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How To Survive The Worst Day Ever – Part 5

MESSAGE TRANSCRIPTION: 

That song. How many love that song we just sang? Wasn’t that good? That was so good. You all sang it as you knew it. My goodness, I know that second part of it, but I didn’t know the first part. I love the words. Come all you weary. Come all who are thirsty. Drink from the well that never runs dry. Take a Drink of the water. Come and thirst no more. Come and thirst no more. It’s amazing. That’s what Jesus said. If you drink of his water, he’d never thirst again. He is the living water that satisfies our soul. Could you imagine? Like, living in a world where you were never thirsty? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I love a glass of cold water. Man, when I’m thirsty, nothing like it. To quench your thirst, I realized that you could actually live ten days without food. I know that’s hard for some of us to believe, especially those that love food. Does anybody else love food like me? But you can live a pretty long time without food. About ten days. 

But you can’t live very long without water. About three days. That’s it. After three days, dehydration sets in. Muscles begin to cramp. You have severe headaches and migraines. Your internal organs begin to shut down. You cannot live for very long without water. Did you realize that your body is actually made up of about 60% water? That’s a lot of water. 60% of your body. So if you’re like me, about 150 pounds. If you weigh about 150 pounds, you’re carrying around twelve gallons of water every day. Think about that. Some of us carry around a lot more water than that. Right. If you’ve ever had surgery, how many have ever had surgery? You might agree with me. The worst part of surgery is when they put that tube down your throat, right? Because after the surgery is over and they take that tube out of your throat. Your mouth is like your throat, your mouth. It’s the driest it’s ever been. How many know what I’m talking about? And then they don’t even give you water. When you wake up from the surgery, you just need a big glass of water, and they’re like, I’m sorry, Mr. Crosby, you can’t have any water. But here’s this wet swab that’ll do the trick. Right now, I want like a 32-ounce big old gulp.

When you’re thirsty, you do almost anything to quench that thirst, wouldn’t you? And that brings us to the fifth statement that Jesus makes from the cross. If you’re new around here, we’ve been in this series. We’re calling it Worst Case Scenario, how to Survive a really bad day. And we’ve been learning from one of the best in the game, Jesus himself. On his worst day ever, when he was crucified hanging on the cross, he made seven different statements from the cross being the good God that he is. Even at that moment, he’s teaching us life lessons on how to survive and come back from like the worst day ever. And so we’re studying how he did it. And this is his fifth statement from the cross. It’s the shortest one of them all. It simply says I am thirsty. Shortest statement that he makes from the cross. I am thirsty. Actually one word in Greek, dipsayow. And it means that I thirst or I am thirsty. But Jesus just isn’t saying that he’s physically thirsty. I think there’s a whole lot more going on here behind the scenes, and I’m looking forward to unpacking it with you.

But let me just catch you up to speed. Jesus, he had been hanging on the cross now for 6 hours when he made this statement. He was crucified at 09:00 in the morning. And then, around noon, the sky over Jerusalem becomes black as night. And he hangs on that cross in that silence for the next 3 hours before, just seconds before he would slip into eternity, he makes three final statements. This is the first of the last three. I am thirsty in his final seconds. In fact, the whole verse goes like this in John 19:28. Later, knowing that everything had now been finished and so that scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, I am thirsty. It goes on. It says there was a jar of wine vinegar that was there. So the executioners soaked the sponge in it, and they put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and they lifted it up to Jesus’ lips. But as you read and you cross-reference this moment, you’ll realize that Jesus refused to drink this drink 6 hours earlier when he was first crucified.

You go back, and you read about it in the book of Mark. A jar of wine vinegar was there. I’m sorry. They offered him the wine mixed with myrrh. But he did not take it. So 6 hours earlier, he’s offered a drink, and he refuses it. And now, 6 hours later, he’s offered another drink, and he takes it to his lips. He said, what’s going on here? Why did 6 hours earlier he refuse this drink? It was wine mixed with. Remember when Jesus was born? It’s a group of people that came and visited him. It was the wise men. You remember the wise man and the story of his birth. And they brought him three different gifts. Do you remember what they were? Gold, frankincense. And what was it?

