Hello. And welcome to this teaching from Calvary Albuquerque. We're excited to hear from our special guest speaker, Steve Wilburn, who is the pastor of Core Church LA in West Los Angeles, California. We pray that God uses this message to strengthen your faith.
If it does, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving
Now we invite you to turn in your Bibles to the Book of Joel, as Steve Wilburn begins the message Time.
Well, I thought this morning, I had no concept that you guys were doing welcome weekend next weekend. And the Lord had laid this message on my heart about 10 days ago. And I thought, I'm going to do this message. And I was vacillating, going back and forth. But now that I know that you're doing welcome weekend, well, maybe this is just what God wanted.
So let's have a word of prayer and ask God's blessing on this time. Father, we just come before you, God of Heaven and Earth. Pray, God, that you would speak to our hearts. God, that you would just take your word that you would make it alive. Your Holy Spirit would speak to us in such a way that we would hear that causes us to have ears to hear what you would have us to hear this morning. For we ask this in Jesus' name, all agreeing say, amen.
Well, we're going to find our text in the Old Testament book of Joel. And I entitled this message, Time. Time-- what is it? To the scientist, time is a measuring system used to sequence events. Yet, for most of us, we just know time is when we get up in the morning. And, of course, there's a time for every thing under the sun. You know that. There's a time to change the baby. We all know when it's that time. That's right.
But time can also move in slow motion. Like I felt like I was in the fifth grade for 35 years. Am I ever going to get out of the fifth grade? Yes. It's been said that time waits for no one. If you snooze, you lose. And speaking of time, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verse 1, it says, "there's a time for everything under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to weep, and a time to laugh."
And of course, there's Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. He sings, time is on his side. But looking at him and Keith Richards, I'm not so sure time is on his side. And it was John Lennon that said this quote, "time you enjoy wasting was not wasted," end quote. But I say, time wasted is wasted.
Know this, we as Christians, we have no time to waste, for the call of God is seeking those who have ears to hear, to speak the truth of God to a lost world. Understand, God never asked the atheist. He never asked the agnostic. He never asked the evolutionist to ever say anything about the life-changing message of the cross. But he has asked you and me as believers to be lights that shine in this present darkness.
It was Hudson Taylor that said this quote, "The great commission is not an option. It's a command to be obeyed." Well, this morning, in light of our title, Time, we will consider three points as we look into this Old Testament book of Joel.
Number one, our time is difficult. The time that we live in is difficult. Number two, our time to prepare, which is now. And of course, our third point, our time is now.
Let's look at our first point here, our time is difficult. And that's exactly what it was for the prophet Joel. He was facing what seemed to be insurmountable odds in trouble. Now trouble in the dictionary means things that disturb us, things that agitate us, things that harass us and cause us to worry, things that bring great difficulty and pain.
This is why Joel records this message of hope. And he does it with great passion. Let's see what we can glean here this morning from the trouble that Joel was facing, for his trouble was locusts. Millions of locusts. They devoured the land. Now, some of you might think, well, what does locusts have to do with us today. How can that relate to us? Well, they can relate to us in every way.
For Joel's message is timeless. Because trouble, the difficulties and pains of life, they hit every single one of us, from the rich to the poor, from the popular to the ordinary. For trouble and hardships left unattended in our lives will eat us alive as they devour our joy, as they steal our peace, and they wreak havoc in our lives.
It's been said there are opportunities in every difficulty, and difficulties in every opportunity. Things want to sway us away from serving the Lord. I remember when I was first diagnosed with PPC. This is a very serious condition. PPC stands for Post-Preaching Comma. I have this every Sunday. I teach three Sunday morning services. I talk to people. I welcome them. I say goodbye to them. I kiss the babies. I pray for people.
So when I pull out of the parking lot, I usually get about 13 feet and then I go into a full coma. So this one Sunday, I had promised my wife I was going to get her a gym membership at LA Fitness. There's an LA Fitness across the street from our church. So I thought, well, I'm going to go over there and get her the membership real quick and go home.
And so, of course, I pull out of the parking lot, I get 13 feet, I go into my coma. So now, I'm walking in to get her the gym membership. Any these guys are like used car salesmen. They want to upsell you. They want to give you this, and you need that. I go, no, I just want to get in the door. I just want my wife to come in the door, she'll figure everything else out. We don't need anything else. What's the cheapest you can do?
