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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Did I Waste My Life?

Steven Furtick - Did I Waste My Life?

Steven Furtick - Did I Waste My Life?

This is an excerpt from: What Comes After

You know, a lot of times, God does something in our lives on a physical level, but we don't stop to reflect on it and break it down on a spiritual level, so we don't get the full benefit of what he did. Peter sees this man who gets healed, and he sees, "This would make an excellent opportunity to preach". There's a man whose name is not known or mentioned who is healed by a name that is above every name, and the vessel for it is a man who really was an unlikely candidate.

I would call the book of Acts, if I gave it a subtitle, "The Unfolding Plan of an Unstoppable God Through Unlikely People". Like Peter. Like me. Like you. The unfolding plan. They didn't know it when they were in it. You don't know it when you're in it. You can't see it when you're in it. You'll be grabbing your keys and grabbing your wallet and getting up to leave and starting to give up and thinking about quitting and thinking about walking away and turning to the person next to you and saying, "This is ridiculous. I wasted my money. I wasted my time. I wasted my prayers. I wasted my faith. I'm wasting my life. What was it all for? It keeps hurting, and it won't go away. I keep trying, and I can't get up".

But in this moment, Peter is taking the opportunity to remind you of Jesus who is, Hebrews 12:2 says, the author and the finisher of our faith. So, here's the challenge. Philip Yancey said faith is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. Faith for what you can't figure out; faith for what frustrates you; faith for what has you tied up in knots; faith for what wakes you up in the middle of the night; faith for what makes you think you're losing your mind; faith for what makes you wonder, "Am I going crazy?"; faith for what you've given up on the possibility of change for. That kind of faith, he says… We have to go all the way back. Watch this. This man has just been healed, and Peter starts talking about history. What does this man's healing have to do with the Jewish people's history? What does healing have to do with history? Everything. Do you understand?

If you are in the history only, then you won't experience your destiny, but if you are only focused on your destiny and have no frame of your history, you will give up too soon and miss the point of what God is doing in your life. The God of Abraham. We're going all the way back to Abraham, Peter? Peter is like, "Yeah. I'm going all the way back". This is like when you ask somebody how they're doing, and they're like, "When I was 3…" You're like, "Whoa. How are you doing right now"? All they want to see is "Is this real? Did that man…"? Let's give him a name. "That's Rob. Rob is not supposed to be walking". Let's call him Jimmy. "Jimmy is not supposed to be jumping. Is Jimmy jumping? I heard Jimmy was out here jumping. Jimmy can't be jumping. We walked right over him".

Now, this is something awesome. God can shift things so quickly. The one everybody stepped over is now the center of the story. God can shift it like that. So, don't worry when people say something about you or don't worry when people don't give you an opportunity or don't worry when they don't text you back. You needed that space on your phone for what's coming after. I love the Word of God. The man is healed, and Peter is like, "The God of Abraham…" Because it starts with God. Look. Your story, whatever scene you're in right now…divorce, heartbreak, victory, success, promotion, termination…any of it… Your story is a story in a story in a story in a story in a story. I should do this 41 times…in a story, in a story.

Put it in the chat: "In a story". Say it out loud: "In a story". That's how many generations back Peter goes to explain what happened. "The God of Abraham…" That's 41 generations before Jesus. "Peter, can you kind of tell us what's just going on right now? Give me the CliffsNotes, Peter. I'm not sure I want a whole history lesson". No, no, no. You have to understand history or you'll look at this man and think it's his story. Peter has to show him it's not just his story, and it's not just your story. It's his story, the God of Abraham. I'm living in the middle of his story. That encourages me. I don't know why. When it's all my story, it's all my drama. When it's all my story, it's all on my budget. If he's the director, he has to pay the bills. If he's the director, he has to figure out the script. If it's his story, he has to figure out how to make all this chaos and all this crazy and all of these world events and all of these hurts and all of these mistakes work together to serve the purpose of the Author who created me from my mother's womb.

So, stepping right into the middle of his story, this man at the gate, Peter recalls his story. It's a story within a story within a story. You hang around here long enough, I'm going to teach you the Bible. Abraham is 75. His story is coming to a close at 75. Right? You haven't talked to the Author yet, Abraham. The Author showed up to Abraham. He didn't even have an H in his name. Vanna didn't even put an H in his name yet. I watch Wheel of Fortune every Wednesday night with my mom. I'm wild and crazy every Wednesday night. It's called "Wednesdays for the Wheel," and I pray for Pat Sajak every Wednesday. Pat, if you ever watch this, I would love to have you at Elevation. I think you're amazing. (I'm just putting it out there in case God wants to answer a dumb prayer.) "Abram, start counting stars".

