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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Making Peace With Missing Pieces

Steven Furtick - Making Peace With Missing Pieces

Steven Furtick - Making Peace With Missing Pieces

Hey, y'all! Did they put caffeine in your Communion cups in the lobby today? Y'all are wild. Pray for me, eFam. They're wild in the room today. I don't know if I can manage them. I feel like a substitute teacher looking at a fourth-grade class that just had juice boxes and Oreos. You're fired up, man. Y'all must be listening to LION on repeat in your headphones. That's it, isn't it? You've been listening to these songs.

Now, I need everybody who hasn't heard the whole album yet to repent and give your life to Jesus, because I'm telling you, we worked on this a few years ago. Really, back in 2015, the Lord began to shift me to say, "I don't want you to see your role as preaching only through words. I want you to see yourself preaching through melodies, and I don't just want you to preach words the people can listen to when you're up there on Sunday or whenever they listen to it during the week. I want you to give a huge part of your life to developing songs that can go where the sermons never will".

That shift and this amazing team God gave us here… When we release an album, we pray over it, and we send it as a church, because we birthed these songs as a church. I mean, y'all are the ones who were looking at us cross-eyed when we said, "It might get loud". You know y'all are slow to catch on, and you're like, "Is this a worship song? I don't know". But then you kind of liked it, didn't you? "I kind of like this". What I love about it is, as we pray for these songs to go out today, no matter what you're going through in your life… There are 14 songs on this album, and we wrote them over 18 months. It has been an amazing, amazing process, but there's something for everybody. There really is. If you like straightforward worship music, there's plenty of that, but… We need songs we can worship to, and that's great. It's all worship. I mean, worship is not just one style. You know that. But sometimes you need a warfare worship song.

So, if you get in a battle with the Devil and I'm not there to preach to you, then we have "Let the Lion roar". You can put that on. So I've got you. If you need something to listen to for bench-pressing and deadlifting, I've got you. Then there are songs on this album you could dance to at your wedding. So, we have warfare worship, wedding worship… Abbey said, "Make sure you let them know I was the first person who danced to 'Dancing.'" Then I asked her, "Can I dance with you to that at your wedding in 75 years when you get married"? But that's good. It's all different styles, because there are all different kinds of people. This is not a black church, a white church, a Republican church, a Democrat church. It's not Baptist. It's none of that. He's the Lion and the Lamb, and we worship him! Look at somebody and say, "You cannot put God in a box. He's too big for your box".

I felt God on that. Tell 20 people, "He's too big for your box". I need y'all to litter the chat right now. Say, "He's too big for your box". You didn't tell 20 people. You didn't even tell anybody. He's too big for your box. He's able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask! What's up, Tampa? I heard y'all were coming! Y'all got me today. Right? Let's welcome our eFam from all over the world. Help me, church. Now, Chris, Brandon, Jonsal, Tiff, LJ, Scott, we have to take the roar on tour. Elevation Nights is coming your way, April 26. You'd better get a ticket. Chicago; Grand Rapids; Indianapolis; Columbus; Washington, DC; Reading, Pennsylvania; Newark, New Jersey; and Boston, Massachusetts. We'll see you there. Oh, it's good to focus on some good news today…for me it is. I owe you a part two of last week's message, and I intend to deliver it with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Last week, we talked about Move In What You're Made For, and we used creation as a classroom. We went to the school of the fish and learned that God created for the fish the environment they needed not only to survive but to thrive in it. When I move in what I'm made for…not what people manipulate me to be, but what God made me to be… I talked last week about a bird in a bowl. When I'm in the wrong environment, I never discover the equipment God gave me, specifically, as a man, as a dad, as a pastor…all of these things that we find ourselves challenged in life. We went in the school of creation, the classroom of creation. I like that better: the classroom of creation. We used that as a model. The Word of God is powerful. How many believe that? The Bible, as we understand it as the Word of God, becomes more powerful as it becomes more personal to us.

So, if I approach the Bible… I heard somebody say one time, "The Bible is an instruction manual for life". Well, if it's an instruction manual, it's a really bad one, because you weren't made with the same parts I was made with. An instruction manual… It has to be the same exact model of the blender or it's not going to fit that blender. I probably could have done better than blender for the analogy I used, but you know what I'm saying. The Bible is not an instruction manual. It's living. We say it's the instruction manual because it came from the manufacturer, the Maker, which is true, but the Word of God is actually less like a manual and more like a model where I see who God is so I can discover who I am. So, what the Lord started doing last week… You can catch the message online. You can stop this one and go watch that one and come back to this one. We leave it all there like a buffet for you. We're open 24/7. This is an IHOP kind of situation. (International House of Preaching. Am I right? It's y'all's fault. Y'all got me wound up, so I take no responsibility.)

