Patrick continues uncovering the reason why we do what we do. He gives some basic understanding of why Stonegate was started, and how we continue to strive towards helping people see the transformative power of Jesus Christ.
It’s good to have all of you here. Good morning to you, to our North Campus, to Odessa, and to all of you that are watching and listening online, our Facebook Live feed. I don’t do Facebook. All you people who do that, fantastic for you. Last week, we had 280,000 reaches through our Facebook Live feed in one service, which if you don’t understand all that lingo, that’s fine. [00:00:30] Then we had thousands upon thousands of people that watched even the whole thing. We received email and messages from as far away as Saudi Arabia, all over the Middle East, just some places that are just unimaginable.
It’s really been cool what God has done. For those of you that are in North, I saw all of you walking over there, and it’s full over there. We want to tell you thank you for getting over, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. For all those who are in Odessa, [00:01:00] we’re so excited about what’s going on over there. I’ll remind you, if this is your first or second time here, this is the most crowded service every single week, so you have a couple of options. We have a 9 o’clock service. Love to have you there. The donuts are fresher. You can be here at 9. We have a noon service. If you drove over here from Odessa, you wasted gas. We have a church that meets over there.
With that in mind, I want to give you an opportunity to participate in something [00:01:30] that we have done just about in every building. As a matter of fact, if you are backstage where I am usually before the services, there’s exposed beams. You can still see the scriptures that were written on those beams years ago when we first built this place. We’ll be doing the same thing in the Odessa location, which was the old Graham’s. If you’re one of those that’s never been in a bar and you would like to walk into a place that used to be a bar, you can, and we’re inviting you to be a part of that next week on Saturday, the 28th, [00:02:00] from 2-4 in the afternoon. Very strict times because we have to meet obligations with the contractors and everything, but for our Odessa family, as well as all of you, if you want to be a part of that, please be over there at the Graham’s Central Station location, which is now the Stonegate Fellowship location for Odessa.
If you don’t know where that is, drive to Odessa. It’s right behind the Home Depot. Just join us as we go through the building. They’ll have areas we can write on and areas we cannot. Have some scripture in mind [00:02:30] and some scriptures you’d like to write and we’ll have the Sharpies and all that stuff. If you’ve never been a part of something like that, it’s really just an awesome experience. You can pray, walk around, check things out. As the time goes by, we’ll talk about other things we’re going to do. I imagine as we get closer and closer to opening the facility, which will be June or July, which is really unbelievable how fast that’s going to happen, we will probably from the stage do the same thing we did here, which is we’ll just read the entire Bible through [00:03:00] nonstop from the stage. Actually, the Bible we used when we spoke from this stage nonstop until we read the entire Bible through is under this stage. Just really some symbolic things we do as a church family and hope you can be a part of that. Saturday, 2-4.
There’s no good football on TV anymore, so there’s really no excuse you have. The wind will probably be blowing anyways, so you can do anything outside. Come over and be a part of that.
One last thing. If you have a Bible, [00:03:30] you might want to open it to Proverbs 29 verse 18. It’s where we’ve been the last two weeks, will be again, we’ll start there today. In light of all the craziness going on in our political environment and the peaceful transition of power we just experienced and all that’s come with that, I want to recommend a book to you. In men’s Bible study, every Wednesday morning, I teach that at 6:30, I usually recommend a lot of books to these guys. One of the books I’ve recommended, and I don’t do that very often in our services, but I want to do this this morning just to put [00:04:00] something of good reading material in front you.
There’s an author, one of my favorites, by the name of Eric Metaxas. His last name is spelled M-E-T-A-X-A-S. Eric Metaxas. He has released a book recently called If You Can Keep It, and the subtitle is The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. Whether you want to download that or you’re into reading good old hardback copies or you download and listen to it, I just want to recommend this [00:04:30] book to you. There’s no agenda I have behind it. It’s not making a political point, but it’s one of those few books that I’ve read related to what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and what that means in light of who we are as a nation. Anyways, hope you will pick a copy of that up. We do not have it in our bookstore, so don’t go in the bookstore and say, “Where’s that book?” You’ll have to go to your bookstore of your choice.
We turned a little bit of a corner here this morning. Last two weeks, [00:05:00] I’ve been speaking to you about really the foundational passages of scripture of our body and our fellowship, and now I’m just really turning a corner into really just being upfront with you about what we stand for and who we are. One way I may say that is just reminding you of Proverbs, that passage I told you to look up, Proverbs 29:18. It says, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people will cast off restraint.” I’ve used that the last three weeks or last two weeks and this week. Just a reminder of what that means. [00:05:30] It’s not some vision. It means if you forget why you do what you do, if you forget who you are, if you forget the things that you have said you were always going to do, if you forget what you’re all about, then you’ll lose hope.
