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A Better Way to See Yourself – Eric Geiger

 

Welcome to Mariners. So glad you are here today. If you’re a guest, thanks for being with us. We’re honored you chose to worship with us today. My name’s Eric. I’m the senior pastor, if we haven’t met. We’re going to be at a really fascinating story that Jesus tells today in Luke 18.

You’ve heard it said before that there are two kinds of people in the world. People say that all the time. “There are two kinds of people.” People are always making lists to divide us or to classify humanity. It’s based on what LA sports team you root for or what your political affiliation is. There are two kinds of people.

There’s a blog that’s very popular online that constantly builds the case that there are two kinds of people in the world, and they do it in this funny way. Here are a couple of examples. There are two kinds of people in the world, those who set one alarm to wake up, and those who require three alarms to wake up. Just own it. How many of you require three? Just own it. That’s good. It’s fun. It’s a safe place.

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who clean out their inbox, and those who have 17,000 messages they have no yet responded to. Some of you today, you’re A. Before you come into service, you’re cleaning it out. You’re that obsessed. Then others of you, B, I don’t know how you sleep at night. I don’t know how you sleep with that.

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who eat KIT KAT the way the designer intended them to be eaten. You respect the designer. You care about the artwork of the KIT KAT. Then there are monsters (B). 

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who, as you send a text message, you listen to what your mother said, and you think thoughtfully before you send the message. You compose your thoughts before you hit send. Then there are people like Kenton Beshore, who just send one message after the other to compose a paragraph. Two kinds of people in the world.

Mark Twain famously said there are two kinds of speakers in the world. Those who are nervous and those who are liars.

Some comedians have said things like there are two kinds of people in the world. They are the good people and the bad people. The good people sleep much better at night, and the bad people enjoy the waking hours much more. Two kinds of people: good and bad.

Really, that’s how most people think about humanity. In fact, that’s even how you grew up thinking about humanity. There was Santa, and he’s making a list, and he’s checking it twice. He’s going to find out who’s naughty and who’s nice. There’s bad, and there’s good.

Maybe you’ve thought that’s how churches view people. Maybe, perhaps you have had an experience in the past with church, and you felt like if you do these things, you make the good list, and if you do these things, you make the bad list. The whole point of the church is to try to get people to make the good list. Church is people like me yelling at people like you to do things this week to put yourself on the good list, and that religion is all about trying to be good. That humanity is divided between good and bad. 

How does God really view us? As God looks at the 11:30 service today at Mariners, and he looks at humanity, we believe that God looks at us. He cares for us. He looks into all of our hearts. But how does he look at us? Does he divide us into a list of there’s the good, and there’s the bad? Is he like this massive Santa in the sky who is developing a list of the naughty and the nice? How does God look at humanity?

In this one story, we’re going to look at in Luke 18, you’re going to see Jesus define how he looks at us. It’s going to be surprising. When he told this story, it was a very scandalous story because the crowd expected Jesus to divide people into there’s the bad, and there’s the good, and Jesus does not divide us that way. He doesn’t look at humanity through that lens at all. 

A couple of things you want to know before we read this story about the story. Any time you read a story that Jesus tells, you want to ask yourself a couple of questions. Who’s he talking to? You’ll see that the very first verse we’re going to read in verse 9, Jesus is telling this story to a group of people who trust in themselves that they are righteous, which means they think they’re good. 

He’s speaking to a group of people who think they’re on the good list. He’s speaking to a group of people who think they’ve made the good side of the ledger before God. Because they trust in themselves that they’re righteous, you’re going to see this. The Bible actually says they look down on everybody else, which always happens.

If you believe that you are good for something in life, then you look down on other people who don’t do the same thing you do. This is Jesus speaking to a group of religious people who are trusting themselves thinking they’re good, they’re right with God, and therefore, they look down on other people because they aren’t doing what they think has made them right with God. That’s who he’s speaking to.

Then, anytime you read a story, you always want to know, “What’s the scene of the story that Jesus is telling, and who are the characters?” The scene of the story is the temple. I need you to get this because we’ll talk about this later in the message. The scene of the story is the temple. So what’s the scene of the story? The temple. You have to get that.

There are two characters in the story. One is a Pharisee, and one is a tax collector. When Jesus starts the story, and he says, “Hey, I’m going to tell you a story about a Pharisee and a tax collector, everybody is thinking, “Yep. It’s another story about the good guys and the bad guys.” 

