Steven Furtick - Unschedulable Blessings
How great is this? Just to have another opportunity. We don't take it for granted the opportunity to worship God, to give him glory and to receive from him. Come on somebody say right there in the chat, "I'm here for it". Whatever you want to do Lord, I'm here for it. I'm here for it. You just fill in the blank. I'm here for healing. I'm here for restoration. I'm here for instruction. I'm here for direction. But above all of that God, if you want to correct me that's fine, if you want to comfort me that's fin, but I'm here to worship you!
Are there any worshipers in the chat? Are there any worshipers on YouTube, Facebook, Roku? Yeah I'm here for it. I'm here for it. And be more specific. Where are you here from? Please in the chat right now, if you haven't had the opportunity yet to just identify yourself on a basis of first name, city, state, township, hamlet, village. We've got 'em all represented today. Praise the Lord. Everybody in the room shout your name and your location. Do it on the chat. Name and location. Whether you're watching it right now, or whether you've been, you know, slacking and you have to catch up later in the week. Whatever. God's word is not bound by time. I believe that He is going to customize this word to the exact continuity of the circumstance that you are facing. To remind you that you are not going anywhere that He is not already there.
You have not been anywhere that He did not bring you through. If it's behind you, it's covered. If it's ahead of you, it's covered. All you gotta do is be here right now. Somebody say, "I'm here for it". I'm here for it. I'm here for it. Who's here for it? Wave at me. Wave at me. Wave at me. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. I want to get right into the Word of God. Get your Bible…paper, digital, papyrus. It doesn't matter the format. What really matters today is that you clear out a little bit of space in your very distracted, busy heart, fearful heart, uncertain heart. "Why are you saying all of those things about me? You don't even know me". Maybe I'm just autobiographical right now. I have a fearful heart, anxious heart, distracted heart. So, we just make the space for God. We welcome him into this and every moment.
I want to read you a Scripture, and then let's just see where it goes from there. Somebody asked me one time, "Do y'all plan? When you're preaching sometimes and the music comes in, it scares me. It comes out of nowhere. You have a guy back there, and he starts playing, and it scares me. It comes out of nowhere". But we don't plan it. The best parts are not planned. I've noticed that. Anyway, I don't know if you were planning to watch today or if you accidentally got click-baited into this sermon. We ought to start doing that with our YouTube videos to lead people to Jesus. We'll put a thumbnail that says, "Seven Ways to Get a Girl," and then you click on it and it's me preaching about holiness or something like that. Just con people to Christ. I'm kidding… kind of.
Acts, chapter 1, is really cool and really confusing. Not for us, but it certainly would have been for the disciples. Acts 1:4: "On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with them…" On one occasion. Not a special occasion. Just any old Sunday morning, any old Monday afternoon. On one occasion, he would give them the instructions that would explain to them his kingdom in a way they'd never seen. He gave them the greatest promise of the greatest gift they would ever know. "On one occasion, while he was eating with them…" This is Jesus eating with his disciples. "…he gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'"
In a few days, you will receive the greatest gift. It's not going to come in the form of a car or a house or a bonus or something like that. It's going to be the Holy Spirit. The greatest gifts come from within. This is the part I want us to jump from today. We have a lot of ground to cover, but let's jump from here. "Then they gathered around him and asked him…" Here's what they wanted to know. He's speaking about the gift he wants to give them, the Holy Spirit. He has already died on the cross and risen from the dead. He's about to ascend to heaven, but he said, "I'm going to give you a gift, and you have to wait". "Then they gathered around him and asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'" At this time. "He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power…'" Here's the guarantee. "…when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth".
This is the Word of the Lord. By the way, shout-out to my 15-year-old son Elijah B. Furtick. The B stands for Beats. He's a beat maker. He's a producer. "Dothedash" is his YouTube, and I'm sure he would appreciate a subscribe. Happy fifteenth birthday to my oldest son, the one who changed my name to "Daddy" and then changed it again to "Dad". I'll never forget the day he dropped the D-Y off the end. It was a horrifying moment. Just even saying "My 15-year-old son…" Do you know how archaic that makes my bones feel? My knees started hurting. I felt automatically old when I said it.
I was feeling sprightly, and then all of a sudden, I started feeling saggy just saying I have a 15-year-old son. His birthday was yesterday, and I love him so much. He's watching right now. He had better be if he wants to use his phone this week. I'm going to quiz him on the sermon. He's my number one conversationalist. He's my workout partner now. He's getting strong. The B stands for Beast too when we're working out together. We have a good time. I love talking to him about my sermons. He is a great blessing. Children are a blessing. When you're getting ready to have kids, they give you all kinds of advice. We were talking about the birth of the church, and I was talking about the birth of my firstborn son.
