And a true, true story. But it was, it was a NAI school and I was a lower player. So if you, that, wasn't that good, that's what I'm trying to tell you. If you don't know what NAI stands for, it stands for, NAIA it stands for not NCAA that's what it stands for. So, I was a middle of the road to lower player on a very, very good, only American on a all otherwise international team. And I was, I got beat more than anybody else. And I became a Christian and I just thought, Hey, God can help me. And so I was so into it that I started praying before every match. It was really weird.

So, you know, I was like the guy who was drunk before now, I'm kneeling down on the side with a Bible. Playing people and I started winning, God is my witness. Year before I had a bad record, I won 17 consecutive matches, I went into the district finals, I hadn't lost all year long and I'd knelt down to pray. And I looked across the court I was playing a guy from Oral Roberts University, which is a very Christian school. And that old boy was praying too. So, dang, just as I thought I had God on my side this whole time, now he's got God too. And so I just like looked up in the middle of my prayer, like, oh, well, we're gonna see who has more faith. And he said from Oral Roberts charismatic school, he said, "Well, obviously I do. I'm speaking in tongues". And so I just said, "Well, God gave me the interpretation, and He told me you're going down". And he did right there.

And I was like, I was undefeated witnessing to people, praying in the Word full of faith. Went into ministry, served five amazing years, had a growing ministry, started Life Church in a little two-car garage, and then in a little elementary school, then in a bike factory. And we had nothing, like none of this really cool stuff that makes you a real church. Like buildings and lots of people and video projectors. And we had none of that stuff, but we had it. Like we had these people with crazy passion and faith and they would bring people and they would worship and they would serve. And we had it. And then we were, so much of it that we were full and had to turn people away. And we became one of the first churches, if not the first church to start meeting on multiple sites. And then one day, several years later, we had multiple sites like in the same type of buildings, cause by then we could afford buildings.

And the exact same buildings, with the exact same worship with the exact same teaching, but the results were not exactly the same. And it was the most bizarre thing. You could walk into one Life Church location and you would say, this place has it. There was this vibe, there was this faith. There was this hum. There was this anticipation. There was their prayer. There were people serving. And then you go down the road to the very same type of building with the same type of people in the same contributing factors, and you say, this place doesn't have it. That there wasn't this faith, there wasn't this anticipation, and so we started to ask ourselves, what is it? And we studied it. And in 2008 I wrote a book called, "It". And I'm excited to tell you that now as of this week, I'm re-releasing a very revised and expanded version of a book called, "Lead Like It Matters," and I want you to get it. I want it to change your life.

And before you say you're just a preacher hawking your book, I'm excited to tell you that Amy and I are donating 100% of the proceeds. Every dollar made everywhere to help start more churches. And I wanna help you get it into your life to make a big difference. And I wanna talk to you from this book and I wanna help you to get it. I'm gonna talk to you from Revelation 3, when Jesus spoke to different churches, but he was speaking to a church in Sardis that thought they had it, but they didn't. I'll give you a little background on Sardis. Sardis was the capital city in the Lydian empire in Asia Minor, which is Western Turkey today.

You say, I don't care, Pastor Craig, well, I do cause I read five commentaries, I want you to know I did my homework. So, I'm telling you where it is, even though you don't care. I did my homework and the city was known for lots of things. They had gold and they had this wool and they were known for their fruit. I don't know what kind of fruit I didn't do that much homework, but let's get some mango, let's get some grapes, let's get some strawberries. They were known for fruit. The city was known for the fruit, but the church wasn't. And if you don't know what is in Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul talked about what he calls spiritual fruit. That when you walk with Jesus and you're filled with the Spirit that you're gonna have this love and this joy and this peace. I dunno if you've met any people that call themselves Christian, but are not very loving and are not very joyful. Like, "I'm a Christian for the glory God, you jerk," right?

