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February 4, 2018
Kenny Hart • Under Review • Ecclesiastes 9
Series: Under Review
Pastor: Kenny Hart
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Study Guide (PDF)
Amen, Amen: ooh, I like this service. Yes! How are you all feeling? You all good? Well before I start I want to just give a major shout out to all of the other campuses tuning in right now and everybody watching online. You all show them some love too. Yeah. I also want to acknowledge your lead pastor. Pastor Aaron has been an amazing mentor and friend. I love him dearly. His humility is second to none. You all do know that your pastor is kind of a big deal, right? Like your pastor is amazing. But his humility, his leadership, his guidance, his wisdom have been instrumental to me as a brother and friend. You all give your pastor some love. Yeah. So it’s been amazing to be a partner in the gospel with Traders Point. You guys, whether you know it or not, your generosity has helped launch a brand new church in Harlem four months ago with a big vision for a kingdom multiplication, gospel transformation, cultural diversity, and biblical justice. So you give yourselves some love. You all give all of yourselves—yeah, yeah.Your leaders have done an amazing job with this series. Haven’t they been killin’ it? Killin’ these sermons. Let’s be honest. Ecclesiastes is a tough book to read, much less preach. How many of you all have been trying to read it as a personal devotional, you’ve been trying to get it in hand. Tough, ain’t it? It’s a challenge, right? Meaningless, meaningless, right? Yeah, that’s fun. So before I get started your leaders have done a great job making me feel at home. You all want to make me feel at home? Well, I’m a chocolate preacher as you see and so I need the energy that you guys are bringing today. Don’t worry. You can talk to me. If the sermon is hitting you and it feels good, give me an “Amen”. If it lands a little too close to home you can give me a “that’s good” and if it’s just all in your kitchen, give me an “ouch”. That’s all right. I’ll take the “ouch”.I’m excited to continue the sermon series Under Review. Like I said, your pastors have been killin’ it but Ecclesiastes is a tough book for us to navigate through and it’s going to challenge us in a lot of ways. I know we’ve already been challenged. I’m excited to kind of continue that journey. But it’s tough, not because it lacks truth—it’s tough because it’s brutally honest. King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes and he was probably the wealthiest, the wisest, man who lived. In fact, estimates are that Solomon had a net worth of 2.2 trillion dollars. Yeah, with a “t”. I know. Solomon also had more women than he could ever know what to do with. 1 Kings 11:3 says, “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines…” And on top of that, Solomon built the first temple for the One True God to dwell in of any king in Israel’s history. Solomon was a big deal. Yet, by the time Solomon writes Ecclesiastes, he’s a disillusioned man. And wouldn’t you be? Solomon has tried the best that the world has to offer. Not just some of what the world has to offer, the best of what the world has to offer. He’s tried power, he’s tried prestige and he’s tried prominence and all of them have left him without purpose. You do know you can’t get purpose from a paycheck, right? You do know you can’t get purpose from power, right? You do know you can’t get purpose from status, right? Solomon has tried all of the things that we grasp at for purpose and they all have left him empty.See Ecclesiastes isn’t a self-help book. It’s not a book that you read to the end and get five principles for your life. It’s not a book even like a mystery book that you read to the end and then solve. It’s more like a book that you begin with questions and end with more questions. That’s because Ecclesiastes isn’t trying to resolve life’s tensions. Instead it’s trying to teach us how to wrestle with life’s tensions. This book challenges the quick fix, get results faster, best life now mentality that is prominent in our culture and it exposes the way our society reduces complex realities to simplistic answers. That’s why I love Ecclesiastes. I love Ecclesiastes because it’s refreshingly honest, isn’t it? And in this culture where we only send our Instagram selves into the world … You know your Instagram self, right?—you know that you take 19 pictures and then you delete all of them because in the 20th you get the right angle and the right lighting with the right filter—you know what I’m talking about. That’s the you that you send into the world every day. That’s not the real you. That’s your representative. That’s the one you send to the job interview and the one that you send to that company meeting and the one you send—you ready?