This is what the Author told him. "Start counting the stars, Lord? Yeah, you did good on those stars. That's cool, man". He's in Ur of the Chaldeans, and God says, "Go to the land I will show you and count the stars, and if you can count them, that's how numerous your descendants are going to be". That's what comes after. "Count the sand of the seashore". This is a collision of history and destiny, because there's what God did (the stars) long before Abram got here, and there's what God is doing through Abram. History…destiny. If you stay stuck in one and don't focus on the other, you're done. If you stay just focused on the history… You're walking around talking about how much you bench pressed in 1947. "I was the man back then, y'all. I see these kids these days. They don't know how we used to do it back in the day".

Now you're stuck in your history. You start talking about what you're going to do one day when nobody is bothering you and there's no traffic and they make flying Teslas and you don't have to wait to get to work. Well, that's just you hypothetically avoiding this present moment. Wow! Thank you, God, that I'm not stuck where I started. Lord, I thank you for that Scripture that says, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, neither has it entered into the heart of a man what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit". Nobody ever says the next verse. I always heard the first verse. "No eye has seen, and no ear has heard what has entered into the hearts of men". The next verse says, "But God…"

Abraham was 75 years old, and his wife's womb was as good as dead, but God wanted a baby named Isaac. Abraham even got in the way and messed it up by having Ishmael with Hagar, but God had a plan for Isaac and Ishmael. But God. "But God has revealed them by his Spirit". That's what his Spirit does. That's what time with God does. That's why coming to church is a better investment than the stock market. That's why coming to church is a better investment than washing your raggedy car, which is going to be dirty again in three days. That's why coming to church and listening to the Word of God… Because that Word gets in you, and when it mixes with the Spirit that was in you, and the soil of the Spirit and the seed of the Word get together…

God said, "So shall your seed be". At the same time he's speaking to old Abe… "Are you sure about that"? The Lord is like, "I'm sure about that, because I'm the Author". Holly got one author on the phone one time on the Instagram, on her book club… You can look it up. She told me to plug the website. I forgot to do that, so I'm going to do that. Maybe she'll pay me back in a sponsorship. You can sponsor me when we get home. All right? This will be a sponsored ad. Y'all quit looking at me. I'm uncomfortable. I shouldn't have said it. What comes after. That's a whole other sermon. That's a marriage seminar. Yeah, do the dishes. You might get a kiss.

All right. What comes after. She was interviewing this author who wrote a true story about her life. She gave up a baby for adoption, teenage pregnancy. When she got the author on the interview, she said, "You left the story off right there at the end, and you never told us if you met the kid". She goes, "Oh yeah. That's what my next book is about". Holly said, "Good. I can't wait to read it". Y'all, when we read the book of Acts, we're reading the sequel. It was written by Luke, who was a doctor who traveled with Paul. He wrote it while Paul was in prison in Rome. He wrote it to a man named Theophilus. He calls him "Most excellent Theophilus".

I want y'all to start calling me that, by the way: "Most excellent Pastor Steven". All right? Get on it. Twenty-six percent of the New Testament was written by Luke to Theophilus. Who was Theophilus? I mean, Luke is writing to him. Luke isn't even one of the original twelve disciples. He's a Gentile who came later. He writes his first book, self-titled debut EP, Luke. Then he puts out the book of Acts as a follow-up, the sequel. The disciples (I never saw it this way before) are living in the sequel. Jesus is gone in bodily form. What they knew is no longer available. What was normal for them for three years has been upended.

The cross has happened. The resurrection has happened. The Spirit has come. There's persecution ahead, but there's progress ahead. There is always persecution with progress. If it's not from the outside, it's going to be from your lower nature and your flesh on the inside. There's always persecution with progress. I told y'all last week the Devil will step right out of your way if you're headed in the wrong direction. Try it. Any football players in here? I heard there were basketball players in here today. Is that right?

All right. Do it when you get back when the season starts. Turn around and run toward the other goal and see if anybody stops you. They'll let you do it all day long. They'll hand you a Gatorade. "Yeah, do that again". If you're putting points on the board for the Devil, he'll assist you. He'll alley-oop you, but if you ever make up your mind… "I'm following Jesus. No turning back. I'm going forward into the future. I have a father named Abraham who had a son named Isaac who had a son named Jacob, and now his servant Jesus is being glorified".

The unfolding plan. Corrie ten Boom said something like, "Heaven has no panic, only plans". Think about what she went through, and she still said that, not before it happened, but after. She's still standing there saying stuff like, "Heaven has no panic, only plans". But it's an unfolding plan. You get the picture. You don't see the scene. So, by faith, I have to find out what God can do, and I have to apply that to the area where I'm the most anxious right now and believe by faith going forward based on the foundation of who God is, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
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