Hey, big welcome today to all of our Life.Church locations, our open network churches. You are in for an amazing treat. We have one of the most powerful men of God, one of my closest pastor friends with us today, all the way from Church of Highlands, a founding and senior pastor of, believe it or not, the second largest church in America with 21 locations reaching well over 50,000 people every single week.
(congregants applaud) He is a true man of God, Pastor Chris Hodges. He helped start the best church-planting organization in America, in my opinion. He started almost 1,000 churches around the world, and he helped found Highland College. Get this, if you know a student wanting to go to college to learn ministry, they have a goal to place 100% of every student that comes through the college into ministry, and guess what? They are doing it. This guy is on fire. (congregants applaud) He has a brand-new book out. The book is called What’s Next? What do you do, what is your next step to grow spiritually? I asked Pastor Chris if he wouldn’t mind speaking a message from his book, What’s Next, because I believe we all have next spiritual steps. Would you please show a very warm Life.Church welcome today to Pastor Chris Hodges. (congregants applaud and cheer) Give Jesus some praise! (congregants cheer) Come on, give Him what He really deserves. Come on, all of our locations. That’s awesome. Turn to the person next to you, and tell ’em it looks like you’ve lost a little weight. Come on, tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em. Tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em. Start off with some good news. Hey, it’s so good to be here. What a joy. I really am thrilled to be at Life.Church with my dear friend Craig and Amy Groeschel. You guys do know you’re blessed to have some of the most amazing pastors. Come on.
(congregants cheer) Come on, all of our locations. Yeah. (congregants cheer and applaud) And I just have to, before I get into the message, just stop and say thank you, because you are the largest church in the country, and you are stewarding that responsibility, really that load extremely well, and you’re so open-handed with what you give other churches. You guys do know there’s almost 400 million downloads now of You Version app. Come on, somebody, yeah? (congregants cheer) Powerful. And I don’t even know if you know this or not, but you provide all of your church resources, sermons, everything to about 70,000 pastors who, late on a Saturday night, when they don’t have something to preach the next day, I promise you, a bunch of ’em are going there and, (congregants laugh) so anyway, yeah, so I’ve done that before, but anyway. But I just wanna say thank you. You know, your giving goes way beyond you. You’re making a difference, and I hope you have this sense of, you know, kind of fulfillment and knowing that you are making a difference in a lot of people’s lives, and that never happens without great leadership. You have it in your pastors. Probably something you don’t know, though, is that part of your church government here at Life.Church is that you rotate an outside pastor into the church government just for the sake of accountability and just to give fresh eyes and fresh a vision, and so I served one of those five-year terms, which means I saw everything. (congregants laugh) And you’re a better church behind doors than you even are in front of the world. (congregants applaud)
I’mma tell ya, I’m telling ya the truth. And I can say that about you, too, Pastor Craig. You’re an amazing man and everybody knows the public Craig, and Amy, but you’re even better behind closed doors. One more time, come on, show some love. (congregants cheer)
All right. Come on, you can do a little bit better than that. Come on, a lot. Okay. So I wanna start off with a verse of Psalm 92, ’cause I wanna talk about your next step, and I wanna begin by basically showing you a verse in the Bible that basically says that the way that you grow, the way that you realize all that God has for you, is that you have to get yourself in the right kind of environment for growth to happen. Psalm 92, verse 13, it says, “Those who are,” say the next word out loud at every location. “Those who are planted.”
Planted. “In the house of the Lord “shall flourish in the courts of our God.” So if you get yourself in a right environment, good things happen. I don’t know if you know this or not, but in America, there’s a part of our country here that’s called Death Valley. Death Valley. It’s the hottest– Somebody knows where Death Valley is, all right. It’s not a great place to go. It’s the hottest, driest place in America. Nothing grows there at all. In fact, nothing grows there because it doesn’t rain. That’s why they call it Death Valley. In fact, I have pic for ya. They’ll put it on the screen. This is just a snapshot of Death Valley, but a phenomena happened in 2004. In the winter of 2004, they don’t even really know how it happened, but seven inches of rain fell in a short amount of time. Now, nothing happened immediately, but by the spring of 2005 there was a phenomena. Put the next picture on the screen, everybody, and that’s what that same, yeah, that’s what that same place looked like just a few months later, and what they realized was, is that Death Valley wasn’t dead, Death Valley was dormant. So right beneath the surface of the ground were actually seeds of potential, that just needed to be in the right environment for great things to happen. Anybody know where I’m going here? You seeing this?
