The Way Back To God

Examining The Important Question, "What Is True Repentance?".

Ross Sawyers
Jun 6, 2021    46m
Have you felt like your sins have driven you far from God? This lesson taught out of the Book of Joel examines the important question of what is true repentance? Because when we truly understand repentance, we can find our way back to a close relationship with God. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:51] Things we would say are immoral from God's perspective, have now become morality, and that our morality is actually considered dangerous. Well, what do you do in a nation that no longer blushes at sin, but rather expects everyone to celebrate sin? It's a similar national crisis that was going on in the days of the prophets, which we're spending our time in.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:26] Lorraine Holland just came on our staff, she's an associate women's minister, and I'm excited for that for our ladies, and for our church as a whole. She just read the scripture a minute ago, and so in Joel chapter 2, that's where we'll spend our time in verses 12 to 17, exactly what she read.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:42] We're thinking this summer about the minor prophets, there's 12 of them. And we're just doing an overview so we can grab a good idea of this part of the Bible. The Jews, they actually see these twelve prophets as one book. It's a single narrative, and they call it the Book of the Twelve. And the narrative that runs through it, is that of a broken covenant that they've broken their promise with God, the people of God have and they're refusing to repent and therefore judgment is coming on them. And yet, there's a future hope for them. These prophets are not just dire in the things that they say, there is a hope in the midst of their prophecy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:30] So I'd like us to hang out primarily in Joel. I'll Touch base in Obadiah, it's a one-chapter prophet, if you ever want to have confidence reading a whole book of the Bible, choose Obadia and you'll knock it out in short order, and you'll be able to say you read a book of the Bible. I'd like for us to look at it briefly in light of Joel. Joel's name as a common name in the Old Testament days, it means that the Lord is God. And many of the prophets that we read, we have detail on them, on when they wrote, what they did, who the king was in the time that they were writing. With Joel, we don't have any of that information, we're not sure if he wrote this in 800 B.C. or if he wrote this in 580 B.C. And yet, what he said is timeless, and we know that it fits what was going on in the days of the oncoming Assyrian invasion as well as the Babylonian invasion a bit later.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:38] I'm working on, some of you have requested, and I'm working on a chart or a timeline. Something that is simple enough that we can grab hold of the main historical ideas here, and yet not so convoluted that you look at it and think, I can't even sort through that. So in the next week or two, I hope to have that for you. This is all summer, so we'll get it, and have it in a way that it'll come together.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:07] We've been trying to show ways that outside of biblical history, what does this look like as well? And let's just suppose Joel was written in 580'ish B.C. What was going on outside of biblical history in that time, in the middle sixth century, the foundation of the Temple of Olympia of Zeus, and I think we might have that picture of that temple. So that was being built in about the same time frame as the southern part of Israel was being taken captive by Babylon. So just some outside historical perspective of what was happening.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:46] When a nation is in crisis, the question that I would ask today, and the main idea was to think about, is what is the way back to God? Now, I recognize not everybody is interested in making their way back to God, but if they were, what would be the way back to him? If we drifted into this crisis, how do we make our way back? I want to give the context to Joel, in the first chapter, he tells us to pass on. He says, I want you to pass this on to your sons, what I'm about to tell you, and then from their sons to the next generation. And I love that idea, that's one of the things when we teach our discipleship path, the eight ways, so that once God teaches us something, then he's entrusted it so that we might pass it on to someone else.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:34] Now, when you're training your children, those of you who have smaller children, there are things that you train them to do right now that you don't have to say in a few years, it'll just be natural to them, they'll just do it. And for many, it's already natural just to pass on the things that God is saying to you. For others, it's not quite natural yet, and so we run with that idea of training and disciplining so that we pass on the things God is teaching us, and there comes a point where it just naturally flows. That's what Joel is telling them to do, is make sure this gets passed down.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:10] Now, he describes in chapter one a locust plague that has devastated the land. We don't know if it's a metaphorical plague, or if it is a literal plague. We know the locust plagues happened quite a bit in this part of the world, so it's conceivable that it's happened, it's for real, and he's using it as a metaphor for a human invasion of an army that's about to come to the same devastation that the locusts have done. Now, last summer, in the midst of the pandemic, in Africa, there was a locust plague. And I want to just give you a picture, so you have an idea of the kind of devastation that comes about when locusts come by the millions.

