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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Places Everyone

Steven Furtick - Places Everyone

Steven Furtick - Places Everyone

Glory to God. What an amazing atmosphere. What an amazing room of beautiful people. What a tapestry of transformed lives. You are the temple of the living God. Make sure today that the temple is filled with praise. All right? Open your mouth and praise him right now all over the world. Open your mouth and turn wherever you are into a sanctuary. Do it right now. Take responsibility for your space right now and fill it with praise. Grab hands with the person next to you. We're going to pray for each other. Repeat after me. "Father, bless them real good. In Jesus' name, amen". Now hug seven people and tell them, "You're in the right place today". Don't sit down. When you've finished hugging, stay standing. I greet you online. Please let me know in the comments where you're joining us from. Everyone, everywhere, all around the world, we welcome you. We're so glad you're here. Put it in the comments. "I'm glad to be here". Say it out loud by faith. "I'm glad to be here". Awesome.

Also, y'all, we just announced Elevation Nights, our tour that is coming to the West Coast later this year. Go to for details. It looks like we'll be going to Seattle; Vancouver; Sacramento; Los Angeles; Anaheim; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Denver, Colorado. Make plans for Tuesday, September 24, through Thursday, October 3. It will be awesome. Also, today the Lord sent a special word for somebody, and I can't wait to find out who it is he sent it for. I thanked him before I came out because he gave it to me. I thanked him that I get to now partner with him in delivering what the Father wants to say to his children. I'm going to be sharing the next installment in my series called Ghost Writer. I'm using as a metaphor how somebody needs to write a book, but they're not a good writer, so they hire somebody, because they have a great story, but that doesn't make them a good writer.

You can hire somebody called a ghostwriter to help you. I'm just using that to represent how the Holy Spirit in our lives will help us with the story we're telling. Our lives are meant to tell the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were singing it earlier. I was dead and gone and you raised me, I was lost in sin and you found me, Hallelujah, you saved my soul. Just like some of us have trouble singing on pitch (I'm one of you), we have trouble sometimes telling that story on cue, so the Holy Spirit will help us not only tell the story to others, but how many know you're telling yourself a story every second of every day? That's where I really need his help. As you look through the book of Acts, it's the things the Holy Spirit did through the early church. We are continuing, 2,000 years later, in that same stream of the Spirit's activity. So, the subtitle of the series is Making Sense of Your Story Through the Lens of the Holy Spirit.

Now, if everything in your life makes sense, then you can go ahead and leave now and beat everybody to the restaurant. Go ahead and get some brunch. Log on over to something else more interesting online. But if there are some things in your life that don't make sense right now from a natural perspective, I believe that today God wants to give you a lens through his Word. As we worship him he does that, and now, as you receive this word from him, he's going to give you a way to see your situation. I'm going to Acts, chapter 3. I love this story. This is my favorite Bible story today. I'll have another one next week. Listen to this one, though. "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.

Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, 'Look at us!' So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.' Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping [and doing all kinds of stuff he couldn't do before he came that day], and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him".

The final verse we'll read for now is verse 11. "While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade". Today I want to use for my sermon title something you normally hear in the theater or on a movie set when they're getting ready to shoot the scene. You'll hear a stage manager or a director say these words, but I'm going to use them today in church. Okay? The title of this sermon is Places Everyone! Help me with this. Say it in your own voice. "Places everyone". Look at your neighbor in case they're not paying attention to me and say, "Places everyone". We're about to have some action in here. Lights, camera… Places everyone. That's why I'm glad you came today. You almost didn't come, but I'm glad you came today, because the Holy Spirit said, "Places everyone".

Something is about to happen. Places everyone. Something important is about to go down. Places everyone. A story is about to unfold. Places everyone. The most beautiful opening illustration emerged from my kitchen table just yesterday. Elijah brought several friends home from college to visit. A few of them have never been to Charlotte. They were debating what to do with their day. The subject of Carowinds came up. Carowinds is an amusement park in the greater Charlotte area. It's technically in South Carolina, but that's complicated to explain. It's just a place with roller coasters. I was laughing because I haven't been to Carowinds once since I've lived in Charlotte. I made Holly take the kids when they were little. I don't like it. The last time I went to Carowinds I was about Abbey's age. Truth. After I said that, Elijah said, "Yeah. Carowinds was so much better five years ago".

