If you need to be refreshed spiritually, go refresh somebody. If you want to be encouraged spiritually, go encourage somebody and watch what happens.
Because in ministry, here's what I know, you cannot refresh somebody without being refreshed. You cannot encourage somebody without being encouraged. So if you need refreshment and you need encouragement, go be a refresher, go be an encourager and watch what happens. Amen.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. An important part of the Christian life is fellowship. And as we gather together, we shouldn't be complaining and arguing, but rather we should encourage one another. Find out why this is important today as Pastor David continues in Romans 15 with Be a Blessing. Here's Pastor David. Romans chapter 15 verse 30.
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me. Paul has a vision. Paul has a plan. Paul here now is begging for prayers.
That's the word he uses. Now I beg you. In the New Living Translation, it's urge.
I kind of like beg better. It says, dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me given to you by the Holy Spirit. This word strive with me together in prayers. Agonizo in the Greek. It's where we get our word for agonize. Paul's saying agonize with me in prayer.
Picture I get is the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was in agony in prayer. Friend, I mentioned from time to time being in a church before here and you know at one point I attended a church and I'm very grateful. I met a man who helped me in ministry and would meet with me and I discovered a lot about ministry and you know, I was in the church. Hundreds of people called this one guy pastor. I wasn't real sure what he did.
I don't know. He showed up a couple times a week and talked. And to be honest, part of me thought, well, how hard can that be? Well, things have changed now. Now I've got hundreds of people that are calling me pastor and I've learned how hard it can be. And I've learned what it is that a pastor is supposed to be doing. And I understand when Paul says I beg you to agonize with me in prayer, why he would write something like that. Gang, let me, and I know you've got things going on that I'm not aware of, but let me assure you, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there are things that I'm going through that this ministry is going through that you're not aware of. The trials, the tribulations, the heartbreaks that we see. And maybe you think, well, yeah, well, if I get the chance, I'll, I'll, you know, maybe I'll pray for pastor David.
No, no, no, no, no, you don't understand. And I've said this before, and it's not too strong to say, I feel at times, I am riding on the fumes of your prayers. Because again, guys, I'm, I'm not the kind of person that's going to get up here and give you a tearful list of what all I'm going through. Of what all I'm going through of different things.
I'm not going to do it, but you can just know this. I need prayers. I'm begging you as Paul begged them to pray for me. If you think about it, God's doing incredible work here. Not, not just impacting this community, but regionally and, and even around the world. And people are being saved.
I mean, like on a daily basis. What do you think the enemy is doing? Military action? What do you do in order to disable the organization or the organism?
You take out the leader. It's what you do. There's no doubt that is the enemy's design for this place. So when we come across this scripture, it's like, Hey, you know, if you don't mind, you know, if you could just jot my name and if you get to it, would you please pray for me? No, no, no, no, no. It's it's beg. It's agonize.
Please. Here's the life lesson. Always pray for your pastor or pastors. Pastors are sustained by the power of the spirit through the prayer support of their congregation. Always pray for your pastor or pastors.
Pastors are sustained by the power of the spirit through the prayer support of their congregations. Let me tell you let me tell you something else that happens. I pray for you guys on a regular basis. Not perhaps by name, but sometimes names come to me. Sometimes faces come to me and I pray for you guys. And what happens is when there's a disagreement or, or I hear one of you is doing something that's not so good, you know, because I'm praying for you. I have a heart for you because that's what prayer does. When you, you can't hate somebody and pray for them. See, that's part of the little thing God built in. He said, pray for your enemies.
There's a little hidden trick in there. You hadn't already figured this out because when you hate somebody and you start praying for them, you know what happens? You don't hate them anymore. That's why he said pray for your enemies. So as I pray for you and perhaps you do something that's not so good, not so smart.
Hey, my heart is extended towards you in prayer. As you pray for me when I do something you don't agree with. Notice I didn't say if. I said when. At some point, if you're here more than, I don't know, 10 minutes, I'm going to do something that you don't agree with.
But here's what happens. If you're praying for me and you disagree with me, there's a, there's a cushion of love, a cushion of support and encouragement. Well, I think he's wrong about this, but I'll pray for him. I'll pray that he'll hear from God. And you know, and I know pastor David, he wants to hear from God. And if God speaks to him, he'll handle this differently. He'll do this differently. So I'm just going to pray that he hears from God. And that God speaks to him about this issue. If we disagree on something, pray for me. And if we don't disagree on something, pray for me. Gang, this is really, really important.
Why? Again, there's battles going on. Paul's not telling them. There's battles going on in my life.
I'm in love. I'm not, I'm not going to share, but I need your prayers. Paul is getting ready to go to Jerusalem. What's going to happen to Jerusalem? Well, he's going to get beat up. He's going to get thrown in jail.
