In this message from Sunday, March 1st, Pastor Jacob discusses that though we all have relational hurt in our past, we are able to find freedom by moving forward.
City Lights Church is a contemporary Vineyard church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, VA. City Lights Church is a part of the Vineyard USA network and an ARC family member.
Hey there, and welcome to the City Lights Podcast. City Lights is a church located in the northwestern part of Richmond, Virginia. For more information about City Lights you can visit us at wearecitylights.com. Now enjoy today’s message.
Welcome to City Lights. How’s everyone doing? You’re doing good today? Donut Sunday. I’m so happy you guys are here, that you have joined us today. My name is Jacob. I’m on the team here at City Lights and we’re just so thankful that you’re here and you’re hanging out with us today. We’re gonna learn a little bit more about Jesus today, and we’re going to finish out our series that we started four weeks ago, now, which is pretty crazy. But before we jump into that, I do have a couple of city highlights that I want to do. The the first one is City Lights Plus step one happens immediately after this service. And “What a City Lights Plus?” you may be wondering. That is our membership class here. So step one, you’ll learn more about the vision, the values, and who we are as a church and where we see ourselves going. So if you have any questions about what we’re doing, that’s the class to go to to learn more. And it will also help you take your next step on getting involved, which we would love for you to do that. And then, the second thing is, like Erin mentioned, we are doing baptisms the weekend after Easter. Easter’s April 12th and then we’re going to baptisms Sunday on April 19th. If you want to get baptized or you’ve been thinking about it, maybe have some questions about it, maybe you were christened as a child or whatever the case may be, so you’re not sure if you can get baptized again, I would love to talk to you about that. I think baptism is one of the most powerful steps you can take in your Christian walk. It’s your public declaration of what Jesus is doing on the inside of your heart, and so we cannot wait to celebrate with people on April 19th when we do our baptisms. The fun part is we’re actually gonna do it right here in the movie theater, and so we’re gonna have a baptismal pool in here. How we’re going to do it? I don’t know yet, but we’re gonna make it happen, all right? Even if we gotta use all the popcorn buckets. That’s a joke, we won’t do that to you. You’d be all buttery. You’d be buttery and baptized. I don’t know what that means. But we’re gonna do right here. We’ll have a worship service. We’re gonna celebrate because baptism is one of the best things that you could do. So if you’re interested that, fill out that connect card and you can drop it in the joy box, as Erin mentioned, as you leave or you can hand it right to me too. I’ll gladly take it. And lastly, we are taking communion at the end of our service today, so I’ll talk a little bit more about that towards the end. Don’t feel any pressure if you don’t know what communion is or if you don’t feel like you can partake in that. You know, we never want you to feel pressured to do anything. But we actually think communion is, even if you’re a believer or not, I don’t know where you are your faith walk; even if you’re not, we believe it’s a positive step forward in your spiritual journey. And so I’ll talk a little bit more about that at the end, I just wanted to let you know that was coming at the end of my message.
We’re gonna close out this series called Stress Out where we’re looking at how to get stress out of our lives and joy into our lives. Who needs some less stress, right? Like I could get rid of the stress of my life. You know, we’ve tackled some of the biggest stressors that we deal with in this series; we talked about time, we talked about work, we talked about money, and all these different things that try to get us caught up and distract us. Now today we’re gonna look at a big stressor. Probably the biggest one that all of us deal with because you can’t really get away from it. Today, we’re gonna talk about the stress of relationships.
Now the greatest commandment, Jesus tells us is this, is to “love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, and strength.” And then do what? “Love your neighbor as yourself.” See, Jesus tells us about these two very significant relationships in our lives. We have a vertical relationship, us to God. So our relationship to God. And then we have horizontal relationships – us to other people. And I believe when stress comes into your life, stress will first try to disrupt your relationship with God, and then as a result of that is it will disrupt your relationships with people. And will try to interrupt that. Now I believe the goal in life isn’t just to have perceived success and have a great career and just all that. I think those things are good, but I think the real goal for life real joy in life happens when we have relationships that are healthy, that are good. And when we have a relationship with God that is life giving. I love that we’ve done this series because we have been tackling what it looks like to get rid of some of these stressors in our lives in order for us to connect more to God.
