Steven Furtick - Have You Been Blocked?
Who set the limit to say, "This is what God can do through you and no more. This is what you're gifted at and no more. This is what people from your background, your education, your age… This is what you can do and no more". I was talking to my friend who's 43 the other day, and he was talking like his career was over. Then I told him about the guy who is 59 who reinvented and became a millionaire. Who put that roof on you? Who put the roof on you that if you aren't married by 25 there's something wrong with you? Who put that roof on you? Who put the roof on what we think God can do in church that we think God has to be confined to a building?
The irony of my ministry is that everything God has done through me was something I told him he couldn't do. I'm stubborn. I need the Holy Spirit. I need God's help because I'm so stubborn. I have these rules, like, "Online church isn't real". Said me. Now do you see why I feel bad for these scribes? These guys I've been preaching about all of these years… "These scribes, these teachers of the law, these Pharisees…" It's like there was a Pharisee in me. It's what I'm trying to deal with. It's not the crowd blocking the door I have to worry about. I told our team, "I don't think church online can be real church," because I'd never seen it before. If you've never seen it before, you believe it can't be real. If you've never seen a healthy marriage…
Verse 12: "This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this!'" The same thing they said in praise is also the problem. "We've never seen anything like this before, so this can't be God. This is not the image I had of it. This is not the imagination I had of it. He's not doing the rules we want him to do. It's not following the rules". At the same time Jesus is breaking the rules, the men are breaking a roof. I realized there were two roofs being removed in Mark, chapter 2. One was physical. It was Peter's house, by the way. No, it really was. It says, "When Jesus came to the house in Capernaum…" That's the one where they based out of. It was Peter's house. If it would have been John, he would have kicked those boys off the roof, because John had good sense. But Peter was like, "I like your style. That's like something I would do. Oh, we'll get a new roof. Let's break the roof. Let's get this done".
Peter loved a mosh pit. Peter loved a crowd dive. Peter doesn't care. He didn't give a crap and cut off an ear. Jesus can put it back. I told Elijah the other day… I said, "I hope I set a good example for you. I hope I show you how to treat a woman. I hope I show you how to maneuver through difficult times. I hope I show you something about how to seek God, be creative, make friends with your own creativity, don't let it turn inward, make sure you use it in service of others. I hope I show you a few things about Romanian deadlifts and Arnold presses and some things you can take with you the rest of your life. I hope I show you some good music, like Nirvana Nevermind and other classic gospel albums of the 90s". Y'all have limitations on genres. I'm telling you, there's some good worship music you haven't heard yet. But I said, "If you discover something…"
Listen to this. This is something I would say to anybody, but I said it to my oldest son. I said, "If you see something in me that limits who God has made you to be, don't be loyal to my limitations". Here's the example I gave him. I had a friend who used to train other preachers how to preach, and they would try to copy him. But they would copy not only the good things he did, because he was an amazing evangelist; they would even copy his mannerisms that were just incidental or glitchy. One thing in particular… He said they tried to walk like him when they preached. They were trying to walk like him, not realizing he had a bad back. So, they're limping across the stage to be like their mentor. I thought, "That's crazy, man. They're imitating your injury. They're seeing you do something, and they are thinking that because you do it, it must be right".
So I told Elijah, "Don't imitate my injury. Imitate me as I imitate Christ". This is what I told him: "I think my ceiling can be your floor". I don't mean in a pulpit as a preacher. I'm not limiting my kids that they need to be in the ministry. They are going to be in the ministry. It just might not be my style of ministry. It might not be a pulpit or preaching or an acoustic guitar. What if one of them leads worship with a track beat? What if that's the next wave of God's anointed holy music on the earth? What if they don't work at a church at all, but what if God uses them in a great way in the world? After all, most of the miracles Jesus did were in the marketplace. Why do we try to confine God to the places we're most comfortable in? Why do we think the most important stuff God is going to do is going to be through a preacher?