There's going to be a murder conspiracy. Did he need their prayers? He did. He did. Do I need your prayers?
Yes. I'll use the word need. I want your prayers. I covet your prayers, but I need, I need your prayers. Thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment.
You know, it's often the case that during this time of year, many of us will make new year's resolutions in order to better our life. And this year, Cross the Bridge wants to help with the Cross the Bridge Every Day Devotional Book. Cross the Bridge Every Day is filled with 365 days of scripture, David's life lessons, and practical applications that will help you find victory in life and encouragement every day of the year.
David's devotional also offers a detailed index, allowing you to find specific devotions that deal with subjects like depression, relationships, salvation, and more. The way to abundant life is through fellowship with Jesus Christ, and Cross the Bridge Every Day makes spending time with the Lord convenient and enjoyable. Cross the Bridge Every Day is available this month only for a gift of any amount to Cross the Bridge Ministries. To donate, call 877-458-5508 or visit us online at crossthebridge.com. Act on your resolution today and receive David McGee's devotional with your donation.
Again, that number is 877-458-5508 or online at crossthebridge.com. Now let's return to David's teaching. Verse 31, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints. So he's saying, hey, pray for me, and this is how you you want to pray. And if you if you want two things, always pray for wisdom, discernment, and health.
Those are three things that you can pray for in my life. So Paul's saying, hey, pray for me and pray these things. And understand that he's wanting to minister. And let's understand too, are things going horribly where Paul is?
No, no. When he was writing this gospel, he started a bunch of churches and he started a bunch of churches and things in part were going well, but he had it hard to go back to Jerusalem. Things were not going to go well back in Jerusalem, but he was leaving what God was doing to do to do what God wanted him to do.
Now, why is that important? Because, gang, sometimes in ministry, you have to be really sensitive because you can get involved with something and God says, no, no, I want you to do something different. We're like, no, no, no, this is what we're doing, God. God says, no, I want you to do something. No, no, God, we're doing it like this.
No, I want you to do something. No, no, no, no, God, you're moving and we know you're moving and we're going to do it like this and there's no other way. God says, yeah, there is another way.
I've seen this happen over and over. And that's why, you know, we have that, it's kind of a newbie attitude, if you will. Blessed are the flexible, they shall not be broken.
That's a good adage in ministry because you have to be flexible because God, he's always doing the kind of different thing. I remember years ago, I was back, I was the only one on staff, so I was doing all the counseling and answering the phones and actually I wasn't on staff, I was a full-time volunteer. But anyway, so, you know, I was doing marriage counseling with this couple and the phone rang, I need to answer it, you know, so I picked it up and I said, yeah, hang on, answer the phone. And the guy said, well, you know, he was, I'm from such and such and so-and-so and we're selling some kind of widget or, you know, I don't know what he, I can't remember what he was selling. We got these really cool widgets and you need them. And I'm like, no, we don't need your widgets, dude. And thanks for calling and, you know, God bless you.
And, you know, I'm like, I got to get back to this couple there, you know. Well, you know, I really think you could use these widgets, you know, and I'm like, no, no, we don't want your widgets, dude, you know, and I'm trying to be nice, you know, but I'm thinking, you know, as a telemarketer, I'm thinking those things, you know, that you think when telemarketers call you at home and during dinner and, you know, let me get your home number, I'll call you at home, see how you like that. But, so, you know, I'm thinking all these things, I got to get off the phone, I got to get my history, you know, and I'm like, this guy won't get off the phone and, you know, and he said, yeah, I said, well, you've actually called a church and we don't have widgets and we don't use widgets and he goes, oh, you know, we have churches that use widgets and I thought, why won't this guy get off the phone?
Now, the easy answer was he's a telemarketer, but then I thought, he won't get off the phone. I said, I said, yeah, this is a church, so you've got churches that use your widgets. He said, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I said, do you go to church?
He goes, yeah, sometimes. Have you been born again? And he said, well, born again? What's born again? I said, well, it's asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and, and, and asking him, you know, to give you a new start. And he said, he said, no, I never heard that born again thing.
Who came up with that? And I said, well, Jesus came up with that and John chapter three, he said, you must be born again. And he said, really? I said, yeah. And I said, and you know, the, the way you would do that, I said, can I assure the way you would do it? He said, sure. I said, you know, you'd ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and ask him to, to help you, you know, to walk in his strength and his power. And I said, I mean, we could pray it right now.
Would you like to pray it with me? And he said, yeah, I would. So I took him through the sinner's prayer, this telemarketer and, and, you know, and then gave him some follow-up stuff and send him a website and teachings and stuff. And you know, and then when I hung up the phone, you know, the couple was sitting there and they were like, I couldn't resist this. It happens all the time. We just ministry to telemarketers.
