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Always Ready

Watch Always Ready
October 25, 2020
27:29

Touching Lives is the international broadcast ministry of Dr. James Merritt.

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Always Ready

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  • partners of Touching Lives.
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  • male announcer: Welcome to theinternational broadcast ministry
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  • of Touching Liveswith Dr. James Merritt.
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  • Here at Touching Lives, ourmission is to touch the lives of
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  • the lost and enrich the faith ofthe found.
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  • And now here is Pastor, author,and speaker, Dr. James Merritt.
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • ♪♪♪
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  • Dr James Merritt: If someonewere to ever ask you,
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  • are you ready?
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  • If you are who you ought to be,
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  • and you are whatyou ought to be,
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  • are you where youought to be in your life?
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  • You should always be able toanswer that question with two
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  • words not even give ita second thought.
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  • Always ready.
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  • I'm always ready.Are you ready?
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  • Always ready.Now, let me explain what I mean.
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  • You're not ready to live untilyou're ready to die and you're
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  • not ready to die until you'reready to live.
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  • And I can tell you withconfidence today there are
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  • people listening to me right nowat our campus at Mill Creek,
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  • those watching online, watchingby television, those in our
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  • building, some of you are notready to live 'cause you're not
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  • ready to die.
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  • And some of you're really notready to die because you're
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  • really not ready to live.
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  • I believe that Jesus is the onlyone that can prepare you
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  • for both.
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  • We're in a study in the book ofPhilippians, a book called
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  • Philippians, that we're calling"Joy Ride."
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  • And by the way, if you broughtyour little discipleship book,
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  • we're on page 42 in thatbooklet, we're gonna be looking
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  • at that together because thisbook, Philippians, is one of my
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  • favorite books in the old Bible,I love to read this book, never
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  • get tired of it 'cause it'sbrimming with joy.
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  • I mean, if you read this bookand believe half of what it says
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  • you cannot help but put a smileon your face.
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  • It was written by a man namedPaul and here's what I love
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  • about this book.
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  • If anybody had a reason not tobe full of joy, as a matter of
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  • fact anybody had reason to bejoy-less it was Paul.
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  • Because when Paul wrote thisbook he is writing from a Roman
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  • prison, and every night when hewent to sleep he had to go to
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  • sleep ready to die the nextmorning.
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  • Every morning when he woke up hehad to be ready to live another
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  • day in that dungeon.
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  • Well, there's one thing he knewwas going on even though
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  • he was in jail.
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  • Jesus was being preachedon the outside.
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  • People he had won to Christ,people he had discipled, people
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  • he had trained, churches he hadplanted, they were out there
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  • preaching the gospel and he wasso happy and so thrilled that
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  • Jesus was being preachedhere's what he said.
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  • He said, "Christ is preached.
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  • And because of this I rejoice.
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  • Yes, I will continueto rejoice."
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  • It amazes me.
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  • Paul, you're in jail, you maynot get out alive today, you may
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  • die tonight, you may dietomorrow, and your death won't
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  • be pretty.
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  • You may never get to preach in achurch again, you may never see
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  • a friend of yours again.
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  • How can you alwaysbe so full of joy?
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  • How can you always be ready?
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  • And then he writes this onelittle short sentence, one of
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  • the most powerful sentences inthe Bible, it tells us why he
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  • was always ready.
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  • As a matter of fact, if you wereto say to me, can you give me a
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  • definition of a real Christian,I would say to you, this one
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  • sentence in the Bible may be thebest definition of a Christian
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  • than I have ever read in theWord of God, because if you can
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  • say what I'm about to put up onthe screen and you can mean it,
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  • then I know two things are trueabout you.
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  • Every day you're ready to live,and every day you are ready
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  • to die.
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  • Here's the sentence.
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  • Paul said, "For to me, to liveis Christ and to die is gain."
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  • Beginning right here,let's just say that together.
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  • You ready?
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  • To live is Christand to die is gain.
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  • That one little sentence.
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  • Paul did something that all ofus really should do, he summed
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  • up his life in one word, hesaid, "My life is Christ."
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  • There's nothing else.
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  • Nothing but.
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  • My life is Christ.
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  • Jesus was the center, Jesus wasthe foundation, Jesus was the
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  • obsession, Jesus was the love ofPaul's life, and it is because
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  • Jesus could say that, he couldsay this.
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  • And to die is, everybody saythat word with me, gain.
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  • And to die is gain.
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  • Now, that word gain is apowerful word in the Greek
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  • language, it literally meansprofitable, it literally
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  • means beneficial.
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  • Now let's be honest, normallywhen we think of death being
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  • profitable the only people thatwould think that are people that
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  • run funeral homes, right?
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  • We wouldn't think, well, I mean,the last thing any of us would
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  • think about when it comes todeath is profitable, is
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  • beneficial, is good.
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  • As a matter of fact, how do wealways talk about death?
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  • We talk about it as a loss.
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  • You know Joe Lewis, the famousboxer, once said this, he said,
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  • everybody wants to go to heaven,but nobody wants to die.
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  • It's true!
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  • You know, Paul said, "Idon't see it that way."
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  • He said to die is gain.
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  • So, here's what I'm going to tryto convince you of today.
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  • How is death a gain?
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  • Why in the world would Paul saydeath is not a loss,
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  • it's a gain?
