The Paradox Of Progress | Pastor Steven Furtick
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The Paradox Of Progress | Pastor Steven Furtick

my scripture for this worship encounter
with God is from Philippians chapter 3 that’s the text I believe God wants to
speak to us through today and if you want to join me there and just follow
along I usually preach from the New International Version the one that says
NIV if you’re pulling it up on a Bible app or something and you can pull it up
with me or it’ll just be right on the screens and I’d like to read your verses
7 through 16 to get a full context of what Paul is saying in this passage he
said but whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ
and what is more I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things I consider
them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a
righteousness of my own that comes from the law but that which is through faith
in Christ the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith I want to
know Christ yes to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his
sufferings becoming like him in his death and so somehow attaining to the
resurrection from the dead not that I’ve already obtained all this or have
already arrived at my goal but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ
Jesus took hold of me brothers and sisters I do not consider myself yet to
have taken hold of it but one thing I do I’ve got a focus on this I’ve got to
shut some other things out and make sure that I’m going after the right
goal so what I have to do is forget what is behind and I’m straining toward what
is ahead I press on through dangers I press on through difficulties I press on
through low emotional states I press on through migraine headaches I press on
through dysfunctional tendencies within myself I press on toward the goal to win
the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus all of us
then who are mature should take such a view of things and if on some point you
think differently that too God will make clear to you Paul is like if you don’t
agree with me God will straighten you out and then verse
16 says something surprising only let us live up to what we have already attained
so the title I want to give this message is the paradox of progress the paradox
of progress and you may be seated God bless you I’ve got to do something before
we go forward is to get you excited about the word paradox because the
essence of the gospel is paradox the essence of God is paradox and yet it’s
one of those words like kind of where you kind of know what it means okay so Abbey comes up to me while I’m studying for this sermon and it was just the
perfect illustration she’s like can I work alongside you and she had some
typing class that she’s taking for school and she needed to work on her
typing drills so they were giving her words to type and she kept interrupting
me which I don’t mind at all because we’re in that stage of bonding where
she’s never an interruption to me she’s usually not an interruption to me she’s
rarely I’m trying to work on my accuracy up here in front of you she’s rarely an
interruption to me we just really really are harmonized right now and I know it
might not be like that forever so I’m like yeah sure come on work with me
interrupt me it’s all good and but it was fun cuz I’m a word guy and so when
she was stopping to ask me and she’s in second grade so I can still handle her
homework I only have like one more year of being smarter than her so she’s like um
what does and she started asking me what certain words meant she’s like what does
conditioning mean and it was funny because I know exactly what it means but
sometimes it’s hard to explain it even though you know it like let me ask you
what is conditioning me so you’re like um it’s like what you get used to that’s
what I said I don’t know if that helped her understand it or not she
goes back to typing and then um she asked me another one what was it hold on
I wrote it down cuz it was real funny the ones she said because they were
words I knew oh she said what does reproduce mean I was like you know you
make more of something from yourself and then I shut it down
because I didn’t want her to really start asking about reproduction in the
technical sense this is my favorite one what does typewriter mean and I felt old
and like you really don’t know and so I told her about the the typewriter and
the brother word processor and dinosaurs and other things she seriously didn’t
know what does typewriter mean and then I was like this is getting good
and I need to record this in case it’s like a sermon illustration so I pulled
out the phone and snuck this little video check this out
spell it again d e f i l e m t m e n t semicolon spell it one more time d e f i l e wait d e f i l e m e n t semicolon defilement it’s like when you take
something that is clean and make it dirty or you take something that is good
and make it bad or something like that like in the Bible they put okay like in
the Bible if the unclean touch the clean it would defile it would defile the
clean you know hey you know what I’m saying does that make sense sorta sorta
I don’t know if you could I said does that make sense cuz I knew I really I knew
what it meant but I knew I really wasn’t breaking it down where she needed it and
so she said sorta I don’t wanna hurt your feelings not really sort of people
were asking me about the title of this worship project we called it paradoxology and of course growing up in the Methodist Church we sang the doxology
praise God from whom all blessings flow praise him all creatures here below and
that’s where we got the title hallelujah here below praise him all creatures here
below like down here on earth not just in heaven we need to praise Him even in
broken situations we need to praise Him even with uncertain faith we need to
