When Jesus Calls Your Name

When Jesus Calls Your Name

A Sunday school teacher was asking her little class why is it so important that we’re quiet in church. A little girl raised her hand and said, “Because people are sleeping!” It’s been said that the mark of a really good sermon is to have a really strong beginning and a really strong ending and that the two should be as close together as possible. So now you know the challenge of preaching. One more Sunday school story…a teacher is teaching her class of 3rd graders about Adam and Eve and how God created Eve out of Adam’s side. And there was one little third-grade boy that was especially, intently listening. A couple of weeks later they’re having class again and the class is ending and the same boy had a really worried look on his face. After class, the teacher goes up to him and says, “What’s wrong, Billy?” And he says, “I’ve got a terrible side ache. I think I’m going to have a wife.”

There is a reason why we’re having a Sunday school theme today, because I want to preach about a character in the Bible who is a superstar in Sunday school. If you grew up going to Sunday school, I know not all of you did but many of you did… this person I’m going to talk about, he was a star of the flannel graph board, videos, little story circles and even song. He was a star of song, because I think all of you know the song, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little a man was he. He climbed up on the sycamore tree because the Lord he wanted to see.” And so when you think of Zacchaeus a lot of us get this kind of cartoonish idea of a Sunday school character, you know, he’s on the flannel board and they put the little figure of Zacchaeus up in the tree. I think the two big superstars of Sunday school are Noah’s Ark and Zacchaeus up in that tree. So sometimes we forget that Zacchaeus was a real person, he had a real crisis in his life, he had real problems and he underwent profound change and overcame those problems and became a different person. So, let’s read the stories in Luke 19 beginning at the very first verse.

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zacchaeus and he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. And Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was but he was unable to because of the crowd and because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and he received him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:1-10

So, what did we just learn about Zacchaeus? We learned a couple things. We learned he was powerful. He was the chief tax gatherer in a very important region with many people under him, so he was a man of tremendous power and influence. Then we learned that he was rich because Jericho was a major trade route and so there were tremendous amounts of taxes to be levied and as the chief tax gatherer he got a piece of each one. And we also know that Zacchaeus was lost, very lost, because in the Bible the term tax gatherer or tax collector is almost synonymous with sinner. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was telling His disciples that they should be kind to all people not just their friends and family, He said, “If you do that”, He said, “don’t the sinners and tax gatherers do as much?” Another place where Jesus was talking about people living in persistent sin, He said at some point the church had to cast them out and treat them like tax collectors. Why? Because tax collectors were completely shunned. They were hated, they had a license to steal, they were known for defrauding and extorting money. Zacchaeus even admitted to that. They were considered a traitor by people because they did not collect taxes for Israel, they collected taxes for the Roman occupiers. You see, they still had to pay their taxes, they still had to pay the temple tax and the poll tax, they still had to pay the tithe to the Levites and then on top of all that they had to pay this extra tax to the Romans. And the tax collectors that did that were oppressing the people and they were dishonest because what happened was the Romans would tell the tax collectors how much they expected to receive from a particular district or area. And whatever the tax collector could gather above that, he got to keep. And so they would extort money to get extra money. They were not allowed in the temple. They were not allowed in the synagogue. They were considered outcasts from the community of Israel. They were considered to be apostates.

So, for all of his money and power Zacchaeus was lost, he was hated, he was a pariah, he was shut out, shunned and unwelcome among his own countryman, among his own family. And you have to wonder why would anybody do that. Why would anybody make that choice to be so hated and such an outcast among your own people, considered a traitor? I thought about that some years ago and I think at least a big part of the answer might be in the text in verse three. Because in verse three it says that he was short in stature. Another translation says he was just a little man. Now that’s the only thing that’s mentioned about his looks or about him personally in the story so it must have been his defining characteristic. It must have been the thing that made him different, that set him apart. And many people think that perhaps he suffered from dwarfism, but we know that it was a real impairment, that he couldn’t do things that normal people did. In order for him to see Jesus, he had to employ a tree and climb up it, so it is a big deal. How many of you know that growing up different can be very, very hard?

