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Craig Groeschel - Exponential Seed of Faith

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Everybody, it's great to have you at all of our Life Church locations. Our open network churches as well. All of the world at Church Online. Today we're launching into a brand new three-part message series called Exponential and I honestly have faith to believe this message is going to speak a few of you in a very, very powerful way. What I want to do is I want to talk to those of you who might feel like you're settling in life. You're settling. You believed at one point or another perhaps that God would do something amazing. You had faith for miracles. You where believing for a movement of God in your life. Maybe you read the old book, the Pray of Jabez God. Enlarge my territory God. Bless me in many ways God. Use to make a big difference and then life just kept happening and not much when down in your life spiritually and you started to settle when it comes to spiritual things.

Now, since you haven't seen God do something significant in long period of time, maybe for you you're willing to settle for the consolation prize. God just do something. God just do anything. This is a message for those who feel like you're settling in life. I don't know it might be a young girl you was really believing God for a godly man. God bring him to me. Six-foot tall, fit full of faith, on fire for God. A potential great daddy, an amazing husband, a fantastic provider. One who loves long walks on the beach and one who is a good French kisser. All for the glory of Jesus. Bring him to me God. I know you can. Year goes by, another year goes by. Another year goes by. Another year goes by. Another year goes by. God just bring me a man. Male. A job is optional, I'm not picky. God just bring me a man.

Anybody know what I'm talking about. God I want this but it's not happening, you know how it is. I'm gonna start a business, it's gonna be amazing. I'm gonna do something that I love. It's gonna be fantastic. I'm gonna use my entrepreneurial skills and I'm gonna make a lot of money and one then one day is like, God just give me a job. Just with benefits. Help me pay the rent for this month. I'm gonna be a fantastic parent. I'm gonna read books to my kid every night, we're gonna tell stories and have prayer time. We're gonna have the perfect Pinterest party. Then one day you're prayer's God help me not kill then today. In Jesus' name. The fact that you're laughing might mean some of you are living where I've lived. I'm going to talk today to those of you who've lowered your expectations of what God might do.

I want to give you a thought and this is a thought that we're gonna come to throughout our message and I hope that this though not only means something to you but means even more as we look through God's work today. The though is this. You have no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. Let me say it again. You have no idea what God may do through a single seed planted in faith. I want to talk today about a couple from the Old Testament named Abraham and Sarah. Originally their names where Abram and Sarai. Names where changed. They had a dream just like other couples to have children. Unfortunately they couldn't conceive. Whenever you want kids and you can't conceive, maybe some of you have been there, seemed like everyone you know gets pregnant.

You can imagine in their life group every coupe gets pregnant every time they get someone's praising the Lord, they look at each other. They get pregnant. We do everything possible. We can't get pregnant. They're going to the classes, and they're painting their nursery rooms and everybody else is getting pregnant and Abraham and Sarah cannot. They're devastated. Then God speaks to them and challenges them to take a massive step of faith. It's recorded in Genesis Chapter 12. I want to tell you what happened in Genesis 12, then we're going to jump forward to Genesis 15. In Genesis 12 God says this, I'm going to make you into a great nation. I'm going to make you into a great nation. Another time God says, you're going to be the father of many nations. They here this and they immediately know there it is. God said it. It will happen. We're going to be parents. This is the news we've been waiting for. God has promised us. It's going to come.

So immediately they start picking baby names. We'll name this if it's a boy, this if he's a girl. They go and they start picking out the nursery themes. They're going to devote one of the rooms in their tent and convert it to a nursery. If it's a boy we'll do a Star Wars theme. If it's a girl we'll do a My Little Pony theme. Sarah reads in a day the book, What To Expect When You're Expecting. Cover to cover she devours the book. They're planning their Instagram reveal. How are we going to tell everybody what God has blessed us with. The month comes to an end. They're waiting perhaps this is the month and aww this isn't the month. We're not pregnant. No big deal. God's word is true. He's just giving us a month to prepare. Next month is going to be the month. Another month goes by. Certainly this is the month. We're not pregnant again. Wow, two months. Okay, God's giving us a little bit more time. Third month, fourth month, fifth month, sixth month, seventh month.

This is a message for those of you who've lowered your expectation of what God might do. Genesis 12 God makes a promise. We jump forward to Genesis 15 and we read in Verse 1, " Some time later," All of your churches let's say that phrase aloud. "Some time later, the Lord speaks to Abraham" When is some time later? Genesis 12 there is a promise. Genesis 15 is some time later. When is some time later. The answer we're not exactly sure how much time went by but we know at least one decade passed between Genesis 12 and Genesis 15. Some Bible scholars argue much longer than that but we know at least one decade passed. "Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you,'" and reward you and it will all be great. "But Abram replied, 'O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son?'"

