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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Bent Knees Break Chains

Steven Furtick - Bent Knees Break Chains

Steven Furtick - Bent Knees Break Chains

Let's give our attention to the Scriptures in Genesis, chapter 50, beginning in verse 14. The verse I've heard the most from Genesis 50 is verse 20. I'm going to read that one, but I want to give you a fresh context around it to help usher the principle in this text into the problem you're facing in your life. I believe it's going to be very, very personal for you today. My friend Rick Beato does a YouTube channel, and he has a thing. He's a guitar player/musician/producer, and he calls it What Makes This Song Great? He takes songs you've heard a thousand times by worship leaders like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Boston. He takes those hymns of the faith, and he breaks it down and shows you things you heard, but you didn't know you were hearing them, and it's what makes the song great. I'm going to take a page out of his playbook today. I'm going to show you what makes this verse great in verse 20, where it says God takes what others mean for evil and uses it for good.

Let me show you what makes that verse great. To do that, I want to get a start and ramp up from verse 14. The Bible says, "After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father". That's a big contingent, because the chariots of Egypt and all of the officials went with Joseph. So it's a huge traveling party, and 70-plus descendants of Jacob. It's a big group. Then it comes to a personal decision. Verse 15: "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, 'What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?'" Well, now's a fine time to think about the consequences of your actions. Right? You're not sorry you did it; you're just sorry you got caught. You're just scared of the consequences. Listen to what they did. Verse 16: "So they sent word to Joseph, saying, 'Your father left these instructions before he died…'"

Yeah, I'm sure he did. When other people tell you what God said to you as a form of manipulation… "The Lord told me you're supposed to date me". The Lord has my direct number. He can tell me. The Lord doesn't play the telephone game, so he'll tell me. "The Lord said we should go in business together". That's funny, because he told me you were a crook, because I checked your online review. "'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father". That's what his brothers said their dead dad said, which we know isn't true, because he didn't really like them. Joseph was his favorite, so he would have told Joseph directly, you understand.

That's why the Bible says, "When their message came to him, Joseph wept". Not because his dad was dead. His dad has been dead for three months at this point…40 days of embalming, 30 days of mourning, and then a journey that's 11 days on each side. So, he has had time to mourn his father Jacob. He is weeping because they still haven't changed, even after all the grace he has given them. That's what he's crying about. This is the fifth time he cries between Genesis 37 and 50. Verse 18: "His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. 'We are your slaves,' they said. But Joseph said to them, 'Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.'" Verse 21: "So then, don't be afraid". "I'm not going to kill you. I could, but I'm not going to…not because of your little fabricated speech from dad, but because I see God's purpose in this moment and in this season". "'I will provide for you and your children.' And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them".

Back up to verse 18 one more time. "His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him". They bowed before the one they had betrayed and said, "We're your slaves". "But Joseph said to them, 'Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?'" I got up here this morning to tell you Bent Knees Break Chains. That's the title of this message. The truth I want to communicate to you is all in those four words: Bent Knees Break Chains.

Father, I thank you that the chain-breaking power of your Spirit is standing up inside of me right now to preach deliverance to every captive. Do it, God. In Jesus' name, I give you thanks, amen.

I want you to start by considering this premise: the position we're in influences the decisions we make. The position you're in really influences the decisions you make. It sounds obvious, but it's illustrated all throughout the book of Genesis. God said, "Let there be light". He was in a position to make a decision to do something about the darkness, but you could run around shouting, "Let there be light" all you wanted to, and unless you have flipped the switch and are current on the power bill, no lights are coming on. The position you're in determines the decisions you make. A subpoint to this is: you are not God. Your neighbor doesn't look convinced, so you tell them for me. Say, "You're not God". Sometimes, if you get confused, just remember, "The position I'm in influences the decisions I make".

