Easter - What Do You See?

Video Transcript

Song: I don't even know if I believe
I don't even know if I believe
I don't even know if I believe
Everything you're trying to say to me
So open up my eyes
Tell me I'm alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I'm gonna have to guess what's on your mind.

I don't even know if I believe
I don't even know if I believe
I don't even know if I believe
Everything you're trying to say to me

Dr. Bennett: Our eyes are interesting parts of our body because probably, if you've been with your wife or you've been with somebody, family member, son, daughter, friend, you've seen something at some point, and somebody else saw something differently. I'm going to ask you today one question, what do you see? For those of you all who are visitors and for those of you all who are normal attenders, at the end of the service . . . Because we try to be upfront. We try to be real. We try to do nothing here that's weird or uncomfortable at Grace Community Church. I'm going to ask everybody at the end of service, what do you see?

But when we talk about our eyes and seeing things, we'd see all kinds of different stuff. Reminds me of a young man that was just about a month from getting his driver's license. And so he went to his dad, and he said, "Hey, dad," he said, "I'd like to drive the family car when I get my driver's license." And the dad said, "Okay, son, come on in and sit here in my office, and let's have a seat." So he looks across the table. He says, "Son, you really want to drive that car?" He says, "I really want to drive that car." He says, "Okay." He says, "Well, let's talk about this. What I'd like to see is I'd like to see for your grades to come up. Your grades are not as high as I'd like them to be. I'd like to see the grades come up. I'd also like to see you read your Bible more. We're a Christian family. I'd like to see you read the Bible a little bit more. And, son, I got to tell you I'd like to see you cut your hair."

So a month goes by, the son comes in and says, "Dad, can I drive the car? I got my license." And he says, "Son, come on in the office, and let's have a little talk." He says, "I'm proud of you. I asked you to get your grades up, and your grades are up. I'm really proud of you, son." He said, "I also asked you to read your Bible a little bit more. And I've been watching you. You're reading your Bible. But, son, I asked you about the hair, and you didn't cut it." He says, "Well, Dad, let me tell you how I see it. Dad, I see it a certain way. What I see it is is that Moses had long hair. I see that Samson had long hair. I see that Jesus had long hair. So what do you think?" And he says, "Son," he goes, "I see how you see it." He goes, "I see it a little bit differently. I see it that they all walked."

So we see it differently. Our eyes are interesting. When I show you this slide up here, 75% of the people see a chalice that you can drink out of. But 25% of the people see two faces that are getting ready to kiss. If you don't see those faces, go to the smallest part of the chalice and look, and you'll see two noses, and you'll see two faces getting ready to kiss. So if I ask you, what do you see? You may say, "A chalice." Somebody may say, "Two faces getting ready to kiss." So what do you see? What do you see? Because sometimes, what we see is what we see. But sometimes, what we see may not be all that there is to see. 

Nothing even begins to touch this like this internet phenomenon that went across the internet. And many of you all are going to know what this is when I put it up here. Did you see the dress? Remember that? We had some young adults over at my house that broke out into a fight over this. I told you if you are a visitor, you want a real church. Our kids fight. We got it all. I got like 33 kids at my house, and all of them are sinners. So if you want to come to a church where it's real and raw, you've come to the right place, because this is the way it is. What's interesting is that the dress is actually a blue and black dress. But depending upon the light refraction and whatever else, people saw it gold and white. To be honest with you, I saw it gold and white. So I guess I'm just weird. But you all already knew that that come here. But the deal is what's interesting is we all have different things that we see. We see things differently.

But let me tell you something, during Easter, when Easter comes around, everybody wants to tell you about their Jesus' stories. And you see it this way. You know over in Europe, how they have like Basilicas and big churches. They got all those landmarks. Here in Sarasota, we have CVS and Walgreens. You following me on that? Well, I have to go to CVS quite often, because our kids need something, and there's one right up the street. So I go in. And when you check out, before you swipe your card, there's a magazine rack. You all know what I'm talking about, the magazine rack, like People magazine and Us magazine, "I was a love slave to Big Foot." Or "Kardashian gets a new show," or "Jay-Z buys a new boat," or whatever they say. They got all the things up there. 