(congregants applaud) So what churches do and what pastors do and what we’re trying to do, and really what this book is all about, is making sure that people get in the right environment so that the best version of you happens. Now, the big idea that I want you to catch is, you are somewhere on a spiritual continuum, so you’re somewhere in all that God has for you. You’re somewhere along the journey. And so the key is to find out where you are and then take the next step. In fact, my goal of this message today is to help you identify where you are, and as I talk, I want you to go, “Wow, I’m right there. “He just mentioned right where I am spiritually,” and then I’m gonna show you the step that you can take so that all of us are growing and flourishing, because your life isn’t supposed to be dead, your life isn’t supposed to be dormant. Your life is supposed to flourish. (claps hands) Say Amen right there, everybody, right? Amen. Okay, so Psalm 16, verse 11, says this. It says, “You will show me.” This is the greatest revelation, one of the greatest revelations of my life. You will show me, God. “You’re gonna show me the path of life, “and in Your presence is fullness of joy.” In other words, when I see the path, and I know the journey, there’s gonna be joy in your presence and pleasures at your right hand. Now, what I contend is that most people kinda know the potential’s out there, but they don’t know what the journey is. They have not been made known the path of life. And so several years ago, I did a study just to try to find out, really, what does God have for people? What is the spiritual journey? Because one of my passions is really just to make it all clear, and I always tell our church that I’m really, I mean, you call me your pastor, but what I am is I’m a spiritual tour guide, taking you on a journey of all that God has for you, and He has so much more for us. And here’s the greatest discovery, and that is, as I began to study the Bible, God has always wanted the same things for people. So cover to cover, from about as early as I can find, in about Exodus, all the way, last place I find it is in the book of Revelation. I can show you at least 16 places where God has always wanted basically four things for you, and now in every place they’re mentioned a little different, so they’re said a different way, but the gist of it is the same, and so what I wanna do for you is I wanna give you one version of that. I wanna break down one scripture and guys that are running the lower third, keep the scripture up there so we can study it. I wanna teach it for a few moments, and then I’m gonna go back through it and help you discover where you are and help you take your next step. The version I wanna show you, first of all, is found in a prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the church. I love that because, you know, Paul was a church-planter, so he planted churches all over the known world at the time, and of course, he had great concern and a desire for these churches to grow, and we really don’t get that many prayers in scripture, so we know we’re supposed to pray, but we don’t actually get the prayer. Well, this is an actual prayer. In Ephesians chapter one, Paul says this. He says, “I keep asking “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, “may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.” I wanna stop right there and say, Paul says, “I just wish people could see this. “I wish people could realize that this is where they are.” And honestly, Life.Church, that’s my desire. I really wish you could come away from this message going, “Wow, my eyes are open to where I am spiritually, “and what I have next.” He says, “I just wish you could have “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that,” and now he’s gonna mention these four things. “So that,” number one, that you might know God, and he used a word there that doesn’t shock you, ’cause no one reacted when I said know God. That didn’t mean anything to you. But Paul used a word there, it’s ginosko in the Greek, and it’s literally means to know God in an intimate, personal way, which was completely foreign to religious people of the day, ’cause God was always this religion, it was always this tradition, but he actually used the same word, he actually used the same word where a man knows his wife, and they have babies. And it’s not a sexual term, it’s an intimate term. It’s a term that you gotta get way beyond knowing Him right here, and you’ve got to get to know Him personally, in relation. And everybody went, “(gasps) I had no idea we could do that.” I wish you could just know God better, and then he says, secondly, “I pray that the eyes of your heart get enlightened.” This is the second step in your spiritual journey, and Paul actually says, “I just wish,” he says, “I wish the eyes of your heart “were,” as the message says, “focused and clear,” to which, when I first read it, I thought, hey Paul, my eyes aren’t over my heart. My eyes are on my head, my brother. You know, they’re right here. They’re not right here. And Paul’s making a point that all of us need to realize, and that is, we all aren’t looking through these. We’re actually looking through this. Every single one of you are looking at life, in fact, you’re looking at me right now through the lens of everything that’s happened to you up to this point. Every one of you are looking through the lens of your past, your pain, your problems, your hurts, your good days, your bad days, your relationships. We’re all seeing through the lens, and Paul said once you know God intimately and personally