Steven Furtick - Fighting A Noisy Heart
This is an excerpt from "But Now Be Strong."
Has it been noisy in your heart lately? You can't tell the difference of "Whose voice is this? Is this God or is this the Devil or is it just my Twitter feed? Is this God, is this the Devil, or is it just me? Is this faith or is this foolishness"? How could a group of people from the same nation be standing at the same foundation, one of them pulling out trumpets and one of them in tears? Trumpets and tears, both at the same time. Trumpets and tears. She's shouting, "Come on now" and he's sleeping, in the same sermon. Trumpets and tears. Celebration; devastation. Expectation; disappointment. Looking at the same thing. One voice is saying, "This is amazing". One voice is saying, "It isn't like the old one. The old one was better. Solomon's temple was so good. There was so much gold in Solomon's temple. Solomon's temple was… This isn't going to be like it was. I used to have so much more".
At some point, the disappointment starts drowning out the faith. Has that been happening in your temple? In your temple where there's something to celebrate… Oh, by the way, the second R I want to talk about (because I did remnant last week, and apparently, I'm only going to do one this week) is reference. There is a point of reference you could come to today in your temple. Now, remember, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So, when we talk about temples and Solomon's temple… This temple, by the way, is eventually going to be between two and three times bigger than the one they're weeping over, but right now it seems like nothing. You have to be strong in seasons where it seems like nothing or it will always be what it is right now. I don't know who needs this medicine, but wishing won't get the temple built. Wanting won't get the temple built. Waiting won't get the temple built.
"Well, the Bible says, 'Wait on the Lord.'" I know. I wrote a song about it. I believe that Bible verse too. But when waiting on what God is going to do or wishing for what God used to do replaces working with what God gave you right now… I mean, right now be strong. Right now man up. Right now square up with your enemies and say, "It's not going to be what it was. It's going to be better"! So, the builders lay the foundation, and there are trumpets, and the builders lay the foundation, and there are tears. It's not two different foundations. It's how you see it. Three months ago, he was praising God because he could breathe, because he had COVID so badly he wondered, "Am I ever going to breathe normally again"? It made him almost cry with joy when he would breathe. I'm talking about my buddy Chunks who started the church with me. But let a little time go by… He's Olympic level breathing again. Just auto breath, mister auto breath. When you have been somewhere so low, you appreciate moments of joy.
Look. How am I saying this? Because I've been depressed. I'm not glad I was depressed. I'm not glad if you're going through depression. But one thing it did for me is it made me know how valuable joy is. It made me know how valuable happy is. That's the thing about the bottom. That's what shows you where to build from. The problem is when you stop at the bottom and go, "Oh, well, this is the worst thing that ever happened to me" or "This is what I never saw coming," and then you stop building. Do you know that's what the people did for 16 years after Ezra, chapter 3? The first Scripture I read you was actually the second Scripture. The second Scripture I read you was the first Scripture chronologically. What happened was they started building. The people under 25… They would have had to have been really old to see Solomon's temple. They would have had to have been, like, 70 and stuff. I'm not saying that's really old, but that's really old. That's a lot of experience. Their experience became the enemy of their expectation.
People will tell you, "Oh, the benefits of experience". There are some benefits to inexperience. Why do you think Jesus didn't pick Bible scholars to be his disciples? There is a benefit of ignorance. There's a benefit to somebody who's just coming to the church for the first time today that you won't have if you've been here… Now, there are benefits of being here a long time. I really appreciate the people who have been here a long time. That's who I really celebrate. I used to go to church, and they'd be like, "Let's welcome all of the first-time guests". I'm like, "Why are you clapping for them? They didn't do anything yet. They're the first-time guests. Let's hear it for the 14-year veterans. Let's hear it for everybody who stuck with it". So, I get that. But there is sometimes a benefit of not knowing "This temple is not really that great compared to the last one".
When they came over to the worship night in Jacksonville, I said, "I'm sorry, y'all. This was the lowest night we had," because it was the eighth night of the tour. They said, "The lowest night? It was awesome". They hadn't been to the other ones. There is a benefit when you haven't been there yet. They never had a temple, so they got the trumpets out, while those who had the old template were in tears. Wow. One of the nights on tour, I had a real encounter with God. It was one of those where… Sometimes God will comfort you. Sometimes he will correct you. Sometimes he will comfort you, correct you, and then comfort you again, like a little rebuke sandwich. Have you ever had the Lord do that? He's very tactful. So, I'm out there, and the particular night, all I could see… Because we had just done this Elevation Nights worship thing. I've still been processing it, because I don't know how to talk to you about it, because there was so much God showed me about our ministry and our future.
There were times over the past two years where I wondered, "Have we seen our best days"? Because, you know, not everybody is going to come back, so you're really scared. But I kept going in these arenas night after night, and it was powerful, because thousands of people would be singing the songs we sing here, just singing them out, every single song like it was their favorite. Just amazing. And every song they were singing was like a scene in my life from when I remember either when we wrote it or when our church sang it or a season it got us through. It was crazy, because there's a soundtrack, like a song like "Do It Again," "I've seen you move the mountains…" They're watching one movie of how their nephew had cancer and God healed him, and I'm watching another movie how when they came for me so hard I was so discouraged I was like, "Well, maybe I just give up the church," just being kind of a wimp about the whole thing, but I'm remembering how God strengthened and sustained me. It brings us all to the same soundtrack, but so many different movies.
Same foundation, totally different response. You know, I'm listening to a song like "Rattle"! remembering when I was writing the lyrics on the window of the room in my house where I work out. I would send a new lyric over to Chris. He had a mic set up in his living room because we couldn't be together because of the thing. So, he would record the new line and send it to me, and we did that about 30 times. So, when we're rocking to "Rattle"! I'm not just partying; I'm praising God, because it went from the window to the worship service. God said, "I will open up the window…" I'm up there, "Live! Live"! and they're screaming it back, but we're all screaming "Live" for a different reason. Something we didn't think we would survive, but look at you right now. Look at you right now! Look at you be strong! It's your frame of reference.
This is when I had this heart-to-heart with God…not out loud, just in my heart. The night I told you about where we didn't sell as many tickets… There were still more people in the room that night than the town I grew up in. Frame of reference. I'm looking up there, and I'm like, "Look at all of those empty rows up there". The Lord said this. He may as well have said it in Hebrew and Greek and Russian, because I'm telling you, it was just like a sentence. He said, "For almost a year you preached in an empty room. Now you want to complain about empty rows"? That's the Devil.
I went from being like, "All I need is Jesus and a camera; I'll reach them for the gospel," but watch how entitled how quickly. Watch how the Devil can shift your frame of reference to where you used to feel like, "Oh my god! If we could ever just get back together again," but then we're back together again, and I'm going, "Oh, there are some empty seats up there. Maybe we didn't do too good". It's almost like the Lord said, "Stop crying. Dry your tears and blow your trumpet". Because if you really take a good panoramic look at the situation, you don't even deserve the stuff God gave you on the foundation. I mean, really, really, really.
The mercy I'm walking in, the favor I'm walking in, the grace I've received, the breath I breathe in, the day that I'm standing in, the strength to stand here… That came from God! He said, "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, and I want you to get grateful about what I gave you again. I want you to dance on the foundation. I want you to dance on a dirt floor. I want you to dance in an unemployment. I want you to dance in a season of heartbreak". Blow your trumpet! Lift your voice and give your God a great shout! How great is your God? How great is your praise? I'm going to give 50 people a little space to dry your tears and blow your trumpet. "Look at what God did for me"! Y'all, I didn't know if we'd ever be back in a building to shout again. I have to blow this trumpet! I appreciate!