Our theme verse for this series is found in Luke 21. It says, “Be careful,” and any time Jesus says that, “Be careful,” you should listen, right? It says, “Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life. And that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” See, Jesus is talking about stress here, and I think it’s safe to say when it comes to relationships, there is at least that one person that you know that, when you see them, they drive you crazy. Come on, let’s be real today. Or that one person when you go to work, when they walk into the office, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Why are they here right now?” Or that text message pops up from that person. You get that anxiety like, “Oh, why are they texting me right now?” Everyone has that person, that difficult person that’s hard to love. Maybe you’ve got multiple. And maybe you’re like, “Oh, I don’t have anyone in that.” You’re that difficult person for people just to let you know. So you need to hear this.
Relational stressors are hard to navigate, but like Jesus said, we’re to love the Lord our God with all heart, mind, and strength, and we’re supposed to love people like we love ourselves. So this is very important for our step. So if you are taking notes today, you can title part four of this series, Letting Go of Your Past. Letting Go of Your Past. We’re gonna handle a subject about relationships that if you do not deal with it. It will sabotage the rest of your relationships. Who here knows that past relationships and past experiences play a big portion into your current life? Things that have happened in the past come in there. I think often we respond to present day relational stressors based on past relational hurts. See, the past sometimes can feel more powerful than our present situation. But I believe God wants us to move forward. I believe God wants us to persevere, but sometimes, even though we want to move forward, there’s things around us that want to keep us back.
I remember one time in my life, a thing I had struggled with was I couldn’t swim. I still can’t really swim to be honest. But I couldn’t swim, and I was I was afraid of water. I was afraid of the water. And so I ended up getting swim lessons from an ODU – Old Dominion University – coach. So I got some lessons, and I’m a little bit more confident. So now I kind of got to the level of confidence with water where well, I’ll take a shower. Now, that was a joke. I always too showers. Or did I? But now, like in that level, like, if I’m on a cruise and something happens to the boat, I feel like a little confident like to jump out of the boat. But I still, like, live my life with this fear of water. You know, I know how to swim. This was most amplified a few years ago, back when I was a pastor in Virginia Beach, I was working on staff there, and we had a pastor’s retreat and we were getting ready for one of our activity days. And my senior pastor, he told me he said, “Hey, Jacob, just to let you know that there’s a bridge that everyone gets on. Every pastor – all the great pastors from the past – have got on and jumped into the water.” And I was like, “What? No, you’re kidding!” and he said,” Hey, I think you need to jump from this bridge.” And I’m thinking to myself, “Man, Pastor Andy, he loves me. He’s like a father to me. He knows I’m afraid of water. He knows I can’t swim too much, and God’s given him the spiritual authority of my life. I know he won’t put me in danger asking me to do something too crazy.” So I say, “Hey, how far is the jump?” And he says, “Uh, it’s about 30 feet.” and I was like, “Uh, you don’t pay me enough to do that. I was like I ain’t doing that.” He said Jacob, “You can do it.” I was like, “pastor Andy you’re crazy, man. No I’m not doing that.” And he said, “It’s all right. You don’t have to do it, but imagine how great you will feel about yourself if you do do it.” I said, “ah man,” he’s a very convincing man, you know? I was like dang, okay. So that whole night I’m thinking about it. Because I knew the activity day was the next morning. So I’m thinking about it. And what if I jump from this bridge? What if I do it. Then the logical side of me is like, uh, no, I’m not gonna do that, because what if I jump in the water and you know I break my back or my toe or something. You know, that wouldn’t be good at all. But then, like around the middle of the night, I have this moment. You know what I’m done with living like I can’t swim no more. I’m doing this thing. So the next morning, we all get on the boat, we go towards the bridge, and I’m there. I got my my life vest on extra snug. And I’m ready for this day. Then all the all the guys, they get off of the boat. Then they go up this little mountain to get on the bridge, and the whole time I’m talking to myself, “man, I’m doing this thing, about to jump from this bridge. I ain’t afraid of water no more. I’m doing this.” And so finally we get to the spot. One of the pastor’s husbands, he jumps from it and I was like “dang, you made that look easy.” Then my friend Parker, he goes up to the to the edge of it and he hesitates. I’m like, “Oh, why’s he hesitating? I thought he was good.” His hesitation made me nervous. So now that he’s hesitated, I’m nervous. Then Parker, he jumps in. He does it – splash. Everyone’s cheering. Now it’s my turn. I’m like, “Oh, no, shoot is my turn.” Now I go. I walked to the edge I look down and I think to myself, “Jacob, you are the biggest idiot in the world right now.” I actually didn’t say that, I said other words, but I can’t say that in church. So I’m looking down, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe I’m doing this.” And then I hear from everyone in the boat like, “jump, Jacob, do it. You got this jump, jump. What’s taking you so long? Why don’t you jump in? Jump, Jacob.” I’m like, “Whoa, I thought these people loved me. That’s really weird that they’re telling me to jump. I don’t feel safe right now.” And so then I’m looking down. I’m looking at the water. I tell Samuel, who’s one of the other pastors, I tell him, I said, “Sam, give me a count down from 5 to 1. And on one I’m gonna jump. Then Sam, he gives me a countdown. Five, four, three, two, one. And then right at one I jumped and I believe I can fly. I believe… that’s what I started singing, not out loud but to myself. I jumped and I go all the way down. The only way I can describe it is: it was the fastest longest jump in my life. And right when I hit – bam – and I can feel that fear go away. Like I did something I never thought I could do! But I also felt my arms hurt really bad because I slapped that water really hard it hurt real bad. I’m never gonna do that again. But I remember that fear went away.
