Steven Furtick - Stop Crying, It's Coming
Right now, we're going to take 21 seconds for the year 2021, and we're going to praise God for his mighty power and his awesome work, and we're going to do it in Gaston and Concord and Lake Norman and Ballantyne. We're going to do it in our bedrooms and kitchens and living rooms and cars. Praise him on the treadmill! Some of y'all have our podcast going. Just holler in the gym. They won't throw you out. "I praise you, Lord! I'm running and not growing weary. I'm walking and I will not fade. I give you praise! I'm not ashamed to praise you"! Didn't that feel good? Just get those hands out of those pockets and start clapping like you're clapping the Devil's head.
Let me start the sermon now. Welcome, everybody, to Elevation Church. I'm going to share with you today this Scripture. I had a substitute preacher ready because my voice was tired from preaching on this tour, but it was almost like a battle of two voices, because the voice of God was speaking to me. I was like, "Well, I'll preach this week. Somebody needs this word". The Lord brought me here for you. Do you believe God loves you that much that he would make sure you were here to hear this? I totally believe that. I want to preach for a moment from Haggai, chapter 2. Graham said, "Are you preaching this week, Dad"? I said, "I think so. God is speaking to me". He said, "From Luke 5"? Because that's what I've been preaching in church, and I preached it out there. I said, "No, son. Not from Luke 5". He said, "Let's go".
He was so tired of hearing about Simon and the nets and the boats. Chris didn't get tired of it one time. Chris got saved every night on the Elevation Nights tour. He rededicated, sanctified, Spirit-filled. He was walking around speaking in tongues backstage. Davide was eating grapes. Tiffany is about the only pure one on the worship team. Don't let their smiles fool you. I love this Scripture. It's such a powerful prophecy and promise for us. Listen to this. Haggai 2: "In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 'Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, Zerubbabel," declares the Lord. "Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong…"'" Say your name. "Be strong".
You have to talk to yourself this way. God is not always going to have Haggai following you around telling you, "You can do it". So, say, "Be strong," and say your name. "'Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the Lord Almighty. 'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.' This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'In a little while…'" It won't be long. It might be happening right now. It might happen before you get home today. "'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the Lord Almighty. 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord Almighty". "And the crypto. And the Bitcoin. It's all mine. Whatever they make, I trade in it. I am the Lord Almighty". "'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the Lord Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the Lord Almighty". Not "Declares Pastor Steven".
I wouldn't give you $2 for what I say, but when God says it… This is the word God said to say to you today. Are you ready? God said to tell you (this is my title): Stop Crying, It's Coming! So, we have to talk about temples. That's what's happening in Haggai 2. They're rebuilding the temple, the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. It has been in ruins for over 50 years because the people of God got carried off to Babylon. I'll give you a little history lesson real quick. Just a little one. Just a little context. Every blessing has a context. You don't want to just shout over something that you don't understand the context it's set in. It's very important to understand they've been in Babylon because they were carried off. Not of their own choice, but they've been in Babylon. When Psalms says, "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept," they actually hung up their harps and their electric guitars and their Taylors and their Martins, hung it all up on the willow tree, which represents weeping, and they wept…for 70 years.
So, what we're stepping into in Haggai, chapter 2, is much more than just a rebuilding. I hesitate to use that word because it's so pop culture and so buzzy. Certain words right now just make you feel sick to hear them all over again. "We're going to rebuild this nation. We're going to rebuild this economy. We're going to build it back better, praise God". That's not the hype right here; this is the hope. Not the hype, but the hope is that they are going to rebuild the temple, but really, they are going to reinvent their template. What comes to mind when I say template will depend on your background. If you're in a computer background, a template means one thing. If you use machinery and stuff, they use metal and wood as a template for a pattern to build something. Or if there are really any geniuses in here, even in DNA and in genetic code we talk about the template.
