Source: Steven Furtick
God Wants To Surprise You | Steven Furtick Sermon Notes , Get it as Outline , Transcript or PDF Free download and share with your friends.
We want God to change stuff without changing
us, and that’s not how he does it.
Are you surprisable?
I was praying, “God, what do I tell them?”
He said, “Tell them ‘Stay surprisable.'”
Keep some room in what you plan for your life,
your kid’s life, and for all the trajectory,
where if God wants to do something a little
This is the lesson Peter learned.
By the time he has gotten to this point in
his ministry, he’s full of the Holy Spirit.
He has seen the empty tomb.
He has been restored when he left Jesus at
He’s no longer surprised at his own weakness,
but he’s confident in God’s strength.
He’s no longer surprised by his own weakness,
but he is confident in God’s strength.
That’s a whole turkey word for somebody.
Stop being so surprised by your weakness.
It’s always going to be there.
You are but dust, the King James says.
You are nothing more than a breath and a vapor,
but God’s Word is eternal, and he lives in
That’s why Peter said, “Why are you looking
We didn’t do it.
We just accessed the power of one who could.”
Some of y’all…
Do y’all want the marriage seminar part?
Stop thinking you completely know what your
wife would and wouldn’t want to do.
You’re so boring.
I’m telling you, man.
I have been married a lot of years now.
It’s coming up on 20.
Yeah, 19 years.
(Y’all are like, “You’re in trouble.
You didn’t remember how many years you’ve
I’m up here saying a lot of stuff.
She doesn’t care.)
When I tell you I’ve never loved being married
to her more…
I’m so glad I didn’t confine her to the first
version of what I thought I knew my wife was.
The first thing she told me at the North Greenville
cafeteria that I remember is “I would never
want to marry a preacher.”
“I’ll never preach.
I mean, I’ll support you.”
She surprises herself.
I caught her watching herself back preaching
the other day.
She said, “Oh, that’s good.”
Have you surprised yourself lately?
You have to surprise yourself.
Not only surprise your spouse, like, “Oh,
I gave you six flowers instead of four this
Not only that stuff.
Some of you need to surprise yourself.
Just do something, even if it’s small, that
you didn’t think you could do.
“I’m a night person.”
Go to bed.
I’m a morning person.”
You know what I mean?
Like, “Oh, wild and crazy.
I normally get it grilled.
I’m going to get it fried.
I’m full of surprises.
I like to preach different ways.
I like to write different songs.
Somebody told me…
One time I wrote a song that had some rock
in it, and they were like, “Oh, black people
wouldn’t like that.”
The person who told me was white.
How do you know what black people will like
and not like?
Like there’s one person.
Stop telling me what somebody else would not
like or want, like you’ve figured out people.
I told a man one time we couldn’t have video
campuses and the only way my preaching works
is if people are in a room with me while I’m
One day I walked in and nobody was allowed
to come to church a year ago, and all I had
was the thing I didn’t think I could do.
You might be surprised.
That sounds really cool when Peter is saying
it in verse 12 to the leaders.
This man gets up and walks, and he’s like,
“Why are you surprised?
Why does this surprise you?”
Well, come on, Peter.
When you first met Jesus and you caught fish,
it freaked you out so badly you fell at his
feet and said, “Go away, Lord.
I’m a sinful man.”
When he said, “I’m going to the cross,” you
said, “Never, Lord.
That won’t happen to you.”
When they actually arrested him, you were
so surprised you went and cowered to a servant
girl who said you were one of them.
This is something that takes us a little time.
You get conditioned to certain things.
If you have enough of the negative or the
dysfunctional things, you’ll be surprised
by the good.
Now I think that’s helpful sometimes.
I think sometimes we ought to be more surprised
and less entitled.
When Rick Bowling first gave me a bonus check…
He said, “You’re getting a Christmas bonus.”
It was the first church I worked at.
I bear hugged him.
The amount of money today…
It was so small compared to what things are
today it wouldn’t register like that.
I wouldn’t hug him.
I’d be like, “Thanks, man.”
What got me in the text…
I just was reading this again.
When you come to the Bible with fresh eyes,
God is wanting to surprise you in your Bible,
in your life, in your relationships.
He’s the God of surprises.
He’s talking to a woman at the well.
He’s doing amazing things, feeding multitudes
with little meager fish, Captain D’s supplies,
Long John Silver’s supplies.
He’s surprising, but sometimes we’re not surprisable.
It said once the man was able to walk, he
went with them in the temple courts (verse
8), walking, jumping, and praising God.
It caused such a commotion…
Everybody was amazed that this man they used
to see sitting was now walking, jumping, and
praising God, because he wasn’t expecting
There’s a praise that comes out of somebody
who hasn’t learned yet to take God’s gifts
How many people went to the temple that day?
Why weren’t they jumping?
Because when you’ve always been able to walk…
When you’ve always had provision, when you’ve
always had a roof over your head, when you’ve
always been well fed, when you’ve always been
taken care of, you stop being surprised by
One of my friends said you exchange appreciation
You start expecting people to do for you what
they don’t have to do for you.
That is very dangerous.
Every time I preach, I’m kind of surprised
that God actually uses me, and I think that’s
I don’t ever want to get to the point where
I’m like, “Well, I mean, I know my Bible.
Of course God used me.
want to stay surprised.
Like, every once in a while, I just want to
take a deep breath and be like, “Oh, that
was a premium breath.”
I know you can’t walk around all the time
just praising God for every breath and skipping
through Walmart and things like this.
I’m not talking about being weird.
But there is a lesson in the fact that of
everybody who walked into the temple that
day, the one who had never walked before…
His feet barely touched the ground.
When you first got certain blessings from
God, when you first started being used by
God, when you first got on the Elevation staff,
your feet barely touched the ground.
