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Greg Laurie - The Cure to Worry

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In this message the title is The Cure To Worry. The Cure To Worry, Philippians chapter four, turn there with me if you would. Philippians for The Cure To Worry. Okay, let's be honest. How many of you have a problem with worry? Raise your hand up. Would any of you describe yourselves as a worry wart? You're very prone to worry, raise your hand up. I'm not gonna mock you, I get that. We all know what it's like to be gripped by fear. You know the feeling when your blood goes cold, shivers down the spine, hair standing up on the back of your head. For me that's singular, I only have one hair on my head. Your stomach sinks, your mouth goes dry.

What amazes me is people will pay good money to be frightened. We go to that scary movie because we want to be scared out of our wits. Or we'll go on that radical rollercoaster. I pretty much gave up rollercoasters a while ago. I had gone to magic mountain a few times, and those are not rollercoasters. Those are torture devices, okay? And so I'm not going there anymore, I'm just gonna go back to Disneyland and ride the rides there. Then even last time I was at Disneyland, I rode the Matterhorn, which has been there forever, ever since I've been a kid. And I'm thinking, "Does this thing have suspension or what"?. I felt every bump, you know?

And so now I'm on the Storybook Land ride where you go through the mouth of Monstro and you just cruise very slowly. But we'll pay money to be frightened. We enjoy being fightened. But then there is another emotion that is paired with fear, and that of course, is worry. And there's a lot of things that one can worry about, especially today. The state of our country, the safety of our country, the economy, terrorism. Nowadays, we even worry a bit about war. I mentioned earlier that the number one Google search, I don't know if it's still the number one Google search, but for a few moments the number one Google search was 'Is world war three close?'. So there are things that are scary.

Time Magazine did an interesting article on the topic of fear. And the said the following, "You might worry about flying, but did you know that 600 Americans each year die from falling out of their beds? Then there's the fatal plunge down the stairs, the bite of sausage lodged in your throat, the tumble of the slippery sidewalk as you leave the house. And those are things you should be afraid of". So I figure as long as you don't eat, sleep, or go down stairs and walk on sidewalks, you're good, right? And then there's the fear of sharks. Have you heard there's a lot of sharks out right now?

There's a video I saw earlier today. It's from the helicopter from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. They made this announcement. These are people paddle boarding, and they made this announcement. Very calmly, they said, "You are paddling. You that are paddle boarding, next to you are 15 great white sharks".. And then they say, "We advise you to get out of the water calmly".. I'm like, "What"? I'm out there paddle boarding, it was a great day. 15! I mean, one great white is bad, two's even worse, three is just earth-shattering. 15 great white sharks? I mean, they should've just maybe put a little more energy into it. They were so calm, "We advise you to leave the water calmly".. They should have just said, "Shark"!, or better yet, "You that are paddle boarding, near you are 15 great white sharks. You are going to die. Pray this prayer after me. Our father, who art in heaven, Hollowed be thy name".. I mean, that'd be pretty accurate.

But here's the funny thing about shark attacks, there's nothing funny about shark attacks, but an interesting study I should say. Did you know more people die from taking selfies than people die from being attacked by sharks? That's absolutely true. How do you die from taking a selfie? You take selfies in dangerous places. The most recent I read about, a tourist fell down the stairs of the Taj Mahal, snapping a selfie. So you know, there's a lot of things to be afraid of in life, and then there are personal fears and worries. Fear for the safety of your family, fear that you'll be able to pay your bills, or fear that you won't be able to pay your bills I should say, fear for your children. So what's bothering you? What is causing you anxiety?

I read that a study was done and people asked, "What do you worry about the most"?. I was surprised by the answer. It wasn't nuclear war, it wasn't shark attacks, the number one fear of most people was, my appearance. Really? My appearance. I may die in a nuclear blast, but how do I look in this outfit? Does this make me look fat? Crazy the things that we'll think about. There's a lot of things that people do worry about. Modern medical research has proved that worrying is actually harmful to you physically because it breaks down your resistance to disease. Experts tell us that worry diseases the nervous system, specifically the digestive organs and the heart. It was revealed that 79-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are stress-related complaints. And I just had one of these incidents. I'm a pretty healthy guy, but I was feeling kind of pressure around in my chest, and I thought, "Wow, am I having a heart issue"?.

