It seems as though there are infinite ways to practice self care, but what is the ultimate way to treat yourself? In this message, we look at John 4 and start with self care 101.
Let's go 2019! Yeah, 2019 looks good on y'all. Hey, we're starting a new series tonight called Self Care. We could not be more excited about this series as we dive into a very popular term in culture right now of self-care. My most recent experience with a new form of self-care is related to something called the chiropractor. Anybody chiropractic people out there? Anyone over the age of 30-something?
I had some back pain recently, and a friend was like, "Oh, dude, you have to go check out the chiropractor." So I went to the chiropractor with kind of fear and trepidation of, "What sort of 'Witch of Endor' witch doctor am I about to walk into right now?" because the spine feels like a pretty valuable component of the body. If you're going to lose a finger, that's one thing. If you're going to be forfeiting something with the spine, that feels like a bigger deal.
So I go in there. I basically was like, "Hey, could we not touch the neck? I've heard that can kill you." So they went through it, and I went a couple of times, and it worked. I stand before you a healed man. I tell you that. So that was the most recent self-care. I love self-care. I'm a fan. I'm not just a fan; I'm a fad self-care person. I kind of go from one fad to the next along with it. "Oh man. Yeah, this is going to work this time."
Any of you guys remember P90X? That guy was so creepy. To Insanity and Shaun T or CrossFit. Any CrossFit people? You guys are all eating kale and doing dead lifts together. Or intermittent fasting is a new thing. I feel like I'm always down to try something new that comes along. Anybody remember or do AdvoCare? Yeah. I could never remember to take the vitamins. I would buy them, and it was basically like putting money down the toilet.
Here's the truth: I'm not the only person to love self-care. Our world is filled… We love self-care. There's no time of the year that we, as a society, are more into self-care than the beginning of the year, where New Year's resolutions are rolling out and people are going back to the gym, and you have all of these different goals for 2019.
I don't know what self-care looks like for you, but our society is all about it. Even that term of self-care, whether it's staycations or it's an excuse to go to the spa or join a yoga class or ClassPass or barre classes or getting your nails done or just taking a vacation or retail therapy… Any retail therapists in here under the banner of "Treat yo self"?
Here's my favorite thing about self-care, though. If you've heard the expression, which is just something in culture, it's like it's a virtuous way to do all of the things you want to do anyway. It's like, "Yeah, I'm sorry. I have to break my commitment and stay home and put cucumbers on my eyes, because if I don't take care of me I can't take care of you. So, you're welcome, really, is what this is all about. I feel like I need this massage right now, because if I don't get it, I'm cranky. If I don't sleep at least this amount, then I'm just not me."
It's like a new virtuous way to do the things we want to do anyway. Biblically speaking, that would be a little bit more like selfish care, if you will, but there are things the Bible says we, as followers of Jesus, should have in our lives to experience self-care. Said another way, there is biblical self-care that the Bible lays out. For the next handful of weeks, we're going to look at some of the teachings as it relates to Scripture about how you can be a healthier you and experience a better self-care as it relates to your mind, body, soul, spirit, and rest in general.
So we're going to kick this off, and I think it's going to be really, really helpful. We are excited. Tonight, we are going to dive into the starting point of self-care. If you don't get this thing we're going to discuss tonight right, then any amount of yoga you add to your regimen is going to be useless or ultimately not going to be meeting the greatest needs you have. So tonight we're going to dive into the starting point of self-care.
We're going to be in John, chapter 4, and we're going to look at an interaction Jesus has with a lady. In it he lays out three things that are crucial to your understanding and my understanding of self-care if you're going to experience it at any point in your life and in 2019 this year. John was written by the apostle John, one of Jesus' best friends, and he lays out and writes this account of an interaction Jesus has with this woman.
We're going to pick it up in verse 4. You may have heard this story before. Some of the more profound truths that are contained in the entire New Testament are recorded in this interaction Jesus has. We learn something about him, something about you, and something about self-care. So, three takeaways. We'll start in verse 4 and go from there.
"Now he [Jesus] had to go through Samaria." Here's why this is significant and why John is including it. John is starting out saying, "Jesus had to go through Samaria." What was Samaria? Samaria was this area that no one… If you were a Jewish person, you never went through Samaria. There was a phrase in that time that you would dust the sand off of your sandals if you got any of Samaria on you, because it was an area that was filled with former Jewish people who basically married a bunch of pagans and blended all of these different religions together.
