Daily Archives: January 19, 2020

New Heart- Eric Geiger

Welcome to Mariners Church. So glad that you are here. If you’re a guest with us, my name is Eric, and I’m the senior pastor at our church. We love that you chose to worship with us today. Last week, I told you about the new Jeep Wrangler that I got. Perhaps, some of you have wondered if you’ve seen the Jeep. “Hey, why don’t you have a Mariners bumper sticker on the Jeep? Aren’t you our pastor? Don’t you love our church? Why don’t you have one of our church bumper stickers? I have a church bumper sticker, Eric. Why don’t you have a church bumper sticker on your car.”

Why aren’t Christians nicer? 

Here’s the honest answer. My wife doesn’t want me to have a church bumper sticker. She doesn’t think I represent us well as I drive. She’s concerned that I’m not kind enough on the road, that I’m not nice enough, that I haven’t yet proven myself worthy of a church bumper sticker.

A couple of weeks ago, we were driving after having a lunch date. It was my day off. We got to this green light, and I was trying to turn left. This person looked like they were coming through the green light. So I’m yielding, and I wait to go through the green light. Finally, at the last minute, they turn right. 

I got stuck behind the green light because I was waiting for them, and they decided for some reason not to use the blinker. You know when you go to drivers school, there’s this blinker on the side of the steering wheel? But they didn’t use the blinker on the side of the steering wheel, and they wasted two minutes of my life because they turned right. 

If they signaled that they were turning right, I would’ve been able to go through. But no, they decided that since they rule the world, they weren’t going to use their blinker. So I celebrated them as they were turning right. I was like, “Yeah, you’re so awesome.” I know. I know. I know. You sound like my wife.

Kaye was like, “That is so wrong. Why are you doing that?” I’m like, “I’m just celebrating them. I’m just clapping for them.” She said, “You know what you’re doing.” Just so you know, I’m not the meanest driver on the pastoral staff. One of our worship pastors (I won’t tell you which one) when somebody does something gives the gladiator thumbs down as he’s driving. So that’s why I don’t have the Mariners’ bumper stickers. 

It’s actually, though, one of the biggest critics against the Christian faith: why are some Christian’s not nicer? Maybe you’ve heard this before. I’ve heard this a lot. “I would be interested in the Christian faith, but I’m curious why is it that some people who are not Christians seem nicer or more kind than some of you Christians?” Have you ever heard this before?

I’ve heard this even being a pastor here the last 18 months. Sometimes, if I’m meeting somebody in the community, and I tell them I’m a pastor at Mariners, and I invite them to church, they’ll be like, “Ah, I’m better than half the people who go to your church.” I usually say something like, “Well, they have a really bad pastor. That explains it. They have a bad pastor.” The reality is, one of the reasons that people have given a defense of why they aren’t Christian is, ‘Why aren’t you Christian’s nicer?” 

Become a new person through Christ

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, addresses this. He says this. He says what you have to understand is you don’t realize how much more mean they would’ve been. Yes, they could be nicer, but they could’ve been a lot worse. Christ has rescued them. That’s true of me. Before Jesus, a golf clap is nothing than what I had in my heart before Christ changed me. But then, C.S. Lewis says this. 

He says really to ask the question why Christians aren’t nicer is actually to misunderstand the fundamental reason of the Christian faith and the primary purpose of which Jesus came to this earth for us. I’m going to read you a quote, but essential C.S. Lewis says that Christ did not come to make us nice. He came to make us new. 

He did not come to just make us a better version of our old selves. He came to make us brand new. He didn’t enter our world, born through the womb of the virgin, place himself on a cross, rise from the dead, and ascend back into heaven just to make us a bunch of nice people. He came for something much deeper and more significant than this. Here’s what Lewis says.

“For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind, but to produce a new kind of man.” 

Jesus and Nicodemus

Jesus came to make us brand new, to give us a new heart, a completely new life. We’re going to see this today in, perhaps, the most famous conversation Jesus ever had. If you’re here, and you’re not yet a Christian, this a verse that you’ve heard before. It’s in John 3. The famous verse: John 3:16. 