So then I Googled 'signs of a heart attack'. Pressure around your chest, yeah I feel that. Shortness of breath. All of a sudden I'm like. Slight nausea. I mean, literally, I'm feeling these things as I'm reading this. So I call my doctor, "I've got to come down there".. I'm not the guy who goes to my doctor over anything and everything, but I had this little bit of pressure. And so I went down, they did an EKG on me. He says, "You're fine"., and I walked out of there feeling good again. I'm telling you, I psyched myself into it. Now if you do feel any of those signs, you should go see a doctor. My doctor said, "It was good that you came to see me, but you such an idiot".. No, he didn't say that. But a lot of times we psych ourselves into things.

Charles Mayo, the founder of the famed Mayo Clinic, said he never knew anyone who died of overwork, but he knew who died of worry. Isn't that interesting? And here's what worry is. Because a lot of times we'll rationalize, "Well, it's just because I care".. Now listen to this. Worry can actually be a sin. It really can. Because to worry is really a failure to trust God. The word 'worry' comes from an old German word that means to choke or strangle. And I was playing with my grandson today and he was coming up from behind, he's getting pretty strong, and choking me. He thought that was a lot of fun. And I had this, "No, don't choke papa"., you know. And that's what worry does, it chokes you out. And it makes things worse, because when you worry about the future, you cripple yourself in the present. Let me say that again. When you worry about the future, you cripple yourself in the present.

Listen, worrying does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. And that it why Jesus said, "Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own". There's an old fable that's told of a man who came face-to-face with the dangers of worry. One day he was walking toward his town and the man saw death. Excuse me, one day death walking toward his town, it's a fable, right? So this didn't really happen, so you're not alarmed. And death was walking toward his town. The man stopped death and said, "Excuse me, what are you gonna do"?. Death said, "I'm gonna go into town and I'm gonna take 100 people".. And the man ran ahead of death and warned everyone that death was coming. As evening fell, he met death again. And the man said, "You said you were gonna take 100 people, why did 1,000 people die"?. Death responded, "I only took 100, worry took the rest".

And that's how worry works. It just whips us into a frenzy. You could write this epitaph on many American tombstones. "Hurried, worried, buried". You know, I kind of like the way Australians view life. How many of you have been to Australia? It's a beautiful country. And they have this expression they use. And the expression is, "No worries, mate".. So you'll ask someone for directions, "Hey do you know the way this place"?. They'll say, "Yeah, go on down there then turn right over here and you might see a kangaroo an get into a boxing match with him, throw another shrimp on barbie", and then they'll say all that stuff. And then they'll say, "Aye, no worries mate".. No worries, mate. I like that. No worries, mate, nothing to worry about. And in a way, that's theologically correct. It's been said, "Worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come".. Worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come.

So what is the cure to worry? I have no idea. Goodnight, and God bless. Alright, there is a cure, and it's right here in the Bible. Philippians four, let's read it together. Philippians four, started at verse four. Paul writes, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication , with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". I love those verses, don't you? And by the way, Paul was not in some ivory tower, spinning up impractical theories. Remember that Paul wrote this under house arrest. He's under house arrest, he's constrained. He cannot come and go as he pleases. And yet the theme of this book, the book of Philippians, is happiness and joy, and rejoicing.

How can you be happy under circumstances like that? Because circumstantially, Paul had nothing to be rejoicing about. I mean, he went to Rome initially to be a preacher, and he ended up there as a prisoner. And he didn't know what the future held. He might be acquitted, and he might be beheaded. And then if that wasn't bad enough, some of the believers were turning against him. Some were for Paul, some were against Paul. But instead of worrying, Paul was rejoicing and living in great peace. And now he gives to us this secret of victory over worry. He says, "Don't be anxious for anything", in verse six. By the way, the word 'anxious' means 'to be pulled in different directions'. Don't be anxious for anything. Our hopes pull us in one direction, our fears pull us in the other. He says, "Don't be anxious for anything".