If you were in the Jewish areas, in order to get to any of these areas, you wouldn't travel directly through; you'd go all the way around by the Jordan River because you wanted to avoid Samaria. It was kind of a rough neighborhood, if you will. Child sacrifice was a part of cult worship there. So Samaritans were not a people that got along well with Jewish people, yet Jesus does what no one did in that day. He says, "I have to go through this area." We're going to discover why in a second.
"So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon." So Jesus, walking along, stops at this town. There's a well. He sits down by the well, and it's noon.
"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her…" And he says what only Jesus could get away with saying. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
I say this because, ladies, if a guy ever interacts with you as it relates to a question and says, "If you knew the gift of God standing in front…" Only Jesus could say this type of thing, because he's Jesus. He is the gift of God. "For God so loved the world he gave…" So Jesus says, "If you knew who was talking to you, you would have asked me for water."
"'Sir,' the woman said, 'you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?' Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again…'"
I'm going to hit "pause," because it'll give us a launching point into the first idea as it relates to self-care. Jesus points out something that all of us… It's not that crazy profound that he says, "If you drink this water, you're going to thirst again." This will not be something that will finally satisfy you or satisfy you for more than even a day. It'll be something you'll have to continue to come back to over and over again. He's trying to launch into a conversation with this lady, and he's going to use the physical idea of water to begin to say, "There's thirst you have that you are unable to meet by yourself."
1._ Self-care without Christ will not last._ Jesus points to her. "Hey, if you keep drinking this water, it's really simple: you're going to have to come back here tomorrow and the next day and the next day." He's doing so because he wants to begin to talk about thirst and something lacking in this lady's life. Jesus knew who he was talking to. This wasn't just any woman. This was a woman who didn't just have physical thirst; she had voids in her life she was trying to meet and was coming up empty over and over and over again.
What do I mean by that? A few verses later, as they continued the conversation, we're told this was a woman who had been married five times, and she was sleeping with a man who was not her husband. A few verses later, Jesus in the conversation says, "Go, call your husband." She says, "I don't have a husband," and Jesus says, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
Five husbands today is pretty rare. If you meet someone who's on their fifth husband and on their sixth suitor, the sixth man, that's pretty unusual. In this day it was unheard of. This was a woman who had gone from one relationship to the next to the next and come up empty over and over and over again. Jesus is trying to launch into a conversation, saying, "If you try to self-care or care for yourself or cope with the emptiness in yourself alone, you will always come up empty over and over and over again."
This is the clearest expression of a girl who is thirsty in all the New Testament. Do you know what I mean by that? For anyone who's not used to that term, which I feel like is my favorite recent term… A little while ago, I was hanging with my friend Jake, and we were talking about some dating relationship. He was like, "Dude, that girl is just thirsty." I'm like, "Like, she needs a beverage? What do you mean, 'thirsty'?" He's like, "No. She's looking for a relationship."
Even today we use this kind of term. If anyone in the New Testament is relationally thirsty, it would be this woman. She had gone from one to the next to the next trying to fill this void and come up empty. If you try to self-care on your own, whether it's through a new workout regimen, whether it's through new goals you have for this year, whether it's through health, whether it's through a number of spa days, you will always come up empty.
If you try to self-cope and self-medicate with the world and experience, like, "I need a drink tonight" or "I need this new purse" or "I need this [fill in the blank]" or "I need a relationship," you will always come up empty. Jesus is saying that if you self-care without Christ you will always find something that does not last, because the truth is, just like she was thirsty…there was a void on the inside…there is a void inside of all of us.
You are thirsty, and I am thirsty, and if we are not aware of the ways we will try to meet those things out of that void or out of unmet desires, we are putting ourselves in incredible danger. Candidly, I can have thirsts or desires inside of me that are destructive for me, for people around me, for my family. Like a desire for "I just need the approval of people, and I just want to be liked" that if I let rule my life will lead me to a place where I no longer am concerned about the things God cares about; I'm concerned about what you care about.
Desires inside of my life that could lead me to commit adultery because I want to have sex with women who are not my wife; desires inside of me for money and materialism and "I just need to go make a bunch of money." If I'm not careful, out of that thirst I will let that thirst lead me to take actions that will impact not just me but all of those around me. Where are you thirsty? Maybe it's just an insatiable… You're constantly consumed with what people think about you or your social media.