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  • It's not a negative,it's a positive.
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  • It is a profit, it is a benefit.
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  • When we breathe our last breath
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  • and we lay this body down,it is a gain.
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  • Well, when you hear this messageyou'll see why we should and can
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  • be always ready.
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  • 'Cause here's what I want usto think about today.
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  • You're a believer,you die today.
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  • How do you gain?
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  • What do you gain?
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  • Well, in this tremendous passageof Scripture, Paul tells us of
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  • three things we immediately gainthe moment we leave this earth.
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  • You ready?
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  • Number one, we gain theexperience.
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  • We experience the personalpresence of the son of God.
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  • The moment you and I breathe,our last breath we experience
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  • the personal presenceof the son of God.
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  • Now keep in mind everything thatwe're going to say, everything
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  • I'm going to preach to you rightnow, depends upon whether or not
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  • you can honestly say this,honestly believe this, honestly
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  • mean this, and honestlyconfess this, all right?
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  • Here's the key.
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  • Paul said, for to me,to live is Christ.
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  • Now if the gospel is true, ifJesus Christ the son of God died
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  • on a cross for the sins of theworld, came back from the dead,
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  • if he really is King of Kingsand Lord of Lords, then that
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  • automatically means two thingsabout your life and it means two
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  • things about my life.
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  • If that's true, first of allJesus alone is worthy of
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  • your life.
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  • Your job's not worthy of yourlife, your bank account's not
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  • worthy of your life, the house,the car, the real estate, the
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  • jewelry, the Rolex watches, allthat good stuff, that's not
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  • worthy of your life.
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  • If Jesus is who he said he wasand did what he said he did he
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  • alone is worthy of your life.
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  • It means something else.
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  • Your life is too valuable togive it to anything or anyone
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  • else except Jesus.
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  • If Jesus is who he said he was,why would you even think about
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  • giving your life to anything oranyone else?
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  • To be a Christian, this is whatI want you to understand, to be
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  • a Christian doesn't just meanthat Jesus is in your life, it
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  • doesn't just even mean thatJesus is in control of your
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  • life, it means he is your life,24/7, he is your life.
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  • So let me tell youwhat that means.
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  • That means people that know youand people that know, people
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  • that just meet you, some way,somehow if Christ is your life,
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  • they ought to be able to see andhear and feel and take Jesus is
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  • the center and Jesus is thecircumference of your life.
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  • Now I know this was not justtalk with Paul, I know he really
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  • meant this.
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  • So, how do you know?
  • 00:08:53.582 --> 00:08:54.883
  • Because he goes on to make thisunbelievable--in fact, it's
  • 00:08:54.916 --> 00:08:57.118
  • almost unbelievable he said it,but I know he meant it, this
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  • amazing statement, listen towhat he said.
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  • He said, look, if I am to go onliving in the body--that is,
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  • hey, if God has a plan for mylife, if I'm not going to die,
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  • if eventually I'm gonna get outof jail, I'm not gonna lose my
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  • life, if that's true, this willmean fruitful labor for me.
  • 00:09:12.934 --> 00:09:16.371
  • He says, hey, I'm gonna goand preach the gospel,
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  • I'm going to winpeople to Christ,
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  • I'm going to disciple people,that's all well and good.
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  • He says, yet, whatshall I choose?
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  • Now let me just stop,let's be honest.
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  • What would you choose?
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  • I know what I'd choose, I wantout of here, I want to live
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  • longer, I've got some things Istill want to accomplish.
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  • And he says, I do not know,I'm torn between the two.
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  • Now, then, he makes thisstatement, "I desire to depart
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  • and be with Christ,which is better by far."
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  • I don't want you to raise yourhands, but if I were to ask you,
  • 00:09:53.108 --> 00:09:56.711
  • don't raise your hands, but Iwonder how many of you would
  • 00:09:56.745 --> 00:09:58.680
  • raise your hands if I said toyou right now, are you really
  • 00:09:58.713 --> 00:10:01.716
  • ready to go to heaven?
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  • I imagine most of you would sayyeah, I really am ready to go
  • 00:10:03.685 --> 00:10:07.455
  • to heaven.
  • 00:10:07.489 --> 00:10:08.790
  • Paul wasn't ready to go toheaven, he was revved up to go
  • 00:10:08.823 --> 00:10:14.596
  • to heaven, his bags were packed.
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  • I mean, let's just face it,that's just different than where
  • 00:10:18.833 --> 00:10:21.503
  • most of us are.
  • 00:10:21.536 --> 00:10:23.104
  • You know if we're honest here'swhat we would admit, and look,
  • 00:10:23.138 --> 00:10:25.907
  • I mean, I'm with you.
  • 00:10:25.940 --> 00:10:27.609
  • Here's what most of usfear right now.
  • 00:10:27.642 --> 00:10:29.611
  • Well I'm willing to go toheaven, but I want to stay here.
  • 00:10:29.644 --> 00:10:35.650
  • I was with a guy yesterday overat Athens, and he expressed by
  • 00:10:36.317 --> 00:10:38.820
  • sentiment exactly, he's in his60s as well and he said, "Doc,
  • 00:10:38.853 --> 00:10:44.659
  • I'm ready to go to heaven, but Iwant to win one more national
  • 00:10:44.693 --> 00:10:48.229
  • championship first."
