Steven Furtick — The Frame Game
And I'm going to be reading this scripture from the King James Version of the Bible because it's the one that I memorized it in. Now, I don't still have it memorized, but at one time I did. You can believe that or not. It's absolutely true. But we're just going to read like a little sandwich real quick from Hebrews 11 and Hebrews 12. And some of you who are really churchy, you're going to be tempted while I'm reading this scripture to start getting excited. Don't do it. Okay?
Just let me read my scripture. These nice people don't want to hear you shouting while I'm reading my scripture. Okay? But Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for..." What did I tell you? I told you to sit still. "...and the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. By faith we understand..." What do we understand? "...that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were made of things..." "...are not made of things..."
Can I do that whole verse over? "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Now, look at Hebrews 12:1-2. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience..." T
ell somebody, "We're getting fit. We're getting fit." And look who our trainer is. "...let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our functional faith; who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down..."
Now, He didn't sit down because He was tired. He sat down because it was done. Touch somebody. Say, "It's already done." It's already done. I declare it by faith, it's already done. "...and set down at the right hand of God." Now, here's what we're going to do today.
As a sermon title, I'm going to teach you how to do an exercise that's also an experiment. I want to talk about the "Frame Game", the frame game. Touch somebody on your way to your seat. Say, "We're going to have a great time today." You may be seated. Thank you, worship team. Hey, keep touring Mac. Keep singing. Stay strong. We believe in you.
And now, to go to this passage that I am so excited to preach, like way more excited to preach it than you are to hear it, where I read you two little passages that are so well known. If these passages were an exercise, they would be the pushups of faith because it's just a really well-known passage, where it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" and "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."
Those are well-known. In the middle of those verses, there is a picture that the author of Hebrews provides to encourage perseverance for anyone who is fatigued in their faith. And to do it, he mentions people who now, he calls a cloud of witnesses, and he's establishing what we might call a framework of faith.
The interesting thing is that that list, I didn't read it to you, it is bookended by these two descriptions of faith, faith is the substance of things hoped for and that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. And in between that, he gives a picture. And these two passages, they serve as the frame, the picture... Here's the thing you've got to know.
Sometimes the frame is even more important than the picture. Can I explain that a little bit? Sometimes the way you say something is even more important than what you say. You can say something to your kids meant to develop them that will destroy them all because of the way that you framed it. You can put your kids in a competitive mindset with their siblings, trying to get them to act right, and then kind of create this dysfunction that they have the rest of their life.
Framework is important. Any married people? Married people? Any married people? You know, your phraseology in marriage is really important. I just want to give you this quick tip, because sometimes it's not what you're saying to your husband. It's how you're saying it that he can't hear it. It's quiet. It's real quiet. I'm a little nervous to proceed with this illustration, but I'll do so nonetheless because I believe this has very practical application value to your life.
You know, if you really want to get your husband to change, catch him doing something right and compliment him. But you don't have to do that. You can keep critiquing him for what he's doing wrong and he'll keep doing it because men repeat what you feed them. So, to understand how to effectively communicate with your mate, communicate with your mate, you have to learn the art of framing. It's a framework.
As a parent, the way you frame a question to your children, especially if they're younger... Now, my kids are all under the age of 11, so I'm not writing my parenting book yet, for at least 20 years to see if any of this crap I tell you actually works in real life. But I think you sometimes as a parent are tempted when your kids are small to give them too many choices and too many options... about dinner, about clothes, just all kinds of options.
And in my personal parenting philosophy, I don't ever give my children a fill in the blank question when I'm asking them to do something for me. I give 'em multiple choice. You know? So it's not "do you want to eat your broccoli". I don't ask my kids that. My kids, what I might say is, "Would you rather eat your broccoli or never play video games or see the light of day again?"
So now see, you have a choice. I'm not telling you you have to eat your broccoli. I'm just informing you of the consequences of not eating the broccoli. That's called framing. And I learned it from a counselor. This counselor one time was preparing me to go into a high intensity, high stress situation, and he said, "You get all stressed out every time you go around these people." I said, "I do." I said, "They're stressful people."
He said, "But what if this time you made a game out of it?" And I said, "Tell me more about this game," 'cause I like to play games. I'm the kind of guy who will turn any conversation into a game. Ask Holly. I like to play "Would You Rather". I like to play "What If". I can turn any conversation into a game. And I'm competitive by nature. So when he told me I could make it like a game, that got my attention.
He said, "Yeah, when you go into this situation, you know they're crazy, so go in like you're a sociologist, like you are studying their species of crazy and you have to bring back a field report on the craziness of these people." So he gave me a technique. I didn't know at the time that he was teaching me cognitive framing. How fancy is that? He was teaching me that I could take a situation or information, facts... I could take it and frame it a different way.
Now advertisers are doing this to you all the time. Politicians are doing this to you occasionally. It is the invisible frame by which they present the issue or the argument, and you don't even see that it's there, which brings us to Hebrews 11, where it says that "the worlds were framed by the word of God". When I say framed, if you're in the construction industry, you picture the raw material that builds a house and the dimensions of it when you frame the house up, when you frame the house up.
Well, that's a good picture because the scripture says that when God was looking around for something strong enough to build the world with, there was no substitute for the raw material of His word. So God framed and build the world which is visible through the word which is invisible.
Now we, as His children, get to imitate Him in our life through this thing called faith. That is, we get to take the same stuff that God used to frame the world and frame our lives with it if we choose to; that the same word of God that framed the ocean can frame my situation on a Tuesday afternoon if I choose to use it. So I want to talk about it for a little while today because I want to build my life with something that is sturdy and solid.
So I want to know, "God, can I borrow some of this raw material, the rhema, the word, the rhema..." You've heard this before. The word of God is powerful enough to shape and create my life. Now, I get to frame my life using the same substance that God used to make my world. And so, I've got to get a sense of focus. Would you right that word down, focus?
Some of you are playing on your phone, but you need to focus and write down the word focus. Multi-tasking self, you need to focus. Touch your neighbor say, "Focus." Tell 'em focus on me. Focus on me. I told you I'd do it. Now, here's the part about this thing called focus, okay. Focus is a skill that must be sharpened continually.
And I get a lot of practice with it in preaching, because how well I think my sermon is going totally depends on which person I focus on while I'm preaching. Some of you make me suicidal. I mean, like, if I only had you to look at while I preached, I would blow my brains out on stage. But I'm really good at this now. I'm a professional, so I don't really look at the crowd. I scan. And I'm looking for love. That's what I'm looking for. But I'm really good at it.