Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Reaching the Wandering | Where the Wild Things Are | Pastor Cal Jernigan

March 21, 2021 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Reaching the Wandering | Where the Wild Things Are | Pastor Cal Jernigan
Chapters
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Reaching the Wandering | Where the Wild Things Are | Pastor Cal Jernigan
Mar 21, 2021
Central Christian Church of Arizona

God celebrates nothing more than when someone comes back into relationship with Him! We are all wanted intensely and loved deeply by Jesus. You are loved. Your neighbor is loved. Your co-worker is loved. And God wants us to experience the joy of helping someone be reunited with His love. Join us for this message from Pastor Cal Jernigan all about how God wants you to be a part of changing another person’s life.

Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)

Show Notes Transcript

God celebrates nothing more than when someone comes back into relationship with Him! We are all wanted intensely and loved deeply by Jesus. You are loved. Your neighbor is loved. Your co-worker is loved. And God wants us to experience the joy of helping someone be reunited with His love. Join us for this message from Pastor Cal Jernigan all about how God wants you to be a part of changing another person’s life.

Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)

Hey, I want to begin today by telling you a story. It's a true story. It's a story that happened in 1984. It's a little bit hard to believe. It's just one of those stories that when you put it all together. Now, when I tell you this story, I got to tell you right up front, you gotta follow the details or you're going to get lost in the story.

[00:00:15] But here's what happened in 1984, a guy named Ted Forbes who was walking down the street in Chicago and he found a wallet on the ground. So he picked the wallet up. And he looked inside it, it had $3 in the wallet, but it had no identification, no driver's license, no social security number nothing. So as he's looking through it,

[00:00:31] he's trying to find some way to identify who it belongs to and he discovered a letter, an old letter that was inside the wallet. And the only thing he could actually read on the, on the envelope of the letter was a return address. And so he was trying to figure out what to do. And he decided for the sake of trying to find who this belongs to, that he would read what was inside.

[00:00:54] So he opened it up and he read the letter and then he just sought to try to find this person. And now he has a little bit of a context. So it was a, it was a dear John letter. I was written by a woman named Hannah to a man named Mike. And so we have that information. So he went to the address on the envelope and he asked and he knocked on the door and he said, Hey, did anyone ever live here by the name of Hannah or Mike?

[00:01:18] And the person said, gosh, I've lived here for like 30 years. Oh, by the way, did I mention that this letter was like 60 years old at the time, it was actually written in 1924. And, and so, uh, they said, well, I bought this house like 30 years ago. And when I bought this house, there was a girl, uh, the daughter of the people I bought it from the, her name was Hannah.

[00:01:39] And he said, yeah, that's probably her. Do you know where to find her? And he said, well, I don't have any idea, but I know that her mom was put in a nursing home, just down the street here, long story short, he goes to the nursing home. The mom is dead and then kind of gets the daughter's number, tracks her to an elderly apartment where she lives.

[00:02:00] She's now an older lady. And so he decides that he's going to go to that apartment. He's going to try to find the lady. And so he goes there, she lives on the third floor of this kind of elderly apartment building. He knocks on the door and he says, Hey, I know this was really weird, but I found a wallet by a guy named Mike that it had a woman named Hannah. Is your name,

[00:02:25] Hannah? And her name was Hannah Marshall. And she said, Oh my gosh, you found a letter to Mike? And he said, yeah, because I feel really bad reading it, but I didn't have any way to figure out I found his wallet. I'm trying to get it to him. And she said, can I, can I read the letter? And sure enough, it was the letter that she wrote to Mike all those years before.

[00:02:44] In which she said, my parents told me that I can't see you anymore and that I've got to break up with you. And then she went on to tell the guy that delivered the wallet. She said you've got to understand, I've loved Mike all my life. I've never married. I could never get beyond Mike. Mike was the greatest guy that ever happened to me and I've missed him my entire life.

