Isaiah 7:10 – 14

Let me invite you to open your Bibles with me.  We’re going to spend our time in the book of Isaiah over the next several weeks as we make our way towards Christmas.  And we’re going to start today in Isaiah 7.  And as you turn there, if you’re a guest with us for the first time, welcome home.  You picked a perfect Sunday to jump in with us because we’re turning our hearts towards Christmas.  This familiar season.  And, and we’re going to look at these prophecies that come hundreds of years before Jesus’s birth through the prophet Isaiah.  And as you’re turning there, there’s a couple of things I want you to know this morning.  A few steps that we’re going to invite you to take with us.  For one, after the sermon is over during our response song, I want to invite you to make your way to the Lord’s Supper tables and grab the elements because we’re going to take the Lord’s supper each week in the lead up to Christmas.  Number two, you’re going to notice in the seat back in front of you, there’s a prayer card.  I want you to grab that now.  As we’ve done several times in the past during the Christmas season, we want you to fill out that prayer card with the names of people that don’t yet know Jesus.  And I want you to even now be thinking about who it is that the Lord might be leading you to write down.  And then third, later on in the message, I’m going to show you a QR code that will allow you to sign up for our daily digital devotional.  For the next 21 days in the lead up to Christmas we want to help you fix your heart on Jesus and focus in on the Christ of Christmas during this time.  And I’ll walk you through how to do that in just a moment.

Now, we know that we live in a world where we’re surrounded by people who feel helpless.  And maybe even today, you walked in with that sense of helplessness in your own heart.  Maybe it’s the frantic holiday schedule or it’s the the secret sin that you are hiding from everybody else or or maybe it’s the deep suffering that you’re encountering.  And when we find ourselves helpless, so often, what we’re doing is we’re looking for hope.  Hope in the middle of the helplessness.  We wonder where it’s going to come from.  And this isn’t something that’s unique just to you and me.  There are so many around us who have masks up pretending as if everything is fine because they’re trying to pretend and and make it appear as if things are better than they actually are.  But it’s not just something that we experience today.  That’s something that was happening all the way back in Isaiah’s time.  The people of God are in a desperate situation.  They would feel that sense of helplessness.  And what we’re going to find here in Isaiah 7 is that when the people of God find themselves in helpless situations, He provides them hope through the promise of a Savior.  And that same promise echoes down even today.  We’ll see it beginning in Isaiah 7, starting in verse 10.  It says,

            10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”  12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”  13And he said, “Hear then, O house of David!  Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?  14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Emmanuel, our advent sermon series is called, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  It’s based on the song that we sang at the very first part of our service today.  That song was written over a thousand years ago in Latin.  What do you think?  Should we try to get Ben to help us sing it in Latin one time before Christmas comes along?  It was translated in the 1800s into English.  And if there was a billboard Hot 100 back then, I imagine it would have risen to the number one spot on the charts.  The place where Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You stays is there every December.  But the lyrics to this song are very different.  It’s it’s not the bubblegum pop talking about trying to find true love during the holiday season.  Instead, there is this feeling of desperation.  Of uncertainty, of helplessness that so clearly encapsulates the way that many of us feel, that so intimately reflects what Israel would have been in this moment.  And these lyrics, this concept is what we’re going to see provides us hope in the middle of our helplessness.  Now, why was Israel helpless?  You see, they were in the promised land but they had rebelled against God.  Judah was following a king named Ahaz who was not living for the Lord.  And as the king went, so went the people.  And now, there is judgement that is bearing down upon them.  There are enemies with Syria and Samaria who are readying to attack them.  They feel this sense of desperation because they’re longing to be delivered.  They’re longing to be saved.  And what Isaiah 7 shows us is how God meets our cry for help with the comfort of hope.  This morning, what we’ll notice in Isaiah 7 is that God meets us in our mess this Christmas and provides a hopeful promise for helpless people.  So, let’s start back in verse 10 and take a deeper look about how Christmas reveals that we are helpless people.  You know, that when you think about it, there are two types of helpless people in the world.  There are some people who can’t, who need help and they can’t find it.  They’re desperate.  They’re searching.  There’s no way to see it.  And we that in the life of Israel right now.  They want help.  They’re longing for deliverance but they can’t find it anywhere.  But there’s another type of helpless person.  The one not that needs help but can’t find it but the one that needs help and doesn’t want it.  And that’s what we find here with Ahaz.  He wants to look inward, not upward for his strength.  He wants to find deliverance through his alliance and through his power rather than from God.  And that sense of helplessness that we find here in the text, what we know to be true throughout all of human history, there’s some reasons that we feel helpless.  We feel helpless when we face our problems, and because of our pride, and because of our pressures.  And right here in these first four verses, we’re going to see all three of those dimensions play out.

