Steven Furtick — The Thirst Trap
We're excited, because favor flows from strange places. It really does. One time, the children of Israel were in the desert and water came out of a rock. That's weird. Have you ever had God do something for you but not through the person you expected him to do it through?
Have you ever had God be good to you through somebody you weren't even good to, and then somebody you were good to wasn't good to you? It's almost like God wants to challenge your attachments, so he'll keep on moving around his supply and springing up from different places so you don't camp out where he called you to pass through. That's why sometimes you get frustrated, but favor can flow from frustration.
Sometimes you have to get down to the bottom of something to find God there. My study has been like that. It was kind of weird. I did not want to do a Seven-Mile Miracle series.
I preached this sermon five or six years ago. My publisher had the rights to the material, because we had them pay for the study guide for our groups or whatever. We had them pay the church, and they wanted to put out a book, and I didn't want to write a book about Seven-Mile Miracle, because I typically like to preach something and move on.
As a matter of fact, this is probably dysfunctional, but before I came out to preach to you I was writing my sermon for the end of April because it started coming to me. The way it flows to me… I've had to learn to get in the flow with God, because, for me, creativity and inspiration doesn't always flow. It's not always dependable.
One songwriter said creativity is like building your house from the sky down, especially when you're depending on God to give it to you. You feel kind of vulnerable when you're waiting on God to give you something. It flows in strange places.
Sometimes I get sermons off of Gatorade commercials. I just have to do it anywhere I can. This year has been interesting.
God took some things I studied years ago, like this seven-mile walk on the Emmaus Road… We taught an Easter sermon on it, and then a whole series and a book flowed out of it, but I was kind of done with it. God took something I was done with, like a seed that I thought was gone, but it really wasn't gone. It was in the ground.
Some things in your life that you sowed in the last season are going to come up out of the ground when you least expect it, because favor flows from strange places. I've been going through these seven statements of Jesus slowly, and I don't like to go slow. If it were up to me, we would study all seven of them in the introduction to the sermon and move on. I like to cover a lot of ground so you don't get bored.
Sometimes you have to slow down. I started this series talking about Cleo. He's walking along with a companion. Here comes Jesus, this stranger, and out of this stranger's mouth comes a revelation that reverses their disappointment. They realize it when they get there, not while they're going. It started to challenge the way I saw faith, because I thought faith meant I would know why I was going through everything I went through while I went through it.
Now I'm thinking maybe faith means not knowing why I'm going through it, but trusting the One who makes a way where there is no way to feed me what I need for the season I'm in, because he's God and he knows what I need when I need it.
When we were preaching about "He broke the bread and gave it to them…" We've kind of been breaking the bread. The bread represents the Word of God, and each week I've been giving you a little piece. I'm taking it from the last sayings Jesus spoke on the cross. There are seven.
Seven is the number of completion in the Scripture. When we say seven, we're eventually getting to resurrection, but to get there we're going through crucifixion. We're eventually getting to glory, but to get there we have to go through the sufferings of this present time and believe that they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed, but it's in the ground right now.
It's on Saturday that our faith is proven, waiting for Sunday and the aftershock of Friday. We walked through a couple of different sayings, and one was "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." That one challenged me, because it is the exact opposite of how I think when somebody disappoints me or offends me.
See, you're different. You're more sanctified than me, and you've arrived, but when somebody breaks my heart, I don't say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I say, "God, get them back. Hurt them worse than I could ever hurt, because they knew exactly what they were doing." I'm challenged.
Jesus says to a thief, "Today you will be with me in paradise." I don't think like that. I think if the guy is going to be in paradise, he needs to do some good deeds and help some old ladies across the street and take a little membership class and get baptized at our Concord Campus. Then he can be in paradise.
He didn't do any of that. Jesus saved him just because he asked. Now I'm thinking this must be a gift you can't earn. It must not have to do with my works at all. It must be something God gives, not something I get. All I have to do is receive it.
Then I'm a little convicted how he's on the cross and is thinking about his mom, because I don't think about others while I'm going through good times, let alone hard times. I don't even like to let people merge in traffic on , because I'm in a hurry. Here's Jesus dying and thinking about somebody else. All of this has been challenging me
Wade gets up and says that God was forsaken by God, the Son by the Father, so that we would never have to be abandoned. Then I come to this little phrase, and I don't know what to do with it. Jesus now says one of his last sayings on the cross. This is mile five, commonly known as the word of distress.
It's called the word of distress, but after today you're going to see that it's actually the word of destiny. I'm going to show you. He says something strange. Let's look at it together. He has been mocked. He has been flogged. He has been sentenced, handed over to die. He's bleeding, he's suffocating, and he's hanging there.