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Steven Furtick - Flex Space


Steven Furtick - Flex Space


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Steven Furtick - Flex Space

We need to pray. Lord, I pray for Pastor Steven. He appears to be losing his mind in quarantine. I'm kind of glad to lose my mind. My mind is always overthinking and overanalyzing and making up stories. I want to live from my spirit. I want to see what God is showing me. I want to hear what God is speaking. Lord, in these moments, we have gathered together. We would much prefer to be together in a watch party in Chicago or maybe in a building at our Concord location or our Greenville location. We barely got to start that campus and we had to close it because of quarantine, but we thank you, Lord, that you are still making a way for us to meet together. We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Now that might look like buildings in one season, and it may look like streams and screens in the next season. That's not our concern. In this moment, we have decided to meet with you. I thank you for my brother and my sister on the other side of this screen right now. I pray that you would connect us by the power of the Holy Spirit, that the words I speak today would go straight to their heart. Do a bypass surgery. Bypass all of the beliefs that would keep them from hearing what you want to say. Get into the place where they can receive your Word, receive a revelation. We give you all the glory today.

We thank you that Holly Furtick looks better at 40 than she did when I met her. I thank you, Lord, that you gave me a wife who only goes from glory to glory, from pretty to pretty, from strength to strength. We bless her today before her fortieth birthday, that the best is yet to come, that her ministry has just begun. We thank you for the word she delivered to us last week. She told us how you are the bread. God, would you continue to feed her, speak to her, nourish her. As she refreshes us, may she herself be refreshed. We thank you for what she means to our church community around the world. Bless her so much that she has to ask you to stop. Give her a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. In Jesus' name, amen.


I pray the same thing over your life today. Put it in the chat. Which one do you like the best? Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. Pick one. I gave you four options. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. Put it in the chat. God is with you. What a mighty God we serve. Anybody who loves him, say "Amen" at the top of your voice. I love him. I love him so much. I don't know if you are ready to receive this word today. It's probably too encouraging for you. You probably don't want to be encouraged. You probably want to be scared watching the news, or something like that, hearing them talk about all of the bad things that might happen. But I thought, we're all getting our fill of that anyway.

I want to bring you a good report today. Let me share this passage. It's a very, very, very beautiful selection of Scripture; indeed, one of the most foundational for me in understanding faith. Even in church leadership, how many times have you heard me talk about Isaiah 54, where he says to the nation of Israel, "I want you to enlarge and expand your frame of reference"? I believe God is going to show you some opportunities today that you haven't been seeing. He's going to show you by the Spirit some opportunities your mind has been unable to recognize.

One opportunity you have right now is to invite somebody to join in this worship experience. I'm going to give you just a moment to find Isaiah 54 and also to invite someone to join with you. Send them a text message. Say, "Come to church with me". They're going to be like, "I didn't think we were allowed to go to church. Let me get my mask ready. Let me get dressed. I'm not dressed". You don't need a mask. You don't need mascara. You don't need anything, but God has a message for you today. If you know somebody who's trying to put their life back together, text them right now or share this on your social media. Put it on your story right now, because there is a word from the Lord. I'm giving you a minute.

Isaiah 54:1: "Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy…" Why are you all waiting? We just said, "Don't wait. Shout now". I read you a Scripture. What are you all waiting for? A thousand people? Two thousand people in the room? He said, "Sing, barren woman, and shout for joy". I know it's going to scare your kids, but shout real quick. Come on, shout a shout of joy! You've been yelling at your kids all week to clean up, but shout right now! He said, "…because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes". We're going to talk about those words in a moment. "For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood".

I want to speak to you from an unusual title today. For those of you in the construction industry or if you've been renovating a house or maybe you're looking at buying a house, maybe this term will be a little more familiar. Since we've all been at home a lot lately, more than usual, I thought I would use it as a title for this sermon: Flex Space. I wanted to tell you a story, Abbey. I don't know if you've ever heard this one before. When we were trying to get the Matthews Plaza where our offices are now… You only know those as the offices of Elevation Church, but it used to be an Ashley Furniture warehouse, and then there were a couple of other stores. Stores were these things we used to go into to buy supplies. Oh man. The story, though, Abbey, goes like this, and then you can ask Mr. Chunks later if I'm getting all of the details right.