It is very important for us as a fellowship as we begin to press into Odessa, as we’re leading in three different locations now and seeing what God might do, it is vitally important that everybody understand what it is that’s at the bedrock of this place and also understanding [00:06:00] that you cannot build a church that survives generations if you build it around a personality or personalities. The church, the local church, has to be built on something greater and something more grand than that as the prophetic vision. I also reminded you of this passage. You’re not going to be able to look it up, but you can try if you’d like. I’m going to go through a lot of scriptures to give you to look up later if you’d like, but remember Romans chapter 12 verse 4 and 5. It says, “For as in one body, we have many members [00:06:30] and the members don’t all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually members one of another.”
If you were here, if you weren’t, let me just review, but if you were here, you remember me talking about how we’re all connected in this thing. Your walk with Jesus affects my life. My walk with Jesus affects your life. There’s no neutral life. There’s no neutral moment. Every moment, every matter, every part of our lives matters to the work [00:07:00] of Jesus Christ, not just in this location, but the world over. It’s one of the things I’m very thankful for about the power of the Internet is just for you to be able to understand that at this moment, quite literally at this moment, there are people watching this broadcast that involves you, this body of Jesus Christ, around the world in closed countries, hidden away, on computers or phones or tablets, because they can’t do that in public. What you do as a body matters [00:07:30] to that Christian in hiding. How you do what you’re supposed to do and how we do what we are supposed to do matters.
If you will remember, I use this word compete, and I taught you a couple weeks ago how this word compete is a word that’s been misused at its inception. Competing back in about 1620 in the Latin, never meant for there to be a loser, but competing carried with it the idea of us coming together with one common vision and fighting [00:08:00] together, like the Apostle Paul says, I want us all to finish the race, to finish the course, to fight the fight, but you have to understand what it is you’re fighting for and who it is you’re fighting with. What I’m going to do this morning is to begin picking up with this concept of what it means for us to win together.
Some of us don’t like the idea of winning. I’m not assuming that there’s a loser and we’re crushing people. When I read to you that passage of scripture in Psalm 118 last week that we said, “Oh, Lord, our [00:08:30] God, give us success.” That passage literally means, “God, help us to win, to win the victory you’ve called us to win.” Over the next two weeks, I’m going to outline for you and I what it is and what we define winning as Stonegate Fellowship. Here’s the first one, and it’s one that’s been a long … It’s hard to believe we’ve been here 18 years. We’re starting our 18th year, almost two decades, doing this. It’s an amazing thing. Larry’s one of those that’s been with us since the beginning.
Here’s the first thing. This dates all [00:09:00] the way back to when we were meeting at First Baptist and we were meeting in the fellowship hall with a group of people who were going to start this little church, and this was one of the first phrases we used, and we have continued to use it. Winning for us is when each and every person has the opportunity, key phrase, has the opportunity to truly find peace with God, love for one another, and joy in living through a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Let me unpack that for you [00:09:30] because I don’t expect you to memorize it, and it’s too big to go on a T-shirt, although we put part of it on a coffee mug years ago. Remember when everybody had to have a coffee mug that your phrase on it and all that stuff? This is where that happened.
Here’s what’s behind that statement. We absolutely believe that if we can just get you in front of Jesus, He can change your life. We absolutely believe that Stonegate Fellowship cannot change your life. We absolutely believe that the institution of a church anywhere cannot change [00:10:00] your life, but we do believe that if we can get you in front of Jesus and can put Jesus in front of you, so to speak, and you will listen to Him speak to your soul and speak to your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ can change you. The very first part of that says peace with God, comes right out of Romans chapter 5 verse 1 where the Apostle Paul says, “We have peace with God because we have been justified through the work of Jesus Christ.” It’s the peace we long for.
[00:10:30] As a matter of fact, as I reminded you last week, as all of us get this sense that the economy might be picking up and traffic is picking up and the pressure around here is picking up and because of another boom and probably another bust, there will be a desperate search for peace. The peace that people deeply need to know is that Jesus Christ can change a life. By the way, Jesus Christ does not radically change lives that are radically good. He can [00:11:00] change your life, but Jesus Christ radically comes after the one who is far away, the one who feels like they have failed the most, the one who feels like God hates them the most. That’s the one I want to put in front of Jesus and let them know you are never too far gone that He will not reach out to you, that He brings us peace, and He brings us into this place where we can learn to love one another.