I think the way for us to let go of the past is to look fear right in the face and move forward. You gotta press forward. And I think there’s some people here, you’ve had some relational hurts, you have some things that are keeping you away from trusting people again, for hoping in people again, and I’m gonna tell you, there’s fear in your life, but you’ve got to move forward. You gotta press forward. My starting point today is this: I have relational hurt in my past. I think we all can agree with that. We all have relational hurt, and I think we can agree that those hurts are heavy in our lives. But check this out. My destination point today is this: But I will find freedom by moving forward. I will find freedom by moving forward. Like I said, I think my illustration of jumping off a 30-foot bridge – don’t do it – is a really good way to explain what it feels like letting go of the past. It’s that scary. It is that scary to do that.
But I had to make a decision to jump. And I believe the only way to let go of your past is not the focus on the people who have hurt you; it’s not trying to just fix your past experience in your life, or even fix the people. The only way for you to move forward is you gotta determine what’s my forward focus? What am I going to move forward on? Letting go of the past has nothing to do with the people that hurt you but has everything to do with you. I think that’s one of the challenging parts about it. Because you can’t change someone. You don’t know what someone’s result is gonna be. But you can work on yourself.
I got three decisions that I want a list out that I believe will help you move forward and let go of the past. Decision number one is this: Stay or go? Stay or go. When dealing with moving forward in life, we have a decision to make. Are we going to stay where we are? Or are we gonna move forward? See, there’s a story in the Bible that I want to read it. John 9 starting in verse 1 it says this, “as Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” So here’s Jesus walking with his with his disciples, walking with his students, and they ask him this deep theological question. And basically, the question is this: If bad things happen to good people and if God is a good God, is he still good when bad things happen? And I think for some of us, we’ve had things happen to us. People have hurt us, people have wronged us, and it kind of makes you feel like “How is God good in this? Like I did nothing to deserve that. How could God be good?” You ask yourself, “God, why would you let that happen to me? Why would this be the thing? So the question is, is it his sin or is it his parents sin? Why’d it happen? Jesus replied to that. He says this: ” ‘Neither this man or his parents sinned,’ said Jesus. ‘But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ ” So Jesus is saying it’s not his parents fault; it’s not his fault, it’s not even God’s fault. We live in a fallen and broken world where bad things happen. God is good at making broken things beautiful. God is good at taking our biggest setbacks and using them as our set up for a future success.
The very thing that the enemy tried to use to demote you, put you back to say that you can’t do it anymore, God will take that very thing and elevate you to where he wants you to be. The Apostle Paul says it like this, “What has happened to me will be made known for my deliverance.” He also says to the church in Rome, “all things work for the good of those who love the Lord.” And I want you to know there’s people that have wronged you, there’s people that have hurt you, you got relational stressors in your life, but God is good at taking that thing and he’s gonna flip it around for your benefit. He’s gonna flip it around for you.
