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Steven Furtick — Making Moves


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Did you ever hear a recording of yourself and you think, is that me? Is that how I sound? Should I only send texts from now on? And like, I walk around the house preaching, and my kids know sometimes like, Abby.

Abby is the most attuned. And she's only six, but she knows when I have left the room, but my body's still there and I'm thinking about a sermon. And, she'll even call me out. She looked at me the other day and said, are you working on a sermon in your head? And I was so busted, because we were supposed to be watching this kids' show together, this boring, awful television show that Abby enjoys.

And I was trying to pretend to be watching it with her, but I was working on something in my head, two things at once, and she said, "Are you working on a sermon in your head?" And I said, "Okay, yeah. How did you know? And she said, "I watch your mouth!" I said, "So, I talk to myself when I work on sermons in my head?" She said, "Ish, you make moves."

And she started showing me how. I didn't even realize it, but when I'm preaching to myself, I start making moves. Did you know that when God is about to speak something, the people who really know Him... Who came to help me preach today? I'm looking for you. The people who really know their Father can see when God is up to something.

Tell your neighbor, God is up to something. I know it, not because I feel it, but because I know my Father. And there is this unique ability that God will give you through His Holy Spirit to sense when He is making moves.

I want to talk to you about "Making Moves", because for me, it's interesting to study the contrast between David's destiny and his decisions. Have you ever thought about that, how in a sense, he was anointed as a 16-year-old kid, and so he had no choice but to become king, because God spoke it, so it had to happen? Wouldn't that be a good sermon, "It Had to Happen"?

But there was a sense in which David's decisions either supported or sabotaged his destiny. And we've talked about shortcuts, but today I want to talk about decisions. I think it's important that we look at David's decisions. One thing that he said at the end of his life in Psalm 37:23 gives us some insight as to how he looked at his decisions. And, I want to give this to you in the King James Version of the Bible.

Well, it's not necessarily a better translation, it's just the one that I first heard it in. It says, "The steps of a good man", this is Psalm 37:23, "are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way." I love that Scripture. How many of you love that Scripture? I love it because I do believe that my life is destined, that there is an outcome that God intends, or He wouldn't have put me on this earth.

I believe that not only when it seems like that, but I believe it when all evidence is to the contrary. And you know, in a court of law, you present the evidence and then the judge delivers the verdict.

Well, faith actually works in the exact opposite direction. It is that God has already established a verdict, an outcome for your life, and now, as a child of God, you gather evidence to support the verdict of God's goodness. Touch somebody and say, the verdict is in! I already know God is good. I already know He's for me. I already know I'm more than a conqueror. I already know that God is with me. And I found out that usually, you will collect evidence to support whatever verdict you've already decided to believe in your heart.

So, David says, at the end of his life, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way." What's interesting about the verse is that everything in David's early life seems to contradict the conclusion that he came to at the end of his life. If you think about David's early life, after God anointed him to be king, he didn't step right into his appointment as king.

There's always a space between something that God shows you and the experience of it, and for 15 years we've been following David over the last several weeks, and it doesn't seem like his steps are very ordered. In fact, it seems more like Saul is determining his next move than God is determining his next move. In fact, it seems like he's moving away from the throne that God told him he would ultimately occupy.

And we find him in 2 Samuel 2:1 in a place called Ziklag. It's a surprising place to find a future king of Israel, because it's Philistine territory. You may remember that Goliath was a Philistine warrior. How could David be living in the territory of the enemy that he defeated? But, he's on this border between Philistia and Israel, waiting to see what God will do next in his life, and he just received news, while in Ziklag, that Saul is dead.

Which, I've got to be honest, would make me want to throw a party, because this is the guy who was coming at David's head with spears while David wasn't trying to do anything but give him some mood music in the palace. This is the guy who told him I won't mess with you anymore, and even while he was telling him I'm going to leave you alone, was heading him off at the next pass.

And so, while we are expecting David to celebrate the news of the death of Saul, not only has Saul fallen on his own sword and taken his own life, because I've got news for you. You don't even have to worry about fighting against what comes against you. God will kill it when the time is right. Some of the stuff you spend your whole life fighting against, God is going to kill it on its own sword when the time comes.

