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2021 online sermons » Steven Furtick » Steven Furtick - Get To The Good Part

Steven Furtick - Get To The Good Part

Steven Furtick - Get To The Good Part

Genesis 15:19 "But Joseph said to them, 'Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.' And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them". God meant it for good. The life of Joseph is almost like an entire movie. I could even say it's like a show with seven seasons. It spans about 14 chapters in the book of Genesis.

Holly said one time she doesn't like sermons about Joseph because they try to do too much. Trying to span that much content, there's a lot you have to track through with Joseph…all the betrayal, the hurt, the promise God made him, the process he went through. But you're going to like this one. The reason you didn't like sermons about Joseph before is because they didn't tell you the best stuff. I'm not going to skim it today. I'm going to say something that's really going to reach you, Holly. Someone was telling me about a TV show I would really like a while back. They said, "It's really good". I said, "I watched it. I didn't like it". They said, "How many episodes did you watch"? I said, "Like, three or four. It was boring". They said, "Well, if you can push past the first two seasons…"

This isn't like a military career. I'm not trying to push through something. I'm trying to relax. They're not paying me to watch this. I'm paying Netflix to watch this. Why am I pushing through? "If you can really push through the first two seasons, you get to the good part". I want to talk to you today about Get to the Good Part. I want to pray for you, because this is a prophetic word for somebody, and I don't know who.

I pray, Father, in the name of Jesus that this word would reach from eternity right into Sunday morning or Tuesday afternoon or 4:00 a.m. on Thursday. I pray it'll go right here from south Charlotte, North Carolina, on this plastic pulpit and penetrate the hearts of those who need to get to the good part, those who are holding on, those who are pushing through. I declare today they're going to get to the good part. In Jesus' name, amen.

I was kind of like, "If you have to watch two seasons for the show to get interesting, is it really good"? At that point, you violate my definition of a good show. If it took two seasons… If I have to invest 20 hours of my life… Do you know how many songs I can write in 20 hours while I'm pushing through to like your stupid show? It kind of ticked me off. It made me mad. While we're at it, not only do I not like this thumbs up emoji (I prefer fist bump), and not only do I not want to push through a show I'm supposed to be enjoying, not only do I not want to endure something that's supposed to be meant for my entertainment that I'm paying a subscription for, but I don't even really like the word good. It's kind of common. I played a song for somebody one time that I had just written. (I came out of a songwriting season. I'm still in a songwriting season right now, so just put up with me if I use analogies that are relevant to my life.)

I played them a song. They said, "That's good". I'm like, "I don't want good. I want goose bumps. I want you to make noises and stuff that aren't even words. I don't want, 'That's good.'" In fact, I don't even want you to use that word at all, like, "Oh man. That was good". One time somebody was preaching back to me while I was preaching, and I said something. They said, "That's good," and I was like, "No, it's life-changing"! I had studied it so much it was in my bones. Not that I was so smart. Just to me, the way I saw it in the Bible, it was so amazing. That's a word I like: amazing. That's what I want Holly to tell me when I give her a gift. I don't want her to be like, "Oh, this is good". I want it to be terrific.

I wrote down a list of words (I didn't even look at a thesaurus) that are better than good… great, awesome, terrific, wonderful, incredible, stupendous. Yeah, I'll take stupendous. Mind-blowing. Ridiculous. You could tell me, "That's ridiculous. Oh, that was ridiculous. That song was ridiculous". But good? I don't like good. You can say it was sick. You can say it was glorious. You can say it was excellent. You can say it was outstanding. You can say, "That was crazy"! You could say, "That was insane"! In fact, don't even use an adjective. Use a superlative. "That was the best ever since time began. There has never been a better one and there never will be".

You know what I'm saying? So, I was kind of mad, because Joseph gets toward the end of this little journey full of so many twists and turns, ups and downs, and he says to his brothers, "God meant it for good". After all he went through, to use such a 25-cent word on such an expensive experience that cost him his freedom, that cost him the better part of his life, and then the only thing he can think to say about it at the end is, "It was good". Take you on a big vacation. "How did you like it"? "It was good". Good? No, I want to see you freak out if I really do something I put my heart into or I just might not do it again, if it was just good. "Yeah, pretty good". I guess it depends on how you say it. "Oh, it's good! It's good, it's good". I guess it's all in the inflection.