Maybe it's a need for control and you have an eating disorder right now or just a loneliness that's inside of you that constantly comes up, and it's leading you to make decisions… I mean, pornography. Do you know the number-one reason that people who study it would say people get addicted to porn or people watch pornography? They want to feel desired. They're thirsty. The problem is not necessarily that you're thirsty. That's going to be a reality. It is what you do with that thirst.
You need to have a death grip on the fact that there are desires and things in you that want to run your life into the ground, that want to lead you to make decisions that will lead you into every place, from rehab to one broken relationship after the next. Do you know what those are? I have a dog named Judah who is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. He's like a little baby elephant. He's 130 pounds. He's enormous. Yeah, sweet.
He did the weirdest thing. This dog will eat out of the trash can while we're gone. That may be like, "Oh, that's kind of sweet. Maybe you have an open trash can." We have a trash can in a drawer. He can pull the drawer open because he's like 6'4", and he can get his face in there and eat out of the trash can. What happens when a dog eats out of the trash? He's like, "I'm hungry; that looks good," and he begins to eat water bottles. What happens whenever your dog eats water bottles? Well, it causes some complications.
He is constantly making decisions and eating from the trash out of his hunger, which leads to all kinds of exciting opportunities to be a good neighbor and pick up your dog's liquid that's rushing out of him at times. You may be like, "Oh man, that's kind of weird. Why are you telling me this thing?" Here's what will happen. Because of this decision, my dog is what you would call a walking pooper. Because he'll eat trash, then we'll take him to the park, we'll go outside, and there are people all around us. Any dog owners here? You will have sympathy for what I'm talking about.
You go around. You have your dog. You're hanging out at the park. There are all of these kids. "Hey, it's a great day. The sun is outside." Then the dog will be like, "Oh man. The water bottle is needing to come out," but it can't come out, so he will just begin squatting and walking around and circling people. How do you stop a dog from doing that when you're around people? You're like, "He's got a water bottle in there, and there's nothing coming out. I would get it if it was."
Literally, he was going around a 2-year-old the other day, and I'm like, "Judah! Stop! Judah, stop it right now!" You can't stop. He's like, "Dude, when you've got to go you've got to go." It is causing complications not just in his life but in all those around him. In the same way, there is something in me, as crazy as it sounds, that wants to eat from the trash. It's not the trash of a trash can; it is the trash of pornography.
It is the trash of finding my worth in other people. It is the trash of vanity and body image or the trash of, "If I only made more money," the trash of, "I want to be seen as impressive to people." It is a trash that is going to have side effects if you feed yourself that. I don't know what trash you are tempted to eat, but you need to have a death grip and awareness on that, because it's not just that self-care without Christ won't last; it is that self-care without Christ can cost you.
This woman had followed that inner urge for relational connection with one man after the next after the next to the point where she's living this life where she's not even married to this guy. That's why she came in the middle of the day. You don't come to a well in the middle of the day at this time. The reason she came is because she was an outcast. She was an outcast of the outcasts. The Samaritans were outcasts, but even among them…
You came in the morning to the well to get water and at night when it was cool. You didn't go in the middle of the day unless you didn't want to see anybody. This was a woman who had made decision after decision out of her desire, and she'd found herself empty and alone. Jesus says, "You have to seek outside of yourself, and there is a solution." He continues in verse 14. "…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
What are you saying, Jesus? Jesus is using this metaphor of water. Water is that thing the body has to have. Your body is like 50 percent water. If you don't have water, you will die. You can kind of last a little while without food. Without water, you will die. It's necessary for life. Jesus says, "In the same way that physical water is necessary to life, I offer a spiritual water. If you are going to experience self-care, if you're going to experience soul care, you're going to have to have something from me."
2._ Self-care with Christ involves soul care_. Jesus is trying to say, "To whoever is interested, whoever is willing, whoever will receive it, I will offer them something that won't just quench their thirst and go into their stomach; I offer them something that will penetrate into their soul like nothing else can." It would be such a tragedy if this year you met all of your goals as it relates to health and self-care and boundaries (and I hope you meet all of them) but you forfeited the thing that is your deepest need, which is care at the soul.
It would be such a tragedy if you came here tonight and had a good time and laughed and the music was cool but you didn't walk away experiencing relief at your greatest, deepest need, which is at your soul. Jesus says, "I alone am the one who can meet that need. Self-care without me is foolish. It will not last, but self-care with me will involve a soul care. That is what my desire for you to experience is: a relief, almost. I want to meet you at a place that nothing else in life can touch, which is the soul."