Well, during Easter, all of a sudden, everything changes because they got all the magazines that say, "Who is Jesus? Was Jesus married to 35 women? Was Jesus gay? Was Jesus . . . " whatever he is. All these things come [inaudible 00:05:45]. You get on CNN, and it's "Fact, Forgery, or Faith?" And they got all these stories that tell you about Jesus. Everybody's got something they want to tell you about Jesus, how they see it, how they see that all this goes down. And what's interesting is, especially for those of you all who are visitors today, one of the things you'll find in these stories, mostly in all these things that people talk about Jesus, is that there's this natural tendency when we talk about Jesus to separate His teachings and His actions from His bodily resurrection.

Let me tell you how that goes. Here's how it goes. It goes like this. It goes, "Man, Jesus is a cool dude, man. He's cool. Reading the bible, He's loving women. And people didn't love women back then. He's reaching out to people on the outside of society. He's teaching people about forgiveness and love. Jesus is a cool dude. The church may not be that cool. And people who go to church may not follow him very well. But Jesus, he's a cool dude." You can even go to Colorado where they have like open pot and find some dude on the corner going, "Dude, the sermon on the mount is awesome." They'll tell you that. People like Jesus as a general rule. Most people don't not like Jesus. They think that He's cool. They look at His teachings and His stories and everything. But then when it comes to this question, "But did He get up on the third day?" that's when it's the "not so much." 

"Yeah, yeah, Jesus is cool, but Chip, you're a preacher, right? Surely, you've done some funerals. Did anybody ever get up when you did one? Thought so. So that's the deal here. No way Jesus got up. I like the stories. I like the stuff that I read. The Bible has got all kinds of cool stories. I like all this stuff about Jesus, but I don't really believe that He got up on the third day and rose from the dead, because people don't get up or rise from the dead." Well, there's a problem, though, here. And I want to alert you to that, especially for those of you all who may be here first time. This is important that you get that. And for those of you all who are here on a regular basis, this is important to understand, that the problem with thinking that way is that all the information that you and I like about Jesus was written by people that were absolutely convinced that He did rise from the dead on the third day. 

So see, what they would tell you is this, "Oh, you like those stories? Those stories are based on Jesus getting up from the dead." Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, all these stories. Every one of them believed that Jesus rose from the dead. So they would say, "You know what? If you don't believe Jesus rose from the dead, then Just abandon all things Jesus, because the fundamental essence of Christianity . . ."

Let me say this. This is really important that you understand this. The early church didn't have a Bible. They didn't have a Bible. [inaudible 00:08:29] like they walked around. And the early church didn't walk around telling everybody how to vote in the Palestinian elections like we like to do as a church and tell everybody how many alcoholic beverages they could have before they'd walked out of the kingdom of God and how you had to dress and the music that you had to listen to. They had one simple message. They called it "The good news." And their message was this, "Hey, the guy that died on the cross, He rose from the dead." That was their message. That was the early church's preaching. When all the other stuff that we hang on to it, it was very simple, "Hey, the guy, Jesus, that died on the cross, He got up. And since He got up, He can change your life." And that was the story of the early church. It wasn't all this other and one and one and one and add on and add on. It was a very simple message. Jesus rose from the dead. He can change your life. That's why the early Christians, when they walked around, this is what they said. They would say, "He is risen." And the other one would say, "He's risen indeed." They didn't ask all the other stuff that we get all messed up with.

I had this old preacher tell me when I first started off in ministry many, many years ago as a youth pastor. And he said to me, "Chip, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." And so you say there's no resurrection, we should abandon all things Jesus, that sounds a little hard, Chip. And I get it. It's really not hard. You'll see here. This is actually a very transforming message. I know some of you all are like, "Man, I want to hear about like the Easter bunny or something positive today."