—to the church. Ouch. And our filtered culture where we only send out Instagram selves into the world… Solomon gives us a picture of what an unfiltered life could look like. So are you having a good journey with me?Let’s jump into chapter 9. The first thing that I want us to see is: Life is no respecter of persons.In verse 1, Solomon says, “So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.”So far Solomon has touched on countless philosophical and theological subjects but he’s framed all of them under this framework that he calls under the sun. Now that phrase shows up 29 times in the book of Ecclesiastes and really what it essentially is is Solomon trying to wrestle with the reality of life in a fallen world. The Bible teaches in Genesis, chapter 3 that mankind fell into sin and when humanity fell into sin, everything got jacked up. Our relationship with God got jacked up. Our relationships with each other got jacked up. And our relationship with our world got jacked up.So Solomon, along with every other biblical writer before Jesus is wrestling with this idea of: how do we live in a fallen world? In fact, he’s wrestling with this concept that says: everything is good and yet everything is fallen at the same time. Those of us who are parents in the room can relate to what I am talking about, can’t you? I’ve got three boys. They are amazing. They are beautiful. They are awesome. But there’s not one day that goes by that I don’t question or doubt that my boys are sinners. Oh, that’s clear as day to me. That’s about as clear as I’m talking to you right now. I mean if I ever get this crazy idea in my head that the fall didn’t happen all I have to do is go home after a hard day’s work at the office, put my key in the door, and I’m instantly reminded that Adam and Eve ate the fruit—instantly. So after reflecting on life under the sun, Solomon has come to a conclusion. And it’s a powerful conclusion. It’s a conclusion that could break down doors in your life. It’s a conclusion that could set you free from the things holding you back right now. You know what that conclusion is? Everything is in God’s hands. That’s a powerful observation. Simple but it’s powerful. It’s powerful because Solomon has already established, very clearly, that life is not in our hands, hasn’t he? And so my control freaks in the room, you’re freakin’ out—I know. But don’t worry. I’m a control freak too so as I was reading Ecclesiastes, preparing for this, I was freaking out. But here’s why it’s better. What he hasn’t established is: life in God’s hands. Oh, wait. So I can’t control the outcome of so many of the things that I worry about—wait, but God can. In this verse Solomon establishes a liberating idea. He says that regardless of whether you believe in God or not, your life is in his hands this very moment.One theologian put it this way: “Regardless of what we believe about God, we still have to live in his world.”We’re all grasping for control, aren’t we? But what I like about Ecclesiastes is that Solomon doesn’t offer us control. He doesn’t even offer us the empty promise that if you’d be good and do right you’ll get control. Instead, Solomon says: no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. Go and put that on your coffee mug. Which means, there is no guarantee that suffering won’t happen or that difficulty won’t come. But despite that, family—are you ready? This verse is packed with hope. It’s not hopeful because it doesn’t hurt. It’s hopeful because even when it does hurt, the promise is that you are still in God’s hands. See we may not know what life has for us but we always know whose hands hold us. Yes, life is random at times. Yes, suffering hurts. Yes, our pain seems meaningless but Solomon doesn’t offer us the ability to make sense of that. Instead, what he teaches us is life’s randomness never overrides God’s righteousness.Life can be random and God can be righteous at the same time. Hello, don’t you think they can’t co-exist. Pain and love can co-exist. Amen, somebody? Sickness, death, and suffering hurts but just because life eludes your understanding at times doesn’t mean that it eludes God’s control. In fact, most of the anxieties that we wrestle with are direct results of trying to understand life instead of just living it. One of my favorite things of all times is this English philosopher. His name is G. K. Chesterton. He’s my English homey. And I love G. K. because he dropped a quote on me one time that rocked my life. You all, I ain’t going to lie to you. Let’s see what it does for you. To my control freaks in the room here’s what G. K. has to say. He says, “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. But it’s the logician who seeks to get the heaven into his head. And it’s his head that splits.”I can promise you today you’d be so much happier if you just learn to embrace your limitations. It sounds counterintuitive. It sounds crazy. We live in a world that tells us: Be strong. Don’t be weak. Have it together. Don’t admit that you’re falling apart. But if you learn today to embrace your limitations, you’ll be less anxious, you’ll be less angry, you’ll be more generous, and you’ll be more patient. You’ll be a better wife, you’ll be a better husband, you’ll be a better father, you’ll be better across the board if you’re able to simply say, “What defines me is not who I am, it’s whose I am.”Your life is in God’s hands. Jesus says in Luke 