praise Him even in even in challenging times and so the doxology is called the
doxa means glory lagea is expression oral or written so it’s an expression of
glory giving praise to God praise God all creatures here below just like the
hosts of heaven praise Him you can praise him better because they’ve always
been perfect but you haven’t always been and you’re still not and the paradox is
that a perfect God desires imperfect praise from funky messy petty people
like you so I called it paradoxology you know just the fact that we can
praise God even though we don’t deserve to because of the blood of Jesus is
mind-boggling and it’s different than a contradiction a contradiction is two
things that cannot possibly be true at the same time it’s raining cats and dogs
there’s not a cloud in the sky it’s got to be one or the other but with God we
find paradox and that is that on the surface it seems as if both cannot be
true but he’s bigger than that no where is the paradox of the gospel as played
out in the practical implications of our everyday life more apparent than
Philippians chapter 3 where Paul says I had ascended to the heights of the
resume virtues of religion within Judaism I was circumcised on the eighth
day like I was supposed to be I studied under
Gamaliel he was a boss I was of the tribe of Benjamin where the kings come
from I was important and significant but now I’ve made a decision I’m going to
write all of those things off and I’m going to reach toward something better
and bigger and the thing about it is as I am living in Christ I am dying to
self it’s a paradox and he’s describing in many ways a paradoxical view of
progress as it relates to spiritual growth can I teach and preach a little
bit this weekend the paradox of progress it seems as if Paul is saying
that as I am gaining strength in God I am losing a sense of certainty in things
I used to trust in and when he said it whatever were gains to me I now consider
loss for the sake of Christ it got me thinking about the paradox of progress
how sometimes we want to move forward in an area of our life but it seems like
it’s difficult to keep everything in our life moving forward all at once it seems
like it’s difficult to apply our limited self to what seems like an endless
ceaseless list of demands and supplies so that some days you find yourself
really doing well at work and really unable to give focus at home because by
the time you get home you spent all of the currency of your energy at work and
so I made progress at work but home is more important and yet I don’t have as
much to give to what is most important but yet it’s important that I work
because I need to bring some money home because if I don’t bring some money home
I won’t have a home to come home to then I’ll be standing out in the rain
talking about blame it on the rain and I’ll be lip-syncing like Milli Vanilli
and talking about girl you know it’s true but the only thing about it is we
don’t have any money and that’s true and so it’s a paradox it’s a paradox of
progress that sometimes when I’m moving forward in one area I can’t move forward
in another and this is the part I’m excited about I have three points if we
only get to one this is one I want to preach because sometimes
Paul shows us that what’s most important is least impressive as a society we
celebrate all the wrong stuff have you noticed as a human race we
celebrate all the wrong stuff and as somebody who manages a ministry that has
a reach that goes just beyond one town I can tell you right now people celebrate
the wrong stuff they think that a church is built on the preacher’s gift it’s not
a preacher’s well you said that a little too loud hurt my feelings about that but
you’re right you’re right it’s not it’s not that
and people will celebrate a lot of things that are surface-level
so Paul had all of that you understand he had all of the all of the credentials
he had all of the bells he had all of the he had all of the things
that go in a bio to make you look significant and yet what he said was so
powerful he said that I gave up what was impressive in order to reach
towards something that was actually important I feel like I’m about to
stage-dive to preach this and one thing you need to know is that a lot of the
changes that will happen in your life that are the most important are the ones
that you won’t get any compliments about because I’ve noticed this once you get
really consistent at something people stop complimenting you about it am i
right the best way to get compliments is to only do the right thing occasionally the best way to get compliments if
that’s your goal is to be a crappy dad who only comes around on Christmas and
only shows up to give the kids what they want and never disciplines them and only
shows up to break the rhythm that’s trying to be established if you’re gonna
be the kind of dad that’s actually handling some of the disciplinary issues
or the kind of mom that’s actually parenting rather than trying to win a
popularity contest with your teenager you will not receive as many compliments
and people are crazy people celebrate all the wrong stuff if you get in shape
watch this here’s one thing I have I compliment people who stay in shape
right because usually what you have to do to get a compliment on physical
fitness is lose a bunch of weight and I just think that’s wrong so I don’t go up to
people and be like you look like you’ve been losing weight because
first of all that might sound like an insult to them so it’s awkward to say
but secondly I walk up to people and be like you still look you still look good
I do I believe in complimenting consistency you know like thanks for
being on time like you parted the Red Sea that isn’t a miracle but what
happens is when you get really good at something people take you for granted when you are consistent you stop getting
