Today is week two of our new series that we’re calling Worst Case Scenario. And we’re talking about how to survive your worst day ever. How do you live through a really bad day? And what we’re doing is we’re looking at the seven statements that Jesus made from the Cross, and we’re using them as kind of life lessons of how to live and survive through a really bad day. While Jesus was there in the middle of his struggle, as he hung on the Cross, being the great God that he is, he was still able to teach us some life lessons.
And we’re using these seven statements as a framework to help guide us and instruct us and help us live through really bad days. How many of you have ever had a really bad day? Where are you at? Maybe you’re having a bad day today? I don’t know. Hopefully, it’s getting better already. But here’s the theme verse for this entire series. It’s in Hebrews 12:2, and it says this, keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race that we’re in. I love the fact that he finished this race that we’re in. Everybody says we’re in like we are in this together with Jesus, that he can identify with every struggle, with every heartache, with every frustration, with every pain. There’s no prayer that you could ever pray to Jesus that he would be like, what? I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how that feels because he identifies with it all. He went through the same stuff that you and I, the same struggles that you and I went through. So in this series, we’re going to study how he did it because he overcame. And God wants you to overcome. Come on. We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
Come on. Today we want to be overcomers. We want to be victors in Christ today. So we’re going to study how he did it. And it goes on. He tells us in the next verse that he never lost sight of where he was headed. That exhilarating finish in. And with God, he could put up with anything along the way. The Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there in the place of honor, right alongside God. And so we’re looking at these seven statements that Jesus made on his very bad day. And we’re studying in order to see all seven of these, and you have to look through all four of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to see all seven statements, because they’re not all contained in just one of those books. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the most similar of the four Gospels. They’re known as the synoptic Gospels. Syn means “one,” and optic means “eye.” So when you read the Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you need to read them with one eye. You have to see them all together to get the full picture. But you can’t forget John. And John is the most dissimilar. He shares more information that’s not shared in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. So we need to look at the synoptic Gospels alongside John’s Gospel so that we can see the harmony of the Gospels, so that we can see what Jesus was really like and what he did, especially on his worst day ever. And last week, we looked at the first statement that Jesus made. And again, if you missed last week, just go to mycommunity.church, and you can watch that back on demand. But he said, this, Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. And we talked about the life lesson last week that if you’re going to survive your worst day ever, you and I both, we need to learn to forgive everyone. It’s trying to ruin your life. That’s the first thing.
And then today, we’re going to look at the second statement that Jesus makes from the Cross. And if you’ve ever seen this depicted in a Hollywood film, especially the crucifixion scene, there are always three crosses on the Hill, aren’t there? Because the Bible teaches us that when Jesus was crucified, he was crucified between two common criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Because Jesus’ worst day ever coincided with these two other guys. Worst day ever. And today, we’re going to study that second statement that Jesus makes to one of these criminals. This is what the Bible says. One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed. He mocked him. He just made fun of Jesus. And he says this. So you’re the Messiah, are you really? Let me prove it by saving yourself. And by the way, why don’t you save us too, while you’re at it? So he’s mocking Jesus while he himself is hanging on a cross, just like Jesus. But then the other criminal from the other side speaks and he says this. He protested, don’t you fear God even when you’ve been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes. But this man hasn’t done anything wrong.
So he protests against the other criminal, and he comes to the defense of Jesus. And then he looks to Jesus, and he makes this profound statement. He says this, Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. I think he says what so many people around us say, that if we would just listen, we’d hear them saying the same thing. That this man who’s in the middle of his own struggle, his worst day ever, right alongside Jesus and his worst day ever, he looks to Jesus, and he validates who Jesus is. And he puts in so doing his own faith in Jesus. And then he just says, this, Jesus, don’t forget about me.
