Three Prayers that Will Change 2018

We should be in prayer for understanding and strength.

Aaron Swensen
Jan 7, 2018    39m
Looking at The Book of Ephesians can help us be in prayer for a Christian life of worship by appealing to the Holy Spirit for strength, understanding, and more, which are the three prayers for 2018. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

New Speaker: 00:00 -music playing-

Aaron Swensen: 00:40 Well, hello, how y'all doing?

Aaron Swensen: 00:46 It's good to see you guys this morning. And uh, my name's Aaron. If I haven't had the chance to meet you, I'm the campus pastor at the Scottsdale location and speaking to that, hey guys, good to see this morning. We're grateful that Scottsdale's joining us in San Tan. We have three campuses across the valley and we're pretty fired up about what God's doing in all of our churches honestly. And uh, we're really excited about the future of what we've got in store in 2018. And before we get to the rest of 2018, let's just deal with today. Are you with me on that? Let's go today. So if you have your Bibles, open up your Bible to Ephesians. That's in the New Testament, kind of towards the back. And, uh, don't be afraid to go to the Table of Contents if you need to. No big deal. And we'll be in Ephesians 3 in just a few moments.

Aaron Swensen: 01:32 What if there was one thing you could do that would change everything in your life? Just one thing. Not that it's the silver bullet of all things, but what if there was one thing that you could do that would change your direction in your life? What if it could impact your marriage? Maybe with your children, maybe impact your business, definitely impact your relationship with God. What if there was one thing that we could all do that could change, not just everything for us personally, but could change our church. Would we do it? My guess is some of us already actually are doing it. So we believe that the Bible teaches that prayer is that thing that changes everything. Now, I also understand too, that, uh, that when it comes to prayer and somebody's giving a talk on prayer, you're like, oh yeah, that thing. Yeah, yeah, that, that prayer thing. Because when everything's going good in our lives, wouldn't we agree that prayer is the first thing that falls off the table, right? I mean, it's good, everything's fine, but as soon as the wind and the rain starts coming and pelting us and life throws us curve balls, we gotta grab that prayer thing. Where did that go? I gotta start doing that again. Maybe you struggle with prayer. If I'm being honest today and I know I'm a pastor and I shouldn't struggle with how to pray and when I should and shouldn't or whatever, uh, but I struggle with prayer in a very real way. How many of you would just say, just by a show of hands? All of us would, man. Prayer's one of those things I wish I was better at, right? Cool. Honest moment in church. Awesome. This is going to be helpful then because I have really wrestled with this, too.

Aaron Swensen: 03:15 Have you ever started a prayer and it's super good intentions? You're praying that your five year old son would get saved or you're praying for somebody to get delivered from something or you're really starting out with super spiritual intentions and then all of a sudden your mind drifts and you're starting to pray for maybe a tee time, uh, or you're going after the prime rib sale at Fry's. Like, has anybody ever been there before? Man, I hate that. Don't you hate that? It started off in such the right direction and I was fired up about Jesus, and then Jesus probably doesn't care about the prime rib. I mean, maybe he does. I don't know. Uh, but man, things just happen. That's actually what happened to Paul. I think you're in great company. Paul, for many of us who are followers of Jesus, Paul is one of those guys that people look up to and go, man, that guy's got it going on. And if I could follow Jesus like Paul followed Jesus, then maybe I'd be onto something. Well, here's great comfort in uh, this is that Paul started off praying and got super sidetracked in Ephesians chapter 3, and we're actually going to pick up on the nugget, like the really good part of the prayer, not the rabbit trail, but the actual prayer. And I find great comfort in knowing that a great guy like Paul, who God used to literally change basically the New Testament church and give us a large portion of the New Testament. If God can use a sidetrack prayer like him, then maybe He could use me. And most assuredly, He can use us with what He wants to accomplish in this world. And so I want to just get this out of the gate before we go any further. Man, this is an angst that I've been holding onto and I've been praying for and uh, because I understand that prayer falls off the table really easily for us, and definitely for me. I want to give us three prayers to ignite our prayer life. Okay? In 2018 I want us to rally around these three areas. So for those of you that are type A people, I'm going to give you the answers to the test now so that you can just ease back and relax. So we're going to have a prayer for strength, a prayer for understanding, and a prayer for more. So prayer for strength, understanding and more. Now that you know that, let's jump in to the passage of scripture.