The easiest way to explain it is parenting. When you start doing stuff as a parent that you hated as a kid, and you turn around… Every parent in this room has had this thought: "I sound just like my mom". "I sound just like my dad". It's because you now are in a position that not only you have to provide but protect these lives you treasure so much. So, you're doing things the kids don't understand. "You can't go there. Don't talk to them". They think, "You don't want me to have any friends". "Yes, I do want you to have friends. Like I want to hang out with you all the time. I'd love for you to have somebody else to hang out with. I just don't know about these kids". The position I'm in is affecting the decisions I make. See, empathy is tricky for the kid to have for the parent, because although the parent has been a kid, the kid has never been a parent. That's why teaching your kids to drive is like the scourging whip they laid on our Savior's back when they hung him on the cross. It's because it is the punishment of their inability to feel empathy, because the position you are in determines the decisions you make. That's true in parenting. That's true with money. A lot of times, we say little cliches like, "Money isn't everything". It is if you don't have any.

How many of you have ever not had any money and had to do things…? I'm not talking about robbing anybody. I'm not talking about anything crazy. I'm just saying, when you didn't have it, you didn't walk around saying stuff like, "Money isn't everything". You went around saying stuff like, "Can I cut your grass? Can I wax your bald head? Can I clip your fingernails"? Money isn't everything once you have money. We get in a position where maybe we've come to a place where we're blessed in our lives, and then we're like, "Well, money isn't everything. I don't do it for the money". That's because you have some! But if you don't have any, you have to do what you have to do to catch the crumbs that fall from somebody's table. Stop judging people for things they are doing in desperation for situations you haven't been in or that you haven't been in lately. Personal confession: I was a staff member at a church before I started this church, and I would always keep this mental list of dumb stuff the pastor was doing that I would never do.

One day, when I get a spare minute, I'm going to write him a whole card. It's going to be a 17-page card of all of the things I judged him for in his position as a pastor from my position as a staff member that I now just want to say, "I'm sorry". Especially because I met him when he was into his tenth year of pastoring that church, and I didn't know how tired 10 years can make you. Do you see all this gray y'all put on me in these last 16 years? So now I feel differently, because the position you're in… I want to nail this down. If I lay this foundation right, then we can really celebrate the truth in the text that bent knees break chains, but first of all, acknowledge that the position you're in influences the decisions you make.

Now let's flip that, because the decisions you make influence the position you're in. You are very timid in celebrating that truth. I have never seen such a half-hearted clap. "I think he's probably right, but I don't like it, because I want to say the Devil did it. I don't really want to clap for that". It could be possible that not everything that happened to me was caused by decisions I made, but some of it, a little of it, 10 percent of it… When's the last time somebody lost their job and told you, "You know what? I just really sucked at it. I was lazy. I talked bad about everybody. I chewed gum with my feet up and played Wordle seven hours and worked one". Nobody says that. In church (this is dangerous), you'll slap a spiritual justification and a summary on something that happened through a series of decisions you actually made, thereby enabling your dysfunction by over-spiritualizing your decisions. Goodbye, everybody! I've said enough. I don't mean to be Yoda on you, but those two things really go hand in hand. The position I'm in determines the decisions I make.

Sometimes I did something because I'm depressed. The depression may not be my fault. I believe there's a genetic element to depression. But in the process of me complying with the habits that brought me to that place, I may prolong my stay in depression by my decisions. When we talk about, "The Devil attacked me. The Devil attacked me. The Devil attacked me…" Well, the Lord gave me a word on that a few weeks ago. He said, "It is not the attack that matters the most; it is what you do after the attack". Watch this. New Testament verse. I hope I get back to Genesis 50, but I'm anointed for this right now. The Bible says the Devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. It does not say he can devour whoever he wants, but he can attack whoever he wants. The difference between him attacking you and devouring you will be the decisions you make in the attack.

So, when you feel anxious, what do you do with that anxiety? When you feel sad, who do you speak to about your sadness? When you feel overlooked, do you retaliate, or do you bring it to God and allow him to help you process it? We could describe Joseph's life in terms of a chain of events. In reviewing all of those Scriptures this week, I felt myself wishing we had three days to do this, because everything in Joseph's life… Oh, it's so rich with detail. Just to boil it down to "What the Enemy means for evil, God means for good…" My friend Rick Beato, my YouTube guy, would break it down and show you the isolated tracks. He'd be like, "This is what makes the song great". I want to show you how the events in Joseph's life that God did not prevent that were painful positioned him for the purpose of Joseph's life that he could have never imagined. So, let me do a typical sermon about Joseph in two minutes. You have to walk through everything that happened to him. Right? He had a dream. He told his brothers. That's an event. His brothers got mad about it and didn't like his Gucci coat that his father Jacob gave him.

