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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Samuel Rodriguez » Samuel Rodriguez - Faith, Fire, and Favor

Samuel Rodriguez - Faith, Fire, and Favor

Samuel Rodriguez - Faith, Fire, and Favor
TOPICS: Faith, Favor

I went through a fire season. Let me explain. I lived this out. The whole faith, fire, favor, I've lived it out. In the past 12 months, since I was here last, something happened to us last year in our church in California. "By the grace of God," only by the grace of God, 1 Corinthians 15:10. We experienced in our church some pretty phenomenal God ordained growth. Came from him, he's the Lord of the harvest. He released it, the Holy Spirit adds on daily to the church, book acts. So, our church grew coming out of COVID.

And it grew to such a degree that we received a notice from the county in Sacramento, telling us we had too many people attending our services, and that we have to make modifications. And they went in there repeatedly and warned us and warned us and said, "Y'all have too many people". And we already have multiple services, how many more can we possibly have? And how much caffeine can I possibly drink in order to preach more. So, it's like, "Oh, dude, this pretty", so, we needed a place. All of a sudden, I get a call.

Now, notice, we get this, the church blows up. God's bringing people and then we get a call. This is the call I got, "Pastor Sam," I'm gonna be ethically nuance here to protect just names. But a major minister in northern California called me up and said, "Pastor Sam, listen, we have this opportunity for you. Here it is. Our church ministry in northern California on 40 plus acres and worth somewhere in neighborhood between $75-80 million. We have three auditoriums: 3,000, one that fits 1,018, and the other one that fits about 300. And we have a school and all that. Our church did not survive COVID. We would like to see if you would be interested in merging, coming together, and taking over the ministry. Would this interest you"?

Of course, what did I say? Yes! Of course, it would. So, we began initial conversations. We had preliminary conversations, more than five conversations regarding the initial planning, what it looks like. You know, the deliberative, you know, initial due diligence. And then it happened. Then, I got the call, "Pastor Sam, after all these conversations we've decided, let's make it happen. We would like you to come in with your board members to our church to our boardroom, and we wanna begin. Let's sign an MOU and begin to execute accordingly a path of this merger," for lack of a better phrase. So, that was it. We're gonna meet with our boards and we're gonna make it happen. So, I met with my team. There was never a layout of the questions. They never like prepared me for what questions they would ask. This is the interview process. So I met with my team. I gathered my board across the street from the church in a coffee establishment whose name I will not mention, is the one with Jezebel on the cup.

So, we gathered in that coffee establishment, and I had my almond milk latte and everybody around. And then we talked about, "What questions", they go, "I have no idea. They don't really wanna disclose the questions. Probably fiduciary governance, integrational systems, marketing, possible attrition regarding current employment on their side, risk management, of course, liability, lawsuit, all that". We went through that. I even went maybe, will we have a Spanish service or slavic service, etc., etc. They may even ask me, "Pastor Sam, why do you preach and speak so fast"? Questions that are totally appropriate, right? So, we did. We did. I put on my jacket. "Y'all ready? Let's do this".

So, we walked across, actually, we drove across the street, and we went into the parking lot. I got off, sat down and they were waiting. Formal meeting, there's the board, there's the pastor. I come in, they sit me here, and here's my board, and I take a seat. Ready. They looked at me, the guy across the table looks at me and says, "Pastor Sam, thank you for coming with your board. We wanna begin. We wanna ask you the first question". So, I'm ready. My mind is wired, I'm going, "Know your stuff". I go, "Yes". The guy looks at me and says this, he says, "Pastor Sam, we want you to know that our church, we lean, we lean left. We wanna know where do you lean"?

Now, you need to put this in perspective. This is my face. Camera man give me tight shot. There are witnesses here, so I'm not making any of this up. This is my face. "We lean left, where do you lean"? Cause I never expect, like, what? What? So, first of all, I know that I preach and I have calling for preaching, and we do movies, we produce movies, and all that, but I'm a comedian. So, the first that went through my mind, I'm not making this up is, "Hey, Sam, you have enough comedy here for the next three to five years. You have an act here, buddy. Just blow it up". And I'm going, and then the second thing that hit me is, there was a sign and a wonder that took place right there. I wanna tell you what it is, nothing came out of my mouth. Nothing. So, help me, nothing. So, nothing is coming out.

"Pastor Sam, we lean left. Where do you lean"? I'm going. And the reason why nothing came out is because I'm having a fight with the Holy Spirit. I am. The Holy Spirit is telling me, "Alright, Sammy, say it. Answer". And I didn't want to. Because if I would answer what the Holy Spirit wanted me to say, we would lose that building, which we did. And I'm going, "No, I wanna give the politically correct answer", so bad. I wanna, I don't even know what he means by this, but let me just. "Answer, answer, answer".

