Steven Furtick - When You Hear No, Think Next
Here's what I want you to do. Please do this, especially if you've had a root of bitterness or you have a root of rejection, and it's like somebody in your life told you "No" or something in your life has been "No" so many times… When you hear "No," I want you to think "Next". "If God didn't let me do that, next. If God didn't want me to do that, what's next"? Now, I have to do this as a matter of survival, because sometimes people do not say they want to be a part of this ministry, but if I stop when they say "No," I will miss the miracle that was in the thing. So, whoever this is, I want you to shout at the top of your Holy Ghost lungs from your diaphragm. Say, "Next"!
"I've got to get through this crowd. I've got to get through this confusion. I've got to get through this shame. I've got to get out of this lack. I've got to eat. I can't die. I've got to find green grass". No means next. I don't want anybody to leave me, but if they do… It's not like I'm just treating people as disposable, but they aren't bread. I know where the bread is. Are y'all awake to help me celebrate the bread that came from heaven? The bread that came from heaven! What are you going to eat? The bread that came from heaven! It's coming from the five. It's coming from the hand of God. By every word that comes from the mouth of God! If they said "No," I'll just look for the next.
"Well, that's cruel, Pastor Steven". Come on, man. I've been married almost 20 years. I'm not saying relationships are disposable. I'm just saying you have to go back to the place where you know in God that Moses can only give you manna for so long. It's just a question. "Where are we going to get it from"? That's what Jesus asked. Philip should have said, "Why are you asking me"? The whole thing went off the track when you thought you knew the answer. The whole thing came undone when you assumed. Did you ask? "He won't want to write songs with us". Did you ask? Some of y'all are too asky. God knows you are. I've been to comments of YouTube, talking about "Do y'all have a YouTube channel"? You are on the YouTube channel! I'm serious. People will say this kind of stuff. It's crazy stuff people will say on YouTube. "Where did you get that shirt"?
Somebody put on a YouTube comment… We played a throwback sermon from 2013 or 2014, one of those years, back in the day. Flashback, back when I didn't have my beard. They said, "I like you so much better with a beard". Do you know what I wanted to respond? "Did I ask"? You don't have to ask God everything. Sometimes you're asking God for stuff he already told you he put people around you to give you. It came from heaven, but it came through people. That's why Holly was saying, "Hey, join an eGroup". She's trying to get you fed. When you pray, "God, give me comfort," but you don't tell anybody you're lonely… And I mean telling real people, not platforms. Did you read between the lines? We don't ask questions. We just make comments now. We make comments online. But did you ask?
Going on somebody's page and going, "Well, they're just a liberal conservative". Did you ever have a conversation with somebody different than you in the last three years? Did you ask? "Why do you feel that way? Why do you think that way? What does that mean to you? How do you see it"? The God who asked questions wants to know, "Did you ask"? Andrew asked, and that's when the miracle started. Andrew asked. He didn't even ask with a lot of faith. James said, "Ask in faith, nothing wavering". Andrew asked in doubt, and he still got an answer. You can pray something as unspiritual as "Help or else". How many of y'all are at a "Help or else" season in this season of your life? "Help or else, God. I can't make it".
Go back to verse 8. Remember the first question Jesus asked? "What do you want"? Do you know who he asked it to? Andrew. The first question Jesus asked in John 1 was to Andrew, another disciple… Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Every time we see Andrew in the Scripture, he's bringing something to Jesus. You think you need to give something. You need to bring something so he can give something. This is the miracle. He said, "Here's a boy. I went through the crowd. I asked everybody. I asked 19,999 people, and this boy right here… But how far will they go among so many"? The next sentence, Jesus gives a command. "Sit down. Now I can do something, now that you asked". Did you ask? Like, really ask.
I know in a technical sense we're like, "Oh yeah. I ask God to help me all the time". Did you ask or did you tell? A lot of what we call prayer is us telling God stuff he already knows or telling God what he needs to do. Did you ask? Did you ask, "Why do I have this thorn"? or did you just assume it came from the Devil? It might have come from God to help you stay humble. Did you ask? Did you ask God what he's doing in the life of that person you lead, whether it's a kid or someone else? Did you ask or did you just assume that if God didn't do through them what you thought he should do through them he failed? Did you ask? Did you ask God what he put in you and what he wants from you or did you just assume that what everybody else thinks you should do is the agenda you have to follow? Did you ask?
Andrew asked. He said, "How far can it go"? Then he found out. It starts with a question. The crowd didn't get it because they were still waiting for a messiah like Moses. Even after Jesus fed them, they got the meal, but they missed the message. Ninety-eight percent of people who tune into a sermon like this get the meal and miss the message, but I don't want you to. The crowd said, "Are you going to give us manna like Moses"? I don't know if you remember manna in the Bible. It was like the original Frosted Flakes. It would look like that. It was flaky, and it would come down, and they said, "What is it"? That's what they named it. "What is it"? Question. It starts with a question. They didn't know who he was. He said, "I am the Bread of Life". They thought it would be what it was. What is it? Not "What was it"?
