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Greg Laurie - Dealing With Depression


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    Greg Laurie - Dealing With Depression
TOPICS: Depression

Now, Lord, as we come to your word, we come with an open heart and an open Bible to hear what you have to say. Bless this time we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.


Well, you can all be seated. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. When someone says they've been listening to you since they were a little kid, that's another way of saying you're really old, OK? And that's OK. I am 69 years old. So someone's got to do it, so I thought I'll do it. And at our church we're getting ready to celebrate 50 years of ministry. So that's amazing. My wife and I are getting ready to celebrate 50 years of marriage. So a lot of things happening, and we're thankful. And I wanted to say a Happy Father's Day to all your dads. You're thinking about Mother's Day. So you say to your mom, Mom, what do you want to do on Mother's Day? And she'll say, "I would like the whole", I don't think mothers sound like this but I mean, "I would like the whole family to come to church with me". OK, mom. We'll do it. You go to dad. "Dad, it's Father's Day. What do you want to do"? I don't want to go to church. I want to stay home and barbecue, right?

So I want to applaud every father that is in church today. Levi alluded to this, but with all that is going on in the world right now, you can almost trace every social ill in America to the breakdown of the family, and specifically, to the absence of fathers. So when you have fathers that take their job and calling seriously and stand with their wives and stand with their children and raise them in the way of the Lord, these men are the unsung heroes in America today. So God bless you. You can leave now and go do your barbecue thing. No.

OK, so I have a message. That title is: Dealing With Depression. I hope none of you are depressed. Maybe some of you are, and I hope this message will encourage you. It's based on 1 Kings Chapter 18. That's where we're going to start, and we'll be looking at 1 Kings a little bit. But let me start with a story, something that just happened to me. So it was Saturday, and I was going upstairs at my house to put the finishing touches on this message, dealing with depression. I had a Yeti cup. You know what a Yeti cup is? Metal thermos filled with ice and water. And I'm holding it, I'm kind of going up the stairs pretty fast for a 69-year-old man. And I get to the top, and I catch the tip of my shoe on the top stair and I start falling.

Now I'm trying to get my footing. And instead of getting my footing, I effectively go airborne and do a face plant in a built-in desk right in front of me. Boom, I hit this thing. I may have blacked out for a moment. I open my eyes. There's blood on the floor, and my back really hurts bad. And I said to my wife, Kathy, I've fallen and I can't get up. Have you seen that commercial? It actually happened to me. And so she came up, and we went to the ER. And as it turned out, my tooth went all the way through my lip. I had to get stitches on the inside of my lip, on the outside of my lip and x-rays on my head and my back. And they slapped me around a little bit, and I got out of there. But one really cool thing is as they're taking me for my X-ray the guy says, would you like to use a wheelchair? I'm like, no, I don't want a wheelchair. I said, then again, maybe I will. And this guy was a Christian. He says, I listen to you on the radio, and I want to just pray for you, pastor. And the whole time he's pushing me, he's praying for me. And I thought, God has his people pretty much everywhere.

Well, I tell you this story to sort of bridge the gap here to what we're going to look at in a moment. We're going to look at a man of God who got discouraged. Even Christians can get down. And this is Elijah the prophet I'm talking about. Now when you think of Elijah the prophet, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is he called fire down from heaven. He'd be a great guy to have around at a barbecue, right? So this was a unique gifting that God gave to Elijah, but the Bible also says, Elijah was as human as we are. God used him to raise the dead. God used him to stop the rain. God used him to call fire from heaven. But he got really down on one occasion, and we're going to key in on that story as we look at the shootout at the Carmel corral. Mount Carmel, the big contest between Elijah and The Prophets of Baal. But before that fire would fall, something had to happen.