We were planning to rent about 42,000 square feet to make it our offices and to have our Matthews Campus back in 2007. Now, some of y'all are just new to this ministry and you've never even been to one of our physical locations, because now we have eFam all over the world and God is redefining what church is as we speak. We're excited about that, because our old preconceptions about needing to gather together in a physical space to have a spiritual connection were so limited. God did not place those limitations on his church to begin with. He told Abram, "Go to the land I'll show you, and I'm going to make you a blessing to the whole earth". He told Joshua, "Everywhere you put your foot, I'm going to give it to you".

So God is not confined to a location. We've just been confined to a mindset for so long that God is exploding some of our limitations in this season because he wants out of the box. Nevertheless, we needed an office space. God doesn't need an office. The earth is his footstool, but we need a desk and an Internet connection. So, we thought it would be great, because we could get this 42,000 square feet and rent it. The church was growing and exploding. Listen. You need to know some of the history of the church. There are tens of thousands of new family members we've welcomed to Elevation Church over the course of the last 66 days since we have not been able to meet physically. God has increased our reach like never before. It's just like him to use a shutdown to show off. So, we were going to raise some money, which you have to have to rent space. God inhabits the praises of his people, but if you want to inhabit a physical space, God inhabits the rent payment, and then you get to go there. That's how that works. It's transactional.

We set up a meeting to take our donors over to the space where we were going to lease 42,000 square feet, and we were going to show them the space and ask them to pay for it. I know you probably remember certain moments in your life where you got the worst news of your life. I want you to think about it right now. It's going to bring the mood way down. We've been having fun so far. This is going to be very much a "slam on the brakes" moment, but I want you to do it anyway. Think of the worst news you ever got in your life. This is not the worst news I ever got in my life. At the time, it was in the top five. A lot of crap has happened since then. I don't even think this makes the top 50 now at age 40. Live a little while and it'll demote the things… "God, this is a disaster". Live a little while. You'll be saying, "That was a mild disappointment. That was a temporary setback". Or you might even say, "That was actually a blessing in disguise". Give it time. That's what I'm trying to say. Give it time. Upon reflecting on some of the events of your life, you can see how the spaces where you thought God had left you were actually the setups for him to do some of the greatest things he did in your life.

So, Chunks, who's our CFO… That's not his legal name, but he goes by "Chunks". James is his legal name. This day I wanted to throw him out of my office because he brought me some bad news. He walked into my office and told me, "The deal is dead". He said, "Don't get too upset, because I've done everything I can do. Don't throw anything at me. It's not my fault. There is a tenant in the plaza who doesn't want us to meet there, and they have an option in their lease to say we can't meet there, and they've decided to exercise their right to say we can't meet". I said, "Well, who can we call"? He said, "We can't call anybody". "Can we call Ghostbusters"? "No, we can't call Ghostbusters. We can't call anybody. There's nothing left to do. The deal is dead". I said, "Okay", and he said, "I guess I'll go ahead and cancel the buses".

I don't know what came over me next, because I don't always have this much faith. I usually don't have this much faith, but something in me… Have you ever had something in you tell you that although everything seems to be against you that God is for you? See, in these moments where you feel that on the inside, you don't even know how God is going to do it. But something in you becomes so convinced that neither life nor death nor angels nor demons nor the present nor the future nor the past nor any other power shall be able to separate me. So, something on the inside of me in that moment stood up against what was going on around me at the moment, and although I didn't understand what was going on around me, what was inside of me… I almost felt myself saying it.

Do you ever watch yourself saying stuff and it's like you're having an out-of-body experience and you're like, "Who even is this talking right now"? I said to him, "Don't cancel anything. We're going anyway". He said, "What are we going over there to do"? I said, "I don't know yet, but don't cancel the buses". We had two buses booked. Apparently, they were booked on a low budget, because they had no air conditioning. It was a Carolina muggy summer when we loaded up our donors and said, "We are taking you over to a building tonight, and we are going to pray". Now, we didn't march around the building seven times or anything like that, because we didn't want it to fall down. We just wanted God to let us in. But we got down, and we prayed, and I will never forget the sight.