Most of us in this room do not trust people. [00:11:30] Most of us in this room, even those of us who are the most huggy, which I don’t even know how that happens, but the ones who are the most, “Let me hug you, let me hug you,” even at that, we keep people at arm’s length because most of us have been hurt by someone who said they loved us, either in the church or outside the church or both, but through Jesus Christ, we begin to sense a love that begins to change our lives. It begins to soften the heart and begins to bring us to a place, [00:12:00] like you heard about in the small groups. We can learn love for one another.
It happened right after the first service. I had a young lady walk up to me who my wife and I shared a small group with about 17 years ago. That’s how tight those relationships have become, as we were able just in the lobby to share a moment and to share a burden with each other because we know each other, because of the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love we have for one another and that we can carry on between her and her husband, but He changes [00:12:30] love relationships. I’m going to tell you something. I have seen him so radically change lives that I have seen couples in this church who have gone through bitter divorces, and all of a sudden I look out in the auditorium and I see one of them sitting over here and one of them sitting over there.
First time I saw it at Abell Junior High, I thought, “Oh, my Lord. That’s not supposed to happen.” You’re not supposed to have the same people in the room who just went through that. Then after [00:13:00] years of walking, seeing a credible reconciliation. Listen, I’m not talking about the reconciliation that makes for good Christian books. I’m talking about the kind of reconciliation where they both went off and they got into other relationships and got remarried and all that, but then seeing both sides through the love of Jesus see their love for one another change and forgiveness happen, and families don’t bust up again, but seeing Jesus change some radically crazy stuff.
[00:13:30] He can change anything in any life and bring peace and bring love. Then this whole idea of joy through this life transforming relationship, to be able to see joy that transcends circumstances, to be able to see joy that comes from being in the body of Christ and being loved on through difficult times and through painful times and through loss and through death and through disease and all kinds of things. The countless opportunities [00:14:00] that I have been able to see this life transformation and this joy in living, even regardless of circumstances, that’s at the core of everything. If you don’t want to remember that statement and you want to know what matters to Stonegate Fellowship, what drives them, this is still the core issue. We absolutely believe that Jesus Christ can totally transform a life. It’s what we talk about [00:14:30] in our student ministry. It’s what we talk about in children’s ministry. It’s what drives us.
This church will never change a life, but a life can be changed if this church will always realize that Jesus Christ is the one who can change any life. We good? You understand? Three ladies down here did. I love it when ladies come to church.
Here’s the next one. You’ve already heard me on this, [00:15:00] but we’re going to bring it up again. Winning for us consists of doing whatever it takes to share by word, by deed, and example the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord with the next generation. Here’s the key issue, so that they cannot help but surrender to His great plan for their lives. That’s Psalms 78. All that is is Psalms 78 verse about 5-7, reworded a little bit. That is absolutely one of the key [00:15:30] issues for us as a church. It started at Abell Junior High when we had children’s ministry in the hallways. It started with student ministry. It is a passion. If you want to use this phrase, it is principle, it is a driving force that we will die on.
I would tell you, I could go on and on about this issue, but it’s one of the reasons why we’ve said to adults, “Listen, the older you are, the less space you’re allowed on this campus because we will use every bit of space possible [00:16:00] in order to use it for children’s ministry and for student ministry. It’s why you as a church, whether you knew this or not, and through your giving that you give and the offering you just took that every year you spend as a church, about a million dollars to send students to camp. This summer, you will send over 1,500 students to camp. You will send over 500 adults to camp, to youth camp and to kids camp, [00:16:30] and you will sed us load into buses. By the way, it’s the cheapest camp probably in the United States. There’s a reason for it. You make it too expensive, you get only the kids who can afford it, but you also do something else. You, as a church, I think last year you gave over $80,000 in scholarship funds for kids to go to camp. It’s why we keep growing out of places.
Let me tell you an amazing story. I don’t have time to tell you all the stories because Larry took too much time, but let me tell you a story. [00:17:00] We go to this place in New Mexico called Glorietta. It used to be an old Baptist camp, and it got all run down. We were sitting in a staff meeting three years ago, and we were trying to find a place to take kids to camp. There just aren’t that many places that can take 1,200 kids. We were sitting there and I looked across the table at Jeff and Dustin and a couple others, and I said, “You know, I wonder what’s going on at Glorietta.” At that time, we knew there was some things going on, but we didn’t know they had sold it.