I studied a little bit about bullying this week and many people are bullied at times, but one out of ten students is bullied on a regular basis. A hundred and sixty thousand students each day stay out of school because they’re traumatized or afraid of being bullied. And being bullied makes a huge mark on a person, it’s very painful. They did a study and 60% of all young men that were bullied extensively between elementary and high school, 60%, by the time they are 24, they have at least one criminal conviction. Forty percent have at least three. So being bullied has a tremendous impact on people. And on top of that, perhaps people told him he was cursed by God, because after all that was the current understanding in Israel at the time. That if there’s something wrong with you, it’s because you were rejected by God. Do you remember the time that the apostles asked Jesus when he encountered a blind man, they said, “Who sinned this man or his father, his parents, that he should be born blind?” So perhaps there were a lot of people that told him that he was rejected by God and maybe he said to himself, “Why should I follow a God that’s treated me this way, that has rejected me?”

Maybe there are other things we don’t even know. Maybe he was born out of wedlock. Maybe his father died when he was young. Maybe his parents died and he was an orphan. We don’t know what other things could have gone into the mix but I want to make an assumption here that I think’s a pretty safe one and that was that part of the reason Zacchaeus became the man that he was and did the things and took the stance that he did was because he was deeply wounded and he felt rejected by God and by man. I think at some point he said, “I’m not going to try to fit in anymore.” I think he said, “If I can’t be accepted, I’ll be feared. If I can’t be loved, if I can’t have love, I’ll have riches and power no matter how I have to get it.” And so Zacchaeus, he pursued wealth, he pursued power and he made friends with the Romans. And he turned his back on his own countrymen and family and on his own faith except for this day because this day he ventured out among the crowd because something drew him. He came to see Jesus and why was that? You have to think, why would he go out among those people to see Jesus? Well, there might have been curiosity involved. Jesus was, after all, a great celebrity. But I know there was a much bigger reason than that that would make him face the scorn and the ridicule that he would face going out among the people that day. And you all know what the answer is. It’s because Zacchaeus had a deep inner longing for God. And we know that because God created us for Himself. You can’t say anything truer about yourself or any other human being than that. I was created to know God and until that happens there is an inner emptiness that goes on. And so Zacchaeus’ wealth and power could not fill that need.

There was a man named Ralph Barton who was a very famous artist and cartoonist and his art was on every major magazine cover in the world of his time. And yet he killed himself and this is what his suicide note said: I have had few difficulties and many friends. I’ve known great successes. I’ve gone from beautiful wife to beautiful wife, from house to house. I visited great countries of the world. But I am simply fed up with trying to find things to fill up 24 hours in a day.

Now Zacchaeus had rejected the Pharisees religion, the smugness, the hypocrisy, he turned his back on the synagogue. But in Jesus somehow, he saw something different in maybe the words that were retold of Jesus, the stories about Him. And he thought, “Maybe Jesus is different. Maybe He’s the answer to the longing of my heart.” And so he went to see Him. Now when he went to pursue Jesus he had two things that were beyond his control that were going to work against him. Verse 3, let’s read it again:

Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was and he was unable because of the crowd for he was small in stature.

Luke 19:3

So two things held him back. First is he was short, very, very short. He didn’t choose that. He was born that way but it meant he couldn’t see over the head of normal-sized people. Now there are a lot of things in life you don’t get to choose. You don’t get to choose who your parents are or were. You don’t get to choose where you’re born. You don’t get to choose your financial situation when you’re born. You don’t get to choose your height or your IQ or how your ears look. There’s just so many things you don’t get to choose. It’s just the hand that you’re dealt. The second thing that held him back was the crowd. The people held him back. The people didn’t help. I want to promise you that nobody tried to make it easy for Zacchaeus to see. Rather than kind of opening the way up so he could see, I’m sure they locked arms. They hated him. They’d never made it easy for him to come to Jesus or to do anything, to belong, and they never would. And one thing I can tell you if you’re waiting for the crowd and the world to make it easy to come to Jesus, if you’re waiting for the peer group at school, or you’re waiting for the media, or you’re waiting for Hollywood, or you’re waiting for academia to make it easy for you to follow Jesus, you’re going to have a long wait.

