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What’s Next? Making Breakthrough Your New Normal

From the series Breakthrough

If we're honest, there are all kinds of things about ourselves that we'd like to see change or improve. We call that "life-change" or maybe even "Breakthrough." What if those changes or improvements were the norm? Is it possible to experience a steady progress of Breakthrough? First, we have to be willing. Join Chip as he explains what that means and then how to do it.

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Message Transcript

Breakthrough. It’s unleashing God’s supernatural power into your impossible situation. And we said, you know something? That’s what God wants to do.

Here’s the question: We’re praying to an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God, who says, “I want to heal, I want to bless, I want to restore.” And He basically said to His disciples then, and to us, His followers, now, “I expect you to do the impossible.” Right? He said to His disciples, “You feed the five thousand.” And they’re going, “We don’t have the resources.” He says, “Well, you bring what you have to Me. I want to use you to do the impossible.”

We pray in the name of the One who said, “All authority and all power is given to Me, and now, I send you out to make followers of every ethnic group on the face of the earth, and not just to share by your words, but by your life, and meet their deepest needs. And by the way, I will be with you one hundred percent of the time to meet every need, and help you in anything you need to do.”

And so, the question that’s come to me is, yeah, you have to step out, and it requires faith and courage. But how do we take what’s beginning to happen in many of our lives, and make it the new normal? How do you get where, next Monday, and the Monday after that, and the Monday after that, and the Monday five months from now – you wake up, it’s time to go to work, and you have this expectation that God is going to do something impossible and supernatural in you and through you in everyday life? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Sometimes I think a picture is really worth a thousand words, and we’re going to take a snapshot of a man’s life, who, all through his life, God did the impossible through him. The Scripture says, “For that which was written in earlier times” – speaking of the Old Testament – “was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.” And so, here’s the message.

I want you to picture this. We’re going to take a snapshot of a breakthrough person in the Old Testament, named David. Starts as a shepherd boy, becomes a king, and takes a nation to its pinnacle – passes it off to his son.

And then, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to peek into his personal journal. We’re going to get to hear what went on inside of his heart, what was the inside journey like, how was it that, despite his ups and downs and struggles, that God continued to do the impossible, from the time he slayed a giant, to the time that he raised millions and millions of dollars to build a temple for his great God?

So, with that, let’s do a little overview of his life. Many of you’ll be pretty familiar, but some of us didn’t grow up in church, and never opened the Bible until we were adults. So, first of all, David is an unlikely choice. The context is this: The nation has rejected God as their King. They said, “We want a king,” so, they chose their own king, named Saul, and Saul had a very good, but brief, start. And then, he became proud; he became disobedient. And pretty soon, God said, “I can’t use him anymore.”

And He said to His prophet, Samuel, “I’m going to choose My king. And I want you to go to this house; the man’s named Jesse. Get his family together, and I want you to go there, and I’ll tell you which one will be the king.”

And so, Samuel goes, and he has his boys line up – you know, one, two, three, four, five, six. And the first one is strong, big, handsome, and Samuel goes, “This must be the one.” And God says, “No, that’s not the one. Don’t look at the height of his stature, his appearance. Because God doesn’t see the way man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God weighs the heart.”

And so, each of the sons comes by, and God says, “No, no, no, no, no.” And finally, Samuel says, “Do you have any other sons?” He goes, “Well, you know, I’ve got one more, but he’s the youngest.” And, oh, by the way, this is the smallest tribe, which is the most insignificant. So, now He’s going to choose the youngest son. I mean, he’s not even important enough to make the meeting. He’s out, just tending the sheep. And Samuel says, “We’re not moving on until he comes.”

So, David comes, and he takes a flask of oil and anoints. And even the word – our word Christ means, “the Anointed One.” It means, “chosen.” And the anointing of God always has the power to do a great task for God. And so, He takes the most unlikely, the youngest, a teenage boy, and says, “He’s going to be the king.”

And you ought to have your mind swirling and realizing there seems to be a theme in this series. God keeps choosing unlikely people that no one else thinks can do anything. And I don’t know about you, but that gives me a lot of encouragement.

Well, what’s his first big breakthrough? He’s an unlikely candidate, but His first impossible thing that He does is, he’s anointed, but – like it works with us – God speaks to us, but, often, there’s a journey and a time and a process. And so, they’re at war with the Philistines – 1 Samuel 17.