12:7, “The very hairs on your head are all numbered.” What a promise. “So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”And for those of us who have lost a few of the hairs on our head, what Jesus is saying is that even the hairs that you lost—praise God, Amen—are all numbered by your heavenly Father. See, according to Jesus, the anecdote to fear is not control. That’s what we think it is. But according to Jesus the anecdote for fear is knowing that you are fully known and fully loved at the same time. Solomon goes on to further say, “All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good, so with the sinful; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.”After Solomon establishes that our lives are under God’s control he now presses on to his second point, which is: Life is no respecter of persons. Life doesn’t care if you are righteous or wicked. Life doesn’t care if you are smart or intelligent. Life doesn’t care if you went to an Ivy League school or have a GED. Life does not discriminate. Death is the great equalizer. Death doesn’t care if you are a CEO or a custodian. Death doesn’t care if you are a celebrity or a construction worker. Death doesn’t discriminate. You know I’ve always found it ironic that death doesn’t discriminate and yet we often do. Death doesn’t care if you are black, brown, or white but we often do. Death doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, or middle class but we often do. Death doesn’t care if you are male or female, yet we often do. Death doesn’t care if you are a republican, a democrat, or an independent and yet we often do. Isn’t it sad that even in the church death is more consistent with how it treats people than we are? That was an “ouch” moment.Solomon’s point here is that there are some people who are filled with compassion and still get cancer. There are some people who treat others fairly and still get fired. There are some people who do right and still get wronged. And there was one who lived perfectly and still died on a cross. If life and death happened to Jesus, then it will happen to you. But the promise isn’t life and death won’t happen or that you won’t experience tribulation. What does Jesus say? In this world you will have what? Trouble, you all read your Bibles. I like that. But what, think hard. Because what? I have overcome it. Jesus has overcome everything you are facing right now and he will do it again. See to the control freaks, you are freaking out right now, I know. I know you are. But this isn’t a freak out moment. This is a faith moment. This is a moment when you have to ask yourselves, “Where am I putting my ultimate choice?” because your ultimate choice should be placed in the one who, as the old gospel song says, “has the whole world in his hands.” Wish I could sing. You all need to help me. You all are not right. You know I can’t sing and you’re not even helping me.Here’s what all of this is saying. Life’s uncertainty means that we need to learn to trust the one who holds tomorrow more than we trust what tomorrow holds. Which leads me to my second point: Life is always greater than death. Somebody say that: Life is always greater than death.So after Solomon has established that life is no respecter of persons, he now wants to teach us that life is always greater than death. Look at what he says.“This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”I know. That is real encouraging, ain’t it? Solomon observes the fact that death happens without the determination of evil. Now what he means by evil is not that death is immoral. What he means is that death often feels unfair. It feels unfair that we can live right, obey God, go to church, do all of the right things and still die. It feels unfair that innocent children can pass away in pain. You know I learned this lesson personally in my own life on September 11th, 2001. I can distinctly remember sitting in my Harlem high school in New York City in my first period class and watching the smoke billow from the World Trade Center. And what you need to understand is, those weren’t just the tallest buildings in America, those were symbols of freedom and democracy. Those were images of ideals that we’ve never fully realized as a country, but that we aspire to nonetheless. But to see those things, to see those buildings smoke and burn and to see thousands of people lose their lives totally reshaped everything for me. And as I thought about it, you know what I realized? Some of the people who died that day were Christians. Some of them were Muslims. Some of them were atheists. Some of them were good parents. Some of them were bad parents. Some of them were selfish. Some of them were selfless. Some of them cared for the poor. And some of them got their wealth at the expense of the poor. And yet all of them died in the same tragic way. That’s the evil that Solomon is talking about. He’s forcing us to confront the reality that we’re not special, we’re not exempt, and all of us can suffer the tragedies and trials that the rest of humanity does. Jesus echoes the same sentiment in Luke 13:1-5. He says, “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’” What