Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - God's Up To Something Upstream

Steven Furtick - God's Up To Something Upstream

Steven Furtick - God's Up To Something Upstream

Hasn't he been wonderful and kind and merciful? Haven't his blessings been bountiful in your life, exceedingly, abundantly above anything you could ask or imagine? The presence of the Lord is in this place. Would you just tell the person next to you, "The presence of the Lord is in this place". Tell them what I taught you last week. Tell them, "God is in it with me," tell them, "God is working through me," and tell them, "God is fighting for me". Tell them, "Don't pick on me, because God has got my back. He's fighting for me". You understand what I'm saying? Oh, you can't curse what God has blessed. He's a defender of the weak. Yes, he is. Come on. How many of you said that a few times this week? "God is not against me…" I gave you this prescription. Did you take it?

Last week, the Furtick pharmacy on behalf of Doctor God, and I gave you something to take, a new meditation for your heart. Just take that swing out, and let's sing that really quickly. Isn't it good to know that he loves you, that he's with you? So, the next time shame tries to tell you to put your head down because you made some mistakes, plead the blood of Jesus and say, "God is not against me". The next time depression tries to wear you out down to a nub where you have nothing to give to the world, look back at depression and say, "God is not against me". And if he be for me, who can be against me? Now I know. I came to preach the gospel to every tribe, nation, and tongue today, just to let you know what the good news says. I found out he loves me. I found out he's for me. I found out he's a friend of sinners. I found out I'm his righteousness. I found out I'm his friend. I found out I'm beloved.

Come on. Let's lift up a mighty shout of praise to our King and our Friend, our Savior, the only wise God. I feel like preaching and prophesying and calling you up higher today, because God is up to something. Believe that. If you don't believe anything else… If you don't believe in balloons that fly over or you don't believe in anything else… You don't have to believe any of that. If you don't even believe in the flu, believe this: God is up to something. Even if you don't believe this is a real church and you just came to check it out because you heard it was weird or there were girls here and you're single or anything like that… Even if you don't believe this is a great church, believe that: God is up to something. Absolutely.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to minister to you today. I'm going to share with you a Scripture as we continue on in this… I call it a series. It's really just a flow. I asked the Lord for more flow of the Holy Spirit, and I asked him to give it to me in the name of Jesus for his glory and to build his people up. Be careful what you ask for, because God has been going so quick with showing me stuff. Every time we write a song, I send Chris another one and another one. I feel the spirit of DJ Khaled on this church these days. Oh man. He just keeps speaking. He just keeps moving. He just keeps making ways. He just keeps on keeping on, keeping us alive, and he has us here for a purpose.

I announced I was going to teach There's So Much More to the Story and have been steadily walking with Joshua in the Old Testament book, as I go through the Bible, myself in my personal life, just sharing from the overflow of what God is speaking to me. Well, this one this week I have been holding for a little while, and all I've been praying all day is, "Lord, don't let me scare them. I don't want it to come out too quickly and they have to hold on". Holly said, "Let's go," but she's already warmed up, you understand, and you're not. She's used to me. She knows how to put up with me, but you don't. But maybe just for a little while we can enter into his presence and forget the distractions and just see… What if he speaks? What if he shows you? What if he does something for you that you couldn't do in five years of your own effort, but he just does it? What if he uses you in an amazing way? I'm believing he will.

So, go with me to Joshua, chapter 3. In an effort to conserve my energy for the part of this sermon where I really want to preach, I'm just going to do one verse right now. That's verse 13. "And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan…" "Set foot in the Jordan". That means I'm stepping into this. That means I'm not waiting for it to happen. No, I'm stepping into this. I'm stepping into this moment. I'm stepping into this pulpit. I'm stepping into this day. I'm stepping into this worship service. He said as soon as they set foot in the Jordan, "…its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap".

See how this works? When you step into it, the waters stand up. The word the Lord gave me for today… Are you ready for this? He said to tell you God's up to Something Upstream. I won't make you talk to your neighbor one more time today, but just tell them before you take your seat, "God is up to something". Notice I didn't say, "God was up to something". Not just what he did in the past. I appreciate what he did in the past, but put it in the present tense. Say, "God is up to something upstream". Now in the chat put a bunch of exclamation marks after that. Oh, thank you, Lord. He's up to something upstream. He must be up to something. Old preacher Bob Lowman said, "When you're down to nothing, God is up to something".

Isn't that good news? Put in the chat as we go where you are watching from. Give me city and state or city and country, whatever the case may be, but be specific. Don't just put "United States" or "South America". Put "Brazil". Put something in the chat that lets me know where you're watching from. I'm going to pull that up as we go. As we do that, if you live in any of the following cities, come join us at Elevation Nights. I never miss an opportunity to promote, y'all.

While I'm waiting for those, because there's a 20-second delay… Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Kansas City, Missouri; Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Wayne, Indiana (that's going to be the best one; I felt it when I said it); and Toronto, Ontario. April 18-27. You can go to If you live within 20 miles of any of those cities, I'd show up if I were you and just expect God to do something. We're going to preach and release the sound of this house. Holly said, "Twenty? Two hundred miles. Get there". She said it's worth buying a plane ticket, and she's right. But you didn't have to fly in today, did you? God brought you right here to the house.