So, I finally, I put up my head like this, and my team is looking at me like, "Say, pastor, say something". Like, "Pastor". So, I finally looked up and go, "Thank you for your question. Thank you. With great due difference, at our church, we don't lean". We stand. Hey, planetshakers, we don't need Christians that lean left or right. We need a church that comes in agreement and stands. We need a church that will stand. All the ready standing believers in Melbourne, Australia, we stand on the Word of God. Lift up your hands. We stand on the promises of God. We stand on the finished work of Christ. Everything the Bible calls holy, we call holy. Everything the Bible calls sin, we call sin. I'm gonna be honest, I may not get invited again, but I'm tired of churches that lean one way or another. We don't need people to lean, we need a church that... Somebody shout, "I stand". I stand. With your hands raised, I'm done.

Stand up in your relationships. I'm gonna prophesy. We are about to see a world full of planet shakers who will never lean, but they will stand even in the midst of the fire. "Put on the full armor of God. When the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you've done everything, stand," Ephesians 6:13. If you're not leaning and you're standing, even in the midst of the fire, raise one hand. If you're committed to standing in God's promises, in the finished work of Christ and the truth of gospel, lift up both hands. Stand, the enemy wants you to lean. The enemy wants you to bow. God calls you to stand, stand, stand. 1 John 4:4, "You belong to God, you, dear children, have won the victory because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world".

Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Greater is he that is inside of you, than all the devils and demons outside of you. Greater is the anointing that lives inside of you and all adversity in front you. Greater is the word that lives in you than the world attempting to corrupt you. Alright, stand with me. You are standing. John 14:12 promises that if we stand in his name, "Whatsoever you ask in my name, that I shall do, for the father to be glorified in the son, even greater things".

Stand. Alright, come here, Jesus. Faith becomes favor. Faith becomes favor when we refuse to bow to the lies of the enemy. Faith becomes favor when we declare God is able. Faith becomes favor when we have audacious faith to stand and come in agreement with others around us for the same prophetically outlined outcome. And faith becomes favor when the fourth man shows up in the fire. Watch this, I'm gonna show you something. Fourth man shows up. I want you all to do this. The Bible says they were walking around in it, so we're just living out the word. All I want you to do is go around the fourth man. Go ahead. Just go around. Go around, go around. Anybody here suffer from vertigo? Let me know. This really happened.

So, here's the final point as you're already standing. Here it is. Ready for this? Nebuchadnezzar comes up after he put them in here and all that. He comes back some time later and go, "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro. No, no, no, no. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro". Here's the stuff that you may never have heard of, never have seen. The Bible says, how about this? The Bible never says that this guy, this guy, or that guy ever saw the fourth man in the fire. No, you wanna take out your Bible and read it? Show me where it says Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were fully cognizant of the fact of the fourth man, a matter of fact, they were talking to him. They were having afternoon tea. They acknowledged him. No, the Bible never says the Hebrew boy ever saw him. Keep on walking. I'm gonna tell you who saw him. Nebuchadnezzar saw the fourth man. Are you ready for this? Get over yourself. It doesn't matter if you see the fourth man in the fire, what matter is hell sees the fourth man in, whatever you're going through, I guarantee you the devil sees that greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

With your hands raised, it doesn't matter if you see, "Oh, I don't see God". The devil sees God. I promise you, the devil's legions, principalities, and powers of darkness see the blood of Jesus covering you. They see the angels covering you. I feel the Lord. Put a smile on your face and a shout on your lip. The fourth man is in your fire. I said, the fourth man is in your fire. Text somebody you love and tell them, "The fourth man is in your fire". Somebody shout like you know it and praise like you believe it. Alright, merry-go-around, stop here for a second. They never acknowledged seeing him. They were set free, not based on what they saw. What did they do in the fire? They stood. Never bow, never acquiesce. They just stood.

The Bible says they were standing, they walking around. Nebuchadnezzar sees, and then Nebuchadnezzar says, "Huh"? I feel alone. Call them out. He says, "Step out". Step out some, you three, I want you to step out. The moment they stepped out, read it, Nebuchadnezzar looked at them and says, "From, I'm sorry. Mea culpa. From now on, your God, you guys don't have to bow again and your God, everyone's bow, and whoever speaks against your God, they end up get barbecue". So, he flips it, right? And then he says, "But now", the Bible says they were promoted to even higher places. That's called favor. I'm gonna count to three. If your faith has been through the fire in the past three years, four years, five years, and you're ready to step into God's favor, run out of your seat and join me. One, two, three. Come and step into favor. Go, go, go, go. Step into favor. Go, go, go, go, go.

Hey. Step into favor. Somebody praise like you believe it. Hey! Lift up your hands. Sometimes, God will save you from the fire. Sometimes, God will save you in the fire. And sometimes, God will save you with the fire. The moment the fourth man shows up, it becomes holy fire. The moment the fourth man showed up, ownership changed and the outcome became inevitable. Romans 8:28, "We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose". 2 Thessalonians 3:3, "God is faithful to protect you from all harm and all evil". 1 John 5:18, "God's children do not make a habit of sinning. He protects their children, therefore nothing will ever harm them".

