A New Boldness

Description

In this message, we learn that only Jesus can give us a story to tell and the boldness to share it.

Alright, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you are here with us. But whatever campus you’re at, whether you’re in Denton, Flower Mound, Louisville, The Venue, online, can we all just welcome each other together today? We are so glad that you’re here. It’s great to be one church in multiple locations. And we’re just going to jump right in today. And so, if you have a Bible, turn with me to Mark chapter 5. Mark chapter 5 and we’re going to finish up our series that we’ve been in called Brand New and we’ve been talking about how Jesus changes everything. And I want to bring it to conclusion as we kind of prepare for Easter next week. And I believe God has been doing some great things. It’s just been so good to just talk about the simplicity of Jesus and what he does in our lives. Mark chapter 5 starting in verse 1, “They, Jesus and the disciples, went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.” The New King James version says they went to the other side.

You see, on one side of the lake was where the Jews lived and on the other side is where the gentiles lived. And on the other side of the lake was the ‘they’. You know, those people? The people on the other side of the tracks, the people that don’t look like you, don’t talk like you, don’t act like you, don’t believe like you. So, when Jesus tells the disciples, “Let’s get in the boat and go to the other side,” they had to be thinking, “Jesus, are you really making us go over there to them, because we don’t want to go.” So, they get in the boat and they go to the other side. Verse 2, “When Jesus got out of the boat on the other side, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.” So, that’s his welcoming party, one demon-possessed man. It sounds like they’re excited for the visit. “This man lived in the tombs and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain for he’d often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons off his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills, he would cry out and cut himself with stone.” So, he is a demon-possessed man living among the tombs.

And he is cutting himself and he is crying out. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and he fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to me that you won’t torture me.” Okay, pause. It’s amazing how oppression leads to ungodly beliefs in our lives. Jesus is not there to torture him. Jesus is there to set him free, for Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit,” then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “For we are many.” In other words, it’s not just one demon, it’s thousands of demons that are in him. And then Jesus, story goes on, he casts the demons out of this man, throws them into some pigs. The pigs run off a cliff, die in the water and everybody has bacon for breakfast. It’s not what it says, but I’m sure someone did. Then, verse 14, that’s what happened. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and the countryside and all the people went out to see what had happened, or to have the barbecue, one or the other. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there dressed and in his right mind. In other words, he was brand new. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus like, “Leave,” like, “Go away. You got to get out of here.”

As Jesus was getting in the boat to leave, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him, but Jesus did not let him. He said to him, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” So, the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and all the people were amazed. Okay. That’s quite the story. Would you agree with that? That’s quite the story. And here’s what I want to do. I want to just pull out a couple of things for us as we finish this series. I want to bring them to your attention and then I want to take a moment to talk about Easter. You see, as we’ve been talking about this concept of how encounters with Jesus changed everything, the first that I just want you to see is Jesus can bring breakthrough in even the most hopeless situations. I think we got that for you as a slide. Jesus can bring breakthrough in even the most hopeless of situations. I mean, think of this guy. He’s been like in this condition for years. He’s demon-possessed and not by a little bitty baby demon, he’s possessed by a legion of demons. Like, it would be bad enough if you got one demon, but you got thousands of demons. He’s living among the tomb, hanging out with dead things and he’s sitting there, cutting himself and crying out. In other words, this guy is oppressed. He is isolated and he is full self-condemnation. That is a perfect recipe for hopelessness. Now, I just want to flat out ask you. Do you ever feel like that in your life? You’re like, “I don’t have a legion of demons.” That’s not what I’m saying. Do you ever feel oppressed, isolated, and full of self-condemnation?

Do you ever feel like there’s a cloud over you that you just can’t get away from or a weight that’s on your chest? Do you ever feel like you’re alone and unnoticed and nobody gets you or what you’re going through? Do you ever feel full of shame and embarrassment, you’re disappointed in yourself? I mean, do you ever feel like that? Because, if I’m honest with you, I feel like that more than I’d care to admit. And it’s a perfect recipe for hopelessness. And when you become hopeless, you start thinking crazy thoughts. It’s amazing how oppression leads to ungodly beliefs and ungodly beliefs lead to demonic empowerment. Like, when you’re oppressed in your life and you feel this weight upon yourself, you start to think these ungodly thoughts. And ungodly thoughts is agreement with darkness. So, you empower darkness in your life because you start thinking things like always and never and you start to believe what you see more than what God has said. You start to become more focused on the dead things around you, the tombs of the dead things in your life than the Spirit of God that is within you.

