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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - #HarvestProblems

Steven Furtick - #HarvestProblems

Steven Furtick - #HarvestProblems
TOPICS: Harvest

There's one verse of Scripture that's on my heart to share with you today in John, chapter 4. Let's do two verses. You can handle two verses. We're standing in honor of the Word of God. We believe that this is our sustenance, our daily bread, so we're expecting for God to feed us. Jesus says in John, chapter 4, verse 34, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work. Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest". Come on and look at your neighbor, that good-looking one next to you, and tell them, "The harvest is here". I think you chose the wrong neighbor. Maybe you should look at the other one and tell them, "The harvest is here". I want to talk to you today about #HarvestProblems.

Father, anoint me as I communicate your Word. Help me to bring it forth clearly, and help me to bring it forth in a way that not only would it get said but it would get heard. Open the eyes of our hearts. In Jesus' name, amen.

I think the hardest part about preaching is certain things that we understand at a conceptual level we don't really understand on a practical level. Our spirituality can often be so abstract it doesn't really make a difference in our day-to-day lives. That would make me feel like a failure if all I did was make you feel okay for 45 minutes while you were here, because my job is to give you something that will strengthen you, and I take that job seriously. It's a challenge because… Take the two verses we just read. Verse 35 is the one I'm thinking about. Jesus is quoting a proverb. It's a farming proverb, a Middle Eastern proverb. It's ancient. It's not something we walk around saying. He says to his audience, "Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'"?

We don't have that saying, so now I'm trying to take a saying that they said that we never say… Most of us don't walk around saying that. Maybe you do. "It's four months till harvest". It's not exactly a part of our modern vernacular. It's doubly hard, because this is an agricultural culture, and most of us don't have a lot of familiarity with farming. Any farmers in the house? See, not that many. It's hard for me to use an agricultural example in an app store world. Context is so important. Context is how you have compassion for someone. You can talk about what "they" ought to do, but you are not them, and if you were them you might not be doing as well as they are doing with the situation they're living up under. Without understanding someone's context, it's very hard to have compassion for them.

That's why I make Holly preach a couple of times a year: so she can put up with me better. She's really nice to me after she preaches, because once she understands what it's like to have to stand up and look at you, try to get you excited… Some of y'all are sitting there, "Bless me if you can, big boy". So I make her do it a couple of times a year, and maybe that's why she leaves the kids with me a couple of times a year without any help, just so we can understand one another's context. Every concept needs a context, and context is what brings clarity. They text you something, you get offended, and then you find out they had the worst day of their life and they were at the hospital and it really wasn't that they were trying to be short with you. It's just that their world doesn't revolve around you, so it turns out you were mad at them for nothing, but you wouldn't have known that unless you got the full context.

Maybe you've thought a certain thing about black people or white people or people who are in the medical profession, and then you have a family member who's in the medical profession or you have somebody come into your family who's black or white, and now all of a sudden you have to take what was a concept, which is "All people are created equal," and you have to work it into the context of practical application. It becomes more difficult than to shout about unity when everybody in the church is white or black. Concepts are sometimes sexy.

Do you want an example? I can tell you want an example. You've heard of "first world problems". You might have heard of "white girl problems". One time, one of my friends said he was going to make a hashtag, because I was telling him about our parking situation at the church. I was telling it to him like it was a problem, and he said, "I'm going to make a hashtag for you: #blessedchurchproblems". The concept of a growing church sounds good until you have to find a parking space in a growing church…in the rain…on the week after Easter. Just hypothetically speaking here. Isn't it funny how many things are hypothetically really fun to talk about?

To talk about a harvest… I have been in this game for a little while now. I've been preaching since I was 16. That's 21 years. Whoa. I've been all over the world and preached. Praise the Lord for it. Sometimes when you get to preaching it doesn't go too well, so you have these little things as a preacher that you can go to to help you if the crowd is not into it. If the crowd is kind of hard, you can talk about, "Shout and the walls will fall"! and you can get a response from it. One time Graham heard me say that. "Shout till the walls fall down"! He said, "Daddy, why would you want the walls to fall down"? Think about it. He doesn't know Joshua, chapter 6, that the Israelites were going into Canaan and they had a command from God to defeat all of these different possessors of the land so they could have the promise. In his mind, if the walls collapse, that's bad.

