Steven Furtick - This Perspective Can Change Your Year
This is an excerpt from: I'm Glad It Happened
Somebody broke up with you and you thought you couldn't make it without 'em and then you looked 'em up on Facebook and you fell on your knees and thanked God that they broke your heart. Oh, thank God they weren't interested in me. Look what could have been. Look what the Lord has done. I don't always understand the reason but I praise God for the result. This takes faith. Can you praise God for the result of a situation that is not yet resolved? Not to say ten years later I'm glad it happened. But while you are still sitting in a Roman prison cell can you say: God, if you're gonna get some glory out of this, I'm glad! Paul might've talked to Lazarus. He might have. I don't know when Lazarus died the second time.
Now the first time he died was weird. 'Cause Jesus knew he was sick and he was about to go to him but he delayed his trip to let him die. Weirdest thing in the world for the Son of God, the Savior of humankind, the compassionate Christ, the one who combs the hair of lambs on his lap as he sings lullabies to the lambs... You know, the Jesus you always hear about. He said something so shocking to his disciples when they came to him with the news that Lazarus who he loved had died.
I wanna put it on the screen 'cause you won't believe it's in the Bible if I don't show it to you. He told his disciples plainly. "Lazarus is dead". Watch what comes next. Not weeping. Not tears. But "for your sake I'm glad". I'm glad it happened. I'm glad I didn't get there in time to heal him. I'm glad because now I get to show you a level of my glory that you could not see if I had shown up and done what you thought I should do. I'm glad it happened.
I looked at my friend. I said, you know I wouldn't choose what we went through but I don't think I'd change it either. I don't think I would change it. See, I'm glad it happened whatever it may be for you. I'm not talking about the promotion, of course, you're glad that happened. I'm not talking about the miracle breakthrough that you got the check in the mail, the tax refund. Of course, you're glad that happened. I'm talking about the thing that other people feel sorry for you about. Having the faith to say I'm glad for my weakness. It led me to deeper strength. Being quiet at the praise party. I know how to preach you into a little bit of a frenzy. I can do that anytime. This is the deep work that requires mature faith to be able to look at something.
When I grew up in the Methodist church we used to have in the youth group we had prayer request and praise reports. This is old school. Why don't we bring that back in the church? That would be wonderful Pastor Steven. No. People are too crazy and I will not give them the mic. OK? Alright. That's good. But Paul would've messed up praise reports and prayer requests 'cause the praise reports is where you put the good stuff and the prayer request is where you put the bad stuff. But Paul has reached the point in his life now where he's at I don't know the difference anymore.
My prayer requests have become my praise reports. 'Cause I know y'all are praying for me to get out of prison but I gotta be honest with you. I'm running a revival and I'm not sure I'm ready to leave yet. So could y'all bring the prayers down a little bit 'cause I think there's something God still wants to do while I'm in this prison. Are y'all clapping to be polite or do you really believe that some of the things that you would have prayed away are the instruments of change?
See, Paul has no problem rejoicing because he knows the result. He knows the result. When I showed Graham Rocky IV I wasn't nervous when Drago won the first three rounds. Why? I know how this ends! Some of y'all need to look at 2018 before it even gets started and declare in the face of the Devil: I'm not nervous. I'm not worried. I'm not anxious. I'm not freaked out, stressed out, maxed out. I know how this ends! In fact, take 18 seconds right here and praise Him for how it ends before it ends. Oh, the Devil hates this! He hates when you get glad about what your eyes have not seen and your ears have not heard. God is going to get some glory out of everything I've gone through! The more I've gone through the greater the glory! Shout about that!
I'm glad about it. I'm glad about it. I'm not glad about the pain. I'm glad that in the pain is a purpose. I'm glad about it. Somebody say I'm glad about it. I'm glad about it. I cried enough about it. I spent enough time wishing it would go away. But now I'm standing here with my praise intact, in my right mind. I'm glad. I'm glad they rejected me. Showed me that God was enough and I don't need 'em. Where'd y'all go on that one? I didn't hear anything... So Paul makes a resolution now. He made the revision. He set the record straight. He said I want you to know what was really happening here. 'Cause y'all are feeling sorry for me but don't feel sorry for me. I'm getting results. God's getting some glory through my life. Don't feel sorry for me.