Now, understand, when they threw him into a pit, they saw him as a snitch because he came out to check on them and see if they were doing their jobs. You can understand, then, that from their vantage point, the position they were in influenced the decisions they made. It's easy in this passage to feel like you're Joseph, but have you ever been his brothers too? Have you ever been jealous? Because you do things when you're in a position comparing yourself to others… That's why the Bible says when you compare yourself to somebody else, you're not wise. That's what it says. It doesn't say it's evil; it says it's not wise. You are going to do dumb stuff trying to be like somebody who does not have your same bone structure, background, or the same blessing on their life. Reuben saved his life, because he said, "Let's not kill him. Let's sell him. We can probably get 20 shekels for him". They sold him to the Midianite caravan. These are the events of Joseph's life.

So, if I'm walking you through it, I'm saying by the time you get to Genesis 50:20, he's 56 years old. You didn't know that, did you? You thought he was standing there saying, "What the Enemy means for evil, God means for good" while he was going through his testing, but he went through 40 years to get to the point where he understood the events of his life…all of them… The dream he had, the coat he wore…the good things. The pit they pushed him into… Y'all, he even ended up in prison because he did such a good job serving this man named Potiphar, and Potiphar's wife "Hotiphar" (I named her) said, "Hey, big boy. Come to bed with me. I like your coat. I like your character. I like the way you clean windows". Remember, he has a menial job, but he has a great sense of responsibility. Everything he did in Potiphar's house drew attention because God's favor was still on him. God's favor is still on you. Pushing a mop, God's favor is on you. Washing dishes, God's favor is on you. Quarter of a tank of gas and don't know how to fill it…God's favor is on you.

Oh, by the way, when you get a promotion that puts you in a tax bracket you never imagined, that's God's favor too. It was your Father who put the favor on you to bring you into the position. When you understand that, that God raised you up, it makes you two things: it makes you humble in high circumstances and hopeful in low circumstances. When I see that my Father favored me… Joseph knew that early in his life. He saw this vision that his brothers were one day going to bow down to him, but he didn't see everything that would come before that. This chain of events, things that happened to Joseph that he largely could not control… Some people say he shouldn't have told his brothers his dream, and they wouldn't have pushed him in the pit. I say if he didn't go in the pit, how could he have gotten to Egypt so there was food waiting for them when they came through the famine? It makes me think that even my mistakes can become miraculous if I give them to God and be humble about them.

A lot more happened to Joseph, and although we won't explore all of it today, I just want you to hear some of the other things that come before this so you can put yourself in this story, in a way, to try to figure out "In this season of my life, what decision is God leading me to make"? The events that led you to this point in your life, however painful they were… I forgot to tell you this part. When he got to prison, he started interpreting dreams for the other prisoners. I wouldn't have done that, because I would have been pouting that "I don't belong here," because Potiphar's wife accused me of raping her, and I was actually running from her. I probably wouldn't have been able to get past my own pity party. Pit…he was in the pit…pity party. I'm just checking to see if I still have your attention. There's a lot of background.

So, there are a lot of things that happened. Eventually, when he interpreted… The cupbearer had this dream. He was like, "I saw these three vines coming off of one branch. It had grapes on it. I squeezed the grapes, and then the cups were filled". Joseph is like, "Oh, in three days you're going to get your position back. It's going to be great. On Pharaoh's birthday, he's going to put you back into position". The baker was like, "Oh yeah, me too, me too. I had a dream too. There were baskets on my head and bread in the baskets, and the birds came and ate it". He was like, "Oh yeah. That's because your head is going to be cut off in three days. That's why it's three baskets. And the birds will eat your flesh". So, all of that happens just as Joseph spoke it. The cupbearer gets out of prison and completely forgets to mention Joseph. Oops.

