Hey welcome today to Life.Church at all of our locations. I’ve got really good news for you. This week we have back the pastor of Church of the Highlands, Pastor Chris Hodges (audience applauds)
is joining us again. Next week we’re starting a brand new message series that I promise has the potential to impact your life in a significant way, I cannot way to share God’s Word with you next week. But this week I’ve asked Pastor Chris to share from his amazing book “What’s Next?” What I love about this book is that it really helps you to take next steps. And this is one of my favorite message that Pastor Chris ever teaches that will inspire you, I promise you, to take next steps that will really honor God and make a difference in the people in your lives. Pastor Chris is one of the greatest men of God, his wife Tammy is even better. They have five children, we have six, they love each other almost as much as we do. (audience laughs)
Five kids to six kids. But one of my favorite things about Pastor Chris, and not everybody would know this, but he is in many ways the greatest pastor I know to pastors all over the world. He is raising up and like a spiritual father to literally thousands of pastors who come to his conferences and to his round tables. The Church across the world is better because of his spiritual leadership. Could you please help me welcome Pastor Chris Hodges? (audience cheers)
(audience applauds) Appreciate you. Come on, give Jesus a better handclap, everybody! (audience cheers) Come on, if you really love him, give him your best. (audience cheers) (Chris laughs) Oh what I joy it is to be at Life.Church. You know, this is like a dream come true for most pastors and leaders because you get to preach at the largest church in the entire nation and you know you’re talking to campuses all across the nation and the Moon and Mars and everywhere else.
(audience laughs) It is a joy. You know, true story, when I met pastor Craig about three years into our church journey, I was really literally thinking very small. I was thinking, well, just to build one location. And he started talking to me about multi-site and I’m like, multi-what? I take a multivitamin but I don’t know about multi-site. And honestly, they’re truly, I’m not saying this just because I’m standing here, I would say this behind any pulpit, there has been no other pastor or leader who’s impacted my life, my leadership, and our church more than your pastor. You oughta show some love, come on, everybody! (audience cheers)
(audience applauds) Come on, is that the best you’ve got? Come on, really show it, all of our churches! (audience cheers)
(audience applauds) It’s wonderful. Thank you, my friend. I love you and I’m grateful for our friendship. And we get on the home, you’d think we just kinda laugh and caught up, but the brother goes straight to work. He’s like, “Okay, I’ve got an idea,” and he’s reaching more people. And that’s what I love about you, Life.Church, you’ll do anything short of sin to reach as many people as you can. So listen to me, just keep serving, listen to me, keep serving, keep giving, keep believing, keep praying, keep supporting your pastors, keep staying on the team. And even as the year-end approaches, I would urge you that, as God blesses you, Pastor Craig didn’t ask me to say this, he might not even wanted me to, invest in your church. I don’t know of another place that’s making an eternal difference like church is. At every dollar, every hour, every moment that you serve, every dollar you give is making a difference for heaven, and God’s people said it good, amen? Amen!
All right. (audience applauds) So we’re gonna have some fun with this one, you’re really gonna like this message today ’cause we’re in a little mini series that Pastor Craig is allowing me to do based off of my book “What’s Next?” And just a quick review. I basically taught last week, if you didn’t catch the message, that God has a spiritual journey for you and you’re somewhere on the journey and you have another step. If you’re breathing air, you have another step to take. And I’m just honking the horn, saying, hey, the light’s green, let’s go. It’s time, it’s time, get moving, let’s all get moving. And if the book can help, praise God. But honestly, you’re in a church that can help you take next steps. I wanna encourage you to do it. Get involved. Don’t attend your church, participate in your church, everybody, okay? So let’s get moving, let’s all go, okay. (audience applauds) And that spiritual journey, the way we say it at Highlands is know God, have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with the very real and living God, find freedom, deal with your hangups, your issues, you past, your pain, your problems, once and for all, wipe the glasses clear so that you can discover your purpose and you can make a difference. That is God’s ultimate plan for your life, it is the touchdown line, and that is that you’re making a difference. I wanna talk a little bit about that today, just about making a difference. ‘Cause I get the question all of the time, how am I supposed to know what I’m supposed to do to make a difference? People are confused on how to take this step. And the easiest answer is just get involved in your church. Start making a difference, listen to me, this is so simple, right where you are. Just do something, find something, ask your campus pastor, ask someone on the team, how can I help? And you’ll have that sense of fulfillment. But I wanna also offer another thought for you