Some of you come on this church and you're in a consumer mode. You don't know this part of the faith it took for this family to exist all around the world. When they got down on their knees in the loading dock of the Matthews Plaza and prayed, "God, make a way…" I need somebody to pray that right now, as boldly as you can. "God, make a way". See, the thing about praying "God, make a way" is you don't get to define the way he makes. So we prayed. I think they have a picture of the plaza. I want to show you something. This is where we were, and this is what it looked like. Now go to the next picture. This is what it is. That's what it was ("You can't get in"), and here's what it is.

Every time I drive up to our offices, I have to remember that between what it was and what it is was a space where I did not know what God was doing. "Why are you talking to me about an office plaza"? I'm not. I'm talking to you about this season of your life. God told me to call it Flex Space. The space between this and that. Don't worry; I'm not raising any money. We can't even go in our buildings right now. I don't need to buy one. This is not a message about buildings; this is a message about belief. It was so cool when Chunks was showing me all of the plans when we finally were able to rent the space, because he called me one morning and said, "The tenant who didn't want us in just went out of business". I'm not saying God put them out of business. I'm just saying that God made a way. I'm not here to tell you the details of how he did. I'm not saying I deserve it; I'm just saying I've got it. I'm not saying that it all makes sense; I'm just saying I have faith. I'm not saying it's not scary; I'm just saying God is with me. I can't explain it, but I've got it.

So, he was showing me on the blueprint… Because I'm not very good at visualizing. This isn't my expertise. This is Josh Blackson and Chunks. They were showing me the square footage we were going to take over. We don't own 42,000 square feet of it. We don't rent any of it. We own 140,000 square feet of it, because God blessed us so much we're able to use all of it to get the gospel out all over the world. That's not my point. My point is this: when he was showing me the square footage, there was one piece that when we were buying the property, we were buying the entire 140,000 square feet… I said, "What about that space"? because it didn't have anything in it. This was going to be the creative office, and this was going to be the auditorium, and this was going to be the meeting room, and this was going to be the conference room. I said, "What about this space"?

There was a blank part right there where there was all this square footage. I said, "We're just going to waste all that space"? Now catch this revelation. He said, "No, it's not wasted space; that's flex space". I said, "Uh-huh. I know what flex space is, but just so I can hear your definition of it, what exactly do you mean when you say 'flex space'"? He didn't know it. He thought he was talking about a building, but he wasn't; he was talking about faith. He thought he was showing me a floor plan, but really, he was showing me faith. He thought he was pointing to a blueprint, but really, he was teaching me something about belief. He said, "We want to leave this space empty on purpose so we can grow into it". Do you remember saying all this? You said something like this. This is the edited version. He didn't probably say it this eloquently, but this is how I heard it. He said, "This space can be anything we want". At the time, look at how it looked. This was the Ashley Furniture showroom. Look at that.

I said, "We're going to waste all that space? We're not putting anything in it"? He said, "It's not wasted; it's flex space. It's designed to be flexible. We don't want to put permanent fixtures in this place yet, because we don't know what it needs to be based on how God is going to bless our ministry. We don't know what ministry is exactly going to look like. We're going to go ahead and take the space over, but we're not going to assign a purpose for it". He said, "It's flex space".

Now, in the last few years, let me show you what I've seen. I've seen this space become an opportunity for us to stage and set up campuses. This is the equipment that is going out to one of our campuses that we started in the last few years. Flex space. Do you see all of those cases? That's our teams getting ready to send out equipment to our locations so we can have church. Now, we didn't even know we were starting the location yet when we ordained the space as flex space, but God knew the space we would need for the opportunity we didn't even know we would have. Next picture. This is our Love Week team, where we served our city over 100,000 hours with Jamie Waldron's beta AirPods with the cord in her ears, smiling, because we're feeding the hungry and we're touching the people who nobody else is touching and we're moving from this space. This is not a warehouse; it's a headquarters. It's a staging room. The stage is being set for compassion to be released.

Next picture. I saw our staff worship in this space as we were growing and expanding. What looked like it was wasted was a stage God was setting. How many know he takes what the Enemy means for evil…? He said, "That's called flex space". Isaiah is preaching about flex space to the nation of Israel. This is a very encouraging Scripture on the surface. Let's read it again. "Sing, barren woman, for you're about to have more children than the woman who had children by natural means. But I need you to sing before you see". I have to tell you this, because it has been going through my mind all week. Whatever you do, whatever the Enemy takes away from you in this season… For some of you, he has limited your mobility. Your business is three quarters of what it was or one quarter of what it was. Or for some of you in this season, it's almost like you lost all the progress you made on the last level. Did you ever have somebody cut off your video game and you lost your progress? That is kind of what the Devil did. He came along and unplugged it while we were in the middle.

