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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - The Performer

Craig Smith - The Performer

Craig Smith - The Performer
TOPICS: Reckless, Prodigal Son, Parables of Jesus, Performance

Welcome to Mission Hills at all of our campuses, including those of you that are joining us at Church Online. So glad you are with us for week number two of our “Reckless” series where we are taking kind of a deep dive into probably the most famous parable that Jesus ever taught, the parable of the prodigal son. If you were with us last week, you may remember that we really kind of pushed in on the prodigal, and we saw this really important and powerful truth that God is waiting on the front porch for the first sign that we are ready to come home, and so for those of us that relate to the prodigal, that’s incredibly good news.

It’s not a matter of earning God’s acceptance with our guilt or our plan to make it right, but just that He’s a Father that can’t wait to welcome us, and the first sign that we are ready to come back home, He runs to us. The problem is, we are not all prodigals. How many of you go, I’m a prodigal, right? We don’t even get a big, some of us are prodigals. We are not quite ready to say that, but the problem is, honestly, a lot of us, we aren’t prodigals.

We have never done what he did. We never ran really far away, and so there is this temptation to go, this parable really has nothing to say to me, and we are wrong because here’s the truth. Not everyone who is lost knows they are lost. The prodigals have a huge advantage because there is no question in their minds or anybody else’s. They are clearly lost. You are driven by self indulgence, you have done all of these things. You are clearly far from God, but not everybody who is lost knows they are lost. My favorite bumper sticker, I think, I see it on the back of Jeeps a lot of times. It says not all who wander are lost. I love that one. I’m going to get another one that says not all who are lost have any idea, right? Not everybody who is lost knows they are lost. That can actually be a dangerous place to be.

Why don’t you grab your Bible, join me in Luke 15. We are going to pick up where we left off last week in verse 25 where we find our attention turned away from the prodigal to the other son, the older son, and this is what we are told in verse 25. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. Meanwhile while his younger brother was coming home, while he was walking down the street, his dad was racing to greet him, and then celebrating his return home, while that was happening, the older brother was out in the field. We learn something very important about the older brother here which is that he is out working hard. There is a huge contrast between the older brother and the younger brother. The younger brother is out partying hard, and the older brother is out working hard. There is no question which of those is better, right? Working hard is way better than partying hard, right?

The reality is that before you can answer that question, you have to ask a question about what’s the motives? Because honestly, the motives for working hard determine whether or not it’s better or worse. Not every reason for working hard is good. I’m a hard worker. I think anyone that works with me will tell you, Craig works really hard. And I have learned over the years that some of my motivations for working hard are absolutely good, but not all of them are. Sometimes I work hard because I want other people to not think I’m a slacker. I’m a reluctant early person. I didn’t use to be at all, but I find that I just wake up early now, and I can get a lot of work done. It’s very common that I can get into the church at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. before anyone else gets here, I can get a lot of work done, but that means by 3:30 or 4:00, I have already put in nine or ten hours, and it’s healthy for me to go to the gym and go home, but sometimes I find myself going, I should stay a little longer so nobody thinks I cut out early.

They don’t know that I’m here at 6:30, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m not working hard, so I work it into a sermon so everyone in the future will know that if I leave at 3:30, it’s because I got there super, you understand what’s happening there, right? Even there, I want to make sure everybody knows, and that’s not a good motivation for working hard. There are bad motivations for working hard. If you work hard so you don’t have to spend time with your husband or your wife, that’s a bad motivation. If you work hard so that you can fuel selfish ambition, that’s not a good motivation, and the reality is, why we do something, why we do things is just as important as what we do. Do you hear me? Motive matters.

In fact, our motivation for doing things really determines whether or not the thing that we are doing is actually a good thing. So what we know is that the older brother was a hard worker. What we don’t know yet is what drives that. He was out in the field. Now when he came home, when he came near the house, he heard music and dancing, and so he called one of the servants and he asked him what was going on, and that’s such an interesting statement. He eventually comes home. We don’t know exactly when, but we know that the party has been going on for a while. How do we know that? Because the people are dancing, and nobody starts the party dancing, right? Am I right? Have you ever been at a wedding reception and the D.J. is like, okay, we are going to have a dance and everybody goes, okay, let’s do that!