And as they’re at war with the Philistines, they have this giant, named Goliath. He’s about nine feet tall. He’s huge, and he comes out every day, taunting the armies of God. And if you can picture this valley on one side of the Israelites, and on the other side are the Philistines. And he comes out and basically says, “Let’s have one big war. You bring out your best warrior, and whoever wins takes all.” And every time he comes out, the king and the warriors tremble in fear.

And David is on an errand. His dad says, “I want you to take some grain, and take some cheese, and take it to your brothers; they’re out on the front lines.” And he takes it, and as he gets there, this event happens before his eyes. And you know, he’s naïve and idealistic, and he doesn’t know much – kind of the kind of people that God tends to use.

And he hears all this, and in his mind and heart, he’s going, “How can these people stand around, when they – the things they’re saying against our great God?”

And if you know the story, he ends up volunteering; he goes to the king. And then, we find an impossible situation, where a teenage boy, without any armor, just takes what he does have – a sling and a stick – and he slings that thing and hits him right in the middle of the forehead, and he drops, and then, he grabs his sword and finishes the job. And, I mean, it’s impossible – a teenage boy slays this great giant.

And so, what we see is, okay, God chooses this improbable person. He has this amazing event that happens. Now, let’s peek into what happens after breakthrough. If you want a very, very long – this will take a pot of coffee, or all afternoon. From 1 Samuel 18, through the rest of 1 Samuel and all the book of 2 Samuel, is the journey of David’s life.

And as you read it, what you find is that, although God does impossible things in him and through him, there’s a good, and then, there’s a bad, and there’s even some ugly.

The good is, he’s exalted after he kills Goliath. He has fame. He gets position in the army. He ends up getting to marry the king’s daughter. He gets respected; there’s wealth. Out of this process, he forms maybe the deepest and best relationship of his life, with a brother named Jonathan. He has blessing, reputation, and eventually, he becomes king.

The bad is that the king, who’s carnal, gets jealous – Saul. There’s betrayal, and then, he’s persecuted. He’s running for his life, for about a ten-year period. He’s hiding in caves. He’s separated from his family. The king gives his wife to some other guy.

And so, one of the reasons I wanted to choose David is, as I’ve prayed for you all, and you give me e-mails and conversations, you take these steps of faith – and some of you’ve decided you’re going to go to counseling, and others have flown across the country to apologize, or make restitution with a parent, and multiple things are happening as you tell me you’re taking steps of faith. Here’s my concern: Sometimes we have this American notion like, once you do the right thing, then everything’s going to be rosy and wonderful. Right?

You know, “I went to counseling.” Well, actually, usually they dig up a bunch of junk before we get to the good stuff. And your mate often gets more mad at you, and stuff comes to the surface. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that. And when you go apologize to someone, and say, “You know, I was in church, and I was thinking, or I was reading the Bible, and God spoke to me, and I just want to –” You know, you’re thinking to yourself, I’m going to apologize for my ten percent. I really think it was their ninety percent. And you own your ten percent, and they go, “Yeah! Let me tell you about what you…” And you’re thinking, Wait a second, God. Or you decide you’re going to go public at work, and you get ridiculed.

All I want you to know is, when you take steps of faith, and God’s favor is poured out, it often gets more difficult before it gets better. And you need to understand is that that’s when a lot of people bail out, thinking, Oh, I must have done the wrong thing. No, you didn’t do the wrong thing. All God’s impossible grace into difficult situations are in the context of a hostile environment, and it’s very, very difficult. And part of His power and grace is enduring through Him and watching Him work.

And so, David, he’s anointed king, but for ten years, he’s dodging spears, running for his life, eating off the land. And then, he eventually becomes king. He sees God’s favor. Tremendous things happen. He takes control over all, militarily. But there’s some ugly. He’s a great man; he’s a great leader. He’s a great warrior. He’s a great psalmist, musician. But he’s at the wrong place, at the wrong time, one day, and in a moment of weakness, he takes another man’s wife, and he commits adultery.

And after he commits adultery, like many of us, his cover-up is worse than his sin. And he tries to make it look like the baby is going to be this other man’s, and he can’t get the man to fall for his plan, so he has him killed. And so, for a year, this great man of God lives with a secret: He’s committed adultery; he’s committed murder.