And there's no peace, well, this was them. They had a lot of activity, but they didn't have much spiritual fruit. They thought they had it, but they didn't. They looked alive on the outside but Jesus said they were actually dead. I'm gonna read you what Jesus said about these people. He said, "I know you're deeds, you have a reputation of being alive".

In other words, people might say, "Yeah, I think you're a Christian, you call yourself a Christian. You're a member of a church, whatever". He said, "You have a reputation of being alive, but you're actually dead. You're not alive, you're dead". He said, wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die for I've found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. He said, "Remember, therefore what you've received and heard and hold it fast and repent, but if you do not wake up," there's some urgency to this. He says, "I'll come like a thief and you don't know at what time I'm gonna come. You yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They'll walk with me, dressed in white for they are worthy". He said, "you have a reputation of being alive, but you are not", and that's where a lot of so-called Christians may be today or a lot of churches.

It outwardly, there's a lot of spiritual busyness. You know, you like you go to a Sunday school class and do your Bible study thing and you listen to Caleb Radio and you serve somewhere and all this kind of stuff. There's outward spiritual busyness, but inwardly, there may be spiritual detachment. It's what I might call nominal Christianity, and it's everywhere in my part of the world where people call themselves Christian, because we're not something else. I mean, we, you know, we, yeah, I'm a good person, right? And many people in churches today, they have enough of Jesus to fake it, to play the part, to know the language, to blend in, but not enough of Jesus to where it changes their life. They think they have it, but they really don't. And this is what the people in Sardis looked like now, Sardis was one of the ancient Greek cities. And many of them would have what was known as an Acropolis. It's a fortress on top of a mountain, this is not the actual one.

This is another Acropolis but which sounds like something that you would find in a Marvel movie, that's just Acropolis. But anyway, Sardis had this castle or this fortress on top of this big mountain, surrounded by a river, which made it kind of like a mote. And so, it, Sardis was almost completely impenetrable, except it wasn't. In fact, true story in 549 BC, one of the guards was evidently up on top of the castle, on the side of the mountain and dropped his helmet off. "Oh, my helmet". So this guard decided may be the first time in history or at least the first time the enemy saw someone do this, to climb over the castle and scale down the side of about a 1700 foot mountain down to the bottom, picked up his helmet and managed to climb all the way back up. Mission accomplished, the only problem is that the enemies, the Midian soldiers actually saw him do this and thought, oh, you can actually climb that wall. So in the middle of the night, a group of Midian soldiers scaled the wall and defeated the people in Sardis because they had become complacent because they had become comfortable because they'd let their guard down because they were asleep.

That's good. They had it, they lost it. They became complacent, they were distracted. They were spiritually asleep, and that's why Jesus said, "Wake up"! "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die". And that's gonna be my message to some of you today, it's time to wake up. Maybe there's a time when you had it, like you were close to God and you're not as close today as you once were. And if you see me become passionate about this, it's because I know it and I've lived it. I had it. This undeniable, indescribable, unmissable passion for Jesus. If you were anywhere close to me, you would know it, see it and hear about it, in a way that was actually effective, most of the time. About the grace of the one who made me new, I had it and I had it and I had it and I had it, and then one day I realized somehow I lost it and I didn't see it coming because it didn't happen overnight. There was a slow drift away.

And some... this is a Pastor like this is like Pastor lost it. I found, and it's hard to even say, but I found that I was praying more publicly than I was actually praying privately. I still read the Bible, but it was only to preach to other people, not to feed myself. And the worst part is that I just cared way, way more about what people thought than I cared about what God thought. And the image that I felt like God gave me is that I'd become a full-time Pastor and a part-time follower of Jesus. Some of you can relate. You had it and you lost it. You got distracted, you got busy and your heart drifted. What do you do when you realize you're not as close to God today, as you once were?