All right. We have Nashville, Tennessee; Allentown, Pennsylvania; El Paso, Texas; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Manila, Philippines… They're going too fast. Y'all think I can't read, but they're just really going fast. I thank God for that, that we're reaching that many people. That's amazing. Sometimes I like to do this. Y'all think I'm just stalling, but I have a reason for it. I want us to take a moment and consider that God is up to something not just in this room but all over the world…in Richmond, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; Kenya; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tampa, Florida.

Now, one thing I'm noticing. All these are places I've heard of before, the ones I'm naming. There's a lot going by. I'm skipping ones I've never heard of because I can't pronounce them. If you went through them really slowly and asked the person, "You're from Tampa"? they may say, "Yes". They may say, "Well, I'm kind of from a town near Tampa". I understand that, because I grew up in one of those towns that when you told somebody the town, you had to tell them another town to tell them what it was near. When you say, "I'm from Moncks Corner, South Carolina," they don't usually say, "Oh, I've always wanted to visit there". I don't know why. It's a beautiful place, but you usually don't get that response. "Yeah, man. That's on my bucket list". "Oh yeah, we did our honeymoon there".

Nobody, unless they did it not by choice. It's a good place, and I love it, but I learned to tell people around about the time I was 16, "I live in a little town called Moncks Corner, South Carolina, 30 miles north of Charleston". "Oh, yeah, I know Charleston". You just learn. The frame of reference for Moncks Corner had to be identified by putting another place behind it. So, you just learn to say over time, "Yeah, I'm from Charleston". Now I notice myself… I'll just say, "South Carolina. I grew up in South Carolina". I'll just say the state now, but when I really want to identify where at in South Carolina… "A little town about 30 miles north of Charleston called Moncks Corner". I have it memorized. I can say it in my sleep. "A little town 30 miles from…"

You know, I've just said it so many times. I know where I'm from. Hmm. I could preach that, couldn't I? I know where I'm from even if you don't know where I'm from. I have food to eat that you know not of. My Father in heaven has called me by his name. But that's not what I want to preach about today, although I could. When we look at this Scripture from Joshua, chapter 3, for us, it may be difficult to locate the miracle because we don't know the geography of the Old Testament. At least I don't, and I went to school for it. I read about places where things happen… Like, the Jordan River always felt like a really big body of water to me, but it's not. I went to Israel, and I'm like, "This is it"? "Yeah, this is it". I thought it was huge because it's so significant in Scripture. Jesus got baptized there. The people of God crossed over into the Promised Land there.

So many amazing things happened there, but it's not necessarily that it's that big; it's just that significant. That will preach too. Just because it isn't big doesn't mean it's not significant. You have only 220 followers on Twitter, but you're significant if you have something to say. There are a lot of people with 220 million who don't have anything to say. Size doesn't indicate significance. I'm not trying to preach that today, though. I could preach that at a men's conference, but I won't. Men are weird. That's all I'm saying. Let's go back to the text. God is up to something. In this particular Scripture, they are crossing over into a particular place, which would have been known and relevant to the readers of Joshua. They would have gone, "Oh, I know that town. Oh yeah, my uncle is from there. Oh yeah, I pastored there one time. Oh yeah, that's where we wanted to do our honeymoon".

But for us, places like Capernaum where Jesus did his miracles and where he based around the Sea of Galilee… We don't really know… Capernaum to us is a great place. Galilee, where Jesus did his miracles, was known as the land of darkness, but to us it's beautiful because it's Galilee, and we've heard about it. It even sounds lyrical when you say it. Now, with that in mind, I want you to consider that as they were taking physical steps, you have been taking spiritual steps either toward God's purpose for your life this week or away from it. I want to know which one because I'm nosy. I want to know… Have you been stepping into the true self God sees that is strong and courageous, the one he calls by name, or have you been retreating into discouragement? Who has been in your headset this week, and how have you been living?

I gave you this prescription last week to say to yourself, "God is not against me. He's in it with me, working through me, fighting for me". Then I wrote you a song for it because I'm that serious about you getting this in your heart. One thing I said last week that I'm not sure if it came across is when you find yourself uncertain, when you find yourself discouraged, when you find yourself lonely, when you find yourself tempted, do the thing that you would do. I'm going to have them put that sentence on the screen so we can pick it up and make sure we understand I'm not trying to sound like Yoda. Doesn't that sound kind of like something Yoda would say? "Do the thing that you would do".

The Lord spoke that to me as I was praying about, "Hey, I don't feel like I am enough to do this. I don't feel like I have enough to do that. I don't feel like I will ever be if I'm not that by this age". It came to me, "Do the thing that you would do if you believed that what God spoke is true". When you don't feel that what God spoke is true, that's totally normal. So you don't wait for a feeling. You act as if it's true, because it is. Even though you don't see the truth, do the thing that you would do. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths".