Once in a while, you have to remember it’s
a blessing just to be able to walk.
It’s a blessing just to see another day.
It’s a blessing just to survive.
You will really understand this if you ever
went through a season where you thought you
wouldn’t make it.
If you haven’t had that season, you won’t
understand, but if you had a season where
you were living off alms, where you were begging
for something to make it to the next day,
but he got you up, snatched you up…
His mighty hand, his right hand, his hand
If the name of Jesus came to you in your begging
place, you know what it means to jump.
You know why we call the church Elevation.
You know why we praise him.
You know why we smile with all of our teeth,
clothed, in our right mind, blessed to be
in the number one more day.
Jump every once in a while.
You don’t have to jump everywhere, but every
once in a while, just jump.
Just jump for joy.
Every once in a while, just appreciate the
fact that the lame will leap like a deer and
that God did that for you.
When you’ve always been able to walk, you
can’t really appreciate it, because you stop
God wants to surprise you.
He does this in strategic ways.
God is never more strategic than when you
are most surprised.
Peter had no plan to preach that day, and
he preached a sermon so powerful, because
God planted somebody at the gate.
Later in his life, he gives us a perspective
in 1 Peter 4.
He says that just like God surprises you with
great gifts and opportunities…
He said, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised
at the fiery trial.”
This is 1 Peter.
This is the same guy.
He kind of has this thing.
He’s like, “Why are you surprised that God
is healing this man?
This is what Jesus came to do.
You should know it more than anyone.
You recognized the man, but you didn’t recognize
the Messiah, so you are surprised when God
actually shows up because it does not look
like what you put on your list.”
Are you there right now in your life?
He said, “Don’t be surprised by the favor.
Don’t be surprised by the fire.”
Don’t be surprised when God strengthens you.
That’s what he’s there for.
He gave you his Spirit.
Don’t be surprised when you struggle.
And above all else, don’t let your struggle
keep you from accessing your strength.
“Silver and gold I don’t have, but what I
have I give you.”
And his feet and ankles became strong.
“Because,” Peter said, “the same Jesus you
killed, the author of life, God raised from
I like to imagine sometimes that the Devil
threw a big party after Jesus died and the
sky grew black.
It is finished.”
He thought Jesus gave up.
I like to imagine what it was like Sunday
morning when he was standing there with the
keys of death, hell, and the grave.
I want you to stand up right where you are,
and I want you to throw your arms out just
like this and tell the Devil, “Surprise!
You hit me with your best shot.
You formed every weapon against me.
You thought you killed my confidence by having
people reject me, but surprise!
You thought I would die in the valley of the
shadow of death.
You thought I would curse God and die, but
You thought it was going to be the end of
You thought you picked my marriage apart.
You thought you snatched my kid.
You thought getting him on drugs would get
me to stop praying for him, but surprise!”
It’s about to backfire, because the same man
who sat there begging was the one who started
a revival in Jerusalem.
You’re stronger than you thought you were.
It didn’t kill you.
It made you better.
You weren’t ready for it, but it’s here.
Into the hands of the God of surprises you
have the opportunity now to place all of your
uncertainty and all of your insecurity.
God said, “I want to surprise you.”
Every once in a while, when I get overwhelmed
by too many choices, I’ll tell Holly, or if
it’s a leadership thing I’ll tell one of my
staff, “Just surprise me.
I don’t even want to choose.
I don’t know what to choose.
There are too many options.
Just surprise me.”
Holly will say, “Do you want this to eat or
that to eat or the other to eat?”
I’ll be like, “Just surprise me.”
What a great prayer to pray to God for all
who have been surprised by life.
If Peter and John, the most unlikely Kobe
and Shaq combination in gospel history, can
be interrupted on their way to prayer by a
paralytic man who asked for money but got
healing to the point…
In verse 11, after he jumped up and was healed,
the Bible says the man held on to Peter and
You’re wondering, “What’s the point of holding
on to them if your feet and ankles are strong
enough to hold yourself up?”
It’s because he wasn’t ready for this.
You weren’t either, and God knows that.
So, when you get to that place where you say,
“This is something I never saw myself doing.
This is something I never saw myself dealing
with,” just turn your palms to your Father
like this and say, “Surprise me, God.”
I want you to walk in the confidence this
week, like Peter learned to walk in.
He didn’t get it at first.
We don’t get it at first.
But to know that when I’m most surprised,
God is most strategic.
Let’s get this in our spirits.
God said you need to have a surprisable spirit.
You need to not get so cynical about things
that you just write everything off and push
everything away and, in the name of being
guarded, you miss God.
So say this: “God is most strategic when I
am most surprised.”
Lord, I’m praying today for those who are
in a “Surprise me” season.
Not that they would like it.
Maybe we need it.
I’m not asking for something bad to happen
to me or anybody else.
I like the good surprises, God, and I want
all of those, but even for the thing I didn’t
ask you to do, like the man in this passage,
help me to reach out and take hold of what
you brought me.
Surprise me, God.
Surprise me with a facet of your goodness
and provision I didn’t see this week.
I’m too overwhelmed.
I don’t know this way, that way.
I don’t know.
We don’t know anymore.
The menu is too big.
The world is too complicated.
The inputs are too great.
The noise is too loud.
So surprise us.
May we be filled with wonder and amazement.
May people barely recognize us this time next
May we leap for joy when we think about all
of the things you’ve done for us.
God, some of us have been sitting at a gate
so long while you were trying to make us a
gate for something you want to release.
God, would you use us to surprise somebody
else, somebody who wasn’t expecting their
day to be made?
We come around this idea, “Why are you surprised
We’re not surprised by suffering, but we are
expectant of glory.
We are resurrection people.
We give you praise in
In Jesus’ name.