For two years he stays chained in a dudgeon, not because of his decision but because of an event. But here's what I want to show you. Within every event is a decision. You got it? I'm not even asking you to understand it yet. Just, did you hear it? Within the event there's always a decision. Illustration of this. Today, we are having a worship service. It's an event. The service is an event. We sang about four songs. That was part of the event. Hopefully, somebody offered you a breath mint and a pen when you came in the door, if you came in the door, or you logged online, and here I am now, standing behind my pulpit with my Bible open, ready to preach to you. I've been praying about it all week. This is the event. This is the service. But worship is a decision you have to make in the event. The service is the event. Worship is the decision. Worship is an offering. Some of y'all didn't sing a note. You were watching this like you're going to vote whether they stay on the stage or not. Like, "Oh, I don't know…"

You are not Simon Cowell. Why weren't you singing? God is the star of this. God is the audience of this. Why didn't you sing? "No, no. Pastor Steve, Pastor Steve, Pastor Steve, I didn't sing because I can't sing that good". That doesn't stop you in the shower. Another thing is if the person next to you doesn't like your singing, you just told them 10 minutes ago they're not God. So, if they don't like how it sounds, it's good news, because they're not the audience you were singing to anyway.

So get this. When we were singing at the campus I'm at, "I'm going to see a victory…" If that song went by and you didn't sing it… I mean, sing it out of tune, sing it loud, sing it bad, sing it good, sing it falsetto, sing it bass, sing it tenor, sing it alto. If you didn't sing it, and if you didn't believe it and put your heart in faith and say, "You know, I don't feel that right now, but I believe it. In Jesus' name, I'm going to see it with my kids. I'm going to see it on my job. I'm going to see it in my body. I'm going to see it in my mind. There is a breakthrough with my name on it. I don't know when, but I have faith for it. I'm going to see a victory…"

If you didn't sing it, how can you expect to see it? The song was the event, but your worship was a decision. I forgive you. Hearing the sermon is an event. Sharing it with somebody who needs it is a decision. What if they're about to give up and you could send them a link? I'm talking to you. Logging on watching a sermon… This is an event. You can watch a lot of things on YouTube. But what if God prompts you to send it to somebody else? "Hey, man. Thought about you today. Preacher is up there talking about decisions and stuff, and I was just thinking how you have to make this decision right now. So here it is. I love you. I'll see you Tuesday". Whatever. That's a decision. The more we separate the event from the decision, the more room it gives God to move in our situation.

I'll go a little deeper. Here's one. I thought of a bunch of them, but I won't give them all to you today. Y'all won't like this. Traffic is an event. What time you leave the house… Got 'em! Like traffic was the Red Sea, like you didn't know it was there, like it isn't there every morning. "I'm sorry; the traffic was bad". The traffic is always bad. It's 485. They're going to be building it for the next 485 years. You knew that when you pushed it till the last minute and hit "snooze" for the third time. Leaving early is a decision, and the decision to leave a little early might affect your decision to road-rage.

See, we have to stop blaming so much stuff in our lives. Joseph is a model. We have to stop blaming the events and start making the decisions God is calling us to make within the events that can empower us to move forward or else we will always be a slave to what happened. Joseph has a decision to make now, and I think it's such an emotional moment for him, because his father loved him a little too much, because he was born of Rachel, who was the wife Jacob really wanted, not Leah. Because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife (Holly, you're my favorite wife, by the way), that gave him a little extra status. But he's going through this shift. A lot of people will tell you Joseph's life is about going from the pit to the palace. I don't see it that way at all, although that geographically describes his position, because he ended up being promoted, when he interpreted Pharaoh's dream about the famine, to a position of responsibility where he could prepare the people for the famine, even his own family.

Although that's true, it's really not the heart. He's really going from status to service. God brings him from a place of great status to a place of great service. Or you could see it this way too: he's going from a place where he has to get from pain to purpose. The position you're in determines a lot of the decisions you make, and a lot of the decisions you make will determine the position you're in. If at any point in Joseph's life he would have decided, "This isn't fair. Forget it, God…" If he hadn't served with excellence in small positions, he could not have been trusted in a bigger one. All along the way, there were little decisions he was making that you're making…to do it with your whole heart or to only do it when someone else is looking. Little decisions you make…corners you cut or you don't; words you speak and times you bite your tongue because it's not going to help anything anyway. Little decisions. Where would you be financially if you had made little decisions differently along the way?