You're like, "Why are you taking so much time to waste…"? We feel kind of like the show you were talking about. "Hurry up and get to the good part". I am at the good part, because the very last thing we hear Joseph say is one of the very first things we see God think. Can I show you? Go to Genesis, chapter 1. Holly, this is why you didn't like stories about Joseph: because they started in Genesis 37 when we started reading about Joseph, but Joseph's story didn't start in Genesis 37. It started in Genesis 1. Can I tell you that your story didn't start…? Everybody shout your birth year out loud. What's your birth year? Put it in the chat. Some of y'all are lying. God forgive them. It didn't start then. It started in Genesis 1.

Read this. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness". "God saw that the light was good". Joseph is standing in a moment he never really could have anticipated. He just found out his father died. He's weeping over the loss of Jacob after burying him. His brothers are very concerned that now Joseph is going to pay them back. They didn't need to be. After the process Joseph had gone through, Joseph wasn't so concerned about what his brothers thought or what his brothers did. Remember, he had this understanding that God meant it for good.

So now, with all of his brothers surrounding him and falling down at his feet, saying, "Don't hurt us. We'll be your slaves. The last thing Dad said…" This is what they told him. "The last thing Dad said is, 'Be nice to your brothers.'" They're still lying. After all of their lies, they haven't stopped lying. They've come to Egypt because, well, there's a famine where they're from, and God positioned Joseph in Egypt so he could take care of the very ones who betrayed him, which is why he ended up there to begin with. This is the good part we love to preach, where it says, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good". Isn't it crazy that the last thing we see in the last chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, is the same thing we saw in the first chapter of the book of Genesis? In the last chapter of Genesis, Joseph says, "It was good".

In the first chapter of Genesis, God says, "It was good". What's really beautiful about it, if you want to study it, is that God's plan all through the process never stopped being good. Can you just say that by faith? "It never stopped being good". He never stopped being good. So, when we get into the concept of "Was it good?" a lot of times that depends on…

Last week, I preached on What You Call Small. I said what you call small God often sees as big, and what you see as big, like an impossible thing, God is like, Boop! The little devils you stress about all day long, the things you can't get over, the hypothetical hurdles you make up in your mind because you can't figure out how you're going to get from here to there, but God already knows… Boop! That's how big it is to God. With a flick of his finger, with a word from his mouth, with a breath from his nostril… His hand isn't short. But in the same way, we have this tendency to get confused. What God calls small we call big. Like, our character. That's big to God. It's small to some of us. We'll compromise our character to get clout. God says, "I'll make your name great. You don't have to take any of your clothes off on TikTok". Who am I preaching to like this?

In the same way that we can confuse what God calls small with what we call big and what we call big and God calls small… The prophet Isaiah says we have this problem. I want to give you this verse in Isaiah 5:20. It's very powerful. Let's call on the prophet. He said, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter". What's he talking about here? I think you know exactly what he's talking about. I think you've experienced it, probably even in church, where people can sometimes even use religion as a cover-up for prejudice. That's what Isaiah is talking about. When you call evil good and good evil… Christians can be some of the most closed-minded, hateful people. And I love us. I have no choice. I'm stuck with us. I decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. But I didn't know all of these fools were going to be doing it with me.

See, it's in my own heart. Before you start shouting about other people, I'm really talking about you. Sometimes you use your relationship with God as an excuse to be closed-minded and not get another perspective. "God said it. I believe it. That settles it". "I'm standing on the Word of God". No, you're not. You're stuck in tradition. People will use the message of the Bible as an excuse to be mean. I know it's a corny joke. I haven't told you this one yet. This woman went to church. She hadn't been in a long time. She didn't have any nice clothes, so she was wearing clothes that were inappropriate to go to church. When she got there, the preacher talked to her afterward. He was like, "Hey, you need to wear something different when you come to church next week. That isn't appropriate. You know, you might want to put something different on. Ask God what he wants you to wear next week".