And if you're taking notes, here's my first point. If we want to see God work, we must do our part. If we want to see God work, we must do our part. 1 Kings 18:30, Elijah said to the people, come here to me. And they came to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. We want to see the fire, but first you got to repair the altar. And I ask you today, does the altar of your life need to be repaired? And by that I mean, has there been a breakdown in your life spiritually? Is there a time as a Christian when you read the word of God more than you read it now? It was your daily habit. You would read it every morning. Do you still do that or do you still have the prayer life you once had? Do you still share your faith as zealously as you once did? Are you as regular in your church attendance as you used to be? And if that's not the case, maybe your altar needs to be repaired.

You say, I want the fire of God. I want the power of God. Repair your altar first. Start there. To the church of Ephesus, Jesus said, loose paraphrase, I know you guys work really hard. I know you're discerning. I appreciate that, but I have something against you. You have left your first love. Then he says, remember therefore from where you have fallen, and do the first works quickly. So the three R's of getting right with God are remember, repent, and repeat. First, remember. So maybe you'd look back in your life as a Christian and say, there was a time when I was stronger than I am now. So first you remember it. Then you repent. Notice, he says repent from where you have fallen. To leave one's first love is a form of falling. I fell on my stairs rather quickly. We don't think of it that way, but it actually is the first step in the wrong direction. Then do the first works quickly or repeat.

As the apostle Paul said, get back, get back, get back, to where you once belonged. That's Paul McCartney. If you laughed at that, you're old. If you didn't get the reference, you're young. There it is right there in a nut shell. So get back and do those things again. It's sort of like a marriage. Sometimes in a marriage you feel like it's not what it once was. And sometimes people say, I'm done with this marriage. I'm going to go look for somebody else in life. No, you need to return to your first love. And don't wait for the emotion to come. Go back and just do loving things, and the emotions will catch up. Make the emotion, and the emotion will catch up. We talk about the need for a spiritual awakening in America, and that is our only hope. It's certainly not a political solution.

We've never been more divided politically than we are right now. We need God's Holy Spirit to fall on our nation, and we need another spiritual awakening. The last one was the Jesus movement that happened around 50 years ago. We need another Jesus movement. But God really lays out the groundwork for it. Sort of like how to rebuild the altar. And 2 Chronicles 7:14 he says, if my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then the Lord promises, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. We all want to see our land healed. But God says, first, my people need to pray and turn to me and turn from their wicked ways. We need to do our part, and God will do His part.

So back to our story. Here's Elijah up on Mount Carmel. He's effectively chosen off 850 false prophets. Prophets of Baal, which is God they worship who was the God of the elements, the God of the weather. And then the goddess Astoreth, which was the goddess of lust and fertility. He goes, well, let's go for it. Let's say whoever is worshiping the true God will answer our prayer by fire. Amazingly, King Ahab agrees to this. Why would he do this? Elijah has already stopped the rain. Clearly he's following the true God. Surely Ahab knows Baal is a false God. Well, he agreed to it. And you know why he agreed to it? #SinMakesYouStupid. Right. People do stupid things under the influence of sin. So Ahab agrees to this crazy confrontation, which is going to blow up in his face.

So 1 Kings 18:27, I love this. And I'm reading, by the way, from the New Living Translation. About noon time, Elijah began mocking them. I love the fact that Elijah mocked people. I am a mocker. I was in North Carolina once, and I drove by a town called Mocksville. I thought I should have been born in Mocksville. I'm always mocking. Anyway, he began to mock them. Hey, you guys. You need to shout louder, he scoffed. Surely he's a God. Maybe he's daydreaming or he's relieving himself. That is what he said. That is what the original language implies. Maybe your God's in the celestial outhouse. Yell louder. Or maybe he's away on a trip or he's asleep or needs to be wakened. So they shouted louder. And following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice.