compliments so if people have stopped complimenting you that is the highest
compliment it means you are so consistent that you have a basis or a
foundation and you can then be set free from the need to be impressive and
that’s what Paul was he said I gave up what was impressive to people to pursue
what was important to me I feel the Holy Ghost telling 50 people delete Instagram
before you take another note on my sermon and give up what is impressive
for a month for something more important I feel the Spirit of God saying some of
y’all spend too much money on clothes and you are so behind on your school
loans and if you keep trying to impress people you are going to impress people
right into your own depression trying to climb out of a pit of what people see
y’all don’t like the preacher today but he’s on point he heard from God and Paul
said all that I thought was gain and what I thought was important I found out
that it’s the interior state he said I want a righteousness that comes from God
through faith I want to be more focused on the invisible stuff so I’ll take you
to Palm Sunday since it’s Palm Sunday right now and since Jesus came into
Jerusalem and he’s entering not at Bethphage or Bethany Bethany’s two miles
away that’s where he stayed at night but he’s setting up for the crucifixion for
the scene where he will pay the price for our sins where he will die like a
criminal even though he reigns like a king it’s a paradox and what he says in
Luke 19 I wish I had time to preach that passage to you can we look at it for one
moment together and I promise I will go fast but Jesus is getting ready to go
into the city and he stops short of the city he’s on the Mount of Olives you
remember thats where Gethsemane is that’s where he will be pressed that’s
where his capillaries will burst so that he sweats like drops of great blood but
all that is still in front of him and his ministry has been exploding and when
he gets to the place where he’s about to make his entry he makes
preparations and the Bible says in Luke 19:28 after he had taught them a
certain teaching about the kingdom of God and how it doesn’t come all at once
but it comes in stages and it takes patience to see the rain of God come in
your life and don’t expect progress to come all at once and don’t
expect proof to accompany every step that you take in faith and after he had
taught that he told them something as they approached Jerusalem 29 please he
said um verse 30 he said go to the village ahead of you and as you enter it
you will find a colt tied there which no one has ever ridden untie it and bring
it here okay so Jesus is giving them an
instruction that sounds illegal I’m gonna need you to go get me a little
baby horse I’m gonna take my horse down Old Town Road I’m gonna ride
and he said as you are untying it if they ask you why
tell them the Lord needs it tell the owner that the Lord needs it tell
the one who is stewarding it that the one who made it needs it I think one of
the disciples even though the disciples aren’t named it just says there were two
of them had to be Peter because Peter knew what it was like to have Jesus get
in something that you own that’s how Peters whole ministry started
Jesus just got in his boat and said push me out I’ve got to preach and so now
Jesus watch this paradox who created the world needs something in the world
he created to even say that the Lord needs something is a paradox it’s a
crazy situation to be in but he doesn’t just need any kind of horse not a regal
horse not the kind of horse that a human King would ride in on remember Jesus is
fully God and fully man it’s a paradox it shouldn’t make sense but it does he’s
perfect and divine but he’s able to be touched by the feelings of our
infirmity so he says get a colt that has never been ridden I’m gonna ride
into the city like a humble King not like a hype beast like a humble King I’m
gonna ride into the city I’m not gonna walk because I’m a King but I’m gonna
ride on something that looks common I’m gonna ride on something that is set
aside for a special service I’m gonna ride on something that was tied up until
now but I wonder if God brought somebody to church today because he wants to
untie you and set you free from ways of being and thinking and dreaming and
believing to serve the purpose he created you for anyway it was kind of cool to me that
the King rode in on a lowly colt that someone so important rode in on
something that wasn’t impressive some of the changes God wants to make in your
life will not be the ones that people will tell you good job about and the
temptation is for us to make progress in the areas that get noticed because it
feeds our ego on social media they call it vanity metrics
it’s where Facebook wants you to buy more ads for your business so they tell
you how many people that you’re reaching but you’re not really reaching them it’s
just scrolling through the feed what you really got to figure out is engagement
how deep is the connection and people celebrate all the wrong stuff am i right
am i right am i right Jonsal when y’all went to the Grammys everybody was
texting you and it’s cool to go to the Grammys but the Grammys wasn’t the most
important thing Elevation Worship did last year it was that consistent
ministry week end week out just showing up look I go and I travel to churches all
over the world and I’m privileged to do it but the first thing I do when I take
the pulpit if the people are like yay know we have a guest speaker we love you
Pastor Steven you know because you know when you come to town when people
aren’t used to seeing you and they don’t know you that well they’re excited the
first thing I do is say let’s thank God for your pastor let’s thank God for the
people who every single week in this church the staff members the volunteers
the people who were in the parking lot the people who were standing out in the