Graham is looking at his mom right now, because sometimes she'll call him to come take out the trash, and he'll say, "Mom, I'm going to lose all my progress". She'll shout back, "I don't care about your progress; I care about this trash. I am calling you to a higher level of responsibility. I'm more concerned about this kitchen being a mess than I am about your progress with your Fortnite and your Donkey Kong". Multigenerational sermon. Listen to me. In this season of feeling like you've lost some progress… "Oh man, I was just getting here…" I even heard somebody say to me the other day, "I was just getting in shape and they closed the gym". You can't do push-ups? Somebody else was telling me the other day… They said, "Communication has gotten harder during this time because you can't see anybody face-to-face". I said, "What is this…1972? When was the last time you saw anybody face-to-face anyway"?

See, excuses come in to keep us from expanding. Instead of asking, "What's another way I could do this"? Instead of asking, "How could God actually take what the Enemy means for evil and turn it for good…"? We wed ourselves to what it was, thereby prohibiting the potential for it to be transformed. The thing I wanted to say to somebody is: whatever you lose in this season, whatever the Devil takes, whatever the quarantine takes, whatever the virus takes, don't you ever let the Devil have your song. I know you don't sing very well, but you still need to sing. I asked one of my friends one time, "Why don't you sing along in church"? He goes, "I love the church and I love the music so much". I said, "That's weird, because I always watch you, and you never sing". He said, "Well, I'm not a good singer", and he said, "Sometimes I don't want to sing it if I don't mean it". I said, "Tell me more about that second part. I know you're not a good singer. I've known that for a long time, but the second one. What do you mean"? He said, "Well, when we're singing something like, 'Here I am; you can have it all…'" That's a newer song we've been singing called "Available". "Here I am; you can have it all". He said, "If I don't mean that, I don't want to sing it".

I don't know if the Lord gave me this or if it was just my idea. I said, "Well, then sing it till you mean it". Sing it till you do mean it. When you start singing, it might be like a car that's kind of slow to start up on a Michigan January 14 icy morning. Your praise might be like that. It might take a little while to start up. Let's be honest. Some of y'all are just starting to listen to the sermon. You have been running around. One of the things I love about this time where we can't meet together is it is teaching you to multipurpose your home as a house for God's presence to dwell. One thing I pray does not happen whenever we can come back together physically… I hope you don't shut the church down in your home, because the same way the church is coming into your home right now, your car right now, your kitchen right now, that's what God wants to do.

Psalm 22:3 says he inhabits the praises of his people. God lives where praise does. God lives where gratitude is. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise". "The fruit of lips that confess his name". He inhabits the praises of his people. So what I do when I praise God… Even if I don't feel it when I praise him, I set the stage for the feeling to come when I praise him by faith. He inhabits the praises of his people. I need everybody to do me a favor. I'm preaching as hard as I can preach. I'm giving you everything I have. I've been up here for the last 66 days of quarantine giving you the Word of God, doing everything I know how to do for you, but now I need you to do something for me. I want you to take your phone or, if you're watching this on a phone, take somebody else's phone or if you could just turn it off for one second and do what I'm about to tell you to do and then turn it back on.

I want you to take a picture of where you are watching this sermon and where you are worshiping God and where you are praising God. I want you to take a selfie of it real quick, and I want you to tag me on Instagram stories or on Facebook or just tell me in the comments of YouTube. I want you to tell me, because I want to see where God went this morning. I want to see where God went this evening. I want to see a picture of a place where the presence of God was, where you realized, like Jacob, "Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place". When you put your picture up and when you tag me, say, "God was here. God was here. God was here". I didn't go to church to meet with God; God came to me. I didn't work my way to God; grace came down, breaking out of heaven, and saved my soul! Don't let the Devil take your song. He has taken enough. Give him a shout of praise right now! That's not just a living room; that's flex space. You didn't know when you were building your house or signing the lease on your apartment it was going to be a church, but God did. It's flex space.