Notice first in verse 10, how we feel helpless when we refuse God’s path because of our problems.  So it says,

            10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11“Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.”

I mean, he is facing a huge problem.  This impending invasion of the land.  But before the enemies can invade the land, God invades his life.  He comes to him and He offers him a sign.  He says, “Don’t settle.  Go big.”  He says, “It could be as as low as Sheol, as high as the heavens.  You name it.  You got it.  What’s it going to be?”  But we see here that Ahaz is more focused on his problems than he is in God’s path.  He’s more consumed by his enemies than he is by God’s promise.  And as a result of that, we can find ourselves in that same type of danger.  Where our problems take our eyes off of God, take our eyes off our hope, and put them on the immediate moment we find ourselves in.  The difficulties that we’re facing that pull us away from God rather than to Him.  But notice that in verse 12.  We see a second thing here.  We feel a helpless when we reject God’s provision because of our pride.  Now, look at how Ahaz responds in verse 12.

            12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”

So, how does he respond?  He responds by rejecting God’s provision.  God said, “Ask for a sign.”  And Ahaz says, “You know what I’m good?  I got this.”  And at first, you might look at this and and it seems like a pious or a righteous way to respond like, I don’t need a sign from You, God, because I trust you.  But in fact, the opposite is going on here.  I mean, we can think about this in the context of future passages in the New Testament.  I remember in Matthew 16 when the Pharisees come to Jesus searching for a sign.  Listen to how He responds in Matthew 16:4.

            4An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign,

So, it seems like Ahaz is responding in the right way and yet we’re soon going to learn that God condemns his response, not commends it.  Why is that?  It’s because the same reason that the Pharisees reached for a sign is the same reason that Ahaz rejects the sign.  At the core of it is pride.  The Pharisees want to pry, want want a sign because they think they deserve it.  Ahaz doesn’t one sign because he doesn’t think he needs it.  “I’ve got this.  I’m going to take care of it.  I don’t need to depend on God.”  That’s the type of pride that manifests himself in this situation, and that same pride can grip us today.  Sometimes, it’s an arrogance that says, “God, I don’t need you to work in my life.”  Sometimes, that pride shows up as a self-pity that says, “I don’t deserve for you to work in my life in this way.”  That pride pulls us away from God’s promise.  But notice now down in verse 13.  The third thing here.  We feel helpless when we resist God’s plan because of our pressures.  So, notice what God does in response to Ahaz.  It says there,

            13And he said, “Hear then, O house of David!  Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?

So, he confronts Ahaz in this way.  And I imagine many of you just in the last couple weeks went on a road trip during Thanksgiving.  We got some friends here at the church who loaded up their three kids under five-years-old and drove all the way to South Carolina and back for Thanksgiving.  I don’t know how happy a but Thanksgiving that actually was.  I feel like that’s one of those trips that’s like a a one of the, where you’re more than likely to come back with less people than when you started.  Either because the parents are going to boot one of the kids out for misbehavior or mom’s going to stop at Bucee’s and she’s going to go into the bathroom and say, “I’m not coming out.  I’ll find my own way home.”  And it feels like when God responds here to Ahaz, that’s the type of response He’s saying, “Well, if that’s the way you’re going to behave, fine.  Can’t do anything with you.”  But there’s more going on here in the passage.  And you’ll see it with the way that it starts in verse 13.  He doesn’t just speak to Ahaz.  He speaks about the house of David.  God is reminding His people of the fact that this rebellion and resistance and rejection has been going on for decades, perhaps even centuries of resistance.  He’s confronting them that their pressures all around them have caused them to turn away from God rather than to Him.  To trust in themselves rather than to trust in God.  And as a result of that, He reminds them of the fact that they don’t deserve the continuation of the line.  The continuation of the promise which is going to set the stage for what is to come in just a moment with the amazing promise of the Christmas story to come.

