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Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Transforming Gift of Kindness


Introduction
Today, I want to briefly finish up our Transformers series about the transforming power of the spiritual gifts.  Just as my fictional childhood heroes, The Transformers, could transform from robots into cars, the Holy Spirit transforms us when we trust Jesus Christ and follow Him as Lord.  The Spirit makes us a new creation.  We die to our old sinful ways of living and we become new people.  And the Holy Spirit gives each of us a special ability that we can use to serve and help transform the world.  Listen to the Word of God.

Romans 12:6-8
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Kindness
Kindness.  You probably know what it means to be kind.  But I want you to understand more specifically what this gift of kindness is, from the biblical perspective.  When I think of kindness, I think of a sweet, friendly person who is very nice.  But Paul has something deeper in mind when he says the Holy Spirit gives some people the spiritual gift of kindness.  The word Paul uses for kindness in Romans 12:8 is eleeo and it means divine compassionate mercy.

Eleeo, the Greek word for kindness, is used in other places in the Scriptures.  It's almost always translated mercy and used to describe the mercy Jesus shows people by healing and forgiving sins.  For instance, in Matthew 9:27, two blind men begged Jesus to heal them crying, “Son of David, have mercy on us.” And because of their faith, Jesus healed them. And it is used in Romans 11 to describe how God has mercy on all people who repent, forgiving their sins and welcoming them as His very own people.

All Christians are to be kind—showing divine, compassionate mercy.  Jesus has been so merciful to us!  In divine mercy, He laid down His life on the cross that our sins can be forgiven and we can make a brand-new start and inherit eternal life as daughters and sons of God.  In turn, shouldn’t we also show compassionate mercy to others?

We should all be kind.  However, the Holy Spirit supernaturally enables some believers with the ability to feel and understand the tormented suffering of others so that they can offer God merciful kindness.  When others suffer physical, mental, emotional, social, or spiritual distress, people with the gift of kindness are like the hands of Jesus bringing forgiveness, healing relief, and hope for a better tomorrow.   They have the extraordinary ability to sympathize with those who are suffering.  They often cry with others and feel compelled to share in their pain.  Their heart forces me to console them and help them find relief.  People with the gift of kindness show mercy willingly and cheerfully.  They are glad to do it just as Jesus was glad to pay the ransom for our sins. 

Has the Holy Spirit enabled you with the spiritual gift of kindness?  How could you use it to help His Church transform the world?

Let me end with one more Scripture.  This time from Ephesians 4:31-32.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Now, go out and show kindness--the divine, comppasionate mercy of God--to one another.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Fruit of the Spirit - Kindness

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit of God living inside them.  The Apostle Paul says the Spirit produces fruit—Christian virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I challenge you to memorize this list of virtues.  More importantly, I challenge you to seek to have them all more abundantly in your life.

Over the past several weeks, we have already studied:
  • Love – the greatest Christian virtue. We are to love God and love others the way Jesus loves us (even gave His life for us).
  • Joy – a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.”
  • Peace – the wholeness that comes when we live in harmony with God
  • Patience – persevering through whatever trials you face while you wait for God to set things right in His time according to His perfect will.
  • Last week, my guest blogger David Crawford, shared a creative message about cooking with the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. tying all the virtues together in your life).
  • Along the way, we have learned that you don’t grow the fruit of the Spirit yourself.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit.  We are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and nurture the fruit He produces in us—through worship, prayer, practice, and discipline.

Today we will consider another part of the fruit of the Spirit, which is kindness.

Kindness is simple. Give it a try.  The definition of kindness is:  the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  Kindness is so simple, even a child can understand it.  The challenge for this virtue is not in understanding, but in doing.

