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Watch 2022 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Shift Your Focus Off What's Lost

Steven Furtick - Shift Your Focus Off What's Lost


Steven Furtick - Shift Your Focus Off What's Lost
TOPICS: Focus

This is an excerpt from: But Now Be Strong

You have to learn how to focus on what is left, not what is lost. Sometimes the distraction is you thinking about something you had in the past that you don't have right now. Sometimes you are missing things God is bringing because you are missing people God removed. I'm not saying everybody who leaves your life is because God took them out because they couldn't handle you on the next level. That's not my message. But there was a word in there where he said, "Speak to the remnant". There are only 60,000 Jews who came back. Talk to those. Speak to the ones who are still here. Work with the strength you still have. Muster the energy that is left in your body.

Take the opportunity you have seriously. That's the first R we mentioned, but the second one… I think it's really important, because his second rhetorical question… Verse 3: "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory"? Then the second question is also a rhetorical question: "How does it look to you now"? What a question. This is not just rhetorical; this is historical. There are a few of these returning exiles who saw Solomon's temple firsthand, and they remember what they think it was like. By the way, the future and the past have one thing in common: they're both fiction. The future you imagine for you… You know, 30 pounds lighter or 30 million richer or whatever it is. You know what I'm saying.

That future is no more imaginary than the story you tell yourself about how the past was. The future is filtered through your ignorance. You don't know what's going to happen at 1:30 today. You didn't even know Cam was coming back, did you? Nobody told you that. Nobody called you. Nobody approved that with you. You didn't see that coming, and you really think you can predict what it's going to be… I love people. "You need to make a 10-year plan". Honey, I need a 10-minute plan. It's 2021. I need a 10-second plan. I need a way right now in this moment not to freak out. Now! Sometimes you get so far out there in the future and see yourself married or see yourself divorced or see yourself whatever condition you are praying about that's opposite of the condition you prayed yourself into right now… That's a fantasy, but so is what we tell ourselves about our past. "Nobody ever really believed in me".

I wish I could ask all of your middle school teachers how much they had to put up with out of you just not to kick you out of school, because the truth is you should have been expelled. The fact that they believed in you is the fact that they graduated you and gave you a C just to get you out of their class. I'm having fun with it, but it's really kind of a deep thing to consider, that sometimes what holds you hostage is a story you have told yourself that never really happened, like you memorized it in your heart. Then with time you look back and say, "Oh, well, maybe actually I was part of the reason to blame for that. Huh. Because now I've seen the same exact pattern play out in eight straight relationships. Maybe it wasn't eight dysfunctional devils I was dating. Maybe the smell is coming from inside the car. I think it's something under the floor mats. I don't think it's…"

So, the people who were there to see it firsthand… You have to imagine. This is an amazing moment. Back from Babylon. "The future is in front of us. Maybe we can be a nation again. Maybe the glory of God will visit us again". At the moment of great possibility comes the memory of the past, the past as it never really was, the past as you imagine it was, the past as you remember it was. I keep a list of stuff I did for my kids. When they go to therapy one day as adults, I'm going to make sure their therapist gets that list before they start.

"Here's what they're not telling you. Here are all of the vacations they don't remember. Here are all of the times I was nice to them and didn't take their phone. Here's the time I could have thrown them out a window, but I didn't, because I'm a good, good father, and I have a list to prove it". It has been traumatic. No, it has really been traumatic for these people. This is not like the economy was shut down for months. Their nation was completely destroyed. No, no, no. I don't mean the economy was destroyed and the stock market was fluctuating. I mean they had to develop a completely new template in Babylon.

So, now you have two things happening simultaneously, and you always do. You have the new generation who didn't see Solomon's temple. You have the older generation (specifically, the priests, the Levites, and the leaders) who saw the old one. Ezra tells us what happened that made Haggai's encouragement necessary. Go to Ezra, chapter 3. Y'all aren't flipping your Bibles. Do you have it on your phone? See, this is one of those things where, as a preacher, I want to fuss. "I remember when people used to bring their Bibles to church". But you know what? I don't think that's necessarily better than having it right there on your phone, because if it's right there on my phone, I can have it anytime the Devil hits me. I can just look at it. Nobody even knows I'm reading my Bible. I'm acting like I'm paying attention to this meeting. "Let me check my notes real quick". But I'm really over here in Obadiah.

Notice the temptation. "Oh, it was better when people used to bring their Bibles to church. Oh, it was better before". They didn't read them during the week back then. Watch this. Ezra, chapter 3. "When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.'" So, they were singing, "I am good; you are loved". "And all the people…" Y'all get ready to act out the text. "…gave a great shout…" That's a medium shout. It wasn't a bad shout, but it wasn't a great shout. "All the people gave a great shout…"

I want to see which campus can shout the loudest. Make a video of your campus and send it to me real quick. "All the people gave a great shout…" Not a baby shout. No, no, no! It's a great shout! A great shout. "Look at the foundation! This is amazing! We're going to have a temple again. We're going to have a temple again. We're going to have a temple again. Oh, I heard about the temple. I always wished I could have a temple. My grandad would tell me about the temple. He'd tell me about the incense. He'd tell me about the bowls. He'd tell me about the prayers. He'd tell me about the Holy of Holies, tell me about the sacrifice, tell me about the atonement, tell me about the mercy, tell me about the presence, tell me about the glory, tell me about the inner sanctuary. We're going to have a temple. We're going to have a temple. We're getting a temple. We're getting a temple". So, they start blowing trumpets. They start playing 808s. They start having a party and praising God over the progress.

You have to learn to praise God over progress, not just product. That's what gives you momentum. You have to praise God for 10 yards, not just touchdowns. You have to praise God for every trimester. You have to praise God. You have to do it or you'll get distracted and discouraged like the Levites, because while one generation is praising God… "Oh, we're going to have a temple. Y'all, it's going to be amazing. I can't wait to get in this temple and praise God. Oh, this is going to be incredible". And here come the people who should be leading the praise party, and while the young people are blowing trumpets… It says (verse 12), "But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others…" But here's the problem. Verse 13: "No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping…" It all just started sounding like noise.

Has it been noisy in your heart lately? You can't tell the difference of "Whose voice is this? Is this God or is this the Devil or is it just my Twitter feed? Is this God, is this the Devil, or is it just me? Is this faith or is this foolishness"? How could a group of people from the same nation be standing at the same foundation, one of them pulling out trumpets and one of them in tears? Trumpets and tears, both at the same time. Trumpets and tears. She's shouting, "Come on now" and he's sleeping, in the same sermon. Trumpets and tears. Celebration; devastation. Expectation; disappointment. Looking at the same thing. One voice is saying, "This is amazing". One voice is saying, "It isn't like the old one. The old one was better. Solomon's temple was so good. There was so much gold in Solomon's temple. Solomon's temple was… This isn't going to be like it was. I used to have so much more". At some point, the disappointment starts drowning out the faith.
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