God does not always bless your good intentions or your abstract thoughts toward him, but he will always support a step you take toward his grace, his mercy, his kindness, and his calling on your life. I don't know who this is for, but you're stepping into it even now by being in church. You're stepping into it even now by listening to a podcast about Jesus. You were stepping into it as you lifted your hands in worship today. You were stepping into the "you" that God sees. That's the "you" you've got to do. Put my sentence back up, but this time put it up a little different. I told them to break it down like this, and I'll teach it for the first part of this seminar. Look at it in these phases. "Do the thing that you would do…"

Let's break it down. One part of that speaks to faith. If you believed God was with you, if you believed God was for you, if you believed God wanted to help you, what would you do? Then do that. Whatever you would do if you knew he was with you, do that. "So I can open the coffee shop because the Lord is going to…"? I don't know about the coffee shop. You might be horrible at business and your coffee might not taste good, so I don't know all that, but I'm talking about the attitude you show up for with it. Do the thing you would do if you felt like God was with you. I thought it was brilliant when you were telling me the other day… Graham said, "When I'm in an awkward environment in a group setting, I pretend like I'm a character in Madden. But not a main character. I pretend like an NPC, and I jump". He said, "Because it's better than feeling awkward, so I'll just start jumping". I'm like, "Dude, there are TED Talks about that".

Even if you take a confident posture or an excited posture… You're not as smart as you think. You can trick yourself into a better mood. Just start jumping. You can. You can smile. Sometimes before I come preach to y'all, I'll just start trying to smile and start moving my muscles in a way that reflects what I need to do for my message, because I need to love you to be up here, so I need to look like I love you. So I start smiling. "Oh, it's the fake smile". No, it's a faith smile. It's a faith praise. "Oh, you got a new car this week"? "No, my car is in the shop. The brake pads wore off two weeks ago. But it's a faith praise". "Oh, you know how it's going to work out? Oh, you know your kid is going to end up in a good place? Oh, you know you're going to get into college"? "No, I don't feel it, but I just want to step into it".

So, that's one way I mean that sentence. Do the thing that you would do if you felt it. Do the thing by faith that you would do if you had the feeling that God was with you. Can I move on? I'm going to go backward. "Do the thing that you would do…" Now, when I say, "…that you would do…" I'm talking about that you, not the other you. We taught at the beginning of the year there are at least two "yous" in your seat today. We would really be in overflow at Ballantyne if all of the "yous" showed up. We would need a hundred times more campuses if every "you" that showed up this week in your situation showed up at church today. We couldn't build the buildings big enough. Am I right?

Okay. Don't make me prophesy by the Spirit of the Lord. I will. There is a choice that is to be made. The strong and courageous you that God calls… What would that you do? Do it. Give some away today. Why? "Because I want to be more generous". Well, do the thing that you would do, the generous you. You know, that you, the one you get glimpses of, the one God calls strong and courageous and leader…that you…the one who's able to be selfless, the one who's able to trust him, the one who doesn't have to figure everything out to move forward in faith. When you feel stuck and paralyzed and discouraged, you have to learn to do the thing that you would do. When you don't have enough resources to do everything you want to do, do the thing that you would do with more resources with less resources. Five loaves and two fish to a smorgasbord in the wilderness. Do the thing. The thing. The thing.

Paul said, "This one thing I do". Why? Because if I try to do all five things at once, I'm going to get discouraged and give up on all of them. I remember an older minister told me, "When I was a young man like you, my favorite Scripture was, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'" He said, "But now I'm 65, my Scripture is 'This one thing I do.'" That's wisdom, because you learn how to focus and not get overwhelmed. Joshua is doing it, and the people are doing it. The thing the previous generation wouldn't do, they're doing it. And so are you. You don't give God enough credit for how far he has brought you. You don't give the Holy Spirit enough credit for how much he has strengthened you. "I don't want to be prideful".

I don't want you to be prideful either, but I do want you to be praiseful and give God praise for the progress you've made. Here they are on the brink of an amazing thing God is doing. God is up to something. They are about to cross over the waters. The Lord is doing it in a very different way than he did a generation ago when they crossed the Red Sea. Remember that one? At the Red Sea, Moses took his staff and stuck it out. The waters parted. They went through. Pharaoh drowned. All the chariots, wheels rusting off in the middle of the water, because God was setting his people free. This time, however, it's going to be a little different.

I'll stop right here and just pause for whoever this is for. God is going to make you do it a little bit different in this season. Not to repeat the same routines you saw from the traditions you were handed but to evaluate them and say, "Does this line up with God? Does this line up with who he's calling me to be right now"? That means sometimes the "me" God is bringing into this season has to embrace certain limitations and say goodbye to certain things from the season before. The important thing is to keep stepping forward, and with every step, he makes you stronger. With every step, he shows you something. Joshua gets the people ready and says, "In three days we're crossing over. In three days we're crossing over. In three days we're crossing over". They don't even have their marching orders yet for Jericho, because if he told them, "We're going to blow trumpets at the walls," they might have turned around.