Let's go to a personal example in the Bible. Last week, I used creation. This week, the Lord directed me to use Moses as a model. The Bible says these are examples for us, good and bad, so we can have our own foundation of faith. I want to look at Exodus, chapter 4, from the life of Moses, and read you this as we continue deeper into this thing. God is trying to rebuild your self-image in his image. That's what God is trying to do. "Let us make man in our image". That's God talking. That's what he's trying to do for you. I thought it would be good, since we looked at how God created man in Genesis 1… Now let's look at God creating a nation. The people have been a nation, but they've been enslaved, and now, as they come into their identity as free people, God speaks to one man…the man, the myth, the legend…Moses. Do y'all know Moses? You think you know Moses. You don't know Moses. You're going to know Moses a little bit better when we finish today.

Exodus 4:10: "Moses said to the Lord, 'Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.' The Lord said to him, 'Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go…'" Move in… Go. Move. "Now go…" Right now, not get it all figured out. "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say". I wish I could tell you it ended on a happy note, but Moses said in verse 13, "Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else". It reminds you of Peter in the New Testament when Jesus helped him catch all those fish and he said, "Go away from me, Lord. I'm a sinful man". "God, you know I'm not cut out for this. God, you know I have secrets. God, you know I have weaknesses". "You know I can't speak". That was Moses' response. He said, "Send someone else". "Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses and he said, '[The deal is off. We're done.]'"

That's the God some of us were taught about, but it's not the true God. The Lord was angry, but he didn't turn away. Did you know some of what you call humility is really insecurity, and it insults your Maker when you don't like what he made? He was angry with Moses. He said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth…" That's awesome. "…I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people [the Israelites] for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it".

The Lord directed me to talk to you today about Making Peace With Missing Pieces. Thank you for your Word, Lord. We say "Yes" in advance. In Jesus' name, amen. Making Peace With Missing Pieces. P-E-A-C-E and then P-I-E… I before E. Right? Spelling on my feet is hard. Oh, by the way, speaking of that, y'all pray for me. I'm struggling with self-esteem like never before because of Holly. She has gotten me playing this game called Wordle. Do y'all know it? I didn't know if it was like a little cult thing Holly had gotten into. She's always texting this group text on the phone on the bed. I'm like, "Who are you texting? It's 11:30 p.m". She's like, "I've only got 30 minutes to get my Wordle in". It's a word puzzle, five-letter words.

The reason I asked you to pray for me is because she keeps beating me daily, because we have a family Wordle group chat, and on the group chat… If you were to see it, you would pray for all of my kids, because it's Graham calling Abbey a cheater. It's Abbey telling Graham, "I'm not a cheater". Our family is normal, so we're going back and forth. I know your family… Y'all read Scripture every morning, take the blood of the Communion, put the cross on the door, and send them off to school on the bus singing about "Proud Mary keep on burning," but you're talking about the Virgin Mary because you're a Christian. When I tell you she beats me every day, she beats me every day. You can look up the game. I'm not sponsored by the New York Times or anything like that. It's pretty fun. It's frustrating. What I can't get over is Abbey beating me. That has been rough.

Abbey beat me the other day. You have so many guesses to get it, and she guessed it in two, and I guessed it in four. Graham said she cheated. I just texted back to the group chat kind of sarcastically… I'm like, "Well, we all know I'm bad with words". I was overcompensating for the feeling of getting beaten by my 10-year-old. Holly says back on the group chat, "No, not words, just puzzles". And she's right. I suck at puzzles. I do. I showed you last week some things I'm not so good at, and I used the word suck when I said that, so I'm trying to say it in a way where you can understand how much I hate puzzles because of how much I lack patience. Holly is a better person than me. I can tell you this over and over. She has more patience than me to sit with pieces and try to make it look like a picture that I can already see.

Why do I need to spend five hours taking something that is intentionally broken and putting it together just so I can see what I already saw while this thing was still at the store on the shelf? That's how I feel about puzzles. I'm bad at puzzles. Any puzzle people in the house? Make some noise. Such a weird thing to be pumped about. "I love puzzles"! I need you to understand why I'm bringing all this up. It's not random. This is one of the pieces I want to use to get you to think about what I'm trying to communicate to you аbout: how God made you in his image, but you don't get to see all of God at once; therefore, you don't get to know all of you at once. In the Scripture, it's called progressive revelation. That doesn't mean God changes. God didn't grow two inches since last Sunday when I saw you. But it does mean our understanding of him changes. We see through a glass dimly. We don't see God as he really is. We see God as we think we are. So then, for God to do a work in my heart, for God to show me something about myself, I have to start with the source.