  • 00:10:48.263 --> 00:10:49.597
  • I said, "Brother, I'm with you,I'm all over that.
  • 00:10:49.631 --> 00:10:51.366
  • Go, Dogs!"
  • 00:10:51.399 --> 00:10:52.701
  • Okay, you know, I'm there.
  • 00:10:52.734 --> 00:10:54.803
  • That's where we are.
  • 00:10:54.836 --> 00:10:56.171
  • Well, I'm willing to go toheaven, but I wanna stay here.
  • 00:10:56.204 --> 00:10:59.274
  • You know what Paul said?
  • 00:10:59.307 --> 00:11:01.209
  • It's amazing!
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  • I'm willing to stay here, but Iwant to go to heaven.
  • 00:11:02.610 --> 00:11:07.282
  • And I've thought about that along time and I mean, there's a
  • 00:11:07.315 --> 00:11:09.384
  • part of me that says, Paul, youreally don't mean that, but he
  • 00:11:09.417 --> 00:11:11.252
  • did, and I thought, man, how doyou get to a place like that?
  • 00:11:11.286 --> 00:11:15.290
  • And it hit me likea ton of bricks,
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  • and I believe this is so true.
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  • Our desire to be with Jesusthere is directly related to the
  • 00:11:18.593 --> 00:11:23.364
  • degree that we love Jesus here.
  • 00:11:23.398 --> 00:11:26.067
  • I believe that.
  • 00:11:26.101 --> 00:11:27.435
  • Our desire to be with Jesusthere is directly related to the
  • 00:11:27.469 --> 00:11:31.506
  • degree that we love Jesus here.
  • 00:11:31.539 --> 00:11:34.542
  • And I'm gonna prove this to you.
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  • Shouldn't you always want to bewith the person that you love
  • 00:11:37.178 --> 00:11:42.917
  • more than anything elsein the world?
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  • I mean really?
  • 00:11:45.487 --> 00:11:46.788
  • I mean humanly speaking, humanlyspeaking, of all the billions of
  • 00:11:46.821 --> 00:11:50.492
  • people on this earth right, youknow, that there are right now,
  • 00:11:50.525 --> 00:11:52.727
  • and you said, you can be withanybody right now you want to
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  • be, I will always choose Teresaalways, you know why?
  • 00:11:56.164 --> 00:11:59.634
  • 'Cause I love her the most.
  • 00:11:59.667 --> 00:12:01.436
  • I love her more thananything in the world.
  • 00:12:01.469 --> 00:12:03.605
  • Well, shouldn't we want to loveJesus so much that somehow
  • 00:12:03.638 --> 00:12:07.075
  • there's always this burning,passionate desire to be with him
  • 00:12:07.108 --> 00:12:11.279
  • whenever he's ready to have us?
  • 00:12:11.312 --> 00:12:13.248
  • And oh, by the way, here'ssomething else, here's another
  • 00:12:13.281 --> 00:12:15.116
  • reason why I lovewhat Paul said.
  • 00:12:15.150 --> 00:12:16.918
  • Paul didn't say, "I havea desire to go to heaven,"
  • 00:12:16.951 --> 00:12:20.522
  • he didn't say that.
  • 00:12:20.555 --> 00:12:21.890
  • He said, "I have a desireto be with Jesus."
  • 00:12:21.923 --> 00:12:25.026
  • Now you say, well, Pastor,what's the difference?
  • 00:12:25.059 --> 00:12:27.395
  • I mean, what's the differencebetween going to be with Jesus
  • 00:12:27.428 --> 00:12:29.297
  • and going to heaven?
  • 00:12:29.330 --> 00:12:30.632
  • One of the questions people askme quite a bit, believe it or
  • 00:12:30.665 --> 00:12:32.367
  • not, they'll say, hey, Hey,Pastor, where is heaven?
  • 00:12:32.400 --> 00:12:36.538
  • Where exactly is heaven?
  • 00:12:36.571 --> 00:12:38.239
  • And it's an easy answer.
  • 00:12:38.273 --> 00:12:39.574
  • You know what the answer is?
  • 00:12:39.607 --> 00:12:40.942
  • Heaven is where Jesus is.
  • 00:12:40.975 --> 00:12:42.677
  • Jesus is not where heaven is,heaven is where Jesus is.
  • 00:12:42.710 --> 00:12:46.080
  • When I read My Bible, here'swhat I find out what makes
  • 00:12:46.114 --> 00:12:49.083
  • heaven heaven is not goldenstreets, it's not pearly gates.
  • 00:12:49.117 --> 00:12:52.787
  • What makes heaven heavenis Jesus.
  • 00:12:52.821 --> 00:12:55.390
  • Jesus is not where heaven is,heaven is where Jesus is.
  • 00:12:55.423 --> 00:12:59.861
  • I'll give you an illustration.
  • 00:12:59.894 --> 00:13:01.229
  • I've traveled quite a bit, andback in the day when I was
  • 00:13:01.262 --> 00:13:04.199
  • president of Southern BaptistConvention, I went on long
  • 00:13:04.232 --> 00:13:06.134
  • mission trips, there'd be timesI was gone two weeks at a time.
  • 00:13:06.167 --> 00:13:09.070
  • I was traveling halfway aroundthe world, I'd be gone two weeks
  • 00:13:09.103 --> 00:13:11.873
  • at a time.
