Hey, welcome today to all of our Life.Church locations. Today, you’re in for an incredible treat because we have, honestly, one of your favorite guest speakers, one of my favorite people in the world, the pastor of Fresh Life Church, an amazing church, meeting, believe it or not, 13 locations in four different states. This guy is a true man of God, an amazing author. In fact, his latest book is called I Declare War. This message is so powerful, I’ve actually asked him to teach from the Bible and this message directly into our church. He is one of my best friends in ministry. He’s one of the guys I go to for encouragement and love spending time with him. We’ve been honored to travel on vacations together and just lift each other up in the Lord. This is a great man of God and I know that our church loves him. Would you please show honor today to my good friend, pastor Levi Lusko. (congregants cheer and applaud) Come on, Life.Church! (cheering intensifies) How are we doing today, doing well? Yeah! Man, this is such a privilege and such an honor, to be here with you at all 34 locations, including the brand new Mansfield, Texas. Come on!
(congregants cheer) The newest church in the Life.Church family, and to anyone everywhere online, just thank you for being here, especially if it’s your first, second time at the church, you’ve come with a friend, invited, they’ve been trying to get you to come to church for a long time. Thank you for being here. Come on, let’s hear it for our first-time guests at church this weekend.
(congregants applaud) This is a special place, and God is doing something so powerful here in your midst, so make sure you come back, get plugged in, get on a team, get in a small group, and be a part of what’s happening, because this is world-changing stuff here that y’all are a part of. I mean, just come on, don’t take it for granted. (congregants applaud)
It is extraordinary and magnificent, and right back at you Pastor Craig and Amy, all that you were saying, how much you mean to us. I get choked up if I talk about it, but just in my phone, the automatic reflex in a challenging season, in a hard moment, is to call you in counsel, have you speak life into me and our family, and your example, I mean, I don’t know what’s got more members, the church or your family.
(congregants laugh) In that, I mean, just to think about, we have someone to look up to at a season ahead of us in what it looks like to successful raise Christ followers in the house, and I’ll just say this, you know, before I get into the message, which I cannot wait. I’m ready to preach this week, but to talk just for a moment about, just to give you context on what you’re a part of. We are at a historic time in history, because this year marks 50 years since the moon landing, and I know it’s a controversial thing and there are more people than ever that don’t believe that there is a moon, or that the moon landing ever happened. (congregants laughs)
And coincidentally or not, the rate of people purchasing edibles is also rising, so I don’t know if there’s any bearing, one upon the other, but 50 years ago, just think about that. For the first time ever in all of human history, people stepped foot on the moon. And what I love about that, a lot of things, what can happen when a whole lot of people collectively pursue an outrageous mission, but I also love that when Neil Armstrong, for the first time took that step on the moon, he had in his pocket a piece of the airplane wing from the Wright Brothers’ flyer. So think about that for a second, because 66 years before the moon landing took place, Wilbur and Orville Wright, December 17th, 1903, flew in their plane for the very first time. They made it 120 feet. The flight lasted only 12 seconds, but that was history-altering, as these two bicycle makers, who had no business, preacher’s kids, who had no business beating all the avionic experts around the world, mostly in Europe, they had no business doing what they did, but they defied all odds, and man flew for the first time. 66 years later, we went from 120-foot-long flight to a quarter-million-mile voyage to the moon. (congregants cheer and applaud) Never flown before in all of history, and only 66 years later, we go from flying for the first time to flying 238,000 miles. And when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon with that piece of the wing of the airplane in his pocket, what he was saying was, humbly, the only reason we’re here is because of who came before us. We would not be here if it weren’t for those who have come before us, and the reason God put this on my heart to talk to you about this week, before we jump in to our Bible study, is this. I think history will bear witness that you are a part of a spiritual kitty hawk, here at Life.Church, as you have developed (congregants cheer)
the tools and the resources in your 120-foot-long flight, Pastor Craig, in the You Version app, in Church Online, in the Open Network, in the sermons we’ll just give away for free, in pioneering with At The Movies, and all the things, and all the things that you’ve taken flack for, and the shots you’ve taken, and the personal toll on your family, and the difficulty and the complexity of having no business doing any of the innovative things that you’ve done, as you’ve flown 120 feet and then willingly said to the world, here are all these things, and now we get to come along all future generations and church planters and pastors, and leaders around the world who listen to your podcast, and rip off all your sermons, and– (congregants laugh) And we get to go to the moon, because of what you’ve done. And I want you to understand that every one of you who give and serve