Just like if I said right now in a different context to this section of the Ballantyne location, "Shout and the walls will fall," you would either be quiet or move. You don't want the walls to fall. Something about the context of it, that there are things in your life that are keeping you from what God has promised you, and on the other side of that wall is the promise of God, and now when I tell you, "If you praise him, whatever is blocking your perspective, every partition that is keeping you from possessing the promise of God is going to fall in your life. Now shout and the walls are going to fall". The walls fall. Then what? Well, then you have to fight.

Now do you still want to shout now that we have it in context? People shout over victory, but they don't want any battles. The concept, "I am more than a conqueror…" Yeah, but you don't want any conflict. How are you going to be a conqueror without a conflict? What are you going to fight? Your couch cushions? This thing about context really gets me. "I'm going to church today". That's not bad. I think you should come to church, and it's okay to say, "I'm going to church". I know what you mean. They didn't mean that in the original context of the Bible. The church was not a building. It wasn't a 501(c)(3) organization. They didn't have all that, so church couldn't be where they went; it had to be who they were, and they had to take it. When people called them a cult, they knew who they were.

"We are the church. You can call us a cult. You can say what you want about us, but the more you persecute us, the more we will populate the earth with the purpose of God". So in our context when we say, "Are you going to church?" it would be foreign to the early church. They would go, "Going to church? When are you ever not church? Church is what you are". We use the word worship… Our concept of worship… We'll say, "I missed worship, but I got there for the Word". To Paul it would be one thing. He would not understand that concept, because he got ready to define worship one time, and he said, "Therefore, in view of God's mercy…" That's the context: what he has done for you. "…offer yourself as a living sacrifice".

That's like that animal they would put on the altar in the Old Testament, and that animal would have to die for the sacrifice to be acceptable. He said your life ought to be like that sacrifice. You are dead to your self. You are dead to your preference. You are alive to the purpose of God. "This," Paul said, "is your spiritual act of worship". Not just this. "Hallelujah, hallelujah". No, no, no. It's a bigger context. Sometimes you get clarity not by zooming in but by zooming out and seeing the concept in a larger context. What happens is we use terminology in a way it was never intended to be used, and we water down the meaning of it. So this becomes a performance. Rather than participating in it, rather than contributing, you consume it. We do it all the time.

The other day I sent a text message to somebody, and they didn't respond. It wasn't because what I said earlier, that they had a bad day. It's because now you don't have to respond to a text message, at least on an iPhone (which Christians use). You can just "like" the message like you can "like" a post. Have you seen this yet? You can just tap the screen. It's not even called "liking" it. It's called "loving" it. You hit the heart and you "love" the message. So now we have love… "God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son". So love sacrifices even his only son, but now love taps a screen. It's not bad. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm not saying don't go to church. I'm not saying we can't call it worship. We have a whole team called Elevation Worship.

My point is that every concept needs a context. When we say harvest, most of us have no idea… As my mom used to say, "You wouldn't know a harvest if it hit you upside the head". My mom used to say that to me. I'd say, "Mom, this is hard. This homework is hard". She'd say, "You wouldn't know hard work if it hit you upside the head". She would say that to me as a little boy. The context in which we hear harvest is much different… Again, how many of you grew up on a farm? I do not mean you had cucumbers in your backyard one time. I mean like you have real farm experience. Raise your hand. Like really. Because I don't, and I need a little help. I'm reading this passage where Jesus said, "You have a saying, 'Four months till harvest.'" When I hear harvest, I get happy, because that means God is about to do something in my life. When I hear harvest, what I hear is, "I've worked hard. I plowed. I sowed. I watered. I cried. I waited. I was patient. I wasn't weary in well doing, and now I'm going to reap what I sowed. Now it's time for me to sit back and enjoy the harvest".