Aaron Swensen: 05:16 In Ephesians Chapter 4, Paul opens up this entire discussion in this conversation with this phrase: "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father." Now that doesn't take many of us off guard. It doesn't catch us off guard because many of us have probably bowed our knees in prayer before. Anybody bowed your knees in prayer before maybe after tucking your kid in bed? Many parents do that. I mean, that's not uncommon for us. Uh, but if you understand how uncommon it is in the ancient Near East culture, you're going to understand the power and the magnitude of what's about to follow after he says, "I bowed my knees to the Father". It's super remarkable actually that he bowed his knees because the posture of prayer for Paul in his day was not standing. It's not like what, yeah, that was the posture. It was standing. If you go over to Israel today and go stand at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, you will find Jewish men standing at the Wailing Wall, oftentimes rocking back and forth and taking little pieces of paper that they've written prayers on and sticking it in the bricks and the mortar of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Standing was their posture. Kneeling was not their posture at all, and so when someone would kneel to God in prayer, it had two specific things that it meant. Number one, that this was an extraordinary event or an unbelievable passion in their heart that they were experiencing. As a matter of fact, King Solomon in 2 Chronicles when he built the temple in Israel, the Bible says that he knelt in prayer to God at that moment. Why? Because it was an extraordinary moment. Jesus says the cross was heading as He was heading towards the cross. In the book of Mark, the Bible says that He fell to His knees in agony, passion, extraordinary moment before the cross. As a matter of fact, this guy Paul that we're using today to study in the book of Ephesians, he loved the leaders and the men and the women of the Church of Ephesus, and the Bible says in Acts 20 that his heart was aching when he had to leave. He loved them so much that before he left, he and the elders and the leadership of the church bowed their knees in prayer to God. So it had to be something extraordinary and something that was full of passion for these men, for these people to bow their knees because they normally stood, and so the readers, as this was read to a church and preached much like it's being preached right now to the original audience. When they read, for this reason, "I bow my knees to the Father", they would have...What is he going to say? This must be super important. This must be paramount. This must be such full of emotion. So full of passion. What's he going to say? Because what if what he says, what he's doing with his body, what he's saying that he's doing is going to signify that this is a major, major thing that is going to impact our lives, which is ultimately very true.

Aaron Swensen: 08:10 So Paul kneels before the Father. I love that phrase, the Father. Paul fell to his knees because of the power and the majesty of the Word of God that he was about to deliver, but also he knelt in humility to his Father in Heaven because in that moment he realized who he was and where he had been and what he had done in his life. And he had experienced God's grace and God's mercy, the extension of His love. He didn't just understand it, but he embraced it and he loved it and it was his own. He in that moment said, oh my gosh, like God knows my story. God knows what I did and what I did to people who professed love for Him, and even in that moment, even though He knew who I was, He saw me on that road and He snatched me from that life, saved me, forgave me of my sins, gave me a new purpose, gave me a new name, gave me a new identity and changed my destiny. And at that I humbly fall at the feet of my Father in worship.