(congregants cheer) and make a difference here, you’re loading up our pockets with your airplane wing, and so I’ve come here from Fresh Life Church to say thank you for taking the steps of faith that you have and thank you for believing in the capital seed church the way that you do, because it has set up the future generations for success. It’s an honor to be here, I love you, I’m thankful for all of you, at every Life.Church location, for what you’re doing and or what you’re a part of and I bring love from my family. Come on, there’s my wonderful family, (congregants applaud)
Jenny, Olivia, Daisy, Clover, and our little guy, Lenox, Lenox Alexander and my daughter Olivia is here, and got to have her come and be with us. She loves jo so much, and anyhow, thank you for having me. If you have a Bible, 2 Corinthians chapter 10 is where we’re gonna be. We’re launching off on a voyage that will take us for the next two weeks, for this week and next week, and so I hope you’ll come back, ’cause next week we’ll get really practical and into the nitty-gritty of some of this stuff as we talk about winning the war within. That’s the title of my message: Winning the War Within. I once, not too long ago, had one of those late-night YouTube sessions, you know what I’m talking about? Where it’s like this to that to this to that, and I don’t know what in the algorithm it is, but I started off watching something about Keanu Reeves’s motorcycle collection, and then I was on to some video about how to wash your car without leaving any spots, that was interesting. And before I knew it, I’m watching this video about what you can order on the Taco Bell menu that’s keto-friendly. I was like, “Well, that’s interesting.” And then (laughs) I found myself with the starting next video, the story of man named Larry and his wife Chrissy, and they were talking about how, in the video, about how they’ve loaded up their snowmobile or it was an ATV, rather. They loaded up their ATV on the back of his pickup truck and they were going out for an adventure. It was snowy where they lived, and I can relate to that, and they came up to a river, and they were gonna cross the river on the truck and drive out across the ice. Now, side note, in Montana, where I live, you see people all the time in the wintertime doing this thing called ice fishing. These are people that are not that smart, all right? (congregants laugh)
They go out on the ice, and my friend said, “You’ve gotta come ice wishing with us,” and I’m like, “I have no interest in that. “It seems freezing.” They go, “No, we build fires out on the ice.” And I go, “Well, that’s not smart.” (congregants laugh) That’s why the population’s so small in Montana, right? And I said, “How do you know it’s thick enough to drive on?” And they go, “Oh, well, if it’s a foot thick, “you can drive a truck across it. “If it’s three to four inches, “you could be an an ATV or a snowmobile. “If it’s an inch thick, you can support a man.” And I say, “So you say,” and well, in the video, Larry was talking about how he was looking at the ice and he thought it was thick enough for the truck, but then he goes, “You know what? “Let’s just take the ATV and get that load across,” and so pretty much, pretty soon they’re out there, flying across this ice, and he says it was awesome until it wasn’t. (claps hands) When he heard the sound of the cracking, and then the ATV stopped, dropped, and rolled straight into the water below. Now, he and his wife, wearing the clothes and the boots that they were, found themselves unable to do the only thing they needed to do, and that is to get out of the frozen water. They were at the edge of the ice, but they just couldn’t, they couldn’t get purchase. Their fingers, they couldn’t do anything to get themselves out, and they began to feel themselves sinking, and Larry realized at a certain point, this is it. We are going to die here today. Now, spoiler alert, they did not die. (congregants laugh)
Because I was watching a video of him telling the story, right? Some of you caught that. Some of you looked real concerned. We’ll talk about Larry and Chrissy in a moment, but what I can say is, I can relate to how they felt. Dealing with something that they felt powerless to do anything about. Now, I don’t know how that hits you or how you relate to it, or on what level. When I say it’s time to win the war within, it’s time to declare, well, I don’t know what that hits you. I know for me, throughout much of my life, I relate to it when I think about bad moods. Falling into the ice, being unable to get out. That’s what it feels like to me to be in a bad mood, or as I call it in the book, becoming a version of me that I don’t wanna be. But I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve actually caught it on the back end, where I’m driving home from work and I’m replaying conversations and I’m thinking about how I was in meetings, and just kind of the huffy, kind of self, you know, focused, entitled, just mercurial, right? I