You may not know this, but I have trained in martial arts almost all my life.  I started out learning a Korean form of "karate" called Tang Soo Do when I was just a young kid. My instructor was very kind to me. He recognized my interest and encouraged me to take more classes, but I could only afford one class a week—and that just barely. So, in kindness, my Kyo Sa Nim (that’s the Korean term of respect we used for him) said I could take classes for free! In addition, he even drove to my house every day to give me a ride to class. I was ashamed that Kyo Sa Nim should be so kind to me when I could do nothing in return.  I offered to pay for his gas once and he simply said, “No, no, no. It’s my gift.”  

“But I feel so bad because you’re always paying my way.”

My instructor just looked at me and said, “Don’t worry about it. Somebody was kind to me once. One day, you can be kind to someone else. What you do for them, you’ll be doing for me.”

I think about his words quite often now that I’m older and can afford to pay for my own gas. I’m thankful every time I have the chance to be kind to someone and remember that I am only returning the kindness that was shown to me.  

Even more important, Jesus is infinitely kind to us.  He came to live with us, walk with us, teach us, empower us, live, die, and rise for us. We never deserved his kindness, but he was kind to us anyway.  Whenever we are kind to others, we are simply thanking Jesus for being kind to us. Pray that the Holy Spirit will cultivate the fruit of kindness in you more and more.

Don’t Just Act Kind; Be Kind
Jesus told a short parable in Matthew 21:28-31 that encourages us to follow through on kindness.
28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.”

Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.

Some people are polite and look or act kindly on the surface, but they aren't really kind.  They are like the one son in the parable who politely says "Yes sir", but doesn't really obey.  Others are like the other son who initially said "no", but eventually went and obeyed his father.  They are like some people you meet who look rough or speak rudely, but are truly kind down deep inside.  I would encourage you to do both--speak kindly and follow through by acting kindly.

Practical Steps to Nurture Kindness in Your Life
  1. Make a commitment to be kind throughout your day.  Start your day off with a prayer that God would help you be kind throughout the day.  Keep your thoughts focused on it.  If you mess up (as we all do sometimes), just ask God for forgiveness and try again.  Focusing on kindness will help you remember to be more and practice will help you improve, with the Holy Spirit's help.
  2. Genuinely care for others. When I was a young man, I was so overwhelmed with how kind Jesus was to me.  I wanted to see the world with more compassion like Christ sees us.  And so, I prayed that God would help me and fill me with more compassion like Christ.  Through the years, God has helped me become more compassionate, to truly care more about people. I still have a ways to go, but I am more caring today than I was twenty years ago.  How about you?  Ask God to help you genuinely care about others and you will start to be more kind.
  3. Don't be kind for the sake of getting what you want.  There is a type of kindness that says, "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine."  But that's not the type of kindness the Holy Spirit wants to grow within you.  Jesus specifically said to be kind to people who can’t do any for you.  For he said, "If you are kind to those who will be kind to you, you already have your reward.  However, if you are kind to those who cannot do anything for you, God will reward you." (At least, that's a loose paraphrasing of Luke 6:32-26.)
  4. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes, we are our own harshest critics.  I am amazed sometimes at how hard I can be on myself.  My inner voice sometimes says things to criticize me that I would never in a million years say to someone else.  I have to stop myself and say, "Be nice!"  So don't be so hard on yourself.  Give yourself a break.  Cut yourself some slack.  Be kind to yourself.  If you mess up, ask forgiveness and forgive yourself! And remember, it's the Holy Spirit's job to grow fruit in your spirit; your job is just to nurture it with love and tenderness.  So be kind to yourself (and this may also help you be kind to others).

Spiritual Gardening
Throughout this series, I’ve tried to relate the Fruit of the Spirit to gardening.  You can’t make a garden grow.  Only God can make a garden grow.  However, there are some things you can do to help nurture the Holy Spirit's work--fertilize the soil, pull up some weeds, water the garden, protect it from pests, etc.  And of course, nothing is likely to grow in your garden if you don't plant some seeds.  Showing kindness it like planting seeds.  Kindness is often just a small thing, but it can grow into something beautiful and even reproduce and spread like wildflowers that color our world.  I challenge you to look for ways to color your world with kindness as much as you can.  Here's a video to inspire you.