I know where you’re going. You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re going to your Kingdom. So when you get there, could you remember me? And it’s at that moment that Jesus makes the second statement from the Cross. He replied, I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise. Today you will be with me in paradise. You know, what I love about that statement most is that when you see Jesus and the condition he was in, I mean, you would think that there was no way he would be in any position to help someone else as he is there literally suffocating to death. That is how you die through crucifixion, literally the weight of your body, and it crushes your lungs. You’re no longer to hold your weight up. And as he’s there suffocating and bleeding and dying, Jesus realizes that there is a fellow struggler right next to him that is going through the same thing that Jesus himself is going through, and that Jesus, at that moment, teaches us the second principle. And if you try, I dare you to try this. I dare you to put this into practice in your own life because if you do, it will help you get through your worst day ever, too. And here’s the principle. Help others who are experiencing your same struggle.
This is the second life lesson. The first is we got to learn to forgive everyone who’s trying to ruin our lives. But the second is we need to help others who are going through the same stuff that we ourselves are going through. How many are going through some stuff today? Can I see your hands? You’ll be honest. I know you’re a Church, and that’s what I’m honest, right? I mean, come on, be honest. We all go through struggles. But this is a powerful principle for us to learn. That right in the middle of that struggle, when we’re having our worst day ever, instead of just focusing on ourselves, if we could get our focus off of ourselves and onto someone else that we can help and touch, God will bring healing into our own lives. Here are three things that this will do. If we can get our eyes off ourselves and help somebody else, it’s going through the same struggle. The first thing is it’ll distract us from our own needs. Isn’t that true?
That even though I know the frustration, the pain, the hurt, the setbacks, everything that you go through in your own life, even if for just a moment, you can get your eyes onto somebody else to help and to pray for and Minister to somebody else at that moment, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment, it distracts you from the pain that you yourself are experiencing. I’m just as human as you are, and I have my share of bad days just like you do. My family is no different than your family. My marriage is no different than your marriage. Raising kids is no different for Bekah and me than it is for you. And so we go through the same kind of struggles that you go through.
And I don’t know whether you realize this or not. But you all have helped me tremendously. I’ll tell you, it’s probably not in the way that you think because when I’m struggling, when I’m going through my junk during the week, Sunday morning inevitably rolls around, and I just got to be like, come on Cross, but you got to get it together because there are some people that are going to need you tomorrow. They’re going to need your help tomorrow. They’re going to need your encouragement tomorrow because they’re going through some pain in their life.
They’re screwed up as you are. So you all help me out just by being screwed up. Thank you so much from the bottom of your pastor’s heart because I know you’re going to need me to show up and encourage you and help you, and it just helps me get my eyes off my own junk so I can be there for you. Like, we were just talking about this last week. It just seems like every time I get ready to speak on any issue, whatever series we might be going through, it’s like the devil just attacks the snot out of me that week or out of us that week.
We were just talking about this. We recently had a series on love and marriage and relationships and things. There was not a lot of love and warm, fuzzy feelings that weakened our relationship. And the enemy is just throwing everything he’s got at out of us. And Saturday night rolls around, and Bekah hasn’t even talked to me in three days. And I got to get up and preach on love and marriage on Sunday morning for all of you. And I’m like, Saturday night. Hey, Bek, we got to talk. We got to work this out. I got a priest tomorrow, man. I got to go up here encourage somebody. So when we get our eyes off ourselves and onto others to help and how we can encourage, it just distracts us from our own needs. Here’s the second thing it does. It helps us see the solution.
Have you ever noticed that when you help others that are going through the same thing you’re going through, it helps you see the solution for your own life? I mean, have you ever noticed this as well, that when you’re going through something like, have you ever felt just completely blinded to the solution? Yes. It’s just like you just don’t know what to do. You’re paralyzed. You don’t know what. And then you’ll sit down with a friend over coffee, and you say, hey, how’s it going? And they start telling you their story and what they’re going through, and you realize it’s the same exact thing that you’re going through. But the answer is so obvious, and it’s so clear. It’s like, well, here’s what you need to do, dummy. And you can tell that you become in that moment, like the best counselor ever. You’re like Dr. Phil on a stinking star. Like, well, here’s what you need to do. And they’re like, oh, my God, I couldn’t believe I’ve seen it. Thank you so much. You’re amazing. You’re so smart. Wow. You have such great insight. And.
