So I had this A-Word series all done, with the posting schedule carefully planned out and ready to go, when Steven Furtick had to go and mess it all up.
So after posting The A-Word Part 1, I put on my earbuds and went about my usual housecleaning/podcast-listening duties. When I arrived at February 15’s Crash the Chatterbox: I Know I Am sermon, I got a little freaked out and considered scrapping the whole A-Word Disciplehood series.
‘Will I look like a stupid Johnny-come-lately posting something notably inferior on the same topic, one week later?’ I asked myself.
Then I remembered that the whole point of the Crash the Chatterbox series is to make sure we listen to the ‘right’ voices and tune out the ‘wrong’ ones. And a voice that advocated deleting a blog series that had been really instructive and enjoyable for me – a series that I felt called and anointed and inspired to write – might not have been one of the ‘right’ voices to be listening to.
Instead, the ‘right’ voice might be the one that says, ‘My reader(s) would benefit from Furtick’s messages as much as I did. I should write a fifth A-Word post and share them!’
So here goes:
In the opening verses of the Burning Bush encounter, God informs Moses that He’s chosen him to be the deliverer of the Israelites from Egypt. Moses is scared spitless by the idea, and offers some understandably whiney excuses: I’m not smart enough. I’m not brave enough. I’m not well-spoken enough.
Furtick’s sermon recaps all of this, and then then points out God’s cover-all answer in Exodus 3:12: ‘I will be with you.‘ He then imagines Exodus 3:14 as an answer to each Moses’ objections:
- You’re not smart enough? I Am!
- You’re not brave enough? I Am!
- You’re not well-spoken enough? I Am!
And through Furtick, God says to you and to me, ‘Whatever you’re not, I Am!’ (That’s what I was tweeting about on Friday, by the way.) ‘Whatever you’re not, whatever you need, whatever you didn’t get from your parents, I Am! Whatever you’re not getting from somebody else, let me be that to you. I can do it, because I Am!’
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The second point I’d like to highlight for you came when Furtick leapfrogged 17 chapters to the right and landed on Exodus 20:7, the Third Commandment: ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.‘ (NKJV)
‘Taking the Lord’s name in vain’, Furtick suggests, isn’t just about cussing. He points out that on the ‘greatest day of her life,’ Holly Boytnot married him and took his name, becoming Holly Furtick.
“They didn’t just change her driver’s licence, they didn’t just change her passport. … When she took my name, she became one with me. She became part of me. What we do, we do together. What we have, we have together!’
Similarly, on the greatest day of your life, you became a Christian. You took Jesus into your heart, became co-heirs with Him, so you have what He has – and that includes His name!
‘So God says, “When you say ‘I am’ and you start filling in the blanks with stuff that contradicts what I’ve said about you, you’re taking My Name in vain!” … When you walk around in insecurity and you say stuff like “I am so stupid”, “I am such an idiot”, “I am such a loser” or “I am such a terrible mom” God says, “I Am not any of those things, and if I Am in you, you’re not either! What I Am, you are! So stop my taking my name in vain!”‘
So when the Chatterboxes (internal or external; temporal or spiritual) scoff at us and sneer, ‘Do you really think you’re able to meet the challenges that are before you?’ God invites us to look right back at them and say, ‘No, I don’t think I am. But I know I Am. And since I am in Him and He is in me, I am!’
Pretty good stuff, eh?
I guess this A-Word series is effectively the first-ever Furtick-Petkau collaboration. Not sure how he feels about that, but that’s his problem.
Peace be with you.
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Author’s note: Some of the above was paraphrased for brevity, and I inserted some words of my own here or there, to clarify or emphasize points better (in my opinion), but all of it attempts to capture authentically the messages and themes of Furtick’s February 15 sermon. I encourage you to listen to the whole sermon, and if you like what you hear, to subscribe to the podcast. Furtick is a little screamy for my tastes, but he’s entertaining and far more importantly, His messages empower, inspire and anoint.
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