When you're having your first one, since you don't know what to expect, all of the experts come out of the woodwork telling you how they raised their kids. They don't tell you that the one they're telling you how they raised and giving you advice based off of went to rehab three times, but they just start telling you all this advice. And they'll tell you it perfectly. They will prescribe for you perfectly, like kids are blenders and like you can put them together and plug them in. They were telling us with Elijah the whole time, "Put him on a schedule. What you want to do, what we did with our kids when we were your age…
Now our kids are grown, but what was really helpful for us that just really helped us establish order, and it's very good for the child and it's good for you, is just put them on a schedule day after day. A schedule". Elijah was unschedulable. Is that a word? If it's not a word, it needs to be. How many agree? After the year we've been having… I don't know how you do this, but if anybody knows Webster and we can get a word added to the dictionary… I looked it up before I came out. I don't know how we're going to spell it, but I want to suggest that we get…
After the year we've been having, after being a parent of three kids, I want to suggest we get this word in the dictionary as soon as possible: unschedulable. My firstborn son was unschedulable. I mean, you can set the schedule, but he doesn't give a crap about your schedule. He does not care for sleeping, for eating. And my kids still don't. They do not check my schedule. Y'all are looking at me like your kids do. You're looking at me like you can schedule. Oh, you know what else? My sermon preparation process is unschedulable. I don't know how to spell it, but that's what it is. I was thinking of a way to explain it to you. I set aside time to study, and then I'll just sit there and look at the Bible. I'll get five Bibles and spread them out, and none of them make any sense, and then, while I'm trying to go do something else and I have something else going on, the sermon will just come walking through the door, like, "Hey, here I am. I don't care that you're on a date night".
How many movie theaters have we been in, trying to have a date on a Thursday night, and I'm like, "I'm sorry, babe. You're going to have to tell me what happens to Tonya Harding in the ice-skating movie. I've got to write this down real quick". Because the sermon doesn't check my schedule. I wish it did. That's why I sent y'all these Scriptures five minutes before I walked out, and I just sent you all of them, because I had 10. I've been working on 10 of them. Ten! I sent them all to you, and I said, "I don't know where we'll start. I'm not the one setting the schedule here". I went to seminary. They taught me how to prepare sermons.
You know, "You should have, from 7:00 to 9:00…" Just like people telling you how to be a parent, telling you how to be a pastor. "From 7:00 to 9:00, and you're going to study". That's great. I do. I have study time. I believe you ought to prioritize what's important to you, and if it's not on your schedule, it might not be your priority. That's good for working out. That's good for dating your wife. That's good for taking time to be alone. We talked about this last week as well. But some things don't check your schedule. Certain things in life do not consult your calendar. In seminary they taught me that God was immutable. These are big words. Immutable. You can't change God.
How many are glad you can't change him? If he called you, he called you. Do you know why you aren't clapping? You don't have anything wrong with you. For me, sometimes I think God might have changed his mind about me when he saw what he got when he drafted me. He knew all of my injuries. He knew all of my susceptibilities. He knew all of my vulnerabilities. In fact, some of the stuff he picked me for is stuff that I'm trying to get out of my life, but he wants to take that weakness and fill it and turn it into something that can be called strength. He's immutable. Another word they taught me in seminary is that he is impeccable. He's holy. He's perfect. That's another thing I'm not. He's impeccable. He's other, separate, set apart. He's holy. He's impeccable.
Another one is incomprehensible. You can know God, but you can't totally know God. He doesn't change, but the way you see him had better change or you're not growing. He is, like we say, mysterious. Faith is mystery, not mechanics. When people say, "The Bible is an instruction manual for life…" What a horrible analogy, to boil the living Word of the living God down to something that can help you put together a scooter. An instruction manual for life? No. It's an invitation to mystery, because he's incomprehensible. I don't want to add anything to the theology book, but might I add that not only is he immutable, impeccable, and incomprehensible, but he's unschedulable. God is unschedulable.
What I have to say to you today may mess with a category or two that you have about God, but I want you to stay with me, because some of you are off schedule, but you're right on time. For some of you, your life is off schedule, but you're right on time. The reason I chose to start with Acts, chapter 1, is the disciples have been through a lot with Jesus that they didn't understand. Have you? Have you been through some seasons with God that made no sense to you? They want to know, "Okay. Now that the cross is over and now that you did that thing on the third day that we'll still be singing about in 2,000 years… Now that that's over, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel"?
Jesus spent three and a half years teaching these boys about the kingdom of God, but they were still thinking about the kingdom of Israel. That's important, but what drew my attention today is the idea that Jesus said, "It's not for you to know the times". Now, let's notice a few things that God does give them, because God does speak. He speaks specifically. God will show you things that you don't even know how you know it. He never did it out loud for me. I never had that experience. I have friends who say they have. Honestly, they're the kind who are a little bit… You know, just a different personality than mine. With me, it's a wisdom within. It's like how Elijah the prophet heard a whisper in a cave and in his weakest moment God spoke.
So, the Lord speaks to us in ways. I mean, we have a lot of specifics to go off of, by the way. "I don't know what God's will is for my life. Everything is crazy". Um, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Um, "Forgive as Christ also forgave you". Um, "Do everything without bitterness or complaining, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you". And when you've mastered that, come back and I'll give you the extra credit work. All right? I wonder if God sometimes is laughing while we make our plans and our schedules. Don't you know God was just laughing his head off in heaven? I looked to see if there was a time when Jesus laughed in the Scripture, and there's not one where it says he laughed, but you know he was laughing while he was watching Peter try to fish all night.
You know he was laughing while he watched him, like, "Oh, I'm about to mess with his whole theology of fishing. I'm about to mess with his whole concept, his whole system. I'm about to blow wide open his whole idea of how the water works, because I'm the one who walks on water. I don't need the laws of water or the laws of economics or the laws of politics or the laws of medicine to regulate what I'm going to do". Can I tell you something? God is laughing at some of the stuff we're stressed out about, because while we can't figure it out and we don't see a way, he's just about ready to walk up behind schedule and show us something we could not see in our own strength.