rain to welcome you in let’s appreciate what’s truly important not just what’s
impressive now Paul said I had all this impressive
residue of my religious accomplishment but in order to pursue what was
important and to seek first the kingdom I had to stop trying so dadgum hard
that’s what Paul said in Greek so dadgum hard it was garbage
it was skubala it was trash it’s trash compared to the treasure of
knowing who I am in Christ and being connected to my source and walking in my
purpose for a purpose with a purpose in the presence of God Paul said I was
circumcised that’s outward I’m from Benjamin that’s genetic all of that you
can have all of that I want to fix my insides
I want a righteousness that comes from God I want peace when I lay down on my
pillow to know that this day I serve something bigger than me even if it hurt wow a King on a Colt what a paradox and
remember now the crowds love dJesus for his miracles didn’t they they’re like
whoa he’s coming back the guy who healed Lazarus he’s coming he’s coming
it’s just two miles you want to go let’s go I’ll go with you we’ll go together
we’ll get our eGroup there it’ll be amazing
you got a sitter we’ll get together we’ll go together we’ll go see him of
course they were already going on a pilgrimage for the Passover anyway so
they were already going so they’re already out in the crowd and here he comes on a colt
the important riding on the unimpressive this is why God can use you because
you’re just as good as a donkey in the King James Version it says he sat on a you can look that up I almost called the
message cya because it says they threw their cloaks over the the donkey
but it also stands for change your approach and stop trying to grow in the
stuff that is glamorous and noticed by people Paul said
I want to know Christ that’s one of those little phrases that I don’t think
we really know what it means it’s like sort of I want to know Christ you know
what that means sort of I’ve heard it before
it’s like quoting the Bible right stop smoking stuff like that pray a lot
missions trips to know him Paul said I had to go into partnership with
his sufferings to experience closeness and this is why Jesus was forsaken by
those that he called loved shepherded taught and parted into is because the
closer you get the further you feel this is the paradox of progress and this is
why you are growing in your faith at the same time that you’re about to give up
on it because it’s a paradox of progress the closer Jesus got to the cross the
more confused his disciples became and sometimes the closer you get to God and
the more you walk in his ways the more questions you will have as you give up
on the answers that were simple for one stage but the closer you get the more
mature you become the more progress you may you find that the answers don’t come
so easy you are no longer content with cliches
because you want to know him you want to know who he really is
now they loved him on Palm Sunday remember they put these palm branches
down I don’t even know where they got it from because that was from the other festival
they didn’t even use those at Passover but whether or not it’s two different
accounts merged together we’ll never know they put the palm branches down in
this passage and all of the Gospels that record it and they were like in a loud
voice Hosanna Hosanna blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord Hosanna here’s what’s weird about it the Pharisees are like shut him up Jesus is
like I can if they stop the rocks will start shouting
because who I am creates praise who I am creates expectation when my presence
shows up things have to change things have to change if you’re sitting next to
somebody who doesn’t like you clapping tell them if I don’t do it the chair
will something’s gotta praise God something’s gotta glorify him it might
as well be something with breath it might as well be me so now back to the text he’s going in
and they’re like Hosanna blessed is the king who comes in the name of the
Lord peace in heaven and glory doxa doxa
remember doxa glory doxology doxa glory in the highest doxa peace and
glory in the highest some Pharisees were like shut him up he’s like the stones will cry out but then what’s crazy to me is this paradox remember I love that word
I want you to love that word I’m gonna preach on that word until you love that
word paradox it’s like a contradiction only it happens to be true and sometimes
when you are when you are frustrated with yourself because you feel like a
contradiction right I love God but I love certain sins I love God but I still
love this thing over here that I shouldn’t love it’s not a contradiction
it’s a paradox because his strength is made perfect in your weakness and His
grace needs a place to operate so he leaves a weakness in your life so that
the King can ride in on a colt so that they won’t celebrate what he rode in on
they’ll celebrate him when he rides in where was I at oh verse 41
as he approached Jerusalem and saw the city you got it 19:41 he wept over it
wow they were shouting he was weeping they were cheering and he was crying he
wasn’t on the cross yet that’s not why he was crying he wasn’t in the garden
yet that’s not why he was crying there was no physical pain he was crying
because he knew they were celebrating the wrong thing he knew that they
thought that he was coming to fix it he was coming to fix them they thought he was coming to change the
situation and the kingdom would come at once but what he was really coming to do
was deeper he said Jerusalem the name of the city means peace city of peace je
rue salem salem sounds like shalom right peace city of peace you were supposed to
be the city of peace and look at verse 42 if you even you had only known on
this day what would bring you peace but now it is hidden from your eyes what