Video: [00:07:06] (Video plays)

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:18] Now, I don't know if the sound we're hearing is like people herding the locusts and trying to move them on, or they're running for their lives, I don't know what it is. But we opted out of showing you the funny one that Travis found of somebody with a baseball bat swinging at them, if you're a baseball player, that would be heaven right there because you're never going to miss you will hit a thousand if you're hitting in the midst of a locust plague. But he describes in chapter one the devastation, and you can see just in that clip the kind of devastation that would come as the locusts make their way across the land. And in the same way, this human army is coming, that's going to do the same to them because of their lack of repentance.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:01] But is there a way, when we're in a national crisis of morality, is there a way to avoid the devastation? I would say yes. In 12 and 13 of chapter two, those two verses, we start with this idea, the way back to God is through torn hearts. The way back to God is through torn hearts. What do I mean by that? Verse 12, "Yet even now..." The LORD has described all that's going on, he's the one leading the invasion and, “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God," He describes all this devastation that's coming because of their sinful rebellion against God, and he says, yet even now though, you can come back. The word return is the same word for repent, it's to turn back, turn back from the way you're going, and you can come back. And how do you do that? He says, do it with all your heart, with all of the way that you think, with all of your emotions, with all of your actions, with all of your motives, turn back to me, your whole self to me, this is the way back to God. It's the way of repentance. it's turning back, God will have no rivals, he has none. In our human hearts. We choose some. But there's no one like our God, no one. And he wants our whole heart, not just part, not a mixture with other things, our whole heart, and it begins inwardly by tethering ourselves to God himself. Into the truth of God, not the truth of our culture, the truth of God, we tether to him and we seek him, it begins inwardly. And when there's an inward work going on in our hearts, oftentimes there are outward expressions that are happening.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:32] He says those outward expressions here are to do this with fasting, which means to abstain from food for the purpose of seeking God, with weeping, and with mourning. I don't know about you, but I don't weep that often over the sins of our nation. And part of what I'm asking God is to break my heart in such a way that I would weep over what's happening, and that I would mourn what is happening. Not mourn because something's happening and costing me but mourn what a nation is doing to God's name. That I would weep over a nation that is turning its back on God himself. That I would fast and seek God out, to break the hearts of our nation, to tear our hearts, to rend our hearts. In verse 13, that word red means tear. We saw in Amos Chapter 5 last week, the people were good at showing up and doing the religious thing, they knew the rituals to do, they knew when it was time to sing, they knew when it was time to pray, they knew when they were supposed to stand and read the scripture, they knew when they were supposed to hear somebody talk about it, they did all that. And God said to Amos, you tell them that I hate it, because your heart is far away. It's your heart I want, not your rituals, although the rituals can be great expressions of a right heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:16] He says, I know you know how to tear your garments, I know you know how to do that in front of me, but it's your heart that I want torn. I want your heart torn wide open so that your own skin is exposed, that you'd recognize it, acknowledge it, and turn from it. And until we acknowledge and name it, we can't repent of it. God, forgive me of my sins doesn't do it, what are those specific things. If you need a list, go to Galatians chapter 5, verses 19 through 21, and ask God when you read that, am I any of these? If you manage to read that and you're none of those, ask a friend to help you out and read the list with them. Tear our hearts,

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:13] But do you know what, we can look really good, and not know there's something really bad going on inside. My yard right now, if you drove by my house, you would think it was amazing. And it is, the grass is lush, green, thick, beautiful I was so excited about it when I got home from vacation, I videoed it and sent it to the guy who helped me lay sod last week. I said, hey, I haven't killed it yet. Because over the years I've laid more sod then I guarantee any one of you have, because I've managed to kill yards left and right. But do you know what, I mowed the yard and that same thing that took my yard out two years ago, it's there again. But you won't see it if you drive by my house. I know it's there, and I'm watching it slowly take over. You just pull it up, and it's dead. Sometimes we look really green on the outside, but when we get a good close look in, there's some root rot, and some fungus, and some things that are just killing us right now. And God saying. I want your heart torn and broken over your own sin, and then over the sins of the nation, with torn hearts.