Watch this. Come on, let's do a flex test. How flexible are you? How flexible is your faith? Can you touch your toes? Get up and let me see you stretch. Come on, you've been closed up. The nation has been closed down. Your faith has been closed up, but if you'll get moving, God will start working. Jesus on the inside, working on the outside. Come on, I'm singing! I'm stretching! What can we do? Come on, get them up. My faith is flexible. I am not bound to what I thought God was going to do. My plans change, but God's don't. My plan C was his plan A. What's wrong with y'all? Y'all are supposed to be on lockdown. They didn't tell you it was lockdown? Give me your attention real quick. Class, this behavior is inappropriate. You are supposed to be afraid. You are supposed to be captive in Babylon.

Don't you know that Isaiah 54 was not written on the beach? It was not written when the Dow Jones was at 30,000. Don't you know that Isaiah was a prophet and the job of a prophet is to give people a vision that is not dependent on a situation? Don't you know the only reason Isaiah was able to say, "You can sing when you're barren, and you can sing when you're scared, and you can sing and you can praise and you can get a thought and let it flood your mind…" The only reason he was able to see that in Isaiah 54 is because he saw it in Isaiah 6. He said, "I see the Lord seated on a throne, high and lifted up, in the year King Uzziah died". I feel like preaching now. I don't know what happened to me today, but I've been in the house long enough. I've been listening to the wrong voices long enough. I've been trying to worry and figure it out long enough. God said, "This is a space. I am creating space".

Look. Isaiah said, "The captivity is an opportunity". So, the nation of Israel was in captivity for 70 years. It hasn't even been 70 days since we stopped having physical church. Some people… Not you. I mean, you're watching. Right? You're here. You're good. Send this over to the person who isn't watching. They had to keep hope for 70 years that what Isaiah spoke would come to pass. That sounds so sexy, and this is where we really need to deconstruct the context in order to understand the premise. When Isaiah says, "Sing, barren woman", he's not talking about a physical pregnancy; he's talking about a nation. You will remember that the nation of Israel was started in the womb of a barren woman. God was trying to show us something from the jump. He was trying to show us from the jump that he fills the spaces we call empty. We're going to waste all that space? No, we're going to use it. We're going to use what you thought was wasted.

I wonder, is that what God is saying to you today? What you thought was wasted, God is going to use to show himself strong. Flex space. He gave them a weird command, and he gave them this command 200 years before it would come to pass. Isaiah did not even live to see what he spoke of. He spoke of Jesus. "Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son whose name will be Immanuel, and the government will be upon his shoulders". Isaiah said that, but he never saw it. He said stuff he never saw. Isn't that the challenge of faith? It's to keep speaking and believing what God showed you. "God, give me a vision. I need a vision or I'll get distracted. I need a vision or I'll get discouraged. I need a vision or I'll die". Where there is no vision, the people perish. A lot of us are dying right now because we lost sight of what God spoke.

Seventy years of exile. By the time they were taken captive into Babylonia…everything they knew as a way of life was destroyed…to the time the first exiles came back was 70 years. You know Jeremiah 29:11? Did you ever have it on a cross-stitch or a quilt or a Bible memory page? "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you". After 70 years, the plan became apparent. That means it took an entire lifetime for them to see what God spoke. Here's what I'm trying to say: it may take our whole lives before we make sense of certain things, but it is not wasted. I'm preaching this to somebody. I have somebody on my mind right now. Your life was not wasted. Before you were formed in the womb, God knew you, and God knew what would happen to you. God knew what would not come to pass that you planned on, and he knows the plans he has for you. What you've been calling wasted, God sees as a stage.

Can I take it a little bit deeper? One prophet said to the king, "The eyes of the Lord are going to and fro, all over the earth, searching to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed to him". Let's work backward. Your heart is fully committed to God. That's the space you've given him. How much space have you given God to work in your life or do you keep secret corners for yourself? "God, I'm going to trust you with this much but not that much. God, I'm going to give you this part but not that part. God, I'm going to let you in here, but I'm going to fake it over here. God, I'm going to go this far, but if this happens, I'm going to start pulling back". Isaiah said, "Don't hold back, because the part of your heart you don't give God becomes enemy-held territory".