The backstory of that verse is a conversation that Jesus has with a man named Nicodemus. Jesus is going to tell him that he wants to give him a new heart to completely change him, to make him a new kind of person. Not just improve his old life, but make him brand new.

When you read the story (we’re going to read it in a moment), the conversation that Jesus has with Nicodemus, there’s a section of it that confuses a lot of people. Jesus talks about being born of water and born of the Spirit, and people read that, and they’re unsure what it means. I need you to really press in, even intellectually, for the next couple of moments. 

If you understand this Old Testament prophecy about Jesus that is written before Jesus comes and before the conversation with Nicodemus, then boom, the conversation with Nicodemus is going to make so much more sense. 

I want to start with this Old Testament prophesy about what Jesus would come to do, how he would make us new. It’s found in Ezekiel 36. The Scripture will be on the screen. It’s also in the listening guide in your bulletin. God says this. It’s a promise about what he’s going to do. What he’s saying is then later fulfilled in what Jesus came to do. Here’s the promise.

“I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.”

Look at the verse. There’s a promise before Jesus that one is going to come, and we’re going to be cleansed with water, and we’re going to get a new Spirit and a new heart. Here’s what God was saying to a group of people, his people, who were in Babylonian captivity. The reason they were there is because they kept breaking their promises. “God, we’re going to only worship you. We’re only going to worship you,” but they couldn’t live up to their promises. 

So God disciplined them like a good father does. He brought them into Babylonian captivity, so they would then call out to God again. This time, when they call out God, God says, “I’m going to do something new. There’s a time coming when I’m going to give my people a new Spirit. My people are going to be cleansed, and they’re going to be changed. My people are going to be forgiven, cleansed as with water, and changed. They’re going to receive a new Spirit.”

We should not be judgmental of these people because we’ve been the same way. We haven’t kept our promises to God either. We haven’t kept our commitments. If you’re not a religious person, you would say, “I’m not a Christian. What do you mean keep my promises to God?” 

If you were honest with yourself. You haven’t lived up to even your own standards of what life should look like. You’ve broken even promises to yourself. So God says he’s going to send one who will change us. We’re actually going to be able to follow him because we’re going to get this new heart. We’re going to talk about this today. A new heart. 


What it takes to get a new heart

There is a heart surgeon in our church named Dr. John Drews. I sat down with him and read this passage to him and said, “I want to learn from a heart surgeon about this passage. He was on the first team in Southern California to perform the very first heart transplant, so he knows what he’s talking about.

I said, “Help me understand this verse. What does it mean to get a new heart?” He said, “In America, there are about 300 people every single year who are on a list to get a heart transplant. To get a heart transplant, they know that there only hope to live. They can’t tweak their existing heart. A new diet, new heath exercise, new health exercise regime won’t help. Even bypass surgery won’t help. They need a new heart. That’s the only hope they have.

So 300 people get on the list every single year. In the U.S., about 200 people receive a new heart. When they receive a new heart, all they do is receive it. They don’t earn it. They don’t operate on themselves. They don’t cut themselves open and give themselves a new heart. By grace, somebody else dies, and they are given a new heart.”

Then Dr. John Drews said this, which is fascinating. He said, “They actually obey doctors’ orders much more than other heart patients.” I said, “What do you mean?” I had read studies before about heart patients. There’s actually a famous book that came out a couple of years ago called Change or Die. 

It’s based on this longitudinal study of heart patients, who researchers studied for a two year period of time. Not patients who got a new heart; patients who were trying to tweak their old heart. So they had bypass surgery, or they had some type of doctor’s orders which said, “Change your diet. Exercise.” 

These researchers followed around these heart patients for two years, and here’s what the research found. Ninety percent of them couldn’t make the changes. In fact, that’s why the book is called Change or Die. They were confronted with the choice, “Change your ways, or you will die,” and 90 percent of them ended up choosing death. 