Understanding this will really help us to know what Haggai had to do to encourage the people. This temple they're rebuilding that was destroyed, which represented the center of Jewish life in Jerusalem, was completely unfamiliar to one generation. They had only heard about it. They never saw it. The only people who saw Solomon's temple, which was awesome… I'll tell you a little bit about it in about 45 seconds, but the only ones who saw it are now senior citizens. That's important. But let's talk about Solomon's temple. It was so grand that one historian said half of the gold in the world at the time of Solomon was used to overlay the temple. Half of the world's gold! I started studying about it. What would you need half the gold in the world for to build a temple? Can't God meet you anywhere? He met the Israelites in a tent in the wilderness. He didn't need a bunch of gold to meet with the people. I mean, he'll meet with you…
Some of you met God not somewhere in a church service, but you met God on the kitchen floor trying to crawl to the toilet to throw up, promising God, "I will never do it again if you will get me through this". Or "If you will let the test be negative, I will never do it again". I know it's early to be in your business, but you can meet God anywhere. I mean, anywhere. You can meet God throwing up in a toilet bowl, but here's this temple that God gave his people, and he wanted it built that way, because he's great and he's glorious. The silver is his. The gold is his. He doesn't mind any of that. I had a guy come to church one time. He said, "I would get baptized, but I don't want to stop driving my nice car". I said, "Who told you that"? He said, "There was a preacher one time who said I had to sell everything and follow him". I said, "Did the preacher who told you that"? Because the guy was rich.
Apparently, he had some preacher who was trying to build a building for the church, so he was trying to work this guy, saying, "Well, if you really want to be a sincere Christian, the proof of your sincerity is poverty, so you have to sell everything and give it to God". The Lord said, "I'm not stuck in your scarcity. I can bless you so much with my runover". Ask the disciples. God blessed them so much off of five loaves of bread and two fish that they had to carry home leftovers. God said, "You will break your back trying to carry home what is left over if you will seek me first". Not just money, but peace of mind. Don't you want that? Meaning and purpose and significance that go past this present evil age. I feel like preaching and telling somebody, "God's got it". Anyway, that's a lot of gold. Right? The candlesticks were made of gold, five on each side of the altar in Solomon's temple. The basins were made of gold.
You know the tongs they would pick up the coals with? Those were made of gold. This is how crazy God is. Even the hinges on the doors were made of gold. That's extravagant. That was Solomon's temple. That is not the temple that is being built in Haggai 2. It's a different temple, and it requires a different template. Psychologically speaking, right now you have a template that is formed (they tell me this anyway) by the neural pathways and associations in your brain. Really, our template is based on familiarity, not always truth. What feels true to you might not be actually true; it may just be your template. Imagine this. The prophet Haggai… We don't know anything about this guy. He has some leaders: Joshua, who comes from the line of Aaron, who was the first high priest, Moses' brother. You might remember hearing his name one time. Moses was like, "I can't speak, God". He's like, "Here comes Aaron. He'll speak. You shut up and do what I tell you to do. Here's your staff," because God always sends you what you need.
So, that's who Joshua son of Jozadak is. He's from that priestly line of Aaron. Then there's Zerubbabel, who's a governor. Now, here's something that'll help you to know. The king at the time was called Darius. This is before he started Hootie & the Blowfish. (I just have to keep y'all awake during this history lesson, because you're all kind of shifting around like, "When is he going to preach the sermon"? This is the sermon. Okay? Because every blessing has a context.) Darius wasn't even supposed to be king, but there was a coup. When the Persians took over Babylon, the Persian king (his name was Cyrus) sent the Jews back. He was like, "I want y'all to like me, so y'all can go rebuild whatever you want". That's who is back in Jerusalem (more specifically, in the southern kingdom of Judah) rebuilding…60,000 of them. They come back, and they start rebuilding the temple, because for the Jewish people, their template, the way they saw it… Their model was that spirituality should be the center of life, not the periphery.
We are almost, in the day where I preach, the exact opposite. For us, spirituality is like the last thing we consider when we're making decisions. We will sooner move to a city based on the climate than we will based on the church. Do you know what I noticed on corona? I would see people… I don't care if you wear a mask or don't wear a mask. I'm not here to talk to you about that. I'm not a doctor. But what I would notice is I would see people everywhere, no mask, mask off, future style, everybody mask off everywhere, and I'd come up to them… We'd be at a ball game, a restaurant, a movie, a mall…anything. I'd ask, "Have you been back to church"? "No, we haven't made it back to church". But you made it to the ball field. "No, we haven't made it back to church". Because for us, our cultural template, the pattern of this world, is "God is an add-on. God is an app. Scripture is a salad bar, and I pick what I want". That's our template. It doesn't matter what's true. "Oh, no, no. You have to live your truth".