What good is all that you give me, when I don't even have someone to give what I have to after I die. I don't even have a son. Some time later at least a decade passed. A decade or more of what appears to be unfulfilled promises and unrealized expectations. Month, month, at least 120 disappointments. Where are you God? Why aren't you doing what I though you where gonna do? Some of you may have your own version of the story, I don't know what it is. You have the a goal. God I know you're gonna help us pay off that first credit card by this summer. I can't just sense it. Summer comes and you have more on that credit card than you did when you had your goal. Where are you God? God I know you're gonna hear my prayer. My dad is gonna get saved. A year goes by and your dad is meaner than he's ever been before. Nowhere close to coming to faith in Christ. God by next Christmas, I can just see it, by next Christmas I will at least be dating the person that will be my spouse by next Christmas. Next Christmas comes and you haven't been within 10 feet of someone of the opposite sex that's remotely attracted to you.

God where are you? God did I hear you right? Was it you or was that not you? God did you forget about me? God are you even there? You see from Abraham's point of view nothing was happening. There was a promise and a lot of time but no evidence of God working during that time. Instead of being father of many nations, I'm gonna lower my expectations. Just give me a son. One son. That's all I want. May I remind you, you have no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. This is a message for those who've lowered their expectations of what God might do. We're starting today a message series called Exponential. Exponential. When it comes to faith, when it comes to life, when it comes to God's blessings, we tend, if you're taking notes, we then to think addition. We think add to my life. We tend to think addition but our God thinks multiplication.

We then to think addition but God thinks multiplication. If you go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, what did God say to Adam and Eve? God said, be fruitful and multiply. He didn't say be fruitful and add. He said be fruitful and multiply. Which oddly enough, was a conversation I had with Amy's dad which was about the most awkward conversation I've ever had with a man that I respect so much right after I proposed to Amy. At First Methodist Church right before the Apostles' Creed on stage in front of everybody, I got down and asked her to take my hand in marriage. And her dad walked up afterwards, Sam, and said, "Young man I want grandkids". Right after I proposed. True story. I want grandkids. Then he said, after you get married I want grandkids, just to keep it straight but I want grandkids. I gave him four and he said you fulfilled your commitment to me and I gave him two more because we serve an exponential God. Be fruitful and multiply. Multiply. Don't add, multiply.

Jesus said that a sower, a guy who plants, went out to sow some seeds. Some seed didn't just produce a single return on a single-seed invested. Jesus said some seeds produce to harvest a 30 times the return. Some 60 times the return. Some 100 times the return. A single seed planted had an exponential multiplying return of 100 fold of what one seed was planted in the ground. You have no idea what our God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. Abraham and Sarah wanted a son. A decade passed and they didn't see a thing. A decade passed and they didn't see a thing. I don't know who here has been praying for something but you've been praying and nothing happens. You've been believing that God would do something. That God would hear your prayer, hear the cry of your heart. That God would bring a miracle. God would change something. God would move upon someone. God would make a provision and you've been praying and you've been believing and nothing has happened. God where are you? I don't see anything.

I want to tell you that just because you don't see anything doesn't mean that God isn't doing something. I want to say it again because I think someone somewhere else is more excited than the people I'm talking to. Just because you don't see anything doesn't mean that God isn't doing something. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean that God isn't doing it. A seed planted in the ground, you don't see what's happening under the ground. You've no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. I had a really cool privilege of being interviewed by a group from the Gideon's organization because my life was impacted by a seed from the Gideon organization. When the interview was over I flipped the tables and interviewed some of the Gideons because I wanted to get into the minds of some of the people that would volunteer their time and go out to different places. Like college campuses where I was and hand out Bibles to people that where not asking for Bibles.

So I asked this gentleman, tell me what you think about before you go out. He said, I see it like sowing seeds. You never know if a seed is gonna go in good ground or bad ground but you continue to plant seeds believing that some seeds will take root and this particular gentleman said, I simply pray every single time I go out. God may one seed bear good fruit. What's so powerful is that he never gets to see if the seed bears fruit or not. He gives them away and then that's it. That's exactly what happened to some gentleman that I will never ever meet. He's probably in heaven now because it was years ago. But I was walking through a campus. Hurting in my life and he handed a simple seed. A little New Testament Bible and he gave it to me and said, young man would you like a Bible?

And I thought wow, I'm hurting and I'm searching, I should take this Bible. He handed a seed and nothing happened. I started reading it. Nothing happened. Kept reading it. Read all the way through Matthew. He just died. Read all the way through Mark. He died again. All the way through Luke. I'm reading this thing thinking to myself, after three times of them killing him you'd think he'd see it coming. No idea it's the same story over again. I'm reading John, nothing happened. I'm reading Acts, I'm confused. I kept reading until I got to Ephesians Chapter 2. Like I'm reading it but I'm 50 now. There's no way I could read that. How did I read that then? How's anybody read this. I read Ephesians Chapter 2. As you're saved by grace through faith not by works. I went out and had a holy moment with God. In a little softball field and cried out to Jesus.