Somebody told me the other day, "You're going to look back and laugh at this one day". I didn't say this. I just thought it. "You're going to look back and cry when I punch you in your nose for telling me I'm going to look… Because it's not funny right now". What I was going through was painful. "You'll look back and laugh". "You'll look back and laugh, Abraham". That's who the nation of Israel started through: Abraham. He didn't have fancy seminary words for God to go off of. He came from Ur of the Chaldeans, and he was called out of everything that was familiar to him to follow a God he could not see visibly or predict. It's kind of similar to Acts, chapter 1, but instead of starting the church, it was when God was starting the nation.
There are a lot of parallels, and I'll show it to you real quick. Genesis 12:1-4 is very similar to Acts 1:4-8, and I'll show you how. "The Lord had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation…'" That implies process. There's a promise, and then "I will make you" is a process. That means "Just because I spoke it to you doesn't mean you will automatically see it, but just because you don't automatically see it doesn't mean I didn't speak it". Who am I preaching to today that you're waiting for something to be revealed and manifested that God showed you? He said, "I'm going to make you a great nation…"
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then, of course, you know about how the nation of Israel came through Jacob. It was a generational promise God was making to Abraham. "I'm going to make you a great nation, and I will bless you". "I will bless you. I might use your job to pay you, but I will bless you. I might use somebody else to encourage you, but I will bless you". I did not thank the pan she cooked in last night for the food. I thanked the one who used the pan to cook the food. It's important, especially in this season of your life, that you remember the source of your blessing. He is immutable. He doesn't change. He is also impeccable. He doesn't make mistakes.
At the same time that he is immutable and impeccable, he is also incomprehensible, which means you don't always know how even though you know who. He said, "I will bless you," and then he said something really crazy. "I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing". You will be a blessing. Blessing is not something I get. Blessed is who I am, so blessing is what I do. I can bless and not curse because I know the source of my blessings. Do you know the best way to be blessed? Be a blessing. Do you know the best way to be happy? Encourage somebody else. Do you know the best way to receive the Word of God? Share the Word of God. Do you know the best way to reap? To sow, even in a famine, even in a drought. God is my source. He is my supply. He is my shield and my exceeding great reward. He said, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you".
See what God can do through you. Then it says, "Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him". I could stop there, but it probably wouldn't do justice to the text. "Abram was seventy-five years old…" You know Isaac we were talking about? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob? He's not even born yet. God makes an appointment with Abram to make him the father of many nations a little bit behind schedule, a little late. The Devil has been telling somebody under the sound of my voice, "It's too late. Back in February you could pray for that, but it's too late now. Back before you started… You're over here now, and you're wrapped in the chains of this addiction. If you wouldn't have done that, then you could have been used. It's too late".
I wonder if God showed us that he does not need a human schedule to accomplish a divine purpose. You're like, "That's fine, Pastor. I'm 19". When Timothy was getting ready to minister in Ephesus, which was a hard place, Paul told him, "Let no one look down on you because you are too young". When Jeremiah got ready to prophesy, God said, "I formed you in the womb. Before you were born, I set you apart. I ordained your days before any of them came to be". He said, "Don't say, 'I am only a youth.'" What that means is God is not bound by human timelines.
What that means is God is not looking at 2020 and saying, "Well, I can't wait till December 31 where I can turn it all around for my glory. Next year will be better, guys. Hang in there". God said, "I don't need to check your schedule to bless you. If you come into Elevation as an intern, I can raise you up to tour the world leading worship". Jonsal has been in Europe worshiping God, leading people into the presence of God. He has been in Canton, Ohio, leading people into the presence of God. From Canton to Cambodia. I just said it because it's alliterated. Do not be limited. He said, "All people". I will bless the Lord at all times. Is it a good time to praise him? Well, do it then.
Check your schedule. Did he wake you up? Did he give you another day? This is the day! Check your schedule. This is the day that the Lord has made! It's a good time to praise him right now. There are only two times to praise him: when I feel it and when I don't. "I was young and now I'm old, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken". I'm sorry. Is it a bad time? My kids never ask that. "I'm sorry. Is it a bad time? Is it a bad time, Dad"? Unless they want something and want to catch me in a good mood. Then they might ask me, "Is it a bad time"? Never. Unschedulable. God is unschedulable. He doesn't ask, "Is it a bad time? Is it a bad time for me to be your provider"? Actually, if he asks that, it's only for the purpose that it's going to make him look that much better when he does it.
If God ever asks you, "Is this a bad time…"? I hear somebody saying, "It's a bad time for a blessing. I can't be happy right now. I can't have peace right now. I can't be content right now. It's a bad time; I'm single. It's a bad time; we just got married. We don't have much money. It's a bad time; our kids are little. It's a bad time; our kids are toddlers. It's a bad time; our kids are teenagers. It's a bad time; my kids are gone". When would be a good time?