And all of those gifts were foreshadowing who Jesus was and what he would do and how he would live and even how he would die. You see, they offered him this drink at 09:00 in the morning after he had spent all night in prison, being moved from one location to another standing trial on mocked up charges, false accusations, all through the night, being held in prison, presumably without any food or water. Then he stood before Pilate and an angry mob, and he was condemned to die. And then they took the cat of nine tails, and they chained him to the block where he was then beaten, whipped 39 lashes, this tortured device, nine different lashes connected to the stick and the end of each of the lashes were tied pieces of bone and glass and nails. And as the executioner would whip it across his back, it would wrap around his torso. And then they would yank as hard as they could, ripping bone and flesh right from where his internal organs were actually exposed. And you could see his ribcage. That wasn’t enough. Then they take this Crown made of thorns, and they thrust it upon his head, bursting all of the capillaries. And the blood ran. And he was a bloody mess. It said he was beaten so bad they couldn’t even recognize him.

And then they forced him to pick up this old wooden cross, this tree, and carry it over a mile up on top of the Hill called Golgotha Calvary, the place of the skull. He was so badly wounded and suffering that he continued to fall time and time again as he was trying to carry this cross, deeply hydrated, literally bleeding out. There was this North African man in the crowd, and he was watching the scene. His name was Simon from Siren, which is modern-day Libya. So this North African, this African man steps in on Jesus’ worst day ever. He picks up the cross, and he helps Jesus carry it to the top of the Hill. When he was there, they laid him on that cross, stripped him of his clothes, and began to throw dice to see who could win the garments of this one, who claimed to be the King of the Jews. Then they drove the spikes into his hands and into his feet. And he’s writhing in pain on the cross. And they offer him this drink, this wine mixed with mirth. But he did not take it. Why? We see myrrh on that day. And this was what God was prophetically speaking through the gift of the wise men.

Mer was a painkiller. The powder that you would mix with a drink, oftentimes wine. It was a narcotic. It was a sedative, a painkiller. It had other purposes, but its primary purpose was to be a painkiller. A narcotic. Before Advil, before Tylenol, before Vicodin and Percocet. There was. And as they offered that to Jesus, it says he said no. He refused to take it. Why? Jesus said no to that cup 6 hours earlier, so he could say yes to another cup. He didn’t drink the first cup, not a drop, because he wanted to drink the second cup to its full. And it was the cup of suffering that Jesus, as he knew he was being crucified for the sins of humanity. He did not want to take a sedative before the suffering. He wanted to experience the full weight of the judgment of God. He didn’t want to be anesthetized when he was taking on my sin and your sin. He wanted to feel it all so that he could identify with you and me and the pain and the brokenness that comes as a result of sin. So he refused to drink it.

And then he was crucified. But 6 hours later, John says this in John 1928. Later knowing that everything had now been what had been, what had been finished, the suffering, what had been finished was the plan of Salvation. What had been finished was the suffering of sin that Jesus took on himself. What had been finished was the righteous requirement of God for the wages of sin is death. Remember now that he makes these last three statements. We’re going to look at this week and then the next two weeks, just seconds before he slips into heaven. And when it had been finished, the work had been finished. When he had paid for our sin, and the plan of Salvation had been completed, and the payment was paid in full, he said, I am thirsty. After all the scourging, after all the suffering of the Crown of thorns, after the beating, not to mention the mocking, the emotional abuse, you know, he never said a word about his physical pain. Not a word. Think about that. Think about how he must have felt. But he never said a word about his physical pain. He never complained. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I get lightheaded sometimes if I just stand up too quickly.