And so Zacchaeus had two things holding him back. Zacchaeus had two really good excuses so that he could give up on his quest to see Jesus. But the good news is Zacchaeus wasn’t looking for an excuse. You know a lot of people hide behind some excuse in their life, some mistreatment, some misfortune, some unfairness, and they use that as an excuse to not ever deal with Jesus’s call to “Follow Me.” Where Jesus says, “I’m your Savior, trust Me.” And a lot of people, they hide behind their excuses and they feel like they they’re not accountable. But Zacchaeus was not looking for an excuse. Now get this, this is kind of the theme of the sermon… Zacchaeus is not looking for an excuse, he was looking for an opportunity. And just then he had a thought, he remembered something, he remembered there was a tree up ahead that Jesus would have to pass by. I want to say that if you ever had hardships or difficulty, if you’re facing challenges, the wrong question always to ask is this one… was it fair that this happened to me? Was I treated right? Was life fair? That’s always the wrong sucker question. The right question in any circumstance in any life to ask is always this one… am I going to allow some mistreatment or misfortune that happened to me make me miss out on what the Creator of the universe wants to do for my life? Zacchaeus said, “No” and so he remembered the tree.

Now others look at that tree and they just saw a tree, that’s all they saw. But Zacchaeus saw an opportunity. I believe, and this is very important, I believe God made sure that tree was there. I don’t believe God leaves things to chance. I believe that perhaps 20 years earlier God had a bird fly over that exact spot and drop a seed from its beak or he inspired someone to plant that tree because God knew that in 20 years Zacchaeus was going to have to have a tree big enough for him to climb in because I don’t believe God leaves our opportunities to chance, never. All of us have problems and all of us have challenges and all of us have temptations but God always gives us the opportunities we need if we’ll just recognize them. Do you know how I know that? Because the Bible says so. Let me just point out one verse:

No temptation (or trial or difficulty or hardship) has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful…

1 Corinthians 10:13

You’re not the only one going through whatever you’re going through. Everybody goes through something like that at some time. Perhaps 3 of the most important words you can ever learn in your life are “God is faithful.” Will you say that with me, say it from your heart, say it loud, “God is faithful”. So everyone has temptations but God is faithful…

…who will not allow you to be tempted (or tested) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape…

1 Corinthians 10:13

…or the opportunity that you need. We will always have the opportunities that we need to overcome, to escape, because God is faithful. And God will go to great lengths, God will move heaven and earth to make sure that we have that opportunity just where and when we need it if we’ll just recognize it, He’ll go to great lengths.

I remember some years ago, I was in my office and I got a call and my next appointment had cancelled. Now I’m a procrastinator in some areas, like getting haircuts, you may have noticed. When I finally can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, I get a haircut. Getting my tires replaced, you know, just let them get balder. So I’m there in my office, and a voice pops into my head and says you should get those tires you’ve been putting off. And I thought, you know I got the opportunity because I got this cancelled appointment and then there’s lunch, so I jump in my truck, I race down to the tire store on 2nd Street and meanwhile I thought you know what, I’m going to sample some of the fine delicacies on 2nd Street. You know, there’s some fine dining opportunities, right? All right so I probably went to McDonald’s or something. When it’s over then I get in my car, I pay the guy, we settle up, I get in my car and start driving back to church for my next appointment, just enough time to make it. And as I’m racing up the 2nd Street off-ramp and just starting to merge, all of a sudden, I see this wheel go bouncing past me on the freeway and immediately I think, “What’s wrong with this picture? I’ve never seen that before in my life.” And it bounces ahead towards the center median and all of a sudden, I realize I’m dragging, that’s my tire! I’m able to get off to the side of the road. I call the tire place and they send the very person who forgot to put the lug nuts on that wheel. So, he comes up and we start talking. I take the opportunity to talk to him a little bit and it turns out that he didn’t put the lug nuts on that wheel because he is so distraught because the woman he’d been living with just kicked him out. He’s so heartbroken he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life. So, there we are sitting by the side of the highway with cars whizzing by at 55 miles an hour and we’re sitting there and I listened to him and I witnessed to him and I counseled with him and then I pray with him to receive Christ. I missed the next appointment but God greatly, greatly inconvenienced me to make sure this guy had his opportunity. And I have noticed that God will put you through the greatest of inconveniences in order to give somebody their opportunity. Don’t ever forget that. And God doesn’t leave it to chance. You can look for excuses in life or you can look for opportunities in life and I want to tell you there are plenty of both out there. And the excuses sometimes they’re easier to recognize than are the opportunities.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Here is what this means… if God is strengthening you and God is working in you and for you then never despise any opportunity. Never say, “That’s too much of a longshot.” Never say, “I don’t have what it takes.” Never say, “That will never accomplish the purpose.” If it’s the opportunity God has put before you, do not despise it. Think about the issues in your life, the challenges, temptations, the hardships, ask God to show you the opportunity to begin no matter how small and don’t despise it because God is in it. Now on that day other people just saw a tree, how common is a tree, how commonplace. Sometimes the greatest opportunities seem pretty commonplace.