And we said a few weeks ago that anywhere in your life you have no hope is an area you’re believing a lie. And any area you’re believing a lie is an area you’ve empowered Satan to rule and reign. If you have no hope, you’re believing a lie. Why? Because we serve the God of hope. And wherever you’re believing a lie, you’ve empowered Satan to rule and reign in your life. Why? Because we serve the God of truth. And so, while at the end of the day, hopelessness may not be true, it certainly feels real, doesn’t it? And then, Jesus walks into his life. And with a single touch, a single word, he casts out a legion of demons. And it’s a reminder that if Jesus has all authority, then Satan has none. It’s a reminder that Romans 8:31, “If my God is for me, who can be against me?” It’s a reminder of 2 Corinthians 3:17 where the Spirit of the Lord is there, is freedom. We follow the God of breakthrough. And so, the question I just want to ask you today is like where are you hopeless? Where do you need breakthrough? Is it in your marriage, with your kids, with your job, with your body, with your provision? I don’t know. I just know this. If Jesus could die and rise again from the grave, I think he can be what you need him to be. I mean, he calls himself the Great I am. “I am the I am,” he says which means “I will be for you exactly what you need me to be.” You need peace, I’m peace. You need healing, I’m healing. You need provision, I’m provision. You need hope, I’m hope. You need love, I’m love. I will be for you exactly what you need me to be.

And his faithfulness is always greater than your faith. I mean, you remember the little boy that’s demon-possessed and the father has tried everything to set him free, everything but Jesus that is. And then, in Mark 9, he comes to Jesus, he says, “Jesus, will you take pity on us? If you can do anything, will you please help us?” And Jesus says, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes.” And he says, “I do believe, but help me in my unbelief.” In other words, “I really don’t believe.” And what does Jesus do? He reaches out his hand and he sets the boy free because his faithfulness was greater than that man’s faith. We all need a fresh touch from God. And the truth is, life is hard, but God is good.

Psalm 40 verses 1 through 3, he says, “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God and many will see, and fear, and put their trust in the Lord because of what he has done for me.” So, can you just receive that as truth for you today? Because, some of you, you are in a hopeless situation and you don’t think God can do anything for you. Listen, if he could do it for this man, I promise you, he can do it for you. He can bring breakthrough in even the most hopeless situation. The second thing I want you to see is this, an encounter with Jesus leaves you with a story to tell. I mean, look at verse 19. Jesus says to the man, “Go home to your family and tell them the story. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has mercy on you.” He said, “Go tell your story.” Okay. Can you imagine this? “Hey, honey, I’m home. Hey, mom and dad, come over. I got something to tell you. Hey, kids, get in here. I can’t wait to tell you what’s been happening.” His friends, his co-workers, his neighbors, I mean, you got to understand, they had all but given up on this guy. And then, he shows up back home and he’s got a story to tell. And it’s a good story. “So there I was trapped among the tombs, hopeless and afraid, possessed by a legion of demons and then Jesus walked in.”

That just sounds like a good story. Don’t you want to know what happened? Yeah. He, like, pulls you along. He must have told that story a thousand times and his kids probably said, “Daddy, tell it again.” “Tell the scary part when the demons went into the pigs and they went off the cliff. Did you have the bacon, daddy? That’s all I want to know.” He would have kept telling that story. Okay. But here’s what I want to know. I want to know what story was he telling before Jesus showed up in his life. Because, see, I think the story he was telling was very different. I think he probably was telling a story about how his had was never there when he was growing up, and how his mom always put pressure on him, and how his wife didn’t do what he asked her to do, and his friends weren’t there for him when he needed them. And he didn’t get that job promotion and he got overlooked on that team. And it was this guy’s fault that gave him the demons in the first place and God certainly hadn’t helped him out. I mean, I think that’s the kind of story he had been telling for years. Because, the truth is, is that everyone in this life, they’re all telling a story. Everyone you see is always telling a story to themselves and to the people around them. The question I want to ask you is what story are you telling?