Harvest is the time, if you live on the farm, where you just sit back and… Oh. No? Hold on. This sister is helping me. She has context that we don't have. How many of you have never been on a farm, don't intend to be on a farm, and don't even like to warm up stuff in the microwave because it takes a little too long? In my mind I heard harvest, like the walls fall down. Breakthrough. When I hear harvest, I feel like it means God is about to hook me up. Now I've really worked… But that's not how it is? You grew up on a farm, a real farm? I'm going to say what she says in my microphone, because she's saying some stuff and I want you to hear it, but I don't know her, so I'm not giving her a microphone at this point in our relationship. It's too early. So during harvest you sleep in? Oh. No? My concept of harvest is the blessing.

Listen to what this girl just said. I might give her a microphone if she keeps preaching. You didn't hear her. Turn to your neighbor and tell your neighbor what she just said. She said, "The corn is not going to pick itself". It's not going to pick itself. You have a saying, "The harvest is here". Well, maybe the concept of harvest has been a little watered down, and maybe we don't understand. I heard a preacher preach one time, and he said, "The harvest is the hardest part". That's when you're waking up the earliest, and that's when you're going to bed the latest: during the harvest. I just noticed something. They stopped shouting now. The first time I said, "The harvest is here," there was a lot of shouting, but we gave it context, and now I'm realizing that harvest isn't like Krispy Kreme. Harvest is not a "Hot Now" sign. Harvest doesn't mean I drive through and pick it up and eat it while I'm driving off. Ask our worship team about the harvest. Pray for them. They've been out on the road on this tour. We wrote these songs in the church, and we've been singing them, and now they're being sung all over the world.

So guess what they're doing? They are working. They've been touring. I think they're going to 22 cities, a lot of cities, to get the harvest. We sowed, and now we want to reap, but you can't reap with your feet up. It's hard. Harvest is hard. Preaching is hard. You're eating. You don't have to study anything to come here. You don't have to write anything down. You can just steal the pen and use it for other ungodly purposes. But for me, it's not easy. People will say, "Oh, didn't you enjoy Easter, Pastor Steven"? No, not really. It was exhausting. All of those different worship experiences. Now I'm going to enjoy the result of it, but reaping isn't easy. Somebody said to me this week, "I can't wait to hear the sermon and see what God downloaded". It wasn't a download. I dug it out. I dug this out so you could get the download. What you receive as a download somebody had to dig out. It takes work. Somebody had to sow so that you could reap.

Let me give you a little context. A few weeks ago I preached on John, chapter 4, but my theme was a little different. I was talking about thirst. This week I'm talking about hunger. It's kind of a sequel. The two are really connected, how Jesus went to Samaria… In fact, the way I said it really doesn't give you the full context. The Bible says he had to go through Samaria, not because there wasn't another route but because he had a reason for going through there. He could have gone around Samaria. Every other Jew went around Samaria, because they hated the Samaritans and the Samaritans hated them. Samaria was a place of great cultural conflict. Our context for Samaritan is a positive one. Why? Because when we think Samaritan, we think Good Samaritan. Even people who don't go to church have heard the phrase. "He's a Good Samaritan".

It's Bob helping Miss Bernice across the street. "He's a Good Samaritan". In their context, the phrase Good Samaritan for the Jewish people would be like saying, "That nice young man in ISIS," because they hated the Samaritans, and, of course, they hated them because they were hated, and there was great cultural conflict and great religious discrepancy. The Samaritans had once desecrated the Jewish people's place of worship, and the Samaritans considered themselves the true people of God, and the Jewish people considered the Samaritans half-breeds, so there's all this conflict, and Jesus walks straight into it, straight into the context of the conflict. He goes through Samaria. His disciples are hungry, so they go to Whataburger, because you can't get Whataburger just anywhere. They wanted to get some Whataburger, and they left Jesus at a well.

Jesus is waiting for a woman who doesn't know what he's doing there, and they start having a conversation. As the woman comes, she wants to get some water, because that's what she came out to do. We learned a few weeks ago that this wasn't just any woman. She was a thirsty woman, and I mean that just like you think I mean it. We find out in the story that she had five husbands. Somebody say, "Problems". Yeah, if you've had five husbands, that wasn't just a bad decision. It's a pattern. If you have new friends every two years and you can't keep any of them, it's not that God is taking them out of your life. It's that you're not a very relationally gifted or skilled person. It's a pattern. She had a problem, and her problem was that there's this man at the well who wants to talk with her, and she wants to get some water.