and really have a powerful relationship with Him, I wish you could understand how important it is to take the second step of your spiritual journey where you start to get your heart right, where you get your heart healed, and you start working on how you’re seeing things, because all of us in this room, we’re seeing the exact same thing, and all of us are seeing it differently based on what’s happened to us up to this point, and it’s dictating your life. And he says, “I just wish you could see how important that is.” And then he says, “So that.” So in other words, you can’t even go to this next one until you’ve done those first two. I wish you could understand how important it is to be in an intimate, powerful relationship with God, and then once you know Him, you have the power to get your right heart right, clean, pure, working so much better, so that, watch this, “So that you might know the hope “to which he has called you.” So now you gotta realize that part of your spiritual journey is to realize that God’s created you on purpose, for a purpose. Come on, say it. Better Amen right there. On purpose, for a purpose. That you cannot see, now watch this, that you cannot see if you don’t do the first two things. So it’s virtually impossible to see the plan that God has for you in the future, if you’re still looking through the lens of yesterday. You cannot see your tomorrows if your glasses (congregants applaud)
are still covered in the smudge and the dirt of yesterday, so some of you have even wondered, “Why do I not know what God’s purpose and plan “for my life is?” It’s because you’ve never done the second step in the journey of getting your heart clear, and settling the pain of yesterday so you can see the promise of tomorrow. See, but once you do, once you do, I wish you might know the hope to which He has called you, he called it, and notice with me that the word hope and calling are connected. I want you to think about that just for a moment. The word hope and the word calling are connected. In other words, if you wanna find hope, you’re never gonna find it circumstantially. You find it in knowing why you’re on this planet. So once you know that you’re here on purpose, for a purpose, that is the source of hope. That’ll preach right there, everybody. (congregants applaud)
That’s a powerful truth, ’cause here’s the deal, ’cause here’s the deal, so many people are looking for hope to be found in, “I need my family to work out better, “I need the weather to be better, “I need politics to be better, “I need my job to be better.” No, no, no, it’s found in knowing that you’re here on purpose for a purpose, so that regardless, Paul said, Paul said, “It doesn’t matter what’s happening around me. “I have my eyes fixed, not on the seen things, “but the unseen things. “These are temporary, those are eternal.” Are you following me, everybody? (congregants applaud)
All right, all right. And then, so he’s given us this progression. Again, I just want you to see it just like Paul prayed. I want you to see how important it is so that you can flourish, how important it is to have an intimate, powerful relationship with God. You can’t even do this second one without doing that first one, but once you do that one, now, He can do this powerful work on the inside, when we settle yesterday once and for all and really deal with the pain and the problems and the hurt and the past of our hearts, so that we can realize, you’re not supposed to spend the rest of your life just praying about you and your issues. You’re supposed to get out there with some purpose in your life, doing something with your life that matters, and he ends it this way. “So that you might know the riches of His glorious,” watch the language here, “inheritance in His holy people.” To realize that you have an inheritance, now watch this, and it’s not just yours alone. That you have an inheritance, and it’s with a group of people. That God now wants to make sure you’re connected with a group of people who also know their purpose, who together are receiving their inheritance, to which you might ask, what is our inheritance? And the Bible makes it very clear. Psalms chapter two. He gives you the nations as your inheritance. People, the people of the earth, 400 million downloads of the You Version is your inheritance. Are you following what I’m saying? I mean, that–
(congregants applaud) So I’m so passionate about helping people find out where they are, and taking these steps, and we have tried over the years at Church of the Highlands different language to help people, and honestly, it worked okay. It didn’t work really as well as I knew it could, so on a whim, my sister is my executive assistant, not like my sister in the Lord, like my real sister, you know? I mean, she is in the Lord, too, but first, my sister, and her name’s Carol, and as a side hobby, she’s a fitness instructor at a gym, and I’m not really around a lot of people that are far from God, unfortunately, and she is, ’cause she works at this gym. I said, “Hey, Carol.” I said, “Put together a little focus group “of some people at the gym and I wanna tell ’em this journey “and get them to help me figure out some language “of how to say it.” We actually did this. We actually got some completely far-from-God, went-to-noone’s-church people in a focus group, and I said, “Okay,” and I explained everything that I just explained to you, very, very carefully, and I said, “Help me with some language that makes sense.” And we were using religious terms like salvation, sanctification, redemption, deliverance, (grows). And all this stuff.