His friend, without missing a beat, said, "It wasn't better; you were younger". I thought that was kind of profound. I mean, Carowinds hasn't changed that much. They have a few different rides and everything, I guess…protocols. I don't know. It's just the way you experience Carowinds has changed since you were a kid to now that you're in college. It didn't get worse or it wasn't better. You were just younger. You just got older. That happened to me one time. I wanted to take all the family to this barbecue restaurant we used to go to a lot as a kid. It was on our rotation. It would be Ryan's one Friday night. Do y'all know about Ryan's? Ryan's, Quincy's, Chinese, and then this barbecue place in Ridgeville, South Carolina, called Dukes Bar-B-Q. I was explaining to them how we would often go on Friday nights to Dukes Bar-B-Q. I said, "What I remember about it is the trash cans were the biggest trash cans you've ever seen in your life. I mean, they were so tall you'd have to jump up. I remember trying to slam-dunk the plate in the trash can after I ate my hash and rice and barbecue".

I was telling them all this. We walked in. This is how stupid I am. I walked in and realized, "Oh, the trash cans are smaller". No. They didn't change out the trash cans. I was frozen in 5-year-old Steven Furtick's memory of the trash cans. In my mind you had to jump up the trash cans were so high, but I didn't have to jump up; I just had to grow up. The trash cans didn't have to get smaller; I just had to get bigger. Some of the things in your life that you're asking God to change… Don't be surprised when he changes you instead of changing it. I have several points today, and I'll give you the first one now. You might find this worth writing down. First, when the person changes, so does the place. The Carowinds of your childhood will not be the Carowinds of your college age. It will still be the same basic concept of paying money to want to throw up and stand in lines for two hours, which makes total sense.

Same basic concept, but different point of view. Graham actually said to me one time, "Corn dogs fell off". "What happened to corn dogs? Is it just me or did corn dogs fall off"? Corn dogs didn't fall off; you grew up. Sometimes you change so much, not realizing it until you go back to the same place you came from and go, "Huh. These trash cans aren't so big". You know what I love about the story we just read in the Scripture? Peter and John, who we mentioned kind of as the main characters, are going to a place called the temple. The temple is a place where they've been going their whole lives because their Jewish community would require it. They would go there not only once a week, but most observant Jews would have gone at least twice a day for the morning sacrifice and the evening sacrifice where the high priest would stand and then offer up a sacrifice for the people. Prayers would be prayed, Scriptures would be read, community would gather together, and worship would be offered to God.

Now Peter and John have had a radical transformation in their lives. Not only did they spend three and a half years with this radical rabbi from Nazareth named Jesus Christ, who did things heretofore unseen, unexperienced, and unprecedented, but they have been filled with the Holy Spirit. They are running over with a new consciousness of who God is, because now they are no longer experiencing God externally but internally. Jesus is no longer there in the flesh, but Jesus said, "I've got something better for you. I'll send my Spirit to live inside of you so that even when you're asleep, he'll be awake. Even when you're in a place that's far away in distance, you will never be far away from my presence". Adjusting to this new reality must have been difficult, because the place they've gone all their lives, which represented tradition and training… I want you to think about those two words: tradition and training.

Now, suddenly, they are transitioning from the tradition they've known their whole lives, which represented how God was to be worshiped, into a new and living way that was made through the body of Jesus Christ, which was broken on the cross, and the blood of his covenant, which was poured out for your sin. So, they're going to the temple. Think about this. They're going to the temple, but the temple they're going to does not represent the template they have been given for how to relate to God in the future. They're changing. They're going to a place they're used to going to, but they're not the same people they used to be. Corn dogs are falling off, Carowinds was better as a kid, and the trash cans were taller when I was 5. I'm going back to the same place, but I'm a changed man. I'm a changed woman. I believe that as the person changes, the place changes.

I'll prove it to you with a practical thing. This is not about me. This is not about first century AD. This is about you. Some of you used to drive by this church and kind of silently think, "That place gets on my nerves…the traffic they make when I'm trying to leave on Sunday. They get in my way, and they have those stickers on their cars, riding around town". Isn't it interesting that one day you came, and at some point it changed. It didn't change; you changed. Sometimes we think it changed or it needs to change, but maybe… I can't say this. You tell your neighbor. Maybe you need to change. Maybe there's nothing wrong with it. Maybe they don't need to make the trash cans shorter; maybe you just need to get up higher. Maybe some of the stuff you're dealing with in your life doesn't need to be shrunk down. Maybe you just need to be raised up to a place where you can walk into a trash situation that used to trash you, but when you've been transformed, the trash doesn't have the power it used to have, because you're changing. I'm changing.