[00:03:06] If you ever locate him would you please tell him I still love him. And you know, it was one of those. Wow. So he was blown away by all of that. And she was bright and you know, she was 70, like 76 years old, but she was sharp. And he said, if I ever find this guy, I promise you, I will tell him I will pass this message onto him and tell him where you are.

[00:03:24] So he goes out in the hallway, he's walking down the hallway, carrying the wallet in his hand and he passes a janitor. This is a true story. Passes the janitor and the janitor says, Hey, can I see that wallet? And so he says, sure. And he says, Hey, that's Mr. Goldstein's wallet. He goes, how'd you get it? He goes, well, I found it in the street, downtown Chicago.

[00:03:40] He goes, he drops that , he loses that all the time. And he said, you know, the guy that this wallet belongs to  and he said, yeah, it's it's, it's, it's Mike Goldstein. He lives on the eighth floor. Can you believe this! Of the same building? He lives on the eight floor? Yeah, apartment six on the eighth floor.

[00:03:56] And so he takes elevator up to the eighth floor. He knocks on the door and the guy answers the door and he says, Hey, I know this is really kind of crazy, but is there by any chance this wallet is this yours? He goes, where'd you find my wallet? He goes, this is your wallet. He goes, yeah, I lost my wallet.

[00:04:11] He says, listen, I'm really sorry to tell you what I'm about to tell you. But I, I, I was trying to figure out who it belonged to him because he had no identification. I, I actually read the letter that was inside your wallet. He said, you read the letter. And he said, yeah, I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to no, he goes, you just don't understand that letter.

[00:04:28] That was the last contact I had with this woman that I dearly loved. He said, I've spent my entire life longing to find her. I've never been able to locate her as the only thing I've got left. I would give anything to see her again. Can you believe this story. And he said, well, I think I might be able to help you locate her.

[00:04:51] Why don't you come with me? And he walked Mike down to the elevator from the eighth floor down to the third floor where Hannah lived, knocked on the door. They looked at each other and instantly instantly realized who they were. And slowly they walk towards each other and they embrace, he was 79. She was 76.

[00:05:11] Here's the rest of the story. A little bit later, the guy that found the wallet was contacted asked, would you be the best man at our wedding? Because we are getting married and they were celebrating like a bunch of young teenagers in love and what an incredible story. It is so hard to believe. But here's what I would, I would just put to you to think about wouldn't you love to be the guy to reintroduce those two people to each other.

[00:05:36] To just be able to bring that reconciliation together. And I want you to understand something when it comes to what we get to do for Jesus and people, we get to be in that position, bringing people together. And I want to say this, and I actually want you to stare at this sentence from the perspective of eternity.

[00:05:56] Introducing people to Jesus are numbered among the greatest moments of our lives. You see, often when we think about our lives, we think, Oh no, no, my first job, my first kiss, my first, this is my first step, my first, whatever those were the highlights on your highlight reel in heaven. I want you to understand it.

[00:06:12] It's, it's the people that you introduced to Jesus that are going to be on that reel. And, um, it's, it's, it's just the reality of what's happening here now. I want you to understand why this is so significant when you introduce somebody to Jesus, you change your life and their life for eternity. It has eternal consequences.

[00:06:31] We don't often do anything that lasts for eternity, but this one surely does. And what we discovered last week was that a party breaks out heaven when somebody comes home and somebody reads reunited to God. And so it was a time to celebrate now. I want to stop right here on a welcome everyone. I want to welcome you wherever you are.

[00:06:46] However, you're seeing this. If you're on the site with me here, if you're on one of our campuses, physical campuses, whether you're watching this online, whether you're driving down the streets in mind, your desk, wherever you are, sit in your living room, wherever. I just want to send my greetings. So good to have you with us.

[00:07:00] Thanks for being a part of this. And as we get moving today, I to ask you to open your Bible to where we were last week and that's Luke chapter 15, Luke chapter 15 is a incredible, chapter. It's got so much to say, and we're going to continue today in our series called where the wild things are, where the wild things are.