What if your truth is trash? So, they know, "Before we can rebuild the walls," which Nehemiah will come along later and start to do, not without opposition. "Before we can rebuild the economy, we have to build this temple". But they get discouraged in the work, because it doesn't look like the old one. It doesn't look like the one they heard about. "This is the temple? Man, I thought it would be better than this". You make your decision to follow Christ, and then he doesn't give you a raise by next Monday. "This is Christianity"? I'm sorry. You have a bad template if you think God exists to deck your temple out in gold everywhere. That is not all God is. Do you know what Bible verse I love? John 11:35. How many of y'all need to memorize more Scriptures? Less football stats, Chunks, and more Scriptures. Fantasy Football. If I could just take some of y'all's heads and put three Bible verses… So, we'll start today. Baby steps. You don't do it all at once.
John 11:35: "Jesus wept". Now look. The week hasn't even started yet, and you memorized a whole Scripture. Give yourself a hand. Come on. That's good. "Jesus wept". You're like, "Well, what does that have to do with the temple"? It's all about expectation. In John 11:35, Jesus is going to see these sisters named Mary and Martha. Their brother died, and Jesus didn't show up when they thought he would or when they thought he should. And he could, and they thought he should, but he didn't, and they were crying.
Now, Jesus did not say to the sisters what your dad might have said to you that my dad would say to me. "If you don't stop crying…" Finish it. "…I will give you something to cry about". (Y'all look traumatized. I felt trauma. Your shoulders got tense when you said that.) He didn't say that. He wept with them. He weeps with me. He knows my disappointments. They don't have to stay hidden. I can bring them right out in the light of day, because he knows the deeper disappointment behind the disappointment that created the disappointment. He knows the descendants of my disappointment. He knows what disappointment led to what disappointment. Jesus did an ancestry tree on all of the things I'm frustrated about, and he sees all of that. He knows the real template that's driving my behavior. He knows the same about you. He knows why you push people away who are trying to love you. You don't even know why you do that yet. It's a mystery to you. You don't even know why yet when things get good in your life, you find some way to screw them up. He knows why. It's because you figure "Rather than let somebody else take it away from me, like happened last time, I'll just take it away from myself. I will take my ball and go home. I will take my blessing and go home".
Watch this. If your template is "Every relationship ends in pain or betrayal," you will start creating the very thing that you fear to avoid being surprised by it ever again. The template of these people was a temple that had so much gold they had to start putting gold in weird places, like the washbasin. They made Solomon's temple's washbasin gold, just because God is that glorious. So, then they start building the new one. "Ah, we're going to build a temple". "Oh, we're going to get our life together". "Oh, we're going to lose 20 pounds". Do you know what the hard thing about keeping weight off is? Nobody congratulates you for not putting it back on. "Oh, you've lost weight". Nobody has ever said to me, "You still look decent. It has been six years and you haven't fluctuated. Your jeans look the same size. That's awesome. Good job". Nobody compliments you when the jeans stay the same size. That's what's difficult. They're not just rebuilding a temple. God is reinventing their template and their identity. They've been in Babylon so long they have forgotten the songs of Zion. They've been on pandemic, on church online so long they don't even remember how to be in a crowd without being scared of catching their death around people.
Do you see why I have no patience with people who say the Bible isn't relevant to our day? Is this not us? Not only have you been rebuilding what was destroyed in the last two years, you've had to reinvent. You have the same title, but it's a completely different template for your job. I talked to the campus pastors when they were calling church members, and we couldn't pray for people and lay hands on them. I said, "This sucks for you, doesn't it? You signed up to do ministry with people, and now you're basically running a call center, because you can't touch, and touch was your template for ministry". It was so hard to reinvent. It has been hard for me to reinvent my identity as a pastor. For years, my adult identity for my ego… In high school it was "How much do you bench press"? Then as a pastor it's "How many people come to your church"? I went from bench to attendance. "Oh yeah. You have 10,000? I remember those days. Small beginnings. That's all right. Don't be discouraged. The Lord will give you 20".