One time I read a book on sales. They said never ask them, "Can I come see you"? They say, "When would be a good time"? You don't ask them, "Can I"? You just say, "When would be a good time"? God doesn't ask that. In fact, God is like… Do you want me to illustrate it from the text or do you just want me to tell you? You want a text? I already gave you Genesis 12. You're so greedy. John 11. "Lazarus, the one you love, is sick". When he heard Lazarus was sick, he waited where he was two more days. Check me out in your Bible. You think I'm making this up. You're like, "Oh no. Pastor has been locked in an empty auditorium with 40 staff members too long. He forgot that God is an on-time God".
Jesus was like, "Oh yeah. He's sick? All right. Let's wait a little bit. We've got to wait till it's a bad time. If we go right now, it'll be a good time. It'll be the right time. But I want to show up at the wrong time. I want to bless you at a bad time. I want to show you how powerful I am at a bad time". "Jesus, you've got to stay on schedule". The ministry of Jesus must have been so frustrating. It's like, "Hey, Mary and Martha are major donors, Jesus. It's not good form for you to not go to Bethany. That demon-possessed man you just healed? You probably could have left him off the schedule".
You can tell what's important to someone by what they schedule. Just because it wasn't on the disciples' schedule, what makes us think it wasn't on Jesus' schedule? Just because you didn't see it coming doesn't mean it didn't come from God. Thank you, Lord. I receive that for my own life. God isn't going to check my schedule to do his will. "Okay. Is this it? Are you going to get them now? Is this the time where you're going to restore the kingdom"? That's what the disciples wanted to know.
Remember Mark 5? Jairus comes, and he's a synagogue leader. He's important. You can tell what's important to someone by what they schedule. His 12-year-old daughter… I have a 12-year-old son. Graham is 12 right now, so I can picture this. His 12-year-old daughter is about to die. This is an urgent need for Jesus to go and heal this little girl. Some of you have an urgent need with your kids right now. That's why I wanted to bring this Scripture into the conversation. Jesus was on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus, who was an important official. This is a political figure. He has a lot of power, and he's asking Jesus to come to his house.
On the way, a woman who is unclean by society's standards stops Jesus. He stops because she thinks, "If I can touch him, I'll be made whole". What she said was true. She touched him. He stopped. She was healed. Jairus' daughter died. I don't know that I ever saw it this way before. Some of y'all, especially with what we're going through right now, are really worried about your kids, because your kids are off schedule right now. I need every mom who needs to know whether your kids are going back to school… I want you to put in the chat the following prayer request: "I need details, Jesus".
I just need to know if it's going to be Furtick Education Academy this year. I want to apply for my nonprofit status if I'm going to have to educate these kids again. It's crazy. Some of y'all are watching this message in the year 2035, so you're watching this at a weird time in history. We have had an unschedulable year. Life is unschedulable. We laugh at each other now. "Hey, man. Let's get together next week. Ha-ha-ha! If the world isn't over". We put an asterisk by everything right now. "Hey, man. I'll see you tomorrow…if Armageddon doesn't come". And we're only halfway kidding. I can't wait to watch the Clemson Tigers…if they ever play again.
How will I know it's fall if there are no college boys in tight pants with painted helmets to signify the season? I don't even know what time it is. It's unschedulable. And now I'm supposed to prioritize God, but I'm not even allowed to go to church. How do you keep your priorities when life wrecks your schedule? While Jesus was healing the woman, the little girl died, and the servants said something that has been going through your mind too. They told Jairus, "Don't bother the teacher anymore. The girl is dead. It's too late. He got off schedule".
Peter tried to shoo that woman away, but she was persistent. Jesus healed her anyway. Jesus was always stopping for stupid stuff. "Let the children come to me". "Jesus, the children don't have any money to put in the offering account. Come on. Let's go back to Bethany and heal Lazarus. Why are you stopping to tell knock-knock jokes with the kids? Come on, Jesus". You can tell somebody's priorities by what they schedule. Now, if that's true and God still has you here in this season at this time, if God has you parenting those children, if God has you in that position, if God has you in that assignment, that place, that city, if God put you here right now, you must be important to his purpose.
If God is speaking this word to you right now… You can tell what's important to someone by what they schedule. Just like he stopped for a woman who most priests wouldn't have touched for fear of defilement; just like he stopped for a leper he could have stoned; just like he sat on a well to speak to a woman from Samaria, a place the Jews would walk around to avoid having to confront people they hated, God has stopped this moment to speak to you. Do you have time to hear from God? Some of you, for the first time in your life, have had time lately, and now you've crowded out your schedule with even more crap, and you're bored, and your mind is busy, and you can't figure out why. We want to compartmentalize God.
Jesus was still on schedule. "Oh, Jesus, you want us to go to the other side on the boat? Okay, we'll go. Wait, wait, wait. There's a storm. It's going to throw us off schedule". No, no, no. You're still on schedule. In fact, even the storm has an appointment. Even the trial has an appointment. Even the thing we did not put on our calendar is a part of our calling. Don't you believe he's sovereign? Don't you believe he's immutable? So, if he can't change… No matter how much the world does, he doesn't. But maybe we need to reset our schedule. So, when Jesus finally gets to the tomb of Lazarus and he's going to raise his friend from the dead, but he's late… If he would have gotten there on schedule, Lazarus never would have died.
Lean in. I have to tell you something. He said, "Martha, Martha…" He met her at the gate. He said, "Do you believe"? She said, "If you would have been here, he wouldn't have died". Jesus said, "Let's reschedule. I know I didn't show up when you wanted me. I know I didn't do it by the time you thought I was going to do it". I hear God saying, "Can we reschedule? I know this year hasn't gone like you thought it was going to go. I know you don't know how to teach your kid algebra and you're worried they're going to grow up dumb and can't count, but can we reschedule? I'm going to make up lost time".