So, that's what happens. I hope when you come to church you change. I hope you came to change today. Why did you come today? "I came to sing". Okay. Good. But I have professional singers who can do that. Why did you come today? "I came today to hear a sermon". Good. You could have read that in a book somewhere. I believe God brought you here for a different reason than you might have come on the surface. I believe in my spirit you might have come to check out "Are there cute girls at Elevation"? You might have come to find out "Can I make some new friends"? But I believe really, beneath the surface, you came to change. What's brilliant about the strategy of the Spirit of God… Can I preach this like I feel it or do I need to be quiet on the set? I want to be loud on the set. Places, everybody. Everybody, get ready.

God is about to do something amazing. I believe God put you in this place today, even if it's at a campus, even if it's in an overflow, even if it's at an extension, even if it's watching online and you wish you could be here in person. I believe God put everyone in their place today to change something. Here's how it works. This is the strategy of the Holy Spirit. So, you come to church. You hear a word. I don't change you; he changes you. I know it's him, not me, because sometimes I'll have my message how I want it and God will change it. So, it's definitely not me who's changing lives; it's God who changes lives, and then you change. Maybe you don't change all at first. Maybe you don't change in the moment. Maybe your gray hairs don't turn back to black in the moment. Maybe your knee pain doesn't reverse itself in the moment. Maybe everything doesn't go away in the moment, but you change a little bit.

Here's what happens. Let's say you're a student and you're in high school. You go back on Monday to the same school, but you changed a little bit because of the word you heard while you were in the presence of God on Sunday. So, now you're going back to the same school, but it's a changed you going to the same school. It'll be the same temptations when you get there, but it will be a transformed person who shows up to deal with the temptation when you do. As the person changes, so does the place. It's the same school. It's the same crap kids have been doing for years. It's the same stuff going on on break. It's the same foolishness they're talking in the dorm. It's the same stuff that's going through your mind. It's the same school, but it's a changed you.

Now, when you change and you go back to the same place you came from, changed… I'm going back to the same place, but I'm changed. When changed you goes back to the same school, the same school becomes changed school because changed you came to the same school. Something changed in me because I heard a word this week that said I didn't have to give in to it anymore. I heard a word this week that said I can get up on my feet and walk in the name of Jesus. I heard a word this week that said the world and its empty praise can never fill me, but God can fill me completely and make every crooked thing straight. So, we change in the presence of God, and as the person changes, so does the place. You can even show up to a place you used to hate.

Some of you hate going home. Look straight ahead right now. I promise you, if you're with your family, the best strategy is to keep your eyes on me. Holly has a great teaching on marriage that she does, and it simply goes like this: in marriage, when I change me, I change we. Is it possible that you keep changing places, keep running around like, "Yeah, well, I was in that relationship, but they were kind of…" You said that same thing about the last 13 relationships. Now I'm kind of suspicious about what you're running from. Is it the relationship you're running from or is it really something that's inside of you? I had a guy say it so brilliantly. We were at the mountains, and I ran into a guy in a gym at the hotel. I asked, "Where do you live?" and he said the name of a really nice beach.

Then, after he said the name of the nice beach… How many of you love to go to the beach? I do too. He said, "I live at the beach, but sometimes I just have to come here to get away". I thought, "Where I'm always trying to get to, he's trying to get away from". Everybody is running from something. The saddest thing of your life would be to run from something that you have said is outside and refuse to deal with what is inside. Now we see how powerful this one verse of Scripture is in Acts 3:1. "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon". Isn't it crazy that they would be going to the temple where they have spent their entire lives in training, where they have spent their entire lives in tradition, but this time…? This is what's different this time.

I want you to catch this for your own situation. You might hate to go home not because home is so bad but because you're not showing up fully and completely. You might ruin something by running that God could have restored if you would have received what he had for you. I don't want that for you, so let me tell you the difference. All their life they went to the temple. They went to pray. They went to get sacrifices made, but Jesus is their sacrifice now. They don't need that sacrifice anymore. They went to the temple, but it's different this time. Before, they went to the temple. This time, they were sent to the temple. That is a shift that, if you get it, will change every place you set your foot. That's what God told Joshua. "Every place you set your foot I will give you".

What that means to me is God is not just allowing my life to be random. God is not just allowing you to live in Fort Mill until you can get a job transfer back to Miami where you really want to be. God did not just allow you to pass through this season because he didn't have any connecting flights available and the angels couldn't carry you. None of that is true. It's not really random; it's for a reason that you're here. It's for a reason. The reality of the fact is there was a mission on God's agenda that day that was not on Peter's calendar. How many know that sometimes God doesn't synchronize his agenda with your awareness? I should let that set in. That sentence right there… That is a bar.