It's not hard to see. So many of the things in life we think would satisfy never do. Two clear ways all of us could probably see this is… One of them I would call the "I can't wait until…" mentality. People have this idea… I remember having it. "Man, I just can't wait until I'm dating." I'm dating someone. "I can't wait until we're engaged." We're engaged. "I can't wait until I'm married. Oh man, it's going to be amazing."
We get married. "Man, I can't wait until we have kids." We have kids. "I can't wait until we have kids who can dress themselves and sleep. I can't wait until they're in school. I can't wait until…" It just goes from one thing to the next. Inside of the room, I know most of us are dating, maybe seriously dating, and if you have any of that mentality of "I can't wait," you are chasing a moving target that just moves along with you.
The same thing happens with money. Remember in college you were like, "I just can't wait to have a job"? "Unbelievable. Thirty grand. I'm just throwing money everywhere." Then you're like, "I can't wait till I have forty grand, fifty grand." It never goes away, because there's something inside of you that no amount of money, no relationship, nothing can touch but Jesus. He says, "Self-care with me involves a soul care. I want to come in and allow them to experience satisfaction at the deepest level."
The second place we see it is in celebrities. You look at these people. You're like, "You are the most attractive, wealthy, successful person ever. You make a movie, where someone just tells you to read a line for a month a year. You have everything anybody could ever want." The number of them who are on antidepressants is unbelievable. Just look into it. The number of them who have come out, from Cameron Diaz to Tom Brady to Brad Pitt to Jim Carrey to Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, on and on, and said, "Hey, if you think anything here will satisfy, you are deceived."
Just think about the idea they have everything you'd ever want. They have more access to self-care than we'll ever have. They get a massage a day. They get to have their own masseuse. They could go shopping whenever they want and not really get worried about it. They're able to go on vacation whenever they want to. They own a small island, and they're all depressed, or many of them are. Think about that.
You're going to Tahiti on your own little vacation, and you're packing pills to help you cope with the depression of your life. That's crazy. I'm not even saying anything about antidepressant meds. That's not my point. My point is that people who have the life that everyone would go, "Oh, that's amazing" are trying to cope with the sadness of the reality of their life, because there's something empty in them that no success, no fame, no money can ever satisfy. Jesus would say, "You're thirsty, and there is only one well that can meet that need."
There was an interview with Tom Brady, who does it again… The dude is like 85, and he is just crushing it. It's unbelievable. Tom, give everybody else a shot. Sorry, Patriots people. It's true. He interviewed on 60 Minutes, and basically he said this exact thing. This is the guy who has won multiple Super Bowls. He's married to this supermodel.
Here's what he said: "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, 'Hey man, this is what it is.' I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me? I think: God, there's got to be more than this. I mean, this can't be all it's cracked up to be." "What's the answer?" they asked, and he said, "I wish I knew. I wish I knew…I think there's a lot of other parts about me that I'm trying to find."
Translation: What did you just say? Tom Brady, the guy who literally has… You'd be like, "That's got to be nice." He says, "I climbed the mountain of success and got to the top and there was nothing there. I've been on the wrong mountain. It's empty." Jesus would say there is no amount of success, no amount of money, no amount of relationship, no man out there, no woman out there, no ability to have children, or whatever you find yourself being like, "I wish…"
There's no job that can ultimately satisfy, and there's no person who's in any circumstance out there who cannot currently experience satisfaction if they will turn to him. Jim Carrey essentially said, "I wish everyone could be rich and famous so they could see how empty and meaningless it all is." Empty.
So Jesus interacts with this woman, and he basically presses in and says, "You've been married five times, one man to the next. You're thirsty, and I offer you a water that can quench your thirst." He begins to press in on an area that had to be a sensitive subject with this woman, and what does she do? She does what many of us do when God is kind of pressing in on us. We try to move away from it or change the subject. Here's what happens.
"The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.' He told her, 'Go, call your husband…' 'I have no husband,' she replied. Jesus said to her, 'You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.'"
How long was the pause after that sentence? I don't even know a modern equivalent. A random stranger shows up and tells you something that there's no way he could know. She begins to say, "Sir…I can see that you are a prophet." Then she does what so many of us do. "Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus brings up this very tender topic with her, and she's like, "Oh wow. Okay, relational. You want to talk about my relationships. While we're on the subject, you guys say we should worship on this mountain. Let's talk about mountains." She tries to distract from the conversation. You've got to love Jesus, because he goes with her.
"Woman…believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews." Basically, God gave the Old Testament, the Bible then, to the Jewish people. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."