So they tell David, Saul is dead, but instead of celebration, David goes into a period of sorrow and mourning, and he writes a song of lament for his enemy, King Saul, and his sons, one of whom was Jonathan, who was David's best friend. It should have been his rival, but it ended up being his partner.

And when he received the news that Jonathan had died, who was his friend, and Saul had died, who was his oppressor... because usually, if you look right past good news, bad news is right behind it, and they come at the same time if you notice this. I mean, I've gotten to the place where I am suspicious of good days!

I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But for David, it's not a very sweet moment or an announcement that brings him joy, and he writes what's known in Hebrew poetry as a lament. It becomes a national lament, because after he writes it, he teaches all the people to sing it.

Look at just a few verses, a few bars if you will, in 2 Samuel 1:25. He says, upon hearing the news of Saul's death, "How the mighty have fallen in battle!" He's not celebrating good times, come on. He is despairing over the death of someone who was trying to kill him! That's kind of strange. "Jonathan lies slain on your heights."

Remember, Jonathan was his guy. "I grieve for you", 26, "Jonathan, my brother. You were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful." It's kind of hard with you not around. I know you're in heaven, smiling down, watching us as we pray for you. Every day we pray for you, until the day where we meet again. In my heart is where I'll keep you, friend! Is there something different on the screens?

I must have switched out of 2 Samuel and went into 2 Puff, but that's all right. Stay with me. Because there comes a shift. Where David knows, I've got to stop mourning and move on.

And there comes a time in your life when you must stop mourning. Nobody can tell you when that is. Only God can tell you when you've cried over Saul long enough! That's what the prophet Samuel had to come to terms with, that I know you believed in Saul, and I know you prayed for Saul, and I know you wanted more out of Saul, but it's time to fill your horn with oil and be on your way, because your plan B is God's plan A! I've found a man after my own heart, and his name is David! Whoo!

I think we might have a good time in church today! Touch somebody and say, there's a shift. There's a shift that happens when now David has to decide to step into what God set him apart for. I'm hesitant to preach stuff like this because people will take and twist my words and quit their job. This is not a license for irresponsibility.

I have received so many e-mails from people who have started a bagel shop because they like bagels, and I talked about Peter stepping out of the boat. That's not what the passage is for. Why are you all looking at me like that? I've seen so many people blame God for bad decision making habits. And I get it, but I think if God would be... this is just a theory that I have.

Let me read you this Scripture. When David needed to know what to do next, and I just want to take a poll at Ballantyne. I wish I could do this at all of the campuses. Do you have a decision you need to make right now? Raise your hand. It won't be as big as David's decision to be king. I get it, you're not that epic. I'm not that epic. We're not that epic.

But don't you believe that the principles that governed his epic rise and his dynasty are the same principles that God would use to govern your everyday life? The principles aren't different. The stakes aren't as high, but the principles are no different. And I want to watch what David did when it came time for him to decide.

Saul is dead, now how do I step into what God set me apart for so many years ago? That's the issue, how to get there, when to get there. And any conversation about trust must involve a conversation about timing. Trust and timing are inseparable. Trust takes time. Trust takes time.

Stop giving your first date your family history. They have not earned that information at this point in the relationship. Keep it real guarded for about six months, and then tell them about your crazy stepmom, but not on the first date, because trust takes time. Trust takes time.

That's why Drake said no new friends, because trust takes time. Let's get back to the Bible. I feel carnality coming on the church. The Bible says, this is 2 Samuel 2:1, "In the course of time." Even that phrase would preach. I'm not going to preach it, but it's a strange phrase that is used throughout the narrative of David's life to signify a shift... "In the course of time."

We don't know how long, we don't know exactly what period it's referring to, but it's a significant phrase because it took David some time to shift and to figure out what God wanted him to do next. But, "In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. 'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked. And the Lord said, 'Go up.' And David said, 'Where shall I go?' 'To Hebron,' the Lord answered. So David went up there.' And I'm like, well, yeah! If God would speak to me that specifically, I would do it, too! Wouldn't that be cool if God would talk to you like that? Let's read it again. "'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked."