Closing Prayer
"Father, thank you for being so kind to us through Jesus Christ.  Help us to focus on kindness throughout every day.  Fill us with Christ's compassion that we may truly care about people.  Help us to be kind to everyone--especially those who don't deserve it or can't do anything to return the favor.  Help us even to be kind to ourselves.  We ask in Jesus name.  Amen."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wrestling with God, Part 2

Introduction
            This is part 2 of a study of the fascinating Bible story about Jacob wrestling with God.  This is one of the most epic stories of the Bible.  It is where the name Israel comes from—the name of God’s chosen people and the name of the country we know today as a key ally in the Middle East.  For us, the story is an image of the violent struggle to build a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
          Jacob was born as a twin brother to Esau, with whom Jacob had a great rivalry.  Jacob's name literally means "heel grabber" because Jacob was grasping his brother's heal as Esau emerged from his mother's womb. The sibling rivalry between Jacob and his older brother Esau was fueled by their parents' favoritism.  Their father, Isaac, favored Esau, but their mother, Rebekah, preferred Jacob.  Jacob was a cunning man and he found a way to trick Esau out of the family blessing and inheritance.  It infuriated Esau so much he vowed to kill Jacob.  Jacob had to run for his life to a foreign land.  Well, years went by and Jacob grew up and grew wealthy with wives, servants, children, and possessions. He decided it was time to finally come home and face his brother Esau. Jacob is on the way home when we come to the strange story in Genesis chapter 32.  

Genesis 32:22-32
22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23 After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.
24 This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25 When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
29 “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.
“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. 32 (Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)


The Spiritual Struggle
Building a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not a casual pursuit.  It is spiritually violent process, like Jacob wrestling with God, where God wrestles with our sinful attitudes and behavior and we strivethrough the power of the Holy Spirit—to become more like Christ.  It takes passion, determination, and a deep hunger and thirst for the Kingdom of God. 
Imagine a wrestling match where the athletes are throwing one another to the ground, grappling, twisting, pressing their full weight and strength against one another.  Elbows and knees sometimes smash into bodies or faces as the opponents struggle for dominant positions, reach for holds, and fight for submission.  Jacob’s hip was torn from its socket during his match with God.  I can’t imagine the pain!  
Grappling during Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most strenuous exercises I have ever done in my life—even more physically challenging than the high school football I played back in the day.  Does this describe the way we pursue our relationships with Christ?  Should it?
In the New Testament, in Matthew 11:12, Jesus described His Kingdom this way:  he said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been advancing violently, and the violent take it by force.”  What did Jesus mean?  Well, we know Jesus did not use physical violence to force his Kingdom upon the earth.  He did not raise an army wielding swords and spears.  Jesus never physically tried to overthrow the establishment by military force.  So what did Jesus mean?

“The Kingdom of God is advancing violently…”
Jesus taught forgiveness, peace, and love.  These words don’t make us think of violence.  However, forgiveness, peace, and love are radically different from the ways of the world—both in Jesus time and in our own.  When forgiveness challenges malice, a violent struggle ensues for the soul of humanity.  When peace confronts war, there is violent opposition.  When love opposes hatred, it either converts or destroys the one who hates.
Many people today, just as in Jesus’ day, are fine with religion so long as it is just a thing kept on the side—a casual interest.  They are fine with it just so long as it is not taken too seriously.  They want to keep God packed away safely in a box and take Him out only on special occasions—when a baby is born or as a pretty decoration for a wedding or maybe when some problem overwhelms them and they want divine help.  However, God cannot be put in a box, let alone kept there.  He is the one who comes in the night and violently wrestles Jacob to the ground, dislocating his hip, and forcing him to fight for his life until he received a blessing.  
The Kingdom of God came through Jesus according to God’s timing.  No one said, “Ok God, give us some of that religion now.”  No sir!  God said, “It’s time.”  And He sent an angelic host to announce his Son’s birth.  They shouted, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”  And with Jesus, the Kingdom of God came crashing into our world like a violent, unstoppable hurricane.  Everyone was confronted with the choice to accept or reject Jesus as Lord. 
The same choice confronts you today.  You cannot just say Jesus is Lord and continue do whatever you like.  For choosing your own way over the Lord’s is a rejection of Jesus as Lord.  It doesn’t matter how many times you say you are a Christian; if you do not follow Jesus, you are not his disciple.  For Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is advancing forcefully today.  It’s here to grab you, wrestle you to the ground, and demand a response.  Who is Jesus to you?  How will you respond him?  Will you commit to follow him with your whole heart or be left behind? 