"Well, now I don't have any money, and I'm doing like what Pastor said. I'm in a bad position, so I'm taking desperate measures". But would you have to take desperate measures if you made some different decisions? Could it change from this point forward, that your future is not chained to your past? We've talked a lot about the chain of events that led to Joseph's moment of decision, but how about the chain of decisions that put him in this place? The chain of decisions. Think about that. It's a lot more interesting than giving me a list of everything life did to you. I told somebody one time, "When I first got married, I got fat". And I did. I was turning into a big old boy. The way I explained it was like how Adam explained why he ate the apple in the garden. "This woman you gave me, Lord, is a wonderful cook".

I was actually perverting the gift God had given her as a cook to explain the situation of my cellulite. Y'all know the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the cellulites. Well, they were all coming against me. Somewhere in that, I had to own the fact that I ate what she put on the plate and then went and filled the plate three more times to get this way. So, it's not exactly true to say, "I got fat," like it's something that just crashed into the earth, like it was a meteor shower, like it was a snow day. I ate food. I didn't exercise. I got fat. That's the event. The number on the scale screamed at me. I rebuked it. It didn't change. I prayed about it. It didn't change. I quoted Genesis 50:20. "What you mean for evil, God means for good". I reversed the curse. It didn't change. Then I decided. I didn't get to decide once; I got to decide daily.

Joseph has a decision to make in this moment, because now his dad is dead, and the only thing that can keep him being kind to his brothers is how he views his relationship with God, because his relationship with them is obviously never going to change. They lied about him when he was 17, and they are lying about him as he's 56. He has been playing with it. He has been playing with whether or not he wants to pay them back. He has been doing it for decades. When they first came to him, he was 39. The famine had only been going on two years. When they came to him, he pretended like he didn't know who they were. I think he was trying to decide, "How am I going to move forward"? He was already in a position of power. He was already in a position of authority. He was already in a position of influence. The position you're in influences the decisions you make.

So he didn't tell them. For a little while, he'd go cry in private, and then he'd come back out and be strong in public. He even stuffed their bags with silver and then sent his own men to arrest them and throw Simeon in prison. That's how bad it felt to him. So, I want you to think about when something bad happens to you, the event. (I wish I could draw this. I am not a good artist. You can draw it and post it online later. Okay?) Something bad happens. When Joseph says, "God meant it for good," he does not call their abuse, neglect, and betrayal good. He's moving past that. So, something bad happens. Many bad things happen to Joseph. It's almost a disservice to what he has been through to call it "Something bad happened," but let's just call it that. This thing happens, and it's bad. Now the decision Joseph has to make… Because, remember, the event is not the decision. So now he says, "That was bad, what you did to me. That was bad, how you sold me. That was bad, what I went through. I'm not sugarcoating anything or spiritualizing your decisions. It was bad".

Sometimes the first step to getting to "God is good" is to say it was bad. "It was bad, and it hurt, and it harmed, and it set me back, and I wish it hadn't happened. If I got to write the script, I wouldn't have put that in it. It was bad". You know we do "God is good all the time. All the time God is good". But it is bad a lot of the times, and a lot of the times it is bad, but God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. But it is bad. That's bad. Read the news. That's bad. That's horrible. That's unthinkable. That's inhumane. A lot of us in this room know somebody like Joseph. Everybody in this room knows a Joseph. You watched what happened to them, and you could not believe how they responded to it.

My Joseph who I think about all the time is my buddy Levi Lusko. He's a pastor in Montana, a foreign country. He's an international missionary to the state of Montana. I love him for many reasons, but, y'all, I put my hand on his chest to pray for him the other night, because he turned 40. I was praying, and God anointed me, and I was speaking stuff over his life that I couldn't even understand where it was coming from. When Graham was 5 and his daughter was 5, and his daughter died of an asthma attack while he was out of the house, and he stood over her and prayed God would make the sun stand still and save his daughter's life, and she died… That would have broken me. I had a context for it because I had a boy who was 5. I thought, if I were in that position, I think I would be tempted to stand up and tell y'all I quit, because how can I speak this faith over you? How can I trust a God who would let me go through that?