Like, are you telling the story of what is or what isn’t? Are you telling a story of what’s wrong or what’s right? Like, just think this week, the words that have come out of your mouth to other people are the thoughts you’ve had in your head. Are you telling the story of what God has done or what God hasn’t done? Are you complaining or are you celebrating? Let me maybe phrase it to you like this. Are you telling what God has done for you or what the world has done to you? I’m preaching to myself today, just so you know because I tell myself the wrong story all the time, too. What story are you telling? Verse 19, he says, “Go and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.” What has the Lord done for you? That’s the story you’re supposed to tell. And you say, “Well, I don’t know.” Well, let me help you. He saved you. He healed you. He created you. He loved you. He freed you. He’s provided for you. He gave you breath today. He brought you into this place. He’s giving you family and friends and hope and a future. That’s your story, not what hasn’t happened, not what’s wrong, not what hasn’t gone the way you wanted to. It’s what he has done for you.

Acts 4:20, “We can’t help but tell about what we have seen and heard.” Think of the stories in this room. In this room, there are stories of marriages restored, of freedom experienced, of bodies healed, of victories walked through, of struggles endured, of provision received. I mean, we got to change our story. We got to stop playing an old record and we got to start singing a new song. Because listen to me, his life isn’t perfect either. Like, he got home, he’s got this great story to tell, but he’s got to rebuild his life. He’s got to work on his relationships. He’s got scars all over his body. He’s lost years of his life, in a sense, to this oppression that he’s had to experience. But listen to me. He just got set free from a legion of demons. He was dead. He’s alive. That’s the story he’s telling. He’s not talking about that promotion he didn’t get. He’s not complaining that he didn’t get invited to the party. He’s not sitting there and being all grumpy because he didn’t get tagged on social media. He’s not whining that his house got hit with hail damage. I’m just saying. He’s not. He’s not complaining about his marriage. He’s not talking about all the prayers God hasn’t answered. He’s talking about “I was oppressed by a legion of demons and I got set free.”

I mean, can you imagine him complaining about anything for the rest of his life? Then, why do we? Because you understand you have the exact same story as him. You’re saying, “I haven’t had demons.” Maybe not physically, but spiritually. You were oppressed, you were isolated and you were full of condemnation, and then Jesus showed up. You have the same story, right? Think of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul, if you read about the Apostle Paul, all throughout Acts and the Epistles, all he does is tell his story over and over again in a hundred different ways. He was this terrible guy named Saul, killing the church, destroying people’s lives, and then he has this encounter with Jesus. He becomes Paul. Everything changes. And from then on, all he does is tell the story. But he had to learn to embrace his own story. Like, listen to this. Maybe you can catch it. Romans 1:1, he says, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” That’s how he starts. He calls it “The Gospel”, like God’s story. Then 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, then it becomes our gospel.” And then 2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember Christ Jesus raised from the dead, descended from David, this is my gospel.” In other words, it starts with it was The Gospel. Then, it’s Our Gospel. Then, it’s My Gospel. It was God’s story. It was our story. No. It’s my story because I had an encounter with Jesus and now I have a story to tell.

It is not the gospel. It is my gospel because he saved me and he set me free. So what has the Lord done for you? And what story are you telling to yourself and your mind or the words that are coming out of your mouth? John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble but take heart for I have overcome the world.” Are you focused on what’s wrong, the trouble or are you focused on the fact that he has overcome? You’re telling one of those two stories. I hope you’re telling the right one. And then the last thing is this, is that your story prepares the way for Jesus to come. This is why I picked this story to share with you today. Catch this, verse 18, “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him but Jesus did not let him. He said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you. Tell your story, how he’s had mercy on you.’” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him and all the people were amazed.

Okay, let’s be honest, that’s a really odd passage there. I mean, you would think that Jesus sets this guy free and he says, “Jesus, let me go with you.” And you would think Jesus would be like, “Finally, I found a disciple willing to follow me and go all in.” You know, like “Peter, you stay. I’m taking this guy.” That’s what I’d be thinking. Jesus says, “No, go tell your story.” See, sometimes following Jesus isn’t about going, it’s about staying. Sometimes following Jesus is not about what’s next, it’s about what he’s asked you to do now. Sometimes it’s not about there, it’s about here. And so he stays and he starts telling the story because that’s what Jesus asked him to do. So he’s actually following Jesus. He’s doing exactly what Jesus asked him to do. And he starts telling it all over this region, all over this gentile area that doesn’t want much to do with Jesus. And it says they were amazed with the story. And Jesus gets in the boat and he leaves. He goes back to the Jewish side and he goes and does his mission and his ministry and three chapters later, he comes back over to the other side, right?