Jesus continues. He says, “as long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me.” the winter is coming – oh wait. Winter is here. Oh wait. That’s another show. “Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Okay, so, Jesus now takes this question and he points the disciples to himself. Check out what happens next because it’s pretty weird. I promise you, if you start reading your Bible, you’re gonna have a good time reading your Bible because there’s some funny stuff in the Bible. They got talking donkeys and they call it Jackass, and I’m like, “oh, they cussing in the Bible,” you know. There’s some crazy things that happen. I promise you when you read this book – it’s not just a book filled with rules and regulations and a whole bunch of things telling you what you shouldn’t do – it’s actually a life-giving book about a Father God who loved his creation so much that he sent his one and only son to live a life we couldn’t live, to die a death we deserved, and rose from the grave three days later and now has relationship with us. I promise you, once you read this book, you’ll get a lot from it. But it is a good book, and it’s a weird book, too. It’s weird – it’s some weird stuff like this one right here. “After this, Jesus, spit on the ground.” Okay. “Made some mud.” Oh, whoa. Made some mud with spit. That’s okay. “And then put it on the man’s eyes.” Jesus made some holy spit.
I want you to see what’s happening here. Jesus and the disciples are talking about a blind man who was begging on the corner. They’re standing in front of him, and the beggar’s probably expecting some loose change from them. He has his certified robe from the Jewish leaders that designated him as nothing more than a blind beggar. And that’s all who he is. There’s nothing more to him. And then Jesus all of a sudden spits on the dirt, and he makes mud. Now I’m no scientist around here, but I’m pretty sure the way to make mud is you gotta mix it, right? So what we’re seeing in this story is Jesus Spits, then he bends down and he mixes his spit in the dirt. He makes mud. That’s how you make mud, isn’t it? This is weird. Then he takes that and he puts it on the man’s face. This is weird, but there’s also a picture I want you to see here. There’s something I want you to see here about Jesus. Because it is a great picture of him. God who comes down to us and he gets on our level and he relates to us. And then Jesus takes something natural. And he puts his supernatural on it. And what we kind of see here is that God is not just in heaven somewhere looking down at us, mad at us. But we see that God is relational. We see that God comes down to our level, understands our pain, understands our struggle, understands our worries, understands our anxieties, understands our doubts. And then he says, I’m gonna put my super on your natural. I’m gonna do something that you never expected or imagined in this situation.
But I’m gonna be real with you. ‘Cause I like to be real. Because the story gets even weirder because after Jesus puts his Jesus mud face mask that you can only buy at Lush, after he puts it on his face, Jesus says now go take a walk. Jesus, he’s blind, Jesus. He don’t know where to walk to Jesus, like you got mud and spit on him and now you’re telling him to take a stroll to the park. He said, “Go wash in the pool.” Now this pool is about a mile or so in distance. But once you put yourself in this man’s shoes, he just minding his own business, begging. Give me some gold. I want the gold. You know, he’s begging, minding his own business. Just a normal day, just an ordinary day. Just an every day. Just his normal 9 to 5. Just his normal way of living, just his normal routine in life. He’s minding his own business, and then all of a sudden, Jesus comes, bends down, spits on the dirt, make some mud, puts it on his face, and after all that, he says, take a walk. See, I want you to know, it’s in your everyday, it’s in your normal day, it’s in your regular day that Jesus can come and invade and do something that you never thought, dreamed, or imagined.
He says take a walk. Take a walk. It’s time for you to get up. You can’t stay here anymore. You can’t stay in this spot you gotta walk; you gotta move forward. And for some of you, this is how you feel. Like how am I supposed to walk? I feel ridiculous. Is God really in this? Got can’t be in this. God’s not gonna want me to ask for forgiveness. God’s not gonna want me to forgive that person. But I’m telling you this: you have a decision you have to make – either stay where you are in the same routine doing the same thing. Or you got to go. You got to move forward, and you’re thinking, “But why should I forgive them? Why should I give my husband the benefit of doubt again? He he hurt me once he’s gonna hurt me again. Why should I trust my kids again? They’ve done this and that. Why? Why should I forgive them? Why should I do these things?” And all your questions are valid, and all your concerns are true. But I want you to know that God provides freedom for you. You have a decision to stay or to go.
I’ll tell you this, forgiveness is not logical. Bitterness is logical. It makes sense to be bitter. It doesn’t always make sense to forgive. But bitterness would keep you where you are. Forgiveness will let you go forward. Are you going to stay when Jesus is telling you to go, or are you going to go when Jesus is asking you to move forward? Here is this blind man who has been there his entire life. Decision number one stay or go. Decision number two: guarded are guided. Are you gonna be guarded? Or are you gonna be guided? How you gonna live your life? Guarded from the world or guided by the words of Jesus. Are you gonna remain guarded or live guided? This is important because you see these people all the time, right? It’s not you because you’re good. But you see these people at work all the time, right? They’re just guarded. They’re just hard all the time. Rough. They don’t want let no one. They don’t want no one close to them.