In this culture (the culture Jesus is speaking to), the Pharisee was the picture of the good guy. This was the epitome of goodness. A Pharisee was very devote religiously. They fasted twice a week. They prayed. They gave a tenth of everything. They also were highly credible in the culture. Mom wanted their sons to grow up and be Pharisees because they were so respected. They’re the epitome of good. 

On the other side of the morality spectrum (of the good/bad spectrum) in this culture is a tax collector. A tax collector in Jesus’ day is known as a trader and a thief. Why? If you were a tax collector in Jesus’ day, if you were a tax collector in the Jewish culture, you didn’t work for the Jewish leaders, you worked for Rome, and Rome occupied Jewish territory. 

So you were a traitor because you worked for the enemy who occupied the land of your people. The reason you were a traitor is because Rome offered you the opportunity as a tax collector to tax people around you for any amount you deemed fair. You can line your own pockets as long as you gave a kickback to Rome. If you’re a tax collector, you’re betraying your own people, and you’re doing so to get rich. You’re a thief, and you’re a traitor. 

Tax collector, the epitome, the illustration of bad guy. Pharisee, the epitome, the illustration of good guy. Epitome. Everybody thinks this is where Jesus is going. “I have list. Here are the good people, and here are the bad people.” But as we see in this story in a moment, he’s going to shock them with this story. He’s going to blow up their minds because they’re going to see that he’s not looking at humanity through the lens of the good and the bad. So how does he look at us? What’s he really looking for? Let’s find out. Luke 18.

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else…” If you believe you have done something that makes you right with God, you look down on people who don’t do the same thing that you do, and you, therefore, think they aren’t right with God. Therefore, you look down on them. This is who he’s speaking to. Here’s this story.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself…” So he’s not praying about God. He’s praying about himself. “God, I thank you that I’m not like other people  ​— ​greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

Do you see how Jesus looks at us? He’s not looking for a list of the naughty and the nice because all of us would be on the naughty list. He doesn’t divide humanity with a list of the good and the bad because all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. We would be on the bad list. That’s not how he’s looking today. Even here at this moment, he’s not looking at us that way. He’s looking at us through this lens. 

There are the humble, and they will be exalted, and there are the proud who exalt themselves, and they will be humbled. Jesus Christ looks at us, and he looks at all of humanity through this lens. Are you walking in humility before God, or are you walking in pride? This is how he looks at us. 

Today, we’re talking about pride as we begin a series on the seven deadly sins. I know you’re so jacked, like, “Yes. I’ve always wanted to study the seven deadly sins my entire life. That’s what I wanted to do today. I woke up and said, ‘I want to go to church and study the seven deadly sins.’ I can’t wait. Give it to me, Eric.” 

Listen, it’s an important thing to study. Theologians and scholars for centuries developed this list of the seven deadly sins because they believe all sin is deadly, but they believe these seven are the ones that really mess up our lives the most. In fact, even people who are no Christians and not religious say of these seven sins (they may refer to them as vices), “These mess up people’s lives.” What we’re going to look at over the next seven weeks is the flip side of the vice, the character attribute we have as we respond to Christ. 

Why are we do this during this season? We’re doing this during this season because Christians historically have used this time, have viewed this season, the season going up to Easter as a time to honestly look at what we struggle with. 

Not to do so without hope. But we do it at this time as we approach Easter with our eyes focused on what Jesus did for us on the cross, and we do so with the understanding that Jesus has conquered the grave and conquered death, and he rules and reigns. So he gives us the power. Not to live in these seven deadly sins. But he gives us the power to live a better way. There is a better way to live.

Some Christians have called this season before Easter Lent. Others have called it a journey to Easter. That’s why we’re studying this over the next seven weeks. I want you to press in because this is an important time for us as Christians. 

Why is pride deadly? You know pride’s deadly. We all have this in common. Even if you’re not a Christian, you would say, “Pride messes relationships up.” You’ve seen relationship, even in your own life, destroyed because of pride. You aren’t looking forward tomorrow to hanging out with some people at the office because they’re the story toppers who are going to trump whatever you did this weekend. They’re going to say something better. They’re going to story top you. We don’t enjoy hanging out with prideful people. 