Yeah, completely no self-awareness at the same time, right? And the reason we can help and see it in others is that when we get our eyes off ourselves and onto them, the answer becomes so obvious. The reason we can’t see it in our own lives is that we’re blinded by our own pain. So that’s why it’s so important not just to live our lives and focus on ourselves, but focusing on others will help us see the solution in our own masses. Here’s the third thing. It allows us to put everything into perspective. When we get our eyes off ourselves and our own very bad day, when we get our eyes off of our own pain, and we get our eyes off just ourselves, it has a way of just putting life and our problems into perspective. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but when I’m having a really bad day, like, my theme song becomes Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, right?
That’s not true, though, right? Our issues are not unique. They may be unique to us, but they are not unique to humanity. Everybody goes through the same stuff. And I felt that way, too, but it simply isn’t true. So we need to focus on others and serve others, and it will bring things into perspective, into our own life. And we’ll realize, you know what? It’s not as bad as we think it is. And we’re a whole lot more blessed than we realize we are. Come on, aren’t we more blessed? Come on, aren’t we more blessed?
I was talking to my friend this week, and he made dinner for his kids. He’s got two small kids, I think, about like, six and eight, seven and nine, something like that. And he really worked hard. He wanted to create a really nice night. It was just him and the kids. And the kids were really fussy. They didn’t want to eat it, kind of turning their nose up at it. And then they start barking at each other, and it’s just dismissed. And the dad’s really frustrated and finally says, all right, everybody put your Forks down and your knives down. He says I got to tell you a story, kids. And he said, Listen, I don’t want to scare you, and I don’t want to put any fear in your heart. But I was just watching the news. And right now, I know you don’t understand this, but there is a war going on in Europe between Russia and Ukraine. And I just watched this news clip of a dad hugging his two little kids, saying goodbye to his wife and his family as they left the country to evacuate so that he could stay, though, and fight and saying, I hope I will see you again. Because just at that moment, he says to his kids, I’m sure that that family would give anything to sit around at a table in a house and share a warm meal together.
Well, then a six-year-old little daughter said, Please, Daddy, stop. My eyes are starting to water. And you know what happened? It put things into perspective for that family. He said they ate every last bit of food on their plate, and they were nice as pie to each other the whole rest of the night. You see, get our eyes off ourselves and onto others. Come on, and it puts things into perspective. And when you and I realize, well, it’s not as bad as maybe we think and everybody else goes through the same kind of stuff, and I’m just going to get my eyes off myself, and I’m just going to look, how do I can help and serve somebody else that’s going through the same struggle when you have that kind of attitude, I think it captures the attention of your creator. And he looks down over the balcony of heaven and says, now there’s a person that I can help. There’s a person that I can provide for. Here’s how it works in scripture. Here’s what Isaiah said.
Look at it this way. Don’t miss this. Lean in, if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed. In other words, even when you’re going through a bad day, if you can buy a few extra groceries like we’ve been doing around here for the Panther Pantry over at West High School, the serving kids that when they go home at night, mom and dad are not there. They don’t know how to Cook for themselves. So we’re providing food and snacks and microwavable items that can bring some nutrition and also just get that kid through until maybe mom or dad gets home. Or maybe there’s just no food in the house because some of the most vulnerable junior and senior hires among us, and you guys, have been so generous. But when you just buy some extra groceries and you feed people that are hungry, even when you’re going through, when you take care of those that are being afflicted and oppressed, here’s what happens. Not only are the people that you’re helping receiving the help and the blessing, but here’s what he says. Then your light, your light, will rise in the darkness. He goes on and he says, and your night, your dark day, your worst day ever will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. And he will strengthen your frame when you help others. Come on. God is going to help you when you defend others. God will defend you when you speak up. For those that have no voice, God will speak up on your behalf. And he goes on, and he says this, don’t miss this. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring. Come on. Whose waters never fail, that God will bless your life. He’ll pour out his blessing.