Let me say it again. He doesn't synchronize his agenda with your awareness. That means he's up to stuff he doesn't let you in on, but the Holy Spirit will bridge the gap. When you're in a season where you go like… I was thinking about different ways people express it. It's like, "I hate this place. I'm just doing this for now". I heard somebody say this the other day. This is a great one. "How am I supposed to be everywhere at once"? You're not. Wait a minute. Let me check. Are you Jesus? No? You're not. That's his job. Even last week, I was talking about how God will only support you for what you're supposed to do and that a lot of our stress comes from trying to do stuff we weren't called to do. Here's the flip side of that. Just like a lot of your stress comes from doing stuff you're not supposed to do, a lot of your blessings are in things you don't even see coming that aren't even on your schedule.

This story proves it, but I could prove it from a hundred stories of things Jesus did in his ministry on the way. We were singing one of our favorite new songs. Miracle after miracle, Open door after open door; Here it comes, so get ready for another one, Another one is on the way. That means it's coming, but it also means that sometimes it's on the way to where you think you're going that God is going to do the most amazing things in your life. We don't ever want to get so goal-focused we become God-oblivious. Here's how the text says it. You have to really get the nuance to appreciate how intentional the Holy Spirit is. Every word of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, so you can find a lot in these little places, just stuff you would skim over.

Verse 1 says, "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer…" If they were going up, what does that mean? They weren't there yet. They were going up. In Scripture it always says, "Up to the temple". Part of that is geographical. It's literally up. But part of it is reverential, because they were going up out of the everyday affairs of life. Do you go up? Then the fact it says it was in motion is only complemented and made more powerful by this fact. As they are going up… I love how verse 2 starts. It says, "Now…" At the same time they're going up to do their thing in the temple… The temple is no longer the same place to them that it was, but they still have to go there.

See, sometimes, even though you're not going to stay there forever, you need to do everything God has called you to do in that place while you are there. As they're going up to the temple at the time of prayer, three in the afternoon… It says, "Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts". Imagine the contrast. This gate is not just silver- and gold-plated. This is a bronze gate that looked so good they called it Beautiful. Every day, he was placed there to ask for money. Now, they are going to the temple out of their tradition; he is going there out of his trauma. They are going to the temple out of their routine; he's going to the gate out of his restriction. He can't go where they can go, and he can't do what they can do, but every day he would take his place at the gate and ask for change.

Now, about the time the temple guard is changing over from the morning sacrifice to the evening sacrifice, the Bible says Peter and John see a man… I always preached that they saw a man at the gate. Read it again. Verse 2: "Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried…" He hadn't even made it to the gate yet. They hadn't even made it to the temple stairs yet. What I'm trying to say is on the way to wherever you're going… Have a goal. Have a vision. Have a target. Have a thing, but on your way up to whatever you think God is calling you to do or whatever you would like to become in his name or whatever he has placed in your heart… Go on up. I'll help you. I'll cheer for you. I even named my church Elevation because I want you to go up, and God wants you to go up, and you are seated in heavenly places with Jesus. Just make sure that on your way to where you're going you stay open to what God is doing on the way.

See, they thought, "We've got to get to the temple. We've got to pray. We've got to watch the high priest offer the sacrifice, even though we know Jesus is our high priest, but this is our community. This is where we go. This is what we do". So, they're doing it, they're doing it, and as they are stopped mid-step, so is this man being carried. He is being carried; they are going up. Neither one is where they want to be yet, but God is right there on the way. Now I want to preach to everybody who's not where they want to be yet. Now I want to preach to everybody who hasn't mastered what they want to master yet and still feel kind of yanked around by some stuff right now. I want to preach to everybody who doesn't have the stability in their life they want to have right now and are in between here and there to let you know that God is on the way. I don't mean he's coming; I mean he's on the way. He's Alpha, he's Omega, and he's every letter in between. He's everything in between. He's God.