Aaron Swensen: 09:21 Some of you, before the sermon gets any further, the sermon for you is that that's what God does for people. That is what God does, is He takes a person, a man, or a woman or a boy and a girl who's on their journey doing life their own way, and then God rescues you, snatches you from that life, and gives you a new name and gives you a new purpose and gives you a new destiny and He has rescued you from that and given you something unbelievably important to do in this life. And at that our hearts should have the position of humility and gratitude and thankfulness that God would do that for us. And it's from that place kneeling before the Father as an extreme, extraordinary event and unbelievable passion that's about to unfold. Paul prays the first prayer, a prayer for strength. He prays this prayer for strength. Now we have a fascination with strength in our culture, especially around New Years. Now, I am a runner and I was running long before January 1st, by the way, long before that. And uh, but I noticed actually early in the week that the gym right around the corner from my house was slammed earlier in the week, right? I mean everybody was wanting to get their strength on right there, wanting to get busted up and swole or however you say it around, you know, whatever it is they wanted to get strong. I noticed yesterday when I was driving right by there that instead of the gym parking lot being packed, it was Dunkin Donuts that was packed. I know it's only been a few days, but it's all right. But there is this idea that we want to be strong. Who doesn't want to be strong? Is there anything wrong with wanting to grow in strength? I mean, we want strong marriages. I've never met a person that said I'm going for a weak marriage. Anybody with me? We're not. No, I've never met a person like that. I'm going for a strong marriage. I want strong relationships. I want a strong business. I want to be financially strong. I want my children to grow strong in the Lord. I want them to make good wise decisions. Like there's nothing really wrong with wanting a strong business or strong things. But the kind of strength that Paul is going after is not the kind of strength like that. You see at the source, at the core, of the strength of a New Year's resolution, at the source, at the core of the strength of you and me wanting a great business, being financially strong, being a strong country, whatever that is at the source of that often times is the ability on you and on me to grind it out, to churn, to get it done. And Paul is saying that this strength that is available to you, if you call out to God for it. You can't grind hard enough. I can't grind hard enough to get stronger, but you do have access to it. Well, where does that strength come from? If I'm not working it out and if I'm not getting after it and doing this work to get stronger, then where does it come from? I'm glad you're thinking this way.

Aaron Swensen: 12:25 The Bible actually tells us. Look at the next part in Verse 16. It says "that according to the riches of His glory". You know where the strength of God ultimately comes from? First, it comes from the riches of His glory. It comes from the abundance of what He has. It comes from God's wealth. Listen, it's one thing to receive something from a wealthy person. It's another thing for them to give you something according to their wealth. According to their wealth is different. It means you can actually live like they live. You can enjoy what they enjoy. From is just like getting an inheritance check. You didn't live like she did. You didn't live like they did and neither did I. But when somebody gives you something according to their wealth, that means you get to enjoy it as they also enjoy it. And that's where God's strength comes from, from the abundance of His riches, you have everything that you need. Later the text will say, filled with the fullness of God. The moment you profess Christ as savior of your life. It comes from His riches. Secondly, it comes from His spirit. Ultimately, that's where we're landing on this point is that the prayer for strength comes from His spirit. The Bible tells us this. I didn't make it up on my own. That should bring you great comfort. It says that "He", in Verse 16, "may grant you to be strengthened with power". There it is, to be strengthened with power. Where? How does it come? It's through my grinding. No, it's not through that. It's through His spirit in your inner being, in your heart, at the core of who you are, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. See power, it comes from God through His Holy Spirit. See Paul's prayer for you and for me and for the people of Ephesus is that at the core of who you are, at the center of the person, of who you are, it's literally your inner being, your heart is what he means, the core of your heart. At the center of that, you would find the source of your life, the power to do all that God has called you to do. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. That's where the power comes from. The power, listen, this is...we all know this to be true because before you met Jesus, when a person cut you off in traffic, you did what everybody else that doesn't have Jesus does. You flipped him off. Now some of you post Jesus probably still do that, but we'll talk about that at another sermon, but, but, but before Jesus, you didn't have the capacity to extend forgiveness.