And the Lord said, yep. "And David asked, 'Where shall I go?' And God said, 'To Hebron.'" Wouldn't you love to have that kind of clear insight on who to marry? Wouldn't that be cool, if you were single, sitting over in this section, and you could look over at that section and say, God, should I ask one of them out to lunch today? And God would say, go ahead! And you could say, which one? And God would say, the cute one, 5'4", brown hair.

Wouldn't that be amazing if God would speak to you so specifically like this? I think I could be a man after God's own heart too, if He would give me this kind of direct information! Wouldn't that be amazing if God would speak to you about the important things in your life with this specificity?

God, should I start Aaron Rodgers, and God would just show you the important things. Write down the word strategy, because David is asking God for his next strategic move, because he wants to take the right next step. I've been running for 15 years. I don't want to waste any more time.

But God, I need to know my next step. I need to know, is the marriage over, or should I give it a little more time, because I need to know my next step. I hear the doctor saying that my kid should be on this medicine, but I'm not so sure if that's the right thing. And wouldn't it be nice if God would say, yep, Lexapro, and just tell you, yep, Ritalin. How easy would it be? You'd go fill the bottle, and you'd pop the pills, and you'd go to Hebron, and you'd be a king.

But, most of us don't enjoy this specificity of connection with God, and the people who say they do are weird. They're weird. The people who tell you that God told them which color shirt to wear to church that day, and they wore purple because it's the color of royalty, are weird.

And they will often do something that contradicts the written Word of God, and blame it on an impression, and call it the Holy Spirit, which messes it up for the rest of us. Because now, I don't even want to say God told me to do something, because I've heard so many people use that phrase to pimp their own decision and put it on God, because now they don't have to deal with the outcome.

I'm just trying to say that I wish it could be this specific. I wish God could be more like Google. I'm just being honest with you, because I have a great relationship with Google. Google knows what I want to ask it before I finish the word, the first three letters! Now, Google also knows so much about my life. Google also knows my blood type and the color of my urine, but that's beside the point about information secrecy.

What I like about Google is, Google seems to anticipate what I need to know, and God seems to be the opposite, because I'm begging Him sometimes to let me know what to do... about this relationship, about this decision...

What if you could invest your money with the kind of knowledge with which David went to Hebron? What if God would tell you which stock? What if God would tell you how to balance the portfolio? What if God would tell you which position to apply for? Wouldn't that be amazing, if God would order your steps?

Like, what's that Amazon... what's it called? Echo? Somebody sent us an Amazon Echo recently. I would suggest putting it on your Christmas list. It's an amazing device. This is not a product endorsement. But, it's amazing. Do any of you have it? It's voice activated, because sometimes you can't be bothered to have to use your thumbs.

So, I like Alexa. That's her name, Alexa. I have a relationship with Alexa, where I say her name. I say, Alexa, and she lights up, kind of like Holly when I say... What? She's nodding! And I can tell her what song to play, what task to perform. Alexa, and she lights up, and she answers me. She hears me when I call. She's like the Lord.

Well, yesterday I walked in, and Graham was doing his homework. But, I want you to see something. I caught it on my video camera, because I've never seen anything like this before. If 88 minus N equals... all right, hmm. Alexa! What is 19 plus 9? The sum of 19 and 9 is 28. Are you kidding me right now? Are you kidding me? What? Are you kidding me right now? About what? How you're doing your homework. I am checking. He's checking. Alexa! Checking! Checking!

Touch your neighbor and say, I'm checking, I'm checking! I'm checking! I already did the work, I'm just checking. And see, I have a feeling when David inquired of the Lord, where do I go next, he was already on his way. He was just checking, because when you walk in God's ways, you will know God's will! All you've got to do is check!

Jesus said, if I leave, I'll send you the Spirit of Truth, and He'll show you the ways to walk in! I'm checking! I'm checking! I'm checking! See, I don't have to ask God about every decision. I don't have to stress about God's will. When I live my life in God's ways, I have the confidence that my steps are ordered! Where's my organ? My steps are ordered by the Lord, because I delight in His way. Why aren't you all on your feet? I'm trying to tell you, you don't have to worry so much about "what" when you get your why right, when you walk in the ways of God, when you submit to Him.