Can I get a 30? Can I get a 40? Can I get a 50? Wait a minute. Now you're talking about… I was coming up in the church wondering if anybody would come back. I mean, after training behavior… I'm not fussing at anybody who comes online, because really, God has given us a template for ministry now that we can reach you wherever you are. I praise God for it. I mean, there are some places we can't put a building, but I can preach the Bible. God can give you a breakthrough where there is no church building. Now God is expanding the territory of the church. I hear from Zimbabwe and Sao Paulo, Brazil, about this ministry. I hear from everywhere. I hear from Kentucky. God is good. Sometimes God says, "Your template is too small for what I want to do". This is not a temple built by human hands. This is a temple that his name in heaven is unknown to men, but it is revealed to us. It is a shadow of Jesus Christ. Wow!
It's a text about reinventing. It's a text about temples. It's a text about templates. It's a text about trauma. It's a text about tears. There's a time for tears. If sadness was a sin, Jesus couldn't have died for yours, because he cried. Disappointment doesn't make you wrong. Anger doesn't make you wrong. There is just as much of a danger of stuffing it and letting it come out sideways than letting it out. I hate to hear preachers say, "You don't need therapy and counseling. All you need is the Holy Ghost". The blood is on our hands when we talk like that, because God uses all of that in people's lives. It's all a part of the process that he uses. As a matter of fact, that's so dumb. Let's take that to the extreme. "You don't need airplanes. All you need is the Holy Ghost".
I don't see any preachers flying to their preaching engagements with their own wings. It's so stupid. God uses stuff. Even in the text I read, it said the word of the Lord came through Haggai. Sometimes the help you need, the healing you need, comes through people. I treat my daughter differently than my sons, and sometimes I have to catch myself, because they'll remind me. "You're too easy on Abbey. It wasn't like that for us". And they're right. For them it was "Dry it up". For her it's like, "I'll buy you one. Don't worry about it". What's wrong with me? It's different raising boys and girls. It's like a different template. It's different. So, what God is trying to get the people to do in Haggai 2 is not just to build what they had before but to get ready for something better.
So, all this time you're spending wishing it would be like it was before is completely wasted, because God is not going to make it what it was before. If he listened to you and made it what it was before, he couldn't make it better. The Bible says we go from glory to glory as we are being transformed by the image of God. Not your image of what God is supposed to be like. Not your template of what you were told God was like when you were 7. Not your template of what men have always been or women have always been or church has always been. God is not consulting your template. It will be according to his truth. "God, what is your truth"? That's what I want to be my blueprint. I have to get in the Word and find out what God said about me before what people said about me became a faulty template to keep me trapped and buried in the rubble of yesterday. It's going to be better. Sometimes the enemy of better is not bad; it's before.
All right. Haggai shows up. The people have gotten so discouraged building the temple, externally and internally, because there's resistance on the outside and there's disappointment on the inside. Both are happening to you right now. It's almost impossible to live in this world, own a smartphone, and not be an idiot. Everything is against us. Do you know what I'm saying? And it's a little bit of both. It's a little bit of you. It's a little bit of the world. It's a little bit of the Devil. It's this perfect storm. You're not just rebuilding; you're reinventing. Not just for those of us in a midlife crisis, but for everybody. You are always reinventing. That's the nature of it. Or you're dead. You're reinventing or you're dead. Those are your two options. So, the Lord gave me these things I want to teach. We don't have time to go through all of them today, but I heard a rumor y'all are coming back next week. Go ahead and put it on your schedule and tell her, "I can't next week. I have to hear the rest of this sermon".
Can I give you what I can give you today? Okay. It's four Rs of reinvention. I want to call your attention to as many of them as I can in the time we have left. They're all from the text. The first one is a word you may not hear a lot. It's in verse 2, where God told Haggai, "Speak to Zerubbabel". I thought it was so cool. Zerubbabel. You need a baby name. You've been praying for one. There you go. I'll just throw that in your bag for free. That comes with the Happy Meal. Zerubbabel. I thought it was cool how his name said rubble in it…almost, if you switch the letters around. It sounds like rubble. That's what they were looking at. The city was still burned. It didn't look like it used to look. That's a sad thing to look around at your life or your bank account or people who used to be there for you, all of that, and go, "Where did it go? We're back from Babylon, but we're not exactly living in Zion, at least not how it used to be, at least not how we heard about it. We're back. We love God. We're here for it. We're doing what we can, but it's not exactly what we thought it would be".