today, and that is that you have a speaking God who is trying to speak to you. So people say, “I don’t hear God.” Well, God doesn’t have a speaking problem, we have a hearing problem, okay? He’s trying to say some things to you and I’m gonna give you a little clue into how he speaks, and that God speaks, you’re ready for it? God speaks in the language, his language is dreams and visions. Dreams and visions. He’ll give you ideas, supernatural ideas, ideas you could not have come up on your own. And watch this, this is very critical, that dreams and visions or the level of them in your life is key to your own personal success. And I will read you one verse in three different translations to prove it. So in Proverbs 29, verse 18, it says, “Where there is no vision.” That’s the word chazown. Your pastor’s written a book called “Chazown.” I thought when he first said it I thought he said calzone and I gained five pounds, (audience laughs)
but anyway, it’s not a calzone, it’s chazown, it means a dream, a revelation, a vision. Where there is the lack of that, “people perish.” And it’s not talking about a physical death, it’s talking about your marriage dies, your hopes die, your aspirations die, your emotions die. And for a lot of people, they are the living dead. They’re walking around dead. They’re alive but dead. And maybe all that’s missing is a God dream, something deep on the inside, something that God has shown you, and I’m gonna show you how you can get that today. Here’s another translation of the same verse out of the New International Version, and it says that, “Where there is no revelation, “people cast off restraint.” So they get a case of the who cares and it doesn’t matter, does it? And unfortunately, there are too many people that that’s become your life’s mantra. It’s whatever, just kinda going through. You’re in the worst mode to be in, and that is survival mode. And God, I don’t know if you can even believe this, I just hope that something I say can make you believe, you were created for significance, not just for survival. You do not have to stay there. (person claps)
I like the way that, yeah, if you wanna clap, go ahead, that’s good. (audience applauds) But I wanna read it to you out of The Message, which is a paraphrase, and it says, “If people can’t see what God is doing, “they stumble all over themselves. “But when they attend to what he reveals, “they are the most blessed.” And the word blessed in the Hebrew is the word happy in your soul. There’s a soul contentment found when you’re doing the things in life that actually matter. So I have a simple goal today, and that is I wanna get you dreaming again. In fact, as I look back over my life, I can actually, I don’t have the time to tell you all the stories but I can tell you the points where I’m at the best and at the worst have a direct correlation to how much dreaming or vision I have on the inside of me. So when I have no dreams and no vision, I’m depressed, not happy, life’s not going well. But every time, regardless of circumstance, when I’m dreaming again, I have vision again, I feel better, I feel healthier. And I don’t know if you know this or not but the word dream and the word health are so close together in the Hebrew that some of the translators didn’t even know which word to put there. Like dreams and health are synonymous. I want you to think about that for a moment. That you can get healthy again in your soul, your marriage could get healthy if you’re marriage had a vision, your life could get healthy if your life had a vision. No, no, my life would be better if my nextdoor neighbor’s dog would stopped barking. No, no, no, no, that’s not. Circumstances are not determining your happiness, your dreams and your visions and your revelations are. Are you listening to me, everybody? This is really important. (audience applauds) ‘Cause remember from last week, we’re trying to get you flourishing. Psalm 126 says it this way. “When the Lord,” watch this, “restored the fortunes of Zion,” that’s the church, that’s the type of the church, “we were like those who dreamed.” So when I was in the process of being restored, it’s because I was dreaming, it’s what the Bible’s saying. Now watch the result. “And our mouths were filled with laughter, “and our tongues with songs of joy.” I wanna get you back to that place. Now, Pastor Craig actually preached this message at a conference we were both speaking at recently, and he actually applied what I’m getting ready to tell you, which is a great goal for my life, that Pastor Craig, all right, so, anyway. (audience laughs) But several years ago I started a bucket list. I don’t know if y’all know what a bucket list is but a bucket list of things you wanna do before you kick the bucket. Here’s the story. I’m not trying to name drop but I’m personal close friends with the great leadership guru Dr. John Maxwell. He’s kinda like a father to me and I spend a lot of time with him. And in 2008, on his 61st birthday, he called me, me and about six other guys, and he said, “Hey, come down to Florida where I live, “let’s celebrate my birthday just the eight of us, “and let’s play some golf, two foursomes.” I’m like, “I’m in.” So I flew down, we played golf. But in the evening, John likes to watch movies. Now, I’m not a movie person. I might not even see one a year. I’m just not a, I can’t even tell you why, I’m not a movie person. But John likes to go to the movies, it’s his party, let’s go to the movies. So I thought, they’ve got popcorn, come on somebody, right?