would bring you peace is at your gate and you will reject it because it comes
riding on a colt looking common looking ordinary you will reject it because you
do not understand the cross and the closer Jesus got to his purpose the
further he got from their plan have your plans been disrupted lately you might be getting closer you know how
we used to play closer closer closer I always thought it was interesting how Paul
was blinded when he first got converted by Jesus on the Damascus Road and it
must have been weird because he had never been closer to God than he was in
that moment he’d been close to religion he had climbed that ladder but now he
can’t see and there’s a sense in which when you really make progress in your
walk with God at first you think you know everything
and now you’ve got the answer Jesus is the answer what’s the answer
Jesus is the answer what’s the answer for America Jesus is the answer for
America what’s the answer for our young people in the drug epidemic in the
Appalachian Jesus is the answer you know what’s the answer for the inner city Jesus
is the answer what’s the answer for alcoholism Jesus is the answer but over
time you start asking better questions and as you ask deeper questions when you
first start you think you’re awesome like Elijah is making beats right now
and I’m so proud of him and they’re good the first one he made he thought it
was ready for radio he was ready to send it to Pump Uzi all the other Lil’s
that I don’t really like to listen to and he’s like dad this is amazing listen
to my beat but then he messed around and got good enough to know how much better
he needed to be when you first start at something you know when I first started
playing guitar I told you about this last week I thought I was amazing when I
first started preaching I thought I was Billy Graham just waiting for a Tokyo
crusade to call me but today I stand before you and I understand that
more than ever before at this point that even the attempt to describe the ways of
God is an exercise in futility so it took me getting good enough at it to
know how good at it I was not it took me it took me getting just good
enough at it to know I’m not good at it at all Paul said the more that I press
toward the mark the more I realize that I have so far to go and so much to learn and so many things in me you know when
you first start trying to walk with God you get the mechanics down and
you do this and you don’t do that but then God starts challenging your motives
and now it’s no longer just about doing the right things and saying the right
things and learning the right words and changing these protocols now it’s about
something so much deeper but the good news is if you feel like you’ve got so
far to go that is a good sign that you are actually getting closer to God God’s
presence creates awareness awareness of your need awareness of His grace
awareness of his greatness awareness of his glory and you start to see that all
have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and I don’t have any
judgment to give and I don’t have any hell to put anybody in and I’m writing
off all the things that I thought I knew to know the one who made me the closer
you get the further you feel you have to go this is the paradox of progress it’s
the paradox of Jesus hanging on the cross and he’s never been more powerful
and he’s never looked weaker so I want to address what Paul said before we
finish today cuz it always confused me it always seemed like a paradox you know
what that means paradox sort of you know what I’m saying like the idea that
God is sovereign but I’m responsible it’s a paradox that’s what makes him God if
I could explain it I wouldn’t have to have faith to believe it I’m completely
comfortable how can you serve and love God when God I’m completely comfortable
with it he’s a great big God I’m little old me
that settles it for me I understand how his ways are higher
than my ways his thoughts are higher than my thoughts so Paul says I want to
know him the power of his resurrection yeah yeah
yeah I want some of that resurrection power and participation in the
fellowship of his sufferings at first I thought he meant that he wanted to die
for Christ and ultimately he was on house arrest at the end of the book of
Acts when he did suffer many imprisonments and eventual death for
Christ right but I read it differently he said I want to participate in his
sufferings in his death while I live that’s the paradox now watch this Lord
help me deliver this Paul’s not saying I want to die like Christ died he’s saying
I want to live like Christ died and that means that I’m constantly going
through cycles of death and resurrection that means I’m constantly having to die
to shallow desires so that he can give me the desires of my heart and do a new
thing in me and whatever I have to let go and whatever I have to write off and
whatever I have to let you have you know some things are not worth
me fighting for anymore whatever was gained whatever I thought was important
I’m giving it up for something more important I want to know connection with
Christ and I want to live like he died so when people insult me I want to learn
to let that go like he did I want to live like he died you want to die like
he died no I want to live like he died and what it’ll look like sometimes
people will think I’m losing but really I’m winning it’ll seem like and feel
like I’m losing now the Lord told me it was really important to say this some of
you have been convinced you’re in a losing season right now because you feel
very discombobulated on the inside you’re not so certain about certain
things that are going on in your life right now it is not a loss in fact it is
a new level it is actually you going deeper into the things of God to
understand his heart at a level that you couldn’t have before so Paul said if I