So now, standing on 10 years later and watching him turn 40 and seeing… I hope he watches this message. Text him and tell him to watch it. He can watch it right now. He's on a different time zone out there in Montana. I think it's, like, 1843 in Montana. It's like a different year zone in Montana. I prayed over him, and he's a powerful man. He wrote a book. It was bad. He wrote a book to let the Devil know, "My daughter Lenya will live on even if there's no breath in her lungs". Do you follow me? This is my Joseph. I think about him all the time when I go into a pity party, because I think about, "If he can decide that, to keep preaching in the middle of what he…" That's why I love lifting these Bible characters up to you on Sunday. Even if you don't know somebody like that personally, you get to be with Joseph for a little while, and you get to think about the fact that at the moment… I mean, most of us would have been waiting for this moment to pay our brothers back.

"Oh, I'm just waiting until Jacob dies. When Jacob dies, I'm about to let y'all have it". Jacob lived to be over 140. Do you know how long Jacob held on until he had put a blessing on all of the kids? Then he dies, and they walk for 11 days to bury him, they walk 11 days back, and then his brothers send some weak message, talking about, "Before he died, Dad said…" Trying to relay a message, showing him the evidence that there has been no change in their hearts. They bow before him, and he has to decide what he's going to do, because he can't control what they do. You can't change them. Stop trying. They're on their knees before Joseph, but not for the right reasons. "Forgive us. Forgive us. Forgive us. We are your slaves. We'll do whatever you say. We're sorry". You're not sorry. You're still lying. And he wept. He came out and showed us something. Right after he got done weeping, he still made the right decision. Your emotions don't determine your decisions, not when you've seen the goodness of God.

"What these brothers did was evil, but I'm not going to let what they did be the final word on what I do, because I still have life to live". So, if I look at them and say, "Reuben, Simeon, Judah," and start calling them by name, and I say, "This is the moment I've been waiting for. Y'all want to throw me in a pit? I'm in the palace now…" If I use this moment of my power to put you in your place, then I am putting myself in God's place. That's what he said. He said, "No, no, no". They're on their knees. He says, "Wait, wait, wait. I'm not God". Verse 19: "Am I in the place of God"? You have to go through verse 19 to get to verse 20. "All things work together for the good. God uses what the Enemy meant for evil". We kind of skip to that verse. No, no, no. Get to this verse first: "Am I in the place of God"?

Not only are they on their knees, but Joseph, after everything he has been through, in the moment of decision… You are at the moment of decision right now. "Am I going to stay chained to my past? Am I going to live in this resentment toward others and this regret toward myself"? Some of you are angry at yourself. You think you're God. You think you can make a big enough mess that God can't clean you up, but it's not true. You're not God! If he died for you, and if he calls you, and if he comes for you, and if he raises you, even you yourself can't change his mind. The gifts of God are without repentance. Joseph has a decision to make, and he does it like this: "I'm not God". In the moment of decision, he takes a posture, as the second most powerful man in the land… He takes his posture to say, "God has been…" I wonder what it would look like for you to have this mentality to say, "God put me here for a purpose, and I'm submitting everything that has happened to me to God. I'm going to put myself in a position on my knees before God".

I never come to preach to you, if I can help it, that I don't do this, even if it's for 10 seconds before I round the corner. A lot of times, the way I'll preach, stuff will just be coming to me to the last minute. But I try every time to take one minute by myself and say, "God, when I get out there today… There are people out there whose parents abandoned them. There are people out there who were molested. There are people out there who are going through the scariest medical situation in their lives, or their kids are. There are people out there who have no idea how they're going to catch up on four months worth of mortgage. There are people out there today who need you, and I can only meet that need on my knees". It reminds me that if I do this, I can do this. See, the power you need is not in me, but if I go to the one who has all power and all authority, and I get down low, and I say, "God, I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from you," I know bent knees can break chains.