Can I just digress for a minute and talk about the Easter bunny? My kids are sitting around the table . . . This is a true story. They are sitting around the table, and I'm listening to them talk about this and . . . I now refrain from my full comments on Easter bunny for some of you all parents so that nothing gets messed up. You know what I'm saying? Follow me. They are over there doing their thing, and my oldest daughter Grace goes to my son Jack. My kids are just . . . they need God. They're sinners. She looks at Jack, and she says, "Jack, do you think the Easter bunny is going to bring me a 19-inch or a 23-inch flat screen?" I'm like, "My God!" I looked at Mindy, my wife, I'm like, "What the world is wrong with these kids? We need to go back to Kentucky from where we're from. There's a hose that I got beat with when I was growing." I'm like, "What the world is wrong?" My mom and dad aren't here, so I can talk about them. Anyway, and I'm like, "No, candy that's it. Candy, no more." But anyway, digress here.

So Chip, you're saying if there's no resurrection, abandon all things Jesus. Well, listen, I asked you, what do you see? Let me tell you what the apostle Paul saw. This is how he sees it. Twenty years after Jesus has died, twenty years, he writes to a church in Corinth about the resurrection. Twenty years. Now, you'll hear these scholars who are getting on TV, and you're reading these books, see on CNN, and all that stuff, they'll say, "Oh, the stories about Jesus, they were written decades after he died." Like, dude, decade's like ten years. Decade is like 20 years. Anybody remember Michael Jackson, "Thriller"? Most of you, when I did that, some of you went tuh-ruhn-duhnk, tuh-nuhng-tuhn. I saw you. That's 30 years ago. Do you remember? Of course, you do. How vividly do you remember that? This is 20 years after Jesus has died. Paul has to go into Corinth, because they've gone into the CVS at Corinth. And they've got a hold of one of those magazines, and they've read something. And he says, "No, no, no, no. You haven't kept the main thing the main thing the main thing. What we need to do is we need to talk about resurrection. 

This is what he says in Chapter 15 of 1st Corinthians. This is Paul. Listen to what Paul says. He says, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain." Wow, listen to what he says here. He says if Christ didn't raise from the dead . . . We're not playing games here guys. If he didn't raise from the dead, then not my preaching . . . I like how Paul does it. He says, "Our preaching." He's talking about everybody running around teaching and preaching about Jesus, the apostles. He says our preaching is in vain. Everything we're saying to you is in vain. So if you come in here today, you go "I like Jesus a little bit, like a buddy, but I don't really believe that he rose from the dead. I think when you die, you die," then what I'm telling you is Paul would tell you, if he were here today, he would say, "If you don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, then throw it all away. Don't hang on to a little bit of it, because none of it's any good. It's all based on this premise."

And he says, "Not only that, but your faith is in vain. Your very faith that you have is in vain." He goes on to say, "And we're misrepresenting God. We told you something about God that's not true. We told you that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day, so we're misrepresenting God. And not only that, but if he hasn't been raised, then your faith is futile. That means . . . listen to me. This is important that you get this. That means you all who come and serve, you got like 30 or 40 of you [inaudible 00:13:20] at first Friday. Some of you work in the nursery. Some of you come in here and pray. Some of you come in here and give. Some of you all really are faithful to the church and all that stuff. Let me tell you something. If he didn't raise from the dead, don't do it. Just don't do it, because there's no benefit whatsoever, because this world is all that there is. See, we're doing these things because we think there is something else because we believe there is a resurrection. There is no reason to do it. Paul even tells the Corinthians. He says, "Hey, if Jesus didn't raise from the dead, then go just eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow you die. Don't worry about it at all.