God doesn't tell you everything. He knows what would make you turn around. He knows if he said, "Hey, I'm going to take you to Jericho, and you're going to start blowing trumpets. We're sending the marching band in, boys," you'd turn around. That's why sometimes he will trick you into trusting him. Y'all didn't like the way that sounded. You thought I meant God was deceptive. I don't mean he's deceptive; I mean he's selective. He shows you what you need to know to do what you need to do today, and that's it. So he tells them, "Let's go toward the Jordan". Now imagine the conversations they have as they're walking. As they're stepping, they're stepping toward something they see no way through.

The Bible says something in the next verse. I read you Joshua 3:13, but verse 14 is important too. It says, "So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them". The ark of the covenant represents God's presence. You have God's presence, not on the shoulders of a priest, but you have the Great High Priest, Jesus, who lives inside of you, so you are never without his presence. He's in it with me, working through me, and fighting for me. So, they carry this ark of the covenant ahead of them. The whole passage is filled with anticipation about a situation that is very uncertain for the people who are walking into it. Life feels like that. I told Holly the other day that, a lot of times, I will say I'm anxious when I'm really excited, because I don't always know the difference. I get excited, and I label it anxiety, but what I really am is excited, just uncertain. That's what I think we're stepping into in this text. They're excited. They're faith-filled, but they also have an incomplete picture of what's going to happen next.

The Lord says through Joshua when the priests' feet touch the waters… This is what he said. "…the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them". Verse 15: "Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark [the presence of God] reached the Jordan…" Not prayed about the Jordan. Not studied three books about the Jordan. Not took a class about the Jordan, but when they reached the place… When they got to something that they had no idea how they'd get through it… It was in walking toward it that they demonstrated their faith for it. It says that as soon as their feet touched the water's edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.

Now, when I say "faith," we should take a moment and clarify what we mean by faith in the context of a Christian church. Faith means almost anything you want it to mean if you say it in a generic way. "I have faith in you" could just be a nice way of saying, "I love you". "I have faith in you". Well, if that's what we mean when we say faith, if we have that kind of faith in God that we have in the friend that we would say, "I have faith in you," or if we just mean "I have a good feeling that it's going to turn out all right," that's not the kind of faith I need when I'm going through an overflowing Jordan. Let me tell you what I don't have when I'm going through an overflowing Jordan: a good feeling about this.

So, I need faith that will help me step through something I don't have a good feeling about. Anybody else? I need faith that can take me to the brink of something that is a breakthrough, but in the absence of the information I need about it, I need the faith to help me step into it, even at the moment that I don't see how it's going to be moved out of my way. The nature of Christian faith… It is distinctive from any other kind of faith, and here's why. Most versions of faith are generated from within the person and then placed upon the object. You sat in that chair today because you had faith in it, so you are in that chair because of your faith in that chair.

Well, in the 1600s in England, these theologians got together in Westminster Abbey. There was a civil war happening in the country, and they were trying to boil down the faith to the distinctives. Now, this Westminster Confession came to be one of the core documents for many denominations, especially in the Reformed tradition. What do we really believe? One of the things they said about faith was this: "…by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto you, and you receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith…" Watch this. "…which faith you have not of yourself, it is the gift of God". Now let me give you the Moncks Corner version of that. Are you ready? "It doesn't come from you". So, if you have dried-up faith, if you have weighed-down faith, if you have broken-down faith, but you have a great, big, full God who is heavy with blessing, who is sovereign over the affairs of men, then you don't put your faith in your faith as you walk through this life. Sometimes up, sometimes down. The good news of the gospel is even my faith doesn't come from me.

So, God says, "I want to give you grace for your life. I want to give you grace for your situation. I want to give you grace to save you from your sin". But you need faith to receive grace, so guess what God is going to do. "I'm not just going to give you the grace, because you need the faith to get the grace, but I know you, and you don't even have the faith it takes to get the grace. So, what I'm going to do is send my Son in the likeness of a sinful man, and when he dies and the blood runs down, and when they bury him in Joseph's tomb and the angel rolls the stone away and he gets up and ascends into heaven and sends the Spirit down…" Guess what he's doing. He's sending you faith from another place. He's sending you trust from another realm. He is sending you the gift from another dimension, and it doesn't come from you.

If it doesn't come from you, it doesn't depend on you, and if it comes from God, it cannot run out. It'll be like that wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. It'll just keep coming, because God is up to something upstream. My faith flows from him. Don't put him on two different levels. "Oh, grace comes from God. Faith comes from me". You need the faith to get the grace. What they were saying in England I'm saying in Charlotte. Somebody is watching it in England too, somewhere in England. The first time I went to England, they were telling me about all of the towns and everything. We got there. We landed one day. I was preaching in London. We landed at 6:00 a.m. at Heathrow. Heathrow at 6:00 a.m. Heathrow is hell. That place… They said, "It's only 20 miles to the hotel".