But before we get there, some of you may be looking at this passage and be a bit confused.  Here’s God inviting His people to ask for a sign.  When other other times, it seems as if the Lord rejects that pattern.  We already talked about it in Matthew 16 how he talks about a wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign.  Or you think about Matthew 4 and the second temptation, Jesus is taken up on the top of the temple.  The devil tempts Him to throw Himself down and He resist it by citing Deuteronomy 6, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.  So, is it okay to seek a sign from God?  I mean, I know right now in this room, there are some of you that are facing difficult decisions.  Maybe it’s about that relationship.  Is she the one?  Maybe it’s about that job offer.  Should you take it?  Maybe it’s about that difficult conversation that you have to have in the next few days.  And you’re asking God, “Make it known to me.  What should I do?”  Is it right to seek a sign from God in those moments?  It seems like Isaiah 7 is affirming it but other situations seem as if they’re denying it.  And here’s how you know whether you should seek a sign from God or not.  Are you seeking that sign to test God or to trust God?  Are you seeking it for information or confirmation?  See, because right here with Ahaz, God tells him to ask for a sign to confirm what God has already told him.  God has said earlier in Isaiah 7, I will deliver you from your enemies.  And now, He says, “Ask me for a sign and that sign will be a confirmation.”  Or maybe some of you, when you think about should I seek a sign or not, look back to a passage like Judges 6 with Gideon and he lays out this fleece and he asked God to make it wet or to make it dry in two different circumstances.  And it seems as if he’s asking for a sign.  I don’t know what you’re going to do.  Will you make it known?  But what you might miss in a passage like in Judges 6 with Gideon is what it says at the end of verse 7, when he says to God that the reason for requesting the sign is this, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand as you have said.  He was seeking confirmation of something that God had already revealed to him.  And that’s the pattern we see over and over again in Scripture, is that we can seek for signs but we shouldn’t seek clarity on those things we don’t know if we’re unwilling to already be following God in the things we do know.  They’re to bring confirmation to what He’s already said.  Because the danger is that if we spend our life trying to discern God’s will just by looking for signs around us, we might see two things in our life that tell us what we think we ought to do but we can’t see the 2,000 things that God sees that would change how we might make sense of those two things if we could see it from His perspective.  We trust Him, not test Him.  We seek confirmation, not information.  And that’s how God works in revealing Himself to His people.

But come back to Isaiah 7 because there’s one more thing we need to see back in verse 10 that I don’t want you to miss before we get to this incredible promise.  Notice how that passage starts.  Isaiah 7:10 starts with the phrase you might have just looked right over.  It says,

            10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz:

Now, why do I point that out?  It just seems like the introduction to what’s going to be said next.  Well, the reason that’s significant is because the God of the universe, the God who created all things, looks at Ahaz, this rebellious king, and He speaks to him.  He doesn’t turn His back on him.  He pursues him.  He comes to him.  He makes Himself known to him.  And why is that important?  I mean, Ahaz, this guy was mess.  He had turned his back on God.  He had pursued the idols of the cultures around him.  In fact, 2 Kings tells us that he had even burned his own son in a sacrifice to one of these idols.  This man had turned his back on God and yet God would not turn His back on him.  Now, why is that important?  Well, take that prayer card that’s been right there in front of you or in your lap.  And I just want you to hold it now and look at that.  The reason that we’re asking you to write a name down, or several names down, on that card is because the same God who spoke to a broken sinner like Ahaz in Isaiah 7 is the same God who’s still speaking to broken sinners today.  And we write those names down.  We pray for and pursue those people so that they might find and follow Jesus.  Because the same God who spoke then is still speaking.  He’s still changing lives.  He did it once and He can do it again.  In fact, one of those baptisms this morning, JJ Mathis, when we wrote down names on prayer cards just two months ago as part of our NEXT Initiative, his name was written down by our middle school director, Connor Lindsey.  And I remember seeing his name several times when I would pray in the prayer room and and praying through that and others in our church were praying for it.  And this name of this one who didn’t yet know Jesus just 2 months ago, stood before us today to let us know he met Jesus and God changed everything in his life.  That’s the power of the Gospel.  That’s why you’re going to write those names down.  And if you’re up for it, what I’d like to ask you to do is in addition to writing the names of people in your life that don’t yet know Jesus, I’d also like for you to write your name on it.  And just make that clear.  If you want to put your e-mail address on there, we can send you some follow-up information about our Gospel relationships trainings that will kick off in the Spring.  And then, once you do all that, I’d love for you to grab your phone.  Just snap a picture of it so you can have a picture of that card, and then as I mentioned, during the response time, you’re going to bring these to the baskets at the table as you get your Lord’s Supper elements.  Spend the next few minutes as we continue working through this text, asking God who it is that He might lay on your heart to pray for and to pursue just like God was pursuing Ahaz in this passage.