Aaron Swensen: 15:10 You didn't have the ability to actually release the offender in your life. Before Christ you weren't able to be gracious to the one who was harsh at you in the break room at work. We don't have the ability to love without expecting anything in return, without the power and the strength of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. We can't do it. I know we try to do it. We all try to do this. We do this our entire lives, but the thing is is we can't grind hard enough to be that loving, to be that forgiving, to be that gracious. The grinding was done on the cross of Jesus Christ and His death and His resurrection by that power that raised Christ from the dead, which was the Holy Spirit, is the same power that lives in you and that lives in me, and we actually have access to that power and I'm imploring and I'm begging and I'm leaning in across all of our campuses that we would actually tap into that power this year. That we would go there. Because if we actually went there in our hearts, I actually believe that that would change fundamentally everything about our life, everything about our marriage, everything about our relationship with kids, everything about our church. We do things a whole lot different, we would do it a lot differently if we tapped into His power. Well, what does the Holy Spirit actually give you the power to do? A whole bunch of things, but ultimately he gives you the power to live like Jesus every day of your life. Because you can't be that gracious, that loving, that kind and that forgiving apart from the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. So as we give way to the Holy Spirit in our lives, Paul continues to pray, uses this phrase, he says, "so that".. Are you with me? Do you see it? "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith". "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith".

Aaron Swensen: 17:02 So he's saying that we would be strengthened with power through the Spirit and our inner being so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. Well, now I'm a little confused because I already am a Christian, and I thought that Jesus lived in my heart already. I wrestled with that for almost an entire day because I was super confused. What does he, what's he talking about? This is what he's talking about. Everybody probably has experienced this. Before you were married, if you're married, before you were married, you lived in some pretty janky places, did you not? Uh, did, uh, I'm the only one around here that lived in a janky place? This is going to bring me great comfort. So, um, I lived in this farm house literally in the backwoods, it wasn't total backwoods of Oklahoma, but kind of. And this house was so janky, it didn't have a washer and dryer. We had this tiny washer that we hooked up with a garden hose to our sink. You could wash a pair of jeans and a rag. That's about as far as you could get, and then that's what you could dry as well. So basically what you stained throughout the week was the determining factor of what got washed that weekend. And so it was, it was pretty bad. And then we also lived one time after we were married, Joy and I lived in an apartment that had wood on the walls, and that was before Joanna Gaines made wood on the walls popular. This was not cool. But, we looked at hundreds of different, not really, but all of us, we've lived in hundreds of different places. Moved a million times before we actually settled. It's when Joy and I got married that we felt the urge as many of you have, and we bought our first home and man, when we bought our first home, we went HGTV ballistic on that place. I mean, we ripped out the carpet, put new carpet, every room new carpet. Then all the main living areas, hardwood floors. Painted every wall. One of my daughters, we showed her a picture of that house this week and she was like, "Man, why did you paint that color?" Listen, red rooms were in in the early 2000's. They were, and she was, "That's ugly". Well it was, eh, but here's the thing. Why would we go to that extent in the first...when we bought our house? Because we decided that we were going to make that house a home, and we were going to dwell there and we were going to bring our children home to that place.

Aaron Swensen: 19:23 And when Paul is praying this prayer so that Christ may dwell, this is not some temporary residence. I'm stopping off and going to go onto the next thing. Paul is saying, no, this is where God is going to make His home through the power of His spirit. Jesus is actually going to renovate your soul and make space for Him in your life. Paul's prayer is literally saying, hey Jesus, would you come into my life and would you cleanse all of the dirty spots of my life? We lived in a house one time that had mold in three different rooms, legit, serious. And what Paul is praying is he's saying, God, take the moldy crusty out of dated things that are in my heart and I want You to renovate those things, clear out the muck, clear out the dead, clear out the old, clear out the broken and make this life whole again so that I can be used for Your glory and for the good of others in this world. Paul's prayer is saying, God, I make room for you in my life. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Here's the why. Here it is, here it is, here it is. So that Jesus would permeate through my life into this world. So that Jesus would ooze out of every single spot of my life. So that when I go into a space, somebody goes that person obviously loves Jesus and nobody ever says that. People say that all the time. Maybe they're just not saying it enough about us because we haven't prayed the prayer of strength. And this is something on my heart that I know, I am a pathetically weak man apart from Jesus. And God doesn't desire me to be pathetically weak. He wants me to be strong in Jesus. And God doesn't want us to be limping. God wants us to be running and flourishing this year. And God doesn't want us as a, as a church to go, well, maybe it's this and maybe no, no, no. God wants us to be strong in Him and confident in Him and God wants us to work this thing out and trust the grinding Jesus has already done and embrace the strength that is already inside of us. And all we have to do is ask that God would show us how to live in that strength. That's been my prayer for you. It's been my prayer for me. It's been my prayer for us as a church, and I promise you this, as you begin to embrace this prayer this year, God's going to give you more strength than you could ever imagine. He will deliver on strength every day of the week. Some of us need that today, don't we? It's there. Grab a hold of it. Grab a hold of it and face today.