And then he says, "For those who've fallen asleep," and that's a Palestinian, way first century Palestine, way of saying they died. He says "Those who died, they perished. They're lost. They're done. That means every funeral that you've been to, buried your mom, buried your dad, maybe buried a son or a daughter, maybe your wife, that means when the preacher, somebody like me said, "You will see them again one day," that's a lie. That's an absolute lie is what that is if Jesus didn't raise from the dead.

So what I'm going to ask you this morning is, what do you see? What do you see when you see Jesus? What do you see? Now, what I want to do is is John, who wrote his gospel, tells us in his gospel. He tells us that he wrote for the very reason so that people who read it would believe. And at the very end of his gospel, Chapter 20, right as we get to the end of John, he gives us the story of people coming to the tomb. And he uses all kinds of different words, different verbs, to see. And he tells us what people saw when they came to the tomb. And it's done like in a detective way. They come up, they see, and whatever. And what John's wanting you and me to do is as we read this, he's wanting us to ask the question, what do we see? You see what they saw, but what do you see?

Let's look at this, John 20. It says, "On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb while it was still dark, and she saw the stone taken away from the tomb." See, Mary's hopes and dreams had been dashed. She thought Jesus was going to be something that he wasn't. And so she comes to the tomb early. A woman would not, in first century Palestine, go out early in the morning while it was dark. That would be a crazy thing to do. But she's hurting. She wants to go to the tomb because what she wants to do, she wants to finish up the burial procedures for Jesus. They had to pull him down very quickly and put him into a tomb. They want to make sure that everything's good. She probably wants to pay her last respects. So she comes out in the morning. And she sees . . . John says, he uses a Greek word called "blepo," which is basically he says, "To see." Okay, if I said here's my Perrier bottle, look at it, you see. That's what that means. She saw that the stone was taken away from the tomb.

Now, John wants you to know that when she saw something, she made a conclusion based on what she saw. She saw something, and she concluded something. And here's what she concluded. So she runs to Simon Peter and to the other disciple who Jesus loved. John' s written this gospel. He doesn't call himself John. He calls himself the disciple that Jesus loved. That's the way he refers to himself in this gospel, disciple who Jesus loved. And said to them, listen to what she says, "They've taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they put him." That you may be thinking, she would have said, "He's risen! He's risen!" She doesn't conclude that. She sees the stone rolled away. What does she see? She sees that the body's not there, so somebody had to take the body. It's a decent conclusion. So she runs back to them and says, "This is what I saw. I saw that the body is not there. I don't know where they've taken him. Somebody has come in and stole the body. The body's gone."

So then Peter and the other disciple went forth. And they were going to the tomb. And the two were running together. And the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first. Isn't it great when you get to write, because you get to write that you outrun Peter? Got to love that, don't you? It is such a human thing going on here. John's a "I outran him. He might have walked on the water, but I'm faster. He cut off that ear, but I can outrun that boy. I am faster than him. He gets to tell you that. He says, so, he's running together, and they ran ahead faster. John gets to the tomb first. Here's what happens. Stooping and looking in, so we've gotten out from seeing the stone. Now, we're actually up to the tomb. John's carrying you in. He's bringing you into the tomb, because he's asking you, what do you see? Because they saw something, but what do you see? 

So John comes up. He looks in, and he saw the linen wrappings lying there. But he didn't go in, word again, blepo, to just see. He saw. He saw the linen cloth lying there. But he didn't go in. Then it says, "And Peter came following him." And see Peter, Peter is the guy first out of the boat, cutting off ears. Peter is that go-getter. He just, "Get out of my way, boy. I'm getting in the tomb." You could just see that in Peter. So he comes in. He enters the tomb. So now we've entered. We went from seeing the stone to stooping and looking in. Now, we're in. And it says, "And he saw the linen wrappings lying there, the face-cloth, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself." This is interesting now, because John now changes. "Theoreo" is the Greek word. We get our word "theory" from that word, to observe with sustained attention. He's looking at what he sees, and his mind is turning. 