We got in a car in London from Heathrow Airport. Three hours to get 20 miles. Twenty miles where I'm from… If you don't respect the Lord or the law, you could do that in 15 minutes…where I'm from. So, it's relative. That's what I'm saying. It's relative. The amount of faith you have in your steps relates to the amount of faith you have in his sovereignty. When I tell God all of the reasons he can't use me, I get this sense that he already knew that, so I step into it anyway. As I step, he makes me strong. I see you in the Spirit stepping toward something right now. I see you stepping toward a better version of the parent you wish you would have had, and you didn't, but you're stepping into it even though you don't have a frame of reference for it, but you're stepping into it.

We have an upstream God who knew you'd be in the situation you are in before you were in the situation and prepared you for the moment before you got to the brink. The Bible says that when their feet touched the water's edge, the water stood up. I love that picture. That means they had to step all the way toward the Jordan, and only when their big toe got wet did it break apart. Do y'all know something? Apparently, I still don't know how to read the Bible. In my imagination, I always pictured this just like the Red Sea. They stop at the Jordan. It's overflowing. Boom. Step. It splits. I always pictured it like that. What's that Kevin Costner movie? Waterworld. I always picture that on the Jordan. Remember, the Jordan is small. Also, that's not what the Bible says. The Bible says (verse 13), "The water flowing downstream will be cut off".

That's where they saw the miracle: when they stepped toward the uncertainty. That's where you're going to see the miracle: as you step into it, awkward and uncomfortable; as you step into it, as you move toward it, as you keep moving toward it, as you keep praying, keep believing, keep trusting, keep coming, keep digging, keep going, keep flowing, keep showing up, keep scheduling stuff that feels fruitless because you know God told you to do it, keep coming, keep going, keep moving. When they got there, they saw it. They saw it when they got there. When did they see it? When they got there. They got there when they saw it. "Are we there yet"? God says, "No, you're not there yet. You'll know you are there when it happens, but I'm not going to show you anything until you step into it".

Yet that's not really the point I want to make. It's true they did not see it until they stepped into it. That's when God cut off the waters and enabled them to cross, when they did it, but watch what the Bible says. In verse 16 it says, "…the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan…" Have you ever heard of Zarethan? Let me tell you about Zarethan. Zarethan is about 20 miles from where they crossed the Jordan River. You know the Jordan River. You've heard of that? Okay. Twenty miles away. You've heard of Charleston? Okay. About 30 miles away. You've heard of Charlotte? About 20 miles away in a place they still call Indian Land. I don't know how long that one is going to last, y'all. They'll rename that soon, I'm sure. Hey, you've heard of Charlotte. You've heard of the Jordan.

Yeah, let me tell you about the Jordan. That's where we crossed over, but that's not where the miracle started. Twenty miles away. I studied it out. I asked ChatGPT, "Where is the town called Adam in Joshua 3"? The thing came back, and I looked it up in a real book. It said it's 20 miles away, which means…watch this…that for God to time it this right… For them to get to the edge of the Jordan River, for the priest's big toe to touch that water at flood stage, carrying that ark, after 40 years in the wilderness, plus five after that… For this to happen at this moment, for the waters downstream to be cut off at this moment, that means God must have been up to something upstream before I got here. God is not walking with you; he's going before you. He's not shockable; he's sovereign, sister! He's sovereign, brother! He's sovereign, baby!

God got there about three hours earlier to Adam. He said, "Hey, waters of Adam, I need y'all to stop real quick". Why? "Because about three hours from now, the priest's feet are about to hit the Jordan River. About three hours from now, they're about to come to the brink of the promise I made Abraham". See, this thing didn't start with Joshua. God was up to something upstream before Joshua ever got to this moment. As a matter of fact, it goes further back from that. The Bible says, "In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth". He got down in the dirt and made a man, and the man's name was Adam.

Now we've progressed a few hundred years, and Joshua is leading God's people into the promise. God was getting started in the garden. What has been started in this moment of your life didn't start in this moment of your life. God was 20 miles ahead of you. They say raising kids you have to stay one step ahead. God said, "I'll beat that. How about 20 miles ahead? How about I get there and handle the situation with your kids? How about I get the friends out of their life and tell them, 'Run, Devil. Don't you ever come back'? How about I get this thing started so when you get there, you can cross over, you can make it through. How about if I give you the faith to believe me? Okay. You have a mustard-seed faith? Let's put it up against that mountain real quick and see which one wins".

Great is the Lord! I want to preach to everybody in this room who's having to trust God with something that's 20 miles away…stuff you can't see, stuff you can't control, stuff you can't affect, stuff you can't move. Not the stuff you can do. Just do that stuff. Wear your own seat belt. Don't ask Jesus Christ to buckle your seat belt. He's a busy God. You do that before the other stuff that's overflowing the banks of the Jordan. You step into that just believing. What would you do if you believed God was 20 miles away already doing what you're praying about?

Wherever you see a problem, heaven has a plan. Wherever you have a problem, heaven has a plan. I'm going to say it again. Wherever you have a problem, heaven has a plan. Turn that thing over to the Lord and leave it there. I said, "Wherever you have a problem, heaven has a plan. Turn that thing over to the Lord and leave it there". Yeah? You want me to finish that song? I'll finish it and get somebody good to sing it to you next week if you come back. God is up to something, but you won't see it, because it's 20 miles away. Can you trust him with the 20? Can you trust him that you can't get them to talk to you about it but he's talking to them about it? Can you trust him? Can you trust him with something 20 miles away upstream?