That's where the miracle is. What is it? "What is it to be me in this season of my life? What is it, God, that you're speaking to me? What is it that you're calling me to do in this moment"? Did I ask? Did I sit down this week and ask, "What's important this week…really important"? Did I ask? As long as we're the ones giving the answers, we're going to be pretty limited in what we can access. Questions create access. I was with somebody a while back, and they said they wanted to meet with me and talk to me about ministry because they were not as far along. They never asked me a question. I couldn't figure that out. I guess I know I don't know much, so from the time I was 16, I was always asking questions. "What do you do about this, and what do you do about that? Why about this, and why about that"? No questions.
Have you stopped asking God? Just started assuming? Just started filling in the blanks? Stopped asking, "God, what else is in me? What else can you do? I know you can turn graves into gardens and bones into… What else can you do"? This is the disciples' whole problem through the whole gospel. They were always telling, and they stopped asking. That's why you're frustrated. That's why you're stuck. That's why you're lonely. You stopped asking. "Oh, I asked". Did you really? Or were you like the disciples? They saw Jesus talking to a woman. You remember this. He asked, "Can I have a drink"? Here he is again, asking somebody who he shouldn't have even been talking to, "Can I have a drink"?
Oh, this is an anointed verse. This is so good. I was running around my bathroom looking at John 4:10 on my phone. "Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'" I'm preaching for breakthrough today. I'm preaching for hungry people today. I'm preaching for somebody who's really, really needing something today. He said, "If you knew what was in you, it would be living water". No matter what's happening around you, if you knew what was in you… Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. If you knew what was in you, you wouldn't kill yourself. If you knew what was in you, you wouldn't let pornography strangle the creative life out of you. If you knew what was in you, you wouldn't hide yourself behind false personas. If you knew what was in you… Everywhere the Enemy has planted condemnation in your life, I want you to replace it with a question.
Condemnation is the Devil's language. That's not how God talks. God asks questions. The wisdom that comes from above whispers within. Like he said to Elijah in the cave, "What are you doing here"? God asks questions up close. He knows you like that. If you knew, you would ask. "Wait a minute. I thought if you don't know you ask". No, no. If you knew who was in you, you'd stop listening to everything around you so much. Who told you that you were naked? Who told you that you were nothing? Who told you it wasn't enough? If you knew who you were talking to when you talk to yourself… Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I don't think I've ever felt you more than I feel you right now, and I thank you, because I need you. I need you. We need you. Somebody needs you on the other end. Through their tears, they see now that the answer is not standing outside of them.
The living water is within, and the bread is right here. Jesus isn't Moses. God is not going to do it like he used to do it. But if you ask, he'll show you what he's doing right now in this moment. Speaking of Moses… Remember when God came to him and said, "I want to use you"? He had to set a whole nation free. We don't have that responsibility, but God is speaking to us too. He's calling us too. Moses asked a question. "Who shall I say sent me"? God said, "I Am". You are what? That's the question. Now you get to spend the rest of your life finding out the answer. "I Am". You're going to find out all that he is through the things you go through. Moses said something to the Lord in Exodus 4:10, and I show you this before I close because the Lord gave it to me like an image. He said, "If you knew what was in you, you would ask for strength. I'm in you, so you can ask".
You have to get it in you. After a whole series of excuses, God asked Moses a question. He said, "What's that in your hand"? Moses simply had a staff, but that wasn't all it was. It was an instrument to part waters, to turn rivers to blood. It was an instrument. What's in your hand? It's coming from the five. What's in your hand? Did you ask? Or do you just assume it's not enough? Did you ask? We get in trouble when we answer instead of asking. God said, "I chose you, Moses". In Exodus 4:10… This is the picture the Lord gave me. The Lord must really want somebody to get this message, because it's so heavy on me I can barely move. Moses said, "Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent not enough, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue".
Everybody has something like that they could say why they can't make it and why there's not enough and why eight months' wages wouldn't be enough. Everybody has an inner Philip, and the inner Philip will jump to conclusions based on the evidence you can see with your eyes. Watch what the Lord said in verse 11. The Lord said, "Did I ask? Who gave human beings their mouth? Did I ask? Who makes them deaf or mute? Did I ask? You keep telling me what you're not, but I didn't ask you that. You keep telling me what you can't, but I didn't ask you that. Don't say, 'I'm just single.' Don't say, 'I'm just young.' Don't say, 'I'm too old.' Did I ask? I am the Lord. I am enough! Is it not I…"?
Come here, son. I need $260. You didn't think you had it, but right before I came to preach, I handed him my wallet, and I didn't tell him why. I said, "Just hold this for me until I'm done". I'm about to be done, because when I get to the end of my message, I'm going to put something in my boy. When I ask you for it, the fact that I ask is the proof that you have it. If I ask, you have it! If I ask, I gave it! It's in you! It's more than enough! Count that money. Open that wallet. What's in that wallet? I need $260, but I will never ask you for what I didn't give you to begin with. If you run out of that, I have credit too. God said, "My credit is good. I'll put it in a boy. I'll put it in your Dockers. I'll put it in your spirit. I'll put it in a basket. I'll put it in a bag. I'll put it in a weakness. I'll put it in a thorn. I am the Lord! I Am"!