She came back the next week wearing the exact same thing. The preacher said, "She obviously didn't hear me the first time". He met her at the door and said, "I thought I told you before you come back this week to ask God what you should wear to church. I want you to go home, and before you come back next week, ask what you should wear to church". She comes back in the same thing. That's all she had. She had a rough life. She didn't know what to wear to church. She hadn't been to church in a long time. She came back the third week wearing the same stuff. The preacher was mad this time, because the deacons were mad at him, so he was mad at the lady. It was a whole chain of condemnation that was going on in this little fictitious church. He looked at her and said, "I thought I told you to ask God what to wear before you came back to this church". She said, "I did". He said, "And what did God say"? She said, "He said he didn't know what I should wear to this church because he's never been here". That's a classic.

How many of you knew the punch line before I said it? And you were waiting for me to get to the good part. Right? "Tell them, Pastor. Tell them"! Oh, it's so amazing. Church people. So, what we do is we substitute judgment and call it holiness. We call evil good, and evil is only what others are doing. The decibel levels are going down as I get more personal. "Come on, get back to the good part". This is the good part. This is the good part of a sermon where it challenges your assumptions that are keeping you from accessing the blessing of God.

Let me tell you another thing. The Pharisees in the Bible were the religious ruling party of Jesus' day, and they would come up to him to test him. One time they came up to him, and the man didn't have good motives. He said, "Jesus…" He called him, "Good Teacher". Sucking up, you know, but really, he was trying to catch Jesus in a contradiction, which is a bad idea. But he didn't know yet that Jesus was the Word made flesh that dwelt among us. So he said, "Good Teacher…" Jesus said, "Why do you call me good? Only one is good. That's God".

That verse spoke to me this week. I don't know if I can call myself a good man. I want to be. I try to be. I aspire to be. Holly says I am. I have some dark parts, though. (All I can see is your halo right now. I can't tell if you're sympathetic or sitting there judging me.) Every good man has dark parts. There is a part of every person that is really dark. Different things bring it out of us at different times. Some people's dark is more socially acceptable than others. If the people around you haven't seen your dark part, they haven't gotten close enough yet. Even Joseph, who is held up rightly as a hero, kind of an example of how to deal with life's disappointments and setbacks…

Let's be honest. He went through rape charges. He went through false imprisonment because of those charges. He went through being forgotten by the people he helped…all of the things we deal with times a hundred. We deal with little versions of these overlooks and these offenses. Well, he dealt with them on the grandest, most epic scale, and he was able to say something so powerful. "God intended it for good". If you only read that… I think this is why you don't like the sermons about Joseph. In our effort to skip to that and make it all good… You know, these little things. "It's all good. Romans 8:28. It's all good".

Romans 8:28 doesn't say it's all good. Tim Fara was working on a sermon one time. We were in a meeting, and he goes, "I want to preach a sermon at the Rock Hill Campus called 'It's All Good.' Romans 8:28. 'All things work together for good…'" I'm like, "Timmy, I love you. You can't preach that. That's not what Paul said. He didn't say all things are good. You have people out there who have been molested. You want to preach it's all good? You have people out there who can't pay their bills. You want to preach it's all good"? I wasn't mad at him. We were just studying the text together. This is how I show love. I said, "It's not all good. If you want to preach that passage, you can preach 'It's going to be good.'" This is what I want to preach to you about today.

I want to preach to you about how to get to the good part, but I want to warn you. You can't get to the good part if you're not willing to go through the dark part. There is a dark part in every person. Even Joseph, when confronted by his brothers, was tempted… This great hero was tempted to make them pay. Nobody probably put that part in the sermons Holly heard about Joseph, where Joseph was tricking them and hiding the cup in the bag and trying to accuse… He still couldn't decide what he wanted to do. Like you right now. You're trying to decide, "How do I respond to this? How do I respond to something that wasn't good that God let in my life"? It wasn't good how my dad died. It wasn't good how your dad walked out. That wasn't good. So we can't preach "It's all good".