God is a good driver. God knows the back roads. God knows how to get there anyway. God knows how to reroute an expectation. This is a faith word. This isn't a "sit there and cry because it's over" word. This is a "Martha, your brother will rise again". She said, "Even now…" Now is a magic word. God said, "Can we reschedule? I know you've been stuck in the past, worried about what you should have done by now. I know you've been stuck in the future, wondering what's coming next. Can we reschedule? My name is the Great I Am. I am in this moment". "Hey, Moses, take off your shoes. I know you didn't schedule a meeting with destiny, but this is holy ground. Let's reschedule". God said, "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten. I will restore the years depression has stolen. I will restore the joy that fear has robbed. I am resurrection".
Resurrection works on a different schedule. Resurrection has faith to know, on Saturday, Sunday is coming. Let's reschedule! "I'll meet you on Sunday. I'll meet you in the valley. I'll meet you in the storm. I'll meet you in the pain. I've got your kids. I've got your money. I've got your mind. I've got your nation. Let's reschedule". I didn't miss church this morning; I just moved church. My living room is the anointed apostolic holy temple of the First Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian Elevation Church location. Let's reschedule. He didn't give them a schedule. "When are they going to come up with that vaccine, man"? I don't know. Do I look like a doctor? Doctors don't wear sweaters this trendy. I don't know. But he did not give them a schedule. "Are you, at this time…"?
He didn't give Abraham a schedule. Do you know what's really going to mess you up? Sit down, because this is depressing. Abraham was 75 when God told him, "I'm going to make you a father," and his wife's womb was barren. He gave him the source of the blessing ("I will bless you"), the scope of the blessing ("All people will be blessed"), but he didn't have a seed. He didn't have a son, and he wouldn't until he was 100 years old. In case you're that one who can't do math, that's 25 years that God did not tell Abraham about, but he was right on schedule. That's longer than we've known each other, Holly. We haven't even known each other 25 years. That's older than y'all put together. Twenty-five years. He didn't tell him the schedule.
How many of y'all think, "I could trust you better, God, if you'd show me the schedule"? That's not a trick question. You're allowed to want it. It doesn't mean he's going to do it. He's not going to show you the schedule. You can't handle the schedule. I promise you, when Jesus said, right after they caught fish, "Hey, follow me," he left out some details. That part about the cross? He told them that a little later. He tells you some stuff a little later. He's an unschedulable God. So, he doesn't tell them, "Hey, they're going to try to kill me. You're always going to be on the move, always going to be on the run. I'm going to do PR nightmare kind of stuff that's going to get us in the headlines. Every day, it's going to be terrible. Follow me". He said, "Hey, you like those fish? Follow me". That's all he told them. "Abram, go to the land I'll show you".
My wife never would have gone along with God on this one, because she loves details. Oh yes. I am much more like God than Holly in this area, because I don't need the details. I just want to know, "What time are we picking up the kids"? I don't need to know which of their friends might be coming with them. I don't need to know if that friend's parent is mad at the other friend's parent. I don't need to know whether or not they're thinking about switching schools. I don't need to know whether their great-uncle had a coronavirus test that came back negative. She loves the details. I don't need all that.
Abraham is like, "I don't need all that. You said you'd bless me? You said you'd be with me? You told me the source. You told me the scope. You handle the schedule". But then, about year 11, it started getting kind of sketchy. Now, God is sketchy with the details. I'm going to prove it to you. That sounds heretical, but I promise you God is sketchy with the details…on some stuff. He told them to build the tabernacle when they were in the wilderness. He told them what kind of yarn, what kind of curtains, what kind of brass, how high, how wide. He gave them all of the dimensions, but he left out a few details. This was the Tent of Meeting that God's glory would fill in the middle of the camp. They're wandering around in the wilderness. They need a place to meet with God. Right?
Can I show you this? Numbers, chapter 9. Watch how sketchy God is with the details. The historian is recording how God would guide his people. How many of you want God to guide your life? Just raise your hand right there in the chat. "I want God to guide me. I want a GPS (a God Positioning System). I want to be where God wants me to be, and I want to know what he wants me to know, and I want to do what he calls me to do, because everything else is a waste of my time". All right. This is how he would guide them. "On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire".
You got the picture? Here's the tabernacle. He told them how to build it. He told them how high, how wide, how long, all of the dimensions, but then there would be a cloud above the tabernacle, which represented God's presence, and this is how it continued to be. It went on like this. The cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Next verse. "Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped".
This is the system of how God guided them. "At the Lord's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord's order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year…"
Whoa. Okay. That's a wide range. So, you're following this presence of God… I'm not telling you to be flaky. I can't stand when people are just flaky and they call it faith. God calls you to quit every job after three months once everybody who works with you sees how dysfunctional you are, so you just transplant your dysfunction to another place, and you just move it around like you can avoid having to give attention to your issues. I'm not talking about just moving. I'm talking about how God guides us in our daily lives, how we experience him. I'm not talking about everybody just moving all around and just chasing the next feeling and chasing the next trend. What they had to do was they had to pay attention to what God was doing in that moment.