No, you have to work your way into dancing, right? The party has to be going on for a while. Brian Reagan has it right. Even as an individual, first you have to stand up at your table and bob your head, right? And then as you move toward the dance floor, you get a little more of your body into it, and finally, you work your way up to dancing, but he comes home, and he can already hear the sound of music and dancing. The band is going. The party has warmed up to the point that everybody’s dancing, so it has been going on for a while and that is really interesting, because it means they started the party without the older brother. Why? Did his dad not even bother to tell him the son was home? The older brother doesn’t know what the party is about, so that means the news hasn’t reached him. Does that mean the dad didn’t try, or is it because he’s been gone for so long and the dad doesn’t even know where he was. He’s so busy out working that he’s not really aware of what is going on at home, or is it honestly that the dad knows that if he has to wait for the older brother to join the party, the party will never get started?

We don’t really know, but what we get the sense of is that there is something not quite right in the household, right? There is some kind of distance, and I think that’s made even clearer by the fact that he didn’t go into the house to find out what the party was all about. Like that have been the easiest thing in the world to do, right? What’s going on? Let’s go home. Let me stick my head into the door? But instead, he hears the sound of the party, and he stops at a distance and waits until he sees the service and says, come here. He called the servant out, and he said what’s going on? He wouldn’t go in. That’s really interesting, isn’t it? And again, it suggests something’s not right. There is a distance here. You have the older brother who has been working so hard for his father, and yet he is clearly living at some kind of a distance from his father. Why?

Verse 27, your brother has come home, the servant replied. Your brother is home, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound. This is good news. Your brother’s home. We didn’t know what was going on, right? There is no Twitter. There is no Facebook. There is no way to keep up. We just know that he’s gone. We don’t know if he was okay. He could be dead for all we know, in a ditch somewhere, but he’s home, and he’s safe and he’s sound. He’s good. This is great news.

Verse 28, but the older brother became angry, and he refused to go in, so his father went out and pleaded with him. He became angry. About what? I mean, angry that his brother has gone and done this thing to the family? That certainly makes sense, but it doesn’t say he was angry. He became angry. This is a new feeling. Who is he angry at? He’s angry at his dad. He’s probably not angry that his brother is home. He couldn’t care less about his brother, but he’s angry that his father has said he could come home, and beyond that, his father’s throwing a celebration that this prodigal has returned. He is angry at his father. He wouldn’t go in, so what did his father do? His father went out. If you have a Bible that you can highlight in some way or digital that you can highlight that in some way, I would love for you to circle or highlight in some way those words “went out,” because they are really important words, and we can easily overlook them, but they may be the most important words, at least in this part of the parable because see, this is the third parable.

There have been three parables. All of the three parables have very similar elements. One similar element is something valuable gets lost. The second element is somebody went out looking for the lost thing. There was a man with a hundred sheep. One got lost, so he went out looking for lost the sheep. There was a woman who had ten valuable coins, so she tore the house apart looking for that one lost coin, and now, we have a lost son and everybody goes, yeah, the prodigal. He’s the lost one. Yeah, but notice the father never went out looking for the prodigal, which is really interesting. We are going to come back to that next week. Make sure you don’t miss that. Why didn’t the father go out looking for the lost son? We’ll set that aside for now, but we do have a father going out looking, but who is he looking for? Not the prodigal. He went out looking for the older son. What Jesus is telling us here, listen, it’s easy to see that the prodigal is lost, but the reality is that the older brother is just as lost. The older brother is just as lost.

But it’s harder to see. The reality is, the hardest people to find are the people that don’t know they are lost, right? Wives? Ever been to Home Depot with your husband? My wife and I have this conversation all the time. I can find this. We could just ask. No, we don’t need to ask. I know what I’m looking for. People who don’t know they need help are the hardest people to help. Ten years ago I would have said, you know, husbands don’t ask for directions and glory be to God Most High, we don’t have to anymore, right? Can I get an amen on that? Right, men? We have a phone. We have been saying we are never lost. We have been saying we are not lost for years, and now it’s finally true.