(audience laughs) I’m gonna redeem the time in a great way. And so anyway, he decided to go to the movie called “The Bucket List,” that’s the one he chose. Now, I cannot, by the way, recommend this movie. There were some parts in it that I know grieved the Lord, but I remember,
(audience laughs) but I remember this movie, it actually had a great moral to the story. Because if you know anything about the movie, it’s a rich guy and a poor guy, both dying of cancer, and the poorer guy was making a list, a bucket list, and the rich guy says, “Man, I’ve got the money “to pull that off, let’s go.” And said, “Look, we only have a few months, “let’s do everything on that list.” Moral of the story, they went and did all the, what they thought were gonna be the real things of life, the thrills, jumping out of airplanes and racing cars, et cetera. And they found out that life was about a whole lot more than that, and it was a beautiful moral to the story. So after the movie, John says, “How many of you guys,” speaking to these two foursomes that he’d put together, “How many of you guys have a bucket list?” Well, no one did. And being the great leadership mentor that John is, he says, “All right, you have an assignment. “Go back to your hotel rooms “and before we play golf tomorrow “we’re gonna meet for breakfast “and I want at least five items. “Start it, start it.” So I went back to my hotel room and I started. I actually came up with eight in my first draft. Today I have more than 100 items on my bucket list. (audience laughs) It’s become so much fun to do. And a bunch of more fun, just kind of silly things, like I wanna, and I still haven’t done this, I wanna go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and kiss that woman right over there, my wife. Come on, somebody, right?
(audience cheers) Haven’t done it yet.
(audience applauds) But I also have some ministry things, like I do wanna build a ministry leadership academy that is placing 100% of the graduates, and we are well into that. I do wanna plant 2,000 churches with ARC, and we’re doing that, yeah, it’s fun things. (audience applauds) And I’ve dreams like, I wanna lead our church, I wanna lead our church to give $20 million a year. We’re not close to that yet but we’re getting there. But I have some dreams, and so they’re thrills, family, ministry, et cetera. You need to start one. But one of the items on my list is something that I know can’t physical happen. And I’ll just tell you ahead of time, when you start your list, you’re gonna have this tension of, do you put things on the list that you know cannot happen? And let me just tell you the answer: yes. ‘Cause we serve a God “who’s able “to do exceedingly abundantly above “all that we can ask or think,” and that’s not just a cool verse, it’s true. (audience applauds) So on my list was to fly in a supersonic military jet. And I had that dream because I spent seven years in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I actually taught a religion class at the Air Force Academy, so all things Air Force just kinda jumped on me and I just deeply love our Air Force. And so I put it on the list and I’d already researched it. So there used to be what was called a Civilian Ride Program, but you had to be of stature, like a senator or somebody like that, and every once in a while they let a civilian ride along. So I worked everything I could. Well, they shut the program down. They don’t even allow that anymore. So I’m teaching dreams to our church just like I am to you, and I said, “Hey look, you’re gonna put things on your list “that can’t physical happen, keep them on the list.” And I didn’t know why, I said, “For instance, “I wanna fly in an F-16.” Well, in the middle of our auditorium on that Sunday were two colonels sitting next to each other. (audience laughs) In the Air Force. And they looked over each other and said, “Hey, let’s see if we can make this happen for PC.” “Yeah, let’s see if we can.” That’s what they call me, PC, Pastor Chris. They were, “All right.” I didn’t know this was going on. And for the next five months, they vetted me through the Pentagon. It went all the way up to the Secretary of Defense, it went through their program. And at Christmas of 2010, they walked up with a letter and they said, “On behalf of the Department,” come on, somebody, “of Defense,” (audience cheers)
“you have been invited.” (audience applauds) And I was like, “Are you serious?” And they said, “Yes, if you can pass the physical exam,” and you can look at me and tell that happened. Come on somebody, right?