Mary came and told us that the body had been taken. But when people come in and take a body, they don't leave the linen cloth there. And they surely, as quickly as they came in to steal the body, they don't fold up the face-cloth. So he's sitting there. He sees something, but he doesn't know exactly what he sees because John tells us that he is theorizing. He is trying to figure out what's going on. He can't quite put it together at this point. But he's looking. And the face-cloth would have been basically like a bandana that would have gone around this part of the face and underneath the jaw. It would have kept the jaw from coming open when somebody was dead, so it kept the jaw up. He sees the face-cloth not with the other linens, folded up. So he starts to theorize, "They couldn't have stole the body. This couldn't have been robbers, because they wouldn't have done this. They would have taken the linen cloths. And they surely wouldn't have taken time to fold up the cloth." So he's seeing something.

Then it says, "The other disciple who had come first to the tomb," this is John, "then he entered." So now he's entered in, and he saw and believed. Now, you might say, "Oh, that's great. Finally somebody believed." But he tells you, because John wrote this, and he is writing it about himself here, he tells you in verse 9, they didn't understand the scripture yet, that He must rise from the dead. So he obviously isn't believing the way we would want him to believe. But the word "saw" here is "aiden" in the Greek. It's an idea. So he has an idea. Now, he's looking at this, and his idea probably, and I think this is what John wants you to see, is he agrees with Mary, the body has been taken. He sees it, and he believes, not believe faith-believe, but he believes that something has happened. So we got three people that have come to the tomb. We have three different verbs that are used for seeing, and John's asking the question, "Look at what they saw, what do you see when you come to the tomb?" What do you see? Because see what John's telling us at the end of day is they all saw something, and so do we. 

Some of you all, you may be here today, and you may say, "Man, I showed up. And somebody has been bugging me at work for like a month to come to this church. I got that postcard. I don't know how in the world you all fit that in the mailbox. But that thing was humongous. And I opened up my mail, and it popped out, and it was so big, I thought, 'I'd least try to go there.' Or maybe somebody talked to you, but you show up here today. And here's the thing. Many of us see something when it comes to Jesus. We see something. And here is the way it normally goes for folks that come maybe once a year or maybe someone who's just here for the first time is this, "Chip, what I see is that church people are hypocrites. That's what I see. I see people are hypocrites." 

Look at me here, especially our visitors. I want you to look up here for a second. Look at me. I'm a pastor of the church, and I want you to hear me and hear me clearly, I am a hypocrite. I don't always do the things that God has asked me to do. I don't always love my kids the best way that I should. I don't always love my wife the way Christ loved the church. I try. I do the best I can. But I am a fallible human being. So if you look at me, you'll miss what you need to be seeing, because you'll see me. And you'll see me in all my faults and all my imperfections. So you can see that. You can see that the church is filled with hypocrites. It is. But not all of them are trying to be hypocrites at their nature. Some of us are really trying to live this thing out, but we find it difficult. Some of you may say, "I've been hurt by religion." Join the club, so have I. I know what that's like. I know what it's like to get fired at a church. I was fired as a pastor on a church staff. Fired. You know what I was fired for? I was fired because the pastor was sleeping with somebody, and I wouldn't lie about it. So you want to get hurt by a religion, join the club. I'm right there with you. I'm right there with you, man. I can go down that road. Our executive Pastor Tom, he can go down that road. We know those roads. But if that's what you're looking at and that's what you see, you might miss what you really need to see.

Some of you may say, "The church has got so many scandals. Haven't you read the newspaper, Bennett? Don't you see all the stuff going on in the name of God?" I do. And I grieve. It's terrible. I agree with you. But if that's what you see, you'll miss what you really need to see. Christians tend to be incredibly judgmental. Let me be the first person to tell you you're right. You're absolutely right. And you know what? Let me tell you something. And the people that go here will know this. I stand here every weekend, and I say I want Grace Community Church to be a place that no matter who comes to that door, I don't care what they've done. I don't care what they drink. I don't care what they smoke. I don't care the lifestyle they live. I don't care about their past. What I know is when they walk through that door, I want them to experience love and acceptance because that's what God does for everybody.

