Steven Furtick - Stop Trying To Control The Timing
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".