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down for today I must stay at your house.”

Luke 19:5

When Jesus came to the place, it wasn’t just any place, it was a selected place. It was a place that God had selected to meet with Zacchaeus. It was in a divine appointment place. And when Jesus got to that place, he wondered whether Zacchaeus would recognize and seize his opportunity or whether Zacchaeus might say, “I have too much dignity to climb up a tree. I’m too important.” Or, “That tree is too high.” Or, “It’s got too many splinters.” And so, when he got to the place, He wondered, “When I look up, will Zacchaeus be there?” And when He looked up and He saw that Zacchaeus had seized the opportunity, don’t miss this, He stopped the whole procession, He stopped the whole parade and He sent everybody home. And He said, “Zacchaeus, I must come to your house.” There were a lot of people in that parade. We know that Jesus always had the twelve, plus there were other people associated, there were the roadies and the groupies and all the people that went with him. There was a crowd. And then you had a huge crowd of people who came out to see Him from Jericho. In fact, the crowd was so big there was no way for Zacchaeus to even catch a glimpse of Jesus. And yet He stopped the whole thing and He dismissed everybody and He went to Zacchaeus’ house because that’s how important every individual is to Him. He’ll stop at nothing to make sure they have their opportunity.

Jesus is a personal Savior. It’s not like when Dave and I were graduating high school, you know, and you got that real personal letter from Uncle Sam saying, “We would really appreciate the honor of your company in the US Army.” No, it’s not sent to everybody. It’s uniquely addressed to each person. Jesus looks you in the eye and says, “Come follow Me.” Jesus knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows exactly what’s happened to you in your past. He knows what your struggles are. He knows how to reach you. He knows the unique way. But you have to do what Zacchaeus did. You have to bring Him home. You have to open up your whole house to Him, everything, every room. You have to show Him everything that you have. Let’s pick up the story at 6 and 8:

And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give the poor and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”