And in the Bible, rain, and water is always a sign of blessing from God. God will bless your life so much, and he’ll make your life like a living spring out of which we will never run dry. And you can provide refreshment and renewal and help to others. Come on. What you do for others, God will do for you. Oh, that’s my prayer for you. That you’ll be like that well-watered garden, that you’ll be like that spring and up, bubbling out of you will be a word of encouragement, a word of service, a word of help to others that are going through the same struggle that you’re going through. Guys, this is a biblical principle.
It just works. And I dare you to try it. What you do for others, God is going to do for you. So let’s not just live our lives in this. Myopic, self absorbed focus. Let’s get our focus off ourselves and on to others. You know, that’s why we talk around here a lot about living a fully surrendered life. You know, Jesus said, the man that loses their life, that’s the one that will find it. That when you to lose your life literally means to say, you know what? It’s not about me. It’s not just about me and my needs and my wants and my concerns and my preferences. It’s not about me. It’s about someone else that’s far from God. And then I lose myself in serving others, caring for others, ministering to others. That’s when I’ll find real life. Come on, true life. That’s when I find real purpose.
That’s why we talk about living a fully surrendered life. A life that’s not just casual Christianity. A life that’s not just a compromised or compartmentalized Christianity. A life that goes all in with God. You’ve got all of me, my time, my talents, my treasures, even my plans. I lay them at the foot of the cross, and I just say, God, I’ll go where you want me to go, God. I’ll do what you want me to do. I’ll talk to whoever you want me to talk to. I’ll serve whoever you want me to serve. My life is not my own.
Come on. I have been bought with the price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And as we do that, as we take personal responsibility for our own walk with God, as we dive into God’s Word on a daily basis, as we read it, as we memorize it, as we meditate on it, as we hide it in our heart, as we listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit and obey, as we seek God in prayer, as we surrender our life on a daily basis, not just on Sunday morning, but every day of the week, as we do that, as we engage and partner together as a Church family. As you come into this place and you invite your friends, and you join a group, you get involved in the community. You join a serve team.
You start serving others. You start serving God as you step into generosity and start giving your life and even your valuable resources to the great expansion of the Kingdom of God. That is when God will break loose in your life. That is when God will help you as you fully surrender your life to Jesus. You see, listen, our motivation around here isn’t that we need you to help us reach more people. Now, while that is true, that is not our motivation. We don’t use people to build this Ministry. We use this Ministry to build people. And if I, with the help of the Holy Spirit, could just convince you to live your life like Jesus, to give your life away. That even when you’re in the middle of your own pain and struggle and heartache, get your eyes off of yourself, just like Jesus on the cross, and on to somebody else who’s going through the exact same thing you’re going through. That is when God will help you and grow you and mature you and develop you and provide for all of your needs, making you like a well-watered garden. Even when the sun is scorching the land, you will be like a spring as you serve others on God’s behalf. You see, when you have your life focused on Jesus and others, it not only helps them, it really helps you.
This is why we’re so committed to this around here. That is our single metric of success around here. I mean, really, the goalposts around here are more fully surrendered followers of Jesus. And here’s why. Because when you live your life that way, when you live your life that way, it’s better for you. When you fully surrender your life to Jesus, it makes your life better. And it makes you better at life. Here’s how the Apostle Paul put it. Don’t miss this. He comes alongside it. He’s talking about God. When we go through hard times, like our worst day ever, Where’s God? He comes right alongside us. He’s not one that would leave us nor forsake us, nor abandon us in our hour of need. He comes alongside us. And before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who’s going through hard times, too.
See how it works? Don’t miss watching this. So why would he do that? So that we can be there for that person, just as God was there for us. Now, we have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah Jesus, but no more than the good times of his healing and his comfort. We get the full measure of that, too. Listen to what he says. Don’t miss his watches. When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing. Paul says, when I suffer, it works out for your healing and your Salvation.
If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word that also works out for your benefits, spurring you on face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. Paul is saying, listen, I get it. I suffer. I go through really bad days too.