(audience laughs) Next, you know, so right. (audience laughs)
(Chris laughs) “And if you’ll go through the training.” So I did, and in February of that next year I got to fly in an F-16. Y’all, listen to this, we took off, and right ’til it got to the end of the runway he turned that plane straight toward heaven. (audience laughs) We went to 17,000 feet in three seconds. He lit the afterburner and we, I pulled seven Gs, that’s seven times your body weight. (Chris mimics plane roaring) We were up there for over an hour, I flew it for 15 minutes. He said, “Hit it!” I was like, “What, are you sure?” And I spun that bad boy, come on! I got about, I have about 40 seconds of video, you wanna see it, yes or no, yes? (audience cheers) Come on, show it to ’em, guys, show it. (upbeat music) (plane roaring) That’s the takeoff right there, look at that. (soldiers clapping) Come on, somebody. (audience cheers)
Come on, somebody. Hey, keep dreaming, keep dreaming, keep dreaming. (audience applauds) And I learned two things that day. Number one: don’t eat lunch before you get in a plane. (audience laughs) I didn’t throw up, though. He said, “Then you must have a steel stomach,” ’cause he tried to make me throw up. (audience laughs) But I learned something that day, seriously, that I would never say never, ever again, and I would allow my heart to dream. And God has so much more for us than just plane rides, I promise you that. But I learned a beautiful spiritual truth and I wanna stir it up inside of you. Please look in my eyes and hear this, because if you do, you’re gonna feel health. Trust me when I say you won’t know it ’til you do it and you start allowing your heart to dream, connecting with your living God, who is speaking to you and has wonderful things to tell you, and he has a place in his grand design custom-made for you. You gotta get yourself dreaming again. So you have an assignment. I want you to go home and at least start a bucket list, everybody. Just get it started, have some fun things on there, have some meaningful things that will change the world as well. There are five different types of people in our auditoriums today at all of our churches. The first type of person is someone who has no dream. You have none. So you have no dream, you have no vision for your life. And I’m not trying to be ugly, I’m not really a confrontational type of a preacher. But chances are if there’s no dream, there may be no God inside of you. You’re not connected with the living God. Let me say it this way, you may not have faith in God. Because Hebrews 11 is very clear. It says that faith, when you have faith, “it is the substance of things hoped for.” As soon as you have faith in your heart and you get close to God, God is gonna drop dreams inside of you. In the early Church, when God established this Church, the first thing that happened in the outpoint of the Church in Acts chapter two, it was the fulfillment of a prophecy that you’re gonna dream and prophesy and have visions. This is what the Church does. Can I hear a better amen, everybody? Amen.
This is what we do. When we connect with our living God, we dream again. And for some of you, you need to take that step. You need to be saying, “I need to get close to the Lord. “Maybe I’m not even to be hearing God “because I have so many competing voices “going on in the inside.” And sometimes, in order to hear God’s voice, you have to turn down the world’s volume and allow God to speak to you. And I’m urging you to get close to the Lord again. Jeremiah chapter 33 says, “Call to me,” this is God speaking, “Call to me, and I will answer you.” And watch what he does when I answer you, “and I will show you great and mighty things, “which you do not know.” God’s begging us to get close to him in prayer. And don’t let just the conversation go in one direction. Well, I’m just gonna dump all my problems on God. No, no, no, pray and listen. I pray and keep a pad near where I pray in my home office ’cause God speaks to me and gives me ideas, and God desires the same thing for your life as well. For some of you in this room today or at one of our churches, you’re this type of person. You have a wrong dream. And when I say a wrong dream, I’m not talking about a bad dream or even a sinful dream. It may be good, it’s just not God. You’ve allowed yourself to dream about something that has only earthly pursuits in it and there’s nothing connected to God. Now, God does not mind you pursuing things. But you have to hear this, that God has so much more for you. I want you to experience the joy of knowing that you’re a part of something that God is doing on the earth, everyone. Paul said in Acts chapter 20, verse 24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, “if only I may finish the race and complete the task “the Lord Jesus has given me.” Paul literally said, “I have found the greatest joy of my life “doing that which God asks me to do.” You say, Chris, how do I get to that place? How do I get to a place where I have a God dream? I don’t know how to say it any other way other than to surrender your life to Jesus. And what I mean by that is say, God, you can have my life and you can have my things and you can have my possessions. And really, God, I only acquired all of these because you gave me the ability to in the first place. Amen, everybody? I mean, we only have what we have because of a generous loving God. And that we just turn right back around and say, God, use this, use my car, use my ideas, use my house, use my pool, use whatever I have. God, I wanna leverage those for eternal purposes. And just daily surrender to God and to his purposes is one of the healthiest ways to live. I really, honestly, I kinda grew up, I never thought that much of myself. In fact, I still battle with feelings of inferiority. That might surprise you. But I actually failed my speech class at LSU. (audience laughs) Not at Harvard, LSU, everybody, okay? (audience laughs)