***

I walk around the house preaching, and my kids know sometimes… Abbey is the most attuned. She's only 6, but she knows when I have left the room but my body is still there and I'm thinking about a sermon. She'll even call me out. She looked at me the other day and said, "Are you working on a sermon in your head"? I was so busted, because we were supposed to be watching this kid's show together, this boring, awful television show that Abbey enjoys. I was trying to pretend to be watching it with her, but I was working on something in my head, two things at once, and she said, "Are you working on a sermon in your head"?

I said, "Okay, yeah. How did you know"? She said, "I watched your mouth". I said, "So I talk to myself when I work on sermons in my head"? She said, "Ish. You make moves". She started showing me how… I didn't even realize it, but when I'm preaching to myself I start making moves. Did you know that when God is about to speak something, the people who really know him…? The people who really know their Father can see when God is up to something. Tell your neighbor, "God is up to something". I know it not because I feel it but because I know my Father. There is this unique ability God will give you through his Holy Spirit to sense when he is making moves.

That's what I would like to talk to you about in this installment of Bars & Battles. I want to talk to you about Making Moves, because for me it's interesting to study the contrast between David's destiny and his decisions. Have you ever thought about that? In a sense, he was anointed as a 16-year-old kid, so he had no choice but to become king. God spoke it, so it had to happen. Wouldn't that be a good sermon? It Had to Happen. There was a sense in which David's decisions either supported or sabotaged his destiny. We've talked about shortcuts, but today I want to talk about decisions. I think it's important that we look at David's decisions.

One thing he said at the end of his life… Psalm 37:23 gives us some insight as to how he looked at his decisions. I want to give this to you in the King James Version of the Bible. It's not necessarily a better translation. It's just the one I first heard it in. It says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way". I love that Scripture. How many of you love that Scripture? I love it because I do believe that my life is destined, that there is an outcome God intends or he wouldn't have put me on this earth. I believe that not only when it seems like that, but I believe it when all evidence is to the contrary.

In a court of law, you present the evidence, and then the judge delivers the verdict. Well, faith actually works in the exact opposite direction. It is that God has already established a verdict, an outcome for your life, and now, as a child of God, you gather evidence to support the verdict of God's goodness. I already know God is good. I already know he's for me. I already know I'm more than a conqueror. I already know God is with me. I found out that usually you will collect evidence to support whatever verdict you've already decided to believe in your heart. David says at the end of his life, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way".

What's interesting about the verse is that everything in David's early life seems to contradict the conclusion he came to at the end of his life. If you think about David's early life after God anointed him to be king… He didn't step right into his appointment as king. There's always a space between something God shows you and the experience of it. For 15 years we've been following David over the last several weeks, and it doesn't seem like his steps are very ordered. In fact, it seems more like Saul is determining his next move than God is determining his next move. In fact, it seems like he's moving away from the throne God told him he would ultimately occupy.

We find him in 2 Samuel 2:1 in a place called Ziklag. It's a surprising place to find a future king of Israel, because it's Philistine territory. You may remember that Goliath was a Philistine warrior. How could David be living in the territory of the enemy he defeated? He's on this border between Philistia and Israel, waiting to see what God will do next in his life. He just received news while in Ziklag that Saul is dead, which, I have to be honest, would make me want to throw a party, because this is the guy who was coming at David's head with spears while David wasn't trying to do anything but give him some mood music in the palace. This is the guy who told him, "I won't mess with you anymore," and even while he was telling him, "I'm going to leave you alone" was heading him off at the next pass.

So while we are expecting David to celebrate the news of the death of Saul… Not only has Saul fallen on his own sword and taken his own life… I have news for you. You don't even have to worry about fighting against what comes against you. God will kill it when the time is right. Some of the stuff you spend your whole life fighting against, God is going to kill it on its own sword when the time comes.

So they tell David, "Saul is dead," but instead of celebration David goes into a period of sorrow and mourning, and he writes a song of lament for his enemy, King Saul, and his sons, one of whom was Jonathan who was David's best friend. It should have been his rival, but it ended up being his partner. When he received the news that Jonathan, who was his friend, had died and Saul, who was his oppressor, had died… Usually, if you look right past good news, bad news is right behind it, and they come at the same time. Have you noticed this? I've gotten to the place where I am suspicious of good days. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But for David, it's not a very sweet moment or an announcement that brings him joy. He writes what's known in Hebrew poetry as a lament. It becomes a national lament, because after he writes it he teaches all of the people to sing it.