I want to encourage somebody to start with the source. When you are trying to figure out "Who am I? I don't know whether I'm a bird or a fish or whether I'm good at this or whether I'm good at that. I really don't know yet…" That's good, but don't start with what you think you are, and don't start with what you think God is. You have to spend time to really understand… I'm all about self-improvement. I'm all about self-help. Somebody is like, "Well, we don't need self-help. We need God's help". I promise you this: God is not going to do for you what you can do for you. God doesn't reveal himself by osmosis. I spend time in his presence. That's how I get the picture of who he is. When I get the picture of who he is, I can begin to put together the pieces of what he's making me to be.

Now, the big picture of this text is the Hebrew children coming out of Egypt because God is their deliverer. Remember, in Genesis 1, God is creating. Now in Exodus, chapter 3, he's liberating. Same God in a different dimension. Same God in a different season. Same God meeting a different need. He formed the man from the dust in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, and he formed the nation from the dust of their slavery and the cries of their groaning. He spoke to Moses. I love that, how we kind of have a war of words going on in this passage. Let me illustrate. In verse 10, Moses said to the Lord. I want you to see this with your own eyes, because it's this back and forth that has been happening in your life too. Moses said to the Lord, "I can't do this. I never did it before. Wrong dude". Moses said to the Lord, "I wasn't good at what you're asking me to do when you met me, and not much has changed in the last 10 minutes".

You know, we think the Word of God is just going to change us on the spot. We think God is going to speak to us and all the fear is going to go, all the bitterness is going to go. It's just going to go. I'm supposed to drain every disappointment out of your life in 50 minutes on a Sunday? It doesn't work like that, but it's a starting point. Moses said to the Lord, and then in verse 11, the Lord said to him. It's a war of words. Now, I'm not going to talk on this pulpit today about the war that's in the news, because there's nothing I can do about that. I can pray. We can give, but beyond that, there's not much I can do. I want to take this moment to talk about the war in you. You're hearing a lot about a world war, but don't we see in this Scripture that there's a word war happening as well?

The Lord said to Moses, "I have something for you to do. I'm going to use what you have. I'm going to take you forward into something that is going to set others free". It's not just about me. There is a bigger picture here. For 400 years, there is no record of God revealing himself to man. For 400 years! Then the Lord's word came to Moses. "I'm sending you to Pharaoh, and when you get to him, tell him, 'Pharaoh, Pharaoh, oh baby! Let my people go. Uh! Yeah! Yeah!' Make sure you put the 'Uh' in there". Moses is like, "Nuh-uh," and he walks through it. I'm going to walk you back through this, but first, can we acknowledge that there is a war of words happening in your soul too, that there is a war of words happening in your home, that there is a war of words happening in your heart? The Enemy waged war against Moses before he was ever born. He had to be floated in a basket on the Nile to survive.

Some of you, the Devil has been after you your whole life. People should have spoken affirmation over you, people should have spoken direction to you, people should have given encouragement to you, and they didn't, so other words take root. I told Holly, "I'm bad at words". She said, "No, just puzzles. You're just not patient enough. You don't like puzzles because you're not patient". Then I said back, "Well, if you would get off Wordle and get in the Wordle of God, maybe…" I didn't say that to her. That's so stupid. This is not a game here. What's on the line here is not whether or not God's people will be set free, because God will always accomplish his purpose. God will always accomplish his purpose. God will always accomplish his purpose. I promise you, if Saul gets crazy, David is already in the sheep field. God will always accomplish his purpose.

If you get fired while being faithful, God will use the fertilizer of what you call a failure to create something in your life that you didn't even know to pray for. The question isn't whether God's calling and purpose will be confirmed. It's not whether God will do it; it's whether he will do it in you and through you. Lest we get too excited about this war of words… I think the assumption is that since Moses went to Pharaoh and God unleashed frogs and hail and locusts and all this stuff and the people got to go through the Red Sea that Moses won, but he really didn't. It was the words of the 10 spies who told him "The giants are bigger than us" that kept him from going into the Promised Land. It was the words of grumbling… Study it sometime. It was words, words, words, words, words. It was the words of the grumbling Israelites who were thirsty in the desert that made him take his staff that could split seas and strike a rock out of frustration to bring forth water, and because he listened to their words…grumbling, complaining, murmuring, comments, Twitter…I mean, grumbling, complaining… I'm in the wrong decade, but some things never change. It's still a war of words.