So, God tells Haggai… He has a word for him. "The word of the Lord came through Haggai: 'Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant…'" That's the first word I want you to write in your phone: remnant. The remnant. It means what's left. It means the small part that stayed. When you find yourself in a period of reinvention and nothing seems familiar and nothing seems normal and nothing makes sense and nothing matches your prior map of meaning or knowledge, nothing looks like where you've been before, and you're looking at it going, "Where's the gold? Where's the temple we heard about? Where's all the stuff that used to happen"? Or if your body is starting to ache in ways it didn't ache when you were 24, and you're figuring out how to work around that… God said, "Speak to the remnant". The remnant could represent a fragment.
Remember, there were hundreds of thousands taken to Babylon. Only 60,000 came back. That can discourage you, especially if you're a leader, like Zerubbabel. Do you know what the hardest thing about staying in the ministry for 15 years has been for me? Having to keep a good spirit even when people leave and it breaks your heart. Not if they leave to go on and do something great for God. I'm talking about people who just flat fall out, and you go… This is how some of the campus pastors feel about the people who haven't even come back to volunteer yet. "After everything we did for you… Really? You? I was praying for you for every ingrown toenail. You called me at 2:00 in the morning because you had heartburn and thought you had to go to the hospital, and I would pray for you, and you can't come back? Let me run into you in Ruby Tuesday. I will cuss you out".
See, if I'm the Devil (and I'm not), if I'm the Enemy, I'm going to try to get you so focused on who left you don't see what's left. There's still a remnant. Even if it's a fraction of what it once was, there's still a remnant. There is a remnant. "Yeah, well, I don't have anything to be grateful for". There's a remnant. You just did it. Did you breathe in? Did you breathe out? Well, let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Even if you lost your business, you still have breath. Even if you lost your boyfriend, you still have breath. Hey, who's not to say that dude was rubble? Maybe God was clearing him out so you could get ready for something better. God said if you stay so focused on who didn't come back, who didn't support, who didn't "like," who didn't endorse, who didn't click through, who didn't do it… This is what the Lord said to me in one season of ministry. He said, "If you keep focusing on who left and what's lost, you are not going to see who's lost and what's left".
I was crying because some people left out on me who I thought wouldn't. "Oh, we'll never leave". Be careful of those people. That's like Peter saying, "I will never deny you, Lord". Jesus was like, "Before that rooster says 'cock-a-doodle…' He's not even going to get to the 'doo' and you're going to say you don't know me. You're going to cut the rooster off mid-crow and disown me". While I'm crying over who left, God has given me a mission, as a pastor, to reach people who are lost. That's the mission of Jesus: to seek and save what's lost. The Devil can't take… This is one thing he can't do. He can't take what God gave you. He can't. But if he can get you so depressed, so distracted, so disappointed… He wants to keep you crying to keep you from seeing what's coming. Stop crying; it's coming. For everything that left your life, God has made a covenant with you. "I am with you to this day". Let me finish the sentence. "If God is for us, who can be against us"?
If God is with me, he is more than the world against me. I know you've been crying. It's all right. God sent me with a prophetic word like Haggai. I see him reaching through the centuries to tell you, "Stop crying; it's coming"! You don't want to miss what's coming because you're crying over what's gone. What's coming is better than what's going. God is taking you from glory to glory to glory. If you feel comfortable, touch your neighbor and say, "Stop crying; it's coming". Put it in the chat. Stop crying; it's coming. How long will you mourn over what God has rejected? Fill your horn with oil. David is in the field. It's coming. I don't say that by feeling; I say it by faith. It's coming. Joy is coming. Peace is coming. Praise is coming. Restoration is coming. It's coming! In fact, lift up your eyes. The harvest is here! Not four more months…right now! Fill the temple with praise! Stop crying; it's coming.