High-five your neighbor and say, "Stay open". On the way to where you think you're going God might do something greater. Are you open to that? I've had this happen so many times. I was reminded of one this week. There was a Sunday seven years ago. I was washing my hands in the bathroom, coming out to preach. Somebody was out here talking. "Okay. I'm going to get out to my seat". All of a sudden, this melody came into my head while I was washing my hands. Worthy is your name, Jesus, You deserve the praise, Worthy is your name. I stopped and thought, "I kind of like that, but I don't have time for it right now. I've got to preach. I've got to get out there". God said, "Yeah, you do have to get out there, but why don't you get out there and get something here before you go out there, because what if I want to give you something on the way to where you're going"? You know what's crazy? I can't remember to save my life what I preached that day, but watch this. "Worthy is your…"

How is it that what I thought wasn't even worth stopping for we're still singing seven years later because God gave it to us on the way? I pronounce… Places everyone. God is on the way. Places everyone. In the name of Jesus, rise up! Take my hand and rise up! It's on the way. Cry if you have to cry, but through your tears testify. It's on the way! We trample on God's purpose sometimes, trying to get to our plan. John might have said, "Peter, you can't help this man. You're going to make me late to temple". But Peter knew something. "Wait a minute. Jesus said he was coming to send his Spirit to live in us. What we're trying to get to is right here. Wait. This man is a temple, waiting to be restored". The thing that's right in front of you is as beautiful as the gate you're walking through if you can stop and see it. Hallelujah!

So stay open. That's what gates do. Right? They open. Stay open. I know you prayed your child would marry a missionary and serve God. They might not marry a missionary. They might not get married at all. Stay open. God doesn't have to ask you what age they're supposed to be married by, because you didn't get married when your parents wanted you to get married either. Now we sit here like gatekeepers of what God can do and when God could do it. Stay open. Can I preach a little more? It felt like I was closing, didn't it? That was just the gate opening, the opening of the gate. Oh, I'm going to need some help today. Turn to your neighbor and say, "Places everyone". Almost like God called Gabriel that morning. The disciples have been seeing God do amazing things, but this is the first healing miracle they did without Jesus.

Do you know how you can tell? Because Peter was doing so much. I read several times in the Bible… I thought this was kind of funny. Jesus would heal people who couldn't walk, like this man couldn't walk, but how Peter did it was so dramatic. Jesus would say, "Get up, take up your mat, and walk". His word was so powerful because he's the perfect, spotless, living embodiment of the Word of God. I can tell Peter is not so sure about this. It's so funny. Verse 6: "Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'" Then verse 7. "Yanking him up by the right hand…" I almost feel like Peter is like, "You're not going to make me look stupid. You're getting up one way or the other". And that's all right, because you progress and mature into it.

You grow into it. It's an amazing thing here because this man isn't even looking at them when they first walk by. We understand that. How many people have walked by and despised him? How many people have walked by and muttered under their breath about him? How many people did he ask, "Can I have some change? Can I have some change? Can I have some change"? and they said, "No. No. No"? So, Peter actually has to start with the man's expectation. The first thing God is going to have to heal for some of us is our expectation, because we have learned to live in a place of disappointment as our emotional home. If anything would come along and violate your expectation of disappointment, you would sabotage it and send it away unless God healed your expectation. "Look at us," Peter said. "Look me in the eye, and then I can give you something".

Change your focus. If you keep looking at everybody who has walked by and told you "No," everybody who has not recognized you, everybody who has not helped you, everybody who has left you… If you look at that even mentally, you will not get what God has for you. You cannot receive a present blessing living mentally in a past experience. Places everyone. This is the day the Lord has made. You have to get what God has for you in this day. Now the Bible says the man is looking at Peter and John, and he goes, "So, you got some change"? "Oh, yeah. I've got some change for you. I've got some change for you that you will not… I've got some change for you that is so great you won't be back at this gate tomorrow unless it's by choice to walk through it". God said, "I'm going to give you your autonomy back. I'm going to stop having you beg at places just for the crumbs of somebody else's approval, because you're going to know in this season, 'I have a purpose from God, so I'm not sitting here at this gate tomorrow. If I come to this gate tomorrow, it will be my choice to walk through it.'"

That's what makes addiction such a sin. It's not the thing you're doing; it's the fact that you have to. It has become your god. It has become the thing you have to do. God doesn't want you to owe anything to anyone but him except love. I'm going to break something off somebody today. I'm getting somebody up today with the help of the Holy Spirit, even if I have to yank you up. I've had to yank some people up before preaching. Yeah, just start yanking people up. The thing about it is when you've been rejected that long, the possibility of a different direction is almost unthinkable. The possibility that they could really like you for you when the last person used you is so unusual. The fact that God could use you is unfathomable, because look at all of the reasons you think he shouldn't.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you didn't know you? Then when I said God could use you you'd go, "All right," and you wouldn't have all of the reasons I'm wrong. Rejection. I know it isn't explicitly mentioned, but come on. He's put there every day. How many people walked past that man and told him, "No"? Here's what I love about the Lord. God can send one person to bless you in such an amazing way it will make every rejection that came before it irrelevant in comparison. Say that again, Pastor Steven Furtick. Say it for the one who was told "No". Say it for the one who knocked on the closed door until their knuckles bled. Say it one more time. God can send one person… It didn't take everybody in the temple to get the man up; it took one person. It took one name, and it wasn't Peter; it was Jesus.