But here’s what I know. He finishes with this next statement. He says this. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know that you’re going to make it. No doubt about it, we know you’re going to make it. That if you could get this and if you can get your eyes just off of yourself for just a moment and you serve somebody else, just like Jesus on the cross, and you keep that sweet spirit knowing that even though it’s hard, God comes alongside me and he’ll put me right in next to another person in close proximity that is suffering too. And if I’ll just look to them and see, how can I Minister to them? How can I touch them? How can I encourage them?
It’s really going to come back and help me too. It’s going to mature me too. Oh, isn’t this just biblical? It’s what this Church is based on. This is the principle that is just and what I’m trying to say. I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to be a good pastor for you here. I’m trying to tell you, listen, you are called by God to serve others.
It helps you in a big way, too, you know? How do you do it? Well, let’s not overcomplicate it. I think you serve others by just using just the gifts and skills, and abilities that God has given you. He’s not going to ask you to do something different. He put those gifts. He put those passions in you. If you love kids, serve kids. If you love to serve elderly people. I mean, if you’re an artist and you’re a creative server in that area of Ministry if you work with your hands, and you love to fix stuff and build stuff, you use those gifts to serve others and also, by extension, serving God. He gave you those gifts for a reason, to build his Kingdom.
So don’t overcomplicate it. Just jump, dive in and start using your gifts. Here’s the second way you do it. You serve others through the wisdom that you’ve gained through the mistakes that you’ve made in your past. I think for so many people, you believe the lie of the enemy that says to you because you screwed up so much, you could never be used by God.
So many people settle themselves so short because you think about the skeletons that hang in their closet, the dumb decisions that you’ve made in your past, your mistakes. You think for some reason that that disqualifies you from serving God, let alone serving others. But I would argue that those mistakes that you’ve learned from in your past, that God has come alongside you and helped you and matured you and grew you and used to develop you, are not the things that disqualify you. They’re the very things that qualify you in the Kingdom of God to serve others. I mean, just think about it.
Just think about, think about just it. It. Just think about it. Who better to help someone who’s going through bankruptcy and their financial household is a mess? Who better to help them, counsel them, give them advice, pray with them, encourage them than another person that went through the exact same thing with God’s help and his wisdom and his stewardship principles that they learned in Scripture have come through the other side. Now they’re debt-free, and now they’re able to live a generous life. All their needs are taken. Who better to help them than the same person who was right where they were five years ago? Ten years ago? Who better to walk through a divorce with someone than somebody who has had to walk through the pain of divorce themselves and come through it on the other side and realize that that’s not the end of the world forever? Who better to help somebody who’s struggling with depression and anxiety and mental illness than somebody who went through those dark nights of the soul themselves and God in those moments, this peace that passes all understanding became their fortune. It delivered them from that darkness and lifted that cloud of the who better to pray and to encourage them to somebody who went through it themselves? Who better to help come alongside a family with a special needs child and knows the pain and the frustration that puts on a family in a marriage than somebody who has gone through that themselves and, with God’s help, has been able to overcome? Who better to help somebody who’s at the bottom of the barrel today battling addiction? Their life is just overwhelmed with guilt and with shame. Who better to help that person than the man or the woman that went through and battled that addiction and, with God’s help, overcame and he broke them free so that today they walk in the freedom of Christ. Who better than the same God who draws near to us so that with the same comfort we have received from God, we can comfort others? Come on.
This is the God that we serve. I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the bottom of the barrel in my life and when my life is a puddle, I certainly don’t want to talk to somebody that thinks that they’re perfect and they got it all together. I don’t know about you. That’s the last person on Earth. I want to talk to looking down over me. How did you end up there? Well, does it freaking matter? I’m here. I don’t need you to judge me. I need you to bend down into the muck admirer of my life and help me and encourage me and pick me up. I tell you what the truth is around here. Listen, we don’t pour salt in people’s wounds around here because that’s not how Jesus operates. He puts a Sav, a healing bomb with Gilead, on every wound, and he picks them up, and he just goes and sits in the war. I love you. Listen, I got issues. You got issues. All God’s people got issues. If you don’t think you have issues, that might just be your issue.