With both hands raised, your faith, my faith, sometimes in life we have to go through that fire. But when faith comes out of the fire, it's no longer just faith. It is favor. It is favor when we refuse to bow to the lies of the enemy, and not only just the external lies from culture and society, I mean, primarily the lies we tell ourselves. It's our unbelief. It's our unforgiveness. It's lies about us, shame, condemnation. "There's no reason, no way God's gonna use us in spite of what", the lies we tell ourselves. The number one Judas that we will ever experience will not be an external threat or someone in our team or family, the number one Judas are the thoughts that betray us. You gotta overcome them. Faith becomes favor when we stand and come in agreement with others for the same holy outcome. Faith becomes favor when the fourth man shows up. Even when we don't acknowledge him there, or we don't see him in the minutia, in the details of what's happening in your life, we know he's there. And be assured of the fact that every vestige of darkness is fully cognizant of the fact that Creator of the universe is with you in the midst of what you're going through.

So, let's pray with your hands raised. Repeat after me, "Heavenly Father, I receive this word". Say it like you believe it, "I receive this word. I have faith. Faith in Christ. And through the Holy Spirit. The faith of Christ. I am a person of faith. I acknowledge that sometimes that faith has to go to the fire. I have been to the fire. Accordingly, based on this word, this impartation, I declare this will be the year of God's favor like never before".

Somebody praise like the devil's been defeated. Somebody shout like nothing can stand in your way. Somebody prophesy. If you receive this word in its entirety, go like this. Hebrew boys, ready? Hebrews boys: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do me a favor. Step out like this. Go ahead, just step out. They stepped out, they received their promotion in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar. Get ready for God to bless you in the presence of those that broke you. I'm gon' stay that one more time. Get ready for God to bless you in the presence of those that broke you. Get ready for God to use you in the presence of those that refused you. Get ready for God to lift you up in the presence of those that brought you down. Get ready for God to promote you in the presence of those that persecuted you. Get ready for God to crown you in the presence of the people that canceled you. And get ready for God to shine on you in the presence of those shunned you. God will do it.

Do not ever live to prove your haters wrong. Do not ever live to prove your family wrong. You are the proof. Your testimony is proof that the devil is a liar. What Jesus did for you is greater than what hell did to you, what life did to you, and what you did to yourself. Isaiah 53:5, "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, his stripes we are healed". That's it. So, we're gonna do it here. The favor of God will descend upon God's children in such a way. Those whose faith has gone through the fire. You're about to see that favor open doors. You're gonna see doors open up in your favor. That's not like prophetic spaghetti on the wall, wishful thinking. Because you're coming out of the... So, we're gonna do it. I'm just gonna ask you just to, maybe, take a step back real quick, if you can, 'cause I'm gonna ask you to step out. You're gonna step out of that fire, that mental, emotional, relational fire. You're gonna step out of that season and you're gonna step into favor.

Now, if you think that's, "Oh, that's cute, Pastor Sam. That's really optimistic. That's Pollyannish. That's such, that's good". Like, positive affirmation, "Go get them, tiger". It sounds pretty good. I lived it out. I lost that opportunity. I'm gon' tell you what happened. Look how God takes care of children. I'm gon' tell you. I'm gonna be very honest. My wife and I were in a pit. We were in a pit. I mean, first time in all my years of pastoring that I thought about, "Maybe, you know, maybe, you know". Little question Mark came up, right? And all of sudden, then God says, "Yeah, watch. Watch, I'm gonna show you some stuff". And all of sudden, I was doing a film and that film was tanked during COVID and it was put aside. It was tabled. I produced a film that was tabled because COVID messed everything up. So, well, that film was gonna go nowhere. I mean, and all of sudden, I get, right after this, what a coincidence, right? Huh-uh. Right after this I get a call, "Pastor Sam, sit down".

Alright, you know, I'm already, like, in a pit. "Sit down, Pastor Sam". I go, "Hey, man, I can't take any more bad news". "Sit down, Pastor Sam". "What is it"? "Sam, sit down. It's not bad news". "What is it"? "Remember your film that was, like, shelved"? "Yeah". "Well, guess what? A certain company just picked it up". And I go, "That sounds good". Then he go, "No, it's, wait 'till you hear the company". I go, "What do you mean"? "The company that picked it up is not your normal cup of tea". "But this is faith film, a family film. Like, who picked it up"? And he went, "Hey, Pastor Sam, calm, here it is. Disney picked up your film and it's gonna and put it on platforms all over the world". And that film came out. It's called, "Flamin hit". It was the first film to come out on two platforms, Disney and hulu. It was the number one streaming film of that season, about a man who came to Jesus and then changed the industry of marketing. I'm gon' tell you, when you come out of the fire, favor is waiting for you on the other side.
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