I always pictured that the waters stood up where they stood. No. They didn't see it piled up. It had been piled up for hours. You have no idea what God is speaking. We ask God for blessings, and we should. We also need to ask him for dams. He got to a town called Adam, and he built a dam. (It's too much, I know. I'm going to save it for the Basin.) It's a miracle what he did. He said, "Waters, pile up here". Now remember, they can't see this on the live feed. If it was today, word would have spread, right? "Oh, y'all, don't worry. Just keep walking, because in Adam there's a big pile of water, so it won't be long. The water is going into the Dead Sea, and the one that's flowing down has completely stopped, so it will be dry in five…four…three…two…one…now"! Nope. Not God. He's the God of the upstream. He's the God of the unseen. That's the nature of faith.

In case all of the Westminster Confession stuff was a little abstract and theoretical, let me give you the picture. And in case the picture in the Old Testament is a little too physical for you, let me bring it over to the New Testament. This same Jordan River would be the Jordan River, not that Joshua crossed, but that Jesus was baptized in. God is up to something upstream. For Joshua, this moment represents the end of a wilderness experience. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, he came out of the wilderness and came into the Jordan River to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist, which is not a denomination; it was his occupation. He said, "I can't baptize you. You need to baptize me. You are the Savior". Jesus said, "Shut up and do it".

Jesus had the spirit of Nike before Phil Knight was ever a twinkle in his mama's eye. He said, "Just do it". Boom. "I've got to get baptized…" Boom. "…to fulfill all righteousness". Boom. "Just do it". So he did it, and guess what happened to John for his obedience. He was thrown in prison for preaching to a king named Herod. He was in prison, about to be beheaded, and he sent messengers to ask Jesus, "Are you the one"? How did we go all the way from you're baptizing Jesus to you are doubting if he's the Messiah? Everybody has doubts downstream. Me, you, the pope, the bishop, the attorney general, and your praying grandmother all have doubts downstream. When God speaks something to you or when you feel a possibility… I hope you feel a little bit of it today.

Well, Sunday is upstream. Sunday is where you get that dose of "God is in it with me, working through me, fighting for me. Where I have a problem, heaven has a plan". Downstream, that Devil is waiting. Ask John the Baptist. He said, "Are you the one or should we wait for somebody else"? Now, I want to give you a word from Jesus. Don't doubt downstream what God showed you upstream. For that to make any sense in your life, you will need to spend more time upstream this week, because if you're not getting it from God, you will be stepping into situations you're not ready for. The better I am when I get to the brink of the Jordan is the more time I spent in his presence and staying in touch with him. I need time with God upstream. In business terms, the term upstream doesn't have anything to do with rivers. In business terms, upstream is where the product is created and made and manufactured. Downstream refers to all of the activities around marketing and selling the product.

Why do we live in a world where people spend so much more time downstream marketing who they are than upstream with God so he can show you who you are in the light of who he is and what he has for your life? You're never going to be able to do the thing that you would do if you don't know that you, and you will not know that you if all you do is spend time broadcasting. Those downstream distractions… Do you know what they are in your life? Those downstream doubts. Disappointment can put you in a place where downstream… "Oh, now I'm here, now I'm at this moment, I cannot appropriately embrace or seize this moment because… I know God did some wonderful things back there. I believe God is doing some wonderful things". But like John the Baptist, you find yourself in a downstream situation. Even the one who heralded Jesus Christ began to ask, "Are you really him"?

That means downstream distractions… You have to really be careful, especially if you are one of the people God said I'd be speaking to. You are stepping into a season of your life where you are becoming the true version of yourself. You are willing to let some things die now that you used to cling to. If that is you, and if you are walking through something in your life and 20 miles away is an issue, a situation, you can't even really talk about or figure out… If that's you, you have to spend more time upstream. There are so many Bibles on your phone right now it's not even funny. For free in the app store, put in "Bible". "I don't like to read". Hit the little speaker. It'll read to you. "I don't want to listen to a man read to me". They have a woman too. I found one yesterday that was talking in a Scottish accent. I bought it. Don't tell me you can't spend time upstream. You'd better make that car a church.

So when you get there… You have to be ready for what God is going to do downstream, and you have to believe God built a dam where you came from, and he said, "Your past will I remember no more". Now walk into it. Flow into it. Speak into it. Pray into it. Serve into it. Step into it. He's up to something. I saw your Nikes, and I wanted to tell you, "Step into it". Now step into it again. Somebody made those Nikes. That was upstream. Somebody else sold them. That was downstream. But when the product is good enough, the sales can be whatever they need to be, because if the product is good enough… God said, "In this season, I'm building your character. I'm getting you ready for some things. People aren't going to call you as much. That's all right. Don't worry about the downstream. I'm the God of the upstream, and when it's time, it's time".