Okay. (mumbles) down there, and I, okay, so. (audience laughs) ‘Cause I was so afraid to get in front of people and I was not living the best version of myself. And it was after a service like this where someone was challenging me to live for God and I thought, well, that’s for everybody else, that’s not really for me, that I went after the service, it was a Sunday night service at my church, and I’m just gonna tell you, God was messing with me. And I went behind the church in this vacant field, it was a football field for this Christian school of that church, and I paced back and forth and I didn’t do anything other than say, God, you can have it all. You can have my life, my dreams, my career, my marriage. I wasn’t even married yet. You can have it all, God. Everything that I have belongs to you. And that’s where I heard the call of God, on a football field after a church service, that I was called to the ministry. I’m just telling you, you’ve gotta make sure that the dream that you’re living out is not just something that’s just for yourself. And if it is, you probably have sensed that emptiness, even in your own pursuits. Here’s the third type of person, and that is you have a good dream, but it’s just gone stale. I call it a stale dream. So it burned at one point, you were fired up about it, and either probably through delay or through some set of problems that you did not plan on, it’s barely flickering. It’s kinda just barely hanging in there right now and it’s dying out. And that’s perhaps why God had me come to Life.Church to be at this service with you watching or you attending today, just to have this crazy Cajun from Alabama to blow on your dream and say, come on, let’s burn again, let’s get this thing. Come on, (mumbles) everybody, let’s just dream again. (audience applauds) And here’s what I know. I’ve been a Christian for more than 40 years now and I’ve been in ministry for 36 years now, and here’s what I do know about a stale dream, and that is you don’t casually go back into it. So if that’s where you are in these different five types of people, that’s where you are, you don’t casually go back into it. Just take my advice, you’ll probably have to do something radical to get it back. And for me, I’ll just tell you what I do and I’m not saying you have to do this, I’m just telling you, for me, prayer and fasting works. I take time and try to separate as much of the world as I possibly can and I try to connect as much as I can to my God. ‘Cause really, some of our problems, the reason why we go stale in our lives is we have too much of the world and not enough God, are you listening to me, everybody? (audience applauds) And prayer and fasting, they literally combat both of those. Fasting is not about just starving yourself from food. It’s about how much of the world can I disconnect myself from? From media, from anything secular. What can I do to just create, even if just for a few days, some type of separation, and can I add to the time I spend in God’s Word and in prayer? And I promise you, you’ll see this fire start to burn again on the inside. Paul prayed even for people in ministry, “I remind you to fan into flame “the gift of God that’s on you.” I’m here to blow on somebody today and just say, hey it’s time, it’s time to get that dream back. I know it’s been a long time, you’ve been dreaming it a long time, maybe you’ve gone through a set of circumstances that’s even delayed it. God still wants to do it your life, can I hear a good amen, everybody? (audience applauds) Do something radical. The fourth type of person is what I call a vague dream. So you have a dream but you’ve not spent the time that’s needed to really articulate it, to dream it more thoroughly, and better yet, it’s shocking to me how many don’t do this, to write it down. I’m shocked at the number of people who don’t write their dreams down. When there’s a verse (laughs) that says, it’s kinda hard to understand ’cause it’s in, it’s really hard to understand, it’s really deep, because it says, “Write it down.” I mean, I know, I know.
(audience laughs) It’s like, what do you mean, God? He says write it down. “Write down what I reveal to you.” Can I encourage you to get in the habit, if you want a vibrant Christian life and a person who’s living a life of purpose and someone who’s making a difference, just to get in the habit of dreaming and then writing it down? I have things on my bucket list that I would not have done had I not written them down. ‘Cause I’ve disciplined myself to once a month to read my bucket list. And every time I do it I go, oh yeah. I need to call somebody and see if I can make that happen. I need to see if that can, I need to work a little more toward that, I need to commit this more to prayer. Write it down, write it down, write it down. Habakkuk 2:2, “Write down what I reveal to you, “so that he may run who reads it.” In other words, if you don’t write it down, you won’t be able to read it, and if you don’t read it, you’re not gonna be able to run the play. Write it down, write it down. If you don’t get anything else out of this message, would you please get alone with God, start writing your dreams down? I’m just here, my name is Chris, I’m your friend, come on somebody, right?