“...And the Violent Take it by Force.”
            I watched a documentary on the fall of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975.  After years of fighting, the capital of South Vietnam was about to fall to the communist North.  The capture of the Saigon was imminent and preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military.  More problematic were the tens of thousands of South Vietnamese associated with the southern regime who had fought against North Vietnam.  What was to become of them?  There just wasn’t room to evacuate all the South Vietnamese from Saigon and many feared that once communists took control of the city, a bloodbath of reprisals would take place.  
Chaos ensued as American soldiers and officials agonized about who they could save and who would have to stay.  Refugees seeking asylum crowded against gates and in many cases scaled the walls of the American buildings and military bases.  It was most often those who in their determination violently pushed their way through barricades that escaped to safety.  Americans airlifted as many as they could.  Accurate numbers are hard to determine, but the number of South Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States totaled 138,869.  Sadly, it is alleged that some 30,000 South Vietnamese who did not make it out of Saigon were systematically killed by the North.
The evacuation of Saigon is similar to Jesus' description of how the violent take the Kingdom of God by force.  Do you think you will come into God’s Kingdom simply by sitting on your rump in a pew each Sunday?  Jesus said the violent take the Kingdom by force.  The image is that of an invading army scaling the walls of a castle, fighting their way through the defenders, breaking down the doors to the stronghold, and taking over the Kingdom.  Or if you like, imagine the frightened South Vietnamese of Saigon on April 30th, 1975 scaling the walls of the US Embassy, forcing their way onto the last crowded helicopters leaving for the safety of US ships anchored off shore.
Brothers and sisters, the Kingdom of God is at hand.  This is your last hope of salvation.  I want you to feel the sense of urgency those Vietnamese refugees felt.  Time is running out.  You need to come into the Kingdom.  You need to push your way in violently, if needs be.  Don’t let anything keep you out.  Abandon your possessions if you have to.  What good are worldly goods if you lose your own soul?  Forsake all your sin.  You cannot afford to carry all that extra baggage with you as a refugee in the Kingdom.  Put it down.  Leave it behind.  Come to Jesus with only the clothes on your back if you need to.  Force your way in and grab hold of Jesus and refuse to let go just like Jacob refused to let go of God until God blessed him.
  
Conclusion
Jacob wrestled with God.  He clung to him all night, battered and bruised, hip torn from its socket, he refused to let go until God blessed him.  Accordingly, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel because, according to verse 28, he “…fought with God and men and won.”  
What about you?  Are you determined to find Salvation through Jesus Christ?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to come into His Kingdom?  Then come and kneel before Jesus here at the altar and proclaim Him your Lord and Savior.
And what about you, Christian?  You became a follower of Jesus years ago.  Jesus welcomed you in as a refugee.  You had nothing to offer and no other hope, but Jesus welcomed you anyway.  Will you now just be content to casually lounge around while so many are still outside the walls needing salvation?  Some don’t even know how urgently they need salvation.  They don’t even know their Enemy, Death, is fast approaching and their eternity is in danger.  Others are pressing at the gates trying to get—forced there by the struggles of life:  poverty, substance abuse, heartache, anxiety, depression, loneliness, sickness, loss…  So often, they find the gates of the church locked—locked by our fear of them, locked by our apathy, locked by our complacency.  Will you not join the fight to bring them all in—as many as we can, for as long as we can, by as many means as we can—before it is too late?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Burn Like a Fire