But the hardest people to find are those who have no idea they are lost, and the reality is, what Jesus is saying, the older brother is lost too. He’s been living at a distance from his father. It’s just a little harder to recognize, and it’s motivated by very different things. The younger brother was driven by self-indulgence, but what’s driving the older brother? Let’s see. The father went out and pleaded with him, verse 29. But he answered his father, look, all of these years I have been slaving for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders. Really a powerful statement. Three things that are interesting about it to me, first thing he says look. Literally, it’s behold. He says check it out. Dad, look at my track record. Look at the evidence. Look at my performance for you. Look at my history for you. He says, I have been slaving for you, which is such an interesting word. Serving alongside you, working the family business with you, I have been performing as a slave for you.

Checking off the boxes. That’s how he sees it. And third he says, I have never disobeyed you. And I’m not crazy about the translation because the Greek word, it doesn’t mean to reject a commandment. What it means is to overlook a commandment. He’s not so much saying that I have said no to your commandments, he’s saying, I have never skipped over any. I have never passed by. I have never overlooked. He’s saying, I never missed a beat, dad. I never missed a box that needed to be checked. Everything you wanted done, I was diligent, I was careful. I checked them all off, and I did them perfectly. He says, and dad, my track record is perfect.

And in this we begin to see a really powerful insight into what drives the older brother. If the younger brother was driven by self-indulgence, the older brother was driven by performance, right? He was driven by performance. He says, dad, I performed for you. I performed so well for you. I performed perfectly for you. And yet, he says, yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. Here’s the problem. Those that are driven by performance can be just as lost as those that are driven by self-indulgence, but it’s must harder for the performance-dependent to see, and what Jesus gives us as the parable continues, is basically five red flags, five warning signs that we have older brother-itis. We are actually driven by performance which is causing damage. It’s causing distance in our relationship with God that we don’t necessarily notice, but Jesus gives us five red flags.

The first one is this, he says that the older brother looked at his father and said, you never even gave me a young goat. Look at my performance record. Look at the track record. I have been slaving for you, checking off all of the boxes, and I never missed a beat, but you never gave me even a young goat, and look, look, my younger brother, look at his performance record. It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible, but you gave him this, where’s mine? Where’s my goat? You never even gave me a young goat that’s not fatted, it’s not good yet. You never even gave me one of those, but it’s very clear that he feels entitled to it, right? He feels it’s owed to him because of what? Because of his performance, and that entitlement, that sense that we are owed, that’s our first red flag that we are trusting in performance. Red flag number one. A sense that God owes me is a warning that we are trusting in our performance, and I’m going to be honest with you, I have had times in my life where I felt exactly that. I was a good kid. I was never a prodigal. I was a prodigy is what I was.

And you know, I grew up in Southern Baptist churches. They would come, they were professional testimony givers. Their testimonies were off the hook. They were crazy. They would come, and they would be like, yeah, I was a drug-dealing, axe-murdering, adulterer, and Jesus found me and turned me back around, and I was like, wow. That’s awesome. You are clearly a prodigal. I’m better than you. And somewhere in my soul, there was a lie that began to creep in that if I did all of the right things, God owed me. There should be certain kind of blessings. I should have certain kinds of rewards for that, and there was a sense that developed in me that God owes me, because I’m one of His best.

The reality is, I wasn’t performing out of a love for God. I was performing to earn God’s approval, to earn these blessings that I felt entitled to, and God began to have to work on me in that. Part of the way that happened is because I began to realize when we feel like God owes us, we also become resentful when He doesn’t deliver in the way that we expect, and look what happens next. You never even gave me a young goat so I could celebrate, but when this son of yours that squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him. Do you hear the resentment there? This son of yours. He squandered, right? Look at his performance record. He wasted your money. I have been making you more. I have been investing. I have been increasing your wealth. He’s been burning through it. And he’s been hanging out with prostitutes, Dad. Not me, I have been hanging out with respectable people. I have been a pillar in the community. As much humiliation as he’s brought in the family, I worked hard to really fix that and be respectable in the eyes of everyone.

But this son of yours, when he comes home, you kill the fatted calf for him. Do you hear the resentment in that? That’s red flag number two. Resentment is a sure sign that we are trusting in our performance because when we become resentful what we are finding out is it’s coming from a place in our souls that says God owes me, and if you are not going to give me what you owe me, what’s wrong with you, right?