I got this illustration that I want to use real fast. You have these people, but again, it ain’t you because you’re good. You got these people. That hurt has come into your life. You know, things have happened, and in order to protect yourself, put on some shoulder pads. Now our budget wasn’t good enough to get the good shoulder pads. So this is what we had to work with, okay? We’re responsible with our finances around here. So you walk around. You got your shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are good for football, right? Because what do they do? They protect you from getting hit. The problem is this life is not a football game. And so you got these shoulder pads on you, like man ain’t no one gonna get me, man. I’m gonna hit them before they hit me. And then you got these people – it ain’t you, though, because you’re good – these people, they got my helmet on. I’m getting ready for work today. My boss ain’t gonna get to me today. Guarded. Where my hook at? There you go. Guarded. You see these people? They walk around. They always agitated all the time. You know what I’m talking about? They always upset.
Here’s the thing, though, there’s nothing happens. You’ve been hurt by people before, right? Things have happened to you. And so you just live in this place of like, I won’t let no one get near me. I won’t let no one get close to me. I ain’t gonna forgive someone, ’cause if I forgive, then that’s gonna give them power, right? I’m guarded. And I want you to think about it this way, too. Like the shoulder pads, they help you hit someone, right? I’m gonna hit someone before someone hits me. And the helmet? It protects your head. Guards your head. It keeps your head safe, right? I ain’t gonna let no one get to me before I get to them. And this is how we live. I wanna tell you this, like I said, when you on the football field – well actually, you may look crazy if you went to a football field looking like this – if you went to the football field it’s good to be protected like this. It’s good to be guarded. But there’s some people in your life that you’re not letting in. There’s some relationships that you keep sabotaging because every person you talk to your doing like this. You’re living guarded and not guided by the Holy Spirit.
You could see it this way: I see them coming, they’re gonna hurt me; I see my ex-spouse, they hurt me once, and when I get married again, I ain’t gonna let no one in. I’m gonna do this. You’ve got all these things and you live guarded. I want you to know today there’s a story in the Bible about Jesus. How he had to live guided. At the end of Matthew 3, Jesus gets baptized – Baptists are coming up. We’re excited for that. – he gets baptized and then after he comes out of the water, the voice of God says, “This is my son, who I love. With him I am well pleased.” That’s how chapter three ends. But chapter 4 begins, it says the spirit called Jesus to go to the wilderness. The spirit? You mean the holy spirit? You mean God called him to go to the wild? You mean God told him to go to the place that he didn’t want to be? You mean God guided him to the hard place. See you for you today, God may be calling you and guiding you to go to a place that you didn’t and want to go. God may be guiding you to fix the relationship that you don’t want to fix. God may be guiding you to go to a place that, for you, you feel you would rather go anywhere else but that place. But I want you to know that your freedom could be found in the very place that you don’t want to go. And you’re living and holding onto these things that you don’t want to do, and you got to take off the gear, you gotta live guided by the Holy Spirit.
Here is this man. He had a decision to make. Listen to Jesus and go by his guidance or listen to his past experience and stay and live guarded. Knowing that other people have let him down. So why wouldn’t Jesus let him down, too? He had to either live guided or guarded. John 9 says this, though, “So the man went…” and I can just picture this by man walking, right? I can picture this blind guy, and, like I said, the Bible is funny to me because he’s walking. He has, like, Jesus spit on his face and he’s walking. He’s probably thinking to himself, “I look ridiculous right now. I look crazy going to some pool. I don’t even know who this guy is. He spit on my face. He could be joking me. I don’t even know what I’m doing.” But he took a walk and he was guided. I’m gonna say for you. You may not want to let go of that thing in the past because that thing in the past is too familiar to you. You may not want to let go of that hurt because you feel like you have to hold on to that hurt because they don’t deserve forgiveness. You may feel like that walking crazy person, like that blind man. But there’s freedom at the end of living your life guided by God.