God can send one person to bless you in such an amazing way it will make every rejection that came before it seem irrelevant in comparison. God can send you one mentor in your life to teach you everything your dad didn't teach you because he was too busy. God can send one experience in your life that will give you a lifetime education all in three days. God can send you one idea, and that one idea, if you incubate it… If you set it before him and trust him in it, that one idea can make up for 15 failures, 500 failures. Every rejection can be made irrelevant. It doesn't matter who told this man "No," because one person, one change, one hand, one moment…

Get your expectation back. It doesn't take everybody. It doesn't take everything going right. It doesn't take a stadium full. It doesn't take 10,000 followers. It doesn't even take long. The Bible said he got up instantly. One blessing. One blessing, one word, one pivot, one new path, one new song, one new thing… Places everyone. Do you know the only way you don't get it? If you're not there. Places everyone. God turns to Gabriel. He says, "Today is the day". "Really? We're going to do it today"? "Yeah. We're going to do it today. Today is the day. They've been preaching. They've been testifying. The church has been growing, and today I'm going to show ol' Peter what's in his right hand. Peter has been using his mouth, but now I want him to see what's in his hand. So get down there. Places everyone".

God is saying over the church in Acts, "Places everyone. Everybody, get ready. Okay. Is that man ready"? "Yeah, he's ready. They're carrying him right now. They don't have him to the gate yet". "Okay. Turn. That's where I want it…right there". Before he gets to the gate… Peter and John are coming, but they're not quite at the temple yet. Okay, perfect. God says, "Places everyone," and the place God chose to do it was the place between the places they planned. I need three people to shout about the place between the places, because that's where I am right now. Isn't it good to know the Lord, to know that he's on the way? To know one blessing from his hand can make up for every hand that was ever against me; to know that with one blessing from his hand he can make every rejection irrelevant.

The part I wish I didn't need to preach is the part I saved for last. They say, "Save the best for last". I saved the worst for last. I did it exactly backward. I'm just trying to be faithful to the text. The Bible says in verse 11… This would be a great place for the text to end in my mind. When all of the people heard about the man who was walking, and he's holding on to them, they were astonished. Look at verse 11. "…and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade". A colonnade is a porch with columns that support a roof. So, there was this big temple-length row of columns called Solomon's Colonnade on the eastern side of the temple, and they would meet there.

Jesus walked through there once in John, chapter 10. Isn't Peter smart? He went back to teach in the place where he saw Jesus do it, because the best thing you can do when you don't know what to do is do the last thing you saw Jesus do. So, they move the meeting. He's like, "All right". I don't even know if they got to do the full temple service or not, because it was a commotion. There are thousands of people. This is not a small church service. So, Peter says, "Everybody go to the colonnade". Now, a colonnade is a covered place. Notice in verse 11 it says the man was with them. He can walk now, but he chose to stay with them. He's standing there holding on to Peter and John, but he's no longer being carried; now he's being covered. Places everyone. For everyone who is refusing to walk in your own strength, you need to come out of the season where you're using other people to do for you what God wants to strengthen you to do for yourself. It doesn't mean you're going to be doing it in your own strength. Even when he wasn't carried, he was holding on to Peter and John.

So, I'm not carried, but I'm covered. Oh, I love that. That means I'm going to have to do this, but I'm not doing this by myself. That means I'm going to have to take some risks, but I'm covered either way it goes. That means that in this season of my life I can trust God to put me where he needs me to be. Now, the danger in this is we think if we're in the right place… "Okay, I took the job. Okay, I said 'Yes' to the thing. Okay, I volunteered at the church. I did the thing. I'm where I'm supposed to be". We think everything is going to go better if we're in the right place. So, now at this point in the party you're expecting Peter to give a sermon. And he does. Boy, he preaches, too, and he lets them have it. Talking about, "You disowned the holy and righteous one. Jesus was handed over to you, but God raised him from the dead. You missed it. You didn't recognize him for who he was, and you all need to repent".

Many of them did. In fact, 2,000 did. One dude having a changed life led to 2,000 salvations in one day. God math. He's standing there. Dare I say it? He's standing there in a place with pillars, and he's turning into a pillar himself. He's standing in what he's becoming. He's standing under what he's becoming. He's standing there. Peter preaches, and it's a good response. Look at what happened when Peter preached so well it turned the city inside out. Chapter 4, verse 3: "They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail…" "Wait, Jesus. But I served you, Jesus. But I did the right thing, Jesus. But I helped that man, Jesus. Shouldn't you be giving me a bonus check, Jesus? Shouldn't I be getting commission on this, Jesus? Didn't you see what we just did"? No, they put them in jail until the next day.