So what am I supposed to do? Don't be pulled in different directions. What do I do instead? This is very important, verse four. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice". Let's say that together: Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. So what are you going through right now? What are you facing right now? Here's what the Bible says you should do. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice".. I love it how he says, "And again I say". Did you hear what I said? Rejoice in the Lord always. So by the way, did you hear that? Again I say, rejoice. Just do that. "Yeah, but Greg, it's easy for you to say standing up there. I'm going through hardship". He didn't say, "Rejoice in circumstances always"., he said, "Rejoice in the Lord always", that's the key. And by the way, in the original language, it's a command. The Lord's not saying, "Hey, if you're in a good mood, if things are going well, if all the bills are paid and the sky's blue, would you mind rejoicing in me always"?. No, God says, "I command you to rejoice in me always".. It's a scriptural command. And to not rejoice is disobedience to God.

We justify worry in a number of ways, but in fact, God commands us to rejoice. And you know what? Some Christians need to just lighten up a little bit. You know, some believers they're just always down on something. They have no sense of humor. We all know these people, like Debbie Downer, here comes Debbie Downer. Debbie Downer. Hey, how's it going? "It's okay. I just have burden from the Lord". Hey Debbie Downer, when's the last time you smiled? "I don't know, but I'm just so burdened". And here comes Bobby Buzzkill right after Debbie Downer. And Bobby Buzzkill, he loves to quote scriptures out of context. Scriptures out of context. I could be like, "Bobby check out that incredible swell, isn't God good"?. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world". "Bobby, I don't know if that really relates to a nice set of waves". "Yeah, well love not the world". "Hey Bobby, I was just sharing the gospel with a friend the other day". "Be not inequally yolked together with non-believers". "Well, Bobby Buzzkill, I'm not yolk, I'm just talking to them about Jesus". "For what fellowship does light have with darkness"? "Bobby listen, how am I gonna reach people if I don't talk to them about Jesus"? "Come out from among them and be separate". "No, I'm gonna separate your head from your body, Bobby Buzzkill".

You need to chill, you need to lighten up. Some people just have this personality, then they blame it on their Christian faith. This has nothing to do with Christianity. This is just because you are a drag. Stop being that person. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice". Paul had the worst circumstances imaginable, and he's saying that certainly you can rejoice and I can rejoice. Solomon writes in Proverbs 15:15, "A cheerful heart has a continual feast".. Isn't that a great picture? A cheerful hear, a happy person is always having a great meal, in effect it's saying. You know, it's all about your attitude and the way that you look at things. Any idiot can be happy when things are going reasonably well. And there are even people who have things going very well and still, they're miserable. But the Christian can rejoice when things are going well, the Christian can rejoice when things are not going well. The Christian can even rejoice when they're being persecuted.

Listen to this passage, Habakkuk 3:17. "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine, even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren. Even thought the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty".. Yet, he writes, "I will rejoice in the Lord. I'll be joyful in the God of my salvation".. Hey, we could update that verse along these lines. Even though the economy is bad, and they're downsizing at work, my insurance rates are up and the car's out of gas, I'll be joyful in the God of my salvation. See, it's not about circumstances, this is about you and God. It's rejoicing in God, not in the way you feel. It's rejoicing in God, not in how well things are going. It's rejoicing in the Lord always. I mean, look at Paul and Silas who were imprisoned for preaching the gospel. Their backs were torn open with a Roman whip. Their feet were fastened in heavy metal stalks. And Acts 16:25 says, "At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God and the prisoners heard them".

And this happened at midnight, I love that. When you're in pain, the midnight hour is not the easiest time for a worship service, is it? Nor is the doctor's offic6e when you're waiting for those lab tests. Nor is a hospital room when you're waiting for your loved one who's having surgery, or a thousand other scenarios I could cite. So what are we to do? There are three steps you need to take if you want to find the cure for worry. How many of you want the cure for worry? Raise your hand. Okay, then write these notes down, write these words down. Number one, right thinking, verses 6-7. It's on screen if you're taking notes. You to engage in, excuse me, right praying, right praying, verses 6-7. Number two, right thinking, verse eight. Right thinking, verse eight. And finally, right living, verse nine.

So there it is. If you want to find the cure to worry, it's right praying, right thinking, and it's right living. So let's start with the first one, right praying. Right praying. The next time you're tempted to worry, pray instead. We need to get in the habit of turning to God when we feel worry approaching so it will become a conditioned reflex. There's a difference between a normal and a conditioned reflex. A normal reflex, no one has to teach it to you. If even the smallest touches something that's hot, they pull back. Maybe they scream, maybe they cry, but they naturally know to pull away from something that causes pain. You didn't have to teach your child to do that, they knew to do that already.