As soon as the meeting was over, those two guys left the office [00:17:30] and they went and made a phone call to Glorietta. The guy that picked up the phone said, “Well, it’s kind of interesting. We just closed the sale. Are you guys interested in having camp here?” We said, “We will be there tomorrow.” We got up there because the two most important weeks of camp are the first two weeks of June. We hustled up there and we booked that camp for multiple years, and then our ministry teams have been going up there every year and have probably donated nearly 2 million dollars worth of labor to get that camp ready.
It is a big deal [00:18:00] for us what we do for children, but let me dig in even deeper because the critical thing for us is that no matter what age we are pouring Jesus into the lives of the next generation. We’re not pouring Stonegate Fellowship into them. We’re pouring Jesus into the next generation. That includes every kid, any kid, no matter where the kid comes from.
I’ll tell you a story that happened several months ago. Dustin came into my office [00:18:30] and he said, “Hey, we got a problem in student ministry.” If you don’t know what happens in student ministry here, our Odessa ministry is already beginning to have record numbers for its ministry in student ministry, and here, on Wednesday nights, students fill this room. We have about 400 students who fill this room. There’s a lot of people who might say, “Oh, you don’t want to bring them into the sanctuary. They’ll ruin it.” Listen, let me tell you something. I don’t care if children ruin every building we have as long as we [00:19:00] put Jesus in front of them. I don’t care if they burn … I better not say that. I don’t care if they put holes in the wall. I don’t care if they cut a seat and put a hole in it. I don’t care what happens to our facilities as long as we realize this isn’t the house of God. This is just where the children of God meet and we pour Jesus into that next generation.
Dustin comes up to me and he says, “We got a problem. We got this kid.” He starts telling me the stories of somebody who’d been kicked out of this and kicked out of that and what are we going to do because [00:19:30] some of our servant leaders were calling into question having kids like this. I said, “Listen, man. We will never kick a kid out of this place.” We’ve had cops here. We’ve had to put them in cuffs, not the cops, but the kids. Listen, I know how some of you are like, “Wait a minute. I thought the church was supposed to be a safe place for my kids.” Wrong.
The church is supposed to be a place so the people who we fear the most can come find Jesus and find love. The church is supposed to be a place where every kid [00:20:00] who doesn’t have somebody that loves them out there can step in this place and we’ll love them until they get it. It’s the kind of place that when a student shows up and he’s got a rap sheet already, we’ll show him Jesus cares less about that rap sheet. This is a place that will not quit a kid. We won’t quit an adult, but we will not quit a kid either, and we will pour into the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.
I’m going to tell you why I’m so passionate about that, because those adults did it to me. [00:20:30] Some of you have that same story. Those same adults knocked on my door. When everybody around said, “Don’t mess with that kid.” They said, “We will not quit you. We will love on you. We will show you Jesus.” It’s the same kids that show up in that children’s area at the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade and have no idea if somebody loves them. It’s the same kid who shows up at 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th and 12th grade, and all they’ve ever heard is they’re [00:21:00] not smart enough or they’re not holy enough or they’re not good enough. There will be a church, as long as I’m alive, whose legacy is children and students matter and they matter more than anything else. I hope you understand that’s a legacy.
The next thing is a place where winning is unhindered, boundary-pushing, praise, worship, and artistic expression that engages and encourages the entire [00:21:30] person. Give you a couple of scriptures you can write down. Psalm 33 verse 3. I’m going through these scriptures. You can look them up and test what I’m saying. See if there’s any biblical basis for this. Psalm 40 verse 3. Psalm 40 talks about how He has put a new song in my heart. I’ll tell you another passage here in a minute. A lot of you grew up in church. I’m not saying this to be sarcastic or mean. I’m saying it just to be truthful.
I can still remember when clapping in church like you just did [00:22:00] was off limits. I can still remember when people clapping during a song was a little bit pew jumping-ish. You’re like, “Uh, I won’t do that.” I can still remember quite literally church fights over whether or not you could have drums on the stage. You could have big timpani drums, those boom, boom, glorious drums and you could have a harp. That was the only stringed instrument you could have. I can remember when the first electric guitar showed up in my church. [00:22:30] Up till then, only Kiss did that, and that was wrong. Nights in Satan’s Service, whatever it was. If you didn’t go through that, good, but I can remember when there were fights and church splits over styles of music. You can have preferences, but it was downright crazy and such a limited expression and artistic expression and an ability to express was on the inside.
