Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder, and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets, and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.

when you’re sick and you can’t fix it


wear over-the-counter medication just

won’t do you go to the doctor and what

you want the doctor to do is you want

the doctor to write a prescription or

often that is what they do to resolve

your physical pain and physical problem

you take that prescription to the

pharmacy you give it to the pharmacist

they fill it you take the medicine home

and you begin the healing process

because of a prescription that was

written by a qualified person that you

took to resolve your medical hurt pain

and discomfort well I’m sure you agree

with me that this virus has been no joke

Korona is not playing around it’s this

invisible invasion that we’re all having

to deal with and it has caused quite a

bit of pain medical pain physical pain

emotional pain relational pain economic

pain political pain I mean it’s just

been painful and you know everybody’s

looking for a resolution looking for a

prescription that will work well today I

want to talk to you about a prescription

for our pandemic but not only our

collective pandemic but your pandemic

the things that are eating at your life

in this environment there’s been a lot

of pain abuse neglect rejection

frustration on so many different levels

but there is a prescription that if we

begin to use particularly those of us

who are in relationship with God and if

we take this prescription seriously we

can begin to see some resolve to not

only the

issue that we all are dealing with but

it’s repercussions throughout our lives

our families and our broader society God

the Great Physician has a prescription

for the big pandemic and for your

pandemic it’s found in Isaiah 58 verses

1 to 12 there are three ingredients to

this prescription three three

medications if you will that if you take

it it’ll begin a process of healing in

your life and in your world God’s people

were facing a crisis and by the way the

reason that the world is facing a crisis

is because we are facing a crisis and

until God can’t get and can tell God can

get his people right don’t expect them

to get the world right he starts off by

saying that the people were religious

they were crying aloud verse one says

and they were raising their voices like

a trumpet they they made all the right

words god we want to know your ways they

said all the right things and on top of

that they fasted fast it is where you

are giving up a craving in the physical

to gain something in the spiritual

fasting is where you give up food or

some other material physical

satisfaction and delight for a period of

time and replace it with deep heartfelt

communication with the Living God

fasting is saying that the spiritual

Trump’s the physical and as bad as the

physical is I need the spiritual to

invade it now we’ve said it many times

remember that if all you see is what you

see you do not see all there is to be

seen everything physical and visible is

always preceded by something invisible

and spiritual so if you want to properly

address the physical visible you must

first address the invisible spiritual so

these people who are struggling

had a religious vanilla on them but yet

they had a problem because they say it

in verse three we fasted but we don’t

see you doing anything we’ve humbled

ourselves but nothing is happening why

isn’t this working why aren’t we seeing

more changes in our lives and in our

families and in our communities and why

aren’t we seeing the supernatural

address the natural well that’s where

verse four comes in this is the first

part of the prescription by the way

behold you fast for contentions strife

and with the wicked fist you do not fast

like you do today to make your voices

heard on high it is a fast this which I

choose a day for a man to humble

themselves it is for bowing one’s head

like a reed and for spreading out the

sack cloth and ashes as a bed will you

call this a fast even an acceptable day

to the Lord the point is you can go

through religious exercise and it goes


you can speak Christianese you can go to

church and it doesn’t go anywhere why

because the people wanted God to

intervene without them changing their

ways verse one talks about their

transgression they weren’t willing to

align their lives in obedience to God

while they carried on their religious

activity being religious has a

fulfillment about it it can thicken it

can satisfy you I’m gonna make a

confession right now for breakfast today

I had doughnuts I love doughnuts they

have to be put in the oven for about or

the microwave for about 15 seconds let

them let the sugar melt just a little

bit they’ll be warm and and those donuts

just melt in your mouth

I love the

the problem is while they are sweet to

the taste they offer no nutritional

value there they’re non beneficial

that’s what religion is it can be sweet

the cinnamon can be sweet the singing

can be sweet the fellowship can be sweet

but it can be sugar placebo it doesn’t

offer you anything that changes you it

just makes you feel okay where you are

in fact religion can camouflage

righteousness you can be religious while

not being serious about dealing with the

areas in our lives that block God from

breaking through to us until there is

the pursuit of righteousness I don’t

mean perfection nobody can be perfect

but the pursuit of God meaning

repentance where we are unrighteous then

you cannot expect the prescription to

work everybody wants God to bless us to

bless america

the bless the world while we don’t bless

him that’s backwards Christian soldiers

he says the first thing you’ve got to do

is you’ve got to take me seriously

you’ve got to humble yourself before me

that is pursuing a relationship with me

and a righteous life before me if you’re

not pursuing your relationship and