And then, he’s confronted. And what makes David a great man is not his history, not that he ever did everything right. I mean, those are big. But when confronted, he owned it, and he was honest, and he repented. And there were consequences. But he was restored.

And by the end of his life, he was a man that had a knowledge of God and a view of God that he sought to pass on to others, that we live with today, and many of them are in the psalms. It’s kind of his personal journey that he put to music. He wasn’t the best father in the world. He had moments where his pride got him in big trouble.

In fact, one of the things – you know, I didn’t grow up as a Christian. When I read the Bible, one of the greatest testaments that is actually the Word of God, is, if you were trying to write a book about religion, and get people to buy it, you wouldn’t include this stuff. I mean, read about other “leaders,” or, “religious movements.” I mean, they’re bigger than life. I mean, you wouldn’t say that one of the greatest men committed adultery and murder.

But God wants you to know, and I to know, that there’s a journey. And He does want to do impossible things and supernatural things, but He does it through fallen, hurting people, who often make some big mistakes. But your failure doesn’t have to define the rest of your life.

In fact, here’s David’s view, near the end of his life. He’s realized all that he’s been through. He’s asked God and the people to join with him to raise some money to build a temple, instead of this tent that God is living in, and they’re worshipping. “And so David blessed the LORD” – it’s 1 Chronicles 29 – “in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, ‘Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel’” – and then, notice his perspective of God – “our Father, forever and ever.”

And this is how he sees God: “Yours is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” And then, he looks back on all the stuff of life, and all the demands of life: “Both riches and honor come from You. You rule over all, and it’s in Your hands is all power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.”

And that’s a picture of a man who God has used, from a shepherd boy to a king, and that’s now the view he has of God. In Acts 13:22, we get the New Testament picture of God’s view of him. Now, think of where he’s been, what he’s done – both the good, the bad, and the ugly. And when the New Testament writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, looks back: “For I have found David, a man after all My heart, who would do all My will.”

So, with that picture, I want to show you a portion of his journal. Because here’s what I can tell you: God wants to do in you – in your home, or with your roommate, in your neighborhood or apartment complex, in this city, in your job – what He did in and through David. He wants to manifest His power and His presence to heal, restore, and love, and communicate to people how real He is, and how much He loves them.

And the question we’re going to ask and answer is, how did David habitually – that’s the key word – how did David habitually unleash God’s supernatural power into impossible situations?

And it’s not the only psalm, but I think, in this little portion of his journal, we learn five things about who he is, and five specific things that he did, that I can say in my life, and you can say in yours, “You know what? I think if I do that, I think if I seek to be that kind of person, that I can have a journey for the next ten, or twenty, or fifty years” – however God gives you – “and I can habitually make breakthrough the new norm.”

Let’s pick up the story here. It’s Psalm 27: “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me and devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart – I will not fear; though a war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” And what we’re going to see is, from his personal journey, exactly who he was.

Who was he? In this first section, verses 1 through 3, he was a bold risk-taker. He was a bold risk-taker.

I want you to, if you will, circle “my light”, “my salvation”, “my stronghold”. Light is a force that automatically dispels darkness. When everyone else was afraid of the giant, light dispels the darkness. When he was hiding for his life, light dispels the darkness. When he felt like everything was overwhelming, and his family was taken away from him, and they were hijacked by a group of people, light dispelled the darkness. And notice the little word, my, my, my. This is personal. This isn’t a philosophy. It’s not a worldview. “God, Yahweh, Jesus is my light. But He’s more than just my light; He’s my salvation.”

In fact, you might write the word Deliverer. He’s not speaking of his eternal salvation, here. He’s saying, “When I’m in trouble, God rescues me. He delivers me. He saves me. He can save this marriage. He can save this relationship. He can save this business. He can save me out of this addiction.” That’s what David’s saying. “And therefore, whom shall I fear?” He’s bigger than that. He’s bigger than that. You either have a really big God and small problems, or you have really big problems and a very small God.

And then, he says, “When stuff comes – He’s my stronghold.” It’s a picture of a place where the enemy can’t get in. It’s a huge cave, with a fortress in front of it, is the idea, and no one can hurt you there. And he’s declaring something. This is why God used David. He declared by faith: “The Lord is my light. The Lord is my stronghold. The Lord is my deliverer. I won’t be afraid. I won’t be afraid.”