like to think I’m like Steve Jobs in the brilliant way, but really just in the mean way, you know what I’m talking about? And just driving home going, “Why did I do that again? “Why didn’t I listen more? “Why didn’t I ask more questions?” Have you ever been there? Have you ever been falling asleep next to your spouse after a fight, and you just go, “Why did I take that bait? “Why did I allow my buttons to get pushed in that way? “I saw it coming on.” And in those moments, it’s almost like when you’re driving, I used to live in California. We would drive to Mexico sometimes, and you’d see like four highway exits until the border, three highway exits to the border. If you don’t wanna cross the border, get off now, get off. It’s almost like that when you’re falling into a bad mood, isn’t it? Three highway exits until you’re in a bad mood. Get off now, stop now, humble yourself now. The Bible says no temptation can overtake you, except which is common to man, and every time, there will be a highway exit off on the way to being in a bad mood, but when you see those things flying by, and for whatever reason, you refuse to yield, you refuse to humble yourself, and all of a sudden, (claps hands) bam, you’re in a bad mood. Then the enemy swoops in with a lie that you’re stuck there. And so we start to tell ourselves like, “Well, there’s always tomorrow.” You know what I’m saying? “This day’s no good, y’all. “This day’s bad. “I’m in,” I mean, what do you say? “I’m in a bad mood.” Now, why do we think that once we’re in it, we have to stay there? Why do we think that once we’re in it, there’s no way out of it until the reset button at midnight? You know, just gotta go home, put some sweats on, call Ben and Jerry to come on over, right? (congregants laugh)
Hang out for a minute, right? ‘Cause there’s always tomorrow. I think it’s ’cause we misunderstand what Jeremiah the prophet did and didn’t mean when he said, “God’s mercies are new every morning.” Yes, there’s a new mercy to the morning. Yes, it’s good to start your day with a quiet time. We’ll talk a little bit more about that next week. I hope you’ll come back. But let me say this: the morning time is not the only time the mercies are new. It’s not like these are cellphone minutes we’re talking about. (congregants applaud) Or it’s like, well, dang it. Too bad they don’t roll over, ’cause I had some extra minutes last Thursday. I was feeling really spiritual then. I really could use ’em, but I gotta wait ’til the morning. No, let me tell you, you can call out for new mercies every hour, every minute,
(congregants applaud) come on, every second. Is there somebody at a Life.Church location who’s willing to celebrate that God’s got new mercies for you right now? Maybe you and your spouse were yelling in the car, maybe you were yelling at your kids, walking across the parking lot, and the moment you cross the door (claps hands), “Well, hello, praise the Lord! “It’s great to be here in God’s house. (congregants laugh)
“How you doing? “This is the day the Lord made. “I shall rejoice and be glad in it, right?” We do that, don’t we? And we put that mask on. We pretend like everything’s okay, when really, on the inside, we’re hurting, and we’re stewing over what we’ve done. I’ve struggled with moodiness for a long time. You know, about the saddest for me is watching my kids sleep sometimes. Maybe on that day where I wasn’t super attentive, and then I’ll suddenly kinda come to, and I’m like, “What am I doing?” And I go stand in their doorway, and your kids look so peaceful when they’re sleeping, and when they’re sleeping, you would do almost anything for them to wake up and make some noise. Go spill some LEGOs on the floor or whatever it is, right? And you see the little art project they were trying to show you on the counter, and you’re like, “What was I thinking, being on my phone “when I could have been present there for that,” and you wanna redo the day, you want a mulligan on that morning, when you were so focused on the social media scroll and on this thing and on that thing at work, and you realize, all of a sudden, with stunning, sickening clarity what really matters and what is made of sand. And I got so sick of it, you know? Seeing success in some areas of my life, but seeing just still failure I was struggling with in others. I was feeling like Larry and Chrissy at times, when these moods would come over me, feeling almost powerless to get out of it. And maybe you don’t, you know, relate to me on those struggles, but I think the reality is, we all have battles that we’re in, because we know about the devil. He’s kind of a punk, he’s the worst, and we know that the world brings tribulation and brings temptation and difficulty, but the truth is, the most difficult war you will ever wage is the one with yourself: me, myself, and I. There’s where my real problems lie, y’all, right? And I don’t think I’m the only one, because Paul, who wrote 13 out of 27 books of the New Testament, and planted churches all over the Roman Empire, he said, “What I wanna do I don’t do, “and the stuff I do, that’s the stuff I don’t wanna do.” I like how the Passion translation puts it, when he says, and I quote, “I’m a mystery to myself.” Anybody feel that way a little bit? (congregants cheer)
Like, what’s wrong with you? I don’t get you. I don’t get me, either.