Before Joseph could get (this is what blew my mind) to the good part where he could say, "I will provide for your family…" Do you see how selfless that sounds, how responsible, how mature? "I'll take care of you. Don't worry about it. It's all good". Before he could get to the good, he had to go through the dark. So do you, and so do I. I have to realize that my first reaction is not always coming from my realest self. People will say this. They'll just go off, cuss people out, flip people off, turn stuff over, wreck their lives, all this stuff, and say, "I'm just keeping it real". No, that's just your reaction. That's just you letting the dark part run the show. But greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

That verse is about Jesus, and he's in me too. But in order to get to that part… You know the part of you that's wise and kind and good, and I don't have to say anything back, and I'm focused, I'm good…the good part? Sometimes, to get to that good part you have to keep your mouth shut through the dark part. We don't know what to do with the dark part, so we never get to the good part. You'll never get to the good part if you don't learn how to deal with the dark part. So I guess they're right. You have to make it through a few seasons before it gets good. You have to get through some confusion. You have to get through some things. You have to put it in perspective. After all, by the time Joseph said this verse… I promise you.

So many of you are new to church, and I want you to know you will hear this verse preached again. It is so popular. You will hear this verse preached out of context, like Joseph just said it when he woke up one morning. "What you meant for evil God meant for good". Nuh-uh. Without the setup, that punch line is empty. It has been years since Joseph's brothers came back. He has had years to look back on it. He has had time to reflect on what it is God was doing. Our problem is sometimes we just want to spoon-feed people these sugarcoated answers. "There's a reason for everything". That's not always your job to remind somebody of that. I went off on somebody one time. "There's a reason". "Well, tell me what it is! Since you're God, what is it"? Joseph said, "I'm not in the place of God". Yet he acted like him. He saw what was good through what was dark.

Isn't that what God did in Genesis? I never realized that Genesis 50:20 was just the continuation of Genesis 1:4. Light was the first thing… You know the seven days of creation. God made the light, and then he made the atmosphere, or the firmament. I'd quote all seven, but we don't have time (and I'm scared I'll get them out of order). There's all this stuff. "This is really good". The dry ground and the plants and the sun. He made the light before he made the sun, which I can't figure out other than the fact that he is light. But all of it…the fifth day, the birds of the air and the fish in the sea and then the land animals on the sixth day… Look. I got them all right.

All of that becomes more powerful when you realize that in Genesis 1:4, God saw that it was good. He doesn't need light to see; he is light. He saw it was good while he was still doing it. The most important thing I've learned in creating a sermon, a song, really even in building a family and trying to create a great relationship, is that there's always a dark part. Just like you have flesh and I have flesh and you have memories and I have memories and you have temptations and tendencies and I do too, every process… Not just every person, but every process has a dark part. I can't think of a single song I ever wrote that I didn't at one point during the song feel like Ichabod. "The glory has departed. I'll never write another song. What am I trying to do"? At these moments… I don't know how to explain this to you. I'll be sitting there going, "Tom Petty wouldn't have liked this song".

Tom Petty is dead. Tom Petty never even heard of Elevation Worship while he was alive. I have Tom Petty looking over my shoulder going, "Eh, not so sure". Where did Tom Petty come from in this? But that's a part of the process: pushing through that judgment. For you, it's not Tom Petty over your shoulder. Okay. It's your mom. "Eh". When you go to do something for God…write a song, take a step, make an act of service, change a habit… I don't care what it is. There is a part of every process that's dark. It can come right before the best part. If you let it die in the dark, you'll never get to the good part. I promise you it's not just the caffeine in me.

God sent me out here to say to somebody: you have to get through this dark part of your life, of this stage of adulthood. Maybe just because I have two teenagers, I was thinking about teens who commit suicide. It started to haunt me. They have no idea that high school is weird for everybody. It doesn't feel like this forever. It's not always… I mean, there are still challenges, and people are still people, and life is still hard. But it's not always this surge of hormones and weirdness and stuff breaking out on your face everywhere and just stuff in your mind. No, no, no. It won't always be this dark. You have to live, whoever you are. You have to live to see it. "I will remain confident in this: that I will see…" I have light. "I will see the goodness of the Lord".