Jesus says, "You're defining worship as you do worship at this mountain or that mountain or in this church or in this church building or at this time of the week or on Sunday. Worship is not something you do in a building. It's not about where you worship or even when you worship. Worship is something you do in spirit, as in constantly. Worship is more about how you live your life. You're constantly living and constantly worshiping if you're worshiping or living in spirit and truth," Jesus says.
"'God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.' The woman said, 'I know that Messiah' (called Christ) 'is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.' Then Jesus declared, 'I, the one speaking to you—I am he.'" We're going to come back to that in a second. Jesus essentially lays out, "Hey, the most important thing about worship is not where you worship but who you worship and how you worship."
Worship is something that's constantly going on. God is not seeking people to worship him in a building in a moment or not some religious exercise but a relationship. If you're going to experience self-care, health, growth, you to become everything you want to be in life, it is going to involve the third idea.
3._ Self-care with Christ involves an ongoing relationship with him. It involves an ongoing relationship with Jesus, a growing relationship with him, not some religious action. That's what he's saying. In spirit, constantly in connection with the Father. If you're going to experience self-care, it involves an ongoing relationship. In order for you to have a growing relationship, what do you have to do? What do you have to do to grow _any relationship? It takes time, communication, listening to one another, prioritizing.
If you're going to experience growing and being increasingly healthy, self-care, it will involve a growing relationship. You will prioritize spending time in God's Word. That's what I mean by listening. You will prioritize prayer. One of the things that is at the top of my list… I just want to pray more this year. I want to continue to develop the habit of "God, when my life is going crazy, will you help me turn to you? God, will you help me pray more? I'm about to walk into this meeting. I'm concerned about what they're going to think about me or maybe I'm just anxious or, God, I can't fall asleep right now. Will you help me?"
If you're going to experience a growing relationship, it's going to involve spending time in God's Word, spending time in prayer, growing that relationship priority. It's going to involve work. If you get married or if you are married, there's no marriage out there that doesn't take work. Relationships take prioritization and work. If you're going to grow your relationship with Jesus, it's going to involve this happening.
One of the craziest or maybe the saddest things… When you read this, Jesus says, "Drink the water I give you and you'll never thirst again." There are a lot of Christians, because they don't practice what Jesus said about worshiping in spirit and in truth, worshiping constantly, having a relationship with God… Because they don't practice that, they're thirsty.
You may be a Christian in the room, and you're like, "Dude, I believe in that. Yeah, the whole Jesus thing. Jesus satisfies the thirst. Yeah, that's great. I'm in on that, but I'm still empty. There's still part of me that feels empty." It's because you are not taking advantage of what you have access to: a relationship with God. You are not prioritizing your relationship, spending time in his Word, spending time with him, walking with God's people.
You have access to something that you started, but you're not consistently applying it to your life. Remember I talked about the chiropractor. I went, and while I was there… I went three times in a few days, and it was like, "Dude, this is awesome. Amazing." They were like, "If you sign up for $70 a month you can have an unlimited pass." I'm like, "Unlimited pass? I can come in here anytime?" Unlimited pass. Done. Sign on the dotted line. I haven't been back since. I need to go cancel it, but you can't do it over the phone.
If in a year I kept the membership and you came up to me and were like, "Hey, you mentioned the chiropractor thing. How is that going? Still a believer? I'm thinking about doing it myself," and I was like, "You know, it worked initially, but it really hasn't worked since. I mean, I haven't been back since, but I don't know that I would really encourage anyone to do that," you would say, "The problem is not with chiropractors; it's that you're not going. You're not taking advantage of what you have access to."
The problem is not that Jesus doesn't bring satisfaction; the problem is that you are not taking advantage of what you have access to. If you're going to experience self-care, it's going to involve an ongoing relationship. It says in the text the Father is seeking you. Not for you to do some deed once a week and religious act…to have a relationship with you. That's what God is seeking.
Here's the problem. A lot of people in the world are like, "Yeah, I'm a follower of Jesus. I believe in him. Living water. Great. I'm kind of experiencing my purpose." It's because you're kind of following Jesus. "I'm kind of experiencing peace." It's because you're kind of following Jesus, which may not even really be following Jesus. He's inviting you. "I want you to experience the life you were made for, but it's going to involve prioritizing, spending time with me."
In summary, self-care without Christ won't last, self-care with Christ brings soul care, and self-care with Christ is an ongoing relationship. When I was in college, my senior year we had the final spring break, which was so sad, just because you don't get those anymore. My roommates and I were deciding what to do. There was this girl I was all interested in, and I knew where she and her friends were going for spring break.