I know one word from almighty God, one breath from the Spirit of… I feel chains breaking right now! I feel burdens lifting right now! I feel shackles shaking on prison floors and prison doors flying open right now! When you do this, God does that. What you did to me was bad, what happened to me is bad, what I'm going through is bad, but if I blame you, then my blame will become bitterness, and my bitterness will become bondage…not your bondage; it will be my bondage. So, I either get to stay chained to the events or I get to make a decision. This is where God brought you to. This is why you logged on. This is why they sent you the link. This is why you came to church. You thought you decided to come to church? You're crazy. God sovereignly brought you to church. You had 10 excuses not to come, what didn't fit, and "I have nothing to wear," but here you are. It's a size too small, but you came. Why? For this moment. God wanted you to know you are in an important moment of your life, and if you do this…

Every athlete knows you can't hit a golf ball well if you don't bend your knees. That's where your power comes from. You can't shoot a basketball right if you don't bend your knees. That's where your accuracy comes from. You can't do a takedown standing up straight. There are no Division 1 wrestling champions who stand up straight, talking about… Why are you fighting your battles like this when God gave you this? "This is how I fight my battles, Devil! Watch me surrender to God". Because bent knees break… You can't do it in your own strength. If you could, you would have by now. God brought you to your knees because he's breaking some generational chains. I feel the Holy Ghost. Come, Lord. Break those chains. The past has no power over you. The blood of Jesus speaks a better… I break it in the name of Jesus! You still have so much life to live.

Joseph lived to be 110. He was 56. It's only halftime. High-five somebody and say, "This is your halftime speech". Come on, let's turn this into a locker room. I'm down by 20, but I have time on… Watch me bend my knees. Watch me hit this song. Watch me trust God! I have a decision to make what to do with the time and the life I have left. Bent knees break chains. As long as you rehearse what happened, you can never reverse what happened. What makes this verse great? If Rick Beato were here, he would tell you this. It's not what you think. Verse 20 of Genesis 50 could be the worst verse in the Bible. It could be, when it says, "You intended to harm me…" It's what comes after the comma. God brought you here so you can make a decision. What comes after your comma? It's just halftime. This is just a comma. Not a coma…a comma.

How could one comma make such a big difference? Because that's where Joseph went from the event to the decision. I'm choosing to do this on my knees, because if I let this hold power over me, I stay a slave. I won't be chained to what you did, and I won't be chained to what I did when I remember what God has done. He set this up in your life. You don't have to believe that, but you can. I can decide. Is this the moment that you decide to own your story, the bad and the good, and put something after the comma? I hear the Spirit of God saying, "Finish the sentence". In the spirit of Kanye West, I'm going to let you finish. "You tried to hurt me. It hurt me, but my hope is…" What happens after the comma. "…but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives". Decision, decision, decision. Verse 21: "So then, don't be afraid. I will…" Decision. "…provide". He makes this decision. "If I don't feed you, it will eat me, so I'm going to use this as food". He fed that family, the same family that failed him, by a decision.

You have a decision to make today. Are you going to stand up and try to be self-strong in your own strength or are you going to bend your knees? I'm talking physically this week. I want some of y'all to pray on your knees for at least a minute a day this week. It doesn't have to be long, but you drop on your knees just to remind yourself. "Well, God doesn't need me to kneel". No, you need to kneel, because the position you're in determines the decision you make. When you get up, maybe you walk differently. Maybe you talk differently. Maybe you remember, "I'm favored by God, and he has a purpose and plan for my life". Bent knees. When you submit it to God… How do I know when I've submitted it to God other than physically? Okay. A couple of things. When you stop waiting for others to change for you to obey, you're on your knees. "The way they treat me is not going to make me toxic".

That's one sign. Another sign is you start becoming absorbed in the process of what God tells you to do and stop being attached to the outcome. That's when you know you're on your knees. "This is how I fight my battles. I have to do what God gave me to do today. That's all I can do". Do you know how I know when I'm really anointed to preach? When I don't care how you look at me while I'm doing it. That's when I'm like, "Uh-oh". That's when I've got my powerup, my invincibility star. Remember Super Mario? This is so important. When you have given up the illusion of control, but you have committed yourself to the process of obedience of what God spoke, now you're on your knees.

Look. The Bible says in Philippians 2:5 that this is what Jesus did. He considered it not robbery to be equal with God. He was God. "In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God". He did this. He became sinful man and humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. We're not just talking about Joseph; we're talking about Jesus. And he lives in you. He said when Jesus humbled himself, God has given him… God will lift you up. You have to trust God to lift you up. You have to trust God to position you and bring you where he wants you. The Scripture says in Philippians 2 that one day every knee will bow. Everybody will be brought to their knees. If life hasn't humbled you enough yet, if you're still in the dream state, that's okay. Life will eventually bring you to this point.

