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The Last Sermon of Slain Pastor John Powell

Asaf changes when he sets God at the center of history rather than himself.

“Immerse yourself in the word!”

“When you’re so focused on yourself and you’re circling in a whirlpool of hyperbole and despair, speak the truth! Remember what the Lord has done! Look for places where He can get the credit for bringing you through difficult times, remind yourself of His character and his love, remember what’s true! Not some twisted version of the truth.”

“Your depression is real, and I’m not seeking to give you an easy answer, but I am saying that this man that so clearly battled depression as is evidenced by his extreme focus on himself and total despair, found hope and healing by setting his mind on the truth, God’s truth. He found hope and healing form his depression by getting outside of himself and running to Christ not by emptying his mind but by filling it with truth.”

He ends his message with an appeal to those who have never believed in Christ,

John 6 says that our work is to believe the one whom God has sent. This is how we are to orient our mind. To believe the truth about Christ. Mental health is always downstream of that. Have you ever believed upon Christ? Maybe you’ve never struggled with depression, but you’ve been believing a lie!

Turn to the truth of Christ! Believe what the Scriptures say about Him! That you’re a sinner and Christ died for your sins as substitute! No greater display of love for you has ever been demonstrated! And that’s not a hyperbole! He will make you His, if you believe in Him! Will you believe today!

I’m not trying to give you a quick fix for depression. I’m not trying to minimize your depression. By giving you a two-step process to fix it. There’s often times no such thing. But it is always going to be helpful to fix your eyes on the Author and Perfecter of your faith, it is always going to help you to stop believing lies. It will always help you to surround yourself with truth speaking people. As you speak the truth to yourself. Run to the truth! The road to truth is paved with joy and not despair. And as you soak in the 77th Psalm, I think you will see that too.

I also wanted to include a transcript of his final prayer. Because especially those who are struggling with John’s very death might be encouraged to know how he would pray for them…

“Lord I pray for those who are battling depression. Father I pray that you would give them the strength to press on. I pray that they would be surrounded by people that love you and speak true things about you. I pray though that as they are surrounded by people that love them in the church, and as they speak the truth to themselves, I pray Father that they would begin to analyze their own thoughts. That they would get outside of their head. And speak truth to themselves but that they would understand when they are being self-centered and when they are speaking in hyperbole and I pray that when they see that, that they would run to you and your word in prayer and in saturation in your church. Father, I pray that as we see Asaf’s depression that you would call those who struggle with the same things to hope.

“But father most of all, I pray that those who feel far off, would be brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. Father, I pray that the despair that they are in would drive them to repentance and faith. That they would see their sin for what it is and their separation from God for the truth that it is. And that they would cling not to medicine. Not to therapy. But to Christ! And that they would be found in him.”

And he finished his prayer with these amazing words,

“And on that day. When all things are made new. When they will never battle despair or despondency anymore. I pray that their voices, would lift with ours as we praise the one who is seated on the throne of the cosmos. Because He alone is worthy of Honor! Amen.”

You can watch the entirety of the message here.  (I will warn you that at the end of the sermon, the very last minute of the video, he and his son sing the doxology together, it is both incredibly sweet and heart wrenching at the same time)

I also appreciated watching what the pastor of his sending church had to say. He told the story of how he died, and even mentioned the fact that he didn’t think there was a single day over the past four years in which he hadn’t communicated with John at least through text message. I thought that the way he led his church in prayer was a great encouragement. You can watch here starting at minute 27.

A GoFundMe has been set up, with his wife as a beneficiary for those moved to help his family.

This article about John Powell originally appeared here.