Jesus is saying is that there are no simplistic answers to complex pain. We often feel, in difficult seasons, that God is judging us, don’t we? Don’t we feel like God is judging us for some unrepentant thing in our life? But Jesus is saying: No. No. Do you think that God is making you pay for something he already paid for 2,000 years ago on the cross? He already paid for that! He ain’t making you pay for that again! Jesus is saying: No. That’s life in a fallen world. That’s life under the sun.But what you need to understand, what you need to embrace is the fact that, yes life under the sun happens but God is still with you in the process. See, sometimes we actually do reap what we sow. Amen, somebody. You knew you had no business being there, but you found yourself there, and something happened. You knew you shouldn’t have gone with those friends to do that thing and you went and you did that thing and something bad happened. There is a principle in the Bible called you reap what you sow. But then there are other times when we reap things that we have not sown. There are other times when we’re born with a disability or a mental illness that we didn’t sow. Or we experience a cancer or a trauma that we didn’t ask for. And in those situations, Solomon says in verse 4, “Anyone who is among the living has hope, even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Now I don’t know how I feel about that process. I like being among the living and having hope, but I don’t like being a dog. Come on Solomon, you couldn’t give me a better something? Anyway we’ll talk about that in heaven. But he says, “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”See, despite his cynicism and skepticism Solomon still smuggles in hope. He says a live dog is better than a dead lion. Now we need to understand what Solomon means here because we love dogs in America, don’t we? We love dogs. We’ve got doggie day care, we’ve got doggie spas, we’ve got doggie beds, we’ve got doggie homes—listen, I’m talkin to you all here. You guys watching online, yeah. I’m talkin’ to you. We need to stop, family. Okay? We’ve got an issue here. I grew up to a single parent in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City. I didn’t even have a bed and yet somehow our dogs have got beds. That’s another sermon though. Maybe Pastor Aaron will bring me back to preach that one. That’s another sermon.But when Solomon mentions dogs he’s talking about dogs in a negative sense. See in the ancient world dogs were dirty, filthy, scavengers. That’s why Goliath says to David when he comes with his slingshot, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” See, dogs weren’t pets. They were pestilences. Yet Solomon says that it’s better to be a live dog, a living dog, than a dead lion. Now a lion is the king of the jungle. So that means that what Solomon is saying is: it’s better to be a living pest than a dead king. I still don’t know. I still don’t know if I like being called a dog but like I said…The point that both Jesus and Solomon is making though is that while you’re alive your focus should be not on the things that you can’t control but on controlling the things that you can. Listen. You can’t control whether good or bad happens to you. But you can control how you respond to it. You can’t control whether your spouse changes, sorry—you’re measuring them right now like, “Are you listening?” You can’t control whether your spouse changes but you can control whether you change. You can’t control your kids, but you can control your parenting. You can’t control your workplace but you can control your work ethic. Amen, somebody. Here’s something for free that I told my church back in Harlem just last week. And I love you all. I just want to give it to you all for free because I’m about to fly on back to New York. So I don’t want to say that I didn’t give you nothing: We’re born looking like our daddies but we’ll die looking like our decisions. The thing that defines you more than anything else in this world is your decisions. Not how you were born, where you were born, who you were born to, but what you do with what you’ve been given. You see the point here is that as long as you live you’re able to change. If you’re living then you can change your behavior. You can change your beliefs. You can change your mentality. You can change the things about yourself that you don’t like. You don’t have to complain about it. You can change it. You can leave behind the distraction to move forward to the destiny that God has for you.But you see what Solomon is doing here is that he is exposing a deep flaw in all of us and that deep flaw is that we really don’t appreciate life. Life is a gift. If you are sitting in this room right now, or you are under the sound of my voice, you have a gift. Now too often we focus on the package that the gift comes in and not the gift itself. You’ve been given a priceless gift but you complain about it because it came in a beat-up package. We complain about it because it came without a father. Or the gift came without a mother who could stay sober. Or the gift came without wealth, or