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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Life Will Surprise You

Steven Furtick - Life Will Surprise You


Steven Furtick - Life Will Surprise You

This is an excerpt from: Surprise!

Life will surprise you. People will sure enough surprise you, and you get traumatized. It's weird, because certain people on my phone gave me bad news once, so I'm scared to see their name at all anymore. "Oh no"! Can you relate to this at all? This is a sermon for the people over age 10. Then you become less surprisable. You become more cynical. You become more jaded. You call it discerning, but that doesn't change what it is. You can put a Breyers label on a can of spinach, but it's still spinach. In this passage, you have to give a lot of credit to how much Peter has grown by this point in his ministry. Really, the credit goes to the Holy Spirit, because in Peter's own mind, he was probably the least surprisable of the disciples. He was surprising, because he would do the stupidest thing you could imagine and think he was doing something good for Jesus. Did you know Peter was actually shocked when Jesus went to the cross? Not only was he shocked when he rose from the dead; he was shocked when he died. What did you think he came for? He told you this over and over and over again.

One thing I was reading this week… I was studying all about Peter. I just went on this Peter binge this week. I was looking at all of the different things Peter said and did. He talked a lot, and sometimes when he would say something… One time Jesus took them up on the Mount of Transfiguration. You can look this up later. It's really cool. He went up there, and Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah about his departure, because he was getting ready to go to Jerusalem where he would pay the price for our sin as the sacrificial Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the earth, the very purpose for which he came: to save his people from their sins. He's going to do that. Peter is sleepy, so he doesn't really listen, but as soon as he wakes up, he starts talking. It says something so weird in the Bible. It says Peter started saying, "Let's build a shelter up here for you, a shelter for Moses, a shelter for Elijah".

What was he trying to do? Keep Jesus from coming down that mountain and going to the cross. In a parenthetical insert, the author says, "He did not know what he was saying". In other words, he didn't know what he was talking about. For everybody who is arrogant enough to speak about what other people should do in challenges you have never faced, I just want to warn you with this. Life will surprise you. Okay? If you're a new pastor and you're saying, "Well, my church will never…" You don't know what you're talking about. If you're a new husband or a new wife… "In my marriage, we will never…" Write your marriage book while you are still engaged. Better yet, write it on the first… Life will surprise you, and it will take away all of your answers, and you won't be able to write your book.

Watch this. This is the part that freaked me out. The real challenge of faith is not to be more certain; it is to stay surprisable. Yes, that is a word in Merriam-Webster. You can cross-check me while I preach from the text. Stay surprisable. See, the thing about the man in the passage is he wasn't expecting to get healed. In fact, this is a unique miracle God chose to launch the church, because usually when Jesus healed people, they asked to be healed. Peter is so obnoxiously proactive he doesn't even ask the man, "Are you looking for a life change"? Because the moment he gets up and walks, he can't beg anymore. We don't think about this stuff in the Bible. The man jumps up and walks.

Now what? If he's going to do this miracle in a considerate way for all interested parties, he should say something like this: "Hey, man, about this time next week I'm going to come by. I have something for you. I have the name of Jesus. I served under him. You heard about him? Yeah, yeah. Rose from the dead. What he's going to do… Just like he got up out of the grave, you're going to get up out of here, but you want to line some stuff up before I come back. Who dropped you off today? Your friends? Well, they're not going to be able to take you home".

You have to remember Peter spent three years apprenticing under the Savior who specializes in surprises. Oh, you didn't know that. "No. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever". He's stable. That's right. You can count on him. He won't change. He won't leave you. But he's surprising. There's nothing in the text that indicates the disciples liked it, but they must have needed it, because he would put them in exact situations… I wonder who's there right now. He put them in exact situations where he could have given them some notice. Like, he's God. He knows. "When we get to the other side, there are going to be 5,000 men with all of their wives, with all of their children, and they're going to be hungry, not only for healing, but they're going to need some food.

So, boys, call the catering service. Let's pack some barbecue. Well, we're going over to a Jewish place. Okay. We're going to do some sandwiches". Whatever. You know the point. But Jesus didn't do any of that. Why? Why did he surprise them with a need? I have a better one. I was talking earlier about the woman at the well in Samaria. The reason that was on my mind… John, chapter 4. It said Jesus was talking to a woman, and his disciples went out to get food, and they were surprised to see him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want"? or "Why are you talking to her"? I learned this: what you are surprised by tells me a lot about what you have assumed.