But after all that, he went through all he says. I’m thirsty. I’m thirsty. Why would he say that? Well, the obvious reason is that he was dehydrated and probably hadn’t had anything to drink for over 24 hours. He was losing blood. He was losing water. But I think there’s something else going on here. I think that he knew he was going to say three more things. And his mouth and his lips and his throat were so dry, and he needed just a little bit of something to drink. So that when he said these next three things that we’re going to study this week, in the next two weeks, he wanted everyone to hear it. He didn’t just want to whisper it, and he wanted to shout it so that there would be no confusion, no ambiguity about what did he say? No, he wanted to be able to say it loud and say it clearly from the cross. And the first thing he says is, I am thirsty. There are more than just physical implications to what’s happening here. I think there are theological implications to what he said. And I think there’s a reason that John included this in his gospel.

And here’s why. Because the Bible is very clear about who Jesus was and is that he was fully God, simultaneously fully man. He was God who came in the form of a man. That doesn’t mean that he was like 50% God and 50% human. No, what it means theologically is that Jesus was 100% God and also 100% human at the same time. Are you with me? And so John records this, and especially at the time of his writing, he wants us to remember that Jesus, while he was fully God, he was also fully human, 100%. And it’s important for us theologically to believe this and to understand this. I would say it’s just as important for you to believe he was fully God as it is to believe he was fully human. Where in the world are you going with this pastor? I’ve never heard of preaching this way. We’ll just hang in there, take a little journey with me. Alright. You see, at the time when John wrote this, there were a lot of people who didn’t believe that Jesus was fully human. They believed he was fully God, but they would say, no, he was not really human.

They were referred to as Dositus. And Dositism was this idea that yes, we believe Jesus was fully God, but he wasn’t really human like the rest of us. He just appeared to be human. There was just an allusion to his humanity. But he wasn’t really human like you and like me. That’s where we get the word Dosit in Greek. It means now we don’t have Dositism in our culture today, but we do have Islam. And the Quran is very clear when it teaches that they do not believe that Jesus is the form of God who would die on the cross for the sins of the world. The Quran teaches that God would never become a human being. It teaches that God would never die on a cross. For us, Islam does not believe that God would go through that kind of suffering for his creation. So, the Quran teaches just as the Dosatist taught that after the arrest of Jesus and between the arrest and his sentencing, the disciples stole the body of Jesus and then they replaced him with a lookalike of his doppelganger. Somebody that just looked like Jesus was scourged. Someone that just looked like Jesus was whipped, someone that just looked like Jesus suffered. Someone just looked like Jesus was crucified. Someone that just appeared like Jesus died that day. That’s what Islam teaches that God would never die on a cross himself in a human form. Well, I’m here to tell you that this same Jesus was born in Bethlehem, this Jesus of Nazareth, was the same Jesus that died on the cross that day. And one of the last things he said was I am thirsty. In fact, when Jesus made that statement, it proved a huge point. Go back. It says later, knowing that everything had been finished, the work and the plan of Salvation on the cross. And so that what scripture would be fulfilled. Which one? Well, there are over 380 to choose from. 380 scriptures written thousands of years before Jesus would ever come to Earth about him, who he was, what he would do, what he would teach, how he would live, the people he would hang out with, what he would say to religious leaders and even how he would die. 380, almost 400 prophetic scriptures were written, recorded, etched in stone. Hundreds, some thousands of years before Jesus ever even came to Earth in the form of a man.

Remember last week I told you as we were looking at this for statement, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? At that moment the darkness covered the skyline of the city of David, and for the next 3 hours, Jesus hung in silence. But when Jesus made that statement, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? It wasn’t the first time that statement was ever made. King David made that statement first, and it’s recorded for us in Psalm 22 on his worst day ever. He said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And then Jesus quotes him on the cross, and I told you last week you need to go back if you missed it and watch that message. But Jesus, when he makes a statement, he quotes King David, and in that prayer, he prophetically declares over 1000 years before Jesus would come to Earth exactly how he would die. Do you want to see it? No. Do you want to see it? Do you want to see it? 1000 years. This is what David said, speaking prophetically of Jesus. I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint.