I love this verse. Still there was no sound, no reply, no response. I love how Elijah says, hey, maybe he's asleep. Aren't you glad God doesn't fall asleep? The other day, I ate this really giant chicken sandwich. And afterwards, I went into something I would compare to a food coma. I just conked out. And then I woke up. I literally, for a moment, didn't know where I was. Aren't you glad God doesn't go into food comas? Aren't you glad God is never asleep at the wheel? He's always aware of what is happening in your life. It says in Psalm 121 verse 4, "He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps". Listen, God is never asleep. He's always watching. 2 Chronicles 69 says, "The eyes of the Lord searched the whole Earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him".

So we see Elijah mocking them. And then there's no answer. There's just a lot of blood and a big mess. So they mop it up, and they clean it in. And now Elijah says, I want you to douse the altar with water. And they do so. And he goes, do it again. And then he says, then do it one more time. Now, by the way, water was very scarce. Don't forget there had been a drought for three and a half years. So they're taking what precious little water they have, and they're pouring it on the altar. Why? Elijah wanted everyone to know that when God answered this prayer, it was going to be him and nothing else. Sometimes God puts us in situations where the only way we can look is up. Where the doctors don't give us any hope. Where others don't give us any hope. So we're saying, Lord, I need a miracle. So when it comes through, you know it's the Lord. And it's not coincidence, right?

So now the altar is soaked, and that brings me to point number two. Our job is to pray. God's job is to answer. Our job is to pray. God's job is to answer. I don't know what you're facing right now, but have you prayed about it? The Bible says you have not because you ask not. And I'm not suggesting God will heal every person because that's up to him. But if you're sick, you certainly should ask for his healing touch. And if you're in financial need, you can certainly ask for his provision. And if you have a problem in your home right now, you can certainly ask for his intervention. You have not because you asked not. And Jesus said, ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be open. And there's an increasing intensity to those verbs. So another way to translate it would be keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. So we pray, and God's job is to answer.

1 Kings 18:36, at the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and he prayed, Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel, and I'm your servant. And I've done all these things at your command. Answer me so that people will know that you are God, and you're turning their hearts back again. We'll stop there. I love that prayer, so confident, no hype, no hoopla. Lord, OK, this is your moment. We're looking to you. And God, of course, answered that prayer, 1 Kings 18 says, the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice and the stones and the soil. And the people cried out in unison, the Lord, he is God. The Lord, he is God. But God was just getting started. Now he's going to send the rain. Again, it had not rained for three and a half years because Elijah boldly stormed into the court of Ahab one day. He's kind of a hairy dude, by the way.

The Bible actually tells us he was hairy and had this weird clothing he would wear. So you would definitely spot him very quickly. Walks into the royal court of Ahab and Jezebel and says, it's not going to rain. But according to my word, as the Lord God of Israel lives before whom I stand. This is what's going to happen. And he walked out. The guy was so bold. So now he's saying the rain's coming because this is the time for the rain. And he tells Ahab, you better get back to the palace, it's going to rain. There's not a cloud in the sky. And a lot of times, weathermen don't get it right, do they? Here's what I know. Bald men always know when it's raining first. We do. I'll tell you why we always know. We feel the rain. I'll be out walking with my wife. I'll say, it's starting to sprinkle. She'd say, no, it isn't. Her hair is so thick, she won't know it's raining for hours. No, it's raining. The solar panel here just got a drop.

The sure fire way I found to get rain to come is wash my car, works every time, right? And so Elijah says it's going to rain. He knows what's coming. And this is what I find really interesting is that believers know things that non-believers don't know, right? We know a storm is coming. We know that man is not basically good. We know that, according to Bible prophecy, a great tribulation period will come upon the Earth. We know a charismatic world figure will emerge on the scene called the Antichrist. We know judgment is ultimately coming. But even more, we know that Jesus is coming. That's our message.