you’re not pursuing a righteous life you

aren’t pursuing God no matter how

terrified you’ve become no matter how

many services you go to no matter how

much Bible reading you do no much–how

fasting how much fast and you do know

much how no matter how much praying you

do it won’t go anywhere

because you’re not doing the fast that

he chooses you’re doing the fast that

you choose so all the spiritual

sacrificing that does not pursue a

relationship and the pursuit of a

righteous lifestyle coming out of that

relationship is a waste of time because

God says that’s not what I’m asking for

you’re giving me what you want me to

have you ever have people in your life

and they they’re giving you what they

they’re not giving you what you need

require or requested you know when a

baby is breached in its mother’s womb

it’s turned the wrong way and so a

delivery and deliverance of that baby

through the womb is problematic because

it’s not turned right and so doctors

will often go in the womb and turn the

baby’s head down so it’s faced in the

right position because when it’s in the

right position it’s ready for delivery

well you may be in labor right now I may

be in labor our culture is certainly in

labor but our heads turn the right way

are we breached are we just are we just

going through the spiritual motions

without the pursuit of relationship in

fact they really didn’t want to hear

what God had to say they just wanted to

give him enough religion to make him

satisfied you know a lot of people won’t

get on the scale and the reason why they

won’t get on the scale is because they

don’t want to see what the truth is they

don’t want to see what reality is so

they they somehow feel better by not

getting on the scale well a lot of

people don’t want to be confronted by

their unrighteousness by our

unrighteousness by our rejection of God

in government our rejection of God in

education our rejection of God in

business our rejection of God in

economics our rejection of God in the

definition of humanity in the definition

of marriage and family we do not want

divine interference in our and

righteousness we just want to be made

comfortable says that’s not the fast

that I choose so all the religiosity

that you come up with is not addressing

your camouflaging and it won’t bring

about the very thing that you’re asking

so the first thing that you’ve got to do

is pursue a relationship with the Living

God on his terms

manifested in a increasingly righteous

lifestyle that is your living to please

him based on what he says not based on

what you think what your mama thought

what your daddy said or what the culture

says well that leads us to the second

prescription and the second prescription

reads like this verse six says is this

not the fast which I choose to loosen

the bonds of wickedness to undo the

bands of the yoke and to let the

oppressed go free to break every yoke is

it not to divide your bread with the

hungry and to bring the homeless poor

into your house when you see the naked

to cover him and not hide yourself from

your own flesh he says the second thing

you was do if you want to be healed

yourself will get to you in a moment

I’ve forgotten you but what he says is

that you must minister terribly to

others now let’s get this kind of

ministry straight this kind of ministry

that ministers to others means that

you’re not a selfish saint that you’re

not just thinking about three people me

myself and I but that even in your pain

struggle and stress you are willing to

minister to somebody else who’s worse

off than you and trust me I don’t care

what your status is there’s somebody

worse off than you you’ve already heard

me declare Luke 6:38 given it will be

given to you whatever you need give to

somebody else so that it can boomerang

back to you he says the major sin was

how they were treating other people you

can’t treat other people any kind of way

some kind of way and expect God to heal

your wounds he says I want you to

minister terribly and responsibly

because charity must be done responsibly

the Bible says but to help people who

need your help

particularly those

in the same situation that you’re in

Paul says in the first chapter second

Corinthians to comfort others with we’re

in the comfort that you are being

comforted in other words help somebody

else where you need help God says if you

want a prescription for your own healing

there must be reaching out and he talks

about the hungry and the homeless and

the naked he’s talking about ministering

to others so this gets chatty straight

biblical charity it’s where you serve

the need of somebody else without

expecting anything in return

okay you’re not asking for a quid pro

quo you’re not asking for something in

return that’s called business you know

I’m gonna do this let’s cut this deal

you’ll do that this for that that’s


no he’s talked about ministry now

servanthood and everybody has been

called to be a servant if you name the

name of Jesus Christ you’ve been called

to be a servant how how good are you

serving who else have you helped

recently yes I know we’ve been

quarantined for a while but the

prescription says no you better reach

out to somebody else you’re lonely reach

out to somebody else you know who’s

lonely you hungry give food at whatever

level you can there’s somebody else who

needs food you’re struggling with

employment make a contact for somebody

else who needs an opportunity that they

qualify for that you may not they can

come in a million different ways but

you’re seeing yourself as a service it’s

amazing how many people when churches

are open don’t go to worship service

they go to worship selfish they go to

find out what God wants to say to them

how God wants to teach them how God

wants to encourage them and they’ll do

that for days months and years and never

serve in a ministry never help anybody

else he says no if you are unwilling to