Then the Bible says in verse 4, "But many who heard the message believed…" It goes to show just because you're not there to see it doesn't mean God didn't do it. While everybody was getting their changed life, they were in a jail cell. Sometimes you have to get determined in your spirit that "I will not let the place I'm in make me doubt the purpose I carry". "I'm in this jail, but Jesus is working. I'm in this situation, but Jesus is working. I'm in this state, but Jesus is working". While they're in jail, all of the rulers are trying to decide, "What are we going to do about this"? It's not what they did for the man; it's what they were preaching about Jesus that got them thrown into jail. "We can't let them run around preaching that Jesus is resurrected. They'll completely reject our power if they find out Jesus has all power. What do we do? Put them in jail and we'll decide".

You have to imagine the man who was at the gate feels pretty bad about all this. "Hey, where are Peter and John? I want to thank them really quick". "Um, actually, Peter and John had to go to jail, because what was free for you cost them something". "Dang! I didn't mean for them to have to… I wasn't trying to cause any trouble, man. I was doing the best I could. He told me… He yanked me up. I didn't even ask him to be healed. I just wanted some lunch money. I feel bad about this. Hey, can I do anything to help? I know I'm not much of anybody, but is there anything I can do to help"? In my imagination I like to think… I know you're like, "Just read the Bible. Don't use your imagination".

That's your problem. No, that's your problem. You read the Bible like "Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away," but this isn't Star Wars; this is Scripture. We are supposed to come to this Bible with our senses and submit them to the Spirit. So when we find ourselves like, "Okay. I feel like that sometimes. I feel like I'm just doing my job, and I feel like… Not in jail physically, but I feel like I'm in prison for something, and I don't really see what God is doing". So, we read this. Imagine maybe Matthew, one of the disciples. Let's use Matthew. He goes, "Actually, there is something you can do. Tomorrow, Peter and John are going to have to give a defense before the Sanhedrin, and they're going to be called into question for what they did. So, when they are preaching, why don't you just be there". "Okay, cool. I can totally do that. Sounds great. If there's one thing I know how to do it's be there, because that's all I've been able to do".

See, this man, because he was paralyzed, has been practicing being a pillar his whole life. He knows how to be there. So they say, "Yeah, just be there. Peter is going to preach". Then the man maybe says, "And you want me to share a little something"? "No, no, no. Don't say anything. We don't even know if you're saved yet. Don't say nothin'. Just stand there". So, they call Peter and John. They say, "All right. Why did you do it"? Peter says, "If we are being called to account for an act of kindness to this man, let it be known that it was not us, but the God of our fathers raised this man for the sake of his holy servant Jesus". The Bible says after Peter preached, the people were not very impressed, but they were amazed. I'll show you how I know they weren't impressed.

Look at chapter 4, verse 13. "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men…" That is not a compliment. That's like the guy who told me after church two weeks ago, "That was actually pretty insightful". I was like, "It's the actually that bothers me about that sentence you just said". "…and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men…" Places everyone. You don't have to be spectacular; you just have to show up. You don't have to understand; you just have to stand. That's all you have to do. They saw their courage. Do you know how it confuses the Devil when he sees you still standing there after he launched a thousand missiles at your mind to try to get you to go crazy and curse God and die, and you say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. I'm standing here"? "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus".

See, every experience they had with Jesus collapses into this moment. Every time they saw him feed somebody, every time they heard a teaching… Every time you show up, it is compounding your experience, and it will pay dividends in your future. Places everyone. Every sermon you log in your spirit, every note you write down and put up that week on the mirror, every song you learn so you can sing a new song to the Lord… It's compounding in your life for the glory of Christ. It says when they heard Peter they took note. Verse 14 is my favorite. "But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say". It goes like this, children.

When Peter preached, they took note, but when the man stood there, they shut up. Do you want to shut up the Enemy? Stand there. Do you want to silence the Enemy? Stand there. Do you want to back down the feeling of depression and replace it with the joy of the Lord? I have two words for you, baby. Stand there! When they talk about you, stand there. When it feels like there's no point, stand there. Every place you set your foot he'll give you, but you have to stand there. Don't walk away. You are the one for the job. All you have to do is stand there. Somebody stand to your feet right now and do what you haven't done yet. Praise him like you know your place. Stand there. Stand there discouraged. Stand there while you're healing. Stand there with your legs wobbling. Stand there while they point at you and say, "Isn't she the one who used to…"? "Yeah, I used to, but look at me doing what I couldn't used to do".