But there’s more going on here than what we see.  We notice to begin with that Christmas reveals that we are a helpful, a helpless people.  But the second thing we need to see is down in verse 14.  It’s that Christmas also reveals our hopeful promise, our hopeful promise.  Let’s read it again in verse 14 where it says,

            14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

See, Ahaz didn’t think he needed God’s help.  He resisted it.  But what we find in verse 14 is that a heart like Ahaz needs a hope like Emmanuel.  That God meets those of us in our helpless moments with a hope that only He can provide.  So, earlier this week, we had our annual women’s event, Simply Christmas.  Hundreds of ladies came out for that great opportunity.  And I just want to remind you ladies that during the life group hour, we’re going to have a special session in the kids building, in The Outpost, to talk to you about next steps about finding your gifts and using em for the building up of the body and I want to encourage you to go.  But as I looked at some pictures from Simply Christmas, I saw this great spread of desserts.  It’s potluck style.  Cakes, pies, cookies, everything you can imagine.  And in order to make those recipes, people needed ingredients.  I’m sure it included things like flour, water, eggs, and probably lots and lots of sugar.  And if any of those ingredients were missing, you couldn’t develop the recipe as it was designed.  And when we think about hope, what’s the recipe for hope?  What’s the recipe for redemption?  Tight here in Isaiah 7:14, we see that there are four ingredients to the recipe redemption.  Four keys to our source of hope in a helpless world.  And you’re going to see them in the page but you’re also going to see them in a set of slides on the screen.  The first one is that Christmas offers us a future hope based on God’s promise.  So, the start of verse 14 says, therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign.  So, the first ingredient of hope is that of promise.  There’s this commitment from God that changes everything.  You know, right now, we’re waiting for the college football playoff results to come out.  Who’s going to make it in and who’s going to make it out?  And I’m sure in Tuscaloosa and Austin and Tallahassee and in other places, they’re they’re waiting and they’re wondering.  And if you ask them, are you going to make the playoffs?  Their answer would be, I hope so.  But their basis for that hope is a prediction, not a promise.  There’s no certainty that’s there.  But here in Isaiah 7:14, we see a foundational promise that changes everything.  That Isaiah takes the the reality that God has already made a promise and a covenant to David and his offspring and He builds upon that.  And God says to Ahaz, as a representative for his people, I will give you a sign.  You can count on it.  This is a promise that you can trust.  That promise is the foundation of hope.

But there’s a second piece here.  Christmas also offers an unexpected hope based on God’s plan.  So, right there in the middle of verse 14, he starts that discussion about the plan with the word behold.  Our hope is not just built on a promise but a plan.  He says, look at this.  Ahaz and the people of God had spent so much time beholding their problems that they had failed to behold God’s promise.  He had so much focus on his stress that he had lost sight of his Savior.  And we can be pulled towards the same thing.  And in the middle of that, God says to us, “Behold, see the plan.  Trust the promise.”  That’s where we find our hope.