If the Enemy can keep you crying, he can keep you from seeing what's coming. Haggai said, "I know what you're thinking. I'm thinking it too. This is nothing compared to that. I saw pictures of Solomon's temple on Pinterest. It was expensive". It was the same place Solomon's temple was but wasn't made of the same stuff, because God is reforming it. He's reforming your life. He's shaping it like a potter and the clay. He's reforming it. That's what it is. It's his hands, not the Devil's. When we write songs, the worse they suck when we start them, the better they get when we finish them. Then we take it home, and we have the demo, which is the rough version. There's this thing called demoitis. It's when you listen to the first version so much you start thinking it's perfect, but it really needs a lot of work. The Devil has some of y'all in demoitis. You thought the first version was the only version of who you are, of what you do, of what your gifts are, but the Lord said, "I can't make it better if you keep going back".
Stop crying. I know it sounds insensitive. "Pastor Steve, Jesus wept. Didn't you see that"? Yeah, I'm the one who told you about that. But that's not all he did. Look at John 11:38. It says after Jesus cried, which is important… Trauma is real. Seventy years in Babylon will make you cry. It'll make you forget to sing. When you find out what your kid has been doing behind your back, it'll make you cry. When you and your husband don't even look at each other except when you're around people so you can fake it real good, it'll make you cry alone. God doesn't correct the sisters, but I'm glad he didn't stop there, and you can't either. In John 11:38 it says not "Jesus cried," but "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came…" So, he cried, and then he came. Stop crying; it's coming. I don't want the old temple to keep me from seeing Jesus. Seriously. You know how it said in the verse in Haggai "From the day I brought you out of Egypt until now…"
Did you catch that? It's a really small thing in verse 5. I didn't make a big deal out of it, but it is a big deal. They thought Pharaoh had to let them go for them to leave Egypt. That wasn't their biggest problem. Their biggest problem was letting go of Moses. See, Moses gave them the Law, and they were so committed to that that when Jesus came, who is the true image of God, to show them what God is really like… Not to break the Law but to fulfill it. When Jesus came, they could not recognize better because they were stuck in before. So, while we're fighting like, "Hey, Pharaoh, let me go. Hey, addiction, let me go. Hey, temptation, let me go," God is like, "The thing you're holding on to is the former glory". I don't know who it is. If it's three people, it's worth saying. You have to let go of former glory to receive present help.
Now, that means a lot of things. It means the same Jesus who cried at the gate came to the tomb. It didn't stop him from doing what he came to do. He didn't come just to cry or give them a Hallmark card. He didn't just bake them a roast so they could eat it three days later. He came to show them who he was. He came to reinvent their concept of God and to switch their template of truth, that "Not only am I a healer; I am resurrection". He came to prefigure what he would do. He came. So, he cried. (Come on, don't tap out on me. This is the best part of the sermon. I know y'all aren't going to listen to a sermon about the glory of the latter house and skip the end of the sermon. This is the part I wanted to preach us to.) He cried, and you've been crying. You have a Christ who cries, so that's fine. He will cry with you. But then you have a Christ who, after he stopped crying, came to the tomb.
So, he's coming to the tomb. He's coming to the part that's buried. He's coming to the part that's broken. He's coming to the part that's dead. He's coming to the part that stinks. He's coming to the part that's rotten. He's coming to the part that has given up on. He cried, he came, but that's not the good part. The good part is verse 43: "When he had said this, Jesus called…" So, he cried, he came, and then he called in a loud voice. I hear that voice calling today through the halls of history, from the pages of Haggai to this very moment in the house of God. "Lazarus, come forth! Come forth"! He's speaking to your joy. He's speaking to your peace. He's speaking to your strategy. He's speaking to your spirit. "Come forth"! So you cried a while. It's all right. I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed. Did you catch that whole sermon? He cried. He came. He called. You have to call some things out today. They're not going to come automatically.
You can cry over it as long as you want, but I believe something deeper is calling from the inside. What the prophet told the people was, "You have to do the work". Is wishing for something you don't have keeping you from working with what you do have? I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I needed this word. The Lord said, "You can cry, but eventually you have to come, and you have to call those things that be not as though they are, beneath your feelings". The promise is… It's a covenant, not a commitment. Commitments can be broken; covenants cannot, especially when one of the parties is the one who cannot lie. So, it's a lot of pain. When they laid the foundation… Ezra showed us something. When they got that temple started… I think I'm going to pick this up next week for real, y'all, because you all got one point. It's your fault. You were shouting and receiving and glorifying God. I didn't come to get through my points. I came to give you this word: stop crying; it's coming.