(congregants laugh) “I’m a mystery to me, for I want to do what’s right, “but I end up doing what my moral instincts condemn.” How relatable are those words? And because of that, that’s why I decided God put it on my heart to declare war, and I want you to join me. Not in declaring war against me. (congregants laugh) I got enough problems. I want you to declare war on the version of you that you don’t wanna be. I want you to identify that person, I want you to name that person. I gave the version of me I don’t wanna be a name. I call him Evil Levi, right? ‘Cause you can re-arrange Levi to spell Evil. You gotta name that version of you so it can’t claim you. You gotta take that fool off the guest list and call it out when you’re becoming her, when you’re becoming him, and in declaring war, I’m telling you, a power will rise. I’m gonna read to you a little passage of Scripture from 2 Corinthians 10, as we learn about how Paul, who was a mystery to himself, waged war. He said this in 2 Corinthians 10, starting in verse three. If you didn’t bring a Bible with you to church, we got the verses on the screen for you. He said, “I do live in the world. “But I don’t fight my battles “the way the people of the world do. “The weapons I fight with “are not the weapons the world uses. “In fact, it is just the opposite. “My weapons,” someone say my weapons. My weapons. No, no, say it with sass, y’all. My weapons! My weapons! “Have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy.” (congregants applaud) Man. “I destroy every claim and every reason “that keeps people from knowing God. “I keep every thought,” someone say thought. Thought. “Under control in order to make it obey Christ.” And Jesus, we pray you’d just speak to us something powerful, something fresh, something we need to hear through your Word, and whether our struggle is overeating or overspending, or moodiness, or anxiety, or numbing through alcohol or drugs or gambling, or just the incessant distraction of social media, we pray that your Holy Spirit would shine a light on the issue in our lives that’s holding us back, the ways that we’re self-sabotaging, and help us to see those things so we can spot them, so we can, with your help, set our souls against them, and walk in the freedom and the plans that you have for us that are good and not evil, so that we could have that future and hope. And I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen. Amen. My family and I were on a holiday a while back, and I always love the traditions that we’ve built up, and one of them is that whenever we land after we go to the airport, we pull into the Barnes & Noble and we all grab some books, ’cause we’re trying to be on our phones less, so we don’t have the Kindle app and all that. We go analog, we rock it old school, so we go buy some physical, paper books. You’re like, “How barbaric!” I know.
(congregants laugh) And on the vacation, we turn the pages and we risk the danger of the papercut, the whole thing. And so on, whoop, spilled my water everywhere. Can’t bring me anywhere. So on this particular trip, I had purchased a multi-volume biography on Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. I love so much about about him, and I always knew he was iconic and that’s why here’s there on Mount Rushmore, but I didn’t really know a lot about him, and so I was, I mean, I was blown away, right? Maybe you know everything about him, right? All I really knew is that he was played by Robin Williams in The Night at the Museum, you guys. (congregants laugh)
It was like, and I can’t stop thinking about Robin Williams, even now, as I talk about Teddy Roosevelt, I’m picturing Robin Williams.