  • 00:13:11.906 --> 00:13:13.274
  • Well let me tell you something.
  • 00:13:13.308 --> 00:13:14.642
  • When I returned and I walkedinto my house, I didn't hug my
  • 00:13:14.676 --> 00:13:19.781
  • television, and I didn't kissmy computer.
  • 00:13:19.814 --> 00:13:25.820
  • There's one person I wanted tosee, one person I wanted to hug,
  • 00:13:26.321 --> 00:13:30.658
  • one person I wanted to kiss,and that's Jesus.
  • 00:13:30.692 --> 00:13:34.629
  • See the reason why I was soexcited to come home, it's not
  • 00:13:34.662 --> 00:13:38.633
  • because of what's in the home,but who's in the home.
  • 00:13:38.666 --> 00:13:41.903
  • I wanted to see her.
  • 00:13:41.936 --> 00:13:43.471
  • What makes heaven so wonderfulis not what's in heaven, it is
  • 00:13:43.504 --> 00:13:47.208
  • who is in heaven.
  • 00:13:47.242 --> 00:13:48.543
  • And that's why death isprofitable, that's why death is
  • 00:13:48.576 --> 00:13:51.279
  • a gain, and the reason why Paulsaid death is a plus, it's not a
  • 00:13:51.312 --> 00:13:55.650
  • minus, he said, because themoment you draw your last breath
  • 00:13:55.683 --> 00:13:59.787
  • here and you draw your firstbreath there, at that moment,
  • 00:13:59.821 --> 00:14:04.025
  • you're face to face, you're noseto nose, you're eye to eye
  • 00:14:04.058 --> 00:14:08.096
  • with Jesus.
  • 00:14:08.129 --> 00:14:09.464
  • You're going to be in thepresence of the son of God.
  • 00:14:09.497 --> 00:14:12.567
  • And I want to tell all of usbeginning with me, if that
  • 00:14:12.600 --> 00:14:15.169
  • doesn't fire you up you ought tocheck your heart.
  • 00:14:15.203 --> 00:14:19.107
  • Man, I'm gonna be in thepresence of Jesus.
  • 00:14:19.140 --> 00:14:23.111
  • But it gets even better,if it can.
  • 00:14:23.144 --> 00:14:26.381
  • He says not only are you goingto experience the personal
  • 00:14:26.414 --> 00:14:29.117
  • presence of the son of God, hesaid when you die, you're going
  • 00:14:29.150 --> 00:14:33.688
  • to enter the powerful place ofthe kingdom of God.
  • 00:14:33.721 --> 00:14:37.625
  • You're going to enter thepowerful place of the kingdom
  • 00:14:37.659 --> 00:14:40.061
  • of God.
  • 00:14:40.094 --> 00:14:41.429
  • Now, you know you're alwaysready to take a trip that you've
  • 00:14:41.462 --> 00:14:43.097
  • never taken before, and ifyou're goin' to a place that
  • 00:14:43.131 --> 00:14:45.800
  • you've never been if you knowwhere you're going you know how
  • 00:14:45.833 --> 00:14:49.304
  • the trip is going to wind up,you know where you're going to
  • 00:14:49.337 --> 00:14:51.873
  • wind up.
  • 00:14:51.906 --> 00:14:53.207
  • You know and it's so interestingto me, and I do this too,
  • 00:14:53.241 --> 00:14:56.311
  • how we talk about peoplewho have died, right?
  • 00:14:56.344 --> 00:14:58.880
  • We'll say things like, hechecked out, bought the farm,
  • 00:14:58.913 --> 00:15:04.385
  • bit the dust, gave up the ghost,pulled the plug.
  • 00:15:04.419 --> 00:15:09.357
  • I mean, doesn't that just makeyou want to die?
  • 00:15:09.390 --> 00:15:10.692
  • I think about all those phrases.
  • 00:15:10.725 --> 00:15:12.660
  • I mean, you know death is theone ride at the carnival nobody
  • 00:15:12.694 --> 00:15:15.330
  • wants to take.
  • 00:15:15.363 --> 00:15:16.664
  • Well, Paul used the word tototally describe
  • 00:15:16.698 --> 00:15:19.200
  • death differently.
  • 00:15:19.233 --> 00:15:20.535
  • Here's what Paul said.
  • 00:15:20.568 --> 00:15:22.270
  • Paul said, "I'm tornbetween the two."
  • 00:15:22.303 --> 00:15:25.173
  • He didn't say, "I desire tocheck out, bite the bullet,
  • 00:15:25.206 --> 00:15:30.778
  • buy the farm,give up the ghost,
  • 00:15:30.812 --> 00:15:34.048
  • pull the plug,"he didn't say that.
  • 00:15:34.082 --> 00:15:36.417
  • He said, "I desire to departand be with Christ,"
  • 00:15:36.451 --> 00:15:42.323
  • which is better by far.
  • 00:15:42.357 --> 00:15:44.025
  • Paul said, let's take a momentabout dying.
  • 00:15:44.058 --> 00:15:46.761
  • What really is dying?
  • 00:15:46.794 --> 00:15:49.130
  • Well, he says, it's departing.
  • 00:15:49.163 --> 00:15:52.567
  • Now, the word--again--it's abeautiful word in the Greek
  • 00:15:52.600 --> 00:15:54.569
  • language, it literally means tountie something or to lose
  • 00:15:54.602 --> 00:15:57.839
  • something or to free something.