Aaron Swensen: 21:57 Second prayer that Paul prays is a prayer of understanding. I want to say something to you that has the ability to turn your world upside down, but you really gotta embrace it. Jesus loves you, actually loves you, right now. Now I recognize that some of us today would doubt that, maybe because of the season that you're in and it's extremely difficult. And maybe you've prayed as I have, God, if you really do love me, why are you letting this happen? It's a very real question and it makes you doubt that Jesus actually loves you. Maybe others of you, it's not a season, maybe it's just that, hey, if Jesus did love me, wouldn't I sense his presence with me? Because if you love someone, you're near them. I just don't sense that. Others of you, when I say Jesus loves you, you automatically go to the spot of juvenile. It just seems juvenile. It seems like a nursery rhyme. It seems like something that's awesome for my five year old, but listen, I'm 37 and like I, I'm not, I'm not... Jesus loves me. Awesome. Thanks man, I get it. I get it. I get it, but I'm not sensing it. No matter where you're at on the spectrum this morning, what I want you to know is that no matter how you feel, God's love isn't dependent upon how you feel. God's love is dependent on His very nature, and His nature and His essence of who He is is love towards you. And Paul's prayer ought to be of great encouragement to you.

Aaron Swensen: 23:54 If you're struggling to wonder if God loves you, listen to his prayer. Jump in with me in Verse 17, the latter part. It says, "that you"...That's us. That's the people of Ephesus, "being rooted"... Circle that word rooted, "and grounded"... There's another one. Circle that..."in love". "Rooted and grounded in love". It's the, uh, it's the got agriculture and you got architecture. This is what Paul's doing, and he's saying, listen, I want you to be rooted as a tree, as its roots are growing deep into the soil, and that soil nourishes those roots and it allows that tree to grow. Your life is like a tree, and you are planted in the soil of God's love, and as you mature, your roots will grow deep down into the soil of God's love for you, and you will begin to take something that seems extremely small and insignificant and trite as the phrase Jesus loves you, and you will begin to go as you grow deeper, you will begin to find the vastness, the beauty, and the majesty of that little phrase, and you will never stop relishing in the fact that Jesus actually does love you. You're rooted in love. The idea of being grounded is really the idea of the laying a foundation. A building is only as good as how good the foundation is.

Aaron Swensen: 25:18 Buildings that stand the test of time are not because they are architecturally amazing. The Empire State Building is awesome to look at, but you know what makes the Empire State Building awesome? The foundation that it sits on. And your life, like a foundation, ought to be built on the sure foundation of God's love for you. He's saying that you are rooted. You're being rooted. You're not already, you're being. It's a process, being rooted and grounded in love, and this is in a very practical sense. If we are rooted and grounded on God's love for us, then nothing will be able to shake us. Can you embrace that today? That when the winds of life come at you and if your roots are deep in the fact that, hey, listen, this is a part of life, this is a part of the journey, and God, I trust you. There's a deep sense of peace that even though the winds are whipping and my branches are going 90 to nothing, either direction, my foundation is strong. It is sure in the fact that You love me and I trust Your purposes, no matter what. See, people who follow Jesus can go through anything. Because their soil, their, their, their lives are planted in the soil of His love, trusting Him and built on the foundation of His love. See, we don't have to go through life like people who don't have a savior. We do. Being rooted and grounded. Now he goes on to say that you may have the strength to comprehend. That's important, the strength to comprehend with all the saints. That's with the church. What is the breadth and the length and the height and the depth? And to know, like actually know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. I find that funny. He wants you to know something that surpasses the ability to actually know. Isn't that awesome? I want you to know something that surpasses the ability to actually know. You can't comprehend it, but I'm gonna...but by the power of God in you, you'll begin to understand it. That you may be filled with the fullness of God. Awesome. I gotta know, I gotta understand God loves me. I'm tracking with you. But not understand like you understand how to get to Starbucks from Cornerstone's parking lot. Not like that.