Five-letter words. Y'all know about four-letter words. Oh, y'all never say four-letter words in your head. Okay, okay. In Wordle they have five-letter words. I just saw two five-letter words here, and I think it's very simple: faith and doubt. I want to break this down so you can understand the war of words that's happening, not out of your mouth but out of your mind. In this moment you're standing at, maybe you're not leading a nation out of… I think sometimes we dumb the Bible down to kind of make it about whatever we want it to be about. So, God is calling Moses to be a deliverer, and we're like, "That's kind of like me. I'm trying to go on a diet. I really need God, because it's hard". Okay. Well, the principle does apply, because I think Moses is a model for us for our lives, but this guy… This would be the equivalent of God telling you to stop Putin. That's what it's like for Moses to go before Pharaoh. That's what he's up against.

So we're judging Moses. "Well, Moses, you have the word of the Lord. Go forth, mighty warrior, in the word of the Lord". We're judging this dude. I can't even find my car keys without saying four-letter words. I'm trying to judge Moses about him fighting with God over speaking to the most powerful man in the world who has terrorized his people for centuries. But I like it, because I dare you to show me something bigger that God is trying to bring you into than this. That's why it's a good model. It shows me this is ridiculous what God is giving him to do. This is not improbable; this is impossible. This is not like, "Lord, I need you to show me whether to move to Atlanta or Cincinnati," and the Lord is like, "I really don't care about that. I just want you to find a good church when you get there, get good friends, and make a difference either place". He is deciding whether or not to embrace his destiny or to be limited by his history, and that's where you are.

A few months ago, I preached When Never Meets Now. I had this Scripture ready, but I didn't get to use it, where he said, "I have never…" Remember, we are different than everything else God created because he made us by hand. Down in the dust, and he made us. Ruach, the breath of life in you. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord". One other way we're different that I realized when I was preaching last week… It says over and over again, "God spoke" and "God saw". God spoke. He said, "Let there be light," and the light said, "Yes, sir," and it shone, which is crazy, because he hadn't even made the sun yet, but the light still decided to shine even though there was no sun. That's how powerful God's word is. It doesn't have to make sense if he speaks it. God will speak something you have no context for. He'll tell Noah, "Build an ark," and there's no such thing as rain yet.

Can you do that? Can you believe what God says when you don't see it at all? That is the five-letter word faith. It goes on and on. On the first day, God says, "Light, be". Light says, "Yes, sir". Light was. Day two, God says, "Clouds and sky, be. Sea, be," and the sea said, "Yes, sir," and the clouds said, "I'll take the high road, you take the low road". The sea went deep, and the clouds went high, and it was good. God spoke. God saw. On the third day, God told the land, "Land, produce living things; make plants," and the land said, "Yes, sir," and the plants started to grow. On the fourth day, it was kind of different, but God said, "Hey, sun, you take the day shift". The sun said, "Yes, sir". The moon said, "Oh, I'm not a night person". No, the moon didn't say that. The moon said, "I'll go where you need me to go. I'll do what you need me to do. I'll be what you need me to be. I'll hang where you need me to hang. I'll pull the ocean that you made on the second day. I'll pull it. I'll control the tides".

Everything is doing its job. Everything is working in perfect order according to the spoken word of God in the creation account. On the fifth day, he told the birds, "I made a place for you called sky". They're like, "This is amazing. I believe I can fly. I'm going to flap till I get there," and they start flying around. Then Nemo and Dory and all that on the fifth day, and nobody argued. On the sixth day, he made the living creatures and the cows and the horses and the oxen and the donkeys, everything in its place, until you came along. Now, of everything God spoke, only one talked back. "Lord, I don't know how to do what you're telling me to do". I'm making fun of Moses, but I already told you he has much greater faith than me to even be in this place. The first thing Moses did when God spoke… He took off his shoes. So, let's step into his shoes so we can step in (because he took them off when he saw that burning bush), and let's imagine this is me. Let's imagine this is you.