Luke 19:6-8

Now here is the real miracle in the story. It’s not that Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name though they never met. It’s not that He knew exactly when to look up and see him. The real miracle in the story is that Zacchaeus, who had such an embittered and hard and calloused heart, that he would steal from his own countrymen, that he would serve as a traitor, that he didn’t mind who he hurt, that that person’s heart was changed and it was filled with open-hearted generosity and compassion and love and joy. That’s the miracle. And there’s something even better than that. That miracle is promised for the heart of every single person that makes Jesus Christ their Savior and their Lord, that He will crash and break the loneliness, the hardness, the bitterness, the fear that grips so many hearts. I want to say this and I know Dave would agree with me… my greatest single sorrow and heartbreak as a pastor is this, and wonderment to tell you the truth… that so many people can go to church, week in, week out, year in year out, and never really change and never really grow. And that on their way out after ten years, they are struggling with the same issues in their life that they had coming in, though they’ve listened to literally hundreds, many hundreds of sermons and have been in many worship experiences and been prayed for many, many times and yet they still struggle with the same thing. See, you can go to church and you can sing uplifting songs that make you feel emotionally uplifted and you could hear inspiring sermons that lift you a little bit and make you feel just a little bit better about yourself and your circumstances and you can hear teachings that give you great tips on how to have better communication in your marriage, how to have better parenting techniques, how to handle your money better. You can do all that and miss what is really being offered and that is a completely transformed life and a changed heart and victory, instead of defeat and being a new person altogether. Now I don’t pretend to understand everybody’s life. You can’t be a pastor for long without getting a lot of compassion for people because you hear people’s stories and you recognize how much there is in each person’s past, how much rejection or abuse or confusion or pain. And so I don’t understand, I don’t know all the people so I don’t understand what everyone’s motivations are or how they’re trying to protect themselves, so I don’t pretend to make any judgments. I just want to say this… that I know that deep and lasting and profound change is available for every single person and it breaks my heart that so many people somehow never lay hold of it. Until you surrender your entire life you’ll never understand how wonderful it can be. God can change anyone’s heart, even a person like Zacchaeus.

Now, you can’t miss there in the story that it said that some people were unhappy with the changes. Remarkable, isn’t it? They didn’t want Zacchaeus to change. They were unwilling to believe that he changed. They weren’t willing to forgive him for what he had done. Some people didn’t want him to change because they liked the old Zacchaeus. They liked the arrangement. They were profiting some way by it. And you know, a lot of times people don’t want to see you change and they’ll discourage you. They don’t want to believe you’ve really changed or they want to hold you in. Sometimes it’s family members and you can get a lot of grief from people because they want to hold you back. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter because of what it says in verse 10. Jesus says Himself, “…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” It said Jesus has come to seek, wherever you are, whatever the difficulties you have, Jesus does not passively sit back and wait for you to go find Him. He says that He is seeking, He’s out seeking, He’s out looking to save. That means that when you pray for loved ones, God is not passively waiting for them to turn to Him. He’s reaching out. He’s seeking. He’s at work in their life. Jesus said this about His crucifixion:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men to Myself.

John 12:32

That is, lifted up on the cross. “If I am crucified and become the Savior of the whole world and go to the right hand of the Father then I will send forth the Holy Spirit and he will begin to draw all people to Myself, everybody.” He’ll begin to work in the deepest recesses of their own heart. Wherever you go, Jesus has already been, and He’s already at work. If you take a new job, all your co-workers, you need to know… I don’t care what they say or how they look or what the behavior is, Jesus is at work. A new neighbor moves into your neighborhood, Jesus is at work. Jesus is at work drawing people, even the hardest, most unlikely looking people like Zacchaeus. And it’s so important that when we meet people, we listen to their story. And over the years, I’ve developed a habit of just asking people questions like, “Have you ever had a prayer answered?” Or, “Have you ever had an experience of any kind with God?” Or, “Do you have a church background at all?” And people begin to tell you about what God did in their life. See, God has already been at work and if you listen, you’ll hear the story and that’s where you can begin to join God in what He’s doing.

You see, Christianity is more than a philosophy. It’s more than a code of living. It’s more than just a little system by which maybe you can become just a little better person, and do a little better, and try a little harder. Christianity is a supernatural deal. Jesus said in John 3:7, “You must be born again” or “You must be born from above.” And when you’re born again of God’s Spirit, then that promise is fulfilled. You receive a new heart and you receive a new spirit. God promised that in Ezekiel 36.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes…