[00:07:18] It's part two of a two-part series. We introduced it last week. And last week, I just tried to help you to understand what wild stands for as we're using wild. There's an acronym that stands for wanted intensely, loved deeply. Wanted intensely, loved deeply. And I use that. Just as an, uh, kind of a, an idea to get across of how God sees you, but how God also sees those who are far away from Him. Wanted intensely, loved deeply.

[00:07:46] You are, and they are. Get this. How does God feel towards those who are home and those who are not home with Him. Wanted intensely, loved deeply. Now here's the kicker that we've got to wrestle with. All right. It's easy for those of us. Who have chosen to come home to understand that God's kind of crazy about us.

[00:08:08] I mean, who wouldn't be crazy about us? I mean, we're all that. It's hard for us to imagine that God has this incredible passion for people who are not yet home, that God loves sinners as he loves saints. When you're a Saint in your own mind, at least when you're a Saint, you can justify God's love for you.

[00:08:30] It's just hard to understand that God's love for you began when you were a sinner. And it wasn't when you turned it into a Saint that all of a sudden God decided that he loves you. So the title of this message is simply this, can I help you look, can I help you look, you know, as I thought about this, think about this.

[00:08:47] If you're playing golf and somebody shanks for the ball out and they say can you help me find it? We would always step up going, yeah let me help you look. We enjoy helping you look. If you drop a contact, we'd get down on our knees and help you find your contact. If you dropped her keys, we look for your keys.

[00:09:04] Certainly if you lost a child, we would do anything within our power to help you find that child. And here's what I want to say. We all love helping somebody find something valuable that was lost. We like being a part of the process, the most important thing of all. I would say is, um, the most important thing that could ever be missing would be a person who's distanced themselves from God and is living outside of that relationship with Him.

[00:09:36] Um, why would anyone choose to sit out, getting the opportunity to help God find that person? Can I help you look. Of all the times you'll invest in your life, no time's going to be more important than the time that you could be helping somebody find their way back to God. Often we just leave them to fend for themselves.

[00:09:55] Just if you make it back, that's awesome. But it's not really my problem. So the big idea that I want to wrestle with you in the few moments we have today is this idea of the greatest joy we could ever experience in life is reuniting someone who has been separated from someone else, who loves them deeply. Long ideas,

[00:10:14] sorry for that. But to capture the essence, I want to say it again. The greatest joy we can ever experience in life is reuniting someone who has been separated from someone who loves them deeply. So let's do this. Let's jump back into Luke 15. Let's just kind of review real quickly where we were last week, Luke chapter 15, verses one and two kind of set the whole thing up.

[00:10:38] Now it says this. Now the tax collectors and the sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus, but the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, this man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Now you've got a contract. You got to really open. I mean, a bad people are really open to Jesus and he's digging on them and the really righteous people are having a problem.

[00:11:03] All right. So I want to make an uncomfortable observation right now. And I'm going to lay this out there. And, uh, this is just, it just doesn't feel right, but, but as you read this, the natural and intuitive actions of Jesus were repulsive to those who consider themselves to be spiritually minded and Holy before God. Again, got to stare at that.

[00:11:29] It's the natural and intuitive action. What Jesus would just naturally do, repulsed people who claimed to be so close to God. Who got this one, right, and who got this one wrong? You know, it's interesting then after that, there's the three stories to follow. If you're in Bible trivia, this is the only time Jesus used three stories to illustrate one point, but that's what he did here.

[00:11:56] It gives you the idea of how important it is, what he's going to talk about. So he told three stories. We call them parables. It was a parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin. And then the parable of the lost son. The parable of lost sheep, 99, 100 sheep. One goes missing, 99 are safe. The shepherd goes after the one. There's 10 coins.

[00:12:14] One goes missing. The woman searches the house for the one. A man has two sons and one goes away and one stays. Now last week I stopped the story in kind of mid story. So let me pick it up. Now, we're going to go back into a Luke chapter 15, and I want you to see the reaction. Of the son that stayed home. As I said last week,

[00:12:43] well, this is called the prodigal, the parable of the prodigal son, all kinds of interpretations of that. Many would say this guys to the prodigal son. The word prodigal literally means reckless. So I think it's best the parable of the prodigal father who had this reckless love towards his son, but we love to indict the son that went off into the wild living.