C.S. Lewis said this:

“Pride is spiritual cancer. It eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” 

Pride messes up the whole trajectory of our life. Pride is deadly. 

Kendrick Lamar has a whole song about Pride. In that song, he says this. It’s a profound lyric:

“Love’s gonna get you killed, but pride’s gonna be the death of you, and you and me.” 

What’s he saying? I think it’s very insightful. You can get killed by sacrificing yourself in a loving way for someone else, but pride is the death of you. Pride is how you stop being you. Pride is when you have the image of God destroyed in you.

Pride can actually be the death of you. Pride is deadly. Theologians, for centuries, have said, “It’s actually the father of all sin.” 

Here’s what we’re going to do in the next couple of moments. We’re going to define using the story Jesus tells because he divides humanity into the humble and the proud. We’re going to look at a definition from this story of what pride is and then what humility is. Then we’re honestly going to ask ourselves at the end (I know some of you are skeptical or cynical about this), “Is humility really the better way to live?” 

Let’s look at what pride is and what humility is based on what we can learn from Jesus. Here’s the first. There are just two thoughts I want to give you. Here’s what pride is according to this passage.

Pride is when you look to yourself. It’s when you look to yourself. It is when you are fascinated with yourself, or when you have done things in your own goodness that someway make you right in the world or make you right before God. It’s when you think you have done something. 

You have qualified yourself with your merit or your effort or your intellect, that you have qualified yourself right before others and right before God. This is who Jesus is speaking to. He’s speaking to people who think they’re righteous (look back at verse 9), and therefore, they look down on others.

Any time you think that you have done something that makes your right before God, that very thing is what’s going to cause you to look down on other people. You’ll notice this. When I’m judgmental towards others (I have been in my life), when I look down on others (I have), it’s because what I’m looking down on them for is the very thing I think makes me right. Whatever you think makes you right in this world and right before God is the same thing that you look down on other people for. 

A couple of examples. If you believe your behavior is what makes you right before God, like, “I’ve done so many things. Therefore, I’m right with God,” then you’re going to look down on people who don’t behave the same way you behave. If you think your political affiliation is what makes you right before God and right in this world, then you’re going to look down on other people who don’t view politics the same way you view politics. 

If you think that your educational preference on how you’re going to educate your kids is what makes you right, “I educate my kids this way. Therefore, I’m right, and I’m right before God and right in this world,” then you’re going to look down on other people who don’t educate their kids the same way.” Whatever it is that you look down on other people for gives you a clue on what the source of your pride is, on what you think actually makes you right in this world, and right before God.

That’s this Pharisee. Remember his prayer. We just read it. He’s standing there before God, and he’s saying, “I thank you, God. I’m not like other people.” He’s looking down on people. “I’m not like him. I’m not like the tax collector. I’m not like the adulterer. I’m not like the greedy person.” He lists all of these things that he’s not. 

Then he lists all of these things that he does that he thinks makes him right with God. “I fast. I pray. I give twice a week.” He is believing there are levels of righteousness, and in some kind of way, him and his goodness, and accomplished the very top level before God. That there are levels of righteousness. Sometimes, we’ve wrongly thought that. That God looks at us, and there are all these levels, and if you do enough good things, you’ll get to another level. 

When I was in third grade, I noticed in my class in elementary school that some of the smart kids in my class got pulled out, and they were put in this new class. Some other kids from another class were pulled out. All of a sudden, this new class formed, and it was the gifted and talented class. I wasn’t included in the gifted and talented class, which means the rest of us jokers weren’t gifted and talented because we weren’t at the same level. They were at this other level. They were the gifted and talented class.

I didn’t realize this at the time, I have since gone back and read what was taking place in our culture because all of a sudden, it felt like gifted and talented was a huge thing at my school where I grew up in the New Orleans area. In 1983, President Reagan decided that America was falling behind other countries in education, and he put together a commission that researched what we should do as a country. The commission came back and said, “We need to ramp up gifted and talented education.”

The thinking was that the best and the brightest were being held back by people like me, and we needed to quarantine the best and brightest off, keep them away from people like me who’s holding everybody done, and educate those people, the best and the brightest. Then in some kind of way, their intellect will trickle down to the rest of us, and they’ll elevate us all. 