And then, in your notes, I want you to put a little box around a few key words, because he’s not doing this, like, you know, writing a nice song. Put a box around the word wicked, put a box around the word enemies, put a box around the word army, and put a box around the word warwicked, enemies, army, war. Anybody have any enemies? Anybody feel like you’re going against life, and it’s really hard? Anybody feel like there are foes, visible and invisible, and circumstances, and finances, and struggles?

What’s he saying? In fact, he starts with the wicked, then he goes to some enemies, and then, it’s like, “If a whole army – I mean, a whole army. Or if an entire war comes against me.” What is he saying? “I will be confident.” Why is he going to be confident? It’s not because he thinks he’s stronger, better, wiser, or more godly. It’s because he knows who God is. And so, when you see God and know God for who He is, you’re a bold risk-taker.

Now, what did he do? He trusted God. It’s what he did. That’s how simple it is. He trusted God. He trusted God with his future. He trusted God with his wife. He trusted God with the uncertainty of, I’m anointed as king. It’s been seven years; I’m hiding in caves, running for my life. My circumstances don’t seem to line up with God’s promises. Anybody in here have that going on in your life? This is hard. This is difficult. This is painful. This is unreasonable. This doesn’t feel like God loves me. He had over a decade of that. But he trusted God.

Question for you: Are you trusting God, or paralyzed by fear? He refused to let his fears determine his life. He just refused. My fear of people, my fear of work, my fear of stepping out, my fear of what other people think. He was confident, not in his power; he was confident in God’s.

You might jot, if you would, Hebrews 11, verse 6. It keeps coming back to this: Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. And he that comes to God, or she that comes to God, must believe two things. Number one, that He exists. Not theoretically, that He exists. He – who’s the “He”? The all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign King, lover, Just One, of the universe, who created all that there is. He exists.

And here’s, then, the second part – and He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God’s blessing – these impossible things, this supernatural power – it doesn’t happen to everybody. It happens to people who believe God to the point that they step out, even though they’re afraid. David was simply a bold risk-taker. He trusted God.

Question: Are you a bold risk-taker? Are you a bold risk-taker in your relationships? Are you a bold risk-taker at work? Are you a bold risk-taker in your neighborhood?

Second thing, in the next section, we’re going to learn that he was a passionate worshipper. That’s who he was – number two – a passionate worshipper. And you say, “Well, Chip, where do you get that?” Look at verse 4: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” He has declared, “I’m not going to live in fear,” and now, he’s going to say, “This is my personal, number one priority in life. One thing. One thing. One thing do I seek.” And what is it? “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD.”

Well, what are you going to do? “To gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.” Well, why? “Because in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent, and He will set me high on a rock.” And the result? “Then my head will be exalted above my enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.”

David was a passionate worshiper, and what did he do? He pursued God. He pursued God.  Did you see the word seek, seek, seek? His passion was for a person, not for prosperity. His number one passion was for God Himself, not for what God could give him. And he arranged his time, and he arranged his energy around pursuing God.
Let’s pick up the story here. It’s Psalm 27: “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me and devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart – I will not fear; though a war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” And what we’re going to see is, from his personal journey, exactly who he was.

Who was he? In this first section, verses 1 through 3, he was a bold risk-taker. He was a bold risk-taker.

What’s he saying? In fact, he starts with the wicked, then he goes to some enemies, and then, it’s like, “If a whole army – I mean, a whole army. Or if an entire war comes against me.” What is he saying? “I will be confident.” Why is he going to be confident? It’s not because he thinks he’s stronger, better, wiser, or more godly. It’s because he knows who God is. And so, when you see God and know God for who He is, you’re a bold risk-taker.

Question: Are you a bold risk-taker? Are you a bold risk-taker in your relationships? Are you a bold risk-taker at work? Are you a bold risk-taker in your neighborhood?

Second thing, in the next section, we’re going to learn that he was a passionate worshipper. That’s who he was – number two – a passionate worshipper. And you say, “Well, Chip, where do you get that?” Look at verse 4: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” He has declared, “I’m not going to live in fear,” and now, he’s going to say, “This is my personal, number one priority in life. One thing. One thing. One thing do I seek.” And what is it? “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD.”