So, why not bow now? Why not do it God's way now? If you do it his way now, you'll be ready for whatever he has next. Joseph didn't die in the pit. He didn't quit in the prison. You didn't either. Give God praise that you didn't quit. It was his mercy that got you through it. Quit trying to look so strong. It was his mercy. I don't understand being a self-made man, because if I'm self-made, that means I can be Enemy-broken. I'm a God-made man. He did it for me. He was with me. I bow before him to give him the glory. That's not weakness. Bent knees aren't weak. That's where your strength comes from. Joseph goes on to raise these two kids. Do you know their names? Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph got an extra ridge in the allotment of the Promised Land, and the half-tribe of Manasseh got property too. His kids got blessed because of what he did. Wow!

There's a lot on the line right now. Some of you are breaking generational chains, and you don't even know it, but you need God's help to do it. "Not by might, not by power, but by his Spirit…" Bent knees break chains, not you proving you're right, not you refusing to admit when you're wrong. I love what the Bible says. If you will bend your knees now… I don't mean physically in this room. I mean if you will submit and surrender these events, this situation, to God and ask him for his wisdom and act on what he shows you, ask him for his wisdom, act on what he shows you, make the decision to turn pain into purpose… Look at what happened to Joseph. You won't believe it.

Verse 22: "Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father's family". The death of Jacob was an event. Staying in Egypt was a decision. "He lived a hundred and ten years…" I told you that already, but I didn't tell you this. Next verse: "…and saw the third generation of Ephraim's children". Y'all, that's great-grandchildren. God is not through with you yet. It is too early and too soon for you to quit. "Also the children of Makir…" It means sold in Hebrew. That's what happened to him. That was the event. "The children of Makir son of Manasseh…" You got it? The children of his child were placed at birth…where? On Joseph's knees. When you bow your knees to God and surrender your situation to him, it makes room on your knees for the future he has in store for you.

So, I close with this thought for everybody who has been brought to your knees by a situation in your life: expect God to bring to your knees a new beginning. God wants you free and clear from all of the junk, all of the bondage, all of the bitterness, all of the blame. You have to do what you have to do to get on your knees so you can get your knees ready for what God wants to bring you next. He is able…I preach this to every nation right now…to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what you ask or imagine. God wants to bring you what's next when you get on your knees. Joseph said, "I've been in prison before. I didn't like it. I want to be free now, so, God, I'm on my knees".

Lord, today, we lift our hands just as a sign of our prayer and our eager hope for the freedom Jesus died to bring us to be made a reality in our lives. I thank you today, Lord, that this week is going to be different. It's going to be different because we're not going to spend it chained to bitterness. We're not going to spend it looking for something or someone to blame. We're starting this week, right here, right now, bowing before You, saying, "Jesus Christ is Lord, and what God has planned for my life… No man can stop it. No curse can stop it. No betrayal can stop it. No sickness can stop it. No recession can stop it. No virus can stop it. No pandemic can stop it. When God gets ready to bless me, when God gets ready to raise me… When God has a purpose, it will come to pass".

Let's give him 60 seconds of praise that bent knees break chains. Come on, throw off those chains! Throw off that attitude! Throw off that shame! Throw off that guilt! Throw it off and praise him! Praise him! That's not enough. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Bow your head. The Scripture 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. This is a salvation moment of decision for somebody. You are making the decision right now to place your faith in Jesus Christ, to place your faith in his death, to place your faith in his resurrection. He died for your forgiveness. He rose again to give you life. He invites you to follow him. He has promised you his Spirit. All you have to do is receive it.

The moment you hit your knees his forgiveness will hit your life. I want to lead you in a prayer right now. We're going to pray this across all of our campuses and our eFam around the world for the benefit of those who are making the decision right now to place your faith in Christ, because he has already made the decision to save you. It's God who calls you. It's God who's drawing you. It's God who works in you. He brought you to this moment. For those of you who need to come to him for the first time or come back to him, I want you to repeat this prayer after me as you bow your heart before God:

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and today I bow my heart to you. I give you my life. Make me new. I believe you died that I could be forgiven and rose again that I could live. Jesus, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I bow my life to you. I belong to you. This is my new beginning.

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