Goodness. It's going to get good and gooder and gooder and better and better. You haven't seen anything yet. You haven't even met your best self yet. You have to get through this valley. Oh yeah. I have to get through this valley. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". Question: Is a rod and a staff a good thing or a bad thing? It depends on whether you're a wolf or a sheep. When I belong to God, everything he does in my life… It might not feel good, but it is good because he's still good. "Yea, though I walk through the valley…" I have to get through this valley so I can make it to the table.

"You prepare a table…" Make it to the table! I'm going to make it to the table. I'm going to make it! I have to make it. I was born to make it. My kids need me to make it. My wife needs me to make it. My church needs me to make it. You have to make it. It's necessary that you make it. You have to get to the good part. You have to locate Israel inside of you, Jacob. Sit up, Israel. Be a man. Be a woman. Be the one God called. Stand up and do it. You have to make it to the table. To make it to the table, I have to go through the shadow. Every good thing has a dark part. James said something I thought we should think about. He said, "Don't be deceived, brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows".

Do you see it again, the contrast? Every good thing has a dark part. What concerns me is I see a lot of people who never get to the good part of their marriage, of their gift, their skill. There are no guitar players out here right now, but I guarantee you if we could ask them… Before you first start learning how to play, there's a point where your fingers hurt so badly. When I was starting to learn to play guitar, my fingers would hurt so badly. The two men who were teaching me guitar both said, "You have to build up the calluses". Every time I would go to practice, it would hurt so badly. Most people quit before they get the callus. If you keep playing long enough, eventually your fingers will be able… Wade, remember before the calluses? If you don't play for a little while now, it doesn't change. If you don't play for a while, you have to start over again.

Most people quit before they get there. Whether it's teenagers who end their life or, let's be honest, not even end their life but just sabotage themselves because they don't want to sit with the loneliness… You just want to tell them, "No, no, no. Don't give that away. That's too important. No, no, no. Don't do that. Get to the good part". Joseph, don't throw your brothers out. That's how God is going to build a nation. Get to the good part. I know you want to go off and freak out and tell them. That's just your reaction. That's not the reality. The real you knows better. So, James says, "Don't be deceived. Every good gift comes from above".

A few things I take from that. First, if it's good it came from God. So, if God blesses me through somebody or through something, it came from him. I got a bunch of birthday gifts a few days ago. Thanks to everybody who sent me a gift. Hey, the greatest gift is prayer. I used to always hear preachers say that. They'd say, "Thank you for all you who give to the church," and all this stuff, and then, "But most importantly, your prayers". I'm like, "Prayers aren't more important than the giving. We have to feed people. We have to help people. We have to build the kingdom. Thank you for all of it. It's all important". False dichotomy. The gifts.

Do you see this jacket I'm wearing? Wade gave me this. The funny thing was when I saw his handwriting on the envelope… He has given me so many gifts through the years. I said, "That one is from Wade. It's going to be good". I hadn't even unwrapped the gift. I knew who gave it. When I shook the box, I knew it was something I could wear. I said, "I got my preaching clothes for next week," because it came from Wade. Wade knows what I like to wear. He knows black is slimming, flattering to my body type. It came from Wade. I'm good this week. I've got something to wear this week because it came from Wade. If it comes from God, it's going to be good.

So, if it's good it comes from God, even if God does it through somebody else. I didn't hug the postman for delivering Wade's gift. That's kind of deep. Right? We get dependent on people. We think people have to be good to us for God to be good to us. No, they don't. Question: Who got Jesus to the cross? Which disciple? John, the one he loved, or Judas, the one who betrayed him? Now you're seeing the theme of my message. Get to the good part. The part that feels good isn't always the part that is good. You only know that when you reflect on it. I was thinking, "If it's good, it came from God. If it came from God, it's good". What if it didn't? It's going to be good anyway.