So Elijah, in faith, could see that God wanted to do something. I remember when... not Elijah, but Levi, two different people. When Levi first came here to Montana, we were back in California, and I actually said, hey, Levi. Would you like to come work for us at harvest as our youth pastor? And he was so effective then, and still is today, in communicating with younger people. And he said, no, I feel called to Montana. And I'm like, Montana? And I don't mean that in a mean way, but just like why Montana? He felt called. Levi saw what God was going to do in a place where this thing had not yet been done. That's not because Levi is some mystical guru. It's just because he's a Christian, and God gave to him a vision. And when you have a vision, you see what can happen. But it hasn't happened yet. And Elijah saw effectively into the future. A believer sees invisible things. Hebrews 11 says, verse 1, faith is a substance of things hope for. It's the evidence of things not yet seen.

And so Elijah says, now the rain is going to come. And it did come. And King Ahab rushed back to the palace on his chariot, and he told the Wicked Witch of the West, his wife Jezebel, hey, guess what just happened on Mount Carmel. The fire God fell. And you know all those prophets? They're gone. They were put to death, and she was so ticked off. She said, I'm putting a contract out on the hairy dude, OK? He's dying. He's going to die. So she effectively threatened the life of Elijah. And this is where we come to the part where he dealt with his depression. Sometimes we put spiritual leaders on pedestals. We get down, but we don't expect them to get down. But, as I said earlier, Elijah was as human as you are. You don't expect to see a guy like Elijah standing in line at the DMV. Do you have the DMV here in Montana? Do you call it the DMV? Yes. Is it as bad here as it is in California? Yes. This is why you don't want more government in your life, by the way, because this is a government run, it's so bad, right?

And so you don't expect to see a guy like Elijah just out and about. But he was just a regular person, and he got down. So after this threat was put on his life by Jezebel, 1 Kings 19:4 says, He went on alone into the wilderness. Traveling all day, he sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed he might die. He said, Lord, I've had enough. Take my life. I'm no better than my ancestors who've already died. By the way, Elijah was not the first man or woman of God to feel this way. Moses became so blue he asked God to take his life as well. Jonah, after the great revival of Nineveh, effectively said the same thing. Even the apostle Paul got so down he said, that he despaired of life.

Again, Elijah was as human as we are. So here are some principles about dealing with depression. And by the way, when I address this topic, I'm not talking about clinical depression. That's a real thing. You need to talk to your doctor about that. I'm talking about the depression that we all face as human beings, as even followers of Jesus where we get down in the dumps. Our emotions get the best of us.

Here's my first point about depression. Times of depression and vulnerability often come after great victories. Times of depression and vulnerability often come after great victories. Elijah had just had the greatest moment of his life. Fire came from heaven. God answered in a dramatic way. And then rain comes, and now he has this threat on his life. Depression often follows disappointment. I think maybe Elijah was hoping that Ahab and Jezebel would come around spiritually. They would see the power of God. They would believe, but they did not believe. And he was really discouraged by that. Maybe he was hoping for a spiritual awakening in Israel, but that didn't really happen either. And maybe that's happened to some of you. You've obeyed the Lord. You've done what God has shown you to do. And then you have attack in your home, maybe with your family, maybe with your kids. You feel like a failure as a parent, even as a Christian. And you find yourself slumping into depression.

So I learned how to deal with a slump that I go into sometimes. And that slump happens after we do crusades. So your pastor Levi has been with us on many of our crusades. In fact, when I first met him, I saw a photo of him standing behind the pulpit of a harvest crusade in New Mexico. He's just a little kid. His head barely clears the pulpit. And you could see, even when he was a little guy, he wanted to be a preacher. And I think you should get a really giant pulpit today, Levi. So you can look... Anyway, but so we've been doing these crusades all these years, and a weird thing happens. After we do them, the next day on Monday I get really down emotionally. You think, wait, no, Craig, you should be happy. Well, I am. But I know the slump is coming, and I learned how to deal with this by spending a little bit of time around Billy Graham.