Her problem is blocking her (so she thinks) from receiving what she needs, but, actually, we learn in the course of their discourse that what she perceives to be her greatest problem is her greatest opportunity. Rather than leaving with some water, she is meeting living water, and when she leaves she will no longer need a husband to make her happy or fulfilled. She comes to the well to get water, and, instead, Jesus is waiting, trying to get water inside of her. It's very deep. Just to give you a little bit of the context, I want to pick up… I can't do the whole conversation. It's about 42 verses of Scripture. They start an argument. Jesus is trying to get the woman to get past the way things appear, because she wants to keep the argument at an abstract, conceptual level. "Where should we go to worship? The Samaritans worship here. The Jews worship here. You're a man. I'm a woman. You're not supposed to be talking to me, according to Jewish law, and you're a rabbi, and you don't like us," and all of this.

She's trying to keep the conversation up here at a conceptual level, and Jesus makes it really practical and speaks to her situation. When he does that, something happens in her. She realizes that this isn't about geographical locations and it's not about physical water. It's about something within her. When will you realize it is not about your job? That's not your biggest problem. When will you realize it's not about your income level? Some people make millions of dollars and end up more broke than minimum wage workers, because if it's not right within, your life will leak. She's kind of discovering what we all have to discover, that the real need of our lives is within.

See, he's talking to this woman, and the disciples are grubbing. They just killed some ChickfilA. They're full now, and they come back and see Jesus talking to this woman, which is a problem. This is not good for PR. She's a Samaritan. She's a Democrat. She's a Republican. They walk back up, and look at verse 27. "They were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, 'What do you want? Why are you talking with her?'" Maybe they had their own assumptions. Maybe they were scared to say something. No, Peter would have said something. He was never scared to say something. They're trying to figure it out, standing off to the side, but this is a problem.

See, the woman had a problem, because she wanted to get water, but now there's this man sitting on the well, so she can't get the water. He is the water, and she doesn't know that, and he's being all confusing, because she doesn't understand the context of the conversation yet. Often your spiritual journey will feel confusing at first. The only way to clarity is to begin with confusion. You have to start where you are. You can't start where you want to be. It's going back and forth, and there's this exchange. He's like, "Hey, give me a drink of water," and she's like, "Why are you asking me for water?" and he's like, "Well, if you really got it, if you knew what this was all about, if you understood the context of this conversation, you would ask me and I would give you water. You wouldn't need water anymore because you'd have something inside of you that would satisfy your need better than John and Jimmy and Juan and all these other wells you've been going to, coming up empty". She goes, "Yeah, but you don't have a bucket".

He looks at her, and he doesn't say this in the text, but I know what he's thinking. He's thinking, "I'm looking at one. You're about to be my bucket. You're about to become a bucket, because I want to get this water into Samaria to the place that people are going around, to the place where religion has quarantined these people. I want to get some water in there, and I need a bucket, and I think you'd be a good one". I can be a good bucket. Touch somebody and say, "You're on his bucket list". We have a saying in our church, "See what God can do through you". They had a saying, "Four more months to the harvest". We have a saying, "See what God can do through you". That's why there was somebody to help park your car today, because some people came to church and they didn't just want to see what God could do for them. They didn't just come to get a blessing. They came to be a bucket.

Come on and clap. Clap for the eKidz volunteers. Clap for the ushers. Clap for the greeters. Clap for the welcome team. Clap for the buckets. The only way you can receive the water of this word I'm preaching is that there were buckets who were available. This woman has been through some stuff, but sometimes the people who have been through the most make the best buckets. The disciples come back and see him talking to this woman, but they don't see her as a bucket. They see her as a blockage, and they're concerned about Jesus. One of them, it doesn't say who… Maybe it was John, because he wrote this, and maybe he didn't want us to know he was this stupid so he just generically says… Look at verse 28. The disciples are coming back to town. The woman is talking to Jesus. She gets so excited she leaves her water jar and goes back to the town. Where did she go? What's the name of the town? Samaria. She went back to the place they hated as they were coming, and she said to the people, the Samaritans, the ones the disciples would have walked around, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did".