That's where you can preach Romans 8:28. In all things God works for the good. I always heard that verse… They read that much, and then it was confusing to people. "All things work together for the good…" They didn't even get to the good part of the verse. They stopped on the word good. The good part is what it says next. "…to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose". Real quick, Davide. Earlier I saw you out here. You've had two tools that I've seen since you came out, not counting your notebook. You had this and you had this. When we talk about what God calls good, we have to understand something about God. God doesn't call something good based on how it made you feel while it was happening. God doesn't call something good based on how much you expected it and how much it matched your preference. God calls it good when it serves its purpose.

David, you were singing on this; you were sitting on this. I have a feeling if you tried to sing on this, it wouldn't work. It's a good stool, but you can't sing into it. It's a good mic, but you can't sit on it. Quit thinking you're not good because you can't do what wasn't even in your function or your purpose to do. When God made man on the sixth day, he said, "It's very good. It's really good. It's in my image. It's according to my likeness". It's good. "Why are you saying that"? Somebody told me the other day, "I had a good workout". I said, "How was it good"? He said, "I was throwing up after". I said, "Huh"? He said, "I know it worked". Joseph said, "Am I in the place of God"? No, you're not in the place of God. But he had the same thought process as God. He knew the darkness doesn't have to go away for the light to be effective.

So, when they ask, "How are you doing"? and you say, "I'm good," you're not lying. You're just focusing. Sometimes, before you can get to the good part in your life, you have to get to the good part in your mind. So, then you start saying things like LB Skinner at our first church service where there was rain and the attendance suffered and I was depressed. I said, "It rained. Almost nobody came". He was smiling. I said, "What are you smiling about? It was rainy and nobody came". He said, "Oh, but, Pastor, it gave our greeter teams a chance to shine". See, he had had these custom Elevation umbrellas made, and he was waiting for a chance to use them. He saw the rain and he said, "It's good". I saw the rain and said, "O God". He saw the rain and said, "It's good".

I wonder, are you waiting for it to get good in your life and God is waiting for you to get good in your mind? For everybody who's struggling with comparison and envy, what are you good at? The darkness doesn't want you to see that. You only see without form and void. God said, "Let there be light". I'm just asking God over our congregation, "Shine the light on the good part this week". Turn your flashlight on your phone right now and start shining it around. When the people who are sitting in your apartment start asking you, "What in the world are you doing"? say, "I'm looking for the good part. I need some light. I need the Word of God. I need worship. I need the presence of God". That is why my consumption becomes important and why every week I say something to you about your phone, your social media, your 24/7 news cycle.

People will say, "I have to be informed". It is good to be informed, but if you have to dig through that much garbage to get something good, is it really good? We're confused like Adam and Eve. They weren't in trouble because they ate an apple. The Bible says they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and they thought they were like God. "I know what's good". We always get in trouble when we try to do God's job. God said it was good. Joseph is such a great picture all the way across 49 chapters of Genesis. He echoes back what God said when he spoke the world into existence. "It's good". I don't even really want to show you this from Joseph's life. I want to show you one thing that Jesus said before I let you go. This is where the real power is.

Remember, Joseph said it was good. That's what he said when he was looking back, and that's powerful. That really takes a mature perspective to say, "Oh man. I guess this is what God… I probably could have gotten there an easier way, but I guess this is what God… Okay. Lord, I accept it". Let me tell you something Jesus did. He's getting ready to leave his disciples. They're sad. They are what he calls grieving. Grieving doesn't just have to be over a death. You can grieve an opportunity. You can grieve a schedule that was lost, a predictability. You could grieve a lot of things. Jesus is dealing with grieving disciples who are going to miss his physical presence. I guess if we're going to tie it into Genesis… Jesus is the Light of the World, so they're losing their light. He was what they walked by. He's the only way. His presence, his words, his actions, his example, his encouragement… They're going to lose that.

Have you lost something lately? Have you lost your light? Here's what he says. Absolutely amazing how God's Word works in concert with each other. Way after Joseph said, "It was good now that I look back on it," Jesus was saying this. John, chapter 16: "…but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'" Jesus knew where he was going. They didn't know where they were going. He's trying to convince them of something they're not so sure of. Here's what he says: "Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things". He's going to the cross. This is the assurance he gives us.