be a servant then you can’t cry out to

me and your crisis to be sir

by me remember it’s more blessed to give

than to receive why is it more blessing

because that is the way to receive the

way to receive is by being a giver and

yes that includes money but it includes

time and talents as well because people

can write checks or give dollars as an

excuse not to be involved that’s why we

tell our church members when they hand

out the act of kindness cards they’ll

just they’ll just do a good deed but pre

with the person and share the good news

of the gospel with the person because

you’re caring about people not just

fulfilling a program that’s also why

wherever you serve serve with your heart

in it your heart and your hands word and

deed let people know wherever you are

serving that you care about them and

that you’re not just fulfilling a job

description he says if you want to see

me then I need you to serve somebody

else it reminds me of the lady who the

lady who went to the mailbox one day and

she saw a letter in the mailbox that

said I’m coming to your home tonight for

dinner and underneath it said signed

Jesus Wow Jesus is coming to my house

for dinner so she wanted to make

preparations on her way to the store she

ran by a hungry family and she paused

for a moment found out what they needed

and gave them something to eat and she

came out of the store because you

remember she’s getting things for Jesus

she ran across a homeless man without a

coat she went back in and got the

homeless man a coat she went home

because guess what Jesus is coming for

dinner and she went home she saw a note

on the door and the note on the door

said thank you thank you for providing

me a meal and a coat sign

Jesus you see the way you show Jesus

that you love him

is how better off your neighbor is

because you love it the way you show

Jesus that you are serious and not just

religious it’s because your ministry

minded with the heart that cares for

others we live in a dog-eat-dog world we

live in a Me Myself in our society but

I’d like to suggest to you that the

prescription for this pandemic to get

God to intervene in our affairs all of

them including including the virus yeah

because the plagues don’t escape God’s

hand we can see that all over Scripture

he says I’ll heal the plague when you’re

operating by my plan and I know that

doesn’t look like the two of connected

but they’re very connected and so first

of all there must be the pursuit of

righteousness out of a relationship

secondly of all there must be the

service to others and then I know this

is the one you’re waiting for

and then then after you’ve done the

first part righteousness the second part

servanthood then you come to verse eight

then your light will break out like the

dawn mmm and your recovery will speedy

spring speedily spring forth and your

righteousness will go before you the

glory of the Lord will be your rear

guard then you will call and the Lord

will answer you will cry and he will say

Here I am if you remove the yoke from

your midst the thing holding you back

the pointing of the finger and speaking

of wickedness and if you give yourself

to the hungry and satisfy the desire

they flicked it then your light will

rise in darkness and your gloom will be

come like midday and the Lord will

continually guide you and give strength

to your loins and your bones and you

will be like a watered garden and like a

spring of water whose waters do not fail

those who among you will rebuild the

ancient ruins you will rise up the old

foundations and you will be called

repairers of the breach the restorer of

the streets in which you dwell our

streets are in trouble aren’t they

we’ve got injustice taking place

insensitivity taking place

unrighteousness taking place

we’ve got calamity and divorce calamity

and abuse and then we have on top of

that all this medical stuff the streets

are in trouble you’ve got conflict

between police and citizens between

Democrats and Republicans between black

and whites often between male and female

the streets are in trouble but he says

if you want me to take care of the

street if you want me to join you in

your predicament then you’ll have to do

this my way you know in baseball you

don’t start off at third-base that’s not

where you start in baseball you just

can’t come up to bat and then run left

down to third base it doesn’t work that

way no if you want to get home you got

to go in another direction see a lot of

us want to start on third base so that

all we got to do is one thing and go

home no no you got to go to first second

and third man you can come home well

first base is where you remove the bond

of wickedness he says that is where you

identify sin in your life you

acknowledge that it is sin and then you

repent of it let me define repentance

repentance is the internal determination

and decision to turn from sin repentance

is the internal determination and

decision to

turn from sin now how do you know your

internal is real how do you know that

you really mean it he says because

you’ll show fruit of repentance you can

talk about an apple tree all day long

but until you see some apples you’re not

convinced you can talk about a pantry

all you want but until you see some

pears it’s not convincing no matter

what’s happening underneath the ground

until you see something it has not

demonstrated itself to be real so

anybody can talk a good game amen praise

the Lord hallelujah God is good all the

time all the time God is good but he

says no you must loosen the bonds of

wickedness you must identify and we all

must do that from pulpit to pew and we

must repent with fruit of repentance

where we demonstrate to God and as

necessary others that we’re serious

about our faith and then he says then

you must minister to others you must

serve others you must come alongside of

others and then he gives a whole litany

a whole list of benefits that will