I wrote a book about Billy called Billy Graham: The Man I Knew. And as Billy was ending his crusade ministry, I was just starting mine. And Billy asked me to spend time with him and help him with the sermon preparation, which was a great honor. So I got to be with him in a lot of interesting situations, not just on crusade platforms behind it, but behind the scenes and just hanging out with him. By the way, Billy's favorite place to eat lunch was the Red Lobster. I don't know why he loved the Red Lobster. I was talking to a friend the other day, and he told me about how he went to lunch with Billy Graham. I said, where did you go? He said, the Red Lobster. I said, I went to Red Lobster with him too.

Anyway, so Billy was the most humble guy I've ever met and the most godly man I've ever met. So I was with him in Portland, Oregon. And so you guys have a Fresh Life campus there, so hello to Portland, Oregon. And so you guys know this in Portland, that you are not the most Christian city in America, right? You know that. OK, so here Billy is having this crusade. Johnny Cash sang that night. The stadium was packed. A bunch of people got saved. It was almost revival like. So we're leaving the platform. I'm walking right behind Billy. Billy is going through this crowd of people, big crowd. On each side, the ushers are kind of holding them back. They're saying, Billy, Billy. And he just kind of has his head down. And we go and we get in the car. So I'm riding shotgun, right, next to the driver. His name was TW, long-time friend of Billy Graham. In the back seat there's Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.

So as we're pulling out, I turned around. I wanted to say something nice to Billy to encourage him. I said, Billy, that was a great message tonight. Billy looked at me with those steely blue eyes, and he said, it's just gospel. I thought, I know. I was just trying to compliment you. Then I thought, well, I'll say something specific. I turn back around. I said, Billy, I love that point when you said Christ can resensitize your conscience. And he said, well, he can. I thought, OK, whatever. So Billy doesn't want to be complimented, duly noted. So we get to the hotel, and so he invites us up to his room because someone gave us these roast beef sandwiches that were hot when they were given to us. Now they're very cold. Let's eat these sandwiches. So Billy goes and comes back into the main room, and he's wearing his pajamas and his dress shoes. I think he left his slippers at home.

So I'm sitting there with Billy Graham in his room while he's in his pajamas, and we're eating cold roast beef sandwiches. And people are telling stories, they're laughing. We didn't even talk about the crusade. Here's what I learned. Don't take yourself too seriously. My job is to go deliver the gospel. God's job is to do whatever he wants to with the gospel, and then I move on, right? And I learned that watching Billy. That he did his job, and he gave the glory to God. And he didn't focus on his emotions. Don't focus on your emotions. Focus on God. Listen, you're not as good or as bad as people say you are. You're God's servant. Give him the glory and keep moving. Amen. There's a sign at the end of an airport runway that makes this statement, and I quote, "Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying". End quote. Don't stop. Keep moving. I'm feeling down. Yeah? Really? Interesting, keep moving. Keep moving. That's what you got to do. Elijah was not thinking clearly. He had been paralyzed by fear. He was dealing with severe depression.

And my next point. When you're depressed, do not isolate. But surround yourself with family and friends. When you are depressed, do not isolate, but surround yourself with family and friends. 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah went on alone into the wilderness traveling all day. He was all alone. He needed a trusted friend who could have encouraged him. Sometimes when we're down we say, I'm going to isolate. I don't want to talk to anybody. I'm going to go online instead and read random comments by people I don't know. Yeah. Those are the last people you should be hearing from. You can listen to the wrong voices. He needed people that loved him and cared about him. Listen, even Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to be with him in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplated the horrors of the cross that was still before him. And what did he say to them? He said, sit with me.

Reason being, the Bible says, his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Just be with me. Levi mentioned dear little Lenya going to heaven. And he mentioned our son Christopher, who went to be with the Lord 14 years ago. And losing a child is the most devastating thing that can happen to a person. And it's been many years now, but I'm still mourning the loss of my son. But I've adapted to it. I've learned to live without him in my life. I look forward to seeing him again in heaven. But people say really random things to you when you lose a child like, well, God must have needed another angel in heaven. Well, people don't turn into angels in heaven. God picks his best flowers first. I may slap you right now for saying that to me. Do you have other children? Well, at least you have other children. No, that child is irreplaceable.