(congregants laugh) Anybody else, am I the only one? (congregants applaud) And so I mean, this guy’s a legend. I’m like, gosh, the first U.S. President to ever ride in a submarine, first President to ever own an automobile, have a telephone installed in his house, win the Medal of Honor, win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the first President to ever leave the country while in office, and that was a trip to check in on the Panama Canal, a little side hustle he had going on. I mean, just legend status for sure, but what really rocked me to the core, and I can literally, as I say this, picture where I was sitting as I came across it, was his involvement in the Spanish-American War, where he had formed this group of Rough Riders, he called ’em, volunteer soldiers who were gonna go fight, do their service for their country, and it was cowboys and Indians, and his fellow classmates from Harvard, right? What a motley crew if there ever was one, but it never would have happened had not Teddy Roosevelt experienced profound, life-shattering loss. You see, it was on Valentine’s Day of 1884 that he lost, get this, his wife and his mother, who died, they both died on the same day in the same house, of different diseases, different conditions. He wrote on that day only one sentence in his diary, and we have a photograph of that entry, where he wrote, “The light has gone out of my life.” But it was that grief that caused him to go to the badlands of the West and the pioneering spirit, and he was toughened up, and there he met all those that he would form into the cowboys and Indians who would form into this gang called the Rough Riders, and when they went to Cuba to fight in the Spanish-American War, they were specifically trying to take this hill called San Juan Hill, and he talks in his diary entries about coming to a place where he had longed to be in battle his whole life, but then actually fearing what he felt when he got there, and as they began to take the hill, he found himself on the ground, and he noticed that there was a piece of barbed wire fence on the ground, that had fallen over. This fence had fallen down, and he was kinda behind this fence, and he realized, “If I cross this fence and go forward, “there’s no turning back. “I’m committed, I’m exposed. “It’s either do or die at that point. “And if I stay here, I mean, maybe we can stay in safety. “Maybe not,” and what he decided to do was to cross that barbed wire fence and rush forward, urging his men on, provoking in them courage they didn’t even know that they had, and from that moment on after they crossed that barbed wire fence, they did not stop (claps hands) rushing on until the battle was won that day. And he, for the rest of his life, referred to that day, the day he crossed the barbed wire, July 1st, 1898, as the single greatest day of his life, and his men said that after he crossed that barbed wire, it was as though he became the most glorious soldier that they had ever seen, and they would have been literally willing to follow him anywhere. It is that that I believe is the reason that you and I need to sort of come to a place of declaring war, not just going like, “Yeah, that would be great to change,” or, “You know, if you need to, “maybe next New Year’s I could write that thing down.” But as God speaks to you during this series, and I’m truly believing, all across the family of churches, and Church Online, and Network churches, that really God is gonna speak to you and go, “No, this is the thing. “This is holding you back. “If you stay here, I can tell you exactly “what’s gonna happen. “You rush out, I don’t know.” And that’s why you’re afraid, because there’s no certainty as you try and as you go. I’m telling you, there’s gonna be a thousand reasons to stay but as you go forward, I’m telling you something. As you choose to flip that switch and make that decision and commit and go all-in, to say, as we’ve learned to say earlier this year, “I’m in. “I’m going, I’m yours. “I’m gonna fully commit to this. “I’m telling my life group. “I’m gonna talk to my pastor. “I’m gonna get serious about this. “We’re gonna, let’s go!” As you cross that barbed wire fence, I’m telling you, I’m daring you to believe that what Teddy experienced will be what happens to you. He wrote in his journal that day that anybody who’s ever committed to battle like did has found that the power of a wolf is ready to rise in your heart. He said he felt like a wolf rising to howl at the moon. Come on, give me your best howl. (howls) (congregants howl) He said that’s what he felt on the inside. The chilling, right, Liam Neeson, you know what I’m talkig about, right? That fear, the power, the strength, the warrior spirit. He said that something rose up inside of him, and I’m telling you, this book says the same thing is ready to happen to you as well, that God’s got power like a wolf (congregants applaud)
ready to rise in your heart as you engage in the fight of your life. And I wanna give you just a couple thoughts to have in your heart, stirring, as you choose to declare war. In the book, I actually give you a full contract where you can actually make it official and write a declaration of war, ’cause something changes once you declare war. To sign that and date that, and as you sort of really begin this conversation, as we do together, I wanna give you just three quick principles on declaring war. Consider this the Costco-sized sample, and if this blesses you, get the book. Chimichangas are on aisle 17. All right, number one.