Romans 12:9-13
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Introduction
            The key verse for this blog is verse 11 - "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically."
            Have you ever tried to describe people as an object or image?  It can tell you a lot about what you think about their personality.  For instance, if I were to describe Sherry Dickson, I would say she is like a refreshing spring.  She’s caring, calm, quiet, peaceful--just like a refreshing spring.  Sallie Thomas is like a playful puppy.  She’s playful, fun, and gregarious.  
            I describe myself like a lump of coal.  I am pretty boring on the surface and can even seem cold.  But if you can ever get me to catch fire, I burn hot and for a long time.  I'm like that Rolling Stones song:  “If you start me up!  If you start me, up I’ll never stop!”
            And what gets me started?  What lights my fire?  What gets me burning is my passion for the Lord’s Church.  There’s a fire in my bones!  It burns hot within me.  If I try to sit idle, if I try to stay silent, I can’t.  My passion for the Lord bubbles up within me and burst forth like billowing steam from a locomotive.  It propels me to be active and serve the Lord. 
            No matter the obstacle—whether it be climbing a mountain of difficulty or a tunneling through the fear of uncertainty or crossing a bridge over raging adversity—this holy train is gonna keep on chuggin’!  The hardest part for me is looking out the windows and seeing all the people standing idle by as I pass them.  And I want to cry out, “Get on board!  Little children, get on board!  Little children, there’s room for many a more!”
            And so my prayer has been since before I became a minister—in truth, I believe it’s the largest part of my purpose in life and why God called me to be a minister—is my burning desire to see everyone get on board the heavenly train that’s bound for Glory!
            I wrote this in my payer journal.  It’s an entry from July 12, 1999: 
“Father, I want Your people across the whole world to be revitalized.  I want to see lost souls saved and I want to see saved souls filled with holy passion.  Lord come, make us more like Jesus.  I want You to be so close to us that our bodies tremble ans shake.  I want You to be so near that we can see, hear, smell, and taste You.  I want the world to be dumbfounded by Your awesome presence.  No more skepticism.  Nor more dismissal.  No more doubt.  I want everone to see You are real and You are Lord and You are awesome.  Lord, pour out Your Spirit on Your people.  Amen.”
            You see, this was my prayer 17 years ago and it’s been my heart’s desire and prayer ever since then.  I want whole hearts broken and I want broken hearts made whole again.

Whole Hearts Broken
            In America, we are complacent.  We are satisfied, content, and unconcerned.  But we are satisfied and content with the wrong things—worldly things—and we are unconcerned that our complacency and love of the world is sending us barreling down the tracks to destruction.  Our society is eroding.  Our families are weakening.  People are abandoning the church in favor of worldly pursuits.  Our culture has even gone so far as to abandon common sense and redefined the natural order of gender—something that is so basic, so common sense, even animals understand it.  And yet, now it is widely accepted that a man can marry a man or a woman can marry a woman.  Who knows what absurd combinations the depraved human mind in America will be coming up with in the years ahead!
            And we—most of us—are just fine with that.  Let us make our money.  Let us have peace.  Let us continue to feel good about ourselves and our lavish lifestyles and our leisure pursuits.  Don't make us feel uncomfortable about sin.  Don’t trouble us with stories about misfortune and injustice in other countries.  Don’t worry us with concerns about suffering in our own neighborhoods.  Let us go on without any guilt about how our complacency actually makes us responsible for the destruction of our nation.
            And I say, “No!  I will not let you off the hook!  I will not let you go on wearing your blinders so you can’t see your disinterest is leading you to destruction while you drag others with you."  My prayer is that God would turn your world upside down until you see the way you are living and thinking and acting are all wrong—that you’ve put your hope in the wrong things and your passion in life has been misplaced.  My prayer is that God will break your heart.  I pray God will torment you until you surrender it all to Him and let Him fill you with His holy passion—so that your heart becomes like Jesus’, so you will hurt for the hurting and be broken-hearted for the lost, and you will feel a fire in your bones that compels you to give your all for the Kingdom of God!”  I want to see whole hearts broken!  Do you understand what I mean?

