We had such a great time in church yesterday at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles and the Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana. We had the privilege of hearing from our Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston as well as our California Lead Pastor Ben Houston – as both of these amazing leaders swapped places between the theaters throughout the day!
The atmosphere in both theaters was electric – full of faith and expectancy – and God really brought the house down in incredible ways! We’ve already heard so many stories of how these messages have been so timely, deeply resonating in the hearts of people finding themselves sitting within earshot. So, to give you a brief summary on what’s actually been happening in downtown LA and OC on the weekends, here’s brief recap on the two messages:
BRIAN HOUSTON: THE POWER OF WEAKNESS
Pastor Brian opened up his sermon by posing the question to the audience of their strengths and weaknesses. “What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?” Most of us like to put our dependency in our strengths and what we’re good at. But looking at the passage of Philippians 3:8 (“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..”), Pastor Brian posed the thought: “Maybe it’s not our strengths – but our weaknesses – that bring power to our lives.”
In 2nd Corinthians chapter 12, the apostle Paul talks about his own weaknesses – but the Lord spoke to him directly about his weakness, saying “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Pastor Brian spoke such an inspiring message around this – affirming that yes, while we all have insecurities and weaknesses, “the thing that God will build on IS your weakness!” And that once we’ve come to terms with our own inabilities and our need for God, we become right where we need to be in order to be used by God. Dependent.
“Dependence of the presence of God is what builds a life.”
BEN HOUSTON: MERCY
“We’re all human and we’ve all made mistakes. But God in His mercy has set us free.”
Ben brought an amazing word on the mercy of God – how He freely gives it to us so that we might in turn give it to others.
“We all have reason to hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness, but His blessing is on those who show mercy.”
Speaking from the passage 1 John 4:19 (“ We love because he first loved us.”) and Ephesians 4:32 (“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”), Pastor Ben spoke about the confronting truths of if we are really followers of Christ, we would love and forgive others as we’ve been loved and forgiven.
He then gave four signs of a merciful person – practical steps that we can build and steward as we come to better understand how much we’ve been given and how we can give in return:
- The merciful are aware.
- The merciful are compassionate.
- The merciful are forgiving.
- The merciful realize that position, power, and privilege are not for self-gain but for others.
These messages have been so powerful this weekend, and we hope that you’ve been encouraged even just from this short recap. Wherever you’re reading this, know that you’re loved and prayed for. That you matter. And that no matter what, there’s a God in heaven who loves you and has a perfect plan for you life – weaknesses and all.