Aaron Swensen: 27:39 Not like you understand here, but you understand here (pounds chest). The phrase comprehend, it means to grasp. It means to grab a hold of. It's the picture of seizing. It's actually, uh, I can't say it any better than a picture I want to show you. This is my son, Roman. We were at Tempe Marketplace. Well Tempe Town Lake. I've been doing that for, like, forever, called each one a different name, but this was at Tempe Town Lake and we were with my family there, and he is a jumper. That's what he is. And he likes to jump off of ledges, and he's always telling me or my wife, Joy, like "back up, back up". So we gotta be careful. If he was up here, he'd just launch. That's just what he does. I love that kind of faith. That's pretty sweet. Uh, but it's the picture of comprehending God's love for us is the picture of my son standing at the ledge. He has this intellectual knowledge of there's Dad, Dad's there. I get it. I see him and, and, and I recognize him. I, I know that look. I, I know that voice. I, I understand who Dad is and how he sounds, how he smells, what he says, what he doesn't say. Like I understand. And I can see that that's Dad and that's who he is. And many of us, that's how we are with God's love. Like I get it, I see it, I understand I, I'm there. But listen, when we comprehend, when we grasp, and when we seize, the moment, the picture is leaping off of the edge and the embrace that we experience when our Heavenly Father catches us. That's the feeling. It's a free fall and it's a little scary at first, but that's why it takes faith to do that. And when you jump off like that, it's the most sure, the most rooted, the most competent thing you can feel all while at the same time, the most freeing experience that you have ever experienced in your life. It's the moment of, God, I'm jumping all in for You. I'm embracing Your love for me. As You embrace me, I'm embracing You and I'm going after this with everything that I have. It's moving from I see and I understand to a heart thing of He's got it and I'm going after it. Are you with me?

Aaron Swensen: 29:38 That's the picture that Paul wants for us. And that's the prayer I've been praying for us for some time now, that we would launch into God's love for us and that we would fully embrace it. Because when you fully embrace it, do you know what happens? It's happened to me time and time again. My attitudes change. My appetite begins to change because there are a lot of things that we feed ourselves that aren't good for us. And when you launch into embracing God's love for you and you taste that and you experience that, all of a sudden your taste buds change and your appetites change, your affections change and your attitudes change. And then all of a sudden now, because of all of that change that's gone on, your actions are different and you were chasing after this and now because you have embraced and understood God's love for you, that has changed the trajectory of your life and you're going after God with everything that you've got and bringing everybody along with you. You're motivated by His presence. You're compelled to obedience. You are filled to a whole new level. There is a breadth and a length and a height and a depth to God's love for you that you didn't even know existed that was available to you and to me to enjoy forever. Embracing the reality that Jesus loves us. Can I tell you this? You will never get to the bottom of that well. And for those of you that had been following Jesus for some time now, you could say right now, if we were to give you a microphone and say, yes, I embrace, I understood here, but then when I grabbed with my heart and embraced the fact that Jesus really does love me like this, like a father loves his son. I couldn't get to the bottom of that. I just can't. New discovery after new discovery and I enjoyed God's love more and more. Part of you being a follower of Jesus isn't necessarily what God gives you, but it's simply just enjoying the fact that you are loved so much that God would fill you with all the fullness of who He is. And it's okay to relish in that. It's okay to embrace. God loves me? Yes he does, for a purpose, so I'm praying for us that we would be strong this year and that we would have a deeper understanding this year, but also I'm praying for more. Everybody say more.

Congregation: 32:36 More

Aaron Swensen: 32:36 Say more like you want more.