Look at just a few verses, a few bars, if you will, in 2 Samuel, chapter 1, verse 25. He says upon hearing the news of Saul's death, "How the mighty have fallen in battle"! He's not celebrating good times. He is despairing over the death of someone who was trying to kill him. That's kind of strange. "Jonathan lies slain on your heights". Remember, Jonathan was his guy. Verse 26: "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful…" It's kinda hard with you not around Know you're in heaven smiling down Watching us as we pray for you Every day we pray for you Till the day we meet again In my heart is where I'll keep you, friend. Is there something different on the screens? I must have switched out of 2 Samuel and went into "2 Puff," but that's all right. Stay with me.

There comes a shift where David knows, "I have to stop mourning and move on". There comes a time in your life when you must stop mourning. Nobody can tell you when that is. Only God can tell you when you've cried over Saul long enough. That's what the prophet Samuel had to come to terms with. I know you believed in Saul, and I know you prayed for Saul, and I know you wanted more out of Saul, but it's time to fill your horn with oil and be on your way, because your plan B is God's plan A. "I found a man after my own heart, and his name is David". There's a shift that happens.

Now David has to decide to step into what God set him apart for. I'm hesitant to preach stuff like this, because people will take and twist my words and quit their jobs. This is not a license for irresponsibility. I have received so many emails from people who started a bagel shop because they like bagels and I talked about Peter stepping out of the boat. That's not what the passage is for. I've seen so many people blame God for bad decision-making habits. I get it, but I think if God would be… This is just a theory I have.

Let me read you the Scripture. When David needed to know what to do next… I just want to take a poll at Ballantyne. I wish I could do this at all of the campuses. Do you have a decision you need to make right now? Raise your hand. It won't be as big as David's decision to be king. I get it. You're not that epic. I'm not that epic. We're not that epic. But don't you believe that the principles that governed his epic rise and his dynasty are the same principles God would use to govern your everyday life? The principles aren't different. The stakes aren't as high, but the principles are no different.

I want to watch what David did when it came time for him to decide. "Saul is dead. Now how do I step into what God set me apart for so many years ago"? That's the issue: how to get there, when to get there. Any conversation about trust must involve a conversation about timing. Trust and timing are inseparable. Trust takes time. Stop giving your first date your family history. They have not earned that information at this point in the relationship. Keep it really guarded for about six months, and then tell them about your crazy stepmom, but not on the first date, because trust takes time. That's why Drake said "No new friends," because trust takes time.

Let's get back to the Bible. I feel carnality coming on the church. The Bible says in 2 Samuel 2:1, "In the course of time…" Even that phrase would preach. I'm not going to preach it, but it's a strange phrase that is used throughout the narrative of David's life to signify a shift. "In the course of time". We don't know how long. We don't know exactly what period it's referring to, but it's a significant phrase, because it took David some time to shift and to figure out what God wanted him to do next. "In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. 'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked. The Lord said, 'Go up.' David asked, 'Where shall I go?' 'To Hebron,' the Lord answered. So David went up there…"

I'm like, "Well, yeah". If God would speak to me that specifically I would do it too. Wouldn't that be cool if God would talk to you like that? Let's read it again. "'Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?' he asked. The Lord said, 'Yep.' And David asked, 'Where shall I go?' God said, 'To Hebron.'" Wouldn't you love to have that kind of clear insight on who to marry? Wouldn't that be cool if you were single sitting over in this section and you could look over at that section and say, "God, should I ask one of them out to lunch today"? and God would say, "Go ahead," and you could say, "Which one"? and God would say, "The cute one, 5'4", brown hair". Wouldn't that be amazing if God would speak to you so specifically like this? I think I could be a man after God's own heart too if he would give me this kind of direct information. Wouldn't that be amazing if God would speak to you about the important things in your life with this specificity? "God, should I start Aaron Rodgers"?