So in full disclosure, I've never, that's the only time that's ever happened. But, but the point is I was so involved with ministry that I was about to miss what was a defined distraction that God had set up because things were going so well for sometimes when things are going well, it doesn't mean God is always going to keep moving in that area or that ministry or that movement. Sometimes he goes, I'm going over here now.
I'm going to do something a little different. That's why we say blessed are the flexible. And so Paul is, he's leaving these other churches to go back to Jerusalem where things well, they're going to be difficult. Let's look at verse 32. He says that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and may be fresh refreshed together with you. I love that phrase and may be refreshed together with you. You understand this is something that happens here that when we come together and we worship together and we study the word to God, word of God together, we're refreshed.
We're encouraged. I mean the teachings, I hope they're stimulating. I hope they're encouraging.
I hope they're challenging. But you know, I doubt if you've been here for, I don't know, a couple of years that 95% of the stuff is going to be stuff you're being reminded of, but you're going to be refreshed because that's what happens when we come together. Now as you come together and you are refreshed, what are you supposed to do? Refresh others. As you come together and you're encouraged, what are you supposed to do? Encourage others. And let me, let me tell you friend, if you need refreshment, if you need to be refreshed spiritually, go refresh somebody. If you want to be encouraged spiritually, go encourage somebody and watch what happens. Because in ministry, here's what I know, you cannot refresh somebody without being refreshed. You cannot encourage somebody without being encouraged. So if you need refreshment and you need encouragement, go be a refresher, go be an encourager and watch what happens.
Amen. So Paul is saying, you know, I'm going to be refreshed with you. As you know, talking to somebody online, they're like, well, I'm just not sure you need to go to church.
I can, you've probably heard this one before, but it's like, no, no, no, something happens when we come together. It's powerful. It's a good thing. And it's a necessary thing to say, you know what? And yeah, it's a humbling thing in it to say, you know what?
I need what happens here on a Sunday morning. That's humbling. But it's, you know what? What's God thinking? Humility. Oh, he'll bless humility. As you say, well, yeah, I need this guy to say, oh, God bless you.
Cause you're, you're walking in, in humility. Again, we need this to encourage one another. Life lesson here. As we fellowship or hang out together, we should be encouraged and encouraging. As we fellowship or hang out together, we should be encouraged and encouraging. I know you're going to go through times in your life that are kind of dips and you're going to need people to pour into. You're going to need to be encouraged, but that shouldn't be a lifestyle.
That should be a season. As we grow in the Lord, we become encouragers. And if you don't do that, you will continue to stagnate in your faith. God will always fill us up so we can pour out.
Let's look at this last verse, which is a powerful verse. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Now we're tempted to just go, okay, well, that's, that's pretty selfish. Let's just click.
No, no, no, no, no. God of peace. Your attention, please. Why is he called the God of peace? Why is Jesus known as the Prince of peace?
Why is this important? I believe in the Bible. I believe in the biblical account of creation. I believe God created us. He created us with a desire for peace and in his love for us, there's only one place we can get it.
And that's from him. I'm not talking about temporary peace. You need temporary peace in the world. You can get temporary peace chemically or whatever financially or physically temporary peace, lasting peace. The world doesn't have it.
The world cannot give it. You know, I've been in seasons of life when, when I had everything, I mean everything the world had to offer. And those were my most miserable times because I lacked peace. See, if you're sitting in here today and you go, well, you know, I'm going to be satisfied or have peace or be content when I, whatever, get the new job, get the new house, get the new car, get the new spouse, get whatever.
No, no, no, no, no, no. Your happiness, your peace does not depend upon any of those things. And if you begin to buy into that lie, then the enemy of your soul is getting you to buy into the fact that you should be spiritually dissatisfied with life. Don't buy into that because Jesus, the Prince of peace wants to provide that peace to you. He wants to give it to you.
That's one of the things He provides. Isaiah 53 talks about that. He wants to provide peace to you. So maybe you're sitting here today, well, I don't have that peace. When I say peace, we think of the biblical, the Hebrew word shalom. It's more than just the absence of war. Shalom is not just the absence of war. Shalom is peace, it's wholeness, it's blessing, it's healthy, it's good things.
It's not just lack of war. And God wants you to have it so much that He's willing to die to give it to you. And yet some people listening, some people gathered right here don't have it. Don't have it.
Why is that? Paul in Philippians chapter 4 verse 11 says, not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content, to be, if you will, at peace. Now you think that Paul wrote this verse, ministry was going really well and you know, no, no, no. Paul wrote this verse from a prison. And prisons today compared to prisons back then and jails today compared to jails, they don't compare. I have visited those places before and you know what, they used to drop you in a hole. No light, no toilet, no food.