[00:13:05] And then we kind of venerate the goodness of the one who stayed put. So in Luke 15 beginning with verse 25, it says, meanwhile, the older son was in the field. And when he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So we call one of the servants and asked him what was going on. Your brother has come,

[00:13:25] he replied and your father was killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound. He's excited. And the older brother became angry. And refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him, but he answered his father. Look, all these years, I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet,

[00:13:44] you never gave me even a young goat that I could sell. So I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fatted calf for him. My son, the father said, you are always with me and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because his brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. Not very hard to understand what's going on here. Guys resentful because he feels he got ripped off because the father was paying attention to the lost one who was missing, but is now found.

[00:14:27] You got to make sure you understand Jesus referencing right back up. Literally to chapter 15, one and two, the sinners response to Jesus and the Holy people's response to Jesus. Because when they were sitting around muttering about the fact that Jesus is hanging out with these undesirable people, really what they're upset about is why does he care about these worthless people when we're here,

[00:14:55] and he should be paying attention to us? This is misplaced attention. The 99 sheep have every right to protest because, Hey, we didn't do anything. We didn't go anywhere. And that one stupid sheep that wandered up deserves to get eaten by a wolf, so don't care about him. The nine coins have every right to say to the one coin that rolled away.

[00:15:14] You're the loser. And the one son who stayed, feels fully justified in whatever happens to that son that left. He deserves it. Now, the hard part of this teaching, I think we have to wrestle with is the, the Pharisees were basically saying to Jesus, you're focusing on the wrong people. You're, you're, you're paying attention to the wrong people.

[00:15:39] We should be the object of your affection and your attention. This is an interesting thing. Um, it's as if the whole mission of Christ, that Christ came to world for the sake of them. That Christ came, and if he really was, God, all of His focus would be on them, not on the worthless people that are found in their mind in chapter 15, verses one and two.

[00:16:07] Now, the problem is when you listen to  the scripture about like why Jesus really came. Like I shared this one with you last week. Let me remind you. Matthew 18:11 says for the son of man came to seek and to save as coming. Excuse me, I'm reading it from a different translation for the son of man, has come to save that, which was lost.

[00:16:30] That was the mission. All right, Luke, 5:31-32 says these words, Jesus answered them in their criticism. It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Can I say something about calling the righteous? You can't call the righteous to repentance.

[00:16:50] The righteous don't cut call to repentance because the righteous believe they never need repentance. The righteous believe that they're always right, and that they're nothing that they're doing that needs to be realigned.

[00:17:04] Excuse me. The hardest thing, I would say this about being a leader and who leads people. The hardest thing in being a leader is leading people to stay on mission. It is, um, always, always, always, a challenge. It is always, always, always a temptation to go off mission. Folks, listen, I want to talk from my heart to you.

[00:17:24] It is always, always, always easy to make the mission of the church about us, the righteous, the saved, the ones who respond to the ones who are in the fold. Um, church has had a really bad tendency folks to grow inward, to become literally about themselves. Every church, I believe if left to its own would eventually become a closed to sell,

[00:17:50] that's the Holy huddle and everyone, who's not one of us needs to stay away from us. And this is a tendency that every church has to, to fight. We begin to believe that God cares most about what we care about most. And God is upset most by what we are upset most by even though the reality of it is, is that might not at all be the reality of it.

[00:18:13] Let me just give you a quick test here. This is uncomfortable. It's a test I've given myself. All right. Here we go. How much of your time, energy, thought, and focus this past year has been on people who are separated from God. You know, missing from a relationship with Him, they're suffering because they don't have a connection with a higher being.