  • 00:15:57.872 --> 00:15:59.907
  • For example, it was used whenpeople were going from one place
  • 00:15:59.941 --> 00:16:03.244
  • to another place.
  • 00:16:03.277 --> 00:16:04.612
  • So Paul said, you know what?
  • 00:16:04.645 --> 00:16:05.947
  • When you die you're not goin' topie in the sky, you're going to
  • 00:16:05.980 --> 00:16:09.617
  • a real place that is so great,so magnificent, so super, that
  • 00:16:09.650 --> 00:16:15.656
  • when you get there you'll wonderwhy didn't I want to get
  • 00:16:16.190 --> 00:16:19.360
  • here sooner?
  • 00:16:19.394 --> 00:16:20.728
  • What was I dreading about this?
  • 00:16:20.762 --> 00:16:22.630
  • By the way, that word has amultiplicity of meanings.
  • 00:16:22.663 --> 00:16:25.500
  • For example, it's a nauticalterm, it was a seafaring term,
  • 00:16:25.533 --> 00:16:30.538
  • it was used by sailors when theywould unloose the ship so the
  • 00:16:30.571 --> 00:16:33.574
  • ship could set sail, which isgood for a ship because that's
  • 00:16:33.608 --> 00:16:36.310
  • what a ship's built to do.
  • 00:16:36.344 --> 00:16:37.712
  • A ship's not built to sit in aharbor, a ship is built to sail
  • 00:16:37.745 --> 00:16:42.650
  • on the open seas.
  • 00:16:42.683 --> 00:16:44.152
  • And here's what Paul was saying,you weren't built for this
  • 00:16:44.185 --> 00:16:47.221
  • earth, you are builtfor another place.
  • 00:16:47.255 --> 00:16:50.691
  • You weren't built, this harboris not your home,
  • 00:16:50.725 --> 00:16:53.795
  • you were built to set sail.
  • 00:16:53.828 --> 00:16:55.830
  • It was a nautical term.
  • 00:16:55.863 --> 00:16:57.165
  • It was a military term, it was aword that was used when an army
  • 00:16:57.198 --> 00:17:00.134
  • would pull up the stakes of atent so they can go home.
  • 00:17:00.168 --> 00:17:02.770
  • You know when a soldier goesoverseas we call it being
  • 00:17:02.804 --> 00:17:05.440
  • deployed, right?
  • 00:17:05.473 --> 00:17:06.774
  • But when their tour of duty'sover we call it going home.
  • 00:17:06.808 --> 00:17:11.045
  • Well, what Paul was saying wasright now we live in an
  • 00:17:11.079 --> 00:17:14.182
  • earthly tents.
  • 00:17:14.215 --> 00:17:15.516
  • Matter of fact, the Bibledescribes our body as an
  • 00:17:15.550 --> 00:17:16.984
  • earthly tent.
  • 00:17:17.018 --> 00:17:18.586
  • And Paul says, don't put yourstakes down too deeply, because
  • 00:17:18.619 --> 00:17:23.357
  • you weren't meant for this tent.
  • 00:17:23.391 --> 00:17:25.626
  • And when our battles in life areover, here's what happens.
  • 00:17:25.660 --> 00:17:28.529
  • We just pull up stakes,and we go home.
  • 00:17:28.563 --> 00:17:32.433
  • But it was also a judicial term,it referred to a prisoner who is
  • 00:17:32.467 --> 00:17:35.636
  • finally free from jail.
  • 00:17:35.670 --> 00:17:36.971
  • Now I don't want to soundmorbid, but let's face it, in a
  • 00:17:37.004 --> 00:17:40.408
  • way we're all in prisonright now.
  • 00:17:40.441 --> 00:17:43.511
  • You say, well, what do you mean?
  • 00:17:43.544 --> 00:17:44.879
  • Well, we're in a prisoncalled a body.
  • 00:17:44.912 --> 00:17:49.617
  • I'm in prison in this body,'cause if I live long enough
  • 00:17:49.650 --> 00:17:53.421
  • this body, in fact,it's already starting,
  • 00:17:53.454 --> 00:17:55.289
  • this body will break down,this body will stop working,
  • 00:17:55.323 --> 00:18:00.261
  • this body will eventually decay.
  • 00:18:00.294 --> 00:18:04.332
  • And right now we're all inprison in a world that is full
  • 00:18:04.365 --> 00:18:07.135
  • of sorrow and deathand fears and tears.
  • 00:18:07.168 --> 00:18:12.473
  • And yet Paul saidbut when you die,
  • 00:18:12.507 --> 00:18:15.176
  • you're free from all of that.
  • 00:18:15.209 --> 00:18:18.412
  • And this is why this is so bigto understand.
  • 00:18:18.446 --> 00:18:19.780
  • See, this universe isnot a republic.
  • 00:18:19.814 --> 00:18:25.486
  • This universe isnot a democracy.
  • 00:18:25.520 --> 00:18:29.490
  • This universe isnot a dictatorship.
  • 00:18:29.524 --> 00:18:33.928
  • Do you know what this universeis according to God's Word?
  • 00:18:33.961 --> 00:18:37.265
  • It is a kingdom.