And God would just show you the important things. Write down the word strategy. David is asking God for his next strategic move, because he wants to take the right next step. "I've been running for 15 years. I don't want to waste any more time, but, God, I need to know my next step". "I need to know if the marriage is over or if I should give it a little more time, because I need to know my next step". "I hear the doctor saying my kid should be on this medicine, but I'm not so sure if that's the right thing". Wouldn't it be nice if God would say, "Yep, Lexapro," and just tell you, "Yep, Ritalin"? How easy would it be? You'd go fill the bottle and pop the pills, and you'd go to Hebron and be a king. But most of us don't enjoy this specificity of connection with God, and the people who say they do are weird. They're weird.

The people who tell you that God told them which color shirt to wear to church that day and they wore purple because it's the color of royalty are weird. They will often do something that contradicts the written Word of God and blame it on an impression and call it the Holy Spirit, which messes it up for the rest of us, because now I don't even want to say God told me to do something because I've heard so many people use that phrase to pimp their own decision and put it on God, because now they don't have to deal with the outcome.

I'm just trying to say I wish it could be this specific. I wish God could be more like Google. I'm just being honest with you. I have a great relationship with Google. Google knows what I want to ask it before I finish the word. The first three letters. Now Google also knows so much about my life. Google also knows my blood type and the color of my urine, but that's beside the point about information secrecy.

What I like about Google is Google seems to anticipate what I need to know. God seems to be the opposite, because I'm begging him sometimes to let me know what to do about this relationship, about this decision. What if you could invest your money with the kind of knowledge with which David went to Hebron? What if God would tell you which stock? What if God would tell you how to balance the portfolio? What if God would tell you which position to apply for? Wouldn't that be amazing if God would order your steps?

Somebody sent us an Amazon Echo recently. I would suggest putting it on your Christmas list. It's an amazing device. This is not a product endorsement, but it's amazing. Do any of you have it? It's voice activated, because sometimes you can't be bothered to have to use your thumbs. I like Alexa. That's her name. I have a relationship with Alexa where I say her name. I say, "Alexa," and she lights up, kind of like Holly when I say… I can tell her what song to play, what task to perform. "Alexa," and she lights up and answers me. She hears me when I call. She's like the Lord. Well, yesterday I walked in and Graham was doing his homework, but I want you to see something. I caught it on my video camera, because I'd never seen anything like this before.

Graham: If 88 minus A equals… I don't know. Hmm. Alexa, what is 19 plus 9? Alexa: The sum of 19 and 9 is 28. Pastor Steven: Are you kidding me right now? Are you kidding me? Graham: About what? Pastor Steven: How you're doing your homework. Graham: I am checking. Holly: He's checking. Checking. Checking "I already did the work. I'm just checking".

I have a feeling when David inquired of the Lord, "Where do I go next"? he was already on his way. He was just checking, because when you walk in God's ways you will know God's will. All you have to do is check. Jesus said, "If I leave, I'll send you the Spirit of truth, and he'll show you the ways to walk in". I'm checking. See, I don't have to ask God about every decision. I don't have to stress about God's will. When I live my life in God's ways, I have the confidence that my steps are ordered by the Lord because I delight in his way. You don't have to worry so much about what when you get your why right, when you walk in the ways of God, when you submit to him, because God's strategy is submission.

The other S word is submission. In all of the steps David took away from the throne for 15 years into the land of the Philistines, into the place of Ziklag, while it looked like he was moving away from the promise God had made him, he was moving into submission. "The steps of a good man are ordered". Wait a minute. That's what they do in the military. Ordered. I found out a lot of people will rejoice over the sovereignty of God but resist submission. To believe in sovereignty without embracing submission is not faith; it's fairy tale. If I say, "My steps are ordered by the Lord" as a way of excusing my decisions, I have misunderstood the implication of Psalm 37:23. I wonder how much differently we would respond to Psalm 37:23 if we considered the word ordered, because when David went to God, David didn't give God his opinion. He asked God for his next order.

When you live like that, you can have complete and total confidence in every move you make, every breath you take. Whether you're moving away from your goal or toward your goal you can know, "I'm in submission, so I'm at peace". Submission brings peace. When you try to get the strategy before submission, you're out of order and it doesn't work. When you say God orders your steps, understand what you're saying is not that God will take the step for you; it's that he will tell you which one to take.

