52. Flex Space

Reading Plan

If you’re looking to dive deeper into what the Bible says about this topic, here’s a suggested Reading Plan, one passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon:

  1. MONDAY: Isaiah 53
  2. TUESDAY: Isaiah 54
  3. WEDNESDAY: Genesis 17
  4. THURSDAY: Psalm 22
  5. FRIDAY: Matthew 27:45-61
  6. SATURDAY: Joel 2:12-27
  7. SUNDAY: Acts 2

eGroup Discussion Questions – Great for personal reflection/journaling, too!

Sermon Notes: “Flex Space” ⤵️

Preacher: Steven Furtick
Passage: Isaiah 54:1-4
Title: Flex Space
Date: May 17, 2020

Today’s sermon notes were taken during the 9:30 livestream from the Ballentyne campus.

Part 1: Looking Forward to Normal
Part 2: A Lesson in Letting Go
Part 3: Focus on the Fruit
Part 4: Flex Space

1 “Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”
Isaiah 54:1-4, NIV


  • ♬ Don’t wait ’til the battle is over, SHOUT NOW! ♬
  • I want to bring you a good report today: Isaiah 54:1-4
  • Give it time… what you thought was the end of the world is now just a mild disappointment. God uses present disappointments to set you up for future blessings.
  • Pastor Steven shares a story about trying to purchase a shopping center to convert into a campus.
    • When you pray, “God, make a way,” you don’t get to define the way that he makes.
    • That’s what is was [Shows a photo of the old shopping center]
    • Here’s what it is [Shows a photo of the new campus]
    • This isn’t a message about buildings… it’s a message about belief
    • I’m not saying God put them out of business, I’m just saying God made a way
  • “That’s not wasted space, that’s flex space.”
    • We want to leave this space empty on purpose, so that we can grow into it. This space can be anything we want.
    • This space has been used for…
      • Staging and setting up new campuses
      • Love Week headquarters
      • Staff worship while growing and expanding

A. Sing, Barren Woman (Isaiah 54:1)

  • In this season [now: the quarantine; or in the future] of feeling like you’ve lost some progress…
    • Excuses come in to keep us from expanding
    • Whatever you lose in this season, don’t you ever let the devil have your song (Isaiah 54:1)
    • You may not sing good but you need to sing
    • “I don’t want to sing it if I don’t mean it.” Well, sing it ’til you mean it. Your praise might take a little while to rev up.
    • When we get back together, I pray you don’t shut down the church in your home.
    • God inhabits the praise of his people. (Psalm 22:3)
    • I didn’t work to get to God, grace came to me!
    • How flexible is your faith?
  • Your Plan C might be God’s Plan A.
  • The role of the prophet is to give the people a vision that’s not dependent on the situation: The captivity is an opportunity.
    • Isaiah wasn’t talking about an actual barren woman; he was talking about a nation (Israel) that began from an barren woman (Sarah–Genesis 17:15-16)
    • Isaiah said stuff that he never saw. That’s the challenge of faith, to keep speaking and believing what God showed you. (Proverbs 29:18–“Where there is no vision, the people perish”)
    • It took 70 years for Jeremiah 29:11 to manifest. It may take our whole lives before we make sense of things.
    • But it is not wasted. Your life is not wasted.
  • “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV)

B. Strengthen and Stretch (Isaiah 54:2)

  • The differential between my problem and my size is God’s flex space. He likes to show off. That’s why a little boy takes down a giant (1 Samuel 17).
  • Strengthen and stretch (Isaiah 54:2)… it’s no good to have strong faith if it’s not flexible.
  • Apokaradokia (Philippians 1:20) = To stretch out your neck and watch in eager expectation
  • This is the extra bonus sermon that’s a part of our series.
  • Paul multi-purposed his prison cell to a pulpit.
    • dokia = to stretch for, what Paul was doing in prison is like what Isaiah was prophesying in Babylon (Isaiah 54:2)
  • The people whose faith is the strongest are the people who stretched it.
    • Keep expanding your expectation to include what you did not plan for.
  • What is the space in your life right now that God is asking you to use as flex space? (Especially during this quarantine.)
    • Prison –> Pulpit (Paul)
    • Babylon –> Testing ground for faith (Isaiah)
  • How many have an eager expectation of faith today?
    • Eliminate the enemy to reclaim your imagination.
    • Waiting isn’t wasted. It is flex space.
  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it (Proverbs 18:10)
  • Hail, hail, Lion of Judah, how powerful you are!

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