Steven Furtick - Holiday Season Survival Guide
This is an excerpt from: Something Good Is Coming From This!
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, how is God going to bring forth that kind of fruit? Self-control. To put me in a situation where I have to control myself. How is he going to give me peace? By putting me in situations that don't feel peaceful. "O little town of Bethlehem…" No wonder we don't put Egypt at the manger scene. Why would we want to remind ourselves that Jesus was called out of Egypt? It helps me to know that, because when I find myself in Egypt, I can have an eager expectation that something good… This is where I know enough to know that I don't know. I don't know what. We want to have a great Christmas. We want to have a great this, a great that, but we don't even know what great should look like, not in the context of the bigger picture of our lives. So, we think we know when. We think we know where. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an unexpected place. Even the pregnancy was unplanned. Mary is explaining biology to the angel. "I have not been with a man. How is this possible"?
The entire context of this Christmas story is God doesn't ask you. He doesn't need you to tell him about the birds and the bees. "Well, Lord, here's how this works, see. This is how it's supposed to be in my life. This is how my kids are supposed to… This is how my family is supposed to turn out. This is how it's supposed to be. This is where I'm supposed to work. This is what I'm called to do. This is my ministry. This is my gift". But sometimes stuff in your life is born in Bethlehem. Sometimes gifts are brought out of Egypt. Let's do our title, altogether now, a little more humble this time. Something good… Do you see how your hands are right there? That's how you need to approach the next two weeks around all of these relatives. Y'all, make a meme of me on the YTH account doing this.
This is your holiday season survival guide right here. Something good… I don't know what. I'm not trying to predict it. I'm not trying to control it. I'm not trying to manipulate it. I'm not trying to script it. Just something good. Adam and Eve got in trouble when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It's when they thought they were God and knew what was good and what wasn't. That's when sin entered. That's when they lost access to the garden. That's when we lose our peace and our joy and our connection with God. But if you can make this confession… Let's do it again. Your hands got tired. Get them back up. Something good is coming from this. Not that. That's what the Jewish rulers were looking for: a different kind of messiah. "When Messiah comes, he'll do this and he'll do that". No, no, no. "You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger".
Something good. It has been a hard year. It has been ups and downs. And you know what? We'll be sitting here at the end of '22, and I'll say the same thing, and you'll say, "Amen" again. It has been a hard year. We'll be up here in 2057… I'm going to be up here, "It was a hard year," leaning on the pulpit, and you saying, "Amen". But something good is coming from this. When Joseph left Egypt, he did not go back to Bethlehem. He couldn't. He wanted to. He intended to go stay where Jesus was born, but he couldn't go back to Bethlehem. All over this Christmas story that we love and cherish so much is people having to take directions they never planned on. Every blessing we celebrate this season was on a back road. I'm happy about it, because it means if I don't feel on schedule and I didn't plan for this, something good is coming from this.
Now, can I show you one more thing? Do you know Isaiah 9:6? "He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace". Have you heard that Scripture? That's an awesome Scripture. It's about Jesus. "He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". All right. Let's add one more to it. Matthew 2:23 says, "He was called a Nazarene". Not only did he find his beginnings in Bethlehem, not only did he escape to Egypt where he was kept by the providence of God until the time that those who sought his life were dead (how God has been keeping you in this season), but he went back to Nazareth where Joseph was from. Nazareth?
If you think Moncks Corner was small, you haven't ever been to Nazareth. They don't even have back roads in Nazareth. There's not even evidence in the Old Testament that Nazareth existed. You can't find it. Send it to me this week when you find it in the Old Testament. I'll wait. It's not there. It's not really on the map, where Jesus grew up, is it? It's not really on the map, what you're going through, was it? You have a TomTom faith. You're trying to navigate your life how to do stuff that you've never seen done. That's hard. How did I read the Christmas story so long and not notice that he was called not only all of those beautiful things (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace), but he was called a Nazarene? That was not a compliment. Thank God for Nathanael. He said something that gives us an insight into why Jesus had to be called a Nazarene, and I think the Lord is going to use this to speak to you. "Something good is coming from this". When one of the disciples named Philip met Jesus, he came back to Nathanael and said, "We found him".
Now, he didn't have a star to guide him, like the magi. Jesus is now 30 years old, and he's starting to operate in his gift, and they recognized him. Watch what Nathanael said. In John 1:45, Philip said, "He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph". Look at Nathanael's response to that. Verse 46: "Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth"? I like what Philip said. "Come and see". Can anything…? I don't know. I'm not trying to tell you… There are people in this church who lost their mom this year. What kind of malpractice would it be for me to preach a message called "It's All Good" when you lost your mom? There are people who spent two months in the hospital this year, so for me to say, "It's all good that you were hooked up to a ventilator…"
There are people who are watching this message in a hospital or a prison right now, and a lot of them don't have the luxury of trying to decide, "You want Panera for lunch or do you have time to sit down somewhere a little nicer"? They don't have the luxury of checking their texts in the middle of the sermon. They don't have the luxury. They need this word as a lifeline. They didn't come here because Mom made them. They didn't come here for any of that. They didn't come here because they got a new outfit. They didn't come here to beat the crowd for the Christmas Eve service. They didn't come for that. They came because they need a Savior, which is Christ the Lord, who was born in Bethlehem, who escaped to Egypt and was raised in Nazareth, a place with no reputation, a place that was known for immorality, a place that was known for its obscurity, a place you couldn't even find on the GPS, a place you would never expect to see royalty, a place where you would never search for greatness, a place that was not associated with great people and great sages and great prophets.
Something good came from Nazareth, and I'm making a prophetic declaration over your life today. Something good is coming from this! It's something good. If the Son of God can come from Nazareth, something good is coming from this! I'll give you 22 seconds to declare it into the new year. Something good, something God, something great, something lasting, something fruitful, something fresh, something favored, something blessed! Something good is coming from this! And he shall be called Wonderful Nazarene, Counselor Nazarene, Mighty God from Nazareth. Something good is coming from this! Something good! Touch at least 12 people and tell them, "Something good". Before the end of the year, expect something good! I know you. You're playing me off. "This is that health and wealth, prosperity, 'name it and claim it.'" No, no, no. You heard me wrong. God gets to call it good.
My expectation is flexible, more flexible than my hamstrings. That's as far as I can go. I'm leaving God room to decide what he calls good. I'm walking in the new year with a flexible faith, Devil. Something good. I have my hands open. I have my heart open. I have my mind open. Something good. Joseph understood the assignment. All I have to do is take his word by faith. All I have to do is open. All I have to do is trust him. Something good is coming from this! Can anything good come from Nazareth? You bet it can! Jesus came from Nazareth. The Savior came. Something good! I don't know how, I don't know when, but I believe it! It's coming. It's coming right now. It's coming! God is not Amazon. This package will not be delayed. Something good! There are no shipping delays in heaven. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above. Something good. Teach me, Lord. You give. You take away. It's going to be good. Something good. I walked around my house. I said it for an hour the other day. "Something good is coming from this".
The Devil tried to get me back there to past stuff. I said, "No, not that…this". Then the Devil tried to take me to the hypothetical. "Well, what if"? I said, "Not there…here, this". Something good. He was a beautiful baby, but he was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He was called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, but he was born in Bethlehem, he escaped to Egypt, and he was called a Nazarene. Stop calling it what people call it. Start calling it what God calls it: wonderful. Something good.