Aren't you glad that the storm stripped away everything that you really didn't need so you could know what was core to the essential nature of who Christ made you to be? Aren't you glad that you're not going into the next year carrying dead weight of worthless relationships? Aren't you glad that God closed some doors? So that you wouldn't spend years of your life in the wrong room. I'm glad it happened. I am glad it happened. I'm glad. I might not be able to smile when I say it but I'm gettin' there. I'm glad. I'm glad it happened. He said I made a resolution. How 'bout this. Just one New Year's resolution. This is the only one you really need. I mean do everything you wanted to do. Save the money. Put the kid to college fund. Go to the moon with Elon Musk. I don't care what you do. But do this too. This is 18b. "Yes, and I will continue to rejoice".
Now that's the resolution. I worry about that word rejoice because I think that you might think that it only means this or this. No, he's making a decision or a resolution because remember resolution is a decision, not an event. I'm not waiting to see how this turns out before I make my decision about my faith. So I reflect and I expect and Paul says I don't know how this is gonna turn out yet. They might kill me. I don't know what you're going through right now but it ain't this bad. That's why I brought Paul to the praise party. 'Cause if I say this crap you might just think I haven't ever been through anything. But you haven't had your life on the line for the gospel. Not yet. So Paul says I want you to know I made my resolution and I will continue to rejoice. Oh, Paul did you get good news? Are they about to release you? Don't know. Resolution is not an event. It's a decision.
Now watch the decision. It's verse 20. Verse 20 he says... We gotta get 19 as well. It's just too good. I can't do this to 19. I can't leave 19 sittin' right there just lookin' all pretty. "For I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened". Somebody say I'm glad it happened. I want that ringing in your spirit so you go out really confessing it and really declaring it and really living in that state of rejoicing that is not dependant on the outcome of your situation. I know that what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
Here's the Word. "I eagerly expect..." How many remember I preached a whole sermon on the Greek word that Paul made up because he couldn't find a word in the lexicon that described how he felt about the situation. 'Cause he couldn't say "I have a good feeling about this. I don't know I'm enthusiastic Bill". It wasn't one of those things. It was a from the gut gladness that only comes when your sole priority is the glory of God and nothing else holds weight in the court of your reasoning. So he made up a word from three different words. Remember? Apokaradokia. Three words. Apo- to look away. Kara - head. Dokia- stretch. Paul said I'm chained to the floor but these chains make a good sermon prop. 'Cause my feet are bound but my mind is free. I can't change my situation right now but I can make up my mind. And here's what I've decided and I need about 130 people who will make this decision. I eagerly expect, In other words, I stretch my head for my future.
I can see we need some exercise. Stand up. I'ma help you with your New Year's resolution. You wanted to exercise more. We're gonna do it before you hit the parking lot tonight. High five your neighbor say I'm glad it happened. I'm glad it happened. I'm glad it happened. Now I want you to do me a favor. Everybody. Every campus. Even the cool people who are too cool to high five your neighbor every time I tell you to high five your neighbor. I want you to turn around 180 degrees. Now if you are geometrically challenged you should be facing the opposite direction of a moment ago. Alright. The Word of God on this pulpit represents the promises that God has made to you and the future that He has in store. We came tonight to reflect but also to expect.
You can't go into what's next that has your name on it... Your next assignment, your next breakthrough, your next level of influence, your next season of real joy. You can't go into it facing this way. What happened, happened. It happened. Whether you wanted it to or not. Whether it was your fault or not. It happened. Acknowledge it. There were some disappointments this year. Some stuff that broke your heart. But you cannot experience the purpose of God in 2018 with your head in your past. I hear the spirit of God saying tonight it's turnaround time. It's turn around time. Don't turn around yet. Messin' up my illustration. Paul said I eagerly expect, what? That what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
Now I want you to turn 90 degrees. 90 degrees. Just 90. Just 90. Just 90 degrees. I don't care which 90. Just 90. Preferably so you're facing someone else. Could you face somebody? Hey. Now shut up don't strike up a conversation. Listen. Listen to me. You can't go into this next year facing your past and you can't go into this next year facing other people. You cannot look to them and compare yourself to them and compare your situation to theirs. Not in going to the future that God has for you. Paul said I want you to know that what has happened to me, what God has for me is for me.
Sometimes we are so busy comparing our situation to the situation of others. We are locked in cycles of resentment and regret. But it's turn around time. Somebody shout it's turn around time. Now I want you to turn another 90 degrees and we all should be facing forward. This is where I'm facing. I got my eyes... Put the camera on the pulpit. I got my eyes on the Word that God spoke to me. My eyes are on the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I got my head out my past. I got my feet in my lane. I got my eyes on the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ. I'm glad it happened. I'm glad for the dangers, the toils, the snares. I'm glad for the battles. I'm glad for the blessings. I came tonight to give you praise for all of it, God.