If you have ever looked at somebody else and seen how God had blessed them and been resentful that God had not done the same thing for you, then you know exactly what this is like, and I have been there. For many years, I made a living as a speaker. I had this idea that if you are faithful with little, God will give you greater things, and so I tried really hard for years to be faithful at every speaking opportunity. 20 middle school students? Absolutely. I’ll go and do that. I’ll be faithful with it. I spent years doing that kind of thing. Sometimes I would go to these big conferences, thousands of people, and I would see speakers and I would be like, man, they have not put in the time that I have. They have not done the educational work that I have. They just knew somebody, and they got this huge platform and I began to realize, the Holy Spirit began to do this work in me that I had grown resentful of God that He wasn’t giving me that platform after all I had done for Him, and all that, oh, all right. Yeah, see, I was being faithful so that God would give me much rather than being faithful so that I could become the kind of person who could be trusted with much if God decided to give it to me.

I had to repent. I had to change. But resentment is a huge red flag. Part of the problem with resentment too, and this is something I realized in my own life, and I think the older brother probably did as well. That is, when we again to feel that resentment, we also begin to feel fear. The fear is that God is working off of a different scorecard than we are. That’s red flag number three. It’s the fear that God might be using a different scorecard than we are. That’s a sure sign that we are performance oriented because what happens is, they go, I’m doing all of these things. I’m using the scorecard. I’m checking off the boxes, and I expected this result, and it didn’t happen, so am I using the wrong scorecard? That person over there, they got blessed. What was their score? What were they doing? What was their performance track? And when we find ourselves looking around going, maybe I need to do what they are doing. Maybe I need to do what he’s doing. Maybe I need to do what she’s doing, maybe that’s the scorecard God’s using, and there is this fear that creeps in that says, maybe I’m using the wrong scorecard.

Maybe God’s using a different scorecard, and we become frantic in this attempt to find owed, and that we are resentful that we haven’t had. That fear is a huge, huge red flag whatever it’s going to take to get what we think that we are that we are depending on our performance.

Verse 31. My son, the father replied, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. It’s such a powerful response. His son’s clearly frustrated. He’s resentful. He’s frantic. I don’t get it. Here’s the scorecard. I did all of these things, and I haven’t gotten anything from you that I thought I should have. He didn’t do anything, so Dad, what is it? What are you looking for? What scorecard are you using? Tell me? And his dad says, okay, I’ll tell you. He says son, you’re always with me. That’s what he leads with. There’s no performance in that, right? There’s no, well, this is what your younger brother did. There’s no performance at all. What he focuses on is not performance, what he focuses on exclusively is relationship, right?

What scorecard am I using? Relationship. You are always with me. That’s what’s important to me, son. You are always with me, but interestingly enough, while that’s what’s important to the father, there is clearly the sense that, yeah, maybe you have stayed at home, but you really haven’t been at home with me, right? There’s some kind of distance here, but that’s what’s important to his father. It’s relationship. He says, you were always with me, and everything I have is yours, and I love that, because, it sounds sort of like figurative, right? Like you can have anything of mine, but it’s actually literal. Back in verse 12 at the beginning of the story, the younger one, the younger brother said to his father, Father, give me my share of the estate. Give me my share of the inheritance, and so he divided his property between them.

He gave the younger son his share of the property, which would have been 1/3 in this case. The older brother would have gotten 2/3, so the older brother got 2/3, but the father has taken all of his property, he’s divided it among his two sons, so literally, everything that is left of the estate is owned by the older brother. This isn’t figurative. He goes, being together is what happens to me. Relationships matter. Besides, everything I have is already yours. You could have taken the fatted calf whenever you wanted. You could have thrown a party whenever you wanted. You had the resources. I would have been happy to party with you, but you chose not to. Not because you didn’t have access to the resources, but because you chose not to because you can’t celebrate, son. By the way, that’s the fourth red flag. The fourth red flag is that the inability to celebrate is a sure sign that we are trusting our performance, because people who are driven by performance never know when they cross the finish line. They never know when they have done enough. They never know when it’s safe to start the party. You always feel like you have to have more. That is me through and through and through.

Like my wife celebrates at the drop of a hat, and it’s awesome, and I’m always fighting her on it. She’s like, that’s awesome. I’m like, hold on. We have to wait. We need to see. It became clear to me over the last couple of years. When I first came to Mission Hills two years ago, I joined a leadership group, and every six months we meet together as pastors from similar kinds of churches, and we had some coaches. That first time I had been here about three months or so. They asked, how’s it going at Mission Hills. I said, it’s going okay. Early days, still honeymoon period, so I’m going to wait and see. Like, okay.