(congregants laugh) And nobody wanted any of that, as you can imagine, and so we get in this focus group. In about an hour and a half, they came up, the lost people came up with four phrases to describe those four things, and here they are: to know God, find freedom, discover purpose, make a difference. They said everybody understands, people don’t wanna build your church, they told me this, hey, they called me PC. “PC, nobody wants to build your church, “but everybody’s trying to figure out how to know God.” A few people really want deliverance, but everybody has an area of their life where they need to find freedom. All of us realized, we know there’s gotta be some purpose in life, they all, even lost people understand, discover purpose, and did you know that God has already put it inside the heart of every human being alive, lost or saved, Christian or non-Christian, to do something with your life that really matters, to make a difference. He’s already put, in fact, science, secular sociologists have proven that the highest need that can get met in the human heart is to live your life in such a way where your life is making a difference. They say the highest, the greatest, lay your head down at night, knowing you lived your life well, is when you did something for someone else. In fact, they thought for years that the highest level that can be met in the human heart is just when you win, when you make all the money you want, have all the things you want, have the job you want, the family. No, no, no. They said, no, no, there’s one higher. In fact, secular sociologists, Pastor Craig, call it transcendence. They call it that. That deep down inside, you are called to make a difference. You cannot do that, though, unless you can discover your purpose. You cannot do that if you’re still settling yesterday, and you cannot do that without God. That’s why I love being a part of the church. Amen, everybody?
(congregants applaud) Are you seeing that? All right. So let me quickly go back through the four again, and I want you to find where you are, because the first step in this spiritual journey is to know God, and when I say know God, I’m meaning intimately and personally. Now, this is a big deal to me, because I was raised in church. I’ve actually literally been in church, I’m 56 years old, and I’ve bene in church every Sunday since birth. I’ve never missed a Sunday in church in my entire life to date, and that’s a fact. I’ve never been out of church in my life. My dad played organ in the church, my moms sang in the choir and we were not given a choice to go to church or not, even if we were throwing up. Dad’s like, “Get a bag, you’re throwing up in church.” Like that’s–
(congregants laugh) Okay, some of y’all know what I’m talking about, right? And so when I was seven years old, in my tradition, I walked the aisle. That’s what you did, and you know, the preacher stood in the front at the end of his message, and he’d do altar call, and I walked the aisle, and I got the clipboard signed in, and got baptized, but I didn’t meet God that day, and I actually thought I was a Christian in real life. Honestly, I was really far from God, until I came to a church like this one, and when I saw the people, honestly, you know what really impacted me the most, and this should bless all of you guys at all of our churches. It wasn’t the preacher’s message. It was the people in the crowd who were in love with Jesus that won me to Jesus.
(congregants applaud) Honestly. So when you worship, it matters to God, but it matters to others as well. Just thought I’d throw that out there, so I went home, and when they did the response stuff, I didn’t respond even though I was responding on the inside, ’cause I’d been in church long enough, I knew they was gonna bring me to a room, and I did not wanna go there, right? You know.
(congregants laugh) All right. And so, but I went home, and I said, “I’ve gotta find out how to get to heaven,” and I decided to do it on my own, and I found this verse, and it’s the first verse I read in Matthew 7. The Word says, “Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord “is gonna enter the kingdom of heaven,” which I thought, well, that’s a problem, ’cause that was my plan, you know? That’s what they told me to do, and it goes on to say they’ll do a bunch of religious things, cast out devils, prophesy, do miracles, and still not make it to heaven? And then Jesus said, “That’s right, because I never knew you,” and He uses the same word that Paul uses, ginosko. That I wasn’t looking for religion, I was looking for a relationship. Someone here today at one of our churches needs to take that step from, it’s not about just attending a church and this is not about being a more religious person or trying to get your act together. It’s about being in a personal relationship with a very real, alive, and living God. Amen?