Reminds you of the story of the guy that went to the doctor with two burned ears. Two burned ears. The doctor said, "Sir, I've never seen anything like this. Both of your ears are burned very badly. "How did this happen"? And the man said, "Well doc, I was ironing and my phone rang, and I answered the iron instead of the phone". The doctor said, "Oh, that's horrible. I get you burned one ear, but what happened to the other"? "Well, he called back". How many of you have heard that joke before? Okay, how many of you are sick of the joke and never want to hear it again? How many of you have never heard that joke, you've never heard it? How many of you are tired of raising your hand? So, an automatically reflex, I touch a hot iron, I pull back. Then there's a conditioned reflex, its something we learn.

For instance, when we sing the Star Spangled Banner, we stand up, right? Or maybe when we say the pledge of allegiance, we put our hand over our heart. Or when we pray, we bow our head in reverence. We done have to bow our head, we don't have to close our eyes, but it's an act of reverence, it's something we've learned to do. And see, there are things that you'll learn to do and then later they come naturally. Like, so you remember when you first learned how to drive? I failed my driving test three times. Did anybody else fail their driving test? It was horrible. And I always got the same instructor and I got so psyched out. And I really had trouble with that parallel parking, I remember that. And I remember when I first drove a car, especially when it was a stick-shift, manual transmission, so I had to think about everything. It's like, "Okay, clutch goes in, put it in gear, let out gas and then shift with the clutch in. Oh wait, brakes, brake is different than clutch, don't hit clutch instead of brake"., and you're figuring that all out.

Your car says, "Turn right", turn on the little turning signal. Here we go, turn it on. Now turn, turn, turn off the turning signal. Okay, here we go, look in the rear view mirror. You think about all that stuff. Do you think about all that when you drive your car now? You just get in your car, drive, check your cell phones and texts, which you should not do. You know, you're running your radio now, you're making a call now, you're eating a burrito, sometimes all at the same time. You're shifting or you've got automatic transmission, whatever. Now it all comes naturally, but it didn't come naturally at first. You taught yourself how to do it. You say, "Well, Greg, I have no idea why you're telling us this".. This is how we need to deal with things that frighten us. We need to teach ourself to pray. It's not natural. When something scary happens, when there's a threat against your life or something that's said to you that alarms you, the natural inclination is to freak out. But the spiritual reaction should be to pray.

So something here's just happened, let's just pray about it right now. Let's just everybody bow our head, let's pray right now. Start teaching yourself to do that and there's another thing. Instead of panicking, you pray. Instead of worrying, you pray. You intentionally place the matter in God's hands. And someone wisely said, quote, "When your knees start knocking, kneel on them". Often when we face adversity, the first thing we turn to are friends. I need your help, I need your encouragement, I need a loan, or whatever it is you need. And there's nothing wrong with having friends and asking for their help, but honestly, the first place you should turn is to God and prayer. Oh Lord, help me. Oh Lord, I don't know what to do here. Lord, I need your wisdom in this situation.

And notice that Paul says, "In everything by prayer".. "In everything by prayer", verse six, "and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God".. Notice he does not say, "And only the big, gnarly things by prayer".. Because you know what? Everything should be brought before the Lord. And by the way, nothing is too big to pray about, and nothing is too small to pray about. Because sometimes small things, ultimately, turn into big things. When our children are small, we may not pray for them all that much because we're watching over them. We of course hop no harm comes to them and we're concerned for them, but maybe we don't pray for them as fervently as we do when they enter the pre-teen years. Because nowadays, the pre-teen years are like the teen years. And they're like little miniature teenagers already and all these things are happening with them. And they have an interest in things maybe they shouldn't have an interest in or they're saying and doing things that alarm you.

Well you should pray for them when they're little, you should pray for them when they're pre-teen, pray for them when they're teenagers, pray for them when they're young adults. You never stop praying for your kids. Even when they're adults and you're getting older now, pray for them, that they'll take care of you. But never stop praying, that's why we read that. The mothers kept bringing their children to Jesus. They were rebuffed by some of the disciples. "Don't bother Jesus, he's busy. Do you have an appointment"?. The mom's like, "No, we're bringing our kids to Jesus".. And Jesus said, "You let those little children come onto me, for of such as the kingdom of heaven". Are you having problems with your kid right now? Start praying about it. Stop worrying about it, start praying about it, and get other people to pray with you. That's what we need to be doing.