So people don't know what to say. And the best thing you can do with someone who is mourning the loss of a child or a loved one is sometimes just don't say anything. Just be there, and say, I love you. I'm praying for you. I'm sorry. If there's anything I can do, I'm here. And just leave it at that. Read the book of Job. These guys show up after Job went through the worst calamity imaginable. He lost his family, his possessions, his children, and then he breaks out in boils. And three guys show up, and they just sat there for three days and didn't say a word to Job. And that was the best thing they could do. It's when they started talking the problems began. Well, anyway, you need people around you to encourage you.

I love this next point. Point number three, dealing with depression. Don't ignore the practical when you're feeling down. Don't ignore the practical. 1 Kings 19:4, he sat down under the solitary broom tree, prayed he might die. I've had enough, Lord. Take my life. And as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, get up and eat. He looked around, and there beside his head was some big bread on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and sat down again. Listen to this.

Sometimes you don't need a sermon, you need a sandwich. And by that, I mean we neglect the practical. Everything has to be spiritual. Everything I say, but I need a verse for this. Maybe you just need a nap. And maybe you need to eat something, and you might just feel a little bit better. Don't forget the practical. Don't forget to take care of your health. Don't forget to eat right. Don't forget to exercise. Don't forget to get outside, put the gadgets away, and enjoy God's creation which you have around you so beautifully here in Montana, and really all the locations. You don't have one lousy place where there's a Fresh Life Church, right? Well, you guys in prison. That's pretty hard, OK? That's a lousy place. Let's be honest. But God is with you there. He's with you there. And I have something to say to you in just a moment.

But point number four about depression and dealing with it. When you're feeling down, you need perspective from God's word. 1 Kings 19:8, he got up and ate and drank. And the food gave him enough strength to travel 40 days and nights to Mt Sinai, the mountain of God. And he came to a cave where he spent the night. And the Lord said to him, what are you doing here, Elijah? When you're feeling down, you need to look up. But Elijah went to this cave, and the Bible says while he was in the cave a great earthquake came. It shook everything. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a mighty fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. Then a huge windstorm came, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after all of that, there was a quiet whisper or a still small voice. And the Lord said, what are you doing here?

Sometimes we look for the Lord in the big events in life, and he's there speaking to us. But sometimes he's in those really small moments speaking to us. And I wonder if I'm talking to somebody who feels like Elijah and you find yourself in a cave of sorts. Johnny Cash found himself in a literal cave on one occasion. He was at the peak of his career, very successful. He started taking amphetamines to stay awake on the road and to fulfill all the contracts he had performing. And then he had to take... well, he didn't have to. He took barbiturates to come down. So amphetamines to keep him going, barbiturates to get to sleep at night. And these drugs took their toll on him. He found himself alienated from his friends, from his family. He was self-destructive.

And so, there were a series of caves by the Tennessee River called the Nickajack cave. And these caves were huge. Some of them larger than football stadiums. And they just went on and on and on. And more than one person had gone into these caves and died because they couldn't find their way out. So Johnny Cash went into this cave. And in complete darkness, he could see nothing. He said, "The lack of light was appropriate, for at that moment I was so far from God, further than I'd ever been". And the Lord spoke to Johnny and said, what are you doing here? And he made a recommitment to the Lord. He found his way out of that cave, and that was a whole new direction his career took. And, more importantly, that his life took. Well, that's what God said to Elijah. What are you doing here?