Broken Hearts Made Whole
            I don’t mean that I want our world to be full of broken-hearted people.  The truth is, our world is already full of broken hearted people—half of them don’t even realize they are broken.  I want God to make us all whole again.  If God is going to make you whole, you first have to realize you are broken.
            There are many people in our world who already know they are broken—or at least they have a good suspicion.  You don’t have to tell most addicts that they are broken.  They know.  They are bitterly aware that they’re out of control—that their addiction is killing them and hurting others.  Most addicts—whether they are addicted to drugs or alcohol—are racked with guilt over their actions and beyond frustrated that they can’t change their behavior.  And there are all kinds of addiction—addiction to things (buying, materialism), addiction to pornography, food addictions ( what I thin is the leading cause of heart disease), workaholics…  We are all addicts in one common way.  We are addicted to sin.  That’s the whole point of Christianity—to rehabilitate sinners and help us break the chain of our sinful lives.
            Others know they are broken too.  They feel the shame of their sin.  They recognize they are lost.  They know they need something, Someone to save them.  They know there must be something more to this world.  “For God has planted eternity in our hearts so that we are restless until we find rest in Him.”  And for those who are unable to drug themselves and numb the God-ache in their heart, they realize something is missing.  They are broken-hearted.
            Jesus commanded his followers, “Go, therefore, into all the world and make disciples…”  Are you a follower of Jesus?  Are you a Christian?  Then Jesus’ words are for you.  He told you to go and make disciples.  He didn’t say:  go and enjoy your family, go to the ball game, go indulge your worldly desires.  He said, “Go and make disciples…”  So why don’t you obey the Lord?  Pray that the Lord would make your heart more like his—that you would be filled with his holy passion for the least, the last, and the lost.
            Are you broken-hearted today?  Then I want you to find new hope in Christ.  Jesus is here to bind up your broken heart and make it whole again.

Conclusion
            Some of you here today have been complacent.  You’ve been drifting through life pretty content with the way things are.  But today, I’ve lit a fire in your bones.  I’ve unleashed the fire of the Holy Spirit upon you.  Maybe it’s only started as faint flicker, but that fire is gonna grow in you like it grew in me.  I’m here to tell you, it won’t go away.  It won’t leave you alone.  You may try to ignore it, but the holy fire of God is going to burn up in your bones until you can’t stand it anymore and you have to do something about it.  Whether it takes a few days or a few years, it’s gonna torment you until you give in and answer the Lord’s call on your life.  I recommend you answer it know.  Why put off the inevitable and put yourself through more and more discomfort?  Surrender.  Get your heart right with God today.
            Some here today are broken-hearted.  You’ve failed.  You’ve fallen.  You’ve sinned.  Perhaps today you realize you’ve not been following Jesus like you should.  Today, the Lord compels me to pray for you, to offer you the Lord's pardon and peace.  Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and carry heaven burdens and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  For my burden is light and I will give you rest.”
            Would you turn to the Lord today?  Would you receive His grace and peace?  But you say, “I don’t know how!  I don’t know how!”  It’s simple.  Close your eyes.  Bow your head.  Ask Jesus to forgive you.  Ask him to take control of your life.  Give him control.  Let him lead you.  Trust Jesus.  He can make a way when there seems to be know way.  It's time to get on board with where Jesus wants to take you.