And the guy is giving me the whole sales pitch. And I'm just sitting there in my coma just looking at him. And so he's on the computer, and this guy is Mr. Stud Muffin, and there's all these people walking about in perfect bodies. And he's chomping away at the computer. And the Lord lays on my heart, it's like, why don't you tell him how much I love him. I'm like, yes, it's not going to happen.
Lord, I'm in my coma. Come on. I've been serving you all day. So, a couple minutes goes by, and he's still plugging away and making up the contract and everything. The Lord tells me again, why don't you tell him how much you love him. Yeah, this guy doesn't want to hear it. Look at him, look at him. Who needs to have the devil to sway us away, we talk ourselves out of it. This guy is not going to listen. What if he asks me a question. I don't know. My brain is a bunch of jelly right now.
So then another couple minutes goes by. And the Lord is like, the third time, tell him. OK. Fine. But you're going to see, he doesn't want to hear. So he's going-- I go, hey, so when is the last time someone told you that there's a God in heaven that loves you? And he's like-- [BRAKING] What? And I go, oh, here we go. I go, when's the last time someone told you there's a God in heaven that loves you?
And he goes, I can't believe you're telling me that right now. My mom's been praying for me. Man, I'm going through such a hard time in my life right now. I'm like, what? Really? And so, all of a sudden, I'm talking to this guy.
I started telling him about Jesus and the hope that we can have in him. And how God loves us and his commitment to us, where he'll never leave us or forsake us and that he can forgive us of our sin. Our sin can be washed away. We can know the living God. He can live inside of our heart.
And I'm just getting into it. I'm telling him. And he goes-- and I said, right here, right now, at your desk, with all these people walking by, you could ask Jesus Christ into your heart as your savior. And he goes, I'd like to do that. What? Are you serious? I couldn't believe it. The guy gave his life to Christ. It was amazing.
Never underestimate what God can do in your life. It was sitting there on a golden platter. I almost missed it. I almost missed it. Yes, opportunities are filled with difficulties. Yet, I wonder what blessings await all of us? What doors could be opened if we would simply knock on them? If we could just get past the possibility of rejection.
I suppose some of the best stories ever told are the ones that never happened. Understand, we are all called to proclaim the gospel. The Bible says in First Peter 2:9 that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous lights. Think about that. We are to reflect. We are to mirror God's marvelous lights.
I've been here in your great city here for about less than 24 hours. I just flew in yesterday afternoon, me and my friend Jim, here. And we've already shared with 12 people here in your city. It's like, we're on the plane, you know, we're getting off. And all of a sudden, we're on the rental bus, the shuttle that goes over to the rental cars.
And all of a sudden, this lady starts talking about my friend's shoes. I mean, you're commenting on his shoes? Then it opens up this whole conversation. She goes, you know, I can't stand Christians, especially Calvary Chapel. I mean, like of all things to say. Then the next thing she goes, what are you doing here, anyway? Well, I'm a Christian, I'm a pastor. I'm going to speak at a church. What church? Calvary Chapel.
It was so funny. But it opened up this door. We started talking, a dialogue. Guess where she lives? Los Angeles. She lives 10 minutes from my church. I was like, let me give you a card. Let me tell you-- and so, we got to share with her.
We get to the rental counter, we share with the Hertz lady. We get to the gate to get out of the rental car thing, we share with that gal, and we talk to her. I mean, it's like everywhere we went. We went to eat at Sadie's, we share with the girl that seated us. And then we share with the waitress. I mean, we're like sharing machines in your city. And it's all your people. These people need to hear this.
In 1912, William Borden, a graduate of Yale University, heir to the Borden family fortunes, left all to be a missionary in China. But he only got as far as Egypt and he dropped dead of cerebral meningitis. He was only in his 20s. But in his Bible was written, no reserve, no retreat, and no regrets. In his service to God, he didn't hold back. He never turned away from his calling. And he left this life into the next with no regrets.
Let me ask you. If you were to die today-- which I hope you don't die today-- but if you were, would you have regrets? What do you really live for? I mean, seriously. Where is your true passion? What gets you motivated?
I'm reminded of what Jeremiah said when he debated, I'm no longer speaking for the Lord. You can't blame him. Nobody listened to him. They beat him. He was a laughing stock. And he finally just got sick of it. In Chapter 20, he said, God, I'm clocking out. It's over. I'm done. Ta-ta. I'm not going to speak another word in your name. But then as he barely gets that off in Verse 9, he says, but if I don't speak the words that you've given me, they burn inside of me like a fire and I can't hold them in.