[00:18:43] A person we call God. Who can give them wisdom and guidance through the dilemmas are facing. How much time, energy, thought, and focus this past year. In contrast to how many of your prayers, our prayers, my prayers have been me, uh, about my needs, about what God could do to help me. And in your case, what God could do to help you, or what God could do to help us. You see it's really easy to forget about the plight of others,

[00:19:19] when you feel like God should be focused on you and on me. And this is exactly what is happening right here. This is the older brother's contention to his father. You should pay more attention to me because I am worthy, and that brother is not. Now, I want to say, um, I want to just go into this for a little bit.

[00:19:42] Um, times, like we've been living through us to face mission drift, and there's just no way around that. These days we have become so angry and so hostile. Can I explain why we're so angry and so hostile because those are our feelings about certain things we're going on. And, um, we, we spend so much time these days wanting to make sure that my views get expressed and I need to make sure everybody hears what I think.

[00:20:12] These are my feelings and, uh, are venting our own discontent over anything that we just feel isn't right, or the way we think it should be. It's one thing, folks for that, to be the description of the society that we live in at large, but the truth is, is really what's going on within the church. All the while that we're expressing our frustration or upset about something within the church.

[00:20:38] I think satan just sits back and goes, I love that. I love that you just keep doing that. That's good because the purposes of God will always be ignored when people of God get distracted by things that are not the mission of God. And again, you got to let that soak in folks. Um, let me, let me say it to you this way.

[00:20:59] If I were, um, let me contrast it. If I were a foreign terrorist right now, And I want to do harm to the welfare of the United States. You know what I would do? I would do absolutely nothing. That's what I would do. I would just leave the status and the kind of the, this, the situation of the United States.

[00:21:21] I'd leave it just, you guys just fight it out amongst yourselves because we've got polarization, like we maybe never have had, and we have hostility and anger and vitriol. And I would just step back and just watch and just go they'll they'll they'll do themselves in, they'll just destroy themselves. Yeah, I can say here I, say, I can say I don't got to get involved. Now,

[00:21:44] I think the same sort of thing can happen within the church. We can get the muttering about this muttering about that. Getting frustrated or frustrated over that all the while we start saying things and attacking and making statements, and we're all innocent when we do it, because these are my feelings and my views.

[00:21:59] And I'm sure God agrees with me. Now, the net effect is no care for the lost, no care for the missing, no time left for them. And uh, I think Satan just sits back and enjoys the show. You know, it's interesting. If you remember back to 9/ 11, one of the most remarkable things that happened in 9/11 was as a country we do together because we had a common reason to unite.

[00:22:24] Because there was something threatening us. Folks, we have totally lost our way. Understand what Satan wants to do is to destroy the mission of God. He gave the mission of God to the church and we are easily ignoring it. Now, let me say something that, uh, David Platt said, every saved person, this side of heaven owes the gospel to every unsaved person,

[00:22:51] this side of hell. This is a responsibility God has given us. And if you go, I don't even know what the mission was. Let me remind you of the mission. This is not complicated. Jesus's last words who recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Matthew 28:18 to 20 Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

[00:23:15] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I'm with you to the very end of the age. Here's your mission. Go make disciples and teach them what I taught you.

[00:23:28] That's the, of the church. It's about Jesus, and it's about people who are missing and it's about finding them. And God said, we helped me look for them. We had just helped me look for them. And then we can talk about the last words as Jesus was ascending to the Father as recorded in the sequel to the Gospels, the book of Acts. Acts 1:8.

[00:23:49] You will receive power when the Holy spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth, go everywhere and testify about me. That's the mission. Now we have been placed here for those who are outside of relationship with God, that is why we are here.

[00:24:09] And I'm often asked God, why don't you just take us home when we, when we get it right. We give our lives to you. Why didn't you just take us home? And here's the answer as to why he doesn't, because there's one thing we can do here that we can't do better in heaven. And that is bring people with us, bring people with us and, uh, share our faith.

[00:24:28] So if you've kind of like, I got a little fuzzy on, like what, let me just give you two images that scripture spells out that we're supposed to be. We are to be number one ambassadors of reconciliation. And we're to be number two letters of recommendation. Let me quickly just, uh, make these a little bit more clear.