(congregants laugh) Jot this down. We have fun. If you don’t like any of these I’m saying, the regular guy will be back in two weeks, and he’s fitter, smarter,
(congregants laugh) and easier on the eyes. All right, number one: mind your head. If you want to wage war, you’ve gotta go where the battle is the hottest, and that will always be in the strongholds. You’ll never really see what God has in this life for you if you don’t take out the strongholds. The battle, in Teddy Roosevelt’s story, was the battle for San Juan Hill. Elevated positions always give the enemy superiority. That’s, by the way, why the space race was so important to Kennedy and the nation. It was to control the high ground of the moon, because the fear with Sputnik and the whole thing about the Soviets getting the moon was they’d be able to rain down missiles any time they wanted to, ’cause they would have the high ground. The reason we have the most powerful military in the history of the world is in part because we control the skies, and now, come on, let’s just thank God for those who serve in the armed forces in our day, especially here at our church. (congregants applaud) But the fight is always to control the high ground, so it was at the battle for Bunker Hill and Normandy, the high, elevated machine gun positions there in France, and so it is in your life as well, and that’s why Paul said, what did he say? He said, “That’s why I keep every thought captive.” There’s not a higher part of your life, literally, than your head, and this battle will be fought, won or lost in your mind. As Proverbs 23 tells us, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Colossians tells us to, “Set your mind on things that are above.” Colossians chapter three, verse two. Romans 12, verse two. “Don’t be conformed to the word, “but transformed by the renewing of your,” say it with me. “Of your mind,” and Jesus says, we love God. We’re to love Him, “With all of our heart, “all of our soul, and all of our,” say it with me, “mind.” What I’m trying to get you to see is that negative thoughts can’t lead to a positive life, and that’s why, so oftentimes, you’re not going in the direction that you want to go, because every thought is a train. That’s why they call them a train of thought. So before you allow a thought in your mind, what you have to ask yourself is, is this line of thinking, this level of thinking going to take me to somewhere that I actually want to be. Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that the solution for every problem in your life is mind over matter. What I am saying is that what happens in your mind really does matter, and you can’t live right if you won’t think right, so we have to mind our heads. Secondly, jot this down. If you want to declare war, you have to use your words. Use your words. They say that the average human speaks about 5000 words a day, and obviously, we could say a lot about the words that we speak to others, and whether our words are kind and full of life, or negative. I mean, the book of Proverbs says that, “Words kill, words give life; “they’re either poison or fruit, you choose.” And that’s obviously very important, that our words to other people are speaking life, but let me ask you this question: how do you speak to you? Because when I’m frustrated driving home from work, and when I stand in the doorway watching my kids sleep, and after a fight with my wife that I wish that I hadn’t, you know, fallen into, so often, the way I talk to myself is to berate me, and to say, “God, you idiot, Levi. “Why would you do that? “And how could you be so dumb,” and I talk to myself in a way I wouldn’t talk to any one of you if you came to me for counsel. And I’ll never forget the day that God really spoke to my heart, “Levi, you’re not coaching yourself. “You’re just berating myself.” So I fired myself on the spot. Levi, you are fired.
(congregants laugh) You’re fired. But fortunately, there’s an opening in the department. In this organization, there’s an opening. We don’t have any room for a full-time critic. Sorry, there’s no room for that in this life. But we do, however, have an opening for a coach, and so I decided to start coaching myself and speaking life to myself, and saying to myself, “You can do it, come on, you got this. (congregants applaud)
“Come on, Levi. “Come on, Levi, make the right choice. “Humble yourself, speak life, be thankful, be kind.” And I encourage you to do the same thing as well. Coach yourself to life-likeness, because words create atmosphere around you and they can either be full of faith or be full of doubt. Your words will either unlock a life you love or a life you loathe, and my encouragement to you is this. If Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life, He should be the Lord of your lips as well. So use your words for good and not for evil. Well, third and finally this week, as we begin to wrap this up, I wanna encourage you to keep showing up. To keep showing up in the battle, to keep showing up at church, to keep showing up in your small group, to keep showing up in your marriage. To keep turning up and to keep showing up and keep turning up, and when you fail and when you fall, ’cause you will, to get back up and dust yourself off and go another round. Don’t quit, don’t stop. You’ve got this, come on. (congregants applaud) I love stories of perseverance, especially in business, and the creative world. I have in my pocket a Leatherman knife. I came across a story of the man who started the Leatherman corporation. Tim Leatherman’s his name. He had this idea for a pair of pliers that would also have a pocket knife on ’em. That didn’t exist at one point, and so he thought, “I’ll make it.” Turned out, it was harder than he thought, and he spent almost three