Now watch this. She doesn't give them a conclusion. She asks a question. You may be thinking that the way God proves his presence in your life is by bringing you to conclusions, like, "When I understand this" or "When I get that". So we're waiting on this place when it will all make sense, but she still has questions. Does anybody here still have questions? I mean, you've been a Christian maybe 35 years, but you still have questions. She's just beginning, and she's willing to go back and get these people. She's curious, but she isn't certain yet. That's a good starting place. She says, "Come see a man," and they're like, "Yeah, I bet you did meet a man. What's his name this time? Who are you moving in with now? Who are you hooking up with now"? "No, no. This man is different. He saw beneath the surface. This man is different than all the other broken jars I've tried to fill that could not hold water. This one is different. This is a man who told me everything I ever did".

Now Jesus didn't really tell her everything she ever did. All he did was say, "You have five husbands, and you're shacking with Ronny," but somehow it penetrated beneath the surface. She realized she was in the presence of something she didn't understand, but she wanted people to see, so she heads back into town. She asks a question. "Could this be the Messiah"? And they followed her, because they just had to meet this man. They just had to see this well. They just had to experience and encounter the possibility that this might be the one. So they came. Meanwhile… Look at verse 31. They came from Samaria toward the well. Meanwhile, Jesus' disciples are like, "Hey, man. Eat something". Now listen. You have to give them credit. They were trying to do what they thought needed to be done. Jesus was hungry. "Hey, Jesus. We brought you a burger. We held the mayo". Jesus didn't eat mayonnaise or onions. "No mayo, no onions. Eat this burger".

I want you to watch verse 32. It is the ultimate Jesus juke, but Jesus is allowed to Jesus juke. They go, "Hey, we brought you a doggie bag". He goes, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about". "I have something that sustains me that you can't see. That's how I praise God in the midst of my problems. I have something on the inside". These poor disciples. They just didn't get it. I know they didn't get it, because in verse 33 they look at each other and say, "Did you give him a protein bar? Did you slip him something? I didn't see him eat". Why? Because they are meal minded. They're on this level. "Where's the next meal"? That's where many of us live…the next meal, the next compliment, the next relationship, the next thing on our to-do lists, the next crisis. Just need to eat something. Meal minded. "Eat something, Jesus". He's like, "Get that food out of my face. I don't need to eat right now. I'm working on something".

This is why some of your friends don't understand you right now, because they're still thinking about the next meal, but you're thinking about the mission. Is anybody on a mission in this church today? Come on, I have a mission. That's why I'm focused. I have a mission. That's why I'm determined. I have a mission. That's why I got up this morning and made my way to the house of God. That's why I had to go to Samaria. Somebody shout, "I'm on a mission"! "There are some things I can't eat in this season, some calls I can't return in this season, some opportunities I have to say no to. I can't hang with you. It's harvest time. It's not going to pick itself. I have to reap it before it rots".

Some of you keep on waiting for the blessing of God, and he gave it to you, but it's rotting because you're not reaping. Come on, it's reaping time! The harvest is here. They were thinking about a Happy Meal. He was thinking about a harvest. I've wasted so many days with a meal on my mind, convenience on my mind. My need for convenience has kept me from seeing my calling, and my need for comfort has kept me from my calling, and my need for preference has kept me from my purpose, because I'm meal minded. Some people came to church today to eat, and that's wonderful. I'll feed you, and I'll try to make sure it has some flavor and seasoning, and I'll try to make sure you don't leave hungry, but how long are you going to come here and just eat? Aren't you ready to reap something? Aren't you ready to see what God can do through you?

That's what they're doing in the parking lot. They're reaping. They're mission minded. Volunteers, make some noise. Reapers, rejoice. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain. It's harvest time. When 1,200 people came to Christ on Easter, you had a part in that. That's your harvest. Now you decide on what level you want to live: the meal or the mission, the well you keep coming back to or the well that won't run dry. Whether the conversation was about water or whether it was about food, Jesus was on a mission level. When I give, I give on mission. I had a friend one time who said to me, "I just love it when you talk about the tides". I said, "The who"? He said, "You know, when you get ready to get people to give and you say, 'The tides and offerings.'" He said, "That's so beautiful". I said, "Bro, are you saying the 'Tides' like the detergent, like the pen that you do the stain, like Tide"? He said, "No, bro, I love the ocean, so when you talk about the tides, I get it. It makes it make sense to me".