I had a series of experiences. I was writing music with somebody, and they said something that at first I thought was a compliment, and after I thought about it, I was like, "I don't think that was a compliment". They said, "I'm so surprised you're so creative". I mean, I have an ego just like everybody else. I didn't like it when I thought about it later. First, all I heard was "You're so creative," but then when I thought about "I'm so surprised," I wanted to go back and ask him, but I didn't see him again. I don't know how to ask him. Maybe I'll see him again and ask him, "Why were you surprised? What about me made you think I wasn't creative? I've done stuff. I do stuff".

I don't know why they were surprised by that. "What did you think about me? Why would that surprise you"? I don't know. That was weird to me. This other guy… This is what we were talking about, and it was the word actually that got me. He said, "You're actually a nice guy". Just pray for people, you know. It was the word actually that got me. It was like, "Against all odds… I expected the exact opposite". He expected to get something from them, but his assumption was that what they had to offer was money. They went to church expecting to pray. Neither party was expecting a miracle. Can God surprise you or do you assume so much about him? Sometimes we're surprised God is actually a good God. We assumed what we heard about him growing up… I'm just being honest. In some pulpits, God turns out to be the pettiest character in the whole story.

So then to actually find out he is who he said he is…the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of his covenant, abounding in love to a thousand generations…we can't imagine that. We're actually surprised to see the face of Christ, that he would talk with a woman who others would ostracize, because we assumed we knew what he was. What you're surprised by tells me a lot of what you've assumed to begin with. I wonder what you've assumed about you. By the time you're 40, you pretty much have it figured out what your limitations are. "This is my spot. This is my gig. This is my deal. This is what I do. This is what I have to do to feel good. This is what I have to do to get what I want. If it hasn't happened by now, it'll never happen". Notice a word in the text: instantly.

Acts 3:7: "Instantly the man's feet and ankles grew strong". You mean to tell me that what was four decades in the making that had crippled the man and limited him was undone instantly? Don't misunderstand what I'm about to tell you, because I'll balance it too, but hear this. It can change like that. I know you're scared to shout. See, we heard stuff like that before, and then we were surprised we still struggled with it later, especially if you came into a relationship with God that was kind of transactional. "Pray this prayer. Get Jesus to forgive you. You won't have to fry and burn with Hitler. You can go to heaven when you die".

Oh, y'all are so shocked. You're so churchy. So surprising. Oh. That's what we heard. We were surprised by struggle. So, you nail your sins to the cross… Like, I went to this youth camp one time. We actually wrote out our sins, which, for a teenager, you're doing really embarrassing stuff, so you have to use code. For a teenage boy, the most specific you can get is "Lust". That's level 10 specificity, so you just put that down. I'll come over here to the guy's side. I feel judged over here. But you nail it to the cross, and you're like, "Oh, I nailed my sin to the cross and the Lord forgave me". And you get home. Surprise! Here's lust, right where you left it. "But I nailed it to the cross"! Surprise! It got in the car. It came right home with you. It's in your blood, boy. "Expecting to get something from them". Peter said, "Silver and gold I don't have, but what I have I give you".

The Lord told me to tell you: you don't know your own strength. You don't know your own strength because you always stop at your weakness. You don't know your own strength. I saw Graham try to wrestle Holly the other day. She said, "Stop! You don't know your own strength. You're going to hurt me. You don't know how strong you are. You're going to hurt me". I walked in and said, "Boy, you want to wrestle somebody? Let's wrestle". I thought about myself. If I'm Peter and the guy asks me for money and I don't have it, I'm probably just going to say, "Silver and gold have I none. I'm going to church". It was what he said next that demonstrated the power of the gospel. He was surprised this guy cut him off at the temple gate. He didn't expect to see this man. God wasn't.

I mean, how strategic is God? Of all of the people going to church at 3:00 p.m. that day… First of all, maybe Peter missed the 12:00 p.m. so he'd be at the 3:00 p.m. Do you ever think about how God works things out in your life? You don't see these things. They seem coincidental, but they're really connected. This man is being carried at the time that they are carrying something. What they are carrying is going to keep him from ever having to be carried again, at the same time. Coincidence? God is most strategic when you are most surprised.
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