Something happened. Something happened. You have no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. I started telling people about Jesus. There's was a little harvest from that. Then one day I got served at a Methodist Church there was a little harvest from that. Then one day started a little church, about 40 people. Little harvest from that. Then some more people came to Christ and then more people came to Christ. Then one day one of my crazy staff member had this idea of what if we took this Bible thing we had and we actually put it into an app and released in the first of the apps that came out the, Bible app, on the App Store. And people said well you should sell it for 99 cents. I though, wait a minute. The one that changed my life was free. So the one that we have is gonna be free as well.

Fast forward to today and our church, because of your generosity, because of the innovation of the team, because of the blessings of God, has been able to give away 315 million Bible apps. you have no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. Like a seed in the ground, you don't see it necessarily working. Well I don't see it working, I don't see, why is it not working. What you don't understand is, God is still sending the sun, God is still sending the rain. Just because you don't see anything break from the ground, doesn't mean it's not working where you don't see it because of eventually that seed breaks open and it starts taking root. Long before you ever see the fruit God's got to cause it to take root. Just because you don't yet see the fruit doesn't mean that seed is not taking root. You have no idea what our God can do through a single seed planted in faith.

Abraham had the same problem that so many of us have. He had a very limited perspective. Where was Abraham? He was in a tent. Telling God what he didn't see. God I don't see you working. I don't see anything happening God. You told me that many nations stuff. I don't even see a son. Any of you relate? God I'm not married yet. Have you noticed my clock is ticking. All these people I work with ain't no prospects here. God, I'm buried in debt. Doing a stupid job that's way beneath, there is no way I'm gonna get out of this. God the report came back. It's not good. Don't know if you're paying attention or not, it's not good. I don't see you anywhere. God you're not doing what I wanted. What I hope you'll remember is this, if God met all your expectations he would never have the chance to exceed them. Abraham's in this tent telling God what he doesn't see.

In Verse 5 of Genesis 15 we read this. "Then the Lord took Abram outside". I would love to know what that looked like. The Lord took him outside. Get out here Abram. The Lord meets Abram and takes him outside. That's part of what I feel called to do as your pastor. Is to help get you outside of your limited perspective. To help take you out of your unmet expectations. Abram's in the tent. I don't see what you're doing. Perhaps in some way God communicated to him something that is true in his word. My thoughts are not like your thoughts Abraham. My ways are not like your ways and he took him out of the tent. As high as the heavens are above the Earth so are my ways higher than yours. And my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

And the Lord took him out of his tent. Verse 5 let's look at the whole verse. "Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, 'Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!'" God you haven't even given me a son. And the Lord takes him outside, says count the stars. That's how many descendants you'll have. Abraham is stunned. Shaken. Perhaps silenced. What did he do? I don't know. Maybe fell down to his knees and worshiped. Maybe lifted up his hands to God in heaven crying out to him I'm so sorry God. I was thinking addition. You where thinking multiplication. God I was thinking a son. You where thinking a nation. For those of you who belong to Christ what I hope you'll understand if you see the stars in the sky. Those will be your descendants.

What I hope you'll understand is you are one of those stars. Do you understand that? you are a seed of Abraham. There's a Bible verse that says it and there's a song that says it too. Let's start with the Bible verse. But you know we're going to get to the song. Galatians 3:29, "If you belong to Christ" If you've been transformed by his grace. If you've met his resurrection power and been forgiven by his sins, who are you? You are Abraham's seed. You are a seed of Abraham. You have no idea what God may produce through a single seed planted in faith. You're a seed of Abraham. There is a song. If you know the song. You're welcome to join along. The song goes like this.

♪ Father Abraham had many sons. ♪
♪ Many sons had father Abraham ♪
♪ I am one of them. ♪
♪ And so are you ♪
♪ So let's just pray the Lord ♪
♪ Right arm ♪
♪ Left arm ♪
♪ Right foot ♪
♪ Left foot ♪
♪ Turn around sit down ♪

I don't know the rest but you are a seed of Abraham. If God always met your expectations he would never have the chance to exceed them. You have no idea what our God can produce through a single seed planted in faith. Here's what I hope you'll understand. Abraham was thinking of a son. God was also thinking of you. All the way thousands and thousands of years later through history. You never measure God's unlimited power by your limited expectations. One seed. One free Bible. Multiplies into 315 million Bibles given away. One prayer prayed. One prayer prayed can change a family. Which can change a generation. Which can change who knows what. One gift given may impact a life. You may not see it today. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may take years for that seed to take root and produce fruit. But one gift given can initiate an explosive growth of spiritual fruit. God can multiply what is given back into your life. It may not happen immediately but you have no idea what our God may produce through a single seed sown in faith.