David was a passionate worshiper, and what did he do? He pursued God. He pursued God.  Did you see the word seek, seek, seek? It’s like he’s trying to find different words. At this point in Israel’s history, they worshipped in the Tabernacle. He says “dwelling,” “sacred tent,” “sacred tent,” “temple.” He takes three or four different words, and says, “When I corporately come with God’s people into the presence of God, and He manifests His shekinah glory and His power and His presence and His beauty, and when I’m up on the rooftop, or when I’m meditating on my bed, or like I have this thirst, like a deer panting for water, when I long to hear God’s voice and have Him speak to me,” he says, “that’s the number one priority of my life.”

His passion was for a person, not for prosperity. His number one passion was for God Himself, not for what God could give him. And he arranged his time, and he arranged his energy around pursuing God.

And what he does, he praises Him. He wants to behold His beauty. He wants to praise Him. And for some of us, it’s kind of like, “Well, I don’t really know how to do that.”

I brought three tools that have been helpful for me, because my confession is, at least the first decade or so I was a Christian – and I’m probably exaggerating; it was probably more – praise was not a big part of my life. I interceded, I prayed, I thanked, but this idea of acknowledging who God is, and worshipping for who He actually is, which enlarges your view – God says He inhabits the praises of His people. And so, a couple things happened.

I keep mentioning this book, because I’ve been reading it for over thirty years, but it’s called The Knowledge of the Holy, and it’s three or four chapters on the attributes of God. And as I began to read about the attributes of God, I began to enlarge my mind and my heart, and I would begin to praise Him for who He was.

A book that has been instrumental in my wife’s life – Ruth Myers wrote a book called 31 Days of Praise. Praise will strengthen your faith. Praise ushers you into God’s presence. Praise activates God’s power. Praise helps you overcome demonic opposition. Praise transforms your perspective. And praise brings pleasure and glory to God.

And what I know is, most of us are busy, and we come to God like we do other people: “I want to get this done. Could You take care of this? God, I have a problem. Would You take care of that?” And basically, for many of us, our time with God is, “Oh, God, will You fix this, take care of that, or give me so I get relief?” David was a worshipper. He was a passionate worshipper.

In fact, can I give you an example? If David was going to come to our services, he would have been here five to seven minutes early. Because David would have never dreamed that someone getting up and declaring the truth of God’s Word is more important than gathering and singing praises directly to God. And yet, we kind of live in a day – see, our behavior always tells you what you believe. So, if you can come ten minutes late, or fifteen minutes late, or eight minutes late, because the singing is just the singing.

Actually, we’re not singing to one another; we’re declaring the praise of the holy Creator of the earth. He finds pleasure in it. His presence is manifested in it. And it’s not just reserved for corporate worship. I’ll meet a lot of people, and they say, “Oh, yeah, I missed the last couple of weeks, because I wanted to do this, then, I wanted to do that. But I watched it on the internet.” I got news for you: You can get content – the presence of God doesn’t show up on the internet.

You need to be gathered with God’s people, and for some of us, maybe loosen up a little bit. See, part of us long to experience God’s presence; we won’t let our emotions get involved. And maybe the place to start is in a back bedroom. Put a pillow under the door and sing to God. What you’ll find is, your experience of Him will change. His power will get manifested, and your problems will sort of start shrinking.

Another little book that’s been very helpful to me is called The Handbook of Prayer by Ken Boa, and it’s nothing but Scripture, but he just takes you through praying Scripture back to God. And when I have done that, it’s amazing. There are mornings I get up – I don’t know about you, about how it works – there are mornings I get up, I don’t even want to go to the day. I don’t want to face the problems. I got a list this long, and I can’t get it done. There are two issues I’m overwhelmed with. There are demands – right? I mean, that’s – but if I stay there, and go into my day that way, it’s usually not a pretty picture.

And so, I have to stop, and I just choose – “God, I don’t feel like talking to You. Sorry. I don’t feel like reading Your Word. Sorry. But I want to remember who You are.”

And so, the first thing I usually do – and this morning was particularly spectacular – is, you know, the dog wants out very early, and I let the dog out, and then, I turn all the lights out in the house. And every morning, I just look up and hope that there’s a clear sky so there are stars.