  • 00:18:37.298 --> 00:18:39.901
  • And as children of the king, wewere not meant to live in this
  • 00:18:39.934 --> 00:18:44.739
  • place called earth, We weremeant to live in a place called
  • 00:18:44.772 --> 00:18:49.043
  • heaven, we were meant to live ina place called the Kingdom
  • 00:18:49.076 --> 00:18:52.413
  • of God.
  • 00:18:52.446 --> 00:18:53.748
  • And it's a place unlike anyother place you could even
  • 00:18:53.781 --> 00:18:56.984
  • think about.
  • 00:18:57.018 --> 00:18:58.352
  • You say, hey, howdo you know that?
  • 00:18:58.386 --> 00:18:59.687
  • Well, first of all, it'sa prepared place.
  • 00:18:59.720 --> 00:19:01.722
  • You remember what Jesussaid to the disciples
  • 00:19:01.756 --> 00:19:03.591
  • just before he died?
  • 00:19:03.624 --> 00:19:05.493
  • He said, "I'm going there,"that is to heaven.
  • 00:19:05.526 --> 00:19:07.828
  • "I'm going there to preparea place for you."
  • 00:19:07.862 --> 00:19:11.332
  • Jesus right now is not up theretwiddling his thumbs doing
  • 00:19:11.365 --> 00:19:13.701
  • nothing, Jesus is at work,he's preparing a place for you,
  • 00:19:13.734 --> 00:19:17.371
  • he's preparing a place for me.
  • 00:19:17.405 --> 00:19:18.940
  • It is not only a prepared placeit's a perfected place.
  • 00:19:18.973 --> 00:19:22.710
  • It's the one place in theuniverse there are no tears,
  • 00:19:22.743 --> 00:19:25.813
  • no grief, no graveyard,no hospital, no chemotherapy,
  • 00:19:25.846 --> 00:19:29.917
  • no crying, no dying,no pain, no suffering.
  • 00:19:29.951 --> 00:19:33.287
  • It is a place that is sofantastic only God could think
  • 00:19:33.321 --> 00:19:37.325
  • about it, we canonly dream about it.
  • 00:19:37.358 --> 00:19:39.527
  • It's a place that was builtby the mind of God,
  • 00:19:39.560 --> 00:19:44.098
  • built by the hand of God,conceived by the mind to God,
  • 00:19:44.131 --> 00:19:47.768
  • and dear to the heart of God.
  • 00:19:47.802 --> 00:19:50.104
  • See when you understand thatdeath is simply to depart,
  • 00:19:50.137 --> 00:19:54.675
  • you enter into the powerfulplace of the Kingdom of God,
  • 00:19:54.709 --> 00:19:57.745
  • you are always ready.
  • 00:19:57.778 --> 00:20:00.848
  • And then to drive the pointhome, there's one last thing
  • 00:20:00.881 --> 00:20:03.951
  • that Paul says.
  • 00:20:03.985 --> 00:20:05.286
  • If you'll believe this and keepthis in mind, it will keep you
  • 00:20:05.319 --> 00:20:07.655
  • always ready to realize whathappens when you depart, because
  • 00:20:07.688 --> 00:20:12.026
  • when you depart, now watch this,we'll be done, he says, you
  • 00:20:12.059 --> 00:20:15.296
  • enjoy the precious people of thefamily of God.
  • 00:20:15.329 --> 00:20:19.467
  • You enjoy the precious people ofthe family of God.
  • 00:20:19.500 --> 00:20:22.336
  • See we were born into a worldfull of people, right?
  • 00:20:22.370 --> 00:20:25.339
  • We came into a world full ofpeople, we'll leave a world full
  • 00:20:25.373 --> 00:20:28.175
  • of people.
  • 00:20:28.209 --> 00:20:29.543
  • Well here's the good news.
  • 00:20:29.577 --> 00:20:30.878
  • When you leave, you're gonna beleaving a world that is full of
  • 00:20:30.911 --> 00:20:33.648
  • people but you're going to beentering into a world that is
  • 00:20:33.681 --> 00:20:37.218
  • full of people.
  • 00:20:37.251 --> 00:20:38.919
  • Here's the difference.
  • 00:20:38.953 --> 00:20:41.956
  • Not everybody on this earthis a part of my family.
  • 00:20:41.989 --> 00:20:45.226
  • Not everybody on this earth isa part of your family, right?
  • 00:20:45.259 --> 00:20:49.497
  • But the moment you enter intothe Kingdom of God, guess what?
  • 00:20:49.530 --> 00:20:52.700
  • They are all your family.
  • 00:20:52.733 --> 00:20:55.069
  • As a matter of fact, they areyour true family.
  • 00:20:55.102 --> 00:20:59.273
  • I want you to listen tosomething that Jesus said that's
  • 00:20:59.307 --> 00:21:01.976
  • true of everybody who entersinto the Kingdom of God.
  • 00:21:02.009 --> 00:21:04.578
  • Listen to what Jesus said.
  • 00:21:04.612 --> 00:21:06.614
  • I'll say to you that many willcome from the east and the west,
  • 00:21:06.647 --> 00:21:10.785
  • now watch this, and they willtake their places at the feast
  • 00:21:10.818 --> 00:21:13.854
  • with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobin the kingdom of heaven.
  • 00:21:13.888 --> 00:21:19.894
  • And I got to thinking about allthese famous people that I've
  • 00:21:20.261 --> 00:21:23.597
  • read about in the Bible.