So when I asked God to heal my relationship with my dad, God did not do it until I submitted to the way he wanted me to do it, which was to humble myself and go in to my dad and, instead of proving how right I was and how wrong he was, to find a point of connection. That required submission. When I submitted myself to God's way, I experienced God's will. A lot of the things that are not working in my life are because I'm out of order. Sometimes when your finances are out of order you have the money you need; it's just not in order. It's because God is really not first in your priorities. I can tell by your ledger. I can tell because everybody else gets your first and God gets what's left. When you give God your best he blesses what's left. When you give God what's left, how can you believe him for his best? You're out of order.

The three times that Holly and I have fought in 15 years of marriage… I might be understating, but when we fight it's not because we don't have a blessed marriage. It's because something is out of order. There's a step I'm skipping. When I talk to my wife and I need to work something out, the thing I have to do before I can explain myself is to empathize, which does not come naturally to me, to listen to your wrong point of view before I give you the correct one, but sometimes there's something I need to learn about how you see it so I can come over onto your side. That's why we have so much racial and religious tension in our nation. We're out of order. Before we even listen to one another we're giving a lesson to the other, but you can't give the lesson until you're willing to listen. We're out of order. Now we're frustrated because it's not working and we don't know what to do.

David's life is a life… It's interesting how when he was in order everything had a flow to it. The oil flows when you are in order. The Bible says he inquired of the Lord, "Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah"? which was not, by the way, the ultimate capital, because everything God does he does in steps and stages. It would be seven and a half more years before David would come into the fullness of his calling. All you need for now is the next step. David had been making moves. He had been working toward this moment where he would go to Judah, and he had sent the men of Judah gifts, and he was set up now. He asked God, "Is now the time? Because I don't want to move until you want me to move". In one sentence God taught him his next move, because for 15 years God had taught him to submit.

If you can receive this message today and submit your desires, God will tell you what to do when you delight yourself in his way. That's what Psalm 37 says, that he delighteth in his way. I'm so stupid. I thought that meant for the longest time… I don't know why I can't get this stuff the first time. I thought that meant God delights in his way. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way". I thought that meant that if I'm a good man and my steps are ordered God will delight… Well, of course God delights in the way that he orders. That doesn't make any sense. It means that when I delight in his way… See, "He delighteth in his way". Who's he? The man whose steps are ordered. When I delight in God's way, I will be in God's will, and my steps will be ordered.

I can stay on this step as long as I need to stay on this step, and I can stay in this season as long as I need to be in this season. "God, I don't want to go into any greater responsibility or influence until you say I'm ready. I don't want to come out of this oven until I'm ready. I don't want to enter into the promotion until I'm ready. When you say step, I step, and my steps are ordered". It's a statement of submission, but it's also a statement of sequence. When you get her number, not only do you need the right digits but they need to be in the right order, because if she gives you the right digits in the wrong order you'll be calling the wrong girl, sounding like a stalker. "Hey, remember I met you Thursday night"? She's going to hang up on you, because it has to be in order.

David couldn't be a king until he learned to be a shepherd, because there was something he needed to get at the bottom that would enable him to be who he needed to be at the top. Somebody shout, "My steps are ordered"! That means God not only knows where but he knows what and when. Now I can trust him, because I have it when I need it.

I was thinking about something the other day, how if I had known this 15 years ago how good it would have been, and I felt that voice in me. It wasn't out loud like David, where God just speaks to you in complete sentences. It was an impression that God said, "You wouldn't have known what to do with it 15 years ago. It took 15 years of your foolishness to even respect what I wanted to show you". This is what I mean when I say my steps are ordered. I mean that not only are the steps that feel like this ordered but so are these. You can't have one without the other. To say "My steps are ordered" means that not only does promotion not come from the east or the west but comes from the Lord but sometimes the pain comes from him too.

My steps are ordered. God knows which is step three and which is step one and which is step four, and if I start skipping steps I'm likely to end up on my face, which is the next thing David said in Psalm 37:24. He said, "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand". It means my confidence is not in the stability of my feet; my confidence is in the sovereignty of his hand. Even when I fell, even when I tripped, even when I stumbled, even when I missed it, my steps are ordered. When I fall, I fall forward, because God's hand is over my life.