Watch this. "Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord's command they encamped, and at the Lord's command they set out". Are you seeing the pattern here? "They obeyed the Lord's order, in accordance with his command through Moses". Here's the whole thing I got up here to tell you, and it ties together with Acts, chapter 1, where he said, "I'm not going to tell you when, but I will tell you who: the Holy Spirit. I'm not going to tell you when, but I will tell you what: power. I'm not going to tell you all of the details, but I will tell you the scope of the blessing. I'm going to use you to do way more than you could ever picture".
Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you this from Numbers, chapter 9: God's presence is unschedulable. "Um, I'm not sure about that, Preacher. I mean, I read my Bible every morning at the same time and the Lord speaks to me". I'm sure he does, but you can't leave him with your coffee cup in the sink when you go out the door. You have to move with him. The cloud would stay, and God knows how we are as humans. If he did it at the same time every day, they would worship how he did it and lose sight of him. When we're working out, they always talk about muscle confusion.
If you do the same exercises over and over, you won't get stronger. I call this miracle confusion, where God knew… "I'm going to teach you to move when I move. I'm going to teach you to obey when I speak. I'm going to show you not how to set your schedule and worship your schedule…" God is not a monument. God is not a formula. God is not a concept. God is not human logic. No, no, no. God does not check your schedule. By the way, neither does the Devil. The Devil doesn't look and see, "Would it be all right if I stopped by at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon and visit you with depression, anxiety attack, panic attack, and shortness of breath"? No. You have to stay in a place where you know how to breathe in the presence of God. You have to stay in a place where you are looking at the presence of God.
One psalmist said, "I lift my eyes to the hills. My help doesn't come from the north, the south, the east, or the west. My help comes from the Lord". Who does your help come from? If God wants to reset your schedule, will you let him? If God wants to move… He's like, "Hey, I know all of your other friends are over here doing this, that, and the other, but I have something different for you". God said, "Can we reschedule? I know you had all this stuff you were going to do this year. Can we reschedule"? I almost hear the Lord saying, "Let me make it up to you". I almost hear the Lord saying, "I'm going to do exceedingly, abundantly above what you had on your schedule". I almost hear the Lord saying, "Let me get you ready for what I have scheduled".
See, to really trust God… We can sing about that and quote about that, but to trust in the Lord with all your heart means you have to move with him. Life has come along this year and interrupted your rhythm. I know it. It sucks. I'm not saying you have to like it, but what are you going to do with it? He didn't promise you a schedule; he promised you a Spirit. See, that's better, because his Spirit will give me the ability to step out if I need to step out or to stay put if I need to stay put. This is for you if you feel behind schedule. "I should have more money in the bank by now. I should know more of the Bible by now".
It does not matter what your schedule was. It matters what God spoke about you before you were born. Do you get it now? You can be 75. Eleven years into waiting, Abraham tried to have a baby with Hagar because he got tired of waiting for the schedule. I'm glad the disciples waited for the Spirit. Whatever you're waiting for today, I just need to make it clear, as clear as I can… I can't make it as clear as I saw it. I'd never be able to do that, but I just saw God saying, "Stop trying to schedule me. Build your schedule, but realize that some of the best things I'm going to do in your life are not going to be on your schedule".
Can anybody testify that one of the greatest blessings God gave you…? The greatest blessings are unschedulable, and if you are so stuck on what you thought this stage of life or what you thought this day would be like, I'm telling you, you are going to miss the gift. Wait for the gift. I'm waiting for the gift, and I'm looking for the gift, and I'm looking for the cloud. I can't schedule God's presence and say, "You should have done this then, and you should have done that there, and you need to give me details then". I'm sorry. You're not going to get all of the details. God will tell you what to build, but he will not tell you when to move it. He wants you to depend on him. This is the most anointed word I've preached all year.
God is resetting our schedules, and what we are calling interruptions are really invitations. Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just believe". When he got to the house, the little girl was dead to the other people. She was sleeping to Jesus, because he has his own schedule. Heaven has a schedule. Heaven has a purpose. Heaven has a blueprint. Heaven has a process. Have you submitted your schedule to the Lord just to say, "Lord, I want to reschedule"?
"I thought you were going to do this, but let's reschedule, Lord. I thought you were going to heal Lazarus, but, hey, if you want to raise him from the dead, let's go to the tomb. Let's reschedule. I'll roll the stone. Yeah, I've been disappointed, I've been depressed, I've been stressed out, but let's reschedule. I've been confused, but I've been trying to control the timing, and you've been calling me to trust you, so I receive power". I receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on me, and I'm going to be a witness wherever I go.
Father, I thank you in this moment for the unschedulable blessings that are coming to your people all over the world, the unschedulable blessings, the testimonies that are coming because you are an unschedulable God. You give a 100-year-old man a baby. You can bless us behind schedule. At the same time, you can be interrupted by a woman with an issue of blood. You can bless us ahead of schedule. You can do anything, because you're God. You can prepare a table in the presence of our enemies. You don't even have to get rid of the problem to bless us. You're unschedulable. It's not for us to know the time. We can't control anything. We can't even control our kids' Little League schedule. We certainly can't control how things unfold in our lives, so we're just going to wait. Not because we're lazy, just because we know you love us.