I wanna show you three things in Revelations 3 that I promise will help you get it back. And if you've never had it, I believe it'll help you get it. But what are we gonna do? According to scripture, three different things. The first thing I wanna encourage you to do is remember it. Somebody say, "Remember it". Remember it. Type it in the comment section, I'll remember it, type that in there. Remember it, remember it, remember it. Revelation 3:3, Jesus said, "Remember, therefore, what you've received and heard". Remember it. In the Greek language, remember is... its a present imperative form of the verb and what it means is it means, remember and keep remembering it, don't forget. It means, remember it to mind, bring it to mind over and over and over again. It's much like what the Psalmist said in Psalm 77:11-12, "But I recall God, all that you've done". I bring it back to mind, Oh Lord. "I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago".

They're constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works, I remember. Somebody here, you need to remember what you were before Christ. You need to remember where you came from. Remember what he brought you out of. Remember when you felt lost and remember when you felt hopeless and remember when you felt desperate and remember when the depression was so heavy, you never thought you had find a way out. Remember when you couldn't tell the truth, then you found yourself caught in a web of lies, and remember when you were worshiping over a porcelain god, vomiting your brains out and waking up the next day saying, "I don't ever want to do that again," and find yourself there again, and again.

Remember when you cried out to Him and He answered your prayer and showed up miraculously. Remember when you had no money in the bank and He provided for you. Remember when He healed your body and pulls you out of depression. Remember when He got you off of drugs and brought you to be clean. Remember when He gave you a hope, when you had no hope when He gave you purpose, when you had no purpose, remember when he comforted you, when you felt all alone when you felt His presence and you know, He heard the cries of your heart. Yes. Some of you need to remember it, like think back to it. Think back to it, think back to it. I think back to when He answered my prayer, I think back to when He forgave my sin, I think back when I couldn't get off alcohol and He got me off of alcohol, I remember when I hated myself, cause I couldn't tell the truth and He changed me. He made me new.

I remember, remember, remember it, remember it. Think about it, think about it. Think about who you were before and remember what He's done. Remember it. The second thing you're gonna wanna do is this, number one, remember it, number two is finish it. Finish it. Don't just remember, but finish. Scripture says this, "Wake up". He says, "strengthen what remains and is about to die". Now watch what Jesus says, "For I found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God". Through unfinished, if you had it and you lost it and you wonder where it went, maybe it's because you didn't do it, when God told you to do it.

There was something He led you to do. He prompted you to give it and you didn't give it. He led you to confess it and you didn't confess it. He prompted you to share it and you didn't share it. He told you to trust it to Him and you'd continue to control it. He told you to ask for help and you didn't ask for help. He told you to break up with that guy, cause your mama don't like him, your daddy don't like him, your two best friends don't like him, all your relatives don't like him and God doesn't want you settling for a fixer-upper, He's got somebody better for you. And you are still going out with someone who doesn't treat you with honor. Just call this a breakup sermon, if we want to. Sorry bro, treat her right and I'll leave you alone. I'll support y'all and marry y'all, but don't don't getcha... Finish the work. Yes. Finish the work, make the call, apologize. There's something that's unfinished.

I, years ago, I felt like God prompted me, it was one of the first times I was at church. I was worshiping and I felt, I saw a lady that just looked like she had a horrible life. Like you could just tell like life had been hard to her and I felt prompted to go and to give her all the money I had in my wallet. And so I looked at my wallet, all I had was $5. I thought, well that's silly. What's that gonna do? And it was just a prompting. So I went up to her and I said, "I'm sorry, I know this is not much, but I felt prompted to give this to you". And when I did, she just worshiped. She threw her hands up, she said, oh my God. She started hugging me, like you would've thought I gave her $500.

And so I'm glad, well, you know, I'm glad. She said, "You don't understand, I'm a single mom. I don't get paid until next week, I didn't have enough gas in my car to get to church and home, but I wanted to come to church and I just felt like God told me to trust Him and drive to church". And she said, "God just used you to give me gas money". A little while later, God prompted me again, I saw a gentleman, totally different setting, and God prompted me to give him all the money in my wallet. And I looked in my wallet and I had a hundred dollars and I didn't give it to him. It's a hundred dollars. It was a lot of money, 20 something year old, and I didn't do it. You could say I had $5 faith, but not a $100 faith.