status. Or the gift came with a disability. So we complain about the gift but by doing that we fail to realize that the most valuable thing in this room is not the building that we’re in—although it’s an amazing building and I love this. This is amazing, and the smoke here is great, and the lights are amazing, right? This is dope. Let’s call that what it is.But let me add just a little bit more. Jesus did not die for this building. He died for you. So as valuable as this building is, as valuable as this building is, it cannot hold a penny to the value that God has placed on you. You’re alive right now despite what life has thrown at you: despite the addictions; despite how your parents failed you; despite the obstacles you’ve had to overcome; and despite the bad business decisions. You are here and you are here because God looked at you from heaven and didn’t see a mistake—he saw a mission. He saw a son and a daughter who had gone astray and so God sent his Son into the world not to condemn it but to save the world through him! And Jesus comes into the world and suffers every injustice that you’ll ever suffer. Jesus comes into the world and feels every pain and some that you’ll never feel. Jesus comes into the world and suffers the worst kind of death and he does it because he wants you to know that you’re not a dog, you’re a daughter. You’re not just a sinner, you’re a son. So if God is able to look past the wrapping in order to appreciate the gift, why can’t you? Why are you so cynical? Why are you so angry? Why are you so depressed? Why are you so negative? Don’t you realize that you’re a miracle? Listen. I read a study before I prepped this message. It blew me away. You know what the study said? The study said that the odds that anybody in this room exists right now are one in 400—you ready? One in 400 quadrillion. Now I failed math a couple of times. That’s a little confession. But even I know that’s an outrageous number. You’re a one in 400 quadrillion and you’re trying to fit in? You’re a one in 400 quadrillion and you worry what people think about you? You’re that special, that unique, that different, that unlike anything else in the world and you’re worried about whether you look like somebody says you should look?!! You shouldn’t even exist! You’re a miracle! You’re not an accident! You’re an answer! That’s what you are! God created you to be an answer to the world’s problems, not to lose yourself in the world’s problems!And that leads me to my third point: Life was made to enjoy. The last thing that I want you to see is that God created us to enjoy life, not just to exist. Hellen Keller, who by the way was blind, said this: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” A blind woman said that. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: Even in the mud and scum of things … something always sings.And Solomon says, “So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!” I like that. Wear fine clothes. You know, you’ve got to be fine now, come on. That’s what the Bible says.“Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne,” you’re smelling good, you’re looking good, “Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.” You hear that husbands? The wife God—I’m saying it to the people in the back—the wife God has given you is your reward for your earthly toil. “Whatever you do, do well.” Whatever you do, do well. Don’t just do it, do it well! “For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning,…” There will be no more emails. That isn’t even there but I just added that. There will be no emails, “…or knowledge or wisdom.” See, when Hellen Keller and Emerson and Solomon all agree you know it’s true. Even though they all come at this subject from different angles they all agree that life was made for living, not just existing. Solomon says: Listen. I know I’ve been depressing you. I know. But you’ve got to understand. I’m not doing it to depress you. I’m doing to disrupt you. I’m doing it to shake you up because you’re sleepwalking! You’re just going through the motions! You’re just going through life but you’re missing the joy and the gift that God has given you! It’s right in front of you but you don’t appreciate it! I’ve got to disrupt you!Solomon hasn’t been giving a blanket endorsement of everything that we do. Rather, he’s giving a strong affirmation that life’s good things are not guilty pleasures, they are godly provisions. Wear nice clothes. Put on perfume. Enjoy your wife. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your husband. Enjoy your children. Those aren’t guilty pleasures. Those are godly provisions. See, Solomon isn’t a pessimistic preacher. Solomon is a realist. Solomon has given us a dose of reality. He’s not tickling our ears or telling us what we want to hear. He’s not promising your best life now. What he’s saying is that there is a trapdoor that is going to open under all of us that’s called death. And when it opens up under you, there’s either going to be the loving arms of God there to catch you, or nothing at all. So what are you living for? Instead of focusing, Solomon is saying, on the fact that we’re all going to die, you know what you should be focusing on? How do you want to be remembered when you die? The people who achieve the most in life are those who begin with the end in mind. That’s what Jesus did.Jesus knew that he came to die. It was what he was willing to die for—you ready?