have to take an L if I have to go through some things that are painful for
me if I have to be a colt if I have to look like a donkey if I have to ride in
looking ridiculous for the purpose of God to be fulfilled I want to live like
he died if I have to hang on a cross to bring forth resurrection power if I have to go to Jerusalem and if I
have to face the jeers and the taunts and the ridicule and the rejection if I
have to pray in the garden of gethsemane nevertheless not my will but yours be
done I’m willing to do it it’s not a goal it’s a gift what you’re reaching
for is already yours Paul says all I’m trying to do don’t sit down I’m closing
is take hold of that for which Christ already took hold of me I’m not trying
to arrive at a place where God loves me I’m just trying to live out of the love
that he is already demonstrated and express his glory doxology I’m trying to
express his glory through my weakness I’m trying to ride into town like a
little donkey so I can carry the purpose of God in my life and it might seem
small and sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards and sometimes it feels
like it’d be easier just not to come to church all together and quit trying and
just give in to my tendencies but the paradox of progress is this it’s already yours the grace that you need to change is already yours the grace that
you need to go forward is already yours the grace that you need to rise up is
already yours the grace that you need to do it in the face of adversity and
uncertainty it’s already yours what you are reaching for is already yours and I
want to pray for some people today are you gonna play I want to pray for some
people today who have been moving forward
but it’s been a fight and has been frustrating every step of the way and
you are going to have to let go of some things to reach for your purpose what
I’m gonna pray today the instruction that the Holy Spirit is giving me is
that you would experience Philippians 3:16 and live up to what you have
already attained isn’t that a beautiful verse to say I’m moving forward but I
already made it I want to be more like Christ but not so he will love me more I
want to move forward toward my purpose but not to prove something
I just want to carry the King into Jerusalem
I just want to carry the purpose of God you know what I want to raise those
three kids God has given me I want to love my wife in a way that she
can be proud to be my wife I want to pastor the church that he gave me in a
way that would be honorable I want to preach messages that would help people
and I don’t have to be anything other than what I am to do it Jesus said I
want to ride on a colt I want a little donkey I want a little
horse I want I want a little thing I want a little thing so I can ride in on
something that will give me glory we celebrate the wrong stuff y’all we
celebrate the wrong stuff the Lord rejoices to see the plumb-line in the
hand of Zerubbabel he rejoices to see the beginning of a thing and the King
comes riding in on a colt we’ve got to celebrate steps we’ve got to celebrate
crosses we’ve got to celebrate even our sufferings not because we’re going
through them but because they achieve in us a glory a doxa that outweighs all of
the tribulations so God help me celebrate what I see as a setback now
help me celebrate what I see is confusion help me feel around in the
darkness and find my way down the Damascus Road until I can see what
you’ve called me to be I want to know him in the fellowship of his suffering
so that I can experience the resurrection power of the humble King
the King of weakness who is our strength with your heads bowed and your eyes closed
today I declare that the devil has been lying to you you are making progress you
are making progress and progress isn’t pretty mm-hmm usually yards are
hard-fought when you really want to live for God especially when you’ve been doing it
a little while I mean it gets harder and harder and harder that’s the paradox of
progress this should be easy by now how come I have to forgive this person for
the 791 time I thought I did it already
the paradox of progress is every time you do it you do it deeper and God is
dealing with something different I prayed today that God would show you a
glimpse of your progress I really want you to see it because it’s important
that you know it on the inside even people don’t see it you know they might
not notice people will come up and say oh you’ve lost weight but
they won’t say oh you’ve lost bitterness they don’t know how to compliment that because
usually what’s the most important isn’t the most impressive
but may the Lord give you the priorities today to know I’ll count it all loss
I’ll write it all off what they think what they say for the sake of being
connected to Christ that matters to me that matters to me for the sake of
fulfilling my calling that matters to me Lord I delivered your word like the
donkey that I am today just one stumbling step after another to get it
to the people now it’s between you and them whatever you spoke to them in these
moments seal it it’s so important to me that today they sense your grace and
that they apprehend that for which you have apprehended them let them know that
you’ve got them in your grip that they might be trying to hold on to something
but you’re holding on to them so that as we take hold of that for which you took
hold of us we are not striving and straining but trusting and believing in
Jesus name thank you for watching the Elevation Church YouTube channel but don’t
stop here join the eFam our online extended family and join us live every
Sunday subscribe to this channel so you don’t miss a single video or live stream
and share this with a friend you can also support the ministry by clicking
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Jesus Christ thank you again for watching God bless