"In everything", verse five says, "by prayer, let your request be made known to God". And notice it says, "With thanksgiving".. With thanksgiving. It doesn't say, "Offer thanksgiving after the prayer is answered in the affirmative"., but rather it says, "In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving".. I think an excellent example of this is Daniel the prophet. Of course a law had been passed that nobody could pray to any God except the king. And Daniel heard about that and he went and prayed anyway. And the Bible says, in Daniel 6:10, "He prayed and gave thanks before his God".. What, gave thanks? It would have made more sense if we read, "And Daniel screamed in fear out to God".. No, but he gave thanks. Lord, you're in control.

See, when I give thanks, I'm just reminding myself that God is in control. And the Lord's prayer, which is really the template model and model for all prayer, Jesus said, "After this manner, therefore you should pray. Our father who art in heaven, hallow it be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread", and on it goes. But notice the prayer starts, "Our father who art in heaven, set apart and glorified be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".. So before I offer a single prayer of petition, I just acknowledge the power, the sovereignty of God. And that's important because it puts your problems into perspective. "In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God".

What does this mean, supplication? Supplication is when you pray for others. Supplication is when you pray for others. So when you're gripped with fear and worry, I need to focus on God and others. Prayer, supplication, and thanks giving. Here is a way to sort of remember how to pray. It's summed up in an acronym, ACTS, acts, sort of an idea of how you should pray.

A - stands for adoration.
C - stands for confession.
T - stands for thanksgiving.
S - stands for supplication.

So think about this when you're praying, always when possible, start with adoration. Just offer praise to God, rejoice in the Lord. God's in control. Then confession, confessing any personal sin. And then thirdly, there's thanksgiving. Thanking God for all that he's done in your life. And then supplication, praying for others. So if you want to find God's cure for worry, it's right praying. And number two is right thinking. Right thinking, look at verse eight. "Finally brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there's any virtue, if there's anything praise-worthy, meditate on these things". Another translation of that verse goes as follows. "Summing it all up my friends, I'd say you will do your best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are true, and noble, and reputable and authentic and compelling and gracious. The best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly. Things to praise, not things to curse". Listen to this. "Maintaining personal peace involves the heart and the mind. You have to learn how to think biblically". Isiah 26:3 says, "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind has stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee"., that's king James.

Your mind has stayed on God, because your emotions can mislead you. Do you know that? You can't trust your emotions. People will say, "Well I, I want to go with my heart, man, my heart, and God knows what's in my heart, my heart". Stop with the heart. Let me tell you something about your stinking heart. The Bible, "It's deceitfully wicked of all things, above all things, you can know it"?. So don't say God knows what's in your heart, that's the problem. Your heart is dark, my heart is dark. "Well my heart says". Yeah, but what does the Bible say? "Well my heart tells me it's okay". Well, what does the Bible say? Does the Bible say it's okay? I don't care what your heart tells you. Learn how to think biblically, not emotionally. So it's right praying and it's right thinking. And Paul gives us a very large, very clear focus on what we pray about.

Now, look, I've put this biblical principle to the test. The worst day of our life was when our son Christopher died, in an automobile accident. I mean, your life is changed over night. It's very hard to comprehend the death of a child. You never planned for it, you never play it out in your mind. At least I never did. And I was in a state of shock initially. And I mean, that night, how do you go to bed? Oh, I'm gonna go to bed now, and just wake up tomorrow. Wait, wait, what? I'll just have a meal. No, I didn't want a meal, I didn't want to go to bed. I was just in complete anxiety, like cranked up to 100. And I didn't know what to do. I couldn't sleep. I'd sleep for three minutes and wake up. I felt like I was living a nightmare. So I came back to Philippians 4a. Watch over things that are true and lovely and of good report, and I sort of set this little what I call a grid of grace up, a grid of grace.