—that determined the way that Jesus lived. Go figure. What a revolutionary idea. And it opens up a powerful question for us today. And do you know what that is? We all have to ask ourselves right now: is the thing that I am living for the thing that I want to die doing? Is the thing that I get up to do every day the thing that I want to die doing? because you could die that day. Is that the thing that you want to die doing? And if it’s not what do you need to change to make it different? See, Solomon is not going to let us sleepwalk through the reality that faces us every day. And here’s what I love about Jesus. Jesus gives us three mission statements for his life. I’m going to close on this. And what is interesting is that two of them we would expect Jesus to say. They are two things that we are like, “Yeah, that’s Jesus. That’s all Jesus.” But there is one of them that you’ve probably read 20 times and completely missed.The first mission statement Jesus gives about his life is, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” That’s a great verse, ain’t it? The second mission statement Jesus gives is, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Another amazing mission statement, ain’t it? But here’s the last one that we probably missed. He says, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking,” What? “…and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” How many times do you think of Jesus coming into the world with the explicit purpose to eat and drink? To enjoy life? And not to just enjoy life, but to enjoy life with questionable company. To enjoy life with tax collectors and sinners. How many times do we think of Jesus coming into the world to explicitly bring joy? But that’s exactly why he came. That means that Jesus came to eat and drink with people who disbelieved in him. Jesus came to eat and drink with people who are socially/economically not like him. Not in the same category, in the same tax bracket, nothing like him. Jesus came to eat and drink with people who racially could not be any different than him. These are people who Jesus came to not only build a relationship with but to bring joy to. Jesus came to eat and drink with the people that good church folk want nothing to do with.Hebrews says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Do you understand what that text is saying? It was joy that drove Jesus to his death. He died for the thing that brought him the most joy. And do you know what that joy was? It was you. You were the joy that was set before him. He had his eyes on you. He had his heart on you. And Jesus would rather die on the cross than have eternity without you. That’s the joy that you were made for. It’s the joy that gives everything in your life purpose. And that joy is the same joy that the early church used to conquer the entire Roman Empire.You know the church didn’t conquer Rome with wisdom, with wealth, or with power. You know what the church conquered Rome with? Joy. They had just seen a man walk out of a grave and their lives would never be the same because of it. Could you imagine seeing a man walk out of the grave? How differently would you live today if you saw a man walk out of the grave? That’s the joy that drove them to change the world. They didn’t have Facebook, Chat, Instagram, Twitter, Google—nothing. And they changed the world with just that joy. That’s the power of the joy that God offers you today!! So as I close I want you to think about the things that are keeping you from fully embracing the joy that God has for you. I want you to think deeply about the things that are keeping you up at night: the fears that you have; the anxiety that holds you back; the things that keep you from leaping when God wants you to fly. I want you today to give them to him. At the cross, Jesus exchanges his brokenness for our brokenness. Will you find your life in Jesus’ brokenness and give him yours in return? Will you bow with me in prayer?Father God, I thank you. Thank you, God, that you offer us something more today than just life under the sun. I thank you that you offer us something better. You offer us life by faith in your Son. And I pray today, Jesus, that we accept that invitation. Lord, I pray that you press on our conscience today that we are more than a dog, we’re a daughter and we are more than a sinner, we are a son. And God I pray that you will fundamentally change us. I pray that we will walk out of here better than we walked in. I pray that we will walk out of here with a profound sense of your love and your call and your grace on our lives. May you do what only you can do today, Jesus. May you take this attempt of a man to be a faithful preacher and may you bring it to life in the hearts of your people. We ask in your precious name, Jesus. Amen.
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