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “The Paradox Of Progress | Pastor Steven Furtick

  1. "The closer you get to God,the further you feel" I felt it!! Thank you Holy spirit I know you brought me here just for this,i needed this. Thank you Jesus😭🙌🏿🙏🏾

  2. Praise Lord Jesus Christ only brothers and sisters and wake up, He is coming soon don’t follow any popular ‘pastors’ follow Lord Jesus Christ only! Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Confess and Believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that He died on the cross for our sins and rose on the 3rd day.

  3. Does anybody know what time, days, and location Ps Steven preaches? i want to visit nc one day and i would really love to experience this. I have been living among these sermons. Anybody with the answer to my question please help me out💓

  4. This blessed me immeasurably!!!! Thank you Jesus!!! I’m taking these L’s knowing in your holding on to me!!!

  5. I really NEEDED to hear this. Strongholds Satan had for a long time we're destroyed. Ones about not being good enough to connect with God. Thank you for being the vessel for the Holy Spirit to reach me ☝️

  6. You are only one of two pastors I’ve ever heard preach about Palm Sunday and the true motives of the crowd that worshipped Jesus. Thank you for your sincerity

  7. I feel like I am continually losing. I really hope I am making forward progress at least in certain areas of life even if I can not achieve them all, it would be nice to at least be a better parent in many many ways to my girl.

  8. Dear Pastor Steven, God responded to your prayer in my life by giving me this sermon as a glimpse of my progress! God bless you 🙏🏻🔥💖

  9. I want to live like Christ died. Wow ! It blew my mind. It made complete absolute sense. Like wowwww 🙈😍❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #paradox

  10. Anyone reading this please I am looking for the song " IT IS So" I am assuming by elevation worship. I been looking for a link for many months now I cannot find any trace of it anywhere. Thank you in advance

  11. I'm just trying to live out of the love God already demonstrated me. It's a gift. Not a goal. Powerful words Pastor SF

  12. Wow…Just wow. The problem is its easier said then done but to know Christ has me means that the impossible I see will be the possible Christ sees

  13. Wow. I pray we all see in ourselves what God sees in us. I pray we all remember what God has done in our lives so that in moments of doubt, Feeling unseen, unloved, or unappreciated, the memory of his grace will enter our hearts so strong that we will be sent into praise instead of sadness and depression.

  14. AMEEEEENNNNN !!!!! Thank you sooooo much Pastor Steven. Thank you so much Elevation. This right here has been much needed water in such a dry time. God bless you all.

  15. Something about Furtick is unsettling. He teaches mostly truth, but he seems like he is acting and putting it on when he preaches Something is not sincere or truthful is his manners

  16. Thank you for this message… May God seal what he put in my heart (yes I took notes… but besides revelation I need more of Jesus in a way that I cannot explain, and that only God knows…). Be blessed y'all!

  17. @stevenfurtick Happy Easter to you and your whole family man. I live in Sacramento, California and I tune in every weekend. This sermon hit me in the heart I am in a semi tough season right now and been praying and praying and I definitely felt God speaking to me through this message. Life changer for me. You asked God to help you deliver this message and boyyy did he ! God bless you brother thank you 🙏

  18. Thank you Lord,that you deliver me this awesome message,thank you Pastor Steven I feel delivered and set free,praise to God Almighty

  19. Thank God for this message. This is so in line with what the Lord has been teaching, directing and working in me. This message really brought it home. Thank you pastor Steven for letting God do His thing in you and through you. God bless you

  20. SO GOOD!!! Cried so many times. I could write a bunch of things here, but man.. the paradox of strength in weakness. It is weird, but it's true. This is the story of my life. I am the older son in Luke 15. Now when condemnation comes to me, I will rejoice in His faithfulness and his promise, that his grace is made perfect in my weaknesses. Now I can live from the love that He has demonstrated. Thank you Jesus!

  21. That was so deep!!! And EXACTLY what I needed to hear today! My life was going in a specific direction and God closed every door moved me to a different state and put me in an RV and has shut all doors here too but He showed me I was not putting Him First I was putting people first. I will forever be grateful!!!! I feel like Im being recalibrated for something and it has been HARD real hard and it feels just like you said Pastor Like I am losing in all areas but God is my Source and He is Faithful!!!!! He has been taking me to a deeper level then ever before!!! It feels like Im Jonah in the belly of this metal whale and Im in Gods boot camp!!! Dont give up if your life is a mess God s Got This!!!!Thank You for being Faithful to Gods calling on your life!!!