When it's right, it's right. When it's mine, it's mine, and he can use me how he wants, because he's up to something. About 20 miles away. I was writing songs with Brandon Lake this week. Do y'all love Brandon? I told him to come to church. He said he had to keep his kids. I wanted to tell y'all what he told me. He said, "Pastor, we've written so many times together". We wrote some this week that I can't wait to share with you too. We've written with Chris and others and all my people. We're sitting around. He said, "I never told you this, but I want to tell you today. Did you know that about 12 years ago, I emailed Elevation and said, 'Can I come learn something about songwriting?' and they said, 'No. We don't offer that'"?

He told me the name of the staff member. The staff member isn't here anymore, and that's a good thing, too, because they did a lot of bad things. They were a downstream staff member, let me tell you, right out to the Dead Sea. They were a Dead Sea staff member is what they were. I'm going to help y'all. He said, "Twelve years ago…" When I thought about that, I said, "That's crazy". Now here we are eating sausage, and we wrote three songs together over the last two days. We wrote "Graves Into Gardens" and "My Testimony" and you and Chris and I wrote "Rattle". We did all this stuff. Isn't that crazy that you were living in Mount Pleasant while I was living in Moncks Corner? How far is Mount Pleasant? Actually, it's about 38, but for the sake of the illustration, let's call it 20.

Did you ever read your Bible to see how far the Jordan River was, the place they crossed we know about, from the place where God did the miracle? It's 20 miles. Did you ever read your Bible…? The Bible says when Jesus left Nazareth to go live in Capernaum… How far was the place where he went to live and do his miracles from the place where he was raised? Twenty miles. When he got to Galilee for his ministry… Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah in Matthew, chapter 4. God is up to something upstream. I can't see it, can't prove it. I don't need to. I know him. I see the problem; heaven has the plan. God is up to something in my life. I emailed, and they said, "No". Twelve years later, here we are writing music that's going to touch the world, because God is up to something.

The Bible says in Matthew, chapter 4, "When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum…" Twenty miles away. "…which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali…" Places like Moncks Corner that we don't know, but God did. Watch what God was doing to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah. Some of the things you are going through right now are not about you. They are to fulfill God's purpose. Don't be selfish. Don't be myopic. Don't get buried in self-pity. That's exactly what the Devil wants: to get you downstream. Let him deal with that. You walk toward it. Let him deal with your enemies. Let him deal with the people who talk bad about you. Let him deal with their ignorance. Let him straighten it out. Let him deal with the things you can't deal with as you do the things he has called you to do.

I feel like I'm preaching right to somebody's dry riverbed today. God is up to something upstream. It started in Adam. It moved through Joshua, and here's Jesus going to Galilee to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah. Verse 15: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan…" Do you recognize the Jordan? "…Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death…" Somebody has been living in the land of the shadow of death, but watch this. It's not death; it's just a shadow, because the light is coming. God is getting the light ready, and it will shine, and it will dawn, and it will break forth. A light has dawned in Galilee. I believe that God, while Jesus was 12 years old, working under his father who was a carpenter in Nazareth, was getting ready for what he would do 20 miles away.

When he came to Galilee the first time, as I mentioned, he turned water into wine at Cana. Then he went back. He went back to Cana. I could tell you what Jesus told John the Baptist when he had downstream doubts. He said, "Hey, the blind see. The lame walk. The deaf hear. Go back and tell John the good news is preached to the poor and chains are being broken. Go tell John, 'Blessed is he who doesn't fall away downstream and holds to what God spoke upstream.'" He doesn't say those words, but that was the spirit of the message. You know what? Of all of those miracles Jesus did that we know about, so many of them happened in Galilee, but one the Holy Spirit led me to for you before we close this service… I don't know if you're 20 miles away or 2,000 miles away. I don't know where this word is going to reach you, but I believe it has. I believe it is. I believe that right now God is up to something in your life. It's upstream.

Some of the things he is blocking in your life are for your blessing. Will you trust him with the 20? Will you not stress for these next two weeks while you wait for the results? While you wait for the MRI appointment, will you just put that in his hands? Because where you see a problem, heaven has a plan. You can't see it. You're not supposed to. You can't know it. You have to believe it by faith. Driving to situations you don't know how to deal with. But 20 miles away, God was getting a light ready for Galilee in Nazareth. Then the Bible says in John, chapter 4… This was the very last Scripture he showed me for our sermon today. It says that after he left Samaria… Do y'all remember when he met the woman at the well, the Samaritan woman? Yeah, my favorite story.

Right after that (he stayed two days in Samaria), he left for Galilee (verse 43). "(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee…" Feel the pregnancy and the potency in that sentence. "When he arrived in Galilee…" The upstream prophet Isaiah said, "A great light is going to dawn on the people in darkness," and now it's happening. It's happening. It's happening now. That's why God sent this word to you today. It's happening now in your life. It's of generational consequence, and he's doing it now. "When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death".