Wow. Shouldn't all Christians be like that? This morning, as we read of the trouble that the prophet Joel was facing, think about all the trouble our world is facing today. The threat of terrorism. And I think when we all watched what happened in Paris France, we knew it was coming here.
And it was just a few days later, and it hit San Bernardino. That's right next to Riverside, where Pastor Greg Laurie's church is. It's about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. I grew up in Riverside, Ontario. It's right in between San Bernardino. It happened right there.
And you know it's going to happen more. It's happening all over. The police officer that got shot in the arm there in Philly. All of these things happening. Don't you think that's freaking out the people that are around you?
We've got North Korea that just supposedly tried out a hydrogen bomb. Well, maybe it was a hydrogen bomb. Maybe it was just some other nuclear bomb. We just paved the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons now. The world economy is in the toilet. You've got governments that are going bankrupt. We, the United States, we have a $20 trillion debt. It's a mess.
Don't think that the people around you aren't a little freaked out about what's going on around us, which brings up this first point, again. Our time is difficult. Read with me what Joel said about his time in Joel, Chapter 1, picking up in Verse 4. I'll be reading out of the new American Standard Bible. It says, "What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust is eaten. What the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten. What the creeping locust has left. The stripping locust has eaten."
Well, one thing for sure, there's a whole lot eating going down here, and none of it has green chilies on it. That's for sure. But understand, there are so many locusts in life. Let's see what we can relate out of these locusts that Joel is facing. First, we have the gnawing locusts. If you have a King James Bible, it's the palmer-worm.
But the interesting thing is what the Hebrew word is. The Hebrew word is one that devours. This could represent the cares of this world. It's those things that devour from the outside. The ups and downs of life, you could say. From self-indulgence to the lust of the flesh. It's anything that becomes a distraction in our lives. Know this, distractions can and will devour the plans and purposes that God has for every single one of us.
Second, we have the creeping locust. And in King James, it's the cankerworm. Comes from the Hebrew word that means one that comes and licks up the leftovers. I wonder if the cankerworm has had a field day with your desires? Because if we were honest, many times we are our own worst enemy. We are so prone to wander. An idle time can be our biggest downfall, as we miss opportunities by giving in to our desires instead of being open to the Holy Spirit of God.
The third locust is the stripping locust. In King James, it's the caterpillar. Oh, look at the little caterpillar, he's so cute. Wrong. In the Hebrew, this word comes out as the ravager. This is the one that represents the devil himself. Because the Bible likens Satan to a lying, seeking, who he may devour.
Remember what happened with the devil-- he came to Jesus at one point and asks for Peter. He says, I want to sift him like wheat. Jesus shared that with Peter. The devil called you out by name. He wants to sift you like wheat. Could you imagine Jesus telling you that? Well, what did you say to him? Did you say no? Don't let him have me.
Jesus called Satan in John 10:10 one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Yes, we can all agree with Joel that these same locusts are still trying to eat us alive today. We're surrounded by those that are being devoured. In your city, people have been getting licked up and ravaged by the enemy. Yes, our times are difficult without question.
But we are not called as Christians to pull a blanket over our heads. We're not called to go crawl in some hole and just wait for the rapture to happen. We are called as the people of God to rise up. We are called as men and women of God-- rise up. It's time to do something. We're called to move in the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish his work in the here and now.
Some might say, amen. Some might say-- well, the six of you that liked that. But anyway, but moving on. Here it is. You might say, well, if I was on the mission field, you don't understand, pastor, come on. Seriously. I work 40-50 hours a week. You might say, well, I've got kids, I've got this, I've got all these things. We don't have time to do this. One day. One day. If I can just get on the mission field-- one day, I'll serve the Lord.
Well, let me tell you where the mission field is for you. It's not in a mud hut. And it's not eating bugs. It's only 36 inches away, because 36 inches is the average height of a doorknob. So the doorknob of your front door. All you do is just go there and you open it up. And that's your mission field.
You don't have to go anywhere. Since we got off the plane, we've been talking to the people at the hotel, the people in the elevator this morning. The people came in the elevator this morning-- it's like, hey, when is the last time someone told you that there's a God in heaven that loves you in the elevator? And they said, that's never happened before. I go, well, it's happening right now.