And the idea is I would run all of my thoughts through this grid of grace, or through Philippians 4a, and when these thoughts of anxiety or these thoughts of fear or these other thoughts would come into my mind, I'd ask myself the question, "Is this true? What I'm thinking, is it true"? Is it helpful, is it pure and lovely? Or is it ugly, is it the worst? And if it was not pure, it was not true, I would reject it. I would say, "I'm not gonna let that thought in, and I'm gonna let another thought come in in its place". Say, "I don't get what you're saying".. Okay, so a thought comes, "You'll never see your son again. You'll never hear his voice again"., that's a thought. How do you refute a thought like that? Well, that's kind of true in one sense, but then I come back to this thought. "My son is more alive than he's ever been because Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life, 'and he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live". So this thought, you're out of here, this other thought, you come on in.

See, I replace one thought with another. That's learning to think biblically. It really matters what you think about, just as it matters what you eat, right? Certain foods have a certain affect on you. They say there are brain foods that help you think better, and other things obviously have the opposite affect. The same is true of thoughts. I let certain thoughts in, they can take me down. Other thoughts can build me up because what you think about ultimately affects what you do. Because Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks so is he".

You'll remember, the first temptation in the garden was when Satan came to Eve. And Genesis 3:1 says, "The serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field, which our Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said you should not eat of every tree of the garden?'". Notice he doesn't come to her and say, "Hi, I'm the devil, maybe you've heard about me. I'm going to hell one day, I hate you, I want to destroy your life". So, wanna hang out? Who's gonna do that? No, but he comes subtlety, like a serpent, when you least expect it. And the same happens with us. He comes with these thoughts. In fact, we're told in 2 Corinthians 11, "I'm afraid as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, your mind should be lead astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ".

See, the devil will come to you and say, "Look I know you would never do this, but why don't you just fantasize about it? I know you would never do this, but just entertain this thought for a little while".. Because the devil knows the first step to doing something wrong is getting you to think about something that is wrong. And that's why you gotta keep the door closed to thoughts that are harmful. And we're told over in 2 Corinthians then, "Bring every thought into the captivity of the obedience of Jesus Christ".. So the next time you're troubled, the next time you're afraid, I have a suggestion for you. Try talking to yourself. Some of you are thinking, "Now, I know you've lost your mind. You're telling me to talk to myself". Yes I am, in a way I am. But I'm also telling you to talk to the devil. "I'm not talking to the devil". Well, you can say a couple things to him. You can say, "Get behind me, Satan"., right? You can say, "I reject that thought".. He's the only person you can legitimately say, "Go to hell" to. And not be in trouble. But the idea is you remind yourself what is true.

In psalm 42, the psalmist was troubled. His emotions seemed to be getting the best of him, causing him to cry out, "Why are you downcast on my soul? Why are you disturbed within me"? Then he talked to himself and he said, "Put your hope in God, and I will yet praise him. He's my savior and my God".. I love that. So he's, "Man, I'm getting down, I don't know what to do. Hey, listen self, remember this".. So in effect, he talked to himself. He quotes a scripture out loud, he reminds himself of what is true, because we all have moments where we doubt. We all have lapses of faith, we all have moments of despair when you don't understand what's going on in your life. So you need to learn how to pray, and you need to learn how to think, and there's one last principle. You need to live right. So it's right praying, verses 6-7. It's right thinking, verse 8.

And the third and final principle, it's right living, verse nine. These things that you've learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Look, hearing what I'm saying tonight isn't gonna do you any good if you don't do it. You've gotta do it. The Bible says, "Don't just be a hearer of the word, but also be a doer of the word".. Because if you're just a hearer of a word, you're like a person that looks at the reflection in a mirror and walks away and forgets what they look like. So the idea is take these truths and start applying them in your lives. You can't separate outward action and inward attitude. I mean, if Christ is really living in you, it should affect you in the way that you live. It doesn't mean you'll be perfect. It doesn't mean you'll be flawless. But it does mean that people will see in you results or fruit, as the Bible calls it, that would indicate you were a true follower of Jesus Christ.

So it's right living. So God wants us to live right with him and then he promises that we will have peace. "The God of peace will be with you", he says. You see, living right with God results in having the peace of God. Let me ask you, in closing, do you have God's peace right now? You say, "What do you mean, God's peace? I mean an inward tranquility, an inward calm, a sense that everything is right between you and God. Because the Bible says that, "The peace that surpasses all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ".. It's like God puts his peace in your life. So when you don't worry, but instead you pray, God says, "I'll put peace there".. And it's interesting because the word that is used here to describe peace is a military term, where God says, "I'll post a sentry on your heart", or a guard, on your heart. So when you don't worry, but instead you pray, God says, "I'm gonna put Sergeant Peace in front the door of your heart", and he's gonna watch over you and keep those other things at bay.