Six months later, how’s it going? Well, I think it’s still the honeymoon phase. Things are going okay, but you know, we have to wait and see. Another six months, it’s been like a year and a half, and they said, well, how’s it going? I said, well, you know and they went, stop. They said, like, I mean, has the church declined? Well, no. Well, has the church grown? Well, no, not really because there was a period of almost two years with no pastor and the attendance dipped, so we have come back up to where the attendance was. They said, so you have grown?

No. There was a dip and we have come back to where it was before. They are like so you have grown. I was like, no, you don’t understand. They are like, Craig, why can’t you celebrate? And the Holy Spirit began to say to me, yeah, Craig, why can’t you? And the reality is because I’m performance driven. I know that about myself. When we are performance driven, we never feel like we have crossed the finish line where it’s safe because it might go bad.

It’s not this, and it can’t be that. That’s a huge red flag. I’m just telling you that as a fellow brother in Christ. If you struggle to celebrate, that’s a red flag that you are probably driven by performance more than you realize. The father, on the other hand, verse 32 says, but we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. And I love that. We had to celebrate. Not that celebration is acceptable at this point, but it would be unacceptable for us not to celebrate. We had to. We had no option. We had to celebrate because this lost son is found. He was dead and he’s alive and we have to celebrate, and I love that he said, “we.” We had to celebrate. There is the sense that his older brother should be celebrating too. We have to. Like this is nonnegotiable, kid, but the older brother wanted to negotiate on it, right? He wanted to stay dead. He didn’t want to celebrate, and I get it. I understand exactly why because what he is seeing is grace. He’s seeing grace being poured out on his younger brother, and he hates grace. Performance-driven people don’t like grace because if God will give grace on people who haven’t performed like we were,like we have, then what does that say about our track record?

What does it say about the value of our performance? What does it say about how good we have been? If you are going to pour out grace and love and acceptance on somebody that hasn’t performed at all, then what happens to my track record? Does it not matter? Does it not matter as much as we thought it did? Does it not accomplish what we thought it was accomplishing? That’s the problem. Performance oriented people tend to think that our performance is what earns us God acceptance. It’s what earns us God’s pleasure. It’s what earns us God’s love, and when we see grace being poured out people, then we suddenly realize, maybe I haven’t accomplished what I thought I had. Maybe I have haven’t experienced what I thought I have, and we know we haven’t experienced it, but maybe it’s just that one more step. Maybe that’s when I’ll really begin to experience God’s love and acceptance. I just have to perform a little more. We hate grace.

Because we don’t like it, we also don’t get it, and that’s the older brother’s problem here, right? If I celebrate his homecoming, I’m giving him grace, and I can’t do that. That’s red flag number five. The inability to give grace is a sure sign that we are trusting our performance. Because if we give grace, we join God in giving grace, we are saying two things. Number one, we are saying our performance isn’t what counts, and if our performance isn’t what counts, then I guess I need grace too, right? And that’s hard for the older brother to realize that we need grace as much as the younger brother, that grace is necessary for the prodigal and for the performer.

What Jesus is saying, it’s so clear. He’s saying, listen, God is far more interested in His relationship with you, He’s far more interested in our relationship with Him than He is in our performance for Him. You hear me? And I’m talking to myself, but I’m also perfectly aware that in a church, there is a whole lot of people who have older brother-itis. I’m saying as one of you, listen, God is far more interested in our relationship with Him than in our performance for Him. That very statement itself sometimes causes people to bristle. Okay, that just feels reckless. Then what about the performance? But the reality is that we can’t perform enough to be accepted by God.

What we can do, we can live in a relationship with God that drives transformation in our lives. It drives sin out of our lives. The love of God will transform sin out of our lives in a way that performance could absolutely never accomplish. But there’s still a part of us that goes, but if you say that really what God wants is a relationship with you, if it’s really all about grace, then that just feels reckless. It doesn’t feel prudent. It doesn’t feel like the right way, and so not only do we hold ourselves to that standard, we hold others to the same standard, right? We don’t give grace.