The Lord is talking about world peace, and you are carrying a shepherd's staff. The Lord is speaking to you about generational blessing, and you are still wrestling with a generational curse. It's a war of words, what God has spoken over your life. That is one thing about the Spirit of God who lives within us through the Holy Spirit. Now, Moses didn't know about the Holy Spirit inside of you. He didn't even know who he was talking to yet, but the Spirit of God in Genesis was doing what the Spirit of God is doing today. It says the Spirit of God hovered above everything God had made. When the Word of God speaks, he speaks from above. That's why he can tell you things in your spirit that you can't see with your eyes and that people can't confirm with their words, because he speaks from above it.

Can I show you this on a deeper level? Are you ready? There are at least (you could probably find more) four missing pieces Moses had to wrestle with to move forward in the mission God gave him. I think they will apply to everybody in this room. How can that be? There are 12-year-olds in this room. There are 80-year-olds in this room. There are people who are on unemployment in this room. There are multi-millionaires in this room. But when God speaks, his Spirit can personalize the Word directly to the way he made you to be. God likes puzzles. He's not going to give you the picture. That's the worst part about trying to be who God has made you to be. He dumps the pieces out on the table and doesn't show you a picture. Well, he shows you one piece at a time. That's how God works: one piece at a time, step-by-step, day by day. "Give us this day 70 years worth of bread so we never have to go to the store again". No, no, no. "…our daily bread".

You get overwhelmed by this. You have no peace. You're overwhelmed. You're thinking about 13 hypothetical scenarios. You can't fight the Devil on a hypothetical. That's how Moses started. I'm going to just pull them up real quick. Are you ready? I'm going to give you all four of them so quickly, so pay attention. The first thing Moses said, the missing piece… God is saying, "I have something for you to do". How many of you feel like God has something for you to do? It's not leading people out of slavery or something big like that, but God has given you something to do. Raise your hand or die. Okay? This is for everybody who's still here. The first thing Moses said was, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt"? God said, "I'll be with you".

So then that follows this next question. You have "Who am I?" and then look at verse 13. Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them"? In other words, "My first question is 'Who am I?' But who are you"? "I haven't heard from this in 400 years". It has been 400 years since a personal epiphany like this. God spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, but you have to understand there has been a long gap. When's the last time you had an encounter with God? When's the last time you were like, "That was God who did that for me. That was God who held me in his arms. That was God who reassured me. That was God who kept me from ending it all. That was God who kept me from going to prison, because if I would have done what I thought about doing, I would not be here today. That was God". So, he's kind of getting honest. He's like, "Who am I to do this? But then who are you"?

If you're new to church, new to God, new to religion, I need to warn you about us. We're the worst. We are the worst about pretending like we have faith figured out. We say words…words, words, words, words. But we're really good at hiding our war. Do you know how many people quit coming to church because they assume "Oh, they all have something I don't have. They have this deep relationship with God. They say words like propitiation. I don't know what that means. That's not a five-letter word". I'm telling you the truth about Christians. And we mean well, but a lot of us were taught that we had to have the whole thing figured out or it wasn't faith, so we mastered the art of sounding certain. We mastered the art of magnifying your missing pieces so we don't have to deal with ours. That's good news only if you are willing to get honest. That is good news about how God works in our lives unless we think the only way for us to have peace is to have no missing pieces.

This is where a lot of us who are perfectionists… I'm talking Enneagram One. We think everything has to be just so for us to be happy, for us to be grateful. So we get in this thing all the time. A lot of us do. Not all of us. But we get in this thing a lot of the time that we say, "When this, then I'll…" The worst thing you can believe… Please hear me. The worst thing you can believe is that when you get here, then God will love you. That is from the pit of hell. That is a lie. That is not in the Bible. It is by grace you are saved, and if you have grace, you have a lot. You have the greatest gift. His name is Jesus! We all need Jesus. I need him just as much as you. I was yelling at the ump at a baseball game, and somebody said, "I thought you were supposed to be a preacher". I said, "My name is Steven today. No 'Pastor' on the front. I'm Steven, Graham's dad". I'm in a process, piece by piece. It's called sanctification, and it happens in stages. I just wish Moses would have asked the second question first. I just wish he would have started with the source, not himself. If you ask, "Who am I?" before you ask God, "Who are you?" you will misunderstand what you're made of. You're not made of dirt. You're not made of flesh. You are not made of bone. You are made of spirit.

Isn't that cool, that everything else doesn't define you? I like to tell Graham, "I'm five-nine in the natural". But in the spirit, David is bigger than Goliath. When I watch Holly putting a puzzle together, I do two things. First, I marvel that she can stick with this, and secondly, I notice that she puts the frame first. I've never done a puzzle and don't intend to, but if I ever do, she taught me that. You start with the frame. Five-letter word: F-R-A-M-E. You start with the frame. Do you know the author of Hebrews said that the worlds were framed by the word of God? Everything we see visibly is made by something God spoke invisibly. The worlds were framed by the word of God. He told the sun, "Shine". The sun said, "Yes, sir". He told the moon, "Now it's your turn," and the moon said, "I'll do it when you need me to do it". He told the fish to flop around. He told the birds to elevate.