That's where doubt takes over, and that's where fear takes over, and that's why you can't seem to get your mind straight: because you gave God's territory to your enemy, but today we came to take it back. "Here's my heart, Lord". He wants to show himself strong for those whose hearts are committed. Strong. God wants to give you a strong heart. God said, "The space in your life where you don't know what I'm going to do next…that's the flex space". I found out God loves to show off. God likes to take a nine-foot giant down through a 5'3" little boy. Why? The differential between the size of my giant and the size of me is God's flex space. God said, "I'm coming into your situation. I'm breaking through like I'm strong and mighty. The Lord is my name".

I know we're not supposed to flex in church, but let's flex on the Devil real quick in the name of the Lord. Come on, I'm not backing down from any giant! I'm not backing down from uncertainty! I'm not walking away from my promises! Flex space. There are going to be times in your life where you feel weak, but guess what Paul said. "When I am weak, he is strong". So guess what your weakness is. What is it? What kind of space? You mean my weakness isn't wasted? No. It's not wasted space; it's flex space. God inhabits the praises of his people! Let's take 20 seconds and praise him that 2020 is not wasted; it's a setup! Flex space. You have to stop acting like you're so perfect so God can have some flex space. He can't be strong while you're pretending to be. You need to come before God and say, "I need you like I needed that breath. I need you, God". This is not the time to hold back, Isaiah said. He said, "Strengthen your stakes. Lengthen your cords". Strengthen and stretch. It's no good to have strong faith if it's not flexible faith.

If you have strong faith but your confidence is in circumstances, what are you going to do when they throw Paul in prison? Say the word from two weeks ago: apokaradokia. Don't even try on Dictionary.com. It's a Greek word, and it's not even a real Greek word. Paul made it up. Look at this Scripture from Philippians 1:20. This is the fourth week of a series. Y'all thought the series was over, but it's not. This is the flex space. This is the extra bonus sermon. I don't even know if I'll stop this week, because I feel God is doing… Every time we expose our old normal to God's kingdom order, our hearts grow, our faith grows. Don't you feel it? God is growing your heart. God is growing your capacity to trust him, but he needed an uncertain place, like Paul needed a prison.

So, Paul is in prison, and you know the church is praying, "Get him out. Get him out. Get him out". "Take it away. Take it away. Take it away". Everybody is always praying about that. Circumstantial prayers. I found it interesting that Paul decided to multipurpose his prison cell and turn it into a pulpit. He said in Philippians 1:20, "I know that no matter what happens to me circumstantially, what is within me can withstand. I know this from my experience, and I know this from my revelation. So I eagerly expect…" He says, "I eagerly expect…" Apokaradokia. Apo means to turn away, ignoring other interests. That's the prefix. Kara means head. We could use this to understand Paul is not talking about a physical situation, because when he says "Apokaradokia…" Dokia means to stretch forward.

I know Paul never met Isaiah, but it's almost like they collaborated on these two Scriptures. Paul is doing for the gospel in prison what Isaiah was prophesying to the nation in Babylon. He's stretching. Do you know why all of the planners are having heart palpitations right now? It's like this season we've been in is punishing the planners. The procrastinators are loving quarantine. It's like, "Yeah, let's go! I'm suffering for the Lord". You're not suffering for the Lord. You're eating ice cream and loving it. You haven't been out of your pajamas in four days, even watching this church. You are loving it. We talk a lot about Paul's faith. "Oh man, he went through a shipwreck". He wasn't trying to get in a shipwreck, but he was flexible enough to know that "Even if the boat breaks, I won't drown".

We admire people with strong faith, people who set a goal and reach it, who have a vision and make it happen, but I found out that the people whose faith is the strongest, it's strong because they stretched it. He said, "It's flex space". The 70 years is flex space. Your life is a breath. It's flex space. God is trying to take your life and show the world what he can do through a heart that is committed to him. He wants to show himself strong. He said, "Strengthen your stakes and stretch your cords". As you stretch your cords, you're strengthening your stakes, because your faith can never be in a circumstance; it must be in the character of Christ revealed in you. This is flex space. It's not wasted. Paul said, "I eagerly expect…" Apokaradokia is the Greek word. "…and hope that I will in no way be ashamed".

