Some time ago, I went to Italy, I mean heaven, I mean Italy. Loved it. The people. The food. The history and art and architecture. The food. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Florence. Rome. Venice.
And we went to Pisa, home the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's the coolest thing in the world. They started building the tower in the year 1173. It's almost a thousand years old; it has a right to lean a little bit.
There's a giant church, which is absolutely beautiful. Then a second building equally beautiful called the baptistery. Then the leading tower which is actually a bell tower, with seven bells, for do, re, me, fa, sol, la, ti.
I was there with three friends, and we had a packed schedule. At that time, you could climb up to the top balcony of the tower. We talked about it, and decided against it because we had other places to visit. We told ourselves we'd come back later and climb the tower. So we went on with our trip.
Right after we left, engineers removed the seven bells from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They were reducing the weight at the top to help stabilize it.
Right after that, they completely shut down the tower. You could look, but you couldn't enter. Tourists were no longer permitted to climb up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No more views from the top. No more pictures from up there. No more climbing up 294 steps to the top.
I was so disappointed. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life that I didn't climb up that tower when I had the chance.
Sometimes, when you have an opportunity, it's like a door is open. But that door isn't open forever. Because there are times in your life when a door shuts, and it's too late.
I'll come back to that, because there's more to the story.
I know, not going up the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not that big a deal in the great scheme of things. If that's my biggest regret, I'm probably not trying hard enough.
Here's another story with much bigger, far more devastating consequence. Jesus tells this story.
And he gave an illustration: "A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. So he said, 'I know! I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store everything. And I'll sit back and say to myself, My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!' "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul will be required of you. Then who will get it all?' "Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God." (Luke 12:16-21)
I'm hoping and I'm praying that today is your day, for the first time in your life, to step into "a rich relationship with God."
Here's the title of my talk today:
This is part 6 of our series called Revival. I thought I finished the series last time, but surprise. I felt I needed to add one more message, so here we are.
And I want to give you a heads up. I don't want to just teach and preach about getting right with God, I want to go a step farther.
At the end of my talk, I want to offer you an opportunity to actually get right with God by being saved. I won't single you out. I'll be inviting you to say a silent prayer, and walking you through what it means to be right with God.
You don't have to be ready. You just have to be willing. If God is tugging at your heart, don't resist him. He's opening a door for you. Step through it.
So that's coming in a few minutes.
So I'm going to mash together a few places in the Bible, because they all sound the same warning: it's time to get right with God.