And to this day, I wonder what, what blessing did I'm miss by blessing him and his life. Some of you at some thing, like it's time to confess to your porn problem. God told you to do it, do it. It's time to... I'm talking to those of you online, time to come back to church. God told you to do it. True story, some guy came to do a repair on our house and I found this out later, he was going, God, I don't know where you are. God, I need a sign. God, I maybe I'm supposed to go back church. Came into our house, didn't know it was our house was trying to fix something, looked up and saw a picture of our family. Goes, oh, that's my Pastor, I think that's a sign. Hadn't been to church in 2019 and was wondering what was missing? Finish it. Come on. Finish it. If you lost it, remember it, finish it and then hold it, hold it tight. Hold it close. Hold it dear.

Jesus said this, "Remember, therefore, what you've received and hold it fast and repent". Never take Him for granted. Hold it fast, hold it close, you do it all the time. You go to the ATM on a windy day and you push that button in and those twenties come out and you hold it because you hold what's important to you. This is a photo of my baby girl, Joy. And I have six kids, I love them all equally, but Joy tells everybody she's my favorite. She's the baby. All the others say, you don't have to declare you're the favorite if you are the favorite. But that's what they tell her. And that's what she says. So she is my baby, and she's serving as a volunteer summer intern at Mustang, Oklahoma, shout out to our Mustang crowd. And so, and somebody's not at Mustang.

And so one Sunday, Amy and I decided to surprise her and didn't tell her we were coming and go see her doing her ministry thing. And when she heard we were there, she came darting out of Life Kids across the lobby, faster than you could imagine. I'm telling you she's this tall, and she looked like she was three and I'd just gotten home for a week long trip, and she ran toward me and grabbed me, and I'm telling you time stood still, as I held my baby girl. Held my baby girl and held my baby girl, because you hold close what's important. Run to Him. When you draw near to Him, He draws near to you. Hold it close. And Sardis, they look like they had it, but they didn't. Though most of them were spiritually dead, guess what? There were a few that had it, there's always a remnant. There's always a few. And it's amazing what God can do with a few.

Scripture says this, "Yet you have," how many? Say it aloud, you have "a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes". They didn't poop in their diapers. They're they're faithful. They're serving me. "They'll walk with me, dressed in white". Why? "For their worthy". I came to sell, tell somebody that God can do a lot with a few. In fact, sometimes it just takes one. It takes one young shepherd boy named David to stand down a giant. It takes one brave woman named Esther to stand strong, when everyone else caves, it just takes one. Just takes one. Just takes one. I don't know about your world. I don't know about your story, but you may be the one.

What if in your class, you're the one that shows up with it and gives it away. In your family, you may be the one. You may be the one who knows Jesus and shares Jesus and helps those you love most know the one who loves them most. In your place of work, they may laugh. They may not understand, but you may be the one that continues to love them and serve them and reach out with an irresistible love too good to deny. You may be the one. You may be the one, in a long lineage of addicted family members, you may be the one to break free. You may be the first to graduate. You may be the first to become debt free. You may be the first one who knows the grace of Jesus and shares the grace of Jesus. If you had it and you lost it, God wants you to get it back.

Remember the Psalmist at the very beginning of our time together? Remember the Psalmist who said this? Remember this? This is what he said, He said, "My heart is breaking, as I remember how it used to be". I used to be close to God. I used to lead the trumpet process. I used to march for the house of God. Remember how it used to be? Why am i discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? Watch what he says, "I will put my hope in God and I will praise Him again". With everything in me, I will trust Him with everything in me, I will worship Him. I will choose to praise Him again. And Jesus said this and He'll say it to some of you, "Wake up! Wake up, wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die".