But it goes on there in the middle of verse 13.  Look back at how it shows us how Christmas offers a miraculous hope based on God’s power.  That power is the third ingredient of our hope.  And where do we see that power here?  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son.  So, there’s this promise of the unthinkable.  If God was going to make a promise to deliver His people, we would assume it would be coming through a conquering king and not a child.  We would expect it to be coming through a victor not a virgin birth.  But right here, there’s this promise that one day, this unimaginable way of bringing a child into the world will come and it will change everything.  And the idea of a virgin birth that a a woman could conceive without the involvement of a man in the process would have been just as inconceivable in Isaiah’s day and Jesus’s day, as it is today.  There may be even some of you in the room who are new to church or hearing about this Christmas story for the very first time and you’re like, wait a second, this can’t be right.  How how could this be possible?  What what do you mean by virgin birth?  And and the two questions underneath that skepticism.  One is, how is this possible?  And what we know from Scripture is that we follow an all-powerful God.  A God who spoke the world into existence.  Where there was nothing He created everything.  So, even back in creation there’s a sense in which there is a virgin birth of the universe.  God takes what doesn’t exist and speaks it into existence.  And if he can do that with creation, can’t He do that with His own Son?  Can He do that with a child?  To speak that child into existence, to embed that offspring in the womb.  That is how this is possible.  But the the deeper question you may be wrestling with is not just how is the virgin birth possible but why is the virgin birth necessary?  What difference does it make?  And there’s several things you want to consider.  The first is the nature of Scripture.  If the virgin birth doesn’t happen, then God’s a liar.  He promises it here in Isaiah 7, Matthew 1 affirms it.  If we, if that’s not a reality, then we can’t trust God.  But it also reminds us second of the nature of grace That when God sends His Son to Earth in this unique way beyond anything humans can do, it’s reminding us that that is always the way God works.  He does what we can’t do to give us what we don’t deserve.  It’s His kindness.

But there’s a third thing that’s even more significant than those.  It’s the nature of sin.  Because if Jesus was conceived and born in the more typical way, then the the brokenness of sin and the curse of sin that has affected everyone in humanity from Adam and Eve onward would have impacted Him as well and through this virgin birth, Jesus is not overcome by that original sin, by that sin nature.  He is, He remains pure and spotless so that He can make the payment and the sacrifice for our sin.

And then the last reason why this is necessary is because of the nature of Jesus Himself.  He is God and man.  Both fully divine and fully human.  And the way that comes about is because He’s got a heavenly Father and an earthly mother.  He can carry both of those natures in His one person at the same time.  See, in this passage, we see the power of God on display.  What we can’t do on our own, He does for us.  Which takes us to the last part, this fourth ingredient of hope that we see here.  Christmas offers a living hope based on God’s presence.  Based on God’s presence.  So, just look at that image up on the screen.  Those four dimensions.  Those four ingredients.  Those four elements of hope.  That is the key.  That is the source.  And they’re all found here culminating at the very end of verse 14 when it says and you shall call His name Emmanuel.  Emmanuel.  And this promise is picked up in Matthew in the very words that we read in our call to worship earlier.  I want you to be reminded of them in Matthew 1, verses 22 and 23.  It says this,

            22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”, don’t miss this, (which means, God with us).

See, right here in Isaiah 7 the reason for our hope is not just because God is for us in His power but also that God is with us in His presence.  You see, in Jesus’ day is Matthew’s writing, he brings up this prophecy because he knows that this is a shocking reality that God is bringing true.  And the shock comes not just from how Jesus was born but also through what Jesus will do, that He will be Emmanuel, with us always even to the end of the ages.  I will never leave you or forsake you.  That’s the promise of Emmanuel this Christmas for us.  In the hardships and the suffering that you face, in the times that you think everybody has turned their back on you, in the, in the moments when you just think you’ll never get passed this sin and temptation, in the seasons in which you’re wondering and waiting for when is God going to finally move in my life.  He is Emmanuel for you.  He’s with you.  Walking with you in the valley.  Sustaining you in the valley of the shadow of death.  Making His yoke easy and His burden light in your hardships.  He is the conquering King who is giving you lasting victory over sin.  This is the way that God is at work in our lives.  He’s with us and He is for us.  Which is why right now, I want you to grab your phone with me and pull up the camera on your phone.  We’re going to put this QR code up.  I’m going to do this along with you because I want you to take a moment now to register for our daily digital devotional that’s going to come to your text messages each morning.  All you gotta do is take this, click on the link, and it’s going to populate a text message.  You just press send and it’s done.  Because what will happen is each morning in these next 21 days as we lead ourselves towards Christmas, this is going to be a key way to remind us of God’s presence with us.  That He is with us and He is for us.  It’s going to tap us into the Christmas story in a way that shapes us.  And there are so many things vying for your attention during this Christmas season.  We want to help you put Jesus at the center of it.