Everything in created order understands when God speaks. Stop speaking against what God has spoken over your life. It's a war of words, and you have become your own worst enemy. There are only two characters in Exodus 4. It's God and Moses. And the bush. I reckon the bush deserves a shout-out. It's burning up and not burning down. I mean, that's pretty good. Special effects. I guess there's the staff. There's the stick, which becomes significant later in his life, but he doesn't know that yet. See, you don't know yet. When the Lord said, "What is that in your hand"? remember, he said, "Who are you, Lord? Who am I"? An amazing turn of events… In Exodus, chapter 4, Moses' next objection was, "When I go to my people and tell them I met with you and they weren't here to see it, what if they say to me, 'You are on drugs. You saw a bush? This is psychedelic. This is not Scripture. You saw a bush burning up, and the Lord said, "I Am".'"

There's so much to study here. Would you all be cool if we did a whole series one day on the God of Moses? I want to do it. I did God of Jacob years ago, and then I put that verse in the song: "I'm calling on the God of Moses, the one who opened up the ocean". If you hear it like that, it sounds like Moses opened the ocean. He was so mighty and strong. He had such great faith. We're talking about the same guy, the guy who said, "I can't even talk straight". It was God who opened the ocean. It's God who's going to do it for you. It is God who works in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure. It is God. It is his word that does the work. So, he said, "Who am I"? You've been wondering that, haven't you? You really wonder it when you have to transition an identity. "I'm a shepherd. Now I'm supposed to be a spokesman"?

Before that, Moses was known as a murderer, because before he learned how to manage what God had called him to, before he knew what to do with it… A lot of the mistakes you make early in your life… You have the wrong response, but it's for the right reason. He saw one of his fellow Hebrews getting beaten by an Egyptian, and he killed the man and hid him in the sand. Now he has been in hiding for 40 years, and the Lord comes. He hasn't come to anybody in 400 years, and the Word comes. Are you open to a better word or are you so addicted to your excuses…? Three categories. Right? "Who am I"? Let's look at these. That speaks of his preparation. "Who am I? I'm not ready for this". Then he wants to know, "Who are you"? That's information. "I don't know who you are, God. I don't know enough to do this". Nobody gave me a class for pastoring a church through a global pandemic. If they did that class, I skipped that day. Nobody gave you a class for some of the stuff you're going through either. Nobody tells you how to survive the loss of somebody who was your life. Missing pieces.

"Who am I? I'm not ready". Preparation. "Who are you"? Information. "Lord, I don't even know the book of Ruth from a Baby Ruth. I'm just new to the…" That's fine, because God wants to show you how you can not know and still go. This word is so real for somebody. I don't know who it's for. I don't have to know who it's for. I just have to preach it. Then the Holy Spirit of God will apply it to that area of your life where you're insecure. Look. Moses is like, "I can't talk". That's a very specific thing, but really, what he's dealing with is "What if they don't believe me"? That's validation. Are you missing one of those in your life today? Let's go through them slowly. You can write these down and ask the Lord to speak to you about them throughout this week. Preparation. "Lord, who am I to do this"? This is not my story, but you may be saying this. "I wasn't even raised right. How do I raise kids myself"? "I don't have any experience owning a business, and here I am, God. I didn't see this coming". Preparation. Information. "Who are you, God? What do I not know"?

Do you know the ones who are in the worst trouble who are hearing this word today? The ones who have made their own picture of what they think their situation is supposed to look like, and they built that picture based on somebody else's puzzle. You are going to spend the rest of your life thinking you're missing pieces because you are trying to build somebody else's picture. Now God has you here, and God wants to teach you the art of going forward when you don't know where, Abraham; when you don't know how, Moses. God's answer is pathetic if you think about it. "What's that in your hand"? "You mean my stick that I'm only holding because I fled to Egypt and had to work for Jethro, because I made the mistake of murdering someone, because I didn't know how to do it"? I read that over and over again this week, thinking about your stick, thinking about your mistake. The Lord said clearly to me to tell you: he's going to turn the mistake into a miracle. No, no, no. I'm not saying God is going to work around it. I'm saying he's actually going to use it.