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:55] Eric Estes is leading a study in Revelation on Tuesday nights, it's fantastic. And the other night we talked about one of the churches, the church at Ephesus, and they had lost their first love. So what are those things we repent from? It’s possible that one thing we need to repent from is losing our first love of Christ. That we love Jesus, but we love about eight other things a little bit more right now. And John is writing, he's been given a vision about Ephesus, he said, look, you've lost your first love. And God says, that's what I have against you right now, you've gotten scattered, chasing after other things, come back, come back.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:41] What do we need to repent of? That Galatians 5 list of immorality, dissensions, jealousy, greed. Obadiah, just a couple of prophets over from Joel, he's writing about Edom. His prophecy is not towards Judah, it's not towards Israel, it's towards Edom. Now, when we go back in history, how did Edom come about as a nation? Jacob and Esau were in Rebekah's womb, we read this in Genesis. And Esau is given this land and it becomes the land of Edom. Jacob and Esau, it was an up-and-down kind of brother relationship, and over time, it's how it played out with the two nations. Sometimes they were friendly toward each other, sometimes not.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:37] Well, in 587 and 586 B.C, Babylon destroys Judah, the southern half of Israel. And when they do it, at the time, Edom was all in with their brother Judah. But you know what? They saw this coming; they saw Babylon was about to take over Judah. So what did they do? They saddled up with Babylon, they made an alliance with them, they partnered in with them. Uh oh, I see trouble coming, I'm going to partner with the winner over here. The problem is, Obadiah says, you gloated, Edom, over your brother Judah's defeat, you had a lot of pride in that. And do you know what happened five years later? Edom was defeated by Babylon, the very one they partnered up with to help defeat Judah. Your sins will return on your own head, we see that principle again and again, maybe we need to repent of pride. What are those things?

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:59] In a book I read on vacation, I can't remember if I mentioned it last week or not, it's called The Adversary by Martin Bubek. It's been a fantastic book, it's really just kind of revolutionizing the way I'm praying and seeking God out. But he identifies who our three enemies are. He says, if you can't identify who your enemies are, then you won't know how to pray. I think he's right. So the three enemies are flesh, it's that Galatians 5 list, and it's just that stuff within us, it's inherent, it's our sin nature and it's just things we want to do. Satan's not making us do it, we want to do it, we want to please the flesh. We're all about the sin, we love the sin, and we want to do it. We hate the consequence, maybe, but we love the sin in the moment, we indulge it. And then there's the world, and the world is doing everything it can to shape our minds and our hearts, to go against the things of God. That's rampant in our particular culture today, probably worldwide, candidly. The world is trying to shape our hearts and minds. And then there's Satan himself, the third enemy. Now, there will be times in Ephesians 4, we're told, that we leave strongholds, we leave footholds for Satan to be able to get. So if we indulge a particular sin long enough, Satan will bring his demonic forces and join that with the flesh, and then there's a real problem because that is a full-on power of sin that has taken hold. But there will be times that Satan will take the world, he'll take the flesh, and he'll utilize that. He doesn't have to do that all the time, we simply fall prey to the world, and it doesn't matter if Satan's in on it or not, we just kind of buy it. And it's subtle, so we're kind of in before we know it. These are our enemies. We need to know what to repent of, to recognize who our enemies are.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:09] And then genuine repentance, as I said, is accompanied often by outward expressions. Now, return to the Lord, your God. A few years ago, when I was on sabbatical for those who were here then, I came back and that was the most intense time for me of weeping and mourning over my own sin, not the sin of our nation, but over my own sin. Lisa found me crying more times then, she never knew how she was going to find me for two months. Sometimes we just need God to clear us out. And when we don't know how to weep, we just need to ask him, God, we help me know how to weep over my own sin and over the sins of our nation. Will you tear my heart, God, because I don't even know I know how to do it. So we're talking about heart work, it's not things we can manufacture, God does it. So we can at least ask, God, break my heart over this, break my heart over the sin, God, will do that in my own heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:25] What we can do that because in verses 13 and the second half of verse 14, we have a compassionate God. In verse 13 it says, "For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil." And what a cool thought to know that God himself is compassionate and gracious. So when we're called to repent, we're not going to some mean judge that is about to wear us out, some dad that's about just kind of lay into us, we're coming back to a compassionate God. He wants us to come back. It's like the prodigal, he's waiting, there is a way back to God and it's the way of repentance and it's a compassionate God who's waiting. And look what he says in verse 14, "Who