My heart has turned to wax. It’s melted within me. My mouth is what is the word? Dried up like a pot Shard. And my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You lay me in the dust of death. He goes on, and he says, dogs surround me, a pack of villains, and circle me. They Pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display. People stare, and they gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garments. Can you get any more specific? One thousand years before he comes to Earth, 100 years before the crucifixion is even invented by the Romans. The Bible tells us prophetically exactly how Jesus would die. And yet you say there is no God, and it’s not just this one. There’s 379 more just like it. That all find their yes and Amen in Christ Jesus. Every single fulfilled prophecy is just another eight ball in the corner pocket validating who Jesus is and claims to be. Come on, the Messiah, the son of the living God. If you’re going to give him praise today, come on, give him praise. And it just blows my mind that Jesus would say of all things to say. I am thirsty. I mean, the one who spoke this world into existence. The one who is the same one who voluntarily allows himself to be thirsty for you and for me. I mean the one who created all of the water in the world. Every river, every Lake, every waterfall, every ocean, and every rainstorm. It all exists within his creative power and is held together and still. Yet he sits in thirst for you and for me. The I am thirsty statement proves beyond a shadow of a doubt just how much Jesus loves you. Just how much Jesus loves this broken and hurting world when he says, I so what is the lesson for us to learn? Life lesson number five. If you’re ever going to make it through your worst day ever, you have to be willing to be human enough to acknowledge your need. Because friends, there are just some days that are just too hard. There are some days when there’s just too much pain. There are some days when the world becomes so dark that you can’t make it through on your own. Some of you know this to be true. There’s enough tread on the tires of your life to know exactly what I’m talking about.

There are just some days, and there are some situations in that you cannot make it through on your own. Sheer willpower or drive or optimism. So it’s in those moments, that we have to be real enough. Come on, be human enough to acknowledge your need to ask for a little help, just like Jesus. I mean, if he teaches us anything from the cross on this statement, he’s saying, man, gosh, you got to be. I’m human, just like you. And there are times when you’re going to need a little help. So push away the foolish pride and just be authentic and vulnerable and real enough to say, Help, I need a little help. I’m thirsty. Can somebody give me something to drink? And I know it’s hard to do that, especially if you’re wired like me. If you know anything about the Enneagram if you’ve ever taken the test on personality and was developed by a bunch of monks, and it’s super popular today, and we’ve done it as staff. And my wife and I have worked through that together with our counselor. I’m an eight on the Enneagram type, a kind of a lion. I never wake up and just ask myself how I’m feeling.

I am not a contemplative soul. My wife is. She’s a nine. She’s a peacemaker. I’m just like a warrior. I just wake up and say, what do I have to do today? What mountain do I have to climb? What problem do I have to solve? That’s just how I am wired. So I have to work very hard. Warriors, wear armor, and battle gear because they know people are shooting at them, and the enemy plays dirty, and many of them will shoot you in the back and say things behind your back and try to betray you and falsely accuse you of things. So I wear a lot of armor in my life. It’s just how I am wired as a person, as a leader. And it’s really, really hard for me to be vulnerable and take the armor off and set it down. I’ve worked really hard, and I’m still not very good at it. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you. And I get it. Because there’s something about really letting people in if you’re wired this way, you’ll know what I’m talking about? There’s something about the fear of exposure. There’s a risk involved when you really tell people what’s really going on in your life.