[00:24:50] We're going to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Let me take you to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. All this is from God. Who reconciled to us, uh, reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.

[00:25:08] And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf. Be reconciled to God. We're ambassadors. Ambassadors set aside for the purpose of helping people reconcile with God. That is the mission that God has given us.

[00:25:31] How's it going to be accomplished? Well, let me take you to the book of Romans. Romans chapter 10, verse four, but how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him and how can they believe in him unless they've never heard about him and how can they hear about him unless somebody tells them.

[00:25:49] So you start to see where they need to hear the truth about Jesus. How are they going to hear? Well, I'm going to leave a track in a bathroom and it's going to tell them all about Jesus or I'm just going to trust that they're going to hear it on Christian radio, or they're going to pick up a podcast of a sermon, or they're going to watch it on Christian television, or they're going to get it from a bumper sticker that says, Jesus loves you.

[00:26:11] I want to, I'll ask you the simple question, Church, how'd you come to know Jesus. You don't know what my guess is. You came to know Jesus because somebody took the time to tell you about Jesus. They shared their story with you. And, um, when you heard their story, you started thinking about your story and then your story kinda became intertwined with their story.

[00:26:35] And that's how you became a believer. I think if we were to just take a poll, I think we'd see that very common. A second thing, where to be an ambassador of reconciliation, but we're also going to be a letter of recommendation. What does that mean? It means that God is going to use you and me as, like, this is what happens.

[00:26:54] We are the advertisement, and this is so important to understand. We are the advertisement of what a life fully surrendered to Christ looks like and what the benefit of it is. Now, let me just say this. If you're a Christ follower, has your life become better since you gave your life to Christ? Or would you say you are better off or worse off since you committed to Christ?

[00:27:19] Now, if you're a Jesus follower, that's a fair question. As you got, I've gotten better or worse. I think far in large, most everybody would go, Oh, my life has been so much better. I certainly know, mine has. Second question. Is there anybody out there whose life would not be better off if they were in a relationship with God with Jesus?

[00:27:40] Well, I don't think so. I think every life would be better. This is why scripture says the love of Christ that we've experienced should compel us to tell everybody we know. Everybody. I think about this thing, Penn Gillette said of Penn and Teller. If you know that they're actually magicians very famous.

[00:28:06] He said this a number of years ago and I've never forgotten it. He said, I am an atheist. I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I am an atheist, but I don't respect people who don't proselytize. What does that mean? Who don't share their faith. And then he said this, if you believe that there's a heaven and a hell and the people could be going to hell, how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?

[00:28:31] How much do I have to hate somebody to not tell them what I believe to be so fundamentally true? Hm. Second Corinthians chapter three. Paul said you yourselves are our letter written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ. The result of our ministry written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living

[00:28:54] God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. You and I church, you and I are what we're trying to convince people to become, but when we get off mission and all we're going to do is fight with one another, disagree about this, disagree about that, squabble and mutter and all of that. That's what we're showing the unbelieving world.

[00:29:19] So let me close right now, but just saying this, you know, where the wild things are. Um, God's going to help me find them. We helped me bring them home. You, I don't even know where to start. So let me just park this message on two thoughts right here. Two specific things that we could do. Number one, two weeks from this weekend is Easter.

[00:29:43] And you know what? Every one of us could do? Intentionally invite people to come intentionally, invite people to come. According to a Lifeway research articles, some 153 million unchurched men and women in the United States would attend on Easter Sunday. If they were invited 153, if they were invited, I want to say this as Americans are spending $17.3 billion on Easter candy clothes, food, and decorations.

[00:30:16] They're also doing internet searches on the word church. More than any other day of the year, any other time of the year, this is the time. Let me tell you about further research. 80% of people who don't go to church say they would attend if they were invited by somebody and only 2% of all believers could actually say with integrity,

[00:30:46] I invited somebody to church. Guys, God, can I help you look, can I help you look? Um, wow. So what we're going to do at Central here this year, we're going to have an online Good Friday service, which is going to set up the Easter service. You want to watch that it's going to be a fantastic, and then on Saturday on our campuses and online, we're going to have various, uh in-person and then again, you can get it online.