Do you have that peace inside? Listen to this. Before you can have the peace of God, you first have to have peace with God. And the problem is, before we're Christians, we're at war with God. We're fighting with God, we're running from God. And there's no peace, there's no inward tranquility. That's why people get high, that's why people drink, that's why people are constantly distracting themselves, constant stimulation for the brain. Because they don't like to be alone with their thoughts and be reminded of the fact that deep inside they're afraid and they're full of anxiety and there are a lot of things that concern them in life, especially the fear of death. And listen, if you're not a Christian, you should be afraid of death. I'm telling you don't be afraid, I'm talking to Christians. If you're not a Christian, be very afraid. Because death is not the end, that's just the entrance into the afterlife, and after that comes a judgment.

You don't want to face the judgment of God. God will forgive you of all of your sins. Why did Jesus die on that cross for you 2,000 years ago? The Bible says, "The punishment for our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed".. So what that means is Jesus died on the cross in my place so I could have this peace with God. Do you have that right now? Let me ask you, if you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven? You say, "Well, I hope so. That's it, yeah, God knows my heart".. That's what I'm afraid of, we already talked about that. "Well, I'm a good person".. Actually, you aren't. I mean, you may be better than some, but there's probably a lot that are better than you. But it's not about who's better than who, it's about no one's good enough to get to heaven. You might be good in a relative sense, but you're not good enough. You've sinned, you've broken his commandments. But that's why Jesus died, because he paid for your sin on the cross and then he rose again from the dead. And now he stands at the door of our life and he knocks and says, "If you'll hear my voice and open the door, I'll come in".

I'm gonna make a radical promise to you right now. If you will ask God to forgive you of your sin, and ask Jesus to come into your life, your life is gonna radically change from this moment forward. Now I'm not going out on a limb, this is in the Bible. And I've experienced it, and you've experienced it, that know the Lord. But I know this is true, but this might sound radical to some. How can you promise something like that? Well I'm not promising it, God is promising it, and that's all that matters. He promises it in his word. But I can't do this for you. Your friend who brought you here tonight can't do this for you. There has to be a moment where you say, "Lord, I'm sorry for my sin and I want to stop running from you. And I want to start walking with you. And Jesus, I want you in my life, as my savior, as my Lord. And I want you to get rid of all this anxiety and fear and worry and I want you living inside of me instead Lord, forgive me, and I want to go to heaven when I die".

If you'll ask Jesus to come into your life, he'll answer that prayer. And you can leave this place a changed person tonight. In a moment, we're gonna pray, and I'm gonna extend an invitation for any of you that have never asked Jesus to come into your life, to do so. And I'm also gonna extend an invitation to some of you who walked with the Lord at one point, but you've drifted. You've been doing things you should not be doing, and you've been reaping the consequences of them even. So it's time for you to come back to Jesus and say, "Lord, I'm sorry for what I've done, forgive me"., and he will. But you must come to him, or you must come back to him. So as we close now in prayer, you make your decision. Jesus says, "You're for me or against me".. Don't be against him, be for him tonight, he loves you. Let's pray.

Father, thank you for loving us, so much you sent your son Jesus to die in our place on the cross. Lord Jesus, thank you for coming, and dying and rising. And thank you for your promise, where you tell us that you'll come into our lives and forgive us of all of our sins if we'll believe in you. And now I pray for those that are here and those that are watching and others who are listening who do not yet know you. Help them to see their need for you, and help them to you, we would pray now.

And while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together, how many of you would say tonight, "Greg, pray for me. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life. I want him to forgive me of my sin. I want this inner peace you've been talking about tonight. I want this joy the Bible promises. I want to go to heaven when I die, pray for me".. If that's your desire, if you want Jesus to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to go to heaven when you die, would you raise your hand up wherever you are and I'll pray for you? Raise your hand up high where I can see it. God bless you and you, and God bless you, too. Anybody else, raise your hand up high. God bless you, God bless you, too. Anybody else, raise your hand now. You want Jesus tonight, he's just a prayer away. But you must reach out to him.