(audience laughs) I’m just here to help you take some next steps with God because God has more for you, perhaps, than what you’re currently experiencing, and I’m just trying to get you moving again in that direction. Here’s the last one, and that is a God dream. A God dream. The dream that we want is a God dream. A dream that is several things. First of all, it’s God-honoring. In other words, it’s a dream that doesn’t just puff you up or make you say, “I was in an F-16.” No. That’s fine and dandy and I still have those things on my dream list. But have some things, because there’s gonna be a day that I want you to prepare for. So I hope you know this, that there are two judgments. Some Christians don’t know this. You don’t just go to heaven and, “Did you accept Jesus or not? “Okay, come on in.” No, there is that judgment, it’s the everybody judgment, it’s the great white throne judgment, it’s the judgment where you’re entered into heaven because Jesus paid for your sins and you decided to accept what Jesus did for you on the cross. You do know that hell is not a place that God sends people that he’s mad at, hell’s just a place that people pay for their own sins, but they don’t have to, come on, somebody, right? You understand that? That’s that judgment. (audience applauds) But so many Christians don’t realize that there’s also another judgment after that judgment. It’s a Christian judgment. It’s a judgment that doesn’t determine your eternal existence, it determines what your eternal existence is like, because it’s a reward judgment. The judgment seat of Christ where he says, “Okay, well, welcome in, oh I love you so much.” And then he says, “Hey, I gave you this and I gave you this. “I gave you the best church on the planet. “I gave you Oklahoma or Texas “or wherever you are around the world. “I gave you this generation. “I gave you the technology, “the generation with technology.” In my case, all that amazing good looks. “I gave you so many things.”
(audience laughs) Y’all didn’t have to laugh that hard, all right? (audience laughs) But there is the expectation, watch this, that you are leveraging that which God gave you. ‘Cause we want a “well done and good and faithful servant” kind of a dream, amen, everybody? Amen. And it’s also a dream that’s a culture-defiying, that has the courage to even stand against injustices on the earth and say, “Not on our watch. “We’re not gonna allow that to happen.” A culture-defying dream. A heaven-impacting dream. That we’re gonna plunder hell and populate heaven. That’s what I love about this church, that everything you do is focused on getting more people in heaven and out of hell. Can I get a better amen, everybody? (audience applauds) And lastly, it will always be a dream, I’m just gonna warn you, that is seemingly impossible. A dream that as a God dream will always require God’s help. And so I am so in over my head, I have been years ago, to be honest with you, in the things that God has asked me to do. But it keeps me on my knees knowing that it’s gonna take great faith and a great God in order to pull it off. And I wanted to close today, I wanna invite The Keys to come on, and I just wanna read a verse, a story. I actually was gonna do this at the beginning of the message and I felt like the Spirit of God spoke to me to do this at the end of the message. And I just want you to get out of your head. I’ve taught you and you have lists. Get me this for a couple minutes. ‘Cause there’s a story in Mark chapter eight that I wanna read to you. Just receive this with fresh eyes and ears. It says, “They came to Bethsaida, “and some people brought a blind man “and begged Jesus to touch him.” Ain’t in interesting that he brought his friend who was blind and then told Jesus how to do it. Not a good idea. So Jesus didn’t touch him. “He took the blind man by the hand “and led him outside the village.” By the way, sometimes, in order for God to speak to you, you gotta change the environment that you’re currently in. And it says, (laughs) this is hilarious to me. I see humor in scripture, forgive me. “When he spit on the man’s eyes.” (laughs) He asked him to touch him. Not gonna do it. (mimics spitting) And so, anyway.
(audience laughs) I think he did it on purpose because the guy told him to touch him. “Do the hand thing.” “No, I’m gonna do the spit thing.” All right, so anyway.
