The night started out with You (with their “Black Keys” arrangement), You Brought Me Back to Life, Never Once (really awesome, low key arrangement), & then the opener from last year (sans Kabuki screen) Oceans into Alive.
After this, Whit came up and set up the last half of the music set. This part started with a drama piece done by Chris Munch that they used for their “Enough” series. This was really great, especially with how it flowed into No Longer Slaves right after. This set ended with Pastor Willie coming up and closing it out with a call to salvation, a really moving time and perfect for leading right into Greg Laurie.
The night ended after Greg’s message with a bang by going back into All We Are with another group-wide dance party.
Message Recap: Greg Laurie
Pastor Greg’s message started with a promo for an event he’s organizing in November called Harvest America which will be held at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX. It’ll be streaming live and they are aiming to have one of the largest evangelistic meetings in the history of North America.
He started with the idea that we all have a race to run, and that it isn’t about just how we start the race, but also how we end it. He quoted a stat that for every 20 people who enter ministry, by age 65, only 1 will still be in ministry. That seems about right.
His focus for the night is on how to make it to the end of the race. The end is dictated by our beginnings, and we need to start and finish our races with faith. Faith is one of those things that’s easy to have for someone else, but can be difficult to have for yourself.
Faith, he said, is a living thing, similar to a muscle. The more that you exercise it and use it, the stronger it gets. However, if you don’t use it, it will atrophy.
He then shifted his focus to evangelism. We are supposed to evangelize in faith, not out of our own strength. Our responsibility is to faithfully preach the gospel, and Christ is the one who saves. We should always leave the results up to Him.
Greg believes that the primary way that God reaches lost people is through the verbalization of the gospel message. From what scripture says, we don’t all have to be an evangelist, we just need to be doing the work of an evangelist.
He introduced the story of Jesus walking on the water, and Peter’s spectacular failure found in Matthew 14. He then shifted his focus back to our individual races, and outlined three truths about our races:
1. Storms Will Come In Life.
- Sometimes you can see storms coming, and other times you can’t see them until you’re in it.
- If you’re not being opposed spiritually, you’re probably doing something wrong. He went as far to say you’re either dead or worthless.
- 1 Peter 4:12 – Expect the trials.
- It’s important to note that Jesus sent the disciples into the storm, on purpose.
He then outlined three kinds of storms:
- Perfecting Storms – God needs to do something in you.
- Correcting Storms – Sometimes we bring the storm on ourselves.
- Protecting Storms – That’s what this one was.
This happened right after one of Jesus’ biggest miracles, the feeding of the multitudes. Right after, Jesus put the disciples on the boat and sent them out to protect them from themselves/success. Jesus wanted to do something in the disciples with this storm by protecting them from what they didn’t know they needed protecting from.
He then shifted to talking about how even leaders experience storms. Romans 8:28 doesn’t mean that bad things are good things. It means that despite how bad things are, God can still bring good. Also, sometimes when someone else is in a storm, the best thing you can do is sit and listen. Mourning with those who mourn is useful.
2. Jesus Helps Us In Our Storms
- Ask yourself: When did Jesus come to the disciples? At the LAST possible moment (4th watch, just before dawn).
- Why? Maybe he just wanted them to exhaust all possible options and realize that Jesus was all they needed.
- When you get to the end of yourself, you find the beginning of God.
- Jesus came out to them on the water to show them that the thing that caused them fear was merely a staircase for Him. He was always in control.
- You may know Jesus, but you’ll never know Him deeply until he comes to you in the storms of life.
- God gives us what we need, when we need it. Not before, never after, but right when we need it.
- Peter took a huge, bold step of faith by asking permission to walk out to Jesus. Although he failed, he STILL got to walk on the water, truly a spectacular failure.
- Let this be how we fail, spectacularly with great faith.
- Often success is found through failure, because we learn how not to do it first.
- Learn from your mistakes, don’t make the same one again, but don’t let it stop you from trying again.
- But why did Peter fail? Because he took his eyes off of Jesus.
- When we begin to panic and lose our way, all we need to do is get our eyes back on Jesus.
3. When You’re Sinking, Call Out to Jesus.
- When you’re in trouble, you should always seek help from him, and seek wise counsel.
- In another recording of this event in the gospels, it says that Jesus was walking right past them.
- Jesus would have kept going unless they called out to him.
- When Peter failed and called out to Jesus, He responded immediately.
- When Jesus saved him, Peter stood up and walked on water AGAIN.
- Don’t stop taking risks and steps, don’t be too cautious.
- If you’ve fallen, you can definitely still stand up, because we serve a God of third, fourth, fifth chances.