And this time, multitudes are waiting for him. Catch this, Mark 7:31, “Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down through the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis where this man has been telling his story. And in those days the multitude, this is 8:1, being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples together and said to them, ‘Let’s feed the 4,000.’ And He feeds 4,000 people with the bread and the loaves.” And so what — I want you to see I realized this is a little confusing. I don’t have a ton time for it but it’s this, when Jesus shows up on the other side the first time, the only person who is there to greet Him is one demon possessed man. When He shows up the second time, the multitudes come from every town, village, and place to come and have this encounter with Jesus because of one man’s story.

Jesus knew. He knew that this man was the key to opening up the whole region. If you would let Him come back over the Jewish side, He wouldn’t have done anything on the Jewish side. And if Peter — if Jesus would’ve sent Peter to this Gentile side, Peter couldn’t have cracked into the Gentile side. Peter’s story would’ve had no bearing for them. But this man, this demon possessed man, oh baby, when he started telling his story, all of a sudden everybody got really interested and one man’s story brought the multitudes to Jesus. See, that’s how God does it. He delivers us knowing we will be the key to deliver other people. He touches our lives knowing we will be the key to touching others like Jesus went all the way to the other side of the lake in Mark 5 to just have one encounter with one man because He knew that one man’s story was going to open up the entire region for Him. He didn’t want to stay. He didn’t want to do anything else. He wanted to heal the demoniac, get back in His boat, go do what He did, let the man tell a story and then He knew the multitudes were going to come and be waiting for Him.

And we think of Moses. God touches Moses knowing Moses is going to be the key to touch 2 million Israelites and set them free. Or how about Andrew in John 1? The first thing Andrew did after being encountered by with Jesus, what he did was find his brother, Simon Peter, and tell him we have found the Messiah and he brought him to Jesus. Jesus knew the way to Peter’s heart was just to touch Andrew’s life. Or how about Luke 10:1, “After this, the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them out two by two ahead of Him to every town and place He was about to go.” In other words, he sends you ahead of Him into the lives of the people. He wants to go and He says, “You just go share your story and your story will open their lives to me and what I want to do.” You get the great privilege of sharing the greatest story in all of the universe through your own personal experience and you have access to the lives of people no one else has access to.

And God has sent you there because you’re the key to opening up an entire region to Him. And it’s often the most unlikely people. Like I love that Jesus crosses the lines we draw. We draw these lines. We define and we judge. Jesus has crossed in, invite and then call in, right? Why? Because on the other side of the line we draw, the lake we don’t to cross, are the people He died to save. On the other side of the road, you don’t want to walk across, on the other side of the living room you don’t want to cross, on the other side of the office or the cafeteria or wherever you are in life, the other side of that thing you don’t want to cross are the people He died to save. And you say, “But, Jesus, that’s the other side. You don’t know that. They’re not like me. They don’t talk like me, look like me, think like me, believe like me.” “You really want me to be around them, Jesus? They’re the others.” You know what Jesus says? He says, “Hey, you see that side and you see this side, yeah, they’re all my side and I died for them on that side just as much as I died for your on this side. In fact, I don’t see sides. Only you do.” So maybe we need to stop condemning and convicting and maybe we just need to start sharing our story and loving. Like you don’t have to do the Holy Spirit’s job for him. He’s really good. He knows how to convict and draw with love. We do not. So don’t do His job. Just do yours and share your story. And if you say, “Yeah, but I don’t have a great story to share.” Oh yes, you do. Your story is perfectly designed for the people in your life. Your story might be that you travelled all the time and it was destroying your family. You had an encounter with Jesus and things changed. Your story might be, you made your kids sports and idols and you’re worshiping them.