Somebody shout wake up. Wake up. Say it again, wake up. Wake up. Wake up in your job. Wake up in your family. Wake your money up. Wake your faith up. Wake your friends up. Wake your heart up. Wake up your time in God's word. Wake up your passion. Wake up your faith, press into the goodness of God. Somebody wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up. Who is He? What is He? What's He called you to do? You've been chosen. You've been called. You've been set apart, His grace isn't for nothing. He loves you, He chose you. He redeemed you, He equipped you. He filled you with the same Spirit, that raised Christ from the dead. Wake up, wake up. Wake up church. The world is going to hell to hand basket and we're fighting over politics, we're better than that. We've got a calling to lift up the name of Jesus. We serve a Heavenly King.

Wake up, touch somebody next you tell 'em, wake up, wake up. Wake up. Who are we? We're the redeemed. We're the light of the world. I know how you guys sit down, sometimes I just stand up. Somebody told me to wake up, I might just stand up. I might, I don't know, I might, I might just. Pastor Sam, I don't know that I might just stand up. You might just stand up where you are. I don't know all of our church, you might just stand up, wake up. You can sit there if you want, but sometimes, Wake up. Wake up. Rio Rancho, hope you're standing up. Albany, hope you're standing up. Fort Worth hope you're standing up, Wichita, hope you're standing up. Wake up church, wake up, wake up, wake up. Listen. If there was a time when you were closer to God than you are now, remember it. Remember what He did. Finish it and do what he told you to do. And hold it close, run to him. Remember it. Finish it. Hold it close.

Come on church. Let's be the church. This isn't a game. Who are you? You're the church. You're the light of the world. A city on a hill can't be hidden. This isn't this didn't pretend little, like God feel better. Oh, they didn't play my song. Oh, they didn't tell... You're the church. Wake up, wake up, strengthen what remains and is about to die. Don't like your children die. Don't let the faith die off. Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up. For those of you who would say, I was closer to God than I am now, I'm gonna ask you just to like wake up and call it what you want. If you're old school church, call it a rededication, call it a spiritual awakening, call it a renewed faith. Call it, I'm going all in for Jesus. And for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about and you're going like, this is kind of weird.

Let me just tell you why it's weird because when you've been changed, you just can't stay this... You're not the same. When you've been forgiven, and when you've been spiritually healed. Who is Jesus? He is the Son Of God who was without sin. He died in our place so that we could be forgiven. When you call on His name, He hears your prayers. He forgives all of your sins. You're never, ever the same. He makes you brand new. Those of you today who say I'm coming back or those of you today who say I'm given my life to Him. I'm gonna count to three in just a moment, and I want you in front of everybody just to raise your hand.

"Oh, it's kind of embarrassing". Hey, Jesus kind of said this way, "If you like confess me before people I'll tell you my Father about you, but if you don't, I won't". So this is good. Let's just get it right, I don't get what anybody thinks. We're waking up. We're remembering it. Those of you you're coming back to God. You're saying Jesus, I give you my life at the count of three. One, two, three. Raise up your hands, could somebody cheer right now and say, we're waking up. We're waking up. Others of you right now, listen to me all of our churches, others of you, you didn't raise your hand, I wanna raise my hand. I'm waking up, I'm waking up.

Father, I pray in the name of Jesus that you would give it to our church. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, that would overflow God. The true spiritual revival would impact our cities and beyond. God make us a light. Give it to your people, may it overflow. God may we serve you faithfully, share Jesus generously and see ourselves as the bride of Christ, the church, the light of this world. Give it to us God fill us with it, God. Help us to share it with others, God.

For those who are coming to faith in Christ, would you just pray aloud? Everybody pray aloud, pray:

Heavenly Father. I give my life to you. All of it. Take it all. Save me from my sins. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to do your will. Give it to me. Help me to give it away. Change my life. Fill me with your power to do your work on earth as it is in Heaven. I give my life to you. Thank you for new life, in Jesus name, I pray.

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