knows?" Who knows? "Who knows what he'll do when we relent?" Who knows? If I repent, who knows what God will do? And he gives an interesting example here, he says, "Who knows that God will not turn and relent from what he was doing, the devastation he's bringing, and instead he'll leave a blessing behind." And what he describes here is exactly the law in Israel at the time, and when they were harvesting their crops, they were to leave a portion on the edges for the poor so that they would have food. And he's basically saying you're about to be empty-handed, but maybe God will relent, and he'll leave you a little bit behind t take care of you. A compassionate and gracious God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:11] There's a third thing here. The way back to God is through torn hearts, it's to a compassionate God, and then it's an urgent gathering. He is calling them to an urgent gathering. Versus 15 and 16, there are eight commands here. We tend to be more individuals, so when we think about this, we think about, I need to confess my individual sin, I need to do this by myself. But in the East, it was more communal, he's calling us together to do this. It's not that he's calling each individual to do this, he's calling us to do this together. And he's called them to say, hey, "Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, 16gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber." He's saying stop everything. Do you know what the law of the land was for a new bride and groom? Take a year off, get your marriage set right. But he's saying, no, no, come out of the bridal chamber, this is more urgent than that. It's time to weep, and mourn, and fast, and pray, we're gathering together. So everybody come out of the bridal chamber, take a break. Moms and nursing children were exempt from these kinds of gatherings, not this one. There is a national crisis, moms, children, you pick it, everybody comes, it's an urgent gathering.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:55] The priests are called to act in verse 17, "Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers, weep between the porch and the altar." One of the songs we sang earlier, Charlie Hall wrote it years ago, it's taken out of these verses in Joel Chapter 2, and in the last part that will read in a moment. But the priests were in despair, they couldn't get the people on the path that they were all moving towards. He says to him, weep between the porch and the altar. Solman, when he built the temple, the place where the priest would come in and encounter the presence of God, he was on this porch in First Kings' 8 when he dedicated the temple. But this porch also became a place of destruction, Zechariah the prophet, was murdered on this porch for things that he said as a prophet. But Joel's calling them back, he’s saying, I want you to go to the place where God meets you and go to the porch and the altar, and the priests, I want you to weep over what is going on.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:03] It was interesting the other day, a lady in our church sent me an article, and it was by a guy who talks to a lot of pastors over the course of a year. And he just said, this last year has just almost been devastating for pastors because they feel like failures in trying to lead their churches. It's like the perfect trifecta, as is with everybody else, between the pandemic, and the racial unrest, and all that is underneath that, and the election and everything that went on with the election. And between all of that, and then watching their people in the way they responded on social media to each other and to others, it just had pastors in despair. Twenty-nine percent, according to George Barna's survey, said they considered quitting. You say, well, I thought that's what you guys are supposed to do, was like carry us through this time. And that's what he said, but he said there aren't many pastors that are accustomed to leading people who, no matter what you say, week after week, no matter how you frame it, there will be a subset mad at you and they'll take something the way you said it and because of all the political maneuvering, they're mad. No pastors aren't used to that week after week after week, nor is anybody else used to what the last year was. I'm just putting this in the context of the priest, they were in despair over the national crisis. But they're called to come to the porch and the altar and weep, "And let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:03] There was something I was listening to yesterday, and then I was just praying this morning. One of the things that breaks my heart today, is Pride Month. One thing that's heartbreaking is in First Peter 5, it says God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble." So it's interesting that a month is being celebrated by the name of pride, which is the very thing to which God as opposed, it's heartbreaking. What's further heartbreaking, I was listening to a guy talk yesterday and he said, you know, Satan is a counterfeiter and a deceiver. He doesn't create anything new on his own, he takes that which is God, he mixes a little bit of lie with it and tries to masquerade it as truth. One of the very first covenants, a binding promise that God made with humanity, he said, I'll never flood the earth again. And the symbol of the covenant that God created, of which I will not bring this kind of flood of judgment on humanity again, is the very thing Satan has taken and deceived people to make that the symbol for the very thing that the scripture says will bring judgment in the end. I don't say that to be mean to somebody, but God's name is the one at stake.