[00:23:00] The Bible tells us that God puts a new song in our heart. What’s important about that verse is if you do a little bit of research, you’ll find out that that word, He puts a new song actually means He retunes my heart, which means that something’s gone out of tune. It went out of tune in Genesis 3. In Genesis 3, the beautiful creation of this instrument of praise of our lives went out of tune, but Jesus came and died on a cross [00:23:30] and rose from a grave and can save us and retune our lives by the Holy Spirit. That tune is meant to praise and to show expression towards one who saved us. Let me tell you something. Everyone in this room is a worshiper. Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good singer. Let’s just be honest about that, but everybody in this room sings praise and worship to what stirs their hearts.
As a matter of fact, I think it was 2010, I had [00:24:00] the opportunity through the graciousness of somebody in this church to go to the U2 concert at AT&T Stadium. If you don’t know who U2 is, probably going to call your salvation into question, but maybe the world’s greatest band. Anyways, I go to this concert with my … That was a joke for those of you who are like, “I don’t think that’s very funny at all.” I know who The Gaithers are. Anyways, I go to this concert. I got my oldest son with me. We’re sitting there and they get to the part where they’re going to sing probably one of their greatest songs I Still Haven’t [00:24:30] Found What I’m Looking For. If you’ve never heard that, you need to go find it and listen to it.
We’re sitting there, and we had these incredible seats. You can’t imagine. I could have just reached out and touched Bono. Anyways, all of the sudden, everybody’s phones, used to, back when you went to the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, it was lighters, and I know you borrowed somebody’s, but anyways, now they take phones and they do their phones like this. Everybody takes their phones and starts doing this and something happens where literally the band quits singing [00:25:00] and 100,000 people, listen to me carefully, start praising. I’m not saying they were truthfully worshiping, but something was stirred in their hearts and they could not help but be a part of that singing.
What am I getting at? What I’m telling you is I hope this is a place so open to what God has done through us and to us that when we have the opportunity through creativity and expression, there’s something that comes out [00:25:30] of us that we cannot help but express it. It doesn’t matter what style. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in tune or not. It just means that something has to come out of us.
I’ll give you a little bit of a scary thing out of the scriptures. You can write this one down and go back and read it. It’s 2 Samuel chapter 6. It’s a scary story. David, you know David, Goliath, all that stuff. He’s got the bad side of his life, too, with Bathsheba and all that, but in 2 Samuel chapter 6, the [00:26:00] story goes that the ark of the covenant is being brought back to its home in Jerusalem. If you don’t know what the ark of the covenant is, remember Raiders of the Lost Ark and Harrison Ford and everybody melted? That’s your only frame of reference. The ark of the covenant is brought back.
Here’s what happens with David. I’m going to paraphrase. You go back and read it. David, when the ark of God comes back because here’s what it means. It means the presence of God has come back to where it’s [00:26:30] supposed to be. He got so overwhelmed that he started busting out and throwing down and dancing. He’s throwing off outer clothes. We’re probably going to draw a line at that one, but he starts just going down, so much so that there are some people who are ridiculing him. David goes off and he says this. He says, “Listen, you think this is bad. I’m about to break it off.” He uses a different word, but he says, “I’m about to go crazy [00:27:00] dance because you don’t like it.”
Listen, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians, we should do everything decently and in order, but I can tell you this. Years ago, I stood in this auditorium and I pulled a little joke on the crowd. I had us all do our cheer for our football teams. It was an amazing Sunday. You Aggies, I remember, you were like, “Well, let’s put our arms around each other and lock legs and do this and all that.” The Longhorns were singing, “I’ll be Working [00:27:30] on the Railroad,” that song they do. The Raiders were throwing tortillas. Everybody comes prepared. I did not have to encourage it. It was just as soon as I said something. “Oh, yeah.” You all came out. The TCU people, there were about three of them. They were like, “Ner er.” The Baylor Bear people, they were all that kind of stuff.
I stopped for a minute. I said, “The reason you do that [00:28:00] is because something inside of you is causing you to worship that, and I’m not trying to make us feel guilty, but has the Lord retuned your life that you cannot help but sing of that? The church, this place must be a place that at any form and any fashion and any way we will allow that expression so you can express what God has done in the transformation of your life.” The sweetest thing I saw this past year in all of 2016 and all of our worship services, the sweetest point of [00:28:30] worship I ever saw, and I hope you came, was during our Christmas program. Just in case you think that I’m all for everybody going crazy, the most beautiful expression of an inward change is when we were standing in here for our Christmas program, and if you were here, there was screams over here and screams over here, and we had everybody face each other. All we did was we began singing Christmas carols as they were originally written.
