Steven Furtick — Put Your Passion In Its Place
Let's turn our attention now to the text, the angel at the church in Ephesus And the word of the Lord comes, "I know your works," verse 2, "your toil and your patient endurance and how you cannot bear with those who are evil but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not and found them to be false. I know you're enduring patiently and bearing up for My namesake and you have not grown weary. You're doing a lot of things right and I see it and I see you struggling and I see you showing up. But, I have this against you. There's something that's working against you. There's something that I need to challenge you on today. I have this against you that you have abandoned the love that you had at first. Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen, repent."
It means to change your mind. It means to change your direction. "Repent, therefore, repent, remember, and repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent. I see you. But if you don't remember and repent, you're going to lose your place."
So, I want to preach to you today on the subject, put your passion in its place. And I want you to pray with me that I can communicate this message in a powerful and clear way. Father, anoint Your word and open our hearts. May we hear it and do it, never be the same. We declare it and thank you in advance for feeding us from your hand. In Jesus' name, amen.
On your way to your seat, touch somebody and say, "You're going to get it back today, you're going to get it back. I'm just telling you right now, you're going to get it back today." Hey, so, bring out my props and put my little picture up. I want to show you something from last summer. I took my kids back to my hometown and took them on a tour of Moncks Corner, South Carolina. A lot of people want to go to the holy land and some people on their bucket list, they just want to see Moncks Corner.
So, I took my kids to all of the sites that I could think of that were memorable to me growing up, very proud of my small-town heritage and very proud of the church I grew up in. I took them by Moncks Corner United Methodist Church. A lady who recognized me saw us pull up. She said, "Little Stevie Furtick."
Her sister taught my Sunday school class and she knew I was pastoring now, and proud of me and all that, said we could walk in and do whatever we wanted. She was there cleaning and we went over to the choir room and I showed the kids how I used to suit up on Sunday mornings when I was about, what was it, ten, mom? Eleven?
And I was an acolyte at the Methodist Church and so I kind of walked them through, I want to show them how I did it back in the day because you know, not just anybody could be an acolyte, it took a very talented kid, very spiritually elite children were called upon. They didn't let you light your own wick, they had a committee member for that.
But I walked them through it and so that's me at the front of the church there showing them how I used to do it and you had to do it a certain way. You know, you come down during the first song and I don't remember it exactly, it's been awhile but there was a certain way you did the candles and all of that when you light it, light the... It's been awhile.
Abby had a funny line when I was showing her all this. She said, "Daddy, did you have to pwactice dat?" I said, "Yeah, baby, it took a lot of practice to do it just right. You can't mess it up." And plus, Melissa Hydrick was sitting up there in the balcony and I had a crush on her and I didn't want to burn up the church in front of my childhood crush, light my robe on fire in front of my crush, so you had to practice that and then at the end how you put the fire out.
That's important there at the end. And while I'm standing up there with them, it's memories, you know. Because sometimes you go back, and you remember things. That was where I preached my first sermon on Youth Sunday.
Now, they only give you 12 minutes to preach in the Methodist Church and I know what some of you are thinking. "Can we make this a Methodist Church? That sounds awesome." It takes me 12 minutes to tell you hello. How many of you are glad I preach long sermons because you know you're jacked up? It's gonna take me a whole lot more than 12 minutes to straighten you out, weirdo.
Touch somebody and say, "It's going to take more than 12. You're a mess." Me too. Anyway, I was remembering that first sermon I was preaching on Peter walking on water and I didn't even To be honest with you, within five minutes, I had used all my notes and there was seven minutes left and I had nothing more to say. Because I was 16. I didn't have content. I was preaching on the storms of life.
Sixteen years old trying to tell 73-year-old Methodist I didn't have a lot of life experience, but I'll tell you what I had, I had passion. I had passion. I mean, if I could've walked across the pews, I would've walked across the pews to show them how Peter came out to Jesus on that boat and I didn't have much sense, but I had passion.
In fact, they brought up a group of people last night when I was preaching. They had people up who had been in the church 10 years and it made me remember back to all the things that we have now as a church that we did not have 10 years ago when we started.
We didn't have all these lights and cameras for video and all this money to start campuses. God knows we didn't have a building. Our first capital campaign, you remember Greg Lineberger, I didn't have a building, a blueprint to show the people. We didn't have any of that. But we had passion. Oh, man, we had passion. We had the kind of passion that there were calling us a cult.
Until they're calling you a cult, you ain't doing nothing. We had passion. I had passion preaching in that senior center. I wish I could tell them, Josh, remember you wrote me that letter the other day about my first green room. It wasn't the green room, it was a closet. It was a closet.
We would move the plants out of the closet and you would knock on it with one minute left, so I'd come out and lead the music. We didn't even have that many people. But we had passion. How many know, you can push through a lot when you have passion. When you have passion, passion matters, and I was standing there with my kids and thinking about when I started preaching and having conversations with my young self and checking my passion because in Revelation 2 there is a challenge to passion and I think it's good every once in awhile to challenge your passion level in contrast to the passion that you had.
Do you still have passion? You remember the first apartment that we lived in together, Holly? You remember it well. You remember the mouse traps. You remember it well. That little apartment. Juniper Terrace apartment, C15. It was very small and the insulation in the walls was very thin and the reason I know because Tammy C16, came over to us after our first night in the apartment and knocked on the door and said, "I'm your neighbor, Tammy, and I just want to let you know, we can hear everything."
It was a duplex. "I just want you to know we can hear everything that happens Because we didn't have a lot of space, but we had a lot of passion. Which brings us to Revelation 2. Isn't the connection obvious people? He said, "You had something when you were small that you lost now that you're significant." Ephesus was not an imaginary place.
So, when the book of Revelation is issuing seven letters to seven churches, they're real churches with real people with real histories and it's been 43 years since Paul started this church, traveling inland with a group of compadres that are spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and he spends a couple years with these people in Ephesus and when he started out, he just met some people.
There were 12 guys who were disciples of John the Baptist and Paul asked them, do you have the Holy Spirit and they said, "We don't even know that there is a Holy Spirit." They didn't have a lot of theological knowledge, but you know what they had, they had passion. Paul laid his hands on them and when he did, they started to speak in tongues and they received the Holy Spirit and they didn't just speak in another language, they started speaking about Jesus.