They were trying to tweak their existing heart, but Dr. John Drews said, “

When you get a new heart, it’s different. When you get a new heart, you’re so filled with gratitude. You’re so in awe that you have been given this gift, that you now obey the doctor’s orders.”

Do you see the parallel here? Do you see the parallel?

This is what the Christian faith is. Please get this. The Christian faith is not God looking at you and commanding you to tweak your old heart. The Christian faith is the glorious news that Christ came here to give us a brand-new heart. Through his death, we are given this new heart, and this new heart changes us and transforms us. We don’t tweak our heart. He gives us a new heart. He transplants our old heart of stone and gives us this absolutely brand-new heart. We’re filled now with such gratitude, that we then follow because he’s done so much for us. Are you tracking? Do you get this? 

A new heart is promised. You’re cleansed with water. You have a new Spirit. Do you have that? Now, with that in mind, let’s look at the most famous conversation Jesus had. Because now, I think you’ll understand which some people have no understood. Here it is. John 3. We’re just going to read the first five verses.

“There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to him at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'”

Kingdom of God means the rule and reign of God. Here’s what Jesus is saying, “Unless you’re born again, unless you get this new heart, unless you’re completely changed. You’re not going to enter or see the rule and reign of God. You’re not going to enter heaven. But here in this life, you’re not going to enjoy a life of peace and joy (the rule and reign of God), unless you are born again. Nicodemus asked this in verse 4.

“‘How can anyone be born when he is old? ’ Nicodemus asked him. ‘Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?'” Now remember the imagery of water and Spirit. Remember? Just nod and pretend that you do if you don’t. Just remember. “Jesus answered, ‘Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'”

Jesus uses the same imagery from Ezekiel 36 to say, “This is what it means to be born again. You actually receive this brand-new heart.” He uses the same language. There are two questions I want to ask us today, and I want you to think through with me. 

Who needs a new heart? 

Firstly, who needs a new heart? Who needs a new spiritual heart? Heart, in the Scripture, refers to the core, the center, the essence of who you are. Who needs a new spiritual heart? Secondly, who gets it? In the physical realm, 300 people a year are on a list, but not everybody gets it. Who needs it, and who gets a new heart spiritually?

So firstly, who needs a new heart? John 3 is setting up, in this really devastating way, that everyone needs a new heart. The reason why it’s so clear is if you look at John 3:1, if there was somebody who in this culture you thought didn’t need a new heart, it would’ve been Nicodemus. 

Nicodemus was this incredible person who many people would look at and say, “That guy is good. Everything’s great with him. Everything about his life is awesome. He’s kind. He doesn’t golf clap people in traffic. He’s an amazing person. He has a pure heart. He has a heart of gold,” perhaps people would say of Nicodemus. Jesus tells him he needs a new heart.

What do we know about Nicodemus? Look with me in verse 1. You’ll see three things about him. These three things are three things that people wrongly think enters them into the kingdom of heaven. These are three things that people wrongly believe means that they receive God’s forgiveness, or they earn God’s forgiveness. Three things that we see about Nicodemus in just one verse. 

“There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.” Here’s what we know. Pharisee, highly religious. I’ll talk more about this in a moment. This was the most religious guy in the room. He would be more religious than anyone in here. Firstly, very religious. 

Secondly, highly educated, sophisticated, and intellectual. Why do we know that? He’s Jewish, but his name is Nicodemus, which is a Greek name. This means he is schooled in both the Jewish way of life and the Greek way of life. He speaks multiple languages. He’s studied all of the commands of God and the law of God. He’s sophisticated and nuanced. He’s familiar with arts and literature. He’s religious. He’s sophisticated and educated.

Thirdly, he is very successful in life. Extremely successful. He is a ruler of the Jews, which means he is 1 of 70 people in the Jewish people who rules over others, and so he’s highly successful. Nicodemus would’ve fit really well in Orange County. He really would’ve. 