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:37] And as I've watched, you know, it's funny, a friend said to me, you know, you just watch commercials...And your companies, I'm sure at this point for many of you, you're seeing some version of the symbol. Commercials for games this weekend, somehow, someway, could be a guy in a pizza commercial that has a button, and then there are the rainbow colors. Or it could be just something that comes across the screen, or it's just right there on the screen. So we're going to see the rainbow colors all month long, and I'm sure that will continue. Could that be, though, as Christians...And I understand today that there are people that are watching or are here that you're going to hear me, I don't know how you'll hear me really. Because I'm afraid subtly over time with the enemy is done, he's really turned our hearts against God, while we think we're actually loving someone, and that's heartbreaking. But could we every time we see the rainbow colors that represent Pride Month, could that just be an alert to pray? Every time I see a company virtue-signaling, and a friend said to me, isn't that funny that it's called virtue-signaling? Because even by saying that, I'm saying that the culture has taken that which God says is immoral, they've made it moral, and it's actually virtue-signaling many times to put things out there that are immoral according to God's standard. And I would gladly have that conversation one on one with someone, this is not a Facebook conversation, it's not a Twitter something, this is just us. But what if, out of hearts of love for people, that, that covenant symbol of God is a reminder to pray.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:52] And this is what I want to ask us to do. I'm actually not going to ask us to gather up this Wednesday night for a one-hour urgent prayer gathering. What God put on me to ask us to do is if this is really something God is doing, and it really grabs your heart today, could we consistently over the next several weeks find one or two other people, and pray and fast and weep and mourn with them? Could we maybe take a lunch hour, or some time a day with someone else, and just sit there and pray, and if my heart's not broken over these kinds of things, then can we ask God to break our hearts together? And what if we just had all kinds of gatherings of two or three, it could be your own family, it could be your life group, but I'm not going to say, hey, I want all life groups to do this. This is a heat thing, and if God is stirring your heart on this passage of scripture and what God is telling us to do, would you do that? And I'd love to hear what God starts to say, and what he starts to do with you. And then let's just eagerly watch what God does as he opens opportunity for us to love people well, and to speak truth well, and to do it with graciousness, and to do what the priests have been called to do. Which, by the way, if you know Jesus Christ, you're called a priest now. We're all priests, I'm not the priests, I'm a priest, I'm like you. This is just my role. We're priests, mediators between God and humanity. If we don't sound the alarm, who does, were the priests? But we do it with love, and with grace, and we do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. They said spare your people, were begging God to spare people.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:53] And the last thing here is that we do it with Spirit power. In verse 28 and 29, Lorraine read that. And this is actually what we find in Acts Chapter 2 verses 16 through 21. Jesus died on the cross for our sin, God's raised him from the dead, everybody's mind is blown. He appears to his disciples and five hundred others, he tells his disciples, hey, I want you to go and wait in Jerusalem in an upper room. There's one hundred and twenty of them waiting, and you wait for my Spirit to come, and there's power that's about to come from on high that you've never seen before and that's going to be the start of the church right here and it's going to come through the Holy Spirit. And this is a radical change that's happening because it's no longer the Holy Spirit of God coming down on one person, they were accustomed to that in the Old Testament, the Spirit would come down on leaders in particular times. But now it's radical, it's a radical revolution because the Holy Spirit of God is now coming down on every man, woman, teenager, child, anyone that believes, and repents, and says, Jesus Christ is Lord. He says, “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." In that culture, it was od men who did this, now everybody's in. It's bringing everybody into the power of the Spirit.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:14] And that's the only way we can love people well, it's the only way we'll know truth, it's the only way we'll walk in grace, is through the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of Jesus Christ under him. Spirit power, it is going to rain down. And none of us that have been here the last month have to wonder what a downpour looks like, that's what happens when the Holy Spirit of God descends on people. My prayer for 121 is that we will hunger and thirst for God, and that our hearts will weep and mourn and break over our own sin and over the sins of our nation. It's not too late, the Spirit of God can invade a land if we're humble ourselves and pray, and I'd like for us to do that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:37] I'm going to get down here if anybody would like to join me, I'd love for you to come kneel with me as we pray, if you can kneel at your seat, I know there's not much room in between them, but if you can. And then some of you are getting older like me, it's harder to get up if you don't think you'll be able to get up in a few hours, then just stay where you are. But if you like to, if you'd like to join me, I'd like for us to pray together. After we pray, Lorraine's going to come back and lead us in the Lord's Supper.