years working on it, ’til he got the patent, and he had a low point on his 30th birthday, crying in his garage, couldn’t get it to work, but finally, he was issued a patent. The United States Patent Office gave him a patent on the first-ever Leatherman knife, and then he had to try and sell it, but no one would buy it. He went to store after store, he went to the U.S. Army, he went to the Stanley company, just all over. He received 500 rejection letters. No one wanted to buy it ’cause it was too much of a knife for the tool company, and too much of a tool for the knife companies. So he almost hung the whole thing up, until a friend encouraged him to send one more letter, which he sent to the store Cabella’s, and they said, “Hm, we don’t know. “We’ll buy a couple. “We’ll do a test run.” And they purchased a few thousand dollar of this tool. And it was such a smash hit, such a smash success, that this now has created a brand-new category, the multi-tool, and it’s a billion-dollar-a-year company with something like 35 different models and 400 employees at this company. It’s such an absolute success story, and I think his story of eight years of perseverance really shows what it takes to win the war. And before we pray, and we’re about to, you might be saying to me, “That’s all great, Levi. “Keep showing up, got it, but what about Larry and Chrissy? “‘Cause man, we need to know how they got out of the ice.” (congregants laugh) Well, as the story goes, just before they drowned, Larry in the video I was watching, talked about how his hand fell to his side, and he realized he had a Leatherman in his pocket, and he opened it up, he made pliers out of it, and he was able to grab it and stab the edge of the ice and pull him and his wife out, and at the end of the video I watched, it showed him and meeting Tim Leatherman, and thanking him, and all I could think of, lying in bed, watching this video, was this: eight years, this guy kept going and kept going and kept going. Turned out, it wasn’t just his life he was saving. (congregants applaud)
And the reason that you need to not give up in the war that you’re in, is because God is gonna keep you alive so you can bless somebody else. It’s not about us. We’re here for others. Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! You need to win the war within, but don’t forget, you’re not the only one fighting a difficult battle. Would you pray with me? Every head bowed, every eye closed, all of us just letting this sink in, receiving what the Spirit’s doing. If you’re here today and God has so moved in your heart that you would say, “I want that wolf to rise. “I wanna declare war. “God’s speaking in me what that is, “or I’m open to Him revealing to me what that is,” could I ask you to raise your hand up. Every location, every location, every location. Church Online, raise your hand up. Bless these, Father. Give them strength and courage. Help them to keep showing up, to use their words, to control the high ground of their minds. You can put your hands down. I wanna now ask, is there anyone here today, this week, and you’ve never said yes to Jesus, and that’s the decision you need to make? It’s not some modification to your words or your thinking, it’s for you to have a whole, brand-new heart, to have a heart transplant, where because of what Jesus did on the Cross, you receive His life in you, so that when you die and stand before God, it’s not good works you’re trusting in, it’s not church attendance, or Bible verses you’ve memorized as a child. It’s the fact that the sinless, spotless Lamb of God died, purchasing your sins, paying for you, and then rising from the dead, bringing you new life, and if you’re here today and you would say that the Holy Spirit’s knocking on your heart, we wanna give you space and time to make that decision. Jesus loves you and died for you. If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that He is Lord, He will save you. And right now, God is working on you, knocking on the door of your heart, and if you open the door He will come in. So I wanna ask you this question. Would you like to receive Jesus as your Lord, as your Savior, to have hope, to have power, to have peace? If that’s you I’m describing, I’m gonna ask that you would raise your hand up right now. Come on, every location, raise your hand up if you’re receiving Christ. Come on, Church, celebrate with us as people are receiving Jesus. Raise your hands up, every location. Church Online, click that link right there at the bottom of the screen. And we wanna pray with you. Come on, heads bowed, eyes closed. If you’re ready to receive Jesus, you raise your hand up. Pray this prayer with me. God will hear you. Church, say this with us. Dear God. Dear God. I know I’m a sinner. I know I’m a sinner. I can’t fix myself. I can’t fix myself. But I believe you can. But I believe you can. Please come into my heart. Please come into my heart. And make it new. And make it new. Thank you for new life. Thank you for new life. I give you mine. I give you mine. In Jesus’ name I pray. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. Amen! Come on, let’s celebrate
(congregants applaud) with all those making that decision. (claps hands) We’ll see you next week, Life.Church. (upbeat music) Hey, thanks for joining us here at Life.Church. You know, as a church, it’s always our desire to help you take your next steps in your relationship with Christ, and we’d love to be able to do that. All you have to do is go to life.church/next and you can find all kinds of resources to help you in your faith journey. And if you’ve been enjoying our massages, all we ask is that you would subscribe and be a part of our community. Again, thanks again for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.