That's all it takes, opening the door and allowing the Holy Spirit to use you. Again, you know-- newsflash. The mission field is all around us. The mission field is your city in Albuquerque. Oswald Chambers said this quote, "God plants saints in the most useless places."
And we say, well I should be over there where I can be more useful. Yeah. Jesus never estimates our usefulness by our standards. "God puts his people where they will glorify him, and we are not capable of judging where that is." End quote.
Yes, God desires all of humanity to know him. When Paul the Apostle-- he was full of religiosity, he was the Pharisee, the Hebrew of Hebrews, yeah, yeah, yeah. He had nothing but dead religion inside of him. And what did he say in Philippians 3? I want to know him.
And that word in the Greek means I want to have a relationship with God. I want to have an intimate relationship with him. I don't want to just go to some building and carry a book and sing his songs, I want to know him. And that's what God wants us to do, which brings up our second point-- our time to prepare. And look what he says here in Joel, Chapter 2, Verse 12.
He says, "Yet even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all of your heart and with fasting and weeping and mourning, and rid your heart, and not your garments. Now therefore," he says, "return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious, he is compassionate, he is slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness, and relenting of evil."
Wow. Yes, it's time for the church to move. Know this, in order to see revival happen outside of these church doors, revival must first start here at the pulpit and go down into every chair, into every heart in this place. Because if revival doesn't stir in the hearts of the believers, it will never stir outside. If God's people don't get excited about the message that we can live forever, that we can know God, we can know the one that said, let there be light, and there was light.
If we don't get excited about it, no one else is going to get excited. They're just going to look at you like, excuse me, were you baptized in lemon juice? Yeah. OK. I don't want that. I'm not into that. No. Yes, we must return to the Lord, he says. And we must rend our hearts. Rend our hearts. That word rend means to tear it open. God, here's my heart, just come inside and do whatever you want.
See, in the Old Testament, people would repent, they would tear their clothes. God says, save your clothes. I don't care about tearing your clothes. Tear your heart open. Let me come inside. Let me stir you up inside. Let me make it alive inside of you.
Yes, some believers have said that the Christian life is boring. Yet, for those who walk in obedience, the Christian life is far from boring. Have you ever thought that maybe it's us who bore the Christian life by our lack of desire to serve the Lord?
Listen to who God has called us to be in Malachi 2:6. He says, this is who my true believer should look like. He says, "True instruction was in his mouth. And unrighteousness was not found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and in brightness. And what was the fruit of that woman, that man? And many were turned back from iniquity." Many were turned back.
We're called to share this life changing message of the cross with the sick and dying world. And sometimes, people hear the message and they walk away. While other times, it changes their life.
Like me, my parents got divorced when I was 16. They both left. I was on my own. I got a girl pregnant in high school. I was taking drugs and drinking. Could you imagine me on speed? There's a scary thought. Anyway, all of these things were happening. But someone looked at me, this worthless kid that was just a total mess. And they stopped and they shared with me. And it changed the course and direction of my life.
I was on the highway to hell, and all of a sudden, I hung a U-turn. I turned around, a fork in the road came. And I took the other way. And God changed my life. It was EM Bounds that said this, "We need holy men and women to stand before dying men and women and proclaim the salvation of God to them."
Next weekend is welcome weekend. Who are you bringing? Everyone should be bringing somebody. You've got to come to my church. I'm going to come pick you up. I'll take you out to lunch afterwards, man. We'll just go to Sadie's and pile on the green chilies. They're like, whatever. But I'm picking you up. You're coming with me.
God wants to use us. Understand, if our current lifestyle is stealing all of our time, it's stealing all of our resources, and those around us never see or hear that there's a God in heaven that loves them, something is wrong. How tragic it would be if one day we stand before the Lord God and we would be guilty of squandering the greatest message of all humanity, that Jesus died for the sin of all people, that we could be forgiven and have a relationship with him?
Yes, every single person we know should hear this message, and they should hear it from us. Let me ask you, if life ended here today, what do we have that would last into the next life? Think about it. All your possessions, the things you collect, your trophies, your rewards. My Harley Davidson in the garage has more chrome on it than is humanly possible.