All I know is I’m in third grade, and the kids who papers I used to look over are in a new class all of a sudden, and it’s called gifted and talented, and I’m not. I’m not at that level. I’m not gifted. I’m not talented. They were doing all these fun trips. They were going on field trips and all these hands-on projects. I’m sitting there with the rest of us and working with a scantron and number 2 pencil sitting next to a kid whose eating his boogers. I mean, that’s what I was doing.

I went to my mom one day, and I’m like, “Mom, I want to get in that class. I want to get in the gifted and talented class.” Some of you, perhaps, have had a mom like this. My mom called the school. “I want my son to take the test.” I got to take the gifted and talented test to see if I could get to that level. If I could level up. If I could get into gifted and talented.

I took the test. Thought, “Boom. Man, I crushed it. I nailed it. I’m going to be gifted and talented.” A couple of days later, my mom comes into my room, and she says, “I just want you to know, I love you no matter what.” You don’t have to be in gifted and talented to know that that meant I wasn’t getting in gifted and talented. She said, “It’s fine. It’s totally fine. You’re going to love working for these kids one day. Everything is fine.” 

I didn’t make it in. It’s fine. I’ve forgiven you who were in gifted and talented. Some told me after service, “I was in gifted and talented.” Yeah, thank you. Thank you. There’s nothing wrong with that in the public school system. There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with it. 

The problem is that thinking has sometimes made its way into how we think about Christians and how we think about church. We can sometimes there is these levels of righteousness and the longer you are Christian, if you do the right things, if you go through enough Bible studies, if you go on enough faith adventures, if you do enough nice things for people, that you will some kind of way climb the ladder of righteousness. 

We must not think about the Christian faith that way at all.

Understand that the Scripture says there is no one righteous, no not one. Any righteousness we have is not righteousness we’ve achieved. It’s only righteousness we’ve received by our good and gracious God who freely gives us his forgiveness and freely gives us his righteousness. We are only righteous because of his grace and his mercy. Not because of anything we’ve done.

Therefore, we can’t look down. We must not look down on anyone else because we haven’t done anything to cause us to stand right before God. We’ve only received what he’s done for us. When we understand that we’ve received his grace, we can walk in humility. When we’re looking down on others, we aren’t looking at him. But when we look at him, we remember that we’ve only received what we’ve gotten.

Secondly, humility is the flip side. Humility is looking at the sacrifice. Notice in the story that Jesus tells that the tax collector prays a completely different prayer. The Pharisee is bragging about himself, essentially giving his spiritual resume to God, and the tax collector prays very differently. 

The verse says that he stands a long way off. The Pharisee is at the Most Moly Place in the temple. He’s trying to get as close as he can to the Most Holy Place. The tax collector is way far away. God regards the tax collector who’s far away as near, and he regards the Pharisee who is up close as far away.

A tax collector doesn’t compare himself to others. He doesn’t look at others. He looks to the sacrifice. Now, I want you to see one phrase. If you have your Bible or your listening guide, look at this one phrase. “God, have mercy on me…” In the original language, this is one word. Your translation might read, “God, turn your wrath from me.” It’s one word in the original language. 

The New Testament was written in Greek. This is one word. It’s the word hilaskomai. You’re like, “Why do I need to know that?” I just want you to know it. Humor me for a moment. I want you to know it because it’s so beautiful. The word is, “God, please turn your wrath for me. I know because of my struggles and my sin, because you’re holy, because you’re righteous, that my sin deserves to be punished. I’m asking, God, that you not turn your wrath to me, but please turn your wrath away from me. Turn your wrath to something else.”

What’s the scene of the story? The temple. In the temple, every single day at this point in history, this is before Christ died, there were sacrifices that took place every day. Why? Because God’s people sinned every day, just like we still do. There were sacrifices every single day. Here’s the sacrifice taking place in the temple. The priest is grabbing a goat or a lamb or a bull and is slaughtering the goat or lamb, or the bull, and the tax collector is watching the sacrifice happen.

The tax collector is saying, “God have mercy on me. God, turn your wrath from me.” God, please don’t allow me to suffer the wrath of my struggles. I’ve been a tax collector. I have stolen. I’ve been a thief. I’ve been untrustworthy. I’ve betrayed my people.” Please, don’t allow your wrath to be on me. Turn your wrath from me. Let that sacrifice, God, bear the weight of my sin. Turn your wrath from me.” This tax collector looks to the sacrifice.