You would’ve loved him as a neighbor. He’s a great neighbor. When he borrows your tools, he brings them back the next day cleaner than when he borrowed them. He’s such a good guy. Everybody loves him. He’s sophisticated and intellectual. He would’ve enjoyed the arts. He would’ve enjoyed living here. He’s very, very successful, and everyone looks up to him and respects him. He is the guy who people love to have at the party. He is an amazing guy.

Jesus looks at this guy and says, “You, Nicodemus, must be born again. You, Nicodemus, must receive a new heart.” There are three things I want us to see about this, about what doesn’t enter you into the kingdom of heaven, about what doesn’t bring about your forgiveness.

Religious Commitment

  1. Religious commitment. It does not cause you to enter the kingdom of heaven, and a lot of people think it does. A lot of people think that if you are a committed religious person that you’re going to somehow earn God’s forgiveness and earn God’s love if you jump through these certain religious hoops. Nicodemus out-religious-ed all of us in here. 

How do I know that? He was a Pharisee. Pharisees in this culture were so religious. They took commands of God in the Old Testament, and they studied those. Then they made up new commands to show that they could keep them. Just one example. They took a command in the Old Testament to remember the Sabbath. 

The Pharisees sat around and said, “Let’s show God we’re serious. Let’s show God we’re awesome. Remember the Sabbath. How do we know if we remember the Sabbath? Okay, the first rule: you can’t take a bath on the Sabbath. If you take a bath on the Sabbath, water might spill out of the tub. If you wipe up the water on the floor, you’ll have worked, and you’ll have violated the Sabbath. So we’re going to show God how religious we are. We don’t take baths on the Sabbath.”

This is all from Jewish history. “Second rule: you can’t look in the mirror on a Sabbath.” Why can’t you look in the mirror? “If you look in the mirror, you might see a gray hair. If you see a gray hair, you might be tempted to pull it out. If you pull out the gray hair, you’ll have worked on the Sabbath. No bath. No mirror.” They had all of these rules.

That’s Nicodemus. He was more religious than all of us. Jesus tells that guy, “You need a new heart.” Here’s why. For us to think that our religious effort leads to our forgiveness or our religious effort causes us to enter the kingdom of heaven is to lower God to our standard or to raise us to his. We put ourselves on the same level as God. And, it’s to dismiss the death of Jesus as unnecessary. 

If we could get our way to God with our religiosity, then what did Jesus die for? But Jesus didn’t die an unnecessary death. Jesus died because we needed to be forgiven, and we could not give ourselves a new heart. We needed a new one from him. 

The apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, was a former Pharisee. He learned this. This is what he said. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” If you could be religious enough to enter God’s kingdom, if you could be religious enough to go to heaven, if you could be religious enough to be forgiven, then Jesus died for nothing. 

But Jesus didn’t die for nothing. Jesus died because all of us have hearts of stone, and he wants to give us a transplant. Religious commitment doesn’t equal forgiveness and doesn’t equal entering the kingdom of heaven.

Knowledge about God

  1. Knowledge about God. Some people think if you know a lot about God that means you enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was highly sophisticated and highly knowledgeable. He knew more about the Bible than Preacher Eric Geiger knows about the Bible. He studied this backward and forward. He knew everything about the Scripture, but knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. Knowing information about Jesus is not the same as bowing before Jesus. 

James 2:19 says it in a really strong way. The Scripture says, “You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.” If knowing information about God equaled the kingdom of heaven, then the demons would be in the kingdom of heaven. If knowing information about God equals forgiveness, than the demons would be forgiven, and they’re not. Neither knowledge about God or religiosity cause you to enter the kingdom of heaven or to receive a new heart. This is all about who Nicodemus is.

Doing your best in this life

  1. Doing your best in this life. Nicodemus lived his best life. He was successful and entrepreneurial and very effective and efficient, and everyone looked up to him. Jesus said, “You need to be born again.” This is, perhaps, the most common answer that I’ve gotten when I’ve asked people if they’ve considered the Christian faith or if they think they’ll go to heaven when they die or if they believe that Christ has forgiven them of their sins, or, “Tell me where you are in your relationship with God.” 