Just stand there. Don't argue. Don't quit. Don't commit suicide. Don't take another pill. Stand there. Don't call 15 people who don't know any better than you. You are not going back to the gate. Places everyone! Stand there. Jesus, keep me near the cross, There a precious fountain; Free to all, a healing stream, Flows from Calvary's mountain. Places everyone. This is where it happens. In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever, Till my raptured soul shall find Rest beyond the river. Places everyone. When the person changes, so does the place. The cross you are singing about as an emblem was an instrument of torture, but when the man Jesus Christ died… When the person of Jesus Christ died, the place changed. That cross of his suffering is now the forgiveness of your sins. Stand there and see the precious Lamb of God.

See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Stand there and let the blood be applied. Stand there and let the mercy of God make you new. Stand there. That's all that man did. "I can't sing, but I can stand there. I didn't even plan to be walking today, but I can stand here. You need me to stand there? I'll stand there. You need me to show up? I'll show up. You need me to be an example, God"? Watch this. This man looked like an extra in the movie, but he was actually exhibit A of the witnessing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm telling you that's you too if you stand there. Heads bowed, eyes closed. This is not a joke. This is a place you might look back on and say, "That day, I went through that gate, and I was changed".

You can change. The trash won't be so big when you get taller. You can change. The pleasures of sin won't seem so powerful. You can change. In the name of Jesus, I offer you my hand. Places everyone. Get up and walk. What are the chances you would be here to hear this sermon today? What are the chances this day…? God must have something happening right now that is bigger than you. Don't be so selfish you think it's just about what you can get. Maybe God is about to use you to help somebody else up and you need to get strong for it. Stand there. I offer an invitation for all of you today who need to come to the cross. I believe there are thousands who are hearing this message.

As I offer you this prayer, this prayer is a place. It is a place of faith, not a physical location. God doesn't live in one building. God wants to come and live in your heart, so invite him in. The Bible says if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved today. You will. So, I'm going to offer a prayer. We're praying it out loud together, as a church family, for the benefit of those who are coming to God or back to God. Repeat after me.

Heavenly Father, today is my day of salvation. I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.

Raise your hand on the count of three. One, two, three. If you prayed that prayer, raise your hand. God bless you. Get up and walk. God bless you. "In the name of Jesus, we have the victory". I'm going to be the last man standing to let the Lord know I appreciate his grace. I'm not standing on my own; I'm standing by his Spirit. Paul said, "Stand, therefore". Put on the whole armor of God and stand. High-five 10 people and say, "Stand there". Everybody who received a word from the Lord, clap your hands and praise him. Not me. Praise him. Give it to him. Give him the glory. That's all you've got? That man started walking and jumping and praising God. That's all you've got?

Every time you get a change, give a praise. That way you won't get prideful and think you're on your own. I thank God for what he just gave us. I feel that the Holy Spirit flowed to somebody today, and it wasn't that you were crippled in your feet; you were crippled in your faith. God is getting you up. Stand there. Stand there. The Devil is going to be so surprised. "I thought I convinced you to quit". "Nuh-uh. I found out all I have to do is stand there and let God fight my battles. I'm going to do this". High-five somebody and say, "I got changed today. I changed my mind. I changed my perspective". Hallelujah.

Well, we have to go now. You can't stand there, because somebody else wants to sit there. Campus pastors, you take it. Do y'all mind if I close here at Ballantyne? Do you mind if I close my own sermon? All right. Take your hand and put it on the shoulder of the person on either side of you. Online, we also connect with you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk and stand there. I see you going back to places this week that you used to be afraid of and saying, "This trash can isn't so big". I see you going back to places this week that used to be fun for you, saying, "This roller coaster fell off". I see you heating up corn dogs this week, saying, "This doesn't taste good anymore, because I grew up".

Places everyone. God has an assignment for you. Places, schoolteachers. God has an assignment for you. Places, police officers, detectives. God has an assignment for you. Places, stay-at-home moms. God has an assignment. Places, babysitters. God has an assignment for you. Places while you're waiting on your next employment. Places while you're pastoring your church. Places everyone. Something is about to happen. Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more than you ask or imagine, to him be glory through Christ Jesus in the church now and forever. Give him a shout of praise if you receive this word! I'll see you next week, same place, same time. Places everyone!
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