For me, one of the risks is this. Like, if I’m really real and I take the pastor armor off, and I take all the leader armor off and all the other stuff, and I’m brutally honest with a trusted friend, there is a risk they might use that against me because it’s happened before. You know what I’m talking about. There is a risk. There is uncertainty. When you go like, full Kimono, here’s another fear we have of rejection. Oh, what will they think of me? Not only would they use it against me, but would also they reject me? Like, if you’re vulnerable with somebody and then they’re like, oh, I didn’t know you were that screwed up. I don’t want to be close to you. I don’t want to be seen with you. I don’t want to hear right. But being human enough to acknowledge your need flies in the face of self-sufficiency. Yes, there is a risk and uncertainty of emotional exposure and being human enough to acknowledge your need. But being vulnerable is a key to health and wholeness. The funny thing about vulnerability is it’s the first thing I look for in you, but it’s the last thing I’ll allow you to see in me. Do you know the weird thing about vulnerability? When I see it in you, I see it as courage and strength. But when I see it in me, I see it as weakness. But the ability to be real, real enough to acknowledge you have need that you need a little help. The ability to do that, to develop deep, meaningful, trusted friendships with a circle of people that you could pick up the phone any day, anytime, any hour, and acknowledge your need for some assistance and some help. That’s the very thing that allows you to experience true freedom and health in life. Is this helping anybody today? Because if it’s only helping me, that’s okay. King David. He put it this way. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder. My words became day-long groans Anybody ever been there? Can I hear any man? You just stuffer. You’re a stuffer. Some of you are spewing. David was a stuffer. Don’t tell anybody what’s going on. Don’t be real. Don’t ask for help. Here’s what happens. The pressure never let up. All the juices of my life dried up. But then I let it all out.

I said I’ll come clean about my failures to God. Suddenly the pressure was gone. My guilt dissolved. My sin disappeared. When you can get a circle of friends in your life, trusted friends that are going to love you the way that God did not judge you, but just love you, that you can come clean to them all of a sudden, the very thing that kept you locked up in your own prison of shame and guilt and rejection then becomes the thing that vulnerability and that honesty and authenticity become the very thing that sets you free. The New Testament backs this up. Look what James says. Let’s just go into the next one. James five. Make this your common practice. He’s talking to the Church. He’s saying, Church, listen to me. This is how I want you to really live. If you’re going to pursue a fully surrendered life, make this your common practice. What is that, Pastor James? Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together with what is whole and healed. The key to wholeness in life. The key to healing in life is to have a trusted ride or die.

Brothers or sisters that got your back that you can be honest and vulnerable with. And they’re not going to judge you. They’re going to pray for you. They’re going to help you. They’re going to tell you the same story and how they overcame. And it’s going to give you hope. It’s going to encourage you. And then you’ll be there for them when they fall. You’ll be there to pick them up. Isn’t this a better way to live? Come on, really? I mean, isn’t this worth this is worth more than whatever car or truck you want to sit in your driveway. Isn’t this better than whatever house you think you need to live in? I’m talking about living with whole life, a life with peace of God that transcends all understanding, that when you lay your head on your pillow at night that you can sleep well, it’s a gift of God that comes from living a whole and healed life. If you don’t have a hole and healed life. The best thing that I can do for you as your pastor is not to preach a better sermon. The best thing I can do for you as your pastor is to help you get into this kind of community because it’s this kind of community that brings sustained healing.