(congregants applaud) And you just need to take that step today. Now, a bunch of you have taken that step, but you’ve never taken the second step in the spiritual journey, which is to find freedom, and what I mean by that is to deal with the stuff that keeps holding you back that’s making it where you’re not getting the best version of you, and you know what I’m talking about. Every one of you are thinking (snaps fingers) of that area right now. (snaps fingers) You know what it is. It’s that one thing. It’s that habit, it’s that addition. You ready for this? It’s that secret that you’ve not told anyone else, you’ve only told God. I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is, there is a solution, and the bad news is, it’s not just God, that God set in motion a way for you to find freedom and you may not have ever known this, and that is, and it’s found in James chapter five, where it says this. It says, “Therefore confess your sins,” watch this, not to God. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other “so that you’ll be healed.” So you go to God for forgiveness, but you gotta go to God’s people for healing, and for a lot of people,
(congregants applaud) yeah, for a lot of people, you’ve wondered why you still have the same addiction and habit. It’s because you need to get in a life group and get comfortable enough with that relationship where you take the mask off and say, “Guess what?” And even if you can’t do it to the whole group, you need to do it to someone in the group. You need to, before they leave, walk out the front yard, or wherever you meet, and say, “I need to talk to you. “This is not the real me,” and peel the mask back and say, “Guess what?” And you’re gonna be afraid to do it. You are, but let me tell you what’s gonna happen. When you do that, they’re not gonna go, “(gasps) Oh my God, I had no idea!” That’s not gonna happen. You know what they’re gonna do? They’re gonna go, “What? “You, too? “I thought I was the only one.” And what’s gonna happen, you’re gonna find accountability, and you’re gonna find prayer, and you’re gonna find support. Look, our life groups are not just a place for you to go get another Bible lesson. You can do that online. You don’t need another Bible lesson. I mean, you do, but you need a person. (congregants laugh)
Come on, you need a person, someone you can be honest with, so you can really–
(congregants applaud) It’s really important. So once you do that, once you get in that place and really get honest with someone, you’re gonna discover that there’s real healing on the other side of that. Confess your faults, your sins, one to another, pray for each other, so that you can experience real healing and I want that for you. For some of you, that’s where you are in your spiritual journey. You’ve been a Christian a long time and you know you’re not getting the best version of you. If that’s your next step, I encourage everyone under the sound of my voice: find a group, find a group, find a group. They’re all over, at every one of our churches, there are groups, get a group, and you might have to shop for a group. You might go to the first one and go, “Nah, these aren’t the people,” and just go to another one. (congregants laugh)
But find you a group. How many of y’all are in a group? You’re in a group, you’re in a group? Yeah, it’s so, okay. So we’re gonna know God, we’re gonna find freedom, and once you do, you need to get to some point, and for a bunch of you, this is where you are. In fact, chances are it’s probably 80% of you are right here, but you need to discover your purpose. According to one study in America, 87% of the body of Christ does not know what body part they are. So can you imagine what the body would look like if 87% of your body did not know what it was, okay? (congregants laugh) And that’s probably why the church does not function like the church should, because the church people, the body of Christ, you’re a part of the body. You need to know what part of the body you are, and according to 1 Corinthians 12, all of the body parts have different functions. So let me say it this way: you have a function. You’re a part, and you’ve tried to look for it in other places. So people tend to look for it in making money, job, career, other pursuits, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just not the best part for you. Paul said this, Paul said this about his purpose. He said, I consider my life worth nothing to me unless I finish the race, the call that God has for my life. I want you to have that same thing. But Romans 12 says that you all, we all, the church does have different gifts, and the word gifts there is the word charis, where we get the word charismatic, and the charismatic is not a wild person in church. I don’t know why that’s funnier to me in my head than it obvious was to you, (congregants laugh)