That’s why we say around here all the time, no perfect people allowed. Not here. Community Church. No, not around here. I’ll be glad to help you find another Church down the street or something. Don’t come here. No perfect people allow. Because there’s only one perfect person. Come on. His name is Jesus, and he is our healer. And he demonstrated for us that on his very worst day ever. As he hung on the cross, bleeding and dying, beaten up beyond recognition. In that position, he looks to somebody in the same boat he was in. And he says, I assure you, brother, today you will be with me in paradise. So if you’ve made some mistakes, and if you ain’t perfect, I want you to know you found the right Church to belong to. Don’t you dare sell yourself short. Here’s what I believe. Your mess-ups are your Ministry. Your mistakes are your Ministry. That when you walk through that with God and with the circle of friends that help you get back up on your feet and strong again. Listen, your deepest pain will often become your greatest platform for Ministry.
You see, people might be impressed with your success, but they will only be influenced by your struggle. Why do you think I tell you all the kinds of things that I tell you about my life and how many times I mess up? I’m here to impress you. I’m here to influence you, to go all in and pursue living a fully surrendered life that you look at me and say, Well, God can help that doofus. Maybe he could help me, too. If God could use that guy. Come on. Maybe he could help. Maybe he could just use a person like me. I want to encourage you today. Come on. Your mess-ups are your Ministry.
So let me end with this and the band can come, and we’ll wrap it up. I just want to give you just some really practical advice on how you can help a fellow struggler. Is that okay? So if you want to take some notes, just jot these down. And these are right from the lips of Jesus as he hung on the cross. Here’s how you can help a fellow struggler. Number one, offer them stability. Offer them stability. This is what Jesus said in Luke 23:43. He replied. He said, I assure you, he’s speaking to the thief on the cross. I assure you. Like, I promise you. I promise you. Like, if there’s one thing that I know, I assure you, it’s this. What’s he doing. He’s offering him stability. When people are struggling, what they need more than anything else in this world is stability. Stability. Look, I know it’s bad right now, but, brother, you’re going to make it through this. You’re going to get up again. I know you’re down, but you’re not out. He’s offering him. I assure you. I promise you. And you start to talk to them about what Jesus has done in your own life, and you start to tell them your story of the time, where you were right, where they are. And you tell them that with God’s help. Come on, all things are possible. And if he picked my life up, he can pick up your life. If he healed my marriage, he can heal your marriage. If he helped me raise that teenager, he can help you raise that teenager. If he can help you turn that business around. If he did it for me, he can do it for you. Because listen, he lifted me up out of a slimy pit, out of the mud in the mire, and he sat my feet on a rock, and he gave me a firm place to stand.
Listen, there’s so much uncertainty in our world right now. I understand that. So much chaos, so much uncertainty. There’s so much instability. Man, this world needs a Church right now that has been in the presence of Jesus, that when they talk to people, they could say, Listen, I don’t know what’s going to happen in this everchanging world, but this one thing I know all upon this solid rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. I stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. He’s a firm foundation. He’s going to get us through. He’s going to help us. People need to offer them stability. You don’t have to have all the answers. You can say to your friend, look, I don’t have all the answers, but I can take you to a book. I can take you to a Church. I can take you to a God. That does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful today. The one who calls you is faithful. He’s been faithful to me. He’ll be faithful to you. Offer them stability.
The second thing, offer them support. They not only need stability, but they need support. Look what Jesus says next, for I assure you. I assure you, today you will be. What with me? You’re going to be with me. Could you imagine Jesus saying that to you in your worst moment, in your darkest night at the bottom, where you have to reach up? Just a touch bottom. Has anybody ever been there? This is where this guy was. And not only does he offer him stability, but he also offers them support. And we’ve got people all around us. If we would just listen close enough if we would just be quiet enough. Here’s what they’re saying. Remember me.