  22. The closer you get the further you feel. Asking the pertinent questions that’s are deeper for better understanding. This is so on time, I’ve been feeling like this here lately. You need to do this more, you need to do that more because GOD needs all of your words and time. In retrospect yes, however after this message give GOD your all while being honest and true but still live your life according to HIS word. The LORD knows our hearts and minds and spending all your waking hours praying is not necessary.

  23. I have a question I'm at a point in my life where I don't know which way to go should i take a new job how exactly do I know I'm following into his will after you have surrendered to Jesus as your lord and savior I understand there will be trials and tribulations however how do I know what path I should take because I have prayed and yet things are hard whether it's work home or financially what should I do

  24. Pastor Steven! This. Helped. So. Much!!! It clarified several things for me in my walk; it clarified the losses in my life that seemed like contradictions, but were paradoxes! I'm going to listen to this over and over until it sinks in deeply and share it with others. Thank you for your humble delivery of this message! God bless you and your family's and your ministry's sox off!

  25. “Need” isn’t as the world has become to defined it. Need is purpose. “To have need of it”…means to have a purpose.

  26. Good Morning   Good Morning !! God awakes us  speaking in  my spirit……Trust me.rain, sun shine…….God  has this.  Gre at day to all.psalm 100:1   Hum!!! a Great Day.

  27. You’re not going to believe this but I have gone through a year of crushing, discernment,divorce and illness. Your sermon was delivered to me by the Holy Spirit. I believe it. I was going to give up. God bless you and your family and your ministry. Thanks 🙏
    A very appreciative daughter of God

  28. This is a beautiful message. I've had some disappointments today and now I've learned to let go and trust Him. I'm not perfect, but I'm enough. When it feels like it's getting harder it's because I'm getting closer. Help me, God, to keep my eyes on You. To keep trusting You and letting go of the things that are not from You.

  29. The bigger picture in that sense of profane language being awful is to not committ sin and not listen to it

  30. Gimme your money. Let me share my salary with you over the last 10 years 😂🤣😆
    I’ll interpret this passage one way. Preachers from other churches will interpret it another way – using the same bible version – make of it what you will.

  31. Just what I needed to hear! Ah, so many stumbling blocks, barriers, hurdles; but I am moving forward in ways like never before!


  33. Ur word really blesses me it reminds me of God's presence in my lyf i really needed to hear this it may look lyk am losing but am winning thank u it really applies to wat am going thru ryt how big decisions u av to make

  34. y’all know he’s already preaching the good stuff when he starts to b o u n c e hahaha. kidding aside, if you can read this pastor steven, i am very thankful for your life, i am a 17 yr old, feeling lost at times in my walk with God. But every single time God has used you for Him to speak to me in the most personal, just where and when i needed it.

  35. So good, God spoke to me through this today. Philippines 3:16 really challenged me, I'm not letting go of shallow desires because God will love me more. But I'm letting go of the old to pursue God in a deeper way, to put on my new self that Jesus died to give me. "No longer striving and straining but trusting and believing." So true

  36. Steve I love you. Introduce your son to Yelawolf or Jellyroll or Struggle real hip Hop. Not mumble rap. Lol.

  37. Let's just appreciate that we are able to serve the LORD. For HE is faithful.

  38. Thank you so much! Every morning I have to choose what to listen to….. whether it’s directly from the Bible my daily chapter or whether it’s a thorough spiritual butt kicking from you! This morning I chose you to straighten me out. Thank you for your gift of speaking through the weight of this digital world!

  39. 10:32 – What’s more important is often least impressive 

    11:52 – I gave up what was impressive in order to reach towards something that was actually important 

    12:18 – When you get consistent at something people stop complimenting you about it. 

    12:24 – The best way to get compliments is to only do the right thing occasionally 

    14:03 – If people have stopped completing you that is the highest compliment

    Luke 19:30-31

     23:57 – To know him, Paul said; I had to go into partnership with his sufferings to experience closeness

    24:20 The close you get, the further you feel

    28:02 – He was crying because they were celebrating the wrong thing.

    People thought Jesus was coming to fix it but he was coming to fix them. 

    29:12 – The closer Jesus got to his purpose, the further he got from their plan

    33:46 – The paradox of progress, it’s the paradox of Jesus hanging on the cross and he’s never been more powerful and he’s never looked weaker 

    34:33 – I want to live like Christ died. That means I’m constantly having to die to shallow desires so that he can give me the desires of my heart 

    35:41 – people will think I’m losing but really I’m winning 

    37:07 – what you are reaching for is already yours

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