Sustained wholeness. So the best thing I could do for you is to help you find that community. We call those groups around here. And if you’re not in a group before you leave here today, get in a group. You can go to the group hub in the lobby, in the back, and they’ll help you get in the best group or maybe start your own. We’ll provide all the resources and training. You don’t have to be some kind of theologian or have any degrees behind your name to do this. Give a love for God in your heart. If you want to live this kind of life, we’ll help you get it started. It’s the best thing I can do for you because this is a crowd. A crowd does not produce wholeness and healing in life. This is community. Now, a crowd can be turned into community, but it requires all of us to take our next spiritual step. So if you haven’t taken that step yet, I mean, some of you have been here maybe your first time or just the last couple of weeks or months, take your next spiritual step for some of you. You’ve been around here for years, so I’m coming after you. That’s all I’m saying. You’ll either join a group or leave the Church. I’m just saying that’s how serious we are about this. You see, because an audience, if you’re just part of the audience, you’re not going to experience wholeness and healing in your life. I want you not to be part of an audience. I want you to be part of an army of God that can forcefully push back the powers of darkness in this community. Audiences don’t do that. Armies do. Audiences, they just need entertainment. I’m not just here to entertain you because I’ve lived that. I’ve led that way. Here’s the deal with audiences. They just need entertaining. So you just keep having to feed the monster. And every week you have to do something better than last week to keep their interest and keep their attention to entertain them. God hasn’t called me to build an audience. Come on. He’s called us to be part of an army. Come on. That will take on. He said, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This is the kind of Church that we’re trying to build here at Community, a Church where every single one of us is in a circle of friends like this.

And if you can develop that kind of community in your life, that gives you the best chance possible to live a great life. So listen, Jesus said, I am thirsty. I don’t believe that’s just a word for you. I believe that’s a word for our Church. I believe that’s a word for our community. Because the reality is there are a lot of thirsty people in the Poconos. Oh, they won’t come up and say I’m spiritually thirsty. If they do, they’re a really weird walk away. I’ve never had anybody say that to me. But they’ll tell you they’re spiritually thirsty in a lot of other ways. I hear it all the time. Things like, I’m bored. That’s a sign of spiritual thirst. I’m depressed. Sign of spiritual thirst. I’m anxious, I’m unhappy. I’m unsatisfied. Is this the real point? There has to be something more. All of those statements are a sign of spiritual thirst in a human heart. In fact, Scripture tells us of this, and I’ll end if the band wants to come. It says this from the Prophet of Amos. The days are coming. I believe they’re here, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the land, not a famine of food or thirst of water like physically he’s speaking, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.

I believe there is a spiritual famine that’s happening in the Poconos and in our nation right now as a result of everything that we’ve been through. And there is a spiritual thirst that has a lot of people just with a real dry mouth and dry lips. What are they thirsty for? They are thirsty for a word from the Lord. They’re thirsty. They’re thinking things like especially this next generation. What’s the point of life? I hear this all the time. Why does my life even matter? What is the difference if I live or if there’s such a spirit of depression and discouragement in this next generation? If you’d open up your eyes, you would see it. As a matter of fact, he goes on, and he explains it. He said people would stagger from sea to sea, wandering from north to east. Then that’s exactly what’s happening in our culture right now. There is this frenetic energy. Just open your eyes. You’ll see it. This generation is running from one thing, then they run to the other thing, and then this trend is happening this day. And by the time I figure it out, I’m 50, it’s already changed. The trend is over here, and they just keep bouncing back, wondering, searching, but yet never find either. Searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it. This is the world we’re living in that day. The lovely young women and strong young men refer to this generation. It will faint because of thirst. There is a spiritual spirit of fainting that’s happening right now in our culture. They will be so discouraged to fall out from depression and anxiety and a lack of self-confidence or esteem, not knowing who they really are and what their identity is. And they go trying to find it through pleasure in relationships or online in the Metaverse, popping pills or watching porn because they’re fainting. There’s a thirst in their heart for a word from the Lord. And they’re just looking for somebody like you and me to go and offer them a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus. They don’t need this generation, another celebrity. What they need is a Church, a lifegiving Church that’s filled with the Holy Spirit in the presence of God, full of people that are willing to bring them a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus.

A Church that doesn’t judge them but loves them and welcomes them in a Church that throws open the doors wide every Sunday regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. A Church that will allow them to belong before they even believe. A Church that welcomes their doubts and their fears and their insecurities and their questions about God and faith and life and gender and the whole thing. A Church where God will show up. A Church that will serve them. A Church that will listen to them. A Church that will love them. A Church. God help us if we ever become a Church where we don’t have enough youth and serve team members or kids serve team members because this generation needs some people, some moms and dads and some young adults that would be willing to get involved in her life and talk less and listen more. Tell me your story. What’s going on at home? What questions do you have and when? All that’s said and done that you’ll have a word for the Lord, for their thirsty soul, and that word is God loves you. God is for you. God believes in you.