Remember me. Remember me. Don’t forget about me. You have friends right now that aren’t in Church, that used to be in Church. And we know what happens when that happens, don’t we? I’ve been there. You’ve been there. And if they were honest with you, here’s what they’d be saying. Don’t forget about me. Invite me one more time. I’ll say yes. Call me one more time. Encourage me one more time. Text me one more time. Remember me. Remember me. Here’s what you need to save your friends. Look, I don’t know how this is going to work out. I don’t know how this is going to go, but I know this. You won’t have to go it alone. I will be with you because that’s what Jesus said to this man. His worst day ever. He’ll be with me. Friends. Listen, it says this in the book of Ecclesiastes 4:12. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
And this is why we talk so much almost at Nauseum around here about the importance of you taking the next spiritual step of joining a group, finding a circle of friends that you can have some brothers in your life and some sisters in your life and some other families in your life that have been through what you’re going through so that they can encourage you and pray with you, that you can grow in God and faith together. You see that’s? You know, some people get really upset when we made this major transition from the focus of our groups from curriculum to community. It all be about the curriculum. Study this curriculum. You study that curriculum. Study this curriculum. You know what? It’s not about curriculum. Yeah, we all need to grow in our faith. And there’s some really great curriculum out there that helps us do that and study the Bible. But if you were just learning more about God would fix it. You’d probably already fixed it by now. So many Christians are educated in the Scriptures way beyond their level of obedience. But if you could just have a brother that can put his arm around you that you could call in the middle of the night and say, Listen, I’m somewhere where I shouldn’t be.
Can you pray with me right now? I’m under this temptation on this business trip, and bro, I just need to tell somebody, so I don’t do what I’m being tempted to do if you had that. What would it look like if you had that in your life where you could be that vulnerable and honest with somebody else about really what’s going on in your life and your marriage? This is really what’s happening with my teenage son or my teenage daughter, and that person could look at. Yeah, I know. I’m in it too. Let’s pray together on this. Let’s work together on this. It’s a game-changer. So get in a group. The most important thing I could do as your pastor if you’re not in a group gets you into a group because two are better than one. The thing you’ll see here is one gets attacked and defeated because there’s no one on their six. It’s just your easy prey. But when you got a brother, when you got a sister, here’s the interesting thing I’ve learned about God. You get in a group, here’s what you’re going to discover. God won’t let all of you in the group go through your worst day ever at the same time. Because when you fall down, you’ll have your sister. I got your back. You’ll have your brother. Oh, I got your back. You may be down, but I’m still up. So I’m going to use my strength when you don’t have strength, the strength that comes from God, to pick you back up. And three is even better. Come on. So offer support. Offer stability.
Last of all, offer them Salvation. He says, I assure you today you will be with me in paradise. Like, I know it’s bad right now, and I know it hurts right now, but paradise is coming. A place of rest is coming. Heaven is coming. I know it hurts, and I know it’s scary, and this world is so upside down, but gang, listen, I would say to heaven is coming. If I could preach today in Ukraine, I would say, I know this is just devastating. You’ve lost loved ones, you’ve lost friends, you’re losing your country. But listen, heaven is coming for so many of us in the Church. I think sometimes we just want God to fix everything right here, right now. And I believe he can do that. And sometimes, he does do that. God, just fix it right here, right now. I need the miracle right now. Fix it right now.
But when you really study the Ministry of Jesus, oftentimes when people were in that place while he performed many miracles and signs and wonders, oftentimes more than not, what Jesus did was redirect their focus. That’s why I said this. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. I know it’s hard. I know it’s like the worst day ever. But don’t let your heart be troubled.