"I can't do anything about that. I can't heal him. I can't buy it. I can't do it. I need you to help me with this". Jesus said, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe". The royal official said, "Sir, come down…" "I need you to come. Come to Capernaum. Leave Cana. Come with me to Capernaum". Jesus says something that's very prophetic for this moment in your life. Verse 50: "Go, your son will live". The second part of that depends on the first part of that. Walk toward it. Watch what he did. This is what you must do with the situations in your life that are beyond your control that you don't understand that you can't figure out. "The man took Jesus at his word and departed".

Now watch this. "While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, 'Yesterday, at one in the afternoon…'" When they said, "One in the afternoon," the father realized this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live". As he's walking back to Capernaum from Cana, they interrupt him and say, "He's better. We came all this way to tell you he's better". "When did it happen"? "It happened at 1:00 p.m". He said, "That's the exact time," and he trusted Jesus. I want to suggest to you that the most significant thing about this text isn't the time it happened at; it was how far they traveled.

Cana is 20 miles from Capernaum. That means the words from Jesus reached all the way back to that sick boy and didn't even need the dad to make the journey. You are not even going to have to do everything you think you're going to have to do. God is just going to do one of these "20-mile turnarounds". I declare a 20-mile turnaround. Depression, let the daughter go. Addiction, let the son go. I call you forth. I call light to your situation. I call strength to your ankles. I call joy to your spirit. To every barren womb, I prophesy a new song. He did it 20 miles away, and you think he can't do it for you? He can do it for you. He will do it for you. He has done it for you. The God who fights your battles stands at your Adam and tells the waters, "Be still. Here comes my child".

Now give him that situation. Give him that praise. Give him the praise that you would give him if you believed he was able to do… If you believed there are more with us than with them. He's up to something. He's up to something in the unseen. He's up to something in the unsuspecting. He's up to something in the hidden place. He's up to something in the shadows. He's up to something. Get ready, Galilee. There's a carpenter in Nazareth. He's not building tables; he's getting ready for a cross, and when he dies, it will flow to you, and you will walk into the rest of your life as a new creation in his name. That time is now. "Wherever you see a problem, heaven has a plan. Turn that thing over to the Lord and leave it there". Twenty miles away. Like Bianca said to me at Barnes & Noble… She came over. I never go to Barnes & Noble. I went that day. The only reason I was there at that moment was because somebody had interrupted me earlier, and then I ran out of time to go where I wanted to go, so I said, "I'll just go to Barnes & Noble".

I was wandering around like a homeless man in Barnes & Noble, not intending to buy anything. I said, "Let me go over to the Christian living section and see if I could at least rip off somebody's title and put it in a sermon sometime soon". A little downstream sermon preparation happening that day. She walked in and started crying when she saw me. She said, "Pastor Steven, I've never met you. I moved three years ago to go to Elevation, but then I had two miscarriages. I quit coming to church. I turn on the sermons once in a while, but I don't even like the way it makes me feel because I know I'm not where I'm supposed to be. But lately, God has been doing something. So today I decided I would go and get my facial appointment, because I've just been sitting around, not doing anything, and that I would go to the bookstore and buy a book that God led me to. Is it random that you're here"?

I said, "I don't know, Bianca. The way my brain works, your feet hit this Barnes & Noble at the same time as mine for a reason". She cried, we talked, and then I said, "I'm going to buy you some books. You don't even have to buy them. The Lord wants you to know he sees you". I said, "But I get to pick them if I'm going to pay". And, no, I did not buy one of mine so I'd get the royalties. No, I bought her two books, and I said, "Let's make your husband a video, and let's send you forward believing that God is not done with you". She said, "Can I ask you one more thing"? I'm like, "Dang it! I bought you the book. When you've made the sale, stop talking. God sees you. We've got to go". She said, "One more thing. What would you say to me, after all I've been through, when I struggle, doubting if God is done with me"?

I believe the Spirit of the Lord gave me this thing to do. I'm like, "I can't give her the Westminster Confession right now. What I can do…" I grabbed the first book I saw, and I said, "You're only this far in". You're only this far in. There's so much more to your story. I speak it prophetically over you. God sent us here at this moment so you could have this reminder that 20 miles away, God is working. Father, what an amazing, amazing moment this is. I thank you in advance for testimonies I will receive for people who turned it over to you in this moment, for people who gave up on their trying and trusting in their own ways in this moment, who put their big toe in the Jordan River, who called a counselor this week and said, "I'm coming to work on my issues," who said, "I'm going to make the call this week, and I'm going to apologize for that thing. I'm going to get up this week, and I'm going to go forward in the name of the Lord".

You're in it with me, you're working through me, fighting for me. God is not against me. No, he's in it with me, working through me, fighting for me… We send this word 20 miles to your home. We send it to your Capernaum. We send it to your sick child. We send this word to your depression. We send it to your situation. We're getting the revelation. Now lift your hands. I want to hear your voice. Things are happening at your house right now. Things are happening in your spirit right now. God is working this thing out right now. You have to believe it like never before. I call you forward in trust. I call you forward in faith. I call you forward by grace in the name of Jesus. "Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more…" To him be glory in your life!
Are you Human?:*