And here’s the kicker. I love you. I’m for you. I believe in you. I’m so glad that you are on this journey and together. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the one who does. Come on. His name is Jesus, and Jesus will meet you right where you are. This generation is suffering. But here’s the good news. I believe that suffering is always an opportunity for service. So Church, I’m challenging you today. Let’s serve this next generation as we’ve never done before. Let’s raise them up as leaders and give them the keys to the Church bus. They need somebody to allow them to have a seat at the table to taste and see. The Lord is good to drink from the well that never runs dry. To have their thirst quenched by the living water of Jesus, which he said, you will never thirst again. I’m challenging you, Church. It’s too late for us to be with Jesus at the foot of the Cross and offer him a cup of cold water. It’s too late, but we can still offer a cup of cold water to him. You say how Jesus told us.

He says this. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you thirsty or give you something to drink? Then King Jesus will reply, Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, whatever you did for whatever the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me, listen, and I’ll end with this. We quench Jesus’s thirst by quenching the thirst of others, especially the least of these, those that are part of the next generation. So who’s with me? Come on, Church. We have to do this. We must do this. This local Church is the hope. The local Church is the hope of the world. So here’s what I’m asking you to do over the next couple of weeks. Easter is right around the corner, and we’re gearing up and inviting people. And I know you’ve been praying and inviting people, but I’m asking you to do these three specific things over the next two weeks, two and a half weeks. Number one, I’m asking you, would you pray with me? Let’s talk to God, and let’s ask God for a great move of the Spirit here in the Poconos. Let’s ask God to show up. You see, God, I believe, is always here, but his Holy Spirit likes to be invited. And can we do that? Can we invite the presence of God to show up that thirsty soul, that hard hearts will be softened, and thirsty souls will be quenched? To begin to pray this week like you’ve not prayed before. And I’m asking you to show up next Sunday. It’s going to be a powerful time of prayer. Next Sunday, we’re going to have a prayer rally next. This will be the shortest prayer meeting you’ve ever gone to in your life. It’s going to be at 09:00. The service starts at 930. So we’re all going to gather here at 09:00, and we’re going to pray for ten minutes. How many believe God can show up and do more in ten minutes than we could ever do on our own? So show up next Sunday morning, 09:00, and pray with us as we ask God to move in our Easter services, the hearts and lives of people that we’re inviting, and just continue to pray on your own during the week. Pray with your small group.

Here’s the second thing I’m asking you to do. Serve. Let’s serve as we’ve never served before as we go into Easter. Listen, if you’ve never served around here, this is the best time to jump in. Just try it once. Just serve one Easter service. We’ve got three different ones to choose from where you can even do something between now and then. We’ve got all this new tech coming in. You can help set that up, or you could help out Rocco. I loved hearing Rocco’s story, and I was here earlier this week, and there’s Rocco in our kid’s area. I said, Rocco, what are you doing? I’m fixing all these chairs, putting them all together for these kids. And we have used a landscaper for 40 years, and I’m praying, praying, praying that in the next two and a half weeks is going to be 60 deg on Easter. It’s going to be beautiful. And wouldn’t it be great if we could plant some beautiful flowers? So as all of our friends and guests show up, it would look nice out there. Come on. This is the house of the Lord. It should be the best-looking house in the community.