You believe in God. Believe also in me. My father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I’m going there to prepare a place for you? In other words, I know it’s hard right now, but heaven is coming. Heaven is coming. And I believe. I believe some of you, you need God to fix it right here, right now. And I get it. And I’m the first one to believe by faith and sin. Stand with you back to back and believe for that miracle. But I also am here to tell you there’s something better than even that answer to prayer. That there is a place where there is no more disease, where there’s no more cancer, where there’s no more mental illness, where there’s no more death, where there are no more wars, where there’s no more crying, and there are no more tears. There is a place. It’s called heaven. And heaven. We’re closer, I believe, than we’ve ever been. And so here’s my encouragement to you today that Jesus here’s what Jesus he offers more than a better now, fix it here. Fix it now. Jesus offers more than a better now. Jesus offers a better place.
So we have a great opportunity to offer stability and support, even Salvation. I just encourage you right now more than ever. People are so open to an invitation to experience a life-giving Church like ours. I’m going to encourage you over these next five weeks as we lead up to Easter. I want you to get out there, offer stability and support to people, but offer them Salvation. Go to our website, download those invites and start texting your friends. Pray for them first, and then send the invitation or just have them ready to go when you’re standing in the supermarket. Because there is a better place. There’s a better place. There’s a better place. And it’s called heaven. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And so for you today, I believe God for a miracle for you. But Jesus offers more than a better now. Jesus offers a better place. And whatever you’re going through or have to go through, here’s what I want you to know. You don’t have to go through it alone. God is with you. God is with you. God is with you. And so are we. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for this encouraging word today, God, and for the spirit of receptivity to it. And as you have your head bowed and your eyes closed today, maybe some of you today, you’re going through that worst day ever. It’s been a bad season. It’s been a bad month. It’s been a bad year. I don’t know. But whatever the situation is, you’ve been discouraged, you’ve been hurting, and maybe you’re just ready to give up or you’re getting angry with God. He doesn’t seem to be responding to your prayer. The heavens are as brass, and your prayers just seem to bounce off of heaven and come back to Earth. You would say to me today, Dave, would you pray for me that even in the midst of my struggle, I’d get my eyes off myself and maybe onto somebody else and to serve them, to listen, and to obey this word today.
So Dave, would you pray for me to help me do that? Because I know that God will make me like a spring, like a well-watered garden. And as I meet the needs of others around me, even in the middle of my pain, God will begin to meet my needs. So if that’s you today, wherever you are, I’m not going to ask you to stand up or come forward, but just to let me know this is you today in the respect. Would you just slip up your hand right now?
Come on, it’s the worst day ever. I get it. I get it. I see hands going up all over this place. You need hope. You need encouragement today. Hands are going up all over this place. Go ahead and put your hands down. You can say a prayer that goes maybe something like this, just in the quietness of your own heart. Heavenly Father, I need you. Don’t forget about me. Remember me and my pain and my struggle, and show me this week someone else that’s going through the same thing I’m going through, how I can serve them, how I can Minister to them. And Father, as I do that, will you Minister to me what I do for others, what you do in my own life? Thank you, Father. For some of you, as we just continue to pray, today is your day. You’re that thief on the cross. Today is your day to look to Jesus for Salvation, to say to Jesus, Be with me, hold my hand into eternity. I want to pray for you to receive Christ and his love and Grace in your life. So if that’s you today, there are some things in your life you just know that isn’t right. You need to get right with God.
The Bible says today is the day of Salvation. Do not wait. Do not delay. Make the decision today to look to Jesus and put your faith and trust in him and watch what he will do in your life. So if today you want to look to Jesus for hope and Salvation, the forgiveness of sin, I want to pray for you as well. So wherever you are, just would you slip up your hand? Thank you. Thank you. I’ll wait just another minute. Today is your day. Thank you. Thank you. I see. Thank you, brother. All the way in the back. Today’s the day of Salvation. Okay, I see all the way in the back, brother.
Praise God as people just continue to respond. I see your hand there. Thank you, Lord Jesus. He sees, he knows. He sees, he knows. Let’s put our hands down. You can pray this prayer with me. Heavenly Father, remember me. Forgive me for my sins. I’m sorry, Lord. I put my faith my trust in you today? Fill me with your Holy Spirit, help me to serve you and serve others? For the rest of my life? For it’s in your name, I pray Amen and Amen, God bless you.