but anyway. But a charis is a grace gift, it’s the thing that you’re good at that makes a difference in someone else’s life. Please look in my eyes, every one of our churches. You have something that God’s designed, before time, that you’re good at, that when you do it, there’s fulfillment and it makes a difference in other people’s lives. You’ve gotta get on a pursuit of that. You’ve gotta allow God to show you what those things are, and if you don’t, what’ll happen is you’ll end up chasing things that really don’t matter in life. I don’t know if you’ve ever read what I consider to be one of Pastor Craig’s best books ever. He wrote a book years ago called It. It might be the shortest-titled book in the world, It, and he talked about how do you get it, and what it looked like, and it’s really probably a better book for pastors and leaders. Pastors, you oughta get this book. It’s phenomenal: It. I love it. But he tells a story in this book about a greyhound dog track. Now, I’ve never been to a dog race. You guys know what I’m talking about, a dog race, right? I’ve seen it on Bugs Bunny. You know, they’ve got the–
(congregants laugh) And if you know anything about a dog race, they put a mechanical rabbit on the interior rail, because with a horse race, you have a jockey. You have someone making the horse run, but how do you make the dogs run? Well, they chase something, so they send this mechanical rabbit just a little bit ahead and they release the dogs, and they’re chasing the rabbit, right? That’s what they’re doing. Well, the story goes, that Pastor Craig told, and I think it was in Florida, at a greyhound dog track, their mechanical rabbit had a mechanical malfunction, and about right around the first turn, it explodes and wires and fur go everywhere. And as the story goes, the dogs, because they didn’t have something to chase, they said they did three different things. Some of them just sat down on the track and took a nap, just, that’s it, then, all right. Some of them just turned to the crowd and just (howls), just barked at all the people that were betting, you know? And some of them actually ran through the railing and hurt themselves, like some of them broke their ribs running through the railing of the track, ’cause they were confused and disoriented, and I thought, what a picture of humanity. If you’re not chasing the right thing, you’ll take a nap, bark at everybody else, or hurt yourself. I mean, that’s what you do. (congregants applaud) And it’s true, and that’s why it’s critical for you, if you want your life to be successful, we’ve gotta go on a pursuit of the purpose that God has for you, and it’s critical, but then, once you do, you can do this final thing. Hey, Life.Church, this is what you were created to do. And you weren’t created just to celebrate other people who are making a difference, but again, thank you for being a part of a church that is, and you are a part of that. But God has something for you as well. Every place you go, every person you meet, to live your life in such a way where your life is making a difference. I wanna read you this last verse in John chapter 15. It says, “This is to my Father’s glory, “that you bear much fruit, “showing yourselves to be my disciples.” It sounds kinda demanding right there, doesn’t it? Like, “Okay, go help some people,” but watch what He says next. “But I’ve told you this, “I’ve told you this,” so a bunch of people will get blessed. No, “I’ve told you this,” because that’s what I want you to do. No. “I’ve told you this so that my joy may be in you.” Jesus is saying, you haven’t even discovered what life is really like, you haven’t even discovered real joy, until you lay your head down at night thinking, “Wow. “Now that’s how you live a day.” I’mma tell you, some of the low-hanging fruit of making a difference, get on a team here at church, like park a car, for heaven’s sakes. You know, worship one, serve one. Go get in a nursery, go get in a children’s church, play an instrument. I mean, 33 locations and counting. We need you, the church needs you, the lost need you. Make a difference, make a difference, make a difference, and I think if I’m really trying to say something to you today, it’s that it’s time for you to get moving. (tapping) It’s so funny, if you’ve never done this before, got behind a pulpit, talked to people, you have emotions that go on on the inside of you, okay? So you’re trying to say things that sometimes are pretty in-your-face, but you wanna do ’em in a (laughs) it’s gonna be good, you know? (congregants laugh) You’re trying to do it like that, ’cause you want people to wanna do it, right? It reminds me of, it happened this year, I was driving on a very busy highway in Birmingham where I live, and I’m barely saved when I’m driving. Where you all at?
(congregants cheer) You know what I’m talking about? That’s the one part where God’s still doing a deep work on the inside of me. I’m real impatient, and I was at a light that was taking a left-hand turn, and I know where I am in the light, ’cause this is my light. I know this light. I know when the left, I know I’m gonna make it on this light’s cycle, I know it, if everybody goes.
(congregants laugh) So I knew I was in trouble already, ’cause I could tell, the person in front of me, they weren’t looking up, they had their head down, and you know what they’re doing. They took the occasion that was a red light to do some texts or check social media or whatever. I knew it. And my wife Tammy’s always fussing at me, ’cause I honk, I’m a honker, like (honks), don’t do that. You know?
(congregants laugh) And Tammy goes, “Oh, they probably go to our church.” I say, “Well, good, they need to learn something.” You know, anyway.