We have other expectations. You need to perform up to this level or I’m not going to love you, because we feel that’s the way it works with God, and it’s not. It’s not. God is far more interested in our relationship with Him than our performance for Him. Three questions for you. Last week we asked how much of yourself do you see in the younger brother? Let’s turn the tables now. How much of myself do I see in the older brother? How much older brother-itis do I have? If you are wondering how do you push into that, question number two, which signs of performance dependence are most evident in my life? We talked about five. For me, I can check off every one of those boxes. There is the sense that God owes me. Check. I struggle with that. There is a resentment when I don’t get what I’m owed. Check. A fear that maybe I’m working off of the wrong scorecard. I need to change the scorecard if I really want God to bless me and love me. Check. Inability to celebrate. Check. Inability to give grace to others. Check.

God’s been working on me. In some of this, I see change. I’m seeing freedom come, but I look back at my walk with Jesus over the last 25 or 30 years, and I go, man, there are times that I can check every single one of those boxes, and I continue to struggle with that. How about you? Which ones of those are most evident? So you say, I see it. What do I do about it? I’m going to give you one simple question that I believe is probably the most powerful thing you can begin to do to cure yourself of older brother-itis. To cure yourself of this performance defense, to set yourself free from the idea that you have to perform for God to accept you and love you. Here’s the question. What is one step that I can take this week to begin giving grace? Because here’s the thing. When we begin to give grace to others, when we take that person in our lives that we are so upset with, we are so frustrated with because they are not performing according to our standards and we go, you know what? I’m going to love you whether you ever hit that standard or not.

When we begin to give grace, when we begin to join with God in giving grace, we begin to experience a freedom that comes from accepting it for ourselves. If we can give grace to others, if we don’t hold them to standards, we begin to realize that the standards are not actually where hope comes from. It’s not where peace comes from. It’s not where love comes from. Grace is where that comes from. Grace is what drives transformation, and then we can begin to accept that. Who is one person in your life that you struggle to give grace to, and what is one step you can take this week to give grace to that person? Let’s pray.

God, on all of our campuses, we recognize a lot of us struggle with being the older brother. We struggle with performance dependence. And Lord, we just acknowledge to You whether we have seen it before or not, we acknowledge to You that, that dependence on performance is damaging to our relationship with You. It keeps us from enjoying our relationship with You. It keeps us from celebrating all that You have done in our lives and all that You will do if we’ll just focus on our relationship with You. We confess that, that is hard for us, and we ask for Your mercy and Your grace. Lord, give us the grace to know that we need grace, breakthrough our shells and our hardness. Lord, forgive us for the ways we have held others to standards that they can’t attain to. Perhaps out of an arrogance that we live according to standards, so they should too. The fear that we have to lower the standards to give grace and love, the fear that, that would be reckless, Lord, would You set us free from that? We want to enjoy our relationship with You. Would You set us free from this performance dependence that keeps that from happening? Amen.

If you continue in an attitude of prayer, if you are a follower of Jesus, would you begin praying for the people around you? Because I believe that on all of our campuses right now, including Church Online there are some people that are just waking up to the reality that they have been performing so hard to get God’s acceptance, and so frustrated that they have never managed to feel that they really have it, and they are tired, and they are exhausted, and they are hearing for the first time that God cares more for a relationship than performance and that is like water to a dry throat, and they are realizing that they are thirsty for that love, for that relationship.

And if that’s you, on all of our campuses, if you realize that you have been performing... maybe you have spent your whole life in church. Maybe this is the first day you have ever come to church, but you have spent all of this time believing that you had to perform for God to love you. If you are realizing for the first time that, that’s not true, and you just want to accept His grace and His love, if you are ready to give your life to the God who gave His life for you because of His love for you, would you just slip your hand up? Feel free to give your life to Jesus. That’s fantastic. That’s awesome. If you are joining us online, click the button right below me. If you are watching on Facebook, say, I’m ready. Wherever you are right now, just say this, say:

God, I want You in my life, and I realize I can never perform well enough to force You to accept me, and I realize I don’t need to. Jesus, thank you for coming and dying for me on the cross. Thank you for purchasing forgiveness for all of the ways that I haven’t performed well enough. Thank you that, that is off the table. Jesus, thank you for rising from the dead, and offering me new life in a relationship with God. Jesus, I give you my life now. Put my trust in you, and I receive new life and relationship with my God. I’m yours from now and forever, in Jesus name. Amen.

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