  • 00:21:23.631 --> 00:21:25.399
  • People who've had books writtenabout them and movies made
  • 00:21:25.433 --> 00:21:28.469
  • about them and songscomposed about them.
  • 00:21:28.502 --> 00:21:31.572
  • I'm a part of that family.
  • 00:21:31.605 --> 00:21:34.475
  • And I just, I'm not tryin' to befunny when I say this, or cute,
  • 00:21:34.508 --> 00:21:37.111
  • but can you just imagine sittingdown just talking to Moses?
  • 00:21:37.144 --> 00:21:42.216
  • Saying, hey, Mo,what was it like?
  • 00:21:42.249 --> 00:21:48.055
  • Tell me what it was really likewhen you walked through that Red
  • 00:21:48.089 --> 00:21:50.491
  • Sea, had that raging wall ofwater on each side and you are
  • 00:21:50.524 --> 00:21:54.795
  • being hunted down by theEgyptian army.
  • 00:21:54.829 --> 00:21:56.764
  • What was that like?
  • 00:21:56.797 --> 00:21:59.200
  • Or to sit down with David andsay, all right, David, let me
  • 00:21:59.233 --> 00:22:01.736
  • ask you.
  • 00:22:01.769 --> 00:22:03.070
  • Take me back, you're that littleshepherd boy, you ain't even
  • 00:22:03.104 --> 00:22:06.107
  • started shaving, you're facing agiant that's nine feet, six
  • 00:22:06.140 --> 00:22:11.011
  • inches tall and all you've gotis a slingshot and a few rocks.
  • 00:22:11.045 --> 00:22:15.983
  • And the question I wanna askDavid is this, David, come on
  • 00:22:16.016 --> 00:22:20.187
  • now, who were youbetting on that day?
  • 00:22:20.221 --> 00:22:21.856
  • I mean, tell the truth.
  • 00:22:21.889 --> 00:22:23.891
  • Or, hey, Paul, take me throughthat Damascus Road conversion.
  • 00:22:23.924 --> 00:22:29.930
  • I mean, what was it like?
  • 00:22:31.699 --> 00:22:33.801
  • You're on a mission againstJesus, you're killing Christians
  • 00:22:33.834 --> 00:22:37.338
  • right and left, you're trying toput out the fire of Christianity
  • 00:22:37.371 --> 00:22:40.841
  • with both feet.
  • 00:22:40.875 --> 00:22:42.510
  • What was it like to see thatlight and to hear that voice and
  • 00:22:42.543 --> 00:22:46.480
  • how everything changed?
  • 00:22:46.514 --> 00:22:49.583
  • So let's go back tosomething we said earlier,
  • 00:22:49.617 --> 00:22:52.286
  • let's just be totally honest,just tell the truth.
  • 00:22:52.319 --> 00:22:55.189
  • I want you right now, this willtell you all you need to know
  • 00:22:55.222 --> 00:22:57.525
  • about you, where you are,what you are,
  • 00:22:57.558 --> 00:22:59.460
  • if you where you need to be.
  • 00:22:59.493 --> 00:23:03.030
  • If you had not heard thismessage and you'd walked into
  • 00:23:03.063 --> 00:23:07.802
  • this room and somebody handedyou a sheet of paper and said,
  • 00:23:07.835 --> 00:23:13.541
  • fill in the blank with the firstthing that comes to your mind.
  • 00:23:13.574 --> 00:23:17.344
  • For to me to live is blank.
  • 00:23:17.378 --> 00:23:23.384
  • What would you have said?
  • 00:23:23.484 --> 00:23:24.785
  • 'Cause if some of you werereally honest, some of you would
  • 00:23:24.819 --> 00:23:29.023
  • put family, some of you wouldput money, some of you would
  • 00:23:29.056 --> 00:23:35.062
  • put business.
  • 00:23:37.331 --> 00:23:41.035
  • Well, if what Paul said is true,if you put anything in there
  • 00:23:41.068 --> 00:23:44.738
  • except Jesus,then to die is loss.
  • 00:23:44.772 --> 00:23:49.977
  • So this is the hard question,and you just need to face up
  • 00:23:50.010 --> 00:23:53.914
  • and be honest, let'sjust tell it like it is.
  • 00:23:53.948 --> 00:23:57.818
  • Either Christ is your life or heis not there's no in-between.
  • 00:23:57.852 --> 00:24:03.791
  • If he's not, I wanna ask youthis, what is keeping him from
  • 00:24:03.824 --> 00:24:08.162
  • becoming your life?
  • 00:24:08.195 --> 00:24:10.931
  • Maybe you've not even given himyour life, or maybe you've given
  • 00:24:10.965 --> 00:24:14.702
  • him a part of your lifeand not all of your life.
  • 00:24:14.735 --> 00:24:19.440
  • Maybe it is your love for yourbusiness, or even your love for
  • 00:24:19.473 --> 00:24:23.477
  • your family, or even your lovefor your lifestyle, or even your
  • 00:24:23.511 --> 00:24:28.983
  • love for your bank account, evenyour love for the stuff that you
  • 00:24:29.016 --> 00:24:32.152
  • think you own which we saidlast week you don't.
  • 00:24:32.186 --> 00:24:36.190
  • I'm just simplysaying this to you.