Congregation: 32:38 More

Aaron Swensen: 32:38 Say more like you want some more turkey and stuffing and pecan pie more.

Congregation: 32:43 More

Aaron Swensen: 32:43 There we go. That's what I'm talking about. More. Paul rounds out this whole thing. He's, he's, he's on his knees, passionate, excited, overflowing with enthusiasm, and he says this in Verse 20: Now unto Him, not to the church at Ephesus, not to our specific church, not to the guy, Paul, not to the preacher, not to any one specific person. He says now unto Him. Who is Him? And the one who is what? Able. Who is able to do far, there's the word. What is it? More. Now unto him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us. To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. More is the key. More is the key. I want you to circle that word, the word able and more. You see, God is not only the God who can, but God is the God who will. God is the God who will step up every time. God is a God who delivers. God is a God who hears the cries of His people and steps and moves in to action. Do you believe that God wants more for you this year? Do you believe that God has more for you this year? I mean, do you really believe it? Do I really...? Man, I've been... Listen, I was preparing this message and the Holy Spirit came upon me and convicted me and said, "Aaron, do you really, like you say more, you're going to tell them to go after more, but do you believe it? Do you believe that God can? Who is able to do abundantly more than we could ask or think, do you actually believe that God could intervene in a marriage? Do you believe that God could actually bring a prodigal son or daughter home? Do you actually believe that if you prayed to the God in Heaven above that your child would profess faith in Jesus Christ, that He can actually allow the circumstances of that child's life to happen in such a way where they could kneel before the God in Heaven, and pledge their life to Jesus Christ? Do you actually believe that God could do more and heal a sick person? Aaron, do you believe it? Do we believe that God has more for us?"

Aaron Swensen: 35:06 One theologian, one writer, he said that, uh, the true test of our theology, what we believe about God, is not just what you say, but how you pray. If somebody were to take your prayer journal, maybe you have a journal where you write your prayers or, and they were to read it, or somebody were to eavesdrop on your prayer time in the car with God or wherever you do that, and whenever you do that, what would they hear? Would they be prayers that are insulated and that are super safe and very predictable? Or would they hear you calling out to a God who is bigger than your situation and that you are begging Him to intervene into your life? Would they hear the prayers of a child of God who doesn't have a small savior but a giant savior ruling and reigning over the cosmos? Would they see or would they hear a prayer that is faith filled, betting the farm that only God could change this thing and this situation. Are they going to hear those types of prayers? And my heart and my prayer has been for us, that that's where we would go this year. That we would, we would beg God to do more in our lives and in our church than we've ever seen God do in the history of our lives and in the history of our church across all of our campuses. Because I believe God wants more for us. And I'm not talking about more accolades. I'm not talking about more money, more cars, more vacations, more stuff. I'm talking about more of Him. I believe every problem that you bump into and I bump into in our life can actually be solved with just more of Him. More of Him. I've never met a person who said I've got enough God today. I don't need any more. And I believe we live in a day where we need more and more and more of God because when you and I beg God for more, I actually think he delivers on that. And I don't want us to be in December of 2018 and to look back on this year and say, yeah, that was pretty predictable. Totally saw that one coming. I want us to look back and say, only God could move that mountain. Only God could heal that marriage. Only God could have built that building. Only God could have brought those people. Only God could have used me to share the gospel with that coworker. Only God did these things. Only God could have done those things. You see, I want our history of our life and our church to be the history of the people of God, where it's only God parts Red Seas, only God makes the walls crumble, only God moves mountains, only God does miracles, and I want our story to be that story more than it already is.

Aaron Swensen: 38:23 So would you join me as we pray for strength? Would you join me as we pray for understanding and as we pray for more? Every head bowed, every eye closed, nobody looking around. How many of you would say today, hey, I need more? Would you just pray for me? God, we need more today. We need more of You, and that's all. We rest in that. Give us strength that's already there. Help us realize that and step into it. Give us, help us understand more of Your love and embrace it, grasp it, seize it, get after it. God, use us. Do something unbelievable in our day. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286