We had some exciting news on our team earlier this week.  My pastoral associate, Matthew Emery, he just got engaged.  So, if you see Matthew, tell him congrats.  And I imagine if we were to get him up here to share his story of his engagement time or if I were to line all of you up who have ever been engaged and said, “Tell me what happened when you got engaged.”  There’d be some common things that would come up during that storytelling.  You might talk about how you went to a picturesque place, and you got it decorated in just the right way.  You would talk about that big question that you asked or that you dropped to a knee, or you offered that ring to her.  You’d see all of these common things, but I imagine even in a room this size with this many people, there’s no one that would come up here and share something like this.  You know what?  I knew, I knew she was the one.  I wanted to marry her, but it was really busy season for my life.  I had some tests to study for.  So, I just asked my roommate, “Hey, would you mind going to propose to her on my behalf?”  You know, none of you called your mom because there was a work project due and say, “Mom, would you mind sending her a text and asking if she’d be up for the saying I do to the rest of our lives together?”  That didn’t happen.  Why?  It’s because when a bridegroom is ready to pursue his bride he goes and pursues her.  He comes to her.  That intimacy includes intentionality.  You don’t send someone on your behalf in things of love.  You go to the one you love yourself.  And what Isaiah 7 is showing us is that’s what God does for us in the Christmas story.  That He sends His one and only Son, the Bridegroom, to pursue a bride.  He comes Himself.  He takes on flesh through this virgin birth that He is the Emmanuel that is with us and for us through His death and His resurrection offering forgiveness for you and me.  Offering a gift of salvation so that we can be set free to live out God’s design this Christmas season.  To find the hope we can never find in any other way to bring us the help that we have been longing for.

Which is exactly why it’s so fitting that we’re going to turn our hearts in just a moment to the Lord’s Supper.  See, Isaiah 7 talks about a sign.  And the Lord’s Supper works in a similar way.  It is a sign looking back to the hope that is created through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  As we prepare our hearts in just a moment to take this bread symbolizing His broken body, we remember how our hope is built on the sacrifice of His broken body.  And in just a moment as we take the cup and we drink of it, it’s reminding us of the way that our hope is built on the sacrifice of His shed blood and this is a meal for you if you’re following Jesus as a baptized believer.  And as I mentioned, during the response song, I want you to finish filling out those prayer cards now, if you haven’t.  You’re going to bring them up here to these baskets.  You’re going to set ‘em in these baskets while you take those elements.  And after this response song, we will partake of the Lord’s Supper together to remember the hope that we have in Jesus alone.

Let’s pray together now.

Father, we come to You declaring that You are our only hope.  Lord, I’m asking even in this moment if there are people in this room who have put them, their hope in other things just like Ahaz.  Maybe they put their hope in themselves or in the ways of this world or the success or significance that they’re chasing.  Lord, would You break that desire?  Would You break that confidence?  Would You crush that pride?  And instead, turn our hearts to You, God to find an everlasting hope through Your Son.  Lord, we know that if You have the power to bring about a virgin birth, then we know You can work a miraculous birth in any heart in this room.  One that takes a heart of stone and turns it into a heart of flesh, one that takes blind eyes and opens them to see you.  And Lord, during this Christmas season with so many highs and lows, we’re praying that we can be a light of hope to the community around us.  And Lord, I especially am lifting up those names that have been written down on these prayer cards.  And as they’re turned in, God, I pray that just like You did with JJ, Father, that You would bring many of these names to know You in a saving way in the days ahead.  And we ask all these things in Christ’s name.  Amen.

Well as we ready ourselves to bring forward those prayer cards to grab these Lord’s supper elements.  There may be some of you that just want to take some time to pray at these steps for those names you’ve written down.  You’re welcome to do that.  We’ll have ministers here at the front that would love to share with you how to take a next step with Jesus through salvation or through membership.  In whatever way God is moving in this time.  Let’s stand now and respond as he leads us.