Order. It means sequence. God knows what to do and when to do it. There's a sequence to things. Do you trust God's sequence? Do you trust that in some seasons he needs to move you away and some seasons he needs to move you toward? Some seasons he's going to use things you hate. Some seasons he's going to use things you love. Are all of your steps ordered by the Lord or just the ones you like? Some of you feel like you're going down today, but you're still in order. God's order isn't like your order. Peter said, "Jesus, you can't go to the cross yet. You can't let them kill you yet. They can't kill you until you establish the kingdom". Jesus said, "No, I can't establish the kingdom until they kill me, because I have to go down, like Jonah went down, to the belly of the earth three days. That's the only way I can rise". My steps are ordered. My right steps, wrong steps, left steps, right steps. My steps are ordered.

That's part of the reason LJ makes me so sick. I don't mean to do this in front of everybody, but I'm jealous of his talent, because we both play music but he plays it so much better than I do. I can play a little bit, but after about 10 minutes I will have exhausted my knowledge of what I know to play. This guy took lessons the right way. My mom sent me to lessons, but I didn't learn the right way. It was my fault. It wasn't her fault or the teacher's fault or anything like that. I wanted to learn certain songs. I wanted to learn "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". So I learned it, but I didn't learn the theory. I just learned how to make the chords, but I didn't know how the chords functioned together.

That's Saul's problem. He got to be king too soon. He didn't have a chance to keep sheep while he was waiting to be king. That's the advantage… LJ learned all of the scales and the pentatonic scale and the modes and all of the other things I didn't pay attention to that I was supposed to know. I just learned a G chord, and he learned… Show them a scale or something. See? Doesn't that make you sick? How many of you took piano lessons and he makes you sick? He makes me sick. He can just play stuff.

Just play a few notes, anything you want to play. Okay, do it again. Do those same notes, but do them differently, like a different order or something. Do it again. All right, do it again. Don't change any of the notes. Do the same notes but do it in a different order. Maybe switch the instrument. Do an electric guitar sound or something like that, something a little more interesting. Yeah, like that. Do it again in a different order. Yeah, I like that. Now go up. Go up again, and then back down to the first one. Lock it in right there. A little faster. Minor six, four, five, and one. That sounds like something. Same notes he was playing before but now with movement and order. Shift, sequence, order. If you know it, you ought to sing.

Those are the same notes he started playing, but when he got them in order… I feel somebody's life getting in order today. I feel somebody's steps getting in order. I'm trying to show you that everything you need is in your life and your steps are ordered. If I'm going up or if I'm going down my steps are ordered. If you know your steps are ordered, shout right now! Every step. Every move. God said, "I'm going to take you down sometimes and you're going to fall sometimes, but whether I'm taking you down or raising you up your steps are in order". I don't know who it's for, but you've been going this direction. There's something you need down here that God is going to use. You've been stuck on a step, but this step is ordered by the Lord.

David said, "Should I go to Hebron"? and God said, "Yeah". Because when you're walking with God, you don't have to fast 21 days to figure out what he wants you to do. You'll know. When you walk with him every step, you'll know his will. The Bible says something in verse 4 that got my attention. It says that after David had inquired of the Lord, "the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah". Where? In the place of his next step. Often we want God to give us confirmation before we obey. That's out of order. God said, "Your confirmation awaits your obedience". "God, I'll forgive them if you give me the grace to forgive them". That's out of order. You forgive them, and then you get the grace.

It's a decision that leads to destiny, and every step is ordered by the Lord. In fact, if we're doing it our way, we would praise God when he moved in our lives. Real praise comes from a place of faith. Real faith says, "God, I'm going to praise you on credit because you've never failed me yet. So I'm going to take the next step by faith". I'm taking the next step by faith, and my steps are ordered by the Lord. Give him a great shout of praise and watch the walls fall! Give him a great shout of praise and watch joy come! Here comes the morning! "Shall I go up"? "Yeah, go up". God says, "I'm already there. Your oil is waiting in the place of your next order". Father, I thank you for the word you gave me today, for the Spirit of Christ that I feel operative in this place, touching the hearts of people, meeting the needs of people. Lift your hands in the presence of the Lord. He's speaking now. Be sensitive to his Spirit. He's speaking now.
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