The only point of a pulpit is to empower you for your field…for your field. You need a new roof. You keep banging up on the things… Here's what happens through life. You learn lies and become loyal to them, and then those lies become limits. "You can't put 'khaki pants' in a worship song". Well, I did. "You can't come in through the roof". "Well, we did". I thought about calling this sermon "It's Better to Ask Forgiveness Than Permission". In some cases. A lot of times, we're waiting on somebody else to give us permission. You have to get certain permission from within. Now, I don't mean be inappropriate and walk around without your mask, talking about… I'm not talking about that. I want to put the thought in your mind about inner permission. It's the inner permission that matters.
Go to Corinthians. Let me show you this. First Corinthians 2. This might be too much, but I'm going to give it a shot. You know, Jesus argued with the scribes about the washing of hands. There are so many things he argued with. In this particular instance, there's one difference. Let me illustrate it from 1 Corinthians 2. Go all the way to verse 6. It's about 10 verses I want to read you. "We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' — the things God has prepared for those who love him…"
Don't stop at that verse. Verse 10 says something pretty cool. "…these are the things…" What things? The things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard. "…these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit". I'm so glad I have my own Bible, because I would have always thought 1 Corinthians 2 stopped at verse 9. I heard this verse quoted for years. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him". And they'd stop. Verse 10 says, "These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit". These are the things.
Go back to Mark, chapter 2, for a moment. "Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 'Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?' Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, 'Why are you thinking these things?'" "The power of the Lord is present to heal the sick, and all you want to think about is the limitations of your senses…what you can understand, what you can make sense out of. Why are you thinking these things"?
Well, I can tell you why they thought those things. They were taught those things. You were taught how to think about who you are in Christ. You were taught to think about how you function in the world. You were taught to think about your definition of power. You were taught to think about what you can and can't accomplish. If you've never seen it before, it's hard to believe it can be. Here in Mark, chapter 2, we have Jesus who is able to see something no one else can see. Did you notice it in the text? It said in verse 5, Jesus saw their faith. How can you see faith? I didn't know you could see faith. I never walked up to somebody and said, "It looks like you've been gaining faith". "Wow! You've lost some faith. Can I pray for you"? He could see faith in the form of the roof that was at his feet because of their action. He saw their faith. Not the man on the mat…their faith.
How many praise God that the right people in your life can lead you to healing? Come on, I mean the right people…the right people who won't give up when they see the crowd, the right people who won't give up on you because you're a little heavy. The right people. I have a question. If the right people can get you healed, can the wrong people keep you paralyzed? Some of the greatest limitations we put on ourselves come in the form of the relationships that have no more purpose to serve in this season of our lives. You need a new roof. You need some new relationships. You really do. You need some new people. I found out that just like the men carried their friend… In fact, I always said it was his friends who got him to Jesus, but the Bible never even calls them his friends. It just says they were some men.
I don't know if they were friends or if he hired them for the job. It doesn't matter. They got it done. But I'll tell you something. When you circle up with people who are stuck in a limitation of what God used to do, it is very hard for you to believe that all things are possible. I give you a challenge today. You can choose to receive it or you can choose to reject it. That's going to be up to you. I believe I'm speaking to somebody who has been blocked lately. You've heard of writer's block probably. I've experienced that. There's even preacher's block. I promise you it's a real thing. There's also peace block, joy block. The biggest block in the passage was not the crowd at the door. It was the limitations in the hearts of the scribes who were sitting there thinking to themselves. So Jesus proved his power over sin. He was like, "Hmm. If you don't believe I forgive sin, maybe you'll believe me if this man gets up and walks. It's easier for me to make him walk than it is for me to forgive him, because I'll have to die for him to be forgiven".
What are the limitations God is calling me to unlearn? I mean, certain limits are good. The NBA is over. You're 34. You're not going to do it now. It's not going to happen now. You can dunk on your son, but it's not going to the professional level. You're not going to get paid for it. But certain things you said… I said this on Easter, and I talked about how we'll even blame it on a personality type. Personalities aren't permanent. Temperaments are given, but personalities aren't. There's no such thing as, "I'm just a negative person". There are just negative patterns. What are the limitations you need to unlearn that you received because of lies you believed? Your limitations were learned. You didn't always think like that. You didn't always think, "Well, if I love anybody, I'm just going to get hurt, so I'll just stay here to myself, and I'll just isolate and never really let anybody in, because you can't trust anyone". You learned that.