Steven Furtick — There's More To The Story
There's More to the Story. That's my subject for today. Touch your neighbor for the third of 17 times and tell them, "You don't even know. You don't know the half of it."
What kind of voice was that? It got me thinking. When I left you last week, you were on carbohydrate overload, and Joshua had taken the people back to Shechem, the place where God made Abraham the promise, and now the promise has been proven.
He's saying, "Don't forget. Now that you've been successful, don't forget. It would be easy now to settle, but don't stop here. You can't stop here. There's more God wants to do."
I really enjoyed preaching that sermon, but I had to stop... When you preach, you always feel a little bit frustrated no matter how much you feel like the sermon went well, because there's a lot you would want to say that you didn't get to say.
In the case of last week, I should probably tell you something. That is, Joshua's motivational speech was not successful. We kind of ended on a high note last week, but to really get the full context of what Joshua was saying to the people you would have to go all the way to the book of Judges.
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)
I didn't want to close the sermon with that last week, because I didn't think it would bring you holiday joy, but I thought we should pick up where we left off.
There's more to the story. It wasn't that the generation that lived after Joshua in the Promised Land didn't know the story. They just didn't own it. Is it possible that you know the story and have not yet owned it? It was cool to me...
The other day Elijah, our oldest son, years old, almost the same age as the church... I can always tell what dysfunctions the church is going to have next by studying his.
Our church will enter its teenage years right after he does, so I'll be ready...as a pastor. Nothing can prepare you as a parent. Some of you all had a flashback right there. It was cool the other day.
He said, "When did Elevation get big?" Part of me wanted to say, "Big? We're just getting started right now." But to him it's normal people get baptized every week. It's normal opening the sixth permanent location in less than 11 years. To him it's normal black people and white people coming to church together.
To him it's normal. It's just normal. Normal stuff to him. Miracles to me, because I know the whole story. I always want to tell you the stories about the church. I don't want to bore you. There are so many stories I would want to tell you.
If I were at Rock Hill today, I'd probably tell the story about when I went to speak at Winthrop University. Tyler Ford went with me. We loaded up my Jeep Cherokee and his vehicle too.
We set up a booth and preached to students in a room at Winthrop University. The church hadn't even really officially started yet. There were students in a room that seated about 1,200 to 1,500 people. It was an excellent atmosphere.
Let me tell you that right now. When I got done preaching... I think they actually had the idea to use candles instead of lighting that day. They did a candlelight thing in a big old room. It was terrible. It was supposed to be abstract or something like that, and it was just stupid.
Anyway, we did the best we could and we preached. I said, "Come see me at the booth if you want to know more about this church I'm starting." I would tell them if I were there about the five college students who came on over to the Matthews Community Center for a launch team meeting.
I was so happy to see those college kids, because our church had not yet reached critical mass. Never mind that they couldn't tithe. I didn't care they were broke. Even if they put a ramen noodle in the offering bowl, it was just good to have five people.
To think now in that same town where I was excited to see five college students walk in late over years ago thousands of people are coming out there. For me it's a full-circle moment. I get happy thinking about it. I get emotional thinking about it.
It's funny, because I'll be telling that story and I'll see somebody yawn and I'll get mad. How can you yawn? But God spoke to me about that one time. He said, "They don't know." They don't know what it cost. They don't know where it started.
Every time there comes an opportunity to give, we give, we give joyfully, we give cheerfully, so that the story can continue, so that the circle will be unbroken.