This is a message for those of you who have lowered your expectations of God. God may not do exactly what you want him to do in the moment but our God is still working in all things to bring about good to those who love him. To those who are called according to his purpose. Do not grow weary in doing good Scripture says for you will reap a harvest. How do you reap a harvest? You plant a seed. Jesus said unless a kernel is planted or even dies it will only be a seed but if you die to yourself and plant that seed in the ground as he was foreshadowing with his life to give his life, there could be many transformed by the giving of one life. You may say, but I don't have a lot of faith. But I'm hurting. I haven't seen God work. How much faith do you need to see a miracle from our God.

Let me tell you exactly how much faith you need according to Jesus. Jesus said this. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to a mountain be removed from here and that mountain will be removed if you have the faith of the smallest seed. Somebody needs to hear this. Our God is working. Our God is with you. Our God is for you. Our God is powerful. He is the God of salvation. He is the God of forgiveness. He is the God of breakthroughs. He is the God of miracles. You have no idea what our God can produce through a single seed planted in faith. If you've started to lower your expectations of God, understand this. God's promises are true. God's word is alive and his presence is with us to this day.

We serve a God who can do exceedingly and abundantly more scripture says. We serve a God who can do exceedingly and abundantly more. Not addition, multiplication. We serve a God who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than all you can ask, think or imagine. According to his power that is at work within his church so that he would be glorified for generations to come. You have no idea what God can do through a single seed planted in faith and if you haven't figured it out yet your life is a seed. You have no idea how many lives can be touched how many lives can be changed and how much glory can be brought through our Father through one seed, one life given in faith. Because we have no idea what our God can produce through one life devoted to him.

So father we ask today that you would speak to us, your church, inspire, encourage, build our faith God to believe that you want to do more in us and you want to do more through us. Let me talk to a couple of groups today. To those of you who've been believing God for a long time and you're a bit discourage, would you lift up your hands right now. Lift them up. Father I pray today that just as Abraham and Sarah waited for over a decade, that our faith would not just be in what we want God but our faith would be completely in you and who you are and your goodness and your perfect will and your provision and your perfect timing. God help us to put our full faith in you.

For those of you that maybe you're going through life, you're little dissatisfied you're feeling like you're settling. You always though there was more but now you're experiencing less and you recognize you no idea what God could do through your life. A seed planted in faith, and you say God use me to do more for your kingdom. I want to be a seed that brings more fruit. Would you lift up your hands right now. God I thank you for church full of people saying yes. Stir in within a desire to serve in your church. God as your church gives us the heart to let our light shine to people who need the grace of Jesus. God give them favor with people as they lift up your name. We thank you God. That you are stirring within them God. Stretching them to believe that you can do more in them and through them that they ever though possible.

As you keep praying today at all of our churches there are some of you, you are here because God brought you here for this very moment. You're hurting perhaps. Maybe you feel alone. Maybe you feel guilty for something that you've done. I want to tell you about the grace of God. The one who called himself the seed that would be planted. The one who would give his life so that many could come to the knowledge and the goodness of the grace of God. His name is Jesus. He is the son of God. He was perfect in every way and never ever sinned. Jesus became sin for us. He bore the weight of our sins on the cross. He died as the perfect sacrifice, the lamb of God slain, for the sins of this world. On the third day God raised him from the dead. The tomb was empty. He was not there. Why? Because God used his death and resurrection to defeat death, hell and the grave.

Now anyone who calls out on the name of Jesus would be completely transformed. His one life. The seed of Abraham now could bring a harvest in your life. And all of our churches, those who say I need his forgiveness. I need his grace. When you call on his name he hears your prayers. Just like I did on a little softball field years ago. Saved not by my good works but only by the grace and the forgiveness and the mercy of Jesus. At all of our churches those who say, yes that's me I turn from my sin, I turn towards Jesus. I give my life to him. As you call on him you will never be the same. You're not here by accident. Today is the day of your salvation. All of your churches say yes I give my life to Jesus. Lift your hands now. All over the place lift them up. As we see hands going up all over the place. Back over there and over here as well and back over there. My goodness all of our different churches we see people coming to faith in Christ. You click right below me at Church online and everybody pray out loud together.

Heavenly Father. Forgive me of all my sins. Make me brand new. Fill me with your spirit. So I can follow you. Thank you for new life. I give you mine. Use me to reach people and to serve you in Jesus' name I pray and all of God's people celebrated say amen.

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