Verse 7: "…it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you…" Here's the upgrade. "I was with you. Now my Spirit will be in you, but first I have to go". That's the dark part. The good part is "You're going to have the Spirit. He's going to convince… Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We're not there yet. We haven't gotten to the good part yet. This is the dark part". He knows what they're about to go through, and he also knows what they are going to get to. So, he is giving them something so that while you go through this painful moment, this first season, this second season, these winter months, this dark part, this hard part of your day, this hard part of your life, this hard part of your marriage, your ministry… If you don't go through the dark part, you won't get to the good part.

"Unless I go away…" Yeah, it's going to feel different. It's going to be confusing. You're not going to know. This is where people give up on God. They start reading the Bible, and they read it like a fortune cookie. The first thing that makes them confused, they say, "God is not real. This stuff doesn't work. I don't really believe it. I prayed and it didn't happen". But you didn't get to the good part where you find out that it is not in the answers that God becomes real. It is in wrestling with the questions that you find out there is a kingdom within you. That's the good part. Thank God for all of the good things around me, but it's what he does in me. That's the good part. You will never get to that if you keep changing what's around you. You never get to the good part because you won't go through the dark part. Take a pill; get out of the dark part. Blow up the relationship…

Many people never get to intimacy in relationships. I'm going to tell you why: because they won't push through the insecurity. To get to real intimacy, you have to go through insecurity. I have to be willing to let you see me. If we're going to have… One guy said "into-me-see," intimacy. That's scary. I don't want you to see into me. So, we never get to intimacy because we won't work through the insecurity of saying, "Yeah, I am flawed". Even in our relationship with God… Jacob spent his whole life pretending to be somebody else, but God said, "No, I want to get to the good part, the true part, the real part". Many people never get to their destiny because they won't work through the disappointment, never get to the wisdom because they won't work through the bitterness. To get to the good part, you have to go through the dark part. But he's with me.

Jesus said, "I'm going away, but I'll be with you. It is good for you". Joseph had it right. He said, "It was good". Jesus took it to another level. He didn't say it was good after it happened. He said it is good. God, give us the faith, not just to look back on our lives and say, "Oh, it all worked out". But what if you could stand in the darkest place where you don't know what's two feet ahead? What if you could stand in the darkest place where you don't know how God is going to do it? What if you could stand in the darkest place where you don't know who's going to be with you? What if you could stand in the darkest place where you can't predict how he's going to provide? What if you could be like Jesus and say, "It is good for me, and if it's not good right now, it's going to be. It is good. It is for my good".

I'm thankful that what God started doing in Genesis 1, when he said on the first day of creation that the light is good, he is still doing in Genesis 50 where Joseph looked back on everything he'd been through and said, "It was good". I need the faith and you need the faith to be able to say, "If it came from God, it's good. If it's good, it came from God. If it's not good right now, it's going to be when he gets done with it". Yeah? O God, help me appreciate the gifts you put in my life. Some of us don't know how good it was until it's gone. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to just survive seasons of my life and then look back and say, "That was good, and I didn't even know. That was so good. I didn't even know how good it was until it was gone".

We don't know what's good sometimes until it's gone. But what if God right now sent me to preach this word to you to let you know that even in the valley there's a table? You have to go through the dark part to get to the good part. I almost forgot Genesis 50:22. This is why you never like sermons about Joseph. They stop reading at verse 21. Look at verse 22. "Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father's family. He lived a hundred and ten years…" Every sermon I ever heard about Joseph was about the first 30 years of his life. He didn't even get to the good part yet. I came to prophesy. You have more life to live. You have more things to do. You have more love to give. You have more! Joseph stayed in Egypt and lived to be 110. He didn't die in the pit. He didn't die in the prison. He didn't die in midlife. He lived 110. I believe that I will see the goodness… That's not the best part either. Here's the best part.