Sometimes we find ourselves in really weird places, and we say, I don't know how I got here. The Lord said, why are you there? Hey, man. I'm struggling with alcohol. I don't want to drink ever again. And when I was at the bar the other night with my friends... wait, what? Why are you hanging around in a bar if you're struggling with alcoholism? In fact, I haven't seen you at church for a few weeks. Why weren't you here? And we find ourselves in a compromising situation. I was with this girl, and I was getting really tempted. Really? Where were you? In a hotel room that we booked. Number one, you're an idiot. Number two, what are you doing there? Well, you put yourself there. Maybe you find yourself in a cave of despair or depression. And I mentioned you guys that are in prison. I mean, you're there in a very difficult place. But God spoke to Elijah in his cave. He can speak to you wherever you are.

I have a friend named Michael Franzese. He was a member of the Colombo crime family. He was in the mafia. He was a good fella, a made man, as they say, a mobster, for real. And because he wouldn't rat out his friends, they sent him to prison. And he was even in solitary confinement in there in what he described as the hole. That's what they called it. A prison guard took pity on Franzese and gave him a copy of the Bible. Franzese began to read it and began to discover that Jesus was the most manly man who ever lived. Because the whole thing in the mafia was about be a man's man. Be a man. Remember the scene in The Godfather when Vito Corleone says to the guy who's struggling with something. He starts crying. He slaps him. Be a man, right? He realized Jesus is the ultimate man. The man who died on the cross for our sins. And Franzese eventually was released from prison has been walking with and serving the Lord now for 25 years, and sharing his story.

So there's still hope. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now. You're in this cave, and you don't know how to get out. The Lord can get you out. What are you doing here? Things can change for you. But not everybody wants to change. Not everyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol wants to be free from it. Not everyone who's living in an immoral lifestyle wants to change that behavior. There's one guy that Jesus healed. And before He healed him He said, do you want to be made whole? What kind of question is that to ask? It's a good question because not everybody wants to be made whole. The man says, yes, yes. And He pulled him up to His feet, and the man walked again.

Do you want to change? Do you want to get out of the situation maybe you've put yourself in? Then you need to call upon the name of the Lord. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. I mentioned Jesus being the man's man. He was the man who was God, fully God, fully man. And he voluntarily went to the cross. See when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible says, He sweat as it were great drops of blood. That's King James and Luke's gospel. And Jesus was probably experiencing what doctors call hematidrosis. Hematidrosis is a rare medical condition when a person is under such intense pressure, they literally sweat blood. Their perspiration is mixed with blood.

That's probably what Christ was experiencing. Why? Because Jesus knowing all things, knowing the future with perfect clarity knew that he was going to have to die. He knew he was going to suffer. He knew they were going to scourge him with a whip. He knew they were going to hit him in the face. He knew they were going to rip the beard out of his face. He knew they would nail him to a cross and put a crown of thorns around his head. But even worse than all of that, as bad as it was, he knew that he who would never sin was going to take all of the sin of the world upon himself. He came to pay a debt he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Jesus died on the cross for us. Why? For God so loved the world. He gave his only begotten son. Whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus died there for you. Jesus died there for me. And if I'll turn from my sin, if I'll ask for his forgiveness, I can have a fresh start in life. So I'd like to close this message with an invitation to anybody here who does not have this relationship with the Lord. You don't know right now with confidence that if you were to die you would go to heaven. Right now there's a big hole in your heart you've been trying to fill with all the things this culture says will make you happy. And it hasn't worked, has it? You need Jesus. He's the one you've been looking for. And Jesus says, behold, I stand at the door and I knock. And if you hear my voice and open the door, I'll come in. Only you can open the door of your heart, so to speak.

So I would like to pray a simple prayer that anyone can pray along with me. And it's a prayer where you're asking Christ to come into your life and forgive you of your sin. And if you pray this prayer and mean it, God will hear it and God will answer it. So if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven, if you want that huge hole in your heart filled, if you're ready to say yes to Jesus Christ, pray this prayer with me right now. Let's all bow our heads. You could even pray it out loud. Just pray these words:

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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