That's what the jails and prisons 2,000 years ago look like. From that point, Paul writes, I've learned to be content. And notice he says, I've learned. It tells us something that is something that we might have to learn how to do because again, multi-billion dollar industry trying to get you not to be content. God's peace trying to get you to be content. Romans chapter 3 verse 16 says, destruction and misery are in their ways and the way of peace they've not known. The world doesn't have this peace I'm talking about. Can't offer it to you, can't offer it to you, can't give it to you. You look at people and say, well, they've got peace.
No, no, don't assume anything. We've seen so many millionaires and billionaires commit suicide in the midst of this financial crisis. Why? Because they didn't have peace. Their peace didn't hold up.
It was temporary. Romans 5, 1, therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that you can be forgiven and perhaps are forgiven is enough to give you peace.
Not if you have that new house or that new car or that new job. The fact that you've been forgiven. Friend, if you have a day, just fall back. Oh, you know, God, this is going wrong and that's going wrong. And this is, oh, but you know what?
I'm forgiven. And everything's all right. Because the God of the universe no longer counts my sins against me. And watch how peace floods you. Jesus, it was important to Jesus, this issue of peace. And he tells us in John 14, 27, he says, peace I leave with you. He says, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Let it be afraid. And John 16, 33 says, these things I've spoken to you that in me, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer.
I've overcome the world. Now you need to understand the setting when Jesus is talking about in me, you have peace. And he's saying, let not your heart be troubled. He's speaking to the disciples that are getting ready to run off.
He's getting ready to be crucified. And yet in that moment, he is so others centered. He turns to them and says, don't let your heart be troubled. I don't give you the peace as the world gives it. The world can give you temporary peace. It's not the kind of peace I'm talking about.
I'm talking about a peace that passes understanding. That you'll have it and you don't even understand why you have it. In the midst of troubles, you'll think, you know what? I should be more troubled.
The Bible says, don't be anxious for anything, but in all things give thanks. Is this possible? Yes, it is.
Yes, it is. I can tell you I had an interesting week this week and I won't go into details, but I can tell you that the peace of God that passes all understanding is keeping me. World doesn't have it. World can't give it.
World can't take it away. Now friend, you can give your peace away. Jesus says, here's my peace. And we say, okay, well thank you for your peace. You paid for this with your death upon the cross and I thank you for this. And yet somebody comes up and goes, well, did you hear about such and such? Oh, no, tell me about it. And we give our peace away.
See, the world can't take it, but we can give it away and we can begin to get troubled and give it away. Sometimes, friend, this lack of peace can be like those warning lights on your dashboard in your car. You know, something's wrong with your car and they start blinking. I don't know what you call them. I call them idiot lights because, you know, if it's blinking, you need to add oil, you're in trouble.
You waited too long. But they blink and they say, hey, something's wrong. Sometimes your lack of peace can say, hey, something's wrong. Some of you walked in here today, some of you are listening online or the television radio and you lack peace and God is trying to get your attention because somewhere along the way, your priorities got out of whack.
And the reason you lack peace is you gave it away. You took your focus off the goal. The goal is Jesus Christ. What is a distraction?
A distraction is what your eyes see when you take them off the goal. And when you begin to get your eyes on other things and get them off of Jesus, you begin to lose that peace. Jesus says, I am the prince of peace. Come unto me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Lord, thank you that you love us so much that you want to give us rest. You want to give us peace, Lord. And I thank you that you care so much for us. Lord, you wired us, you created us that we desire peace and Lord, we have to come to you to have this peace.
Lord, thank you for that. And Lord, today, we are coming to you. Lord, there's people that are listening that when this started, they did not have peace, but before we're finished, they will have it.
They will be flooded with the prince's peace. Some of them are anxious. Some of them are depressed. Some of them have wandered off. Some of them have wandered off.
Some have juggled their priorities and you're not the number one priority as you should be. Lord, and perhaps some have never asked you to forgive them of their sins. So I pray for those who have wandered, who've juggled their priorities, that they would come to you today to have that peace and I pray for those who don't yet know you, that they would come to know you in the next few moments. In Jesus' name. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven and I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life and I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.
Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him and He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. When you call, ask about this month's special offer featuring David's devotional book Cross the Bridge Every Day. This inspirational book offers 365 daily devotions as well as a detailed topical index to help you grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord. Cross the Bridge Every Day is available now for your gift of any amount. Again, the number to call is 877-458-5508 or you can go online to crossthebridge.com. Thank you for listening. We pray that you will join us next time as we continue to cross the bridge.
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