Humility for us is the same thing. We look to Jesus, the once and for all sacrifice who takes away all of our sin. God’s anger isn’t against us (for those of us who’ve trusted Christ). God’s anger is not against you because all of God’s anger and all of God’s wrath were absorbed in the body of Jesus on the cross when he died for you, and he yelled out, “It is finished.” All of God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus. So there’s no wrath left for you. This is the good news. God’s mercy and grace are for you.

The tax collector in Jesus’ story is getting this. “God have mercy on me.” Jesus says, “He goes home justified.” This is the shocking part of the story. Everybody who’s listening to the story, “A tax collector and a Pharisee… The Pharisee goes home happy. The Pharisee goes home justified. The Pharisee goes home with everything right. Everything is great for the Pharisee.”

Jesus says, “The tax collector goes home justified.” Scandalous. “The tax collector?” The tax collector goes home justified because the tax collector didn’t look at himself and didn’t compare himself with others. The tax collector looked to the sacrifice. He goes home justified. There are two parts of that word. It means he goes home, and all of his sins are gone. But he also goes home, and all of the perfection of God is given over to him. 

So he goes home like he’s never stolen, but also like he’s always been generous. He goes home like he’s never lied, but also just as if he’s always told the truth. He goes home, just as if he’s never disobeyed God, but he also goes home just as if he’s always obeyed God. He goes home justified, happy, at peace, at rest. Not because he looks to himself, but because he looked to the sacrifice. 

Humility, the flip side of pride, is when you look to the sacrifice. Some of you are cynical towards this, and I get it. The question is as we wrap up, “Eric, I understand the Christian faith would say pride is a sin, and humility is the way to go. But is that really a better way to live? What about a healthy self-esteem? Is it really a better way to live to be humble? What about having a healthy view of myself? It sounds like humility, according to this story, is that I would feel so low about myself. Is this really a better way to live? Is humility really a better way to live?”

You first have to understand what humility is. Tim Keller, in his very helpful book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness, builds the case that for centuries, many thinkers believed that the problem that faced us, that plagued us, was humanity had too high a view of itself. That people were always thinking too highly of themselves. The thinking was the reason we have problems is that people have too high of self-esteem.

Then, in recent years, and you’ve seen this in the US (this is particularly true in the west), the view in the last several decades is the reason we have so many social problems is people have too low a view of themselves which then birthed the modern self-esteem movement. Some of you grew up in it. Your parents read a book, and they’ve been telling you your whole life how amazing you are. Everyone on your team in fourth grade, even though you were 0-9, got a trophy and told how awesome you were. 

The thinking was the reason that people are struggling, the reason that people abuse their spouse, or they’re murderers, or they steal is they think lowly of themselves, so we need to help people think more highly of themselves. 

Here I am saying the Scripture is saying, “The better way to live is to be humble.” Many psychologists in recent years have actually admitted that the whole self-esteem movement has been a failure.” Lauren Slater, for example, is a psychologist, and she wrote this groundbreaking article in the New York Times called “The Problem with Self-Esteem.” Here’s what she said.

“People with high self-esteem pose a greater threat to those around them than people with low self-esteem. Feeling bad about yourself is not the cause of our county’s most expensive social problems.” 

Another psychologist, his name is Roy Baumeister developed a self-esteem scale where people grade themselves based on how they feel about themselves. He researched rapists and murders and abusers and found that many of them actually have a very high self-esteem.That the problem that we face isn’t that people have too low of self-esteem.

What is humility

“Eric, are you saying I should have low self-esteem?” 

No. I’m not saying you should have low self-esteem. Nor am I preaching high self-esteem. This is the beauty of humility. Humility is neither telling yourself how amazing you are, but nor is it telling yourself how horrible you are. 

A humble person is not someone who walks to all of his or her friends and says, “Gosh, nobody likes me. I’m a horrible person. I’m so terrible. I’m not doing anything right. I can’t get anything right at work. I’m not doing well in relationships. I’m just such a horrible person.” That person is still speaking about himself/herself. That person is still focused on themselves. Humility is neither self-exaltation or self-debasement. 

Humility is the joy and the freedom of not being preoccupied with yourself. It’s neither self-glorification or self-humiliation. It’s the freedom of not living your life with you at the center. It’s the freedom of not living your life preoccupied with yourself. It’s the joy of not being obsessed with yourself. Humility is forgetting about yourself, fasting from yourself. 