You're like, "Okay. Well, I'll praise God anyway. I hate life, I hate myself, but God is good". That's attractive. That will win a world to Jesus. Yeah, that's exactly what he bled on the cross for. He has already been through all of them. You might have to move forward in this season of your life without preparation, and you might have to figure it out as you go. You might have to read books at night. You might have to read books, period. You might have to ask people. You might have to get honest and say to somebody, "Hey, man. I have to be honest with you. I don't know anything about managing money. I'm driving this because I'm so stupid that I signed up for 75,000 percent interest". (By the way, I'm going to bring Dave Ramsey in a couple of weeks to help you all with all that. All right? So that'll be good.) You might have to get honest and say, "You know what? I'm not prepared for this. I don't have this right now".

Just because you don't know it right now doesn't mean you can't grow in it. You can. The Devil is a liar. And don't think you need to know everything. When Moses said, "Tell me who you are," do you know what God told him? "I Am". I love the Lord. "Can you be more specific"? "Nope, because in every situation I put you in that is too big for you, you are going to see another dimension of who I am. I am God. I'm too big for your box. I am healer. I am resurrection. I am water. I am the Great I Am". The Great I Am is bigger than all your little "I'm nots". That's why I came into his presence today, and that's why when some people are standing there, looking at the song, I'm letting it wash over me. I need those words from God. I need it spoken, it sung over me. I need it in my heart, because, honestly, I'm bad at words. Not the ones I say. I'm good at those…most of the time. I'm bad at the ones I say to myself. I'm stepping into Moses' shoes today. I'm asking you to do the same.

What are you not, and what does what you're not have to do with who God is? I got to meet somebody so inspirational the other day who was blind shortly after birth and has been blind all his life. He was saying how his mom, meaning well, went around to all of these different churches to get him healed. He said up until about age 9, he went along with it. They would put oil on his eyes, and he said it would just burn. It didn't get any better. I'm not saying God can't heal, and I'm not saying any of this is bad, but this was his story. I was listening to it, and I thought, "This is crazy". He finally said to his mom… I think he was about Abbey's age, 9 or 10, if I remember correctly. One night, his mom was crying and praying. "God, please heal my boy. Heal my boy. Heal my boy".

That's a good thing for a mom to pray. Who wouldn't pray that? You know, I'm not saying God causes this or God causes that. But the Lord said, "You always identify me by what I give you, and sometimes I want you to know me in what I didn't give you". "Is it not I"? He said, "I heard my mom crying, and I finally went in and said, 'Mom, you are giving me a headache you're crying so much. Did you ever think maybe God made me this way for a reason and he has something for me to do?'" Then a few minutes later, he was telling me about songs he wrote, like "Love's in Need of Love Today" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You" and "Superstition". It was Stevie Wonder, y'all. Stevie Wonder said that. He said, "Mom, did you ever think maybe God has something for me to do just like I am"?

I'm thinking Stevie was right. I think how horrible it would be if those songs didn't exist because he didn't have his sight. You probably won't ever write a song as good as Stevie. In fact, I can say this: you will never write a song as good as Stevie, and neither will I. But something in you will go unsung if what is in your hand goes unstretched. When Moses said, "I have never… I've never been good at this". That was the fourth one. It was a limitation, and God got angry. "You think I don't know that about you? You think I put you in a sky without wings? I gave you what I wanted you to have. Since you're so insistent on being insecure, since you don't believe me about all this…"

Now, Moses has already seen a lot. He turned his staff into a snake. He still isn't convinced. He put his hand in his cloak. It came out leprous. "Agh"! He put it back in. It came out healed. That's crazy. But he still doesn't want to go, and it comes out in this moment. "Send someone else. Not me, God. Not me". It's a war of words. The Lord keeps speaking over you, not only that you're going to make it. He keeps telling you you're doing better than you think you are, and you won't believe him. He keeps telling you, "Put it in my hands; I'll deal with it," and you won't believe him. It's a war of words. Which one will win? So, we're standing in this scene with Moses and his shoes, and the Lord told me to ask you: Are you ready to make peace with the way things are, believing that God can use it somehow for his glory, or are you going to let one missing piece define the rest of your life?

One thing we learn about from a puzzle is that something can be in pieces on purpose. If God is only giving you one thing at a time, do one thing at a time. We just released an album on Friday. (Another shameless plug. I love the album.) We wrote it one song at a time, one verse at a time, one word, one syllable, one note at a time. That's how it works. You are not supposed to know where God is going to have you in 20 years. It's a five-letter word. It's called faith. God said, "I'm going to send Aaron to help you. I'm going to send somebody to help you". I love it, because I read Moses saying, "Send somebody else," and God was like, "Okay. I'll send your brother". "I will send a partner into your life for the pieces you don't have. I will send people into your life who have the pieces you don't have, but you have to receive this word".

