Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though
they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah
If youre here today, forty-eight-year-old
Pastor George Landris began, and you feel theres
something missing in your life. If you admit that although there
are billions of people on this earth, you still feel like youre
all by yourselfthat sometimes it feels like its you,
and you alone. If you feel as though no one truly loves you.
If youre fed up with being fed up. He paused a second.
If youd like to be born again . . . you want to know
Jesus in the free pardon of your sins. Then I want you to know
that your being here today is neither an accident nor a coincidence.
I want you to know that its time for a change! You see,
Ive been told that the definition of insanity is doing
the same thing over and over again but somehow expecting a different
result. He shook his head slowly, then took one step to
Well, to that someone whos here today, your change
has come. If youre looking for change, change you can truly
believe in, then the Lord is extending His hand to you today
through me. Hes asking you, on this day, to accept His
hand. I know Im talking to somebody today. In your life,
its time for a change. Pastor Landris nodded as he
narrowed his eyes, then ticked his head three times to one side
as he smiled.
Oh, I know we heard the word change a lot last year.
We talked about change. Some of you even voted for change. Some
of you voted for the first time in your life because of change.
Well, on November 4, 2008, change took a step forward in these
United States of America . . . a change thats already had
an impact on the world. But on this dayhe pointed
his index finger down toward the flooron this Sunday,
January 4, 2009, sixteen days before that embodiment of change
is to be sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United
States, its time for your own personal change. A change,
a wonderful change.
Many in the audience began to clap while others stood, clapped,
and shouted various things like: Change! A
wonderful change! and Thank God for change!
Pastor Landris bobbed his head, then continued to speak. For
those of you here who are tired of fighting this battle alone,
let me assure you that there is another way. And in case you
dont know or havent heard, Jesus is the way! Hes
the truth, and Hes the light.
And todayjust as Jesus has been doing since before
He left earth boarded on a cloud on His way back to Heaven, where
He presently sits on the right hand of the FatherHes
calling for those who have yet to answer His call, to come. Come
unto Him all you that labor and are heavy laden. Jesus desires
to be Lord of your life. Wont you come today? Wont
you come? Come and cast your cares on the Lord, for He cares
for you. Oh, yes, He cares . . . He cares. He cares. He...cares.
Pastor Landris extended his hand. He looked like someone waiting
on a dance partner to take hold of his outstretched hand in order
to continue the next step of a well-choreographed dancing routine.
Twenty-six-year-old Gabrielle Mercedes heard his words. She
felt them as they pierced her heart. She doubled over as she
sat in her seat. Quickly, she felt the warmth wash completely
over her, starting at her head. It felt as though she was being
covered with pure love and peace, as though buckets of warmth
were being poured on her, the warmth quickly making its way down
to her feet. Her feet heard the music inside of the words Come
and cast your cares on the Lord, for He cares, and they
began to move, to tap rapidly, all on their own.
The music that played inside her was not the usual music one
might expect to hear in church. It was music that no words she
knew could aptly describeangelic. Her body instinctively
knew what to do; her legs summarily stood her upright. She hurriedly,
but gracefully, started acrossonetwo, onetwo,
side step, side stepfrom where shed been sitting,
quietly excusing herself past those who shared the row with her.
Then, forward she glided, with long deliberate strides down a
wide center aisleflow, extend, now glide, glide, faster,
fastertoward the front of the church buildings sanctuary.
Everything happening before the right side of her brain was even
able to effectively launch a logical and methodical discussion
about any of this with the left side of her brain. She was moving
forward, refusing to look back.
And when she shook the hand that continued to remain extended
for any and all who dared to reach toward it, she didnt
see the man of Gods, Pastor Landriss, hand. All she
saw was the Son of the living God called Jesus, Emmanuel, the
Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the President
of presidents. She began to leaphigher, higher.
And as shed shaken Pastor Landriss hand, at least
twenty other people also had come forward and stood alongside
her. But shed only felt the hand of God holding her up
as she stood there and openly confessed she was indeed a sinner.
She knewwithout any trumpets sounding, any special effects,
and any special feelingsthat in that moment of her confession,
she was saved. Saved by grace. Now.
Now faith is...now...faith is now...
And the feeling she did have? It was the Lord leading the
dance of her life, whispering throughout her every being that
she now only needed to follow His lead. She needed to allow Him
to take her to the next step, and then the next one, and the
next one, without knowing what the next step might be. Fully
trusting His lead. Onetwothree.
Oh, how Gabrielle loved to dance! But until this day, shed
never known the true grace in dancing. That amazing grace. Gods
amazing grace. The feelings she had now were a by-product of
the new knowledge she possessed: the knowledge of knowing Jesus
Christ in the free pardon of her sins. All of her sins, every
single one of them, Pastor Landris was saying, were officially
pardoned. She was free!
Pardonedyour slate, wiped cleaned, Pastor
Landris said to those who came up. Your sins, totally purged
from your record. Its as though they never happened. God
says your past transgressions have been removed as far as the
east is from the west, the north from the south. All of your
sinsthe ones folks know about, and yes, the ones only God
knows. Gone. Gone! Whatever sins were in your past, from this
day forward, as far as the Lord is concerned, theyre gone.
Those standing were being signaled by a ministry leader to follow
her to an awaiting conference room.
Hold up a second, Pastor Landris said, halting
them before they exited. I want you to say this with me:
My past has been cast into Gods sea of forgetfulness.
They did as he askedsome of them leaping for joy as
they shouted the words.
You are forgiven of your sins, he said. Look
at me. He waited a second. And God is saying to you,
dont allow anyone . . . anyone, to ever bring up your past
sins to you again. Did you hear what I said? Dont let anyone
use your past against you. If they bring it up, you tell them
that its under the blood of Jesus now.
The entire congregation erupted with shouts of praise as they
stood to their feet.