[00:31:16] And so Saturday and Sunday, we're going to gather. And we're going to celebrate that Friday night was not the end of the story that the sun came up at. The sun came up. So invite somebody. The second thing I would do. And I just want to encourage you to do something that we're really excited about this. My guess is as I've been talking, either somebody you have in your mind, somebody that you've been going, you know what I know he's thought I should be talking to so-and-so.

[00:31:47] What are the chances that you would commit to pray for that one. To pray for that one? Not one time to pray for that one time after time, after time after time. What if we, as a church committed because we want to stay on mission and we want to get our minds where they need to be. What if we said, look, I'm going to dedicate 99 days.

[00:32:10] I'm going to dedicate 99 days to pray for this one that I know has gone missing. I'm going to make it all about them for 99 days. And I'll tell you what, I'm excited about this. We created an, uh, we w we created it's on our app, but, uh, a ministry for the next 99. If you sign up, if you go online and there's the address, and you'll go to, you know, there's 99 days of prayer.

[00:32:35] Every single day, hit the push. We're going to push a prayer to you that I and other staff members are going to pray. We're going to pay it's a one minute deal and it's just keep us focused. As you think about that one person God's laid on your heart, and I'll tell you what if you'll do that? I think you're going to see incredible things happen and your highlight reel, it's going to pick up some of the best plays

[00:33:04] of your lifetime. Now, one more time. The greatest joy we could ever experience in life is reuniting someone who has been separated from someone else who loves them deeply, that someone is the one that someone else has. God, wouldn't you love? I mean, if one's living in the third floor and one's living on the eighth floor, wouldn't you love to reintroduce them?

[00:33:29] Now I'm going to close in prayer. I'm going to. I want to close in prayer before I do two things. I want to say first off you don't want to miss next week. Very special friend, Steve Carter, who is one of the most sought after Bible teachers. I mean, literally teaches all over the country. Uh, he has been the teaching pastor on numerous, uh, large, significant churches.

[00:33:51] So he's going to be our guests next week and I just can't wait for you to meet him. So want you to be there now, I'm going to pray. We're going to close. We're gonna pray about it. Easter services. We're going to pray about you are reaching out to that one. And then I also want to pray for what happened in Atlanta this week with wow.

[00:34:06] With the Asian community and folks. Again, I don't, I'm not going to go to a bunch of words. I it's just evil on every level and it's a sign of how fallen this world is. And it's a reminder to us about how much people need God. And, um, as we talk about any community that gets afflicted by targeting of any sort, we just go, these are us folks.

[00:34:31] These are us. And, um, we need to stand together and we need to pray. So I'm gonna just ask that we would. Realize that no one that day thought that was going to happen. No. Do any of us think bad things are going to happen in our lives, but God is going, you know what? Let's get this eternity thing worked out and then whatever happens.

[00:34:51] So join me if you would in prayer. So we got help us right now. We want to lift up again, these families that were represented, uh, you know, in this tragic event. And, um, God has just it's, it's frightening. It's chilling, it's numbing. Um, what we're becoming and what's becoming normal. It serves us though, as a reminder, that life is short.

[00:35:18] Life is fragile. There is only an illusion that we have any control and that we desperately need you. So God, I pray that you would just keep our, keep our wits about us to realize what's really important. And that is that. Everybody gets a chance to hear about Jesus, everybody. We pray for our Easter programs.

[00:35:40] We pray for the Good Friday services. When it's we and sadness talk about the fact that you had to die. Jesus, you had to die, but that wasn't the end of that story. And then as you're going to incredible story of Easter and the celebration of the resurrection, God, thank you for what that means to us. May we be your instruments to help it to come to mean something as significant.

[00:36:04] To somebody else as it is to us, help us to tell people, Father help us help you look. In Jesus name, I pray this, amen.