So we're trying. But yes, you're right. The church can be incredibly judgmental. And if that's what you are looking at, you're looking at something wrong. Or you can fill in the blank. Get your own list. Far be it from me to know your life. You get your own list. What do you see? Because, see, everybody when they look at Jesus, or they look at the tomb, they see something. And John wants you to know that. They all saw something. But they didn't see what they need to see. Because John says they needed to see something else. And then he tells us what they saw. They saw that the Jesus that they thought had died and the body had been taken actually appeared to them, and he was alive, and that was the game changer, because the game changer was, if Jesus got up from the grave, then life takes on a completely different meaning for everybody. 

See, if he didn't raise from the dead, then what I'll tell you is this, "Game over Christianity." What we're doing here is ridiculous if Jesus didn't get up from the grave. It's what we're doing. What we're doing here is ridiculous. There's far other things we could be doing. Siesta key beach. There's all kinds of stuff. We could be trying to get more money, get bigger houses, get all kinds of stuff. Game over Christianity if he didn't get up. But listen to me, and this is huge. If he did get up, that means there really is a God. And you know what that means? That means you're not a random occurrence. That means you're just not a random occurrence. You didn't just happen. That means that God wanted you to exist. And if the Bible says God wanted you to exist, then I can tell you something. And you may not have heard this before. Maybe it's never sunk in. Maybe it's something you need to hear today. Maybe you showed up today for the first time. 

Listen to me, and hear me well. If you are breathing and you have breath in your nostrils, that means there is a God in heaven that wanted you to be here. And what he wants you to know is he loves you with an everlasting love. He knows everything about you. He knows everything you've done. He knows everything you've said. And his verdict for you is "I love you." That's his verdict, I love you, which means if he's risen from the dead and he loves us, then our faith's not in vain. It means the tears you've cried at night looking for answers are part of God's thumbprint in your life that is telling you there's something more. Those dreams that you have that you don't even know where to start or where to begin, that means that those dreams may very well be something God has placed within you, and he wants to accomplish those things in your life. That means resurrection changes everything. 

But listen, even though all that's fantastic, man, I can have dignity, and I can have worth again, and it means I matter, and it does. I don't care what you think about yourself today. I don't care what your dad said to you growing up. I don't care what your boss said to you. I don't care what your dad said, mom said, friend said, you matter to God, and you have dignity and value. But if he rose from the dead, listen to me, this is huge, that means resurrection gives you and me a humongous, big, divine reset button in our life, which means the past is gone. All the stuff is gone. All the bad stuff is gone. And we can move forward in newness of life. It's a game changer, changes everything. But it all rises and falls on whether or not this man got up on the third day.

Some of you right now, you feel something in your heart. You can try to suppress it, and you can push it away. And God will let you do it. But in your heart, you're going, "Man, maybe I do matter. Maybe I have worth. Man, Jesus really rose from the dead. That means that one day, when I die, that's not the end of it. There's more." That means when you went out the first Friday, God saw that. It means some of you in your marriages, and you're trying to make it work, it means it's worth it. It means when you're struggling trying to do things for your family and help out your sons or your daughters or trying to do something for your wife, for your husband, it means it has validity, because this world is not all that there is. Because if Jesus resurrected, that means one day you and me will resurrect too to newness of life. And you know what? God's wired that in your heart and life.