I didn't want to laugh at him, but I put my arm around him. I said, "I'm not talking about the… It's tithe". He goes, "Oh, what's a tithe"? See, no context. Here I am just thinking that everybody knows. "Jesus, do you want a burger"? I explained to him. I said, "When we say tithe, tithe means tenth. The way this ministry happens is that people who have been fed by the Word sow into it, and they sow with expectation". If everybody who was clapping did it, we would never have another bill and we could build 17 campuses. My context for giving isn't like, "Ten percent? That's big". It's like, "Ninety percent that he lets me keep, that he would bless me and give me life? It's the least I can do. It's my reasonable act of worship". It's an act of worship. It's not how I pay the bills. No, it's how I receive the blessing. It's a blessing to sow. It's not a sacrifice. You'll never do it if you see it as a sacrifice. So Jesus is like, "Get in on this. It's the harvest".

You won't ever have a harvest if you never learn to sow the seed, and you'll never sow the seed if all you do is eat it. You keep trying to get it, and the tides will just come in and come in and come in and never go back out, and then you'll be in a drought. You'll be thirsty. You wait for encouragement, and you wait for opportunity, and you wait and wait, and you have a saying. "Four months and then the harvest". We have these sayings at church. "Your blessing is on the way". It's great. It preaches great. What's the context? "The harvest is here. Yes, Lord! Hallelujah"! The favor of God, the glory of God… What does it mean? Jesus is like, "Keep your meal. I have food to eat that you don't know about. I have something that motivates me that goes far beyond this moment. So keep your food". In other words, "You eat; I'll reap".

All you teenagers need to get an attitude about your friends who have no focus. "Y'all eat; I'll reap. The seeds for my future are in the faithfulness of my today. So y'all eat. Y'all party. I have a purpose to fulfill". "You eat; I'll reap". This is a farm-to-table sermon, but it's the other way around. I'm trying to get y'all from the table to the farm, from the point where you just sit back and stuff yourself and wonder why you're getting fat and lethargic. Let's go back to verse 35 now that we have a context. He said, "Don't you have a saying? Don't you say, 'Four months and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields. They're ripe for harvest". It's coming. Open your eyes and look. The disciples are like, "Yeah, yeah. We know the harvest is coming and all that, but eat something first". "No, lift your eyes and look. Stop looking at that little bag. Stop looking at your waffle fries. Put down your milkshake and look. Here comes the harvest".

So they look up, and what do they see? He says, "The fields are ripe". What do they see? The amber waves of grain. Right? The beautiful, luscious fields, the fields ripe with the harvest. That's what they see. What do they see when they look up? They see the blessing. Let's put it in context. We really have to put this in context to understand it right. He says, "The fields are ripe to the harvest. Open your eyes and look". So they look up, and do you remember what I told you when the woman went back to the town and the woman comes back with the men from the town? When they looked up when Jesus said, "Here comes the harvest," what did they see? Samaritans. The disciples look at Jesus and say, "This is great. We want to hear more about the harvest, but these Samaritans are coming, and they're a problem".

Jesus says, "Yeah, lift your eyes. Here comes the harvest". "Yeah, yeah, Jesus. That's good, but let us deal with these Samaritans and send them away so we can get to this harvest you're talking about". Jesus said, "You're still missing it. Lift your eyes and look. Here comes the harvest". The disciples realized, "What I've been calling a problem God calls the harvest. It's here"! Shout about it, somebody! Oh, you'd better get up on your feet and shout, "The harvest is here"! I need to close this message, but I wanted to let you know that what you call a problem heaven calls a harvest. We keep waiting for everything to be right in our lives to feel blessed, to have joy, to give back.