All of these things. What actually goes with us to the next life? How about nothing. Nothing goes into the next life. You don't see a hearse that's pulling a U-Haul trailer. It just doesn't happen. And so, the only thing that goes into the next life is what we have surrendered to him in obedience.
Remember, Jesus said this in Revelations 22:12, he says, "Behold, I am coming quickly. And my reward is with me to render to every man and woman according to what they have done." To what you have done, which brings up our third and final point-- our time is now. For we must grasp our true calling to be bearers of light.
As you know we're not the light. Jesus is the light of the world. But we are to shine his light as we get our eyes off of our own drama. Listen to what God said would happen to us here in Joel, Chapter 2, Verse 25. He says, "Then," he says, "I will make up for you the years that the swarming locust has eaten." The creeping locust, the stripping locust, the gnawing locust.
He says, I will make up for you. Think about that. God is going to make up all the years that the locusts have eaten. The one who has devoured. The one who was ravaged. The one who has come alongside and licked up the leftovers. All the things that have been eaten up in our lives. When we serve him, God starts working everything out for us.
It was the Apostle Paul that said this. He was a ravager of that early church. He was a persecutor. And he had Christians killed. He had them put in prison and beaten. But what did he say in Philippians 3? "But this one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward what lies ahead. I press on for the prize of the upward call of God and Christ Jesus."
The goal. The prize. It's like I'm going to see God one day. I'm going to walk in. And because he's so gracious, he's going to say, well done now good and faithful servant. Could you imagine if it was true? Could you imagine if you were the well done now good and faithful servant? You were faithful. Daddy, I just did what you asked me to do. I just talked to people. Little old me, just talking to people.
Yes, today. No matter what we've done or not done, our lives can start fresh. We can leave here filled with his purpose, filled with his plan, and empowered by his Holy Spirit. What an incredible opportunity he has given to us all. We live in the most strategic time of all of history. Think about it. This is what I believe is the end times.
That's why time is of the essence. For the time in which we live continues to unravel. It continues to get darker and darker. Men in California, men like grown men who think they're a woman, who walk in and be in a girl's bathroom. If you're in high school, you're a high school senior and you say, I want to be a girl, now, you can go into the girl's bathroom and the locker room and showers. This is legal now.
Have we lost our mind? What has happened? Where did the train come off the tracks? It's a dark time that we live in. Yet God is raising up an army of light to spread the good news-- his salvation. Understand, God has not called any of us to serve him in the power of our own weakness. But rather, Jesus said, my power is made perfect in your weakness.
My power, he said. It comes from the Greek word dunamis. It's where we get our English word dynamite. He says, my power is made perfect in your weakness. We could all be used by God. We can have impact on those that are around us to have impact on a world that's lost its hope. God went on to speak to our generation through the prophet Joel in the Old Testament.
Listen to what he said that in Chapter 2, Verse 28. He says, "And it will come about after this." What? After what? After the new covenant that Jeremiah talked about. After the church age comes in, where we can all know God personally. He says, "that I will pour my spirit out upon all mankind."
No longer do you have the one guy that represents God to all the people-- Moses, Elijah on Mount Carmel, just the one guy that's the spokesman. Now, he says, "I'm going to pour my spirit out on all mankind. And your sons and your daughters, they'll prophesy." Which is a word that means expound on the word of God. "Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. And even on your male and your female servants, I will pour my spirit in those days."
And then what happens in the New Testament? We're told in First Corinthians 3:16. He says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwells in you?" Do you not know that? And see, he says, you're the temple. It's no longer-- this is a building. No. he's like, no, the church is the people. This is just a building. You are the Church. You are the temple.
There's a couple words he uses for temple in the New Testament. One of them is [NON-ENGLISH] which means the temple. Like, there's the temple, there's the whole building, there's the whole gizmo over there. But there's another word that he uses. And this word that he uses is [NON-ENGLISH]. And when he's talking about the [NON-ENGLISH] he's talking specifically-- not about just the temple-- he's talking about the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was set.
The Ark of the Covenant was carried into battle in the Old Testament because it was a representative of the presence of God. And the Ark of the Covenant would sit in the Holy of Holies, that the high priest can only going in once a year to that place. He says, that's the [NON-ENGLISH].
And now, to the believer today, he says, you are the [NON-ENGLISH]. The presence of the living God is right in the middle of your hearts. And he says, we need to just get unleashed and use your mouth, use your feet, use your smile, use your eyes, because the [NON-ENGLISH] wants out. He wants the power to be seen by your neighbors, your coworkers. That's what God has called us.