(audience laughs) ‘Cause we think Jesus is into a system and a certain way of doing it and he’s trying to get you to say, “Don’t create the rules for me to work in your life.” “And then Jesus asked,” after he spit on the guy’s eyes, he said, “Do you see anything?” And the guy looked up and he said, “I see people, and they look like trees.” And I’ve got a question for you. If he’s blind, how does he know what trees look like? There’s only one answer. That he once had sight and he lost it. ‘Cause he knew what trees look like. “I see people, they look like trees.” And then you get two of the words that I wanted you to hear today, Life.Church. You ready for it? Next two words. “Once more.” So you know that Jesus, Jesus who had the ability to heal perfectly, prayed for the guy the second time. I think those are some of the most consequential words in the story because God is saying, “I am willing, even though you had a vision “and you lost a vision, “I’m ready to give you a once more kind of experience.” And specially for some of you guys that have been in church for a whole long time, and even your church experience has grown stale. Remember, I’m here just to get you moving again. Once more, once more. He’s a once more kind of a God. I’m telling you, that’s someone that’s right here in this room and at everyone of our churches today, there’s someone who’s by themselves in front for a computer screen right now. You need to know that God, come on, has a once more kind of a touch for your life right now. (audience applauds) Listen, listen, “And once more, he laid his hands on him. “And he saw everything clearly.” Father, that’s my prayer for this church. In order for this church to be all that you’ve created, this church to be, every single one of us, Lord, we need to see everything clearly. God, help us to get beyond our own personal pursuits and just our personal agenda that many of us are discovering is leading to emptiness and dissatisfaction. And God, help us to see once again. If that’s you today, in all of our locations, all of our churches, you say, that’s me. I need to see again, I need a fresh wind, a fresh wind in my dream again. All over our locations, if that’s you, would you slip your hands up right now and just say, pray for me, I need fresh vision, I need a fresh fire. At all of our locations, you watching online, there’s a place for you to join in with us and let me just pray for you. Father, I pray God for just fresh vision. And God, let them leave here, God following your word, writing it down, getting close to you, shutting out the volume of the world. And I pray, God, that we get the vision that you’ve intended for us to have so that we can make the difference you want us to make. At all of our churches today, would you just keep your heads bowed and you’re eyes closed? I’m gonna ask for nobody to move around. These are holy moments where we make decisions of faith. And believe there’s people here today that say, “Chris, I need to know God. “I need to know God, I’m far from God.” In fact, here’s how you know if you are. God seems a million miles away. Did you know that the real purpose of Jesus, watch this, now, this is Ephesians 2, that Jesus came to destroy the barrier between you and go so the two of you could be close. That’s what salvation is. Salvation is being close to God. It’s not perfection, it’s just God in your life, God in a real relationship, a committed, devoted relationship. Jesus comes and he pays for sin and destroys the barrier. For some of you, you know exactly what I’m talking about because it feels like a distance, it feels like a gap, it feels like a barrier, that there’s something in the way. Will you allow Jesus today to destroy that? He did that by going to the cross and paying a penalty for something he never did, and that is sin. For everything that you ever have done, are doing, and will do, Jesus said, “I’ll take it all, I’ll pay for it all, “I’ll give you my life.” And in return he just asks for the same thing. “I’ll give you my life. “Would you give me yours?” I’m not even asking you to join this church, although I think that’s a good thing to do. I wonder how many of you today need to join Jesus and say, I’m ready for that barrier to be destroyed and I’m ready to get close. If that’s you, at all of our churches today, to everyone watching online, would you just say, that’s me? Would you just lift your hand? Come on, at every one of our campuses, our churches today. Count me in, that prayer, I’m ready to give my life to Jesus. Come on Life.Church, would you celebrate with me today the number of people who are giving their life to Jesus today?
(audience applauds) Letting that barrier be destroyed and coming into a real relationship with God. (audience applauds) Right there where you are. If you’re watching online, Church Online, wherever you are, would you just pray this prayer right there in your hear thing say, Jesus, I need you in my life. Would you please forgive me for my sin? Come inside of my life and change me. Make me more like you. In fact, at every one of our churches today, let’s make a declaration. I believe.
I believe. You are the Son of God.
You are the Son of God. I believe you died.
I believe you died. And you were buried.
And you were buried. And you rose again. And today, I put my faith in you. I put my faith in you. In your name I pray.
In your name I pray. Amen.
Amen. Would you give Jesus a great praise? Come on, everybody!
(audience applauds) Thanks again 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 the Life.Church app. It’s free and available wherever you download your apps from. We’ll see you next time. (upbeat music)