Here’s the most common answer. It’s what Nicodemus would’ve said, so don’t feel bad if you’ve answered this way. “I just try and do the best with the one life that the good Lord gave me. I believe if I’ll do my best and treat people well and be a great person, that in the end, it’ll all work out, that in the end God will see my intentions and my heart, and it will all be good for me.” 

A lot of people believe that. In fact, Gallup Poll surveyed Americans and asked them this. “Is, ‘God helps those who help themselves,’ a verse in the Bible?” Eighty-two percent of Americans say that’s a verse in the Bible. Eighty-one percent of people who go to a Christian church say that’s a verse in the Bible. 

Not only is, “God helps those who help themselves,” not a verse in the Bible, it’s the opposite message of the Bible. The message of the Bible is not, “You work hard, you live a good life, and God is going to look at you and be proud of you and is going to say, ‘Well done. That’s awesome. Because you’ve done so much with all I’ve given you, you now have earned your way into my kingdom. I’m going to help you because you’ve helped yourself.'”

That is not the message of the Bible. The message of the Christian faith is much more scandalous, but it’s also much more beautiful than that. God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those of us who realize we’re helpless. God helps the helpless. All of us are helpless before a holy God.

In his mercy and in his grace, God helps us who look to him and say, “I need a new heart. I can’t fix this. I can’t tweak this. I need a transformation. I need you to transplant my heart of stone and give me a brand-new heart. All I’m going to do is lay on the table and let you, the Great Physician, the Great Healer, do your transforming work.” That’s who this great God is. That’s who he is. 

Firstly, who needs a new heart? Everybody. Secondly, who gets a new heart? At the end of this most famous passage, Jesus said, “This is who gets a new heart.” John 3:16. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son…” That’s Jesus. So here’s Jesus telling Nicodemus, “This is how you are born again. This is how you get a new heart.” 

“…so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Who needs a new heart? Everyone. Who gets a new heart? Those of us who believe. Those of us who say, “Jesus, I’m not going to try and fix my old heart. I’m not going to try and work my way to you. I’m not going to try and know enough about you. I’m not just going to live my best life. I believe in you. I put my faith and trust in you, Jesus. I believe that you died for me. I believe you rose from the dead. I believe you are God.”

When you believe in him, he changes your heart by his mercy and grace and great love and affection towards you. He changes you. That’s what he does. So who needs a new heart? Everyone who gets it. Those of us who know we need it.

Tim Keller said this. The only thing you need to become a Christian, the only thing you need to be forgiven, the only thing you need to be forgiven, The only thing you need to enter the kingdom of heaven, The only thing you need is need, and few have it. Few have it. We like to stand before God in our own goodness. We don’t like to be in need. But to receive a new heart, you have to know you need a new heart, and then you believe. You express belief in him.

So what happened to Nicodemus? What did this conversation do to Nicodemus? Almost at the very end of the gospel of John, you read this really cool short sentence about Nicodemus. Remember, Nicodemus went to Jesus at night. Why do you think he went at night? Undercover. He didn’t want people to know he was going to Jesus. He didn’t want anyone to think that he needed something. “Why would Nicodemus go to Jesus?” He doesn’t want anyone to know he has this conversation with Jesus.

At the very end of the gospel of John, you see a very, very different Nicodemus. Look at John 19. This is after Jesus has been crucified. This is as his body has been buried. 

“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus ​— ​but secretly because of his fear of the Jews ​— ​asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’s body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away. Nicodemus…” Just so we’re clear it’s the same Nicodemus, this is in the Scripture. “…(who had previously come to him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes.” 

Seventy-five pounds. He’s carrying, in broad daylight, a 75-pound bag to the body of Jesus. This is the Nicodemus who came at night ashamed, and now for everyone to see. When all of the religious leaders are wondering who is following this person who was just crucified, and who really believes the one who they just had killed, here comes Nicodemus carrying a 75-pound bag of spices because this conversation he had with Jesus cleansed him and changed him.