You had an encounter with Jesus and it changed. Your story might be your marriage is falling apart but Jesus restored it. It might you’ve been single for years but God’s given you patience and grace through process. You may have not been able to get pregnant, but God helped you in that time of need. You may have had a prayer that you feel like has gone unanswered, but God has given you comfort and compassion in the midst of it. You may or have not made team. I don’t know what your story is. I know it’s perfectly designed to reach the people in your life because He knows you are the key to opening up that region. I mean, listen to this, 2 Corinthians 3:3, “Clearly –” like that’s pretty poignant there. “Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This letter is not written with pen and ink but with the spirit of the living God.” It’s not on stone. It’s on the human heart. He says you are literally a living letter, a story that is addressed to the people in your life and when you are willing to share it, what happens is you open up neighborhoods, families, businesses, schools, regions. You open up the other side for Jesus by sharing your story with one person.

Share your story. It’s the greatest redemptive tool you have. And when we say share your story — listen, evangelism, can I just — let me just — this will be so easy for you. Evangelism is not about convincing people with theological terms. Don’t share your story like the epistles. Share your story like the gospels. Like don’t go up to people and say, “I was depraved and unrighteous. I was unreconciled and an enemy at war with God, but God predestined me to be conformed to the image of His son so He sent the Holy Ghost into my life to convict me of sin, righteousness and judgment. I have been justified. I am being sanctified and I am being transformed into the image and glory of Jesus. No longer am I enslaved to the law. I now sit at the right hand of the Father until He makes my enemies a foot stool. Would you like that too?”

“No. I don’t even know what you said.” “Well, I just quoted like 93 Bible verses, didn’t you get it?” “No. I’m scared.” Just share your story. This guy didn’t know theology. He just know I met a man named Jesus and He set me free. Jesus owns your story, so have you given Him permission to share it? Because if he touched you, he bought you, so He owns the rights. Are you letting Him use it? Now, listen to me, shame melts away when you share your story. It melts away when you share your story to help others instead hiding it to protect yourself. And Satan knows how powerful your story is so he will heap it. Whohoo. He will heap the shame. Heap the shame.

You all got to help me out of here, man. I’m doing the best I can. He will heap the shame on your life to make you embarrassed of your story so you don’t tell it because He knows how powerful it is. He wants you to go around and quote a bunch of King James’ version only Bible verses to people because he’s like, they can do nothing, but you share your story. It’s like the woman at the well. She’s been married five or — been married five times. She’s living with the sixth man and it’s amazing how her shame become a life giving story the moment she had an encounter with Jesus. And the first thing she did is went back to her town and told the story , she lives in shame no more because it’s not about what she did, it’s about what Jesus has just done. So I wonder whose lives are going to be opened up by you just sharing your story. It is the greatest missional tool you have. And so it’s time for a new story and it’s time to share it. And so next week is Easter, okay? And what we’re going to do, we are throwing a party.

And when I say we I mean you and me and the person sitting next to you and all of us, we because we’re a family, are throwing a party. And we’re having a party just like this guy would’ve gone home and had a party and invited everybody over to say let me tell you the story of what Jesus has done in my life. We’re having a party to tell eh city what Jesus has done in our lives. And if you’ve joined us recently and you say, “Well, I don’t know but hey listen, we believe church is a party.” I mean, Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but righteousness, peace, and joy.” When wrong things are made right, we have peace with God and when we have peace with God, joy is the only natural response. It’s a party. Or how about Jesus’ first miracle? He turned water into wine at a wedding for no other reason than so the party could go on, people. He says I’m here. Let’s party. Read it. You’re like, “I don’t know.” Read it.

Or how about when the prodigal father, right? The son comes home. This son of mine was dead, he is now alive. He is lost, he’s found. Kill the fattened calf. We’re going to feast and we’re going to have a party. That’s a picture of heaven. That’s a picture of the kingdom. That’s who we are so we are having a party. And just like when we have people over our house, I tell my kids and remind them, “Hey, we’re having people over. This is our family. This is our home. Here’s how we behave.” I just want to remind you how we’re going to behave next week at our party, okay? Three little simple things. First thing is, invite everyone but bring someone. Listen, we only really have a party if you invite people to come because at the end of the day, you are our outreach strategy. They don’t just come because we have a nice building and we have nice sign on it. They come because you invite them or you bring them. And so who’s one person you’re going to bring? I mean, literally, think of that in your mind and if you have a story like this man, if Jesus has touched your life, how can you not bring someone to hear about that story?