The Bible says in Ezra 3:10, "When the builders laid the foundation of [this second temple], the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, [like David told them to]. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.' And all the people…" I want y'all to do what the text says. Stand up. "…gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid". Now, that's where I'm going to pick up next week, because some of us are comparing our foundation to somebody else's finish line, and that's why we're discouraged. Next week, if you will give me the opportunity and God gives me the strength, I'm going to preach about how to shout about foundations. I'm going to teach you how to do a dance when the scale drops one pound. I'm going to teach you how to dance on the scale. I'm going to teach you how to do it, because when you lose a pound, you don't celebrate by eating a cookie. When you lose a pound, you buy some shoes. But if you're getting out of debt, you don't go buy shoes; you eat cookies.
So, I'm going to teach you about how to shout over little stuff next week and just redistribute the balance of it so you can keep your progress going. Oh, I love y'all. We're going to do it next week. But I have to show you this, because this is really what started me to teach this message. They were shouting about what God was doing, the new thing. "Wow! We're going to have a temple. I've heard about this". One generation was saying, "But it's not like the old one". Watch what the Bible says in verse 12. "But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads…" The ones who should have been leading, the ones who should have known, "God is with us, and we can't fail. He's going to do a new thing. It's who he is. It's what he does. He's reforming us". When they saw the foundation… They had seen the former temple. They had the old template. "This is what it has to look like. This is what I thought marriage would be. This is the city I thought I would live in forever. This is how old I thought my mom would be when she died. This is how I thought it would be".
When they saw the temple, it didn't match their template, and watch what happened. They wept. The sounds of celebration, the shouts of joy, while others were shouting… One generation is weeping over what it was, and one generation is shouting over what it will be when God gets done with it. What I want to know is…Are you going to keep weeping or start working? You have forgotten who you are working with. The Lord Almighty is in you. It's by his Spirit that you're building. You are not building this by yourself, and you're not going to build it like before. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you ask, above every template. He transcends that. So, within the same body, you have shouts of joy and weeping. Which one will you listen to? Which one will you obey? He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it, but you have to be strong and do the work. You're not working on your own. It is God who works in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure.
So, maybe God brought you here to remind you what you're working with, that there is a remnant, that God has left everything in your life he intends to use in this next season. I always read the Ecclesiastes verse, "There is a season for everything," but I live in Charlotte. I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but in Charlotte, we have two or three different seasons in the same day a lot of times, especially right now. We don't know how to dress. We'll wake up in the morning shivering, six layers. You'll be sweating by 3:00 p.m., shivering again at night. That surprises people who come here from other parts of the country. They just can't believe how violent it is. They put up all of their shorts, and the next thing you know it's Wednesday. "I need them again. I put them in the attic. I have bad knees". It's confusing. Remember Solomon who built the first temple? This is something he said. I'll leave you with this, and we'll pick it up next week. Receive this.
Ecclesiastes 3:1: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…" So, new season, new temple, new template. That's what's happening in your life. That's why you're uncomfortable. God didn't leave you. He's showing you himself in a different dimension. That's all it is. Watch this. "…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…" You know what? Sometimes you are doing both in the same season. I thought those were two different seasons. "Oh, I'm waiting for that dancing season". Sometimes you are going to have to dance while you dry the tears out of your eyes and keep dancing anyway. For the glory of this present house will be greater.
God said, "I will fill the house with glory". You keep looking for the gold, but God said, "I'm trying to fill it with glory". Not what you can see…what you can't see. "I will fill this house with glory". It's coming, but you might not see it. You might not feel it. He said, "I want you to keep working even as you're weeping". Be strong, Joshua. Be strong, Zerubbabel. Speak to the remnant. Strengthen what remains, because it's only the foundation. I don't care what the Devil has been telling you. Your best days are not behind you. I rebuke that right now in the name of Jesus. The glory of the present house will be greater. Everybody who receives it, shout like they did over the temple. Shout over the foundation. The glory of the present house, what God is doing right now, shall be greater! Glory to glory, strength to strength, joy to joy!
Lord, thank you for sending your word through today. We receive it. Thank you for laying this foundation. We receive it. Thank you for Jesus who is the greater glory. We receive your presence right now.