God, make me more like the moon. Let me hang where you told me to hang. God, make me more like the birds who soar where they're supposed to soar. God, if it isn't too much to ask, make me like a bean sprout that knows how to come forth when you call it. God, make me more like Jesus who is the image of God, who knew that even in his life, even in his human existence, when he laid aside his privilege as God and took on flesh, the Word incarnate, to be with you to fulfill the Great I Am. God said, "Whatever you're not, I am. Whatever you don't, I do". You keep saying, "I don't". God says, "I do". This is a weird wedding ceremony. "I don't". "I do". "I don't". "I do". "I don't think I can make it". "I do think you can make it". "I don't know what to do". "I do know what to do". "I don't know how it's going to happen". "I do know how it's going to happen".

All I'm trying to say is… Who made your mouth? Why do you keep saying stuff that goes against what the one who made you spoke over you? Why would you line up against yourself? It's a war of words, and I'm on the winning side, because the final word over my life was spoken before my first breath was breathed. I said, the final word over my life… God has the big picture, and the final word over my life is spoken, and all of his promises are yes and amen. Now stand up and lift your hands right where you are. This is a God moment. This is a God word. This is a God thing. This is a God intersection. This is a burning bush. This is holy ground. This is time for you to decide if you are going to make peace with the missing pieces. Who didn't love you? I'm sorry they didn't love you, but that doesn't get to stop you. I'm sorry they left you, but God didn't. I'm sorry that it hurts, but he's a healer. I'm sorry you're broken, but there is a balm in Gilead.

When all we see is broken pieces, God sees the big picture. What is that in your hand? "See, I have this stick. I have this situation. I made this mistake. I have these doubts". The Lord says, "If you want to see what my hand can do, I want you to stop speaking against what I put in your hand". We're going to work on this. We're going to work this word deeper and deeper into our hearts. We're going to work on this, because it's a war. You have no peace in your heart. You keep saying, "When this happens, that happens, if this didn't happen, if they come, when they acknowledge, when they see, when I get this…" The Lord says, "I want you to be at peace right now. I know there are some things you don't know, and I know there are some questions you have". You know how we get there and say, "Oh, when I get to God, I'm going to ask him a bunch of stuff". You're not going to ask God anything except, "Why did I let the Devil beat me up so badly when you're this big"? "Who are you"?

Now lift your hands again. I know you didn't keep them up that whole time. Show me who you are, God. Show me who I am. I'm not waiting on something else, because that would be crazy for me to wait to have peace until there's peace in the Middle East, peace in other parts of the world. No, God. Let it begin in my heart. I thank you for how you made me. Would you say that out loud? "Thank you for how you made me, missing pieces and all".

Have you ever thought those missing pieces were a space for God to fill? Maybe it is. If you have heard this word today and you have never taken the moment to put your faith in Jesus Christ, I want to give you the opportunity right now to give him your life. He is what you've been missing. Jesus is what you have been missing, and no matter what you achieve, what you chase, what you earn, what you do, you are never going to have peace in your heart until you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Never. I believe God brought us together for this moment so I could lead you in this prayer. The Bible doesn't say if you do seven things, you'll be right with God. The Bible doesn't say that if you'll change your life, you'll be right with God. The Bible says that it is by grace we are saved through faith. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. We all need Jesus.

Today, if you're ready to place your faith in him and turn from your sin and trust him with your life… The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Heads bowed, eyes closed, all around the world. This is an encounter. This is a burning-bush moment. This is you and God. He brought you here. You've been missing peace. This is the missing piece. This is what you've been looking for. This is what you've been searching for. While you were looking for God, God was looking for you, and here he is in this moment to meet with you and call you. So, if that's your heart I'm speaking to, I want you to pray after me. I'm going to pray, and I want you to repeat after me. We're praying out loud as a church family for those who are coming to God or coming back to God. Repeat after me:

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe you died that I could be forgiven and rose again to give me life. This is my new beginning.

On three, shoot your hand up if you prayed that with me. One, two, three! Shoot them up. Shoot them up in the room. Shoot them up in the chat. Let's give God praise! That's awesome. That's amazing. Come on, let's give him a better praise than that! Give him your best praise all day! Thank you, Jesus!
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