Some of the best stuff God will do in your life will not be on your schedule. Brandon, I was in your neck of the woods on Sullivan's Island in 2016 on vacation. It's a beautiful place. I love going there with the family. Holly wanted us to go to some farmers' market at Sullivan's Island, and she somehow conned me into going with them. Do you remember the girl, Addie Mae, who came over…? She had cupcakes and pastries and stuff, and she said she listened to the podcast and could we get a picture together. I had my hat and my sunglasses on.
She was like, "I thought that was you. I thought I recognized you". She was so kind and nice. Then she said, "You know what? My pastor is going to be jealous that I met you. He invited you to speak at our church. This week, we're having holy convocation at our church. They invited you to come speak, and your office said you couldn't come because you were on vacation with your family". I said, "Well, that's exactly what you're seeing here. You will be witnesses". She said, "Okay, okay". She brought over a box of sugar for my kids so they could be crack addicts all night, which I greatly appreciated.
"Thanks for taking a picture. Let me dope up your kids on sugar as a way of saying thank you. Appreciate your ministry". She said, "I just talked to my pastor. He told me to make sure to invite you to come to convocation". I said, "No, Addie Mae. Vacation. No con". You know sometimes God will con you. Right? I don't mean he'll trick you because he's deceptive. He's impeccable. Remember. But sometimes you will think you're going to the farmers' market, but God knows the future. You have to know that about him. He knows the future. "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
Don't you want the one who knows the future to set the schedule? Don't you want him to bring the right people into your life? Don't you want him to get the wrong ones out? Don't you want the one who knows the future to open the doors? Don't you want him to close some too? It was just a normal afternoon. She said, "You should come to convocation". I said, "Uh-huh. Sounds good". Now I'm trying to find a way to end this conversation with the convocation. I was trying to have a vacation. She said, "We have great speakers". She named a bunch of people I didn't know, and then she said one for one of the nights who I did know, and I always wanted to hear him preach. I said, "Huh". I suddenly got interested.
I thought, "Well, I'm still not going to go, but let me at least write it down. Maybe they have a livestream or something and I can watch him preach. Maybe I could have lunch with him. Maybe I could skip church and meet him if he's coming this way. The church is just right down the road". She gave me the crack…I mean, the cupcakes…for my kids. She wrote down the name of the church and the date of the thing for convocation. I didn't think much about it. I asked Jess, my assistant, "Reach out to this preacher. He's coming to this church on this night. Just see if we can say hello. We've talked a few times, but I never really got to meet him. It would be good". She hit me back and said, "Yeah, he wants to do it. He wants to meet with you".
The next week rolled around, and I had kind of forgotten. I was in my vacation flow. You know, limited showers, no shaving, or anything like that. I was like, "Oh, this is the day I'm going to meet with the pastor". Jess texted me. She was like, "By the way, so-and-so had to cancel. He had emergency back surgery. He can't come". You know how sometimes you'll get an idea and it's not God and you're like, "I rebuke you, Devil; I'm not doing that," and then sometimes you'll get an idea and you will try to rebuke it and it remains, and the more you think about it, you're like, "I think this might be what God wants me to do"?
Something inside of me… I believe it was the Holy Spirit, because I don't think the Holy Spirit just gets you to speak in tongues. I think it gets you to take steps and do simple things. It's not always something sensational. It can be very simple how the Spirit can guide you. This is what the unschedulable God did. He spoke to me in kind of an impression. "Call the church and offer to fill in for the preacher". I said, "Lord, that's creepy". "Hey, you want me to come over and preach for you? I could come preach for you. I'm over here just wanting to preach. I've got my Bible. I've got a little Bible Scripture. I could come preach". I'm like, "I'm not calling the church". The Lord said, "You were the one they wanted on that night. They couldn't get you because you were on vacation. Now call the church". I said, "Lord, she didn't write down the number".
The Lord spoke to me very powerfully. He said, "Google". He's very practical. You're asking God for all kinds of big stuff. God just wants you to do practical things sometimes. I called, and it rang like six times, and nobody answered. I said, "Thank you, Lord. Six is the number of man and…" Before the seventh ring… No kidding. Now remember. I don't have a shirt on. I don't have shoes on. I don't have church clothes. I'm so glad. It's 3:00 in the afternoon. I'm like, "Okay, Lord. It was like a ram in the bush". Do you remember when he called Abraham and said, "Sacrifice Isaac. Just kidding. Sacrifice the ram"? I'm like, "Oh, cool. This is one of those deals".
After the sixth ring, the man picks up and says the name of the church. I said, "Oh, hey! Um, hey, uh, I was calling to speak to the pastor, Pastor [So-and-so]". He said, "He's not available. Can I take a message"? I said, "Oh, no. I don't want to bother him". He said, "No. The pastor would want you to leave a message". I'm like, "Okay, okay. All right. My name is Steven Furtick. I met a girl named Addie Mae. She gave my kids cupcakes at the farmers' market. She said there was convocation. I don't know the name of your church. I don't know your pastor. I've never met him before, never even heard of him before, but they said he wanted me to come preach, and I'm 30 minutes down the road, and I'll come preach tonight. Just tell him that". He said, "I'll tell him".
Then here comes the call back five minutes later. He was crying. The pastor was crying. He said, "I'm sorry we missed your call. We were in prayer meeting. We were praying God would give us a speaker for tonight. I had three funerals this week". See, funerals don't schedule themselves. Funerals will come right in the middle of convocation. He said, "I'm so out of energy. I was going to preach, but I'm dry, and we were praying".