I watched this room turn into worship. [00:29:00] It’s not always jumping over pews and dancing down the aisles. Sometimes it’s just a solemn moment, but we must be a place that is not afraid of what God can do through worship and praise. Good? Good. That’s funny. This side liked it. Like the last point, this side liked it. Still waiting on you guys.
Let’s give you another one. This is probably the last one for the day. We’ll come back next week when I’ll be talking more about this whole idea of eldership [00:29:30] and why I think the role of senior pastor is unbiblical and what that means for a church. You’ll never find the word senior pastor in a Bible. What do you do with that? What do I do with that I mean. Don’t fire me yet, but I’m trying to figure out what to do. Here’s the next one, where winning is the constant pursuit, experimentation and application of relevant and effective discipleship. In other words, continuing to experiment and doing whatever we have to do to help equip people [00:30:00] to become everything God has designed, called, and gifted them to be.
For decades, churches have assumed that Sunday School is the only way to do that or small groups was the only way to do that, but so much has changed over the years that we as a church must just continue to commit ourselves to do whatever is possible. We’ve used this phrase before, to pace with each other so that we can help one another become everything God has designed, called, and gifted us to be. My heartbeat, and I hope it is our [00:30:30] shared heartbeat, is not that we would all become good Christians. I actually despise the word Christian. It’s only used in the Bible at best a couple of times. Really, probably only one time, and that’s in the book of Acts whenever the culture calls people Christians.
Everybody in Texas is a Christian. Everybody in America is a Christian and an evangelical. It’s lost its meaning. What I’d rather be known as is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. If they want to make fun of me and say you [00:31:00] look like a little Jesus, which is what they were calling Christians, that’s fine, but the objective is to not become the best Christians. The objective is to understand who we are in Christ and to follow Him with all of our heart and all of our soul and for each one of us to become everything he has designed, called, and gifted us to be. By the way, if you didn’t know it, you were intentionally designed and you are called out and you are gifted, regardless of what somebody said about you or told you about yourself [00:31:30] or the failure that marks you or the success you think is yours. You have been designed, called, and gifted. I do not care what somebody told you or did not tell you. You were designed intentionally, birthed intentionally, and made alive even today intentionally.
Our passion, our duty, our win is to constantly pursue ways to help you to understand that and grow as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Good? All right. Wow. That [00:32:00] was old school. Amen. All God’s people said …
Amen. Listen, I hope you’ll come back next week. As you’re closing things down, listen, at the end of the service, there’s always people down here, whether it’s in Odessa, whether it’s at North, or here, that would love to pray with you. Here’s the difficult thing. This is like a Southwest Airlines flight when we’re over. Everybody gets up, but you can’t go anywhere and it’s hard to get out. I know you know that. If making it down to the front is difficult, there’s [00:32:30] usually people in the lobby that have these badges on that say, “May I pray with you?” or even if you go back behind the bookstore where you can sign up for groups, there’ll be people there who would visit with you, talk with you, and pray with you.
Thank you for being here. Before I dismiss you, I’m going to pray over you, but remember, if you come back next week, which after today, you may not, but if you come back next week and you don’t want to sit that close to people, 9 o’clock service, noon service, and if you’re from Odessa, Bonham Junior High. [00:33:00] Go visit the Odessa campus. If you’re thinking to yourself, I don’t want to be a start of a church start, let me just tell you something quite plainly. You are probably missing an opportunity at the blessing of the Lord in starting a new church that you might never get back, and I would encourage you to be a part of that.
All God’s people said …
That’s fun. Let’s pray together. Father, thank you for this day and thank you for our time together. I want to just thank you for people who are here for the first time. This can be an overwhelming place if they’ve never been to a church [00:33:30] this size, and I hope that they have sensed welcome and given the chance to see who we are. Thank you for those who marched over to the North and thank you for our Odessa campus. Thank you for what you’ve called us to and just help us to be everything as a body of Christ you’ve designed, called, and gifted us to be and to keep in front of us this … Goal is probably the wrong word. This passion that we just absolutely believe, Father, that [00:34:00] if your son, Jesus, gets in front of people, so to speak, it can change their lives. Thank you for this day. We pray your blessing and grace for the remainder of it. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Have a good afternoon. We’ll see you.