Even Nicodemus, the most religious person in the room, the one who had all the information, the one who lived a sophisticated and amazing life. He needed a new heart, and Jesus looked at him and loved him. 

Jesus looks at you and loves you whether you’ve been religious or whether this is your first time ever and in church. Jesus looks at you and loves you. Whether you’ve known a lot about him or whether you’ve never even heard his name before. Jesus looks at you and loves you. Whether you’ve lived a great life or whether you feel like you’ve made an absolute mess of your life. Jesus looks at you and loves you. 

In fact, listen. Jesus told religious people, “You are further away from the kingdom of heaven than the people who realize they have a messed up life.” Why? Because those who are religious sometimes think they don’t need it. Those who messed up their lives, Jesus said, “You are so close. You are so close,” because you know you need it. The only thing you need is need. Who needs a new heart? Everybody. Who gets a new heart. Those of us who believe. 

Last week, an obituary went viral. It was written at the beginning of 2020. This month. This year. When you’re a newspaper writer and an author who’s going to die, evidently, you have the right to write your own obituary, and Ken Fuson did. 

This was released, and it was picked up by news stories and news stations all across the U.S. People said the reason this obituary went viral, the reason it spread, is because it makes you laugh, and it makes you cry. There are some snarky, funny lines in the obituary, and there are some touching moments as Ken Fuson wrote his own obituary. I want to read just a couple of lines.

“Ken Fuson, born June 23, 1956, died January 3, 2020 in at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, of liver cirrhosis, and is stunned to learn that the world is somehow able to go on without him.” The obituary is filled with a lot of funny lines like that. Here’s the real touching part (57:18).

“For most of his life, Ken suffered from a compulsive gambling addiction that nearly destroyed him. But his church friends, and the loving people at Gamblers Anonymous, never gave up on him. Ken last placed a bet on Sept. 5, 2009. He died clean. He hopes that anyone who needs help will seek it, which is hard, and accept it, which is even harder. Miracles abound.

Ken’s pastor says God can work miracles for you and through you. Skepticism may be cool, and for too many years Ken embraced it, but it was faith in Jesus Christ that transformed his life. That was the one thing he never regretted.” 

John 3:16. The most famous verse in the Bible. I want you to understand that when Jesus said it to Nicodemus, he knew you would be in this moment. He knew you would be born. I want you to know that when Jesus said it to Nicodemus, he knew you. He formed you while you were in your mother’s womb. He crafted you and put you together. He’s ordered the steps of your life. 

Even when you have never thought about God, the moments when you didn’t want anything to do with God, he kept loving you and pursuing you. He’s never given up on you. He’s never stopped having compassion and affection for you. He’s always cared and always desired you.

I want us to look at this verse one more time, and where there’s a line, I want you to put your own name because I want you to know when Jesus said, “Nicodemus, God loves…” he was thinking of you. Say your name where the blank is. Let’s all play this time. Everybody. 

You’re like, “Dude, I don’t like saying stuff in church. I’m the guy who doesn’t even sing.” Just whisper. Just whisper, all right? Just try. Just see if it comes out. Just whisper your name. You’re also probably the guy who doesn’t use your blinker. Okay? Just whisper. Too much. Stick to my notes. All right. Here we go.

“For God loved __________ in this way: he gave his one and only Son, so that if __________ believes in him, __________ will not perish but have eternal life.” God loves you. He loves you. You will be given a new heart if you believe in him. 

In the stillness of this moment, I’m going to give us an opportunity for you to express belief in him. We do this at Mariners Church every couple of months, where we stop for a couple of moments, and we say, “As you’re seated. If you’re ready to express belief in Jesus…” This is a big ask, but we’re going to ask you to stand up. If you are ready to receive his forgiveness and have a heart transformation and God to make you his son and make you his daughter, you will stand, and you will say, “I believe.”