Use the tools we’ve given you, the eggs, the invite cards, the Facebook stuff. I mean, just why would — I don’t know. Sometimes I just want to ask you like why would you not? A lot of times, I’m always telling you like why you should? Why you should? Sometimes, I just want to stop and just say why wouldn’t you? Are you really that busy? Are you really that — like, “Well, it’s going to ruin my Facebook image.” Like really? Like that bad picture you posted didn’t? Oh, don’t you — like you’re like hmm. Come on. Last week, I got to hang out in the Flower Mound atrium all Sunday morning and every new person I met, every single one of them, I always asked people, how did you get here? Everyone single one of them, someone invited me. So who you going to invite? Invite everyone, bring someone. Second thing is this, engage in an inconvenient service time. Like it’s our family party, which means we eat last. I always tell my kids like, “Okay, if it’s time to eat, you don’t go up and get all the good food like you let everyone go first and then you take what’s left because it’s our family party, we’re throwing it, right?”

So engage in inconvenient service time. Like in your — if you’re in Flower Mound, please don’t go to the two Sunday morning primetime services. Please come on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and if you need to go on Sunday, go to the 12:30 service. If you’re in the venue campus, we really need you to go to the 12:30 service as well to create that space. If you’re in Denton, if you are not serving on Sunday morning, you should not go on Sunday, you need to go on Saturday night to create space for people on Sunday. And if you’re in Lewisville, maybe if you’re part of launch team, you need to come to the Flower Mound preservices before Sunday so you can be there to serve and just love people and create space. We don’t want to turn people away from the party we’re throwing for them because it’s not our party. It’s their party that we’re throwing for Jesus so that they can have a new story.

And then the last thing I just want to say to you is let’s just be Valley Creek. I say to my kids like, “Hey, just be us. Be our family value.” They say, “Well, what does that mean?” It means park outside and sit inside out.

When you pull up here, park as far away from the building as you can and sit as close to the front as you can. Be intentionally kind and engage with the people around you, serve people, love them, worship, engage with faith, respond to the message and you say, “But I don’t do that. That’s my style.” I know but it’s not about you on this weekends. We more than double in size for Easter which means the faith level gets massively diluted. And so we need you to have a high faith. If you do nothing else for Easter, at least come and have a high faith and engage to help the people on the platform help me as I’m bringing the gospel and fighting the resistance and the warfare and all the things that are happening like let’s engage, let’s be loving, let’s come early, stay late to serve people because this is our family party for them because Jesus wants to give them a new story too. All day, I’ve just been thinking about how much Jesus loves people.

And he will go to the other side of anything to get them, to save them, to free them and bring them home. Who’s that person in your life that you think is so far gone you’ve given up on them? This guy teaches us that even that person can be reached by Jesus and get a new story and their story will open up access to countless other people that need the love and a life of Jesus. Behold he says, I’ll make all things new especially your story. So, I mean, close your eyes with me and let me just ask you just that simple question like what do you think God is saying to you today in this place? Here’s my guess, some of us we’ve been hopeless for a long time. We got these ungodly beliefs and these things that are dragging us down. We’re full of self-condemnation. I think God wants to break some of that off of you today to say, if I could reach that man, I can reach you. And then I think there’s a bunch of us and we’re sitting here and we’ve been telling ourselves the wrong story. The more we tell it the bigger it gets, the more it defines our lives, the more of a cloud begins to roll in but we’re talking about what the world has done to us instead of what God had done for us. You see an encounter with Jesus, big or small, it gives you a story to tell and we need to tell that story to our own hearts, our own minds, but then we need to declare it to the world around us because that story prepares the way for Jesus to come into their lives.

And so my question for you is this who is the Holy — let me do it like this, Holy Spirit, will you right now bring to our mind who you want us to invite and bring next week to have an encounter with you? Holy Spirit, will you show us how to steward our story and who we need to tell it to this week, how we need to just post on social media something as simple as Jesus changed my story and he can change yours too? Come join me for Eater. So Holy Spirit, would you just give us the courage and the faith to go to the other side of the living room, the job, the school, the neighborhood, the city, whatever it is to help that one person come and have an encounter with you, the God who makes all things brand new and changes everything? So, Lord Jesus, thank you for a new story. Thank you that I was oppressed and isolated and full of condemnation and you saved me. Thank you that all we have to do is receive that which you offer. You haven’t come to torture us with religion, with shame, with guilt, or with condemnation. You have come to set us free and give us a new life and today we receive it. In Your name we pray, amen.

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