Ezekiel 36:26-27a

So that you will no longer be a rebel. You will no longer be someone that loves evil and hates to do good. No. He’ll give us a new heart. If you have a weak heart, if you have a diseased heart, then you are fatigued, then you are weak, then you have no hope and no assurance that you’ll be around a year from now. If you have a heart of stone, then you are emotionally dead, then you are lonely, then you are hopeless, then you are sad. But when you get a new heart, then you are alive and then you have joy and then you have energy and then you respond. You can love back and you get a new spirit. God infuses His Spirit into your spirit and immediately you begin to feel the effects of that or the result of that or the fruit of that. Galatians 5:22 says the fruit of God’s Spirit being infused with your spirit is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, joy, self-control, and it goes on from there. But for that to happen, you have to yield completely and wholly to God. You have to say to God, “God, I give you myself, body, soul, mind, spirit.” You have to believe with all of your mind and let Him renew your mind. You’ve got to invite Him into your heart and you’ve got to yield to Him your entire will and give Him your whole heart. All of it. No hidden places. Nothing held back. And let God renew your spirit and then say, “I am under new management. I’m no longer the one in charge.” Now all of us have driven through a town and we’ve seen a business and it says in big, bold letters “Under New Management” and that’s probably because the old management made a mess of it, ran it into the ground, couldn’t make a profit and therefore, it had to be turned over to new management. And all of us need to realize that life is a problem that was never meant to be solved if we’re in charge. Life was created for us to discover God and to walk hand in hand in Him and to have Him be our new management, where we say, “I’m not in charge anymore. The Holy Spirit is in charge now of my life.” The Bible says that God prepares our heart to receive Him. In Acts 16, there’s a woman named Lydia and it says specifically, “…and God opened Lydia’s heart to receive the things spoken by Apostle Paul and she was saved.” Has God opened your heart in any way this morning to His truth? Has He prepared your heart because in a few moments I want to lead you in a prayer to surrender your heart entirely to Jesus Christ.

I don’t know what brought you here today. It kind of amazes me sometimes why people come to church on one day and what keeps them away another day. But I know that people don’t always come to church every Sunday for the right reason. Jim Deyling, when he tells his testimony, Jim was not looking for God. Jim was not looking to join a church or go to church. He had no interest in the church but there was a girl that went to a church and he wanted to meet her and so he went along with her to church, and that’s all God needed. And God is seeking today and I want you to think about Zacchaeus and I want you to think about the truth, the fact that this sermon might have been entirely for you, just one person out of that whole crowd. Maybe everybody else is thinking… what’s the sermon, I know the story, checking their watches, yawning, I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter because God would do the whole thing. He would inconvenience all of us just for you to get the message and He’s wondering whether you’re going to seize your moment of opportunity. When Jesus looks up, will you be there? God does not want people living lost. He does not want people living in defeat. And if you will fully surrender, God wants to do mighty things in your life.

I want to lead us in a prayer in just a moment and it’s a prayer that perhaps some of you have never ever prayed before in your life. You’ve never asked Christ in your life. You have never been born again. You’ve never experienced that change ever before. And there are others here that have prayed that, maybe more than once but you recognize it’s time for you to yield your life again because when you look at it, if you’re honest with yourself, it’s not really under the management of the Holy Spirit. Maybe if you’re honest you’ll say, “I’m kind of running this thing into the ground and I need to yield myself again and give Jesus entirely my entire self, every part, and this time hold nothing back.” Don’t be afraid. Don’t hold it back but trust that God will never hurt you. You can yield yourself entirely to Him. So, let’s all at least bow our heads out of respect for people that will be praying this and with the heads bowed, I want to ask a question and the question is this… I want to know who is going to be praying this prayer for the first time in your life. And if you would just slip your hand up, people aren’t looking around, let me see the people who are going to pray this prayer to ask Christ into their heart and they’re going to do it for the first time. Let’s lift those hands up. Okay, thank you. Okay, let’s all pray, we can pray the same prayer, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time or whether you’re coming to Christ for the first time or whether you’re a backslider and you’re coming back or whether you’re just somebody that needs to renew that commitment.

Heavenly Father, we want to thank you that you sent Jesus to be our Savior. And Jesus, I want to give myself to you and ask that you forgive my sins and I want to surrender the management of my life to you, every part, every dimension, into your wonderful, capable hands. And I want to experience the freedom that Zacchaeus had. I want to experience the fruit of the Spirit, that transformed life. So I ask you to come in and to take all of it and to fill me with your spirit and from this day forward, as I rise from this place, I will walk in your steps, I will walk in newness of life and I will walk a life of obedience to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.