And this morning, there were those puffy clouds in different places, and stars everywhere, and a sliver of a moon. And I looked up, and I saw the Big Dipper, and the Little Dipper, and all these stars, and I was just reminded, the God who spoke those into existence and holds them, moment by moment, by the word of His power, says to me, little ol’ Chip Ingram, “Everything you need, I’m here for you. I made all that, and I live inside of you. Just let Me help you.” And you know what? He will.

He was a bold risk-taker. He was a passionate worshipper who pursued God, and third, he was a wounded healer. We pick that up in verse 7. He says, “Hear my voice when I call, LORD.”

And then, notice the first thing. I mean, this is a guy that has committed murder. This is a guy that has committed adultery. This is a guy that realizes, when he looks at his fathering track record, it’s too late; he’s messed up. He says, “Be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

And then, he’s like us. He struggles with rejection. He struggles with abandonment. He longs and craves acceptance. So, listen to this prayer: “Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn away from Your servant in anger.” Well, why would God be angry? Well, he knows why God would be angry with him. Anybody in this room know why God should probably be angry with you? I do. And he’s praying. And he goes, “I’ve messed up. Don’t turn away; don’t hide from me.”

Notice what he goes on to say: “Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.” Without You, I don’t have a prayer! “Though my father and my mother” – or even if, or in the possibility that my father and mother would – “forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

And so, what you hear is a man who’s a wounded healer. And you know what he was? What did he do? He was honest with God. He was just honest with God.

Later, David would write – you might jot this down; it’s been helpful for me – Psalm 145, verse 18: “The LORD is near to those who call upon Him.” That’s the first half of the verse. And I don’t know about you, but there have been times where I’ve called upon Him, and He didn’t fear near at all. Anybody there? “Oh, God, help!”

I had a guy write an e-mail – we’re on a journey with a fellow in another state, and he’s a doctor, and he’s real smart, and he’s real analytical. And people have challenged his faith, and we’re reading books together. And he wrote me a long e-mail, and he said, “I feel like I have this letter made out to God, but I just don’t know where to send it.” And we’ve read Mere Christianity, and The Case for Christ, and a number of books and all kind of different things. And he’s trying, with his mind, to put his arms around all of it.

And the second half of that verse says, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” See, God just rushes to help you, the moment – instead of posing, posturing, denial, excusing, blaming – you know, a lot of our prayers are, you know, “If my wife would just shape up,” or, “If my husband would start being more sensitive.” “If my son would finally repent.” You know, “If the educational system would get straightened out.” “If Hollywood would quit making all those bad movies.” You know, “If the government would just do something.” You know. All those things that you can’t control.

But what you see from David’s life, is – he had lots of ups and lots of downs – the moment you get honest with God, and own your mistakes, your struggles, your failure, and your weakness, you will not meet a God whose arms are crossed, whose toe is tapping, and looks down on you with, “I was wondering when you would come, because I have this cosmic ruler that I want to rap your knuckles and on your forehead.”

You will meet a God who, in every way, like you, has been tempted, yet without sin, who walked on this earth and had prostitutes fall at His feet and weep over His feet and dry them with their hair. He’s looked into the eyes of people that were His closest friends, who, moments later, would betray Him. He understands the pain of humanity. He completely understands where you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, so much so, that He went to a cross and died in your place, and rose from the dead, and said, “It’s finished.” And offers not just a one-time forgiveness for your sin, where you’re born again, but as a follower, sometimes after you blow it, when you’ve known the Lord for a long time, it’s harder to get honest with God, isn’t it?

“I should know better. I should know better. I can’t believe I did that.” And you hide it. And then, pretty soon, there’s no experience of God. And then, pretty soon, you start acting in ways, and people can see the difference.

You want to experience supernatural power? Be honest with God. Just get ruthlessly honest about the mistakes and the hurts and the past, and pray something like this: “Don’t turn away from me. Don’t forsake me.”

And then, did you notice this little phrase, “in his heart”? Something inside of him. He had ups; he had downs, but something inside of him said, “Seek the Lord. Seek the Lord.” And then, he’s speaking to himself, and, “My heart said to you, ‘I’ll seek Your face.’” Did you notice the word face, face, face? It pops up here. And the beauty of the Lord and His face – it’s intimacy; it’s personal.