"Oh, well, I'm just in this season right now. When I get through this, then I'm going to really help others". No, no, no. The harvest is here. The problem you're experiencing might contain somebody else's harvest. The encouragement God comforted you with is the encouragement you will comfort others with. The harvest is here. I see a harvest on the horizon. It looks like problems, and it's hard work. Blessings are heavy to carry, and it doesn't always come easy. Here come the people they hate. Here comes 500 years of hostility. Here comes racial tension. Here come cultural differences. Here comes discrimination. Here come your deficits. Here come the Samaritans, and Jesus says, "There's your harvest".

If the Devil can keep you from recognizing it he can keep you from reaping it. If when you see it coming all it looks like to you is a problem, you will never reach inside the problem to see the purpose inside the problem. That's what I want you to ask this week. It's very practical. It's one thing for us to do this. This is awesome, but lift up your eyes. You know that stuff that's coming your way this week, that stuff you hate? You've been praying for some stuff, and it's coming, but it's coming dressed like a problem. What if you saw it as a harvest this week? You know how you've been wanting God to make you a better person? You've been wanting to be a better person, a better dad, a better husband. You know how you've been wanting God to work on your heart?

What if God is using the hardest things in your life right now to do in your heart what you've been asking him to do all along? Do you see it? That's the harvest. I've met a lot of couples who when one of them got cancer they became closer than ever before. Nobody wants cancer. I'm not asking God to give me a disease. I'm not asking God to give me a health crisis. But you know what? If the crisis comes, if I have to go through it, I at least ought to reap something from it. So if this is coming into our lives… Here's the application. The application is that for all of us who have been so meal minded, so focused on what we're not getting and what we don't have yet… "Four more months and then the harvest". He said, "The harvest is here".

How many times have I missed my mission because my mind has been on my meal? All I can think is, "Where's the food"? WTF. Context, Christian people. This week I want you to walk toward your problems. Don't run from them. Don't complain about them. Don't wish they weren't there. Sit down on that well and welcome your problems and ask this question. I want you to ask of every problem that's coming your way this week, "WTH? Where's the harvest"? When a bad report comes in your life this week… "I don't have to fear. I will not be afraid. I am not terrified. I am not discouraged. I'm looking to reap from every bad report". "My kids are acting crazy. Where's the harvest? This is an opportunity for me to show them grace. Where's the harvest? I didn't get the position I wanted. I didn't get recognized. This is an opportunity for me to receive my reward from the Lord".

Somebody shout, "Where's the harvest"? It's right there in your problem. The harvest is the problem. If you don't reap it, it rots, but if you know how to reap it, your problem will be your harvest. I don't know who this was for or what it will mean to you. I really don't. I can't know that. All I can do is sow the seed. If the ground of your heart is ready to receive it today and if you are ready to reap what God has in store for you, even if it looks like something you hate, even if it looks like something you've been trying to avoid, if you can receive this word… This is not a quick fix, "Number 3 combo" kind of word. This would be something that you would have to chew on a little bit, but I'll bet you God would give you insight and understanding. If you ask him, he'll give you a drink. If you hunger and thirst, you will be filled. So just do it right now.

Bow your head and close your eyes. I want you to close your eyes physically so you can see spiritually. What is it that you've been calling a problem that God is calling a harvest? Open your eyes and look. The fields are ripe. "Yeah, yeah, Jesus. That sounds good. I want to be blessed. So get rid of my problems and I'll be blessed". "No, no. I want to teach you how to be blessed while the problems are coming. I want you to learn how to reap it. I want you to learn how to take what the Enemy meant for evil and watch me use it for good".

Lift your hands. Father, we thank you for the harvest. Say that. "Father, I thank you for the harvest". Let's take it a step further. "God, I thank you in my hardship". "I have food to eat that you know not of," Jesus said. There's something that will keep you going on the inside. It's called mission. Lift your eyes to the fields. Look beyond what you feel. Look beyond what it looks like on the surface. The harvest is here. The kingdom has come. We receive it! It's harvest time! We come rejoicing! We receive it! The harder it gets, the greater my confidence that the harvest is here. You've been going through hell. It must be harvest time. Here it comes! Bring it in! I'm not waiting four months. Here it is! Come on, receive it, people! Harvest, people!
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