Verse 7 says “…and he washed and he came home seeing.” When you get away from being guarded and you live guided, you can wash and you can see again. Decision number one: are you gonna stay or go? Decision number two: guarded or guided. My third and my final decision: Same or better. Same or better. Are you going to live the same life or a better life. And this is really simple. I’m either going to live the same way I’ve always been living or I’m gonna live a better life. So the man born blind can now see the works of God were displayed in him like Jesus said, and you’ll think he’ll come back home, and you think when he got home being able to see, you would think everyone would be like, “Oh, snap. Ralph can see now. This is awesome. Celebrate, Ralph. Yeah.” You would think this is how the story would go. That’s not what happened. People didn’t believe he was the same person. The religious people were out to get Jesus and they dismissed this guy’s miracle. Even his own parents denied him. Sometimes it’s hard to move forward when everything wants to keep you in the past. Sometimes it’s hard to take that step forward with those things around you trying to keep you down. Even though he was healed, people still treated him like he was blind. And I think this is the struggle when it comes to letting go of the past. Even though we’re trying to move forward, the past wants to remind you of who you were and that’s only you, and that’s all you’ll ever be. And even though you’re trying to move forward, the past wants to keep you back. The past wants to keep you being the same person. You’ll never change. “Divorce once? You’re gonna be divorced again. Relational problems in the past? You’re gonna have them again in the future. You broke that thing? You’re gonna break the next thing.” The past will love to keep up where we are, but I want you to hear something today. I want you to know something. Jesus says your life has something better to offer. Your life has something more.
People were confronting the blind man, and this is what the blind man says to the people. He says, “whether he’s a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, but now I can see.” I didn’t have it all together. But I met him and something changed on the inside of me. And then the people, they threw him out, kicked him out. They wanted him to stay the same. But then he encounters Jesus one more time. In The Message Paraphrase it says that “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out and he went and he found him.” See, Jesus looks for you. Jesus is aware of you and he goes and he looks and he finds you. “Jesus asked him, ‘Do you believe in the son of man?’ The man said, ‘Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.’ And Jesus said, ‘you’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?’ ‘Master, I believe,’ the man said and worshiped him. Then Jesus said, ‘I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all distinctions clear so that those who have never seen will see.”
In order to let go of the past, we have to know our tomorrow is better because we can look towards Jesus. Friends, I’m not gonna discount that relational hurt. I’m not gonna act like it’s super easy to get over. But I wanted to leave you with one reminder in this room. And my reminder is this: Jesus went to the cross for us while we were still sinners. The Bible declares he died for us. Bringing us into right standing before God when we put our trust in him. See, friends, we can forgive because Christ has forgiven us. It’s not the easiest thing. I’m gonna be real with you. There’s some people. I see them and I want it upper cut them right now. Not right now. I don’t want uppercut none of you guys. But there’s hard relationships. But Jesus gives us freedom. He gives us freedom to move forward. Bow your heads with me, let’s pray.
God, we thank you. God, we thank you for your love. We thank you for your goodness and your favor. And God I know there’s some people in here who have relational stressors. Even thinking about going to work tomorrow stresses you out for some people, so Holy Spirit, bring peace, bring joy, bring forgiveness, bring healing. bring peace. Like this man in the story, we have these same decisions. Are we going to stay or go? Are we gonna live guarded or guided? Will we remain the same or live better? I feel that some people here, you have your guards up. You don’t want anyone to get in, including the Holy Spirit. You’re saying God, “you can’t even touch this hard heart of mine.” I feel like the Holy Spirit is saying, “Let him in. He’s here. He loves you. You don’t have to live guarded anymore.” And like this man in the story where his parents and the people in the town, they all dismissed them, you may be in here and you have felt dismissed by family members. Yep, I feel that very heavy, there’s some family members that have really hurt you or made you angry. I just feel like the Holy Spirit is saying that you may not be able to change them but you could have forgiveness. You can live in freedom. So God, we pray for that freedom, right now. Come, Holy Spirit. More of you. Maybe you’re in here today and you never made the decision to trust Jesus with your life. Maybe you have before, but life got in the way. And you haven’t been living for Jesus. If you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life for the first time or recommit your life back to Jesus. I’m gonna count to three, and on three, I want you to shoot your hand up in the air. I’m not going to call you out or have you come up front. Nothing like that. I’m not gonna embarrass you. I only want you to shoot your hand up so I can see who I’m praying for. So if that’s you, if you want to make a decision to trust Jesus with your life for the first time or to recommit your life back to Jesus, on three just shoot your hand up in the air. One, two, three. Bless you. Bless you. Bless you all across this room. Bless you. Now you can say this prayer with me out loud or in your heart. Just say, “Jesus. Forgive me for my sins. Make me new. Today I follow you. Today I trust in you. In Jesus’s name. Amen.”
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