So I was like, "Guys, hey, look. Beach. It's going to be great." She and her friends were going to Destin, Florida. We weren't dating. I was like, "We should go to Destin, Florida. How great would that be?" They were like, "With all the families?" I'm like, "It's going to be great. Good family experience together." I convinced them. We were going to go to Alabama, and I convinced them to go way out of our way, just because there was a relationship with this girl, who's now my wife… Yeah, I know. Let me close in prayer. Just wanted everyone to know.
I was going out of my way to seek to be in relationship with her. This text, over and over, talks about seeking. There's a woman, and she's seeking to fill a void that her relationships can't meet. She's trying one after the next after the next, and she's still empty. She's thirsty inside. She's seeking. It says that Jesus was seeking her. Think about how it started. Jesus had to go to Samaria. Think about that sentence for a second. You had to? You're Jesus. You don't have to do anything.
He woke up that morning and said, "I've got to go. There's a woman I'm going to go meet. She's the outcast of outcasts. She's the woman no one wants to have anything to do with but the Son of God." He woke up with her on his mind. He was seeking a relationship with her. The very first person in all of the Bible that Jesus says "I am the Messiah" to is the most relationally dysfunctional person in all of the Bible. He says, "I haven't given up on you."
She believed that day. The story goes on, and all of her life was changed, because there was a man who was seeking and she responded to that. Not only does it say that. It says the Father is seeking a relationship with you. Here's what I know: if you're inside of the room right now, there's a God who wants something so much more for you than just a message or a worship song on Tuesday night. He wants a relationship with you.
From the very first breath you took on our planet he has been seeking you. Until the last day that you live on our planet, he will be seeking you. How do I know that? Because the very same word that it says, "Jesus had to go to Samaria" is used in Matthew, chapter 16, where Jesus looked at Jerusalem and said, "I have to go to Jerusalem to die on behalf of the human race," on behalf of every person who has ever sat in any one of these seats, who has ever lived on this planet. If you're listening to me right now, there's a God who is there who is seeking you.
You woke up this morning, and he is crazy about you. He's seeking you. You think, "If there is a God out there, I don't think he wants anything to do with me. I'm a porn addict. I've had an abortion. I was a part of telling someone to have an abortion. I'm an addict." You think the God who's there doesn't want anything to do with you. You don't want anything to do with you. He's crazy about you, and he is doing everything he can to seek out, not so you would just trust in him, though that is enough…so that you would walk with him and have a relationship with him this year.
My prayer for you, my prayer for this message would be, "God, would you awaken us to have ongoing, constant, growing relationship with you?" where we experience a "spirit and in truth" relationship with the Father who's there who has been seeking you. Even right now, there are some of you who are here… A friend invited you, and you thought you were going to The Porch restaurant, and you're like, "What are we doing here?" The Father is seeking you.
He has not forgotten you. He is crazy about you. He has given his life for you, because just like he had to go to Samaria, he says, "I have to go to the cross." For the joy set before him, Hebrews 12 says, he died for you. I don't know where you are. I don't know what you believe, but there is one man who can satisfy the desires of your soul. You were made for it, and there is no other well that can. Tonight, he is seeking you and reaching in your direction, all of our directions, and inviting us to accept him and walk with him in relationship. Let me pray.
Father, thank you that you are a God who goes out of your way for sinful, broken people like me, like this woman who had no idea what she was going to encounter that day. She just went to get water and avoid people. There was a God who couldn't avoid meeting her. I pray for friends in the room who have never accepted that, who have never come to acknowledge or understand that you are not there demanding some sort of sacraments from us, but you gave a sacrifice for us by giving your life and dying in our place to pay for all of the sins in our past, in our present.
No matter our story, you're not done with us. You have been pursuing us in ways we can't even fully see now, but we for sure can see the pursuit of you on the cross. Lord, for anyone who has never put their faith in Christ, I pray that tonight would be their night, that they would not leave their seat, they would not leave this building without coming to a confident place in their faith in you.
I pray you would allow those of us with one foot in the world and one foot out of it, who are kind of following Jesus and kind of experiencing peace, to take a step in your direction and experience the self-care they're looking for. The truth is there is a self-care that has been looking for us, despite the fact that we didn't even realize it, a self-care by the name of Christ. Thank you that you are a God who seeks. We worship you now in song.