(congregants laugh) Anyway, it’s terrible, I know it’s terrible. I’m confessing my sins in church today, so I’m there, so I’m hearing Tammy’s voice in my head, she’s not in the car with me. “Be nice, be nice, be nice,” but I know if this person, and it looked like it was a young girl, if she didn’t go, I’m gonna miss the light, and sure enough, the light turns green, everybody goes, and that car is just dead still. And I’m there, and I’m trying to be saved, you know, so I just went beep beep.
(congregants laugh) That’s all I gave her. I was just, you know how you can do it in the nice way? Beep beep.
(congregants laugh) But in my heart, in my heart, let’s go! (screams)
(congregants laugh) Okay, okay, you ready? Okay, in my heart today, what are you waiting for? Now, I’m not gonna say it, I’m not gonna say it. I’m just gonna tell you what I would say if I was telling you how I’m feeling, but I’m not gonna say it. (congregants laugh) But what are you waiting for? Really? You’re gonna go another week without knowing God? Really? You wanna hang on to that pain, that sin, that habit? Really? Another year? Another New Year’s resolution with the same? Really, really? You’re not gonna discover the second-greatest day of your life? The day you were born is the first, the day you discovered why is the second. Really? Really, you wanna live another day, just thinking about yourself and not making a difference? Really? Let’s go. Listen to me, listen, listen. Take a step. Take a step, take a step. Come on, God has so much more for you. You’re supposed to flourish.
(congregants applaud) Come on, you’re supposed to bloom. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. At all of our churches, heads bowed, eyes closed, just pray right there where you are. Father, I pray, God, to the courage, the boldness. I pray, God, for the clarity to take steps. God, I pray that everyone under the sound of my voice at all of our churches, all of the network churches, every person who’s watching around the world, take a step. Not all of ’em, just the next one. God, give ’em clarity, give ’em grace, give ’em wisdom to know what’s next. God, let ’em leave here today realizing that you have so much more for them in the mighty name of Jesus. Heads bowed, eyes closed, at all of our locations today. There are so many of you that are listening to me right now, you need to take the first step, so if you don’t take the first step, you can’t do the other three. And I wonder how many of you here today are thinking, “It’s time. “I’ve carried my own sin and my own shame all myself “for far too long.” I’ve got great news for you today. Jesus has stepped into the scene of your life and He offers to carry your sin, to pay for your sin, to forgive you of everything you’ve ever done, even though you’re the one who did it. He’s willing to not only forgive you of your sin but to come into your life and make your life meaningful and real again. You might say, “Chris, what do I have to do?” The best word I know to describe salvation is surrender. Let your life go out of your own hands and into the hands of the one who can direct it so far better than you could on your own. I wonder who today are watching online or in this auditorium or one of our other churches said, “That’s me, I’m ready. “I’m ready.” I’m not gonna have you stand up. You’re not gonna come to the front of any of our rooms today but just that you’d acknowledge before God, “That’s me. “I’m ready to surrender my life to Jesus. “I’m not even really sure that I’d know “what that fully looks like, “but I’m ready to surrender my life into his hands.” At all of our locations today, if that’s you, would you just put your hand up right now? Hands are going up at every location. Just say, “That’s me, that’s me, I’m ready. (congregants applaud) “I’m ready to give my life to Jesus. “I’m ready to surrender my life “to the one who can change my life and make it meaningful.” At all of our locations, just continue to put your hands up. That’s it, just all over.
(congregants applaud) If you’re watching online, there’s a little place you can say, “That’s me. “Count me in.” Every head bowed, every eye closed, just pray this prayer. Come on, why don’t we with one voice just join in support with them. Say, Jesus, thank you for dying on the Cross and paying for my sin. I receive what you did for me by giving you my life, everything. Forgive me, save me, change me, make me more like you. Thank you for setting me free. Come on, at all of our locations, let’s put our hands together
(congregants applaud) and welcome the newest members of the body of Christ. Come on, you can do better than that. (congregants cheer) (upbeat music)
Thanks for joining us today. We’d love to continue to see you grow in your relationship with Christ, and we have a great resource to help you do that. Just go to life.church/next, and there you’ll find all kinds of ways to help take your next step in your relationship with Christ. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s message, you can find all of our messages on our YouTube channel or inside of the Life.Church app. It’s free and available wherever you download your apps from. See you next time.