accrue when you get to third base when

you get to number three the third part

of the description he says your darkness

will become light in other words God

will meet you in your confusion because

when things are dark you can’t see

things clearly and aren’t there a lot of

decisions that we have to make today do

we go back to school do we keep schools

closed do we go out to work do we not go

out to work but what about my agent and

propensity to the illness and what how

far do I go you know we got all these

decisions to make in terms of the

collective but we also have all these

decisions to make regarding ourselves

and things get dark

Jesus says God says in his word I will

turn your darkness into light that is

I’m going to clear up things for you I’m

gonna replace your hopelessness with

hope he says when you do this I will

begin to work in you to bring soul

satisfaction I’ll bring harmony and

peace where you have chaos and calamity

he says not only that but I love this

you will rebuild the ancient ruins you

know we’re not looking at evolution of

society we’re looking at the devolution

of society we going down here we’re not

going up hill I don’t care what the

economy looks like I don’t care what the

you know prognosticators that saying we

going downhill as a community of people

the conflicts the strife the rebellion

all of this the the redefinition is we

we going south God allows crises he

allows calamities he allows them to

drive us to our knees to Humble us so

that we become be began to recognize

that we got to do this thing his way

there must be a radical return to God on

his terms and when there is this radical

return to God on his terms they will see

God radically invade our circumstances

our situations our lives and this starts

with the church it starts with

Christians we want to start pointing at

the white house when we can’t even get

straight our house when we have

illegitimate divisions along lines that

God never never would authorize he will

prepare your broken life your broken

home and our broken nation if we will be

broken before him stripped of our

independence and self-sufficiency you

know in April 15th

well not true in 2020 but normally on

April 15th that’s tax day and when you

do your taxes you hope to get back

something that was given you want to get

something back they don’t just want to

pay in you want to get something back

and one of the things that determines

your tax

or tax income what you will get back is

what you served you know charitable

giving what you gave in terms of dollars

we want to return based on our kindness

well God gives a return based on our

service he says then you will see God

work on your behalf you know when a

person goes to jail or finds a crime one

of the things that they they hope to get

his community service instead of being

locked up and oftentimes dependent upon

what the crime was that was committed

the judge will give them a certain

amount of hours of community service

in lieu of either a fine or in lieu of

jail time or maybe both they say let’s

do some community service and through

your community service reduce your

sentence maybe you feel like like as

sentenced you may be your that single

parent you feel like you’ve been

sentenced to aloneness maybe you’re that

abandoned child and you feel like you’ve

been sentenced to life without guidance

maybe you’re that man and you’ve been

sentenced then not being able to be

identified for the person you were

created to be maybe you’re that person

who feels lost and you feel sentenced

about what your destiny will you ever

realize it well God is allowing

community service if you get right with

him become a servant to others then he

will meet you in your place and when

those three things happen together you

will have taken the prescription even in

this pandemic for your healing and if

enough of us do it for the healing of

our land I think it’s only appropriate

that as we take communion today we think

about these three things I want to

challenge you to enter a time of fasting

if you haven’t already

well you give up a meal or you give up

your favorite TV show and you spend some

concentrated time on your knees on your

face before God where you confess to him

every area that you are aware of where

you fail with an internal determination

to turn and then you do something that

validates what you just decided so that

it doesn’t just wind up being a feeling

for the moment but an action taking you

in a whole nother direction find

somebody to serve in an appropriate way

given the context of our situation now

and then tell god what you need from him

I want you to do that I want you to

spend a moment with God so that we can

see God in vain your life and our

circumstances and he’s bringing healing

to the streets including the street that

you live on Jesus died to bring us back

into fellowship with God that’s why he

died to reconcile us with the father his

body was broken and that’s what the

brand is all about his body broken when

you chew it up he was chewed up for you

give him thanks now as we eat in

remembrance of him

without the shedding of blood there’s no

remission of sin God has determined that

for sin to be forgiven blood has to be

shed shed and so what he did was shed

his own blood in the second member of

the Trinity Jesus Christ so you could be

forgiven and restored and then used in

all his party package and return to your

purpose and you know the good thing

about getting right with God he can hit

a bull’s eye with a Crooked Stick so I

don’t care how messed up you been God

can still hit the target for your life

if you give it your life it’s all

because of the blood shall we drink in

remembrance of him father we thank you

for the privilege of worshiping you and

giving you the glory to your name

receive your people as we take the

prescription in the midst of our

pandemic and your name we pray amen