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:40] Lord, we love you, and desire you, and just have a yearning to glorify your name. Father, we're so appreciative of this body of people. And, Lord, I love today, the confidence that we have in you, that before the foundation of the world that you chose us in yourself, that in our mother's womb that you shaped us and said were wonderful, that outside of the womb, in your kindness and in the regenerating of your Holy Spirit, you opened our hearts wide, that when we receive the message of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, that you gave us the faith to trust and believe, and repent. We're thankful today that you call us, you've given us our identity today, it doesn't come from anywhere else but you, It's not in our ethnicity, it's not in our gender, it's not in our orientation, it's not in our class, it's not in anything else, but in you, Jesus. And you've called us sons and daughters, there's not a greater privilege than to be a son or a daughter of Almighty God. And, Father, today you've brought us into your kingdom as citizens, and you've invited us and called us to be ambassadors for the sake of your name, to represent you. You said we're a holy priesthood, a royal nation, you've called us all priests, mediators, of your good news today. And you're in the process, God, of sanctifying us and shaping us into Jesus. You've already said that we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ. And you've already said that we're glorified in you, it's already done, our eternity is set.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:00] But Father, I pray that hidden in Christ today, and safe in you, God in one-time repentance, you brought us into relationship with you. And then you're asking us, again and again, to repent when we stray away, or drift, or on purpose, go against you, so, God, will you help us to be ongoing repenters. And thank you that you're compassionate, and abound in grace, and you're slow to anger, that when we come, we're coming to a father who's waiting expectantly for the prodigal, God. If any of us today have drifted away or gone away, I pray we bring us back today. You've shown us the way, will you tear our hearts and break our hearts today, God, over our own sin? Wherever there's any sexual immorality, wherever there's pride today, wherever there is greed today, wherever there's lust today, wherever there's a love for the world today, wherever there is an idolatry in us today, an envy in us today, a carousing, all kinds of sexual variation outside of your design today, God, I pray that you break our hearts over that sin. And that today would be a day were freed up, covered at the cross. I pray, Father, where Satan has gotten hold in any spots with people, I pray that the stronghold be broken today and there’d be freedom.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:46] Father, I pray, search our own hearts first, and then, God, will you break the hearts of our nation? Will you help us to do what you called your people to do, and humble ourselves before you, and to pray, and to seek your face, and to repent. Who knows, you'll forgive, we know that, who knows, maybe you'll spare our land? We want to join with the priests at the porch and the altar. And God, where our hearts don't break, and where they don't weep, and where they don't mourn, Father, will you bring us to a new place? And that it would actually cause our love for you to deepen and our love for others to grow stronger. And our desire to see them spared, to see them inside of Christ, that will deepen, God. Father, will you forgive our nation, that has set a devastating environment for our children. Will you help parents to not give in, strengthen them in your word, and by your Spirit, to lead their children, that warriors in the kingdom will emerge.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:20] Father, where we flaunt sin in your face, all kinds today, God, will you break the hearts of our nation. Where we've stayed angry, and where there's violence, God, will you break our hearts? Where there's racial bias and prejudice, will you unhinge that from the human heart? Where there's disrespect for authority, I pray God, there'll be repentance over that. God, we pray a healing, where there's fracturing and division in our communities, will you heal it?

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:42] God, we know that the only answer today is in the human heart being healed by Jesus Christ, will you do something among us like we've never seen before? Will you give us hearts of expectancy to see people's hearts changed by you, to see the Holy Spirit of God indwell, and life to change, for love and joy and peace and hope to flow, for gentleness, self-control, help us to bear up well, to endure well, and to hope well.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:21] Our trust today is in Jesus Christ, who never fails, hear our prayer, Father, I pray that you'll stir our hearts to continue this in groups of two or three, or whatever it is you stir, but not be just today. Stir hearts O' God, and as we remember what you did for us, will you stir them even more? In Jesus' name.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051