Today, you might think-- like the bishop in England thought, what he said, or wherever the Apostle Paul went, there was either a riot or a revival. But wherever I go, they just serve tea. Meaning, nothing happens where I go. But know this, God wants and desires to use us, to be his servants, to be used by him. For this is what Jesus did. His whole life was what? An example of what? Servanthood.
Consider the contrast between Jesus Christ and Alexander the Great, who is considered by some historians as the greatest man in secular history. Both died at the age of 33. Alexander the Great died in Babylon. Jesus Christ died on Calvary. Alexander gained all for himself. Jesus gave all of himself for us. Alexander conquered every throne. Jesus conquered every grave. Alexander made all men slaves. Jesus made all men free. Alexander built his kingdom on taking life. Jesus built his kingdom on giving life.
Alexander won the whole Earth, only to lose it in the end along with heaven, while Jesus lost his life only to rise again from the dead and gain heaven and Earth for all of us, for all of eternity. Alexander the Great is dead. He's buried and he's awaiting judgement at the great white throne judgment, while Jesus is alive, forevermore, as king of kings and lords of lords. And he lives in our hearts.
Jesus came, he lived, he died. He rose again as an example of total servanthood. Listen to how he ends here in the book of Joel, in Joel Chapter 3, Verse 13, he says this, "Put the sickle. Put in the sickle for the harvest is ripe. Come and tread for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes and multitudes are in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision."
Wow. The Lord is near in the valley of decision. Today, every single one of us are in the valley of decision. What is your decision? That word decision in the Hebrew means it's a diligent and a strict decision, meaning you must decide what you're going to do. What are you going to do? We're all in this valley.
It has a twofold meaning here. First, to the believer-- will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to use you? Will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to use you at your job? Will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to use you in your home? Will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to use you when you go to Albertson's or the grocery store and the bank, the gas station. We just allow, wherever you're at.
There's people praying for people. People move here to this city. And people are praying from Idaho and all these other places. And they're praying, oh God, just speak to-- you know-- my son-- down at-- they're going to college at the college-- God, just do something-- and they're out here living a hellion life.
And all of a sudden, you've got this person praying for them. Are you going to be that vessel that God can use that he can tap into? It's OK. No problem. I've got that prayer answered because right here, I'm going to use you. I'm going to use you. Because you're going to speak to this person. You're going to run into them at the mall.
And second, this is a decision to the non-believer, or the prodigal son or the prodigal daughter, would you come back home? Would you come home? I wonder how many prodigals are here? Do you still come to church because you kind of feel like it? It's kind of a cultural thing, I go to church, still. But you've got some sin in your life.
You've actually become that prodigal son or prodigal daughter. You've drifted away. Your heart is far from God. You've allowed all these other things to come in and consume you. And yet, yeah, you come, you bring the book, you sing a song. But yet, it's like something is missing because you walked away.
You made a profession of faith at one point, but you're far from the Lord. He said, I want you to come home. Acts 3:19 says this, repent and return to the Lord. Well, you can't return to something you never knew. He's talking to the believer that has kind of drifted away. Your heart is far. He says, you need to repent.
Repent is a term that means that you're walking in one direction. Repent means stop, and turn, and go another way. And in a biblical sense, to repent means to stop going your way, where you want to go, doing what you want to do. He's saying stop, and do, and go my way.
I have a way that I want you to go in. I have a purpose and a plan. And trust me, his plan is better than our plan. So you have to repent, therefore. And he goes on to say, repent, therefore, return to the Lord, so your sin may be forgiven, washed clean. And times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
I wonder if there's anyone here today that needs refreshing from the presence of God? Refreshing from the King himself. It's time to make a decision. Will you serve him? If you drifted, will you come home? If you don't know him, you had just some religious upbringing, but you're not born again. You've never been born from above, you've never asked Jesus in your heart. Is it time for you to come to him?
It's a day of decision. Amen. Let's pray. Father, we just come before, Lord. Thank you so much for this great opportunity, Lord, to open your word today. Thank you so much for this opportunity to seek what your Holy Spirit desires in our life.
And I wonder here, as we just have a few minutes, before this service concludes, is there anyone here today, as the Holy Spirit of God as searching your heart, he's testing your mind, that you say, God, I need to repent. I need to get right with you. God, I've drifted. I need to get back. I need to get back to the things that are important. I need to come home.
