Steven Furtick — Pressure Points
I want to talk about pressure points, but let's kind of get into it here from 2 Corinthians 4:5, where Paul is talking to a church that he has authority and responsibility for.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let the light shine out of darkness", made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned.
Touch somebody and say, I'm not alone. I'm never alone, so if you want to roll up on me, you need to know before you start anything. I've got angels all around me. I've got a great God down deep... get back to the Scripture, Furtick. Where was I? Yeah, not abandoned.
Not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." Go down to Verse 16. "Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
I can tell we're going to have church today, because you won't even let me read my Scripture. Look how excited you are about the glory of God being revealed in your life. So, last verse I'm going to read for now. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
And you kind of get a different picture here of Paul than you got last week, because last week we were hearing Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts, describe what Paul did. But this is not someone describing what Paul did, this is Paul describing how he felt, and the two are really different.
The two are really different because sometimes someone can make something look so easy that you assume that it is, make it look so effortless. Holly makes parenting look so effortless, and then every once in a while she leaves them with me for 35 minutes, so I can remember how much I need her in my life. But, she just makes it look easy. Touch somebody and say, you make it look too easy.
Sometimes I think you don't even need faith, because you've just got it, and it makes me feel bad about myself because I look at you and it looks easy. That's why I hate working out with Buck... makes it look easy. Then I get under that same weight, and he's got 12 of them, and I'm on number 2, crushing my sternum.
But, since you asked me for some parenting advice, let me give some parenting advice. Actually, it's kind of life advice. I don't think I ever told you, Holly, what Eric Farrell told me. Eric Farrell is a pastor in Virginia. So, I have a lot of ministry advice filed away in my mind, because I've been preparing for ministry since I was young because I thought this was what I was supposed to do.
So, I took a lot of opportunities at a young age to ask people... hey, tell me one piece of advice. You know, if there's only one thing you could tell me, and da da da da da. So, I was kind of trying to get ready for it and prepare for the pressure of ministry. And, nothing can really prepare you for it, but you know, maybe somebody can tell you something that you can hold onto.
Well, Eric Farrell was kind enough, he invited me into his church, and this was right around the time that Elevation Church was starting. Elijah was a baby, and I asked him, what do I need to know to make it? He's been in the same church for 30 years. I thought he could probably give me a little bit of insight on how to make it for the long term, which is the goal.
He goes, and he's a real fast talker, real fast talker guy. He goes, pressure management. It's all pressure management. You've got to manage the pressure. You know, manage the pressure. You go off and you know, run your life and manage pressure... you know, manage pressure. And I said, how do you manage said pressure? He goes... he goes, play.
And I thought I heard him wrong, because I heard play, but I thought for sure he probably said pray. You know, that's what we tell you to do. You know, just pray about everything. It makes everything better when you pray. And, we don't tell you, sometimes your mind gets so scrambled that you can't even figure out what to pray.
We don't talk about that... just pray. But he didn't say pray, he said play. He said play. You've got to play. He said, especially with your kids. He said when your kids get a little older, when you get home, he said, this is what saved my life. That's what kept me from having an affair. This is what kept me from running off and shooting one of the deacons.
He said, every day when I got home, no matter how bad the day had been, I just got down on that floor and played with my kids. He said, so do that. He said when you don't feel like it, do it and five minutes into it, you feel like it. And I took his advice. I play with my kids. I think that's really my only hobby in life, is torture...
I mean playing with... did I say that out loud? But, the most recent game that I made up, I'm going to do this with you, J.T. So, just sit there. I play games with them that involve pressure, and Holly has to leave the room because these games can get aggressive... and for different parts of their body.
It all started with the calf muscle. And I'm going to tell you the names of these things, and I won't spend long because I know you came to hear Bible study. But just so you can respect my creative parenting, it started off with this move right there where I squeezed that calf... now, Abby's calf muscle isn't quite like yours, but.
I squeeze that thing so tight. That's called, and I don't know why we call it this. I don't even remember how it started, but it's called the Alabama creamshaw. I don't know, Alabama creamshaw. Then, me and the boys were going to Liberty University, so that's in Lynchburg, Virginia, so we invented the Lynchburg leg squeeze. Chicago shoulder right there... right there. Feels kinda good. So, here's what Graham always will do.
Before I get started, he'll go... he'll go, wait a minute. What level are you going to do this on? What level? What level of pressure, because I need to know before I submit myself. Have you ever wanted to ask God, before I do this, before I trust you on this, what level of pressure is it going to involve?
And the truth be told, if some of you would have known the level of pressure that came along with parenting, you would have stayed celibate, because you prayed for the baby, but along with the baby came the pressure. Write this down. With privilege comes pressure. And, sometimes I see people who want certain privileges, but don't welcome the pressure that comes with the privilege.
When we see Paul in 2 Corinthians, we are getting a picture of a minister and a man who is at that point. Have you ever been at that point of pressure where it feels like something is unraveling on the inside of you? I don't necessarily mean it's a clinical breakdown, but Paul is under pressure, he says, from every side.
Let's read it again in Verse 8, because I think it describes something that maybe you've experienced, maybe not on Paul's level, because there's levels to it, but one thing that I have learned is that pressure is relative.
So, when a 16 year old gets their heart broken, they don't have the wisdom of experience to know that there will be others, and so it really does feel like they want to die. And a lot of times, you minimize other people's misery because you have graduated beyond that season, but if you could find the compassion to remember there was a time when you too listened to Milli Vanilli "Blame it on the Rain" 17 times.