See, there isn’t this little formula – Breakthrough: “If I do A, B, C, and D, then God will fix my marriage.” “A, B, C, and D, then my kids.” “A, B, C, and D,  then, my business will…” I mean, that is just – forgive the terminology – that’s spiritual baloney. And it completely misses the point of the heart of God. He loves you. Supernatural power is available for those who are bold risk-takers, for those who are passionate worshippers, for those who are wounded healers.

And by the way, sometimes you ask God for a breakthrough – are you ready for this? Here’s His answer: “No.” “What?” Yeah, sometimes, “Oh, God, will You deal with this? Will You deal with this?” And maybe it’s a physical healing, or maybe it’s part of a relationship, and the other person has to change, and sometimes He says, “No.” And it’s not because you don’t have enough faith. The apostle Paul wanted a breakthrough.

It’s recorded in 2 Corinthians chapter 12. And Paul had quite a bit of faith. He, earlier in the same chapter, talked about God giving him this view of heaven. And we don’t know what it was, but there was something in his life that was a real, real pain, and once, he asked; God said, “No.” Twice, he asked; God said, “No.” Three times, God says, “No.” And then, God says this – 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9: “ I’m not going to give you the supernatural relief in this situation. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” But you can’t ever get power perfected in weakness until you get honest enough to say, “This is weakness. I can’t handle this. God, please take it away.”

And then, here’s the response that ushers in power. I love this. Verse 10 says, “Therefore” – not just, “I’ll put up with it. I’ll deal with it. I’ll try to have a good attitude.” What’s he say? “Therefore, I’m well-content with weakness, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In other words, the apostle Paul says, “If this is the way you get supernatural power, and I’m made for eternity, and I’m in this little thing, short-term, called “time,” well, bring it on! Just bring on the insults! Bring on the distress! I don’t care what other people say. I don’t care if I stay in prison. This thorn in my flesh – if this a part of the journey, I want to experience Your power.”

The Church and the world doesn’t need to see more stuff and more buildings and more religion. They need to meet Christians filled with God’s power, who are going through difficult times and have joy, who restore things when people thought there was no hope, who live with a great attitude in terrible job situations, who lose their homes or lose their businesses, or going through difficult times. And your non-Christian friends are going, “How in the world can you have a good attitude?”

And you say, “Well, it’s not easy, but God’s grace is sufficient. Would I like my home back? Would I like my business? Would I like things to work out? Am I happy that, for reasons I can’t understand, after twenty-three years, my mate decided, ‘I don’t love you anymore,’ and walked off with someone else? It’s a fallen, painful world, but the Lord is my light and my salvation. The Lord is my Deliverer. He’s my stronghold. And it’s in those difficult and painful times that God works, powerfully.” He was a wounded healer, and what did he do? He was honest with God.

In the next section, we learn that there’s a part of this man that never gives up the fight. He was a fierce warrior. Verse 11 he says, “Teach me Your way, LORD; lead me in a straight” or, literally, a level – “path.” In other words, “God, in all the ups, in all the downs, in all the struggles, I want You to teach me. I’m listening. I want to figure out where You’re at work, and I want to join You. Teach me and lead me.”

But then, he tells why – because he understands he’s in a battle. Look at the – “because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desires of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.” Circle the word oppressors. Circle the word foes. Circle the word false witnesses. And then, circle malicious accusations. He was a fierce warrior.

And you know what he did? He followed God. That’s how simple. He just followed God. “What’s the game plan for a king in this season? What’s the game plan for a father who has really failed? What’s Your way and Your instruction, when you’ve sinned deeply and committed adultery? What do you do when there’s prosperity everywhere?” What he was asking was, “I want to learn; I want to follow. Whatever You say, that’s what I want to do.”

The moment you say that to God, I will guarantee His will, will be almost the opposite of the entire culture coming at you, and unfortunately, opposite of most Christians. See, where there’s faith, there’s power. Where there’s praise, there’s power. Where there’s honesty admitting weakness, there’s power. And what’s he doing right here? He’s a fierce warrior, but how is he fighting? I mean, he’s won on the battlefield. What’s he doing? He’s praying: “God, teach me. God, show me.”