If that's your desire, whether you've never known the Lord, or you've drifted away, whatever the case may be. You know and God knows. But you know you need to get right with him this morning. If that's your desire with every head bowed, every eye closed, will you just raise up your hand?
I want to pray for you. God bless you. Raise up your hand where I can see it. God bless you. God bless you and you. Anybody else? You need to get right. God bless you in the back. On the side, God bless you. Anybody else in this last moment, you need to get right with God this morning. All right. You can put your hands down.
Father, I just come before you, Lord. And I pray, God, that you would move in the hearts of every single person, God, that you would give them the strength, today, that this would be a new day, that you would give them the strength to make a stand for you. For we ask it in Jesus' name, all agreeing say, amen.
I'm going to ask you to do something a little radical. See, I've got the time back here. I've got three minutes and 20 seconds to pull this off. OK. So it's going to have to happen pretty quick. But listen, if you raised your hand, even if you didn't, but you need that renewal, you need to get right.
You say, God, I want to get right with you today. I want this to be a new day in my life. I want all things to be passed away. I want to walk out of this church different than I walked in. I want to really just say God, do it. I'm offering myself up to you as a sacrifice offering.
Whether you raised your hands or not, I'm going to ask you here in a moment to come forward. The reason I'm asking you to come forward, to stand up, is because if you're serious, you'll stand. If you're serious, you'll come.
Why? When Jesus called people, he called them openly and publicly. Why, again? He wanted to embarrassed them. No, just kidding. Of course he didn't want to embarrass them. But what he said was, look, if you want to follow me, then be real.
I don't want you wear a brown bag over your head with two holes in it-- the unknown Christian. And you're either going to stand for me or you're not going to stand for me. That's why Jesus says, whoever confesses me before men, I'll confess before my Father in Heaven.
But if you deny me before men, if you don't even stand for me in my own house, before the Lord, he says, then I will deny you before my Father in Heaven. Wow. Whoa. Huh. That's radical. Listen, this is a time of great joy. This is a time of saying, you know what, I'm marking this date in my calendar. I'm going to put it in my Bible. This is the day that God is going to start using me. This is the day that I'm surrendering to him. This is the day that I'm going to be a servant.
If you raised your hand, even if you didn't, we're going to sing a little song here with the worship team. You stand up right now. You stand. You stand. You come. You come. Stand up. You come. You come. Those of you that raised your hand, you come. If you didn't raise your hand, you come. You stand right here, I'm going to pray for you. You come.
[SINGING] Christ is in love for me. Christ is in love for me. Everything I need is in you. Everything I need. Christ is enough. Christ is in love for me. Christ is in love for me. Everything I need is in you. Everything I need. I have decided. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.
Amen. But listen, I'm going to pray for each and every one of you. And you know what, this is going to be a day of great renewal inside of you. Amen. It's going to be brand new. New day. Fresh start. So it doesn't matter what has happened or what has happened, this is going to be brand new today.
And right before we pray, right before I lead you in this prayer, is there not one more person who garnishes work it in your heart right now. And you need to be down here. You think, I missed the window. Everyone is done clapping. The song is over. No, you didn't miss the window. It's still open. Is there anyone else in this last moment? You come.
God bless you. All right. God bless you. God bless you. All right. Amen. I'm going to lead you in this prayer. And this is just rending our heart, like what we talked about. Just opening our heart. Say, God, just use me, take me. And God is just going to take you. And he's going to love on you. And he's going to cleanse you of anything that's in your life. So it's a new day, new slate, everything is brand new. Amen.
Pray this now after me. Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Jesus, I love you. And I believe you died for me. And I believe you were buried. And I believe you rose again. Just come inside of me. Take all of me. Cleanse me of my unrighteousness. Be my Lord. Be my God. Be my savior. Let people look at my eyes and see you, and fill me, overflowing, with your Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name.
And Father, I pray for this entire congregation, Lord, that your Holy Spirit, will just fall fresh upon all of us, that you would move inside of us, for we ask it in Jesus' name, all agreeing say, amen, Amen. Wow. Wow.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Albuquerque featuring our guest speaker Steve Wilburn. How will you put the truth you learned today in action? Let us know. Email email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for listening to this message from Calvary Albuquerque.