There might be a few more of you. Raise your hand up, let me pray for you. You want your sin forgiven, you want Christ to come into your life, raise your hand, I'll pray for you. God bless you, God bless you. Anybody else? If you haven't raised your hand yet, lift it now please. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you. While our heads are still bowed, maybe some of you would say, "Hey, I've been a prodigal son, I've been a prodigal daughter. I've wondered away, but I need to come back to Jesus tonight. I need to make that re-commitment, pray for me".. If you need to come back to Jesus tonight, raise your hand up and let me pray for you tonight, wherever you are. God bless, God bless you. Anybody else. God bless all of you.

Lord, I pray that you'll bless each one of these that have taken this little step and help them to take the next one and receive all that you have for them. For we ask this now, in Jesus name, Amen.

Hey listen, whoever Jesus calls, he calls openly and publicly. And in a moment, our worship group is gonna lead us into a song of invitation. And I'm gonna ask you to raise your hands saying that you want to Christ to come into your life, saying you want to heaven when you die, or saying you want to come back to the Lord. I'm gonna ask that when the song begins you would get up out of your seat, walk down here in the front of the church, stand here, and I'll lead you in a prayer. Now why do I ask you to come forward like this? Because Jesus said, "If you will acknowledge me before people, I'll acknowledge you before my Father and the angels in heaven".. But then he said, "If you deny before people, I'll deny you before my Father and the angels".

You know, many years ago, I was a young kid, on my high school campus. An invitation like this was given, and I walked forward, and I was thinking the whole time, "This isn't gonna work for me. I'm not a religious person. I'm skeptical, I've had so many bad experiences in life, I don't think this is gonna work for me". But I was wrong. Jesus came into my life that day. And he'll come into your life. But he won't force his way into anyone's life, you must come. Maybe you did not raise your hand, but you want to make this commitment to Jesus, you get up and come as well. So again, if you raised your hand, even if you did not, but you want your sin forgiven, you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die. You want this inner peace we've talked about tonight, this joy, this purpose. Or you've fallen away from the Lord, you want to come back to him again. Right now as the group sings, get out of your seat, come on down here, stand in front of this platform, and I'll pray for you when you get up here. Get up and start coming right now. Here's the first one, come on. Get up and come, stand here.

♫ You unravel me ♫
♫ With a melody ♫
♫ You surround me with a song ♫
♫ Of deliverance from my enemies ♫
♫ Until all my fears are gone ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ Oh ♫
♫ From my mother's womb ♫
♫ You have chosen me ♫
♫ Your love has called my name ♫
♫ Well I've been born again ♫
♫ Into your family ♫
♫ Your blood flows through my veins ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫

There might be a few more of you that really want to be up here, but you're thinking, "If I walk up there, what would my friend sitting next to me think"?. Meanwhile, your friend sitting next to you is thinking, "I'd like to go up there, but what would my friend sitting next to me think"?. Who cares? What does God think? What do you think? You know, one day we're gonna stand before God alone. We won't be there with our gang, with our buddies, our boyfriend, girlfriend, even our husband or wife. All alone. And the question will be asked, "What did you do with Jesus Christ"?, this is a personal question. Here's an opportunity to get right with God. Why would you not want to take advantage of it? There might be a few more of you that need to come to the Lord, or come back to him. As the group sings this, if there's anyone else, you get up and come quickly and join the folks that are here, and then we'll pray together. Anybody else, come on.

♫ From my mother's womb ♫
♫ You have chosen me ♫
♫ His love has called my name ♫
♫ I've been born again ♫
♫ Into your family ♫
♫ Your blood flows through my veins ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ And I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ Well, I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫
♫ Well I'm no longer a slave to fear ♫
♫ For I am a child of God ♫

Alright, you that have come forward, I want to lead you in a prayer. And I'm gonna ask that you would pray this prayer out loud after me. This is a prayer where you are asking Jesus Christ to forgive you of all of your sin, or you're asking him to accept you as you come back to him, which he will. So I would just ask that you would pray this prayer out loud after me. Okay, let's all bow our heads, pray this prayer now out loud.

Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. But I know you're the savior who died on the cross for all of my sin. And you rose again from the dead. Jesus, I choose to follow you from this moment forward, as savior and Lord, as God and friend. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and forgiving me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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