And so Rock is going to need some help doing that because some of you think, Well, I can’t serve around Eric. I can never stand up on stage. And we had to literally bribe and beg him to come up and share his story because he feels a whole lot more comfortable sitting behind the wheel of a mower than he does standing behind the pulpit on a stage on a Sunday morning. But you did so great. I’m so proud of you. So you can help us get ready for the Easter landscape. We got all kinds of stuff from serving coffee and being part of our hospitality team or serving in kids or serving in youth or being part of the tech team. Let’s train you how to do all this stuff. Just try it one time. Because here’s what happens when you serve because you serve Jesus by serving others. Just by the way that you quench Jesus’ thirst by quenching the thirst of others. When you serve others, it does more for you than it does for them. I’m just telling you that’s why Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than it is to receive because it’s in the giving that you really receive.

He’s not just talking about money. He’s talking about your time. He’s talking about your talents. He’s talking about your life experiences when you serve others. I’m just telling you, I’m not asking you to join the survey team this Easter because we need you. Although we do need you. We have hundreds of people already signed up to help. I’m not doing this because we need it. I’m doing this because you need it. And all the service team members said Amen because you know how good it feels. You know the blessings that come back into your life. You know the favor of God. You know what he does for you as you do for others. God does for you. So come on, let’s serve together. Let’s pray. God’s going to show up. And it all starts in two weeks with our Palm Sunday. And then we go through Stations of the Cross. If you’ve never been to, how many have never been to our Stations of the Cross, you’ve never been to it. Tons of you. This will blow your mind if you’ve ever been to a Station of the Cross. This is nothing like that. Completely different and interactive, self-guided tour. It immerses you into these last moments of Jesus’ life leading up to the Cross. You need to show up. You need to sign up for a time. So we have people go through it. It’s about a 20 minutes deal and goes online. You can sign up for yourself and your family, come with your friends, and come with your small group. And then on Good Friday, it’s the most amazing service we have every year. It’s my favorite service of the year. And this year, I’m telling you what we have planned. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done. If you love the arts, if you’re a creative person. If you love poetry, I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss this. So make plans. We’re only doing one service, so make sure you get here early. The last thing, pray, and serve. The last thing, invite, invite, invite, invite. Your friends don’t come alone. And when you invite them, don’t just say, hey, you should come to Church. You say, hey, why don’t you come sit with me? There’s a service at nine. There’s one at eleven. There’s one at one. Which one do you want to come to? I’ll be your host.

I’ll introduce you to all my friends. I’ll get you some coffee. I’ll sit with you, and help you get your kids checked in. That’s what it really means when you invite somebody. And so begin talking to God about who you should invite before you talk to them. Just say this little prayer, God, who do you want me to invite to Easter this year? He will drop a name into your heart. Somebody you work with, somebody in your family, somebody in your circle of friends, your sphere of influence. And when he does, he’s copied that text, invite graphic and shoot it out to him and say, hey, I think you’d really like us. Why don’t you sit with me this Easter? Because there’s so much at stake. Gang, I don’t even realize this, but last year we had just gotten open for Easter. And not many people showed up. The year before that, we were closed, remember? So if you didn’t come two years ago and then you didn’t come this last year, if you don’t show up for your third Easter in a row, what do you think that means for that people? Faith? It means they most likely aren’t ever coming back. I’m not okay with that. Jesus said if a man has 100 sheep and 99 come back, but one is missing, the good shepherd will leave the 99 behind and go after the one. And that one isn’t just like some lost hardcore pagan. The one that didn’t come back used to be part of the flock. They’re good people that had a genuine encounter with God. But for one reason or another. And I just know life can get in the way. They haven’t come back into the flock. Let’s go get them. Let’s invite them. All we can do is invite it’s up to them, to the Spirit of God, whether they actually come. So let’s do the work. And I believe this Jesus said in Matthew five, six, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is righteous work to introduce our friends to Jesus. This is righteous work that we should have a hunger and thirst for, to see the lost one come home. This is righteous work to reach and invest in the next generation. This is righteous work so that one that does that work will be filled. You can experience deep contentment, satisfaction and blessing from God when you commit to living your life that way. Amen.