This is like saying, “God, show me how to figure out this software program.” “God, show me how I relate to my grown son or daughter.” “God, show me how to deal with this physical disability.” God, show me, teach me, lead me. I want to do life Your way.” It’s just following.

And as you step and follow: power, as you step and follow: power. Why do you think there are those Old Testament stories – you know, they’re at the Jordan River. When they stepped, what happened? Whoo!

Peter: “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come.” “Come.” You know, he could stand in that boat forever. He steps; he follows, asking God what He’s up to, following Him. What would happen if each of us became fierce warriors for God’s agenda and stopped asking God, “How are things going with me and for me?” and started asking, “What is Your agenda? Will You teach me? Will You lead me?”

The hope for America, it’s, as we walk out of here, filled with God’s Spirit, expecting Him to work, being passionate worshippers who take bold risks, who say, “I will follow, no matter what. I can’t do it, but in my weakness...”

And the God of heaven will choose, because He’s promised to blow the wind of life in you and me. And you will get to be the recipients of Him doing things in you that you thought were not possible, and things through you that you thought were only for superstars. But see, when He does that through ordinary people like us, and shepherd boys, who gets the credit? He does.

Finally, he was a faithful servant. In other words, he didn’t give up. He didn’t give in. Here’s what He did: He finished well. Notice what it says. He says, in verse 13, “I remain confident of this.” Now, think of all that he’s been through. He’s had a son turn on him. He’s run for his life. He’s experienced a coup. He’s been in battles. He’s been hiding in caves. He’s seen amazing prosperity. “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD” – where? – “in the land of the living.”

Now, he knows he’s going to see. He wrote Psalm 23, right? He knows that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life, and that he’s going to spend that with the Lord, forever. What he’s saying is, “I am confident, I know for sure, I’m going to experience God’s goodness.” Where’s the land of the living? That’s the right now. That’s today.

Despite the difficulty, despite the circumstances, he’s going to finish well. Why? Notice, he gives this warning: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, take heart and wait for the LORD.” When he says, “Be strong,” you know what he’s saying to people like us? “Don’t give up. Don’t give in.” Don’t give up on that situation. Don’t give up on that person. “Take heart,” means, “Don’t be discouraged.” Don’t get inwardly focused. Endure. Persevere.

See, where there’s perspective, there’s power. David understood – think of the part of the Bible that he had. He had the first five books, and a bit more. And he could read, in Genesis, about someone named Joseph. And what David was, a worshipper and a man of faith, and what he knew is that when you step out, and God does the impossible through you, and He has a great plan, sometimes the first thing He does is, you get betrayed by people who love you. And then, after you’re betrayed, you land in a pit.

And then, He may prosper you for a while, and then, people lie about you, and you could be falsely accused of things. And then, after that, just to top it off, He’ll stick you in prison. So, you’re in the pit, then you’re in the prison, so that you can end up the second most powerful person in the world, to save an entire nation and be exalted. Because what did we learn earlier? “Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God that He may lift you up.”

See, David understood the Joseph journey. What he understood was – here’s the spiritual equation: If God is absolutely sovereign, and in control of all things, if God is good – that means He has my best interests in mind – but even in a fallen world, He’s all-powerful, He will orchestrate His power, His goodness, and His wisdom in the midst of the sin and betrayal and ugliness of other people, and out of that will come His goodness in me and through me in the land of the living. And what I have to do is not bail out. Because He always does something deep in you before He does something significant through you.

Who is David? David is a shepherd boy that became a king, and he was a bold risk-taker. He was a passionate worshipper. He was a wounded healer. He was a fierce warrior. And he was a faithful servant, a servant of God. What did he do? Very simply, he trusted God, he pursued God, he was honest with God, he followed God, and he finished well.

Here’s the question I think God is probably asking all of us: Who are you going to be, and what do you do? Do you live by faith? Are you a bold risk-taker? Are you a passionate worshipper? Are you willing to be a wounded healer? Are you going to fight? Are you going to realize life isn’t fair, and you’re not a victim, but the power of Christ lives within you?

Because see, where there is faith, there’s power. Where there is praise, there’s power. Where there’s honesty, there’s power. Where there’s prayer, there’s power. And where there’s perspective, and you see the big picture, there’s the grace and power of God, for Him to unleash in you and through you His purposes for all those around you. And that’s called “breakthrough.”