See, God created the world. He created the world. He put his big, old thumbprint right in the middle of it. You know how I know that? I'll tell you how I know that. Because every night, the sun goes down. And it gets dark. And you and I lie down on the bed. And we go to sleep. And then the sun comes up in the morning, and we open our eyes to a new day. All of your life, you go to sleep. And you wake up, because what God is whispering to you is that one day that's going to happen for real. Your sleep will become a resurrection. Your darkness will come to light. Resurrection changes everything. And at the end of the day, you want to know how I know? I'll tell how I know. Because it's 17 years old in Tampa, Florida, in my mom's Honda Accord, driving on Dale Mabry Highway, listening to a Christian cassette tape, I pulled over and went to the back of the car, got down on my knees, put my elbows on the bumper and said, "God, I need you in my life. Come into my life."

And you know what happened that day changed my life. It doesn't mean my life's been easy because it hasn't, but it changed my life. And what I want for you is I want you to see what God can do for you, because when I look over you, and I see you, I see greatness. I see God doing things, dreams and ambitions and things that you couldn't even think or imagine God doing in your life, creating heroes of the faith. So I ask you on resurrection Sunday, what do you see? Because what we need to see is the risen Jesus that John saw on the Isle of Patmos in the book of Revelation, where he fell at his feet [inaudible 00:30:49] and Jesus took that nail-scarred hand and put it on Him, and he said, "Fear not. I'm the first and the last. Fear not, I got the keys to death and hell. Don't worry, John. Don't worry." 

And some of you all need to hear that. Don't worry. Some of you all have so many worries and so many fears and so many things that just assault you daily. See the risen Lord who says, "I can make all things new," and He can do it in your life. If you would put your head down and shut your eyes for just a minute. I'm going to ask you while you're sitting there, what do you see? Because you're going to get to make a choice here as to what you see. And I'm not going to make it uncomfortable, and I'm not going to make it weird. I'm just going to tell you that that tugging at your heart, what you feel pulling at your heart right now, that's God. It's not Chip Bennett. I don't change lives. God's speaking to some of your hearts right now. And he's saying, "Come home." Some of you go, "Man, I've been away from church for such a long time. And I've been away from God for such a long time." He's telling you today, "Come home, because I love you." Some of you may come in here and go, "I haven't really made a decision in my life. I didn't really think about it. But today, I've thought about it. And I see it differently."

What I'm going to do is pray a prayer. You don't need to pray with me out loud. You can just pray with me in your head. You're smart enough and intelligent enough to do that. I'm going to say a prayer, but if you pray with me in your head and mean it, it can be a life-changer. Let's pray. Dear heavenly Father, we know that we need You. We feel that tugging at our hearts. We know that there's something more. We know that Jesus got up, and because of that, that means life changes. That means one day we will get up as well. So, Lord, I've maybe been away from church. Maybe I've never made a decision. But, Lord, what I know right now, and I feel it in my heart, I need you. God, I need your love. Lord, I'm struggling on the inside. I got fears and doubts. I got all kinds of stuff. I feel like the world's caving in. I feel like I don't have worth or dignity. And I heard this young man telling me that You love me and that You believe in me. And, God, I need that. So, God, I'm asking You. Give it to me today. Lord, just fill my life with it, God. I know I've done things wrong. But, Lord, he says that You love me and that You love me in spite of what I've done. I need that, God. I'm reaching out to You, God. Reach out to me today because I need You.

You pray that prayer today, it will change your life. And I'm going to ask you, what do you see? Nobody is looking around. Nobody is going to make you uncomfortable. Nobody is going to call you out. This is just so that we as a church can know that we are reaching people. If you prayed that prayer today, you really meant it in your heart, you see something differently today, would you just kindly put your hand up in the air? Nobody's looking around. Would you just put your hand up? Amen, amen. I see hands. Amen, more hands. Yup, yup, yup, yup. I see your hands. That's fine. You may put your hands down. Just to ask you, if you've said that prayer, tell somebody today. Maybe tell me out in the hub at the end of the service. Share it with somebody. It's the greatest thing in the world to share. Amen. I prayed that prayer, man. It made a difference. Lord, I just ask that you would do that. And thank you for it. Thank you for resurrection Sunday and what you're doing in our lives. In Jesus name, and everybody said, amen.

David RooksComment