Do you know what happens in our lives? This is what Isaiah was saying. He was saying, "You need to keep expanding your expectation". Expand your expectation to include what you did not plan for. God is going to work in everything by the time this is over. After 70 years are completed, God is going to work it all in. This is what it means to say that all things work together. It is to say, "God, here is the space I don't understand". Let me get really personal. What is that space for you today? You've already turned your living room into a church. You're halfway there. Some of you already turned your hospital room into a sanctuary. You're halfway there. It's flex space. Do you get the picture? You didn't know this would be church, but it is. You didn't know God was going to show up in your living room, but he did. You didn't know God was going to use this trial in your life to make your faith strong, but he is. It's flex space. In my weakness, he is strong. In my uncertainty, my faith grows. It's flex space. Don't you feel it getting stronger? Blessed are the flexible, for their faith cannot be broken. That's a beatitude I just made up. Blessed are the flexible.

"God, I didn't think it would look this way. God, I thought I'd be married by now. God, I thought my marriage would be different. God, I thought I was going on a honeymoon to Europe. God, I didn't know my backyard was going to be my vacation this summer". It's flex space. God is about to show off. Watch this. I learned this from Lazarus. When he doesn't show up when you want him, it's because he's going to show off when he comes. It's flex space. Four days dead. Roll the stone away! Open the grave! I'm coming out! I need some flex space. He inhabits the praises of his people. Would you give him praise right where you are? Thank you, Jesus, that Paul turned a prison into a pulpit. It's a flex space. That Babylon became a testing ground for faith. It's flex space. In this season, I'm not shrinking up because of shame; I'm stretching forth by faith. Strength is in the stretch.

Don't tell me how strong your faith is because you imagined something and it happened just like you imagined it. Tell me how strong your faith is when it happened exactly the opposite of the way you saw it going. But you didn't let the Devil take over your imagination. You still stretched forward your faith (apokaradokia) to a greater day, a brighter horizon, a higher hope. How many have hope today? How many have an eager expectation of faith? So, God said, "I'm about to show off in the situation, in the space you make for me". Have you made space for him? God can only fill what we bring him. Or is your mind still so crowded with the expectations you had that God can't bless you with the blessing he wants to bring? I feel God filling somebody's heart right now. Your heart is his flex space. Don't let the Devil have God's territory. Are you crazy?

Isaiah said, "You will dispossess nations". That means you have to kick him out. That means you have to eliminate the Enemy to reclaim your imagination. "Get out of here. This is God's space. This is flex space. You can't have it, Devil. You can't have my song. You can't have my hope. I'm turning away from other interests (apo) and I'm stretching my head (kara dokia) in the direction of faith". Stand up on your feet right where you are. I don't care if you're watching this on the archive. If you want to pull your car over and you're listening on a podcast on Spotify or Apple, do it. This word is coming to your car. It's coming to your situation. It's coming to your hopelessness. It's coming to your disappointment. It's coming to your tomb. It's coming to your tears. It's coming to your trauma. It's coming to your setback. It's coming to a recession. It's coming to your sickness. It's coming. Make room for it. It's a flex space. "God, do what you want to do".

I keep turning, because I want to say it and I can't remember how God gave it to me. God always changes my message right before I come out a little bit. I think it's because he wants flex space. I think we need to leave God a little room of how we want our kids to turn out while we're raising them and give him some flex space. Maybe God doesn't want my kids to be a preacher, so maybe I shouldn't tell them one day that they have to be preachers. Maybe they can do something else for God and it'll be even greater. Flex space. Have you given God any room to show off in your life or do you have him in a little tiny box, and if he doesn't do it just like you wanted him to do it…? Can God encourage you through anyone or do you only let him encourage you through people you have preselected as those you receive validation from? Can he use someone else?

It's not wasted; it's flex space. Waiting isn't wasted. That's flex space. That's where faith grows. That's where hope is illuminated. Do you hear the word of the Lord, Barb? It's flex space. No, we don't understand. It has been two years that you've been living with this, and then to find out what you found out this week… I'm telling you, God is about to show his power through you and to you. I'm telling you, he's about to use you in an amazing way. There will be glory after this. So you keep stretching. Hey, the Devil took your brother, but don't let him take your song. "You can't have my song. No, no, no. You can't have my joy. God is about to show off in my life, and I'm going to keep singing. I've still got a song". Come on, somebody. "I've still got a song". How many of you still have hands? Lift them! How many of you still have hands? Clap them! How many of you still have a mouth? Magnify the Lord with me! He's greater!
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