  • 00:24:36.223 --> 00:24:41.862
  • If you'll make Christ your life,your death will be a gain.
  • 00:24:41.896 --> 00:24:47.902
  • You will always be ready.
  • 00:24:49.036 --> 00:24:52.973
  • male announcer: To watch anextended version of today's
  • 00:24:53.007 --> 00:24:54.675
  • message from Dr. James Merritt,go to touchinglives.org.
  • 00:24:54.708 --> 00:24:58.979
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:24:59.013 --> 00:25:04.818
  • Dr James Merritt: Big question:Have you and your spouse been
  • 00:25:04.852 --> 00:25:06.487
  • spending more time together thanyou thought possible these last
  • 00:25:06.520 --> 00:25:09.223
  • few months?
  • 00:25:09.256 --> 00:25:10.558
  • You have no doubt learned morethings about each other, both
  • 00:25:10.591 --> 00:25:12.760
  • good and bad.
  • 00:25:12.793 --> 00:25:14.295
  • Let's celebrate marriage, getaway for a time of renewal in
  • 00:25:14.328 --> 00:25:17.398
  • our relationships.
  • 00:25:17.431 --> 00:25:18.766
  • I want you to join me and mybeautiful wife, Teresa, as we
  • 00:25:18.799 --> 00:25:21.869
  • head to Gatlinburg, Tennessee,next spring to host the
  • 00:25:21.902 --> 00:25:24.638
  • "Reignite Marriage" retreat.
  • 00:25:24.672 --> 00:25:26.507
  • We'll start on Thursday night,March the 25th,
  • 00:25:26.540 --> 00:25:28.909
  • and finish by Noon on Saturday,March the 27th.
  • 00:25:28.943 --> 00:25:32.212
  • The entire weekend will takeplace at the Mills Auditorium in
  • 00:25:32.246 --> 00:25:35.516
  • the GatlinburgConvention Center.
  • 00:25:35.549 --> 00:25:37.851
  • We'll spend time in the Word ofGod learning about marriage,
  • 00:25:37.885 --> 00:25:41.488
  • we'll laugh a lot as comedianTim Loveless entertains us, and
  • 00:25:41.522 --> 00:25:45.125
  • we will leave refreshed andrenewed in our marriages.
  • 00:25:45.159 --> 00:25:48.596
  • The "Reignite Marriage"retreat will have very
  • 00:25:48.629 --> 00:25:50.731
  • limited availability.
  • 00:25:50.764 --> 00:25:52.399
  • You can visit touchinglives.orgfor all the details
  • 00:25:52.433 --> 00:25:56.203
  • and to purchase tickets.
  • 00:25:56.236 --> 00:25:57.638
  • Thanks for watching thebroadcast today.
  • 00:25:57.671 --> 00:25:59.673
  • I hope to see youin March in Gatlinburg
  • 00:25:59.707 --> 00:26:02.042
  • for the "Reignite Marriage"retreat.
  • 00:26:02.076 --> 00:26:05.846
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:26:05.879 --> 00:26:15.856
  • Dr James Merritt: I havea question for you,
  • 00:26:15.889 --> 00:26:17.191
  • and it's a tough one.
  • 00:26:17.224 --> 00:26:18.659
  • Are you more concernedwith your outward image
  • 00:26:18.692 --> 00:26:21.061
  • than with your inner qualities?
  • 00:26:21.095 --> 00:26:23.097
  • Most everybody struggles withthis question, myself included,
  • 00:26:23.130 --> 00:26:25.799
  • because we've been toldimage is everything.
  • 00:26:25.833 --> 00:26:28.369
  • And this got me to thinking andeventually led me to write
  • 00:26:28.402 --> 00:26:30.604
  • a book on the subjectof character.
  • 00:26:30.638 --> 00:26:32.873
  • You see, your reputation is whatothers think is true about you,
  • 00:26:32.906 --> 00:26:36.510
  • but your character is who youreally are on the inside.
  • 00:26:36.543 --> 00:26:39.947
  • When it's all said and done,it's your character that counts.
  • 00:26:39.980 --> 00:26:43.851
  • I wanna invite you to order yourcopy of my new book, "Character
  • 00:26:43.884 --> 00:26:47.454
  • Still Counts," today, and beginto invest your life into what
  • 00:26:47.488 --> 00:26:50.958
  • matters most, your character.
  • 00:26:50.991 --> 00:26:53.494
  • Go to touchinglives.org to orderyour copy of "Character Still
  • 00:26:53.527 --> 00:26:56.530
  • Counts" today and remember this,when you die your reputation
  • 00:26:56.563 --> 00:27:00.367
  • will be gone forever, butcharacter will stick with you
  • 00:27:00.401 --> 00:27:03.504
  • for all eternity.
  • 00:27:03.537 --> 00:27:05.839
  • ♪♪♪
  • 00:27:05.873 --> 00:27:13.147
  • male announcer: Touching thelives of the lost and enriching
  • 00:27:15.916 --> 00:27:18.519
  • the faith of the found.
  • 00:27:18.552 --> 00:27:20.254
  • This is "Touching Liveswith Dr. James Merritt."
  • 00:27:20.287 --> 00:27:23.457
  • This broadcast is made possibleby the grace of God
  • 00:27:23.490 --> 00:27:26.393
  • and your faithful prayersand gifts.
  • 00:27:26.427 --> 00:27:28.996