God loved you, and if you believe in him, you will receive a new heart. You will receive everlasting life. This is what we believe happens, and listen, this is supernatural. It’s only the work of God. When you stand, and you say, “I believe,” we believe, according to the Scripture, that in that moment, God does an amazing work. 

He takes out your heart of stone, and he gives you a brand new heart. He cleanses you, he changes you, and he adopts you. He makes you his son, and he makes you his daughter the moment you stand by faith and say, “I believe in Jesus.” All you need is need. All you need is to realize you need a new heart. In this moment, you say, “I believe,” and he forgives, and he changes. 

We’ve done this at all of our services this weekend. I’m going to give us a couple of moments for you to stand. I want you to say it loudly enough for me to hear it that you believe. You just stand, and you say, “I believe.”

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Stay standing. Let’s hold the applause. I want to hear. Yes. Awesome. Awesome, brother. Love it. So good. Yes. Awesome. Awesome. Love it. Love it. Awesome. Awesome, brother. Awesome, man. Good. Right. Yes. Mmm. Awesome. Awesome, man. Awesome. So good. Yes, good. Amen. Awesome. So good. Awesome. Yes. Love it, man. Love it. Awesome. Awesome. Amen. Amen. Amen. Awesome. Amen. Awesome. Yes. Amen. Awesome. Awesome, brother. Yeah, man. Awesome. Amen. Amen. Awesome. Amen. 

For those of us who’ve been Christian a while, this is such a good moment as we hear others confess belief in Jesus, to remember the moment when you understood God’s grace, and all of your sin was forgiven, and you were changed and cleansed because of God’s amazing grace towards us. I’m going to give a couple more moments. Anybody else?

Awesome. Awesome. That’s good, man. Awesome. So good. Mmm. Amen. Awesome. So good. 

If you said, “I believe,” and you place your faith in Jesus, welcome to the family. Welcome. So good. I’m going to ask our shepherding elders and our pastors who are in the room to come forward. In a moment, we’re going to stand, and we’re going to sing, and we’re going to celebrate who Jesus is and what he’s done.

If you stood a moment ago and said, “I believe,” we do not want you to leave without us being able to pray for you. This is a moment that is so big. According to the Scripture, you’ve been born again. Yeah, it’s big. When you’re born in a hospital, you’re not born, and they lay you out on the street. Right? They care for you. We want to care for you. We want to pray for you. We have a Bible we want to give you. We have a free certificate for you to get into Rooted. 

But more importantly than what we give you, our shepherding elders and pastors want to welcome you, pray for you, mark this moment for you. So we’re going to stand and sing. For those of you who said, “I believe,” right when we start singing, I want you to walk forward so we can pray for you and welcome you in. Let’s stand, and let’s sing. Let’s celebrate this great God. 

What an amazing morning. For those of you who said, “I believe,” I’m so proud of you. If there’s anything going on in your life that we can pray with you about, we have a team of people who would love to pray with you over there by those lights. You simply make your way around, and we’d love to pray with you. If you need today is prayer for healing, we have an elder prayer room. To get to that elder prayer room, you simply go through the door in the back and take a right.

Next weekend, we wrap up this series, and it’s going to be a great weekend because our friend, Matt Redman, is going to lead worship with our guys and introduce a new song that they’ve written that’s going to be on his album and go all around the world. Our team was a part of that, so you’ll want to be here next weekend. It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a great weekend.

I’m going to now pray a prayer of blessing over you. DK, if we can keep having some music go. I know we still have people who are being prayed for. After I pray for you, if you still want to talk to one of our shepherding elders, you simply come forward.

Father, I thank you for what you’ve done today. I thank you for your sons and daughters with their hands extended to you. I pray that you’d bless them this new week. I pray that you’d remind them over and over again how much you love them. I pray you’d fill them with your joy and your peace. I pray that you would guide their steps this week. I pray that you’d cause your face to shine on them. I pray you’d bless them this new week. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Go in peace. Have a great week.