It’s neither high self-esteem nor low self-esteem. It is an accurate understanding of who you are because you’re aren’t looking at yourself. You’re looking at your sacrifice. You aren’t thinking, “I need to worry what everyone else says about me, or I need to be sure I need to say the right things to myself instead of thinking that way, you’ll looking at your sacrifice and remembering what your sacrifice, what your Savior has already declared over you. 

Some scholars and theologians have defined humility this way. It’s not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less. It’s not be consumed with yourself. But how does this work in real life? Let me close with this. I want to live this way, and I have to be honest, I fail to live this way so many times.

Paul, the apostle, wrote this about his approach to life. I want to live like this. This would be humility. This would be the joy of not being consumed with what others say of you or what you say of you. This would be the joy of self-forgetfulness. The apostle Paul wrote this.

“It is of little importance to me that I should be judged by you or by any human court.”

That’s liberty right there. I’m not saying you should show up at work and say that to people. “I don’t care what you think about me.” I’m not saying you should do that. What a free way to live. You walk into work tomorrow, you walk into school tomorrow, and you walk in with a mindset of, “I’m not finding who I am based on what these people think or say of me.” I want that.

Then he says something next. He also says, “But it’s neither what I say about me.” Notice what he says next. 

“In fact, I don’t even judge myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this.” 

He says, “I don’t know of anything against me, but that’s not what justifies me.” 

The same word: justifies. What justifies me isn’t what you say about me. What justifies me isn’t what I say about myself. What justifies me is I look at my sacrifice, Jesus, as he has declared me to be right with God. My sacrifice, Jesus, is the one who gives me my worth. My sacrifice, Jesus, is the one who gives me my life. That’s where I look. When I look at him, I’m not concerned what others say about me. I’m not even really concerned about what I say about myself.

Do you want to live that way? I want to live that way. But I’m not justified by this. I am the Lord who judges me. Understand this is why you look to Jesus. If you are his, if you’re a Christian, he looks at you, and he says, “She is right with me. She’s justified because of what I did for her. She looked to me, and she received my forgiveness. He’s justified. He’s looking to me, and he’s received my forgiveness.”

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those of us who walk in humility, and we look at our sacrifice, Jesus, and those of us who walk in pride, and we look at ourselves. Which kind of person do you want to be? Let’s look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Let’s stand, and we’re going to sing this song that we look to him. We look to Jesus. 

[Music]

I’m really excited about these next seven weeks as we look to him together. A couple of things I want you to know as you leave to really help you on this journey to Easter. This Wednesday, we have an Ash Wednesday service. It’s going to be at 12:00 p.m. and also at 6:00 p.m. right here in the worship center. I’m going to be teaching alongside Ines Franklin. This really kicks off, historically, the forty days before Easter. We’re going to look at our struggle but also start to look towards our sacrifice, Jesus. 

We have Connect Groups, which is you’re not yet in a group or your group is not currently meeting, these groups are only to last seven weeks long. If you end up loving the group, you can keep meeting as a group, but they’re a seven week long of a sprint of a group. You’re going to study the same context that we’re studying here, so the same topics. So if you’re not a group, right through the doors in the back, you can go out to the patio and get connect to one of these connect groups.

We also have Journey to Easter devotionals. You can go to the website and sign up for these devotionals that we’ll email you every single day. It’ll be up to you to press in, but these next seven weeks, we’re trying to make it super easy for you to get connected in multiple ways to really make the most of your spiritual growth during this season. We also have this for you in the bulletin that really maps out what the next seven weeks are going to look like. I hope you’ll press in during this time.

If there’s anything going on in your life that we can pray with you about, we have a team of people right over there by those lights. They would love to pray with you. If your need today is prayer for healing, we have an elder prayer room. To get to our elder prayer room, you go through the doors in the back, and you take a right. Why don’t you open your hands and let me pray a prayer of blessing over you?

Father, I pray now for your sons, for your daughters with their hands extended to you. Their hands extended to you are just a symbol of a posture of humility. We, with open hands, realize we have nothing to offer you, but we are ready to receive from year-old. I pray for your sons and daughters this week that you would bless them, that you would press close to them, and take note of them. That you would walk closely with them. That you would provide for them. I pray this week that they would sense the joy of looking at you. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Go in peace. Have a great week.

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