You can have Genesis 50:20. That's not the good part. This is the good part: "…and saw the third generation of Ephraim's children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph's knees". His grandbabies were sitting on his knees in the same land of his suffering. You haven't even gotten to the good part yet. You haven't even seen God's best yet. You haven't even experienced life yet. Oh, it's getting good now! It's getting good in my life. It's getting dark because it's getting good. There's something on the other side. That's why I've been in this fight. It's getting good! It's getting hard; it's getting good. It's getting awkward; it's getting good. It's getting rough; it's getting good. It's getting scary; it's getting good. God said it's good. This is how it started; this is how it ends. This is how the book ends. This is how your life ends. This is how your life starts. It's good. It's always good. It's not always good, but it's going to be good. It's getting good.

"God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day". God is not done yet, but it's good. Then you have to ask yourself, "Why evening and morning, not morning and evening"? Come on, it's getting good. I feel so bad for everybody who logged off this sermon. It's just getting good. I feel so bad for everybody who quit, because it's just getting good. Watch. Why evening and then morning? Isn't that backward? No, no. You have to remember how it started. Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness…"

I want you to know that God starts good in the dark. It's getting good! You're in a dark part right now. That's where it starts with God. You're confused right now. That's where it starts with God. That dark part? That's just a preview of how big the purpose really is. So, when I tell you you have to get to the good part, that's what I'm talking about. It's a process. There's a part of every process that'll make you want to quit. There's a part of every person that'll make you want to murder. I never would have preached a sermon if I would have stopped in the dark part, that part where my interior gallery of critics is saying, "You call this a sermon? This isn't a sermon. You already said all that before. They don't want to hear that".

That's the dark part. That means it's getting good. The evening is the prelude to the morning in the economy of God. "You meant it for evil…" But he took what the Enemy meant for evil… You have to get to the good part. If you die in the dark part, it will be a miscarriage of your calling. It's going to get good. You're like, "I don't believe that right now". That's fine. You don't have to. Borrow my confidence. You're like, "Can I do that"? Oh yeah. Philippians 1:6. Paul was talking to the church at Philippi. He said, "I am confident of this…" The reason he's saying that… Maybe they're not confident of this right now. Paul said, "I am". "…that he who began a good work…"

If it's good it came from God, and if it started with God, it doesn't end with people. I don't care what they did to you, saw in you, didn't see in you. You're going to get to the good part. You're not going to die. No, no, no. "I am confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ". This is the partnership of the gospel. So, let's take a moment. Let's come into partnership. Let's come into agreement together. Lift your hands. Close your eyes. Bow your head. You have to get to the good part. That's not death; it's just a shadow. You have to get to the good part.

Lord, in this moment of ministry that may determine whether someone makes it or lays down and dies in a valley, I declare and decree on the authority of your Word what the apostle Paul prophesied over the church at Philippi. I declare it over Elevation Church. You're going to go through the dark part, but you're going to get to the good part. You're going to be an amazing mother, an amazing wife, an amazing man, an amazing provider. There are gifts in you. There are skill sets in you. They haven't been recognized yet. That's all right. It starts in the dark. Lord, I thank you that when it's 2:00 a.m. and we can't find a friend, you are there. I thank you that when we trip and fall over our own misgivings and can't get a leg up and we can't even find the strength to stand again, you are there. I'm going to make it to the table. My enemies will still be there, but I'm going to eat. I'm going to see. I'm going to taste the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

May we not live our lives worshiping the idol of tomorrow or clinging to a relic of the past. May we push past the religion so we can get to the friendship. You are good. It is good. It is so. In Jesus' name, amen. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Even in the valley, even in the shadow, you are good. You are with me. Your rod and staff they comfort me. I'm not sure about the valley. I'm not sure about the enemies, but surely goodness will follow me wherever God leads me. Clap your hands and give God praise for this word. If you receive this word, put "I receive it" in the chat. Borrow my confidence and say, "I'm going to make it. I didn't fight this hard to die. I didn't come this far to turn back". The grace of God is on your life. May grace and peace be multiplied to you through God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone who receives this word, clap your hands and say, "Amen".

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