He said, "Did you know that you're the first person we asked? The one we were having was going to be the second choice. Do you know that we asked you first"? I said, "Yeah. Addie Mae told me. That's crazy". I said, "This is the weirdest thing. I never invite myself to preach anywhere. I don't even invite myself over to people's houses, let alone to people's pulpits. But, man, do you want me to come…"? He said, "Yes!" before I even got… He said, "You'll come"? I said, "I will, but I don't have convocation clothes. Really, the dressiest thing I have is some Pirate Black Yeezys". He said, "I'll wear my Yeezys too. We'll both wear our Yeezys. You'll come preach"?
And I went out that night. Con-vacation. I thought I was going to the farmers' market. You don't know what heaven has scheduled. Some of the best stuff doesn't come when you say, "Okay. This is where it's going to be". Your kids might not turn out like you wanted them to. God might do something better on a different schedule. "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it". "How old, Lord"? He said, "Let me set the schedule. Some of the stuff I'm going to lead them through at age 17? I'm going to use it until they're 70. You let me set the schedule. You train. You obey. You show up".
Look. That convocation that night… I did not know this until this year, but the pastor, who was just a delightful guy… We had the best night. I mean, the best night. His son was leading worship on the worship team. He said, "That's my son". He was proud. I was like, "Oh, he's amazing. What an amazing…" It was your friend Chandler Moore. Now he and I have been writing songs with Chris. Do you know what's funny? Brandon told me that when I was coming to preach at a church one time, I walked over and said to him, "God is going to use you in a great way. You've got good hair. You're handsome".
I'm real spiritual, you know. Man looks at the outward appearance. That's my job. God looks at the heart, not me. I can't see your heart. I can see your hair. I said, "The Lord is going to use you". I didn't even know that. He said he was 16. God has got your kids. His dad is a great man of God. And I didn't even know who your dad was. Your dad was somebody whose leadership book I read. I didn't know any of that. It wasn't on my schedule to stop by… I think we were at Pastor Greg Surratt's church. Shout-out Seacoast Church. It wasn't on my itinerary. "Stop by and encourage Samson on your way up to the pulpit". It wasn't on my schedule.
Some of the best stuff, some of the blessings… God said to tell you, "Get ready for the unschedulable blessing". If you're ready for an unschedulable blessing… "I have nowhere to go. I'm here for it. I'm waiting for the gift. God, you give me the direction. I'll give you the details". Brandon, I'll tell you one more thing. We were writing a song (you weren't there that day) in the same studio where we wrote "Graves Into Gardens," which, by the way, was the second song we wrote that day, and it was the song that really defined the season for our church. Chris and I were in there a couple of months ago. We had a songwriting appointment. You have to show up. Right? That's the only way you're going to be there.
Sometimes God has scheduled something for you, but you're waiting on an opportunity. The Bible says, "On one occasion…" You never know when the breakthrough is going to be. You never know when your kid is going to need… You're just going to be driving them to another stupid dance recital, and the conversation happens. You don't know these things, so you have to show up. We were writing music one day, and we wrote a little song. I still like it, and we haven't done it yet. The songwriting appointment was over. I remember looking at my watch and going, "Okay, cool. I've got time to get home for dinner. Great. Glad we finished up quickly. Okay. Let's get in here, and let's set up the mics, and let's record it real quick".
Jack was setting up a mic. JMix was in the control room. I verified this with him the other day to make sure I remembered it right. I told Christy, "We don't need dinner. We're done. It's over. We're all going to go our separate ways for dinner. We got a song. We're done". As they were setting up mics, a little melody idea came to mind that we recorded. It almost sounded like a lullaby. It was "May the favor of the Lord be upon you. May the glory of the Lord be your strength. May the presence of the Lord go before you and give you peace". I said, "Record, record, record, record, record! Okay. Done. All right. Let's go back to the other one". The other people in the room said, "No, no, no. Let's work on that". I said, "Y'all like it? We've got to go home. Right"? "No, no, no, no. Let's see. That might be something".
I'll never forget. Cody Carnes started singing. I said, "Go to number six and see if we can sing it. We could write a benediction". He said, "The Lord bless you and keep you, make his face shine upon you, be gracious to you. The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace". I said, "We don't need dinner. We're done". God said, "I'm not. You can go home if you want to, but I want to bless you". "You can give up if you want to. I want to bless you. You can write this year off if you want to. I'm going to bless you". Then we sang, "Amen, amen, amen"! Do you remember we sat there working? "What's Kari Jobe doing over there? She's singing something about 'Your family and your children and their children and their children.'"
I just thought it was significant that "The Blessing" came after we thought the session was over. He wanted me to tell you that your latter will be greater. He wanted me to tell you that just like at Cana in Galilee, he saves the best wine till you think you've run out. Don't you go home yet, and don't you bury that blessing yet. Don't you cast your confidence away yet. God said, "I'm an unschedulable God". I made up a word. Paul made up a word. He said apokaradokia. I expect a blessing in the unexpected season. I'm not too young. I'm not too old. It's not too soon. It's not too late. Here comes the blessing. "Blessing I will bless you. I will bless you. I will favor you. I will love you. I will use you".