36. Ghosted

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: Acts 1
  2. TUESDAY: Luke 5
  3. WEDNESDAY: John 2
  4. THURSDAY: John 11
  5. FRIDAY: John 16
  6. SATURDAY: Romans 8
  7. SUNDAY: Matthew 8

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

Sermon Notes: “Ghosted” ⤵️

Preacher: Steve Furtick
Passage: Acts 1:1-9
Title: Ghosted
Series: Kingdom Clout
Date: January 26, 2020

Sermon Notes are taken during the 9:30 Experience at the Columbia Campus.


Acts 1:1-9

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach

  • Began – Jesus’ time on earth was only the beginning. Sometimes what seems like the end is only the beginning.

2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

  • Chosen – “you’re still chosen” no matter what mistakes you’ve made.
    • You can live your life chasing or chosen.
    • Living as a clout chaser v. trusting that you’re chosen by the One who knows us.
    • We don’t chase certain things when we know we’re chosen.

3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

  • They still thought he was talking about an earthly kingdom.
    • Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. They wanted the kingdom of Israel (temporal and political deliverance)
  • They were focused on the wrong thing. Are you?
    • For example, trying to get God to change other people rather than letting him change you.

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

  • “It is not for you to know…”
    • The next ten years of your life (We pray for daily bread)
    • Other people’s opinions about you
    • [God doesn’t always invite us to know, but he always invites us to trust.]

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

  • One moment he’s given them the mission.
  • The next moment he’s ascended into Heaven.
  • Did he just ghost his own disciples?

A. The Power of God’s Presence

  • In the Old Testament, the Spirit would “overshadow” and “rest” on people like the prophets
  • But in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit doesn’t just visit, he inhabits. [“The kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21, KJV]
  • I need the presence of God…
    • When emotions are roaring
    • When looking at bills
    • When things are rising up within me
    • To not go crazy
  • Welcome his presence. Accept the things he allows. Even the painful ones.
    • Invite him into the places we wouldn’t expect him to appear.
    • Invite him into your relationships (he went to a wedding, John 2:1-12)
    • The presence of God is powerful when you run out (he turned water into wine, John 2:1-12)
    • Invite him into your boat (Luke 5:1-11)
      • “You are empty without me, now you are full because I’m in your boat.”
    • I want Jesus in my phone, in my contacts, telling me who to FaceTime and who to ghost.
    • Even with him asleep in your boat, you will not sink. (Matthew 8:23-27)
    • Be careful if he comes to your funeral, he may “mess things up.” (John 11:38-44)
      • He may awaken a dead dream.

B. The Power of God’s Absence

  • God never really leaves, but he does change forms.
  • He creates space for us to experience him
  • We associate the presence of God with our comfort so it’s hard for us to talk about the absence of God. But…
    • In the absence of answersfaith is born.
    • In the absence of resourcescreativity is born.
  • When was the last time you thanked God for what he didn’t give you? (Because he knows our hearts, John 2:25)
  • Have you ever thought that you couldn’t live without someone, but then you did?
    • They didn’t bring something in your life, God did through them, and God will continue to bring you whatever you need, even though that person has left (or that circumstance has changed).
  • Kingdom Inconvenience: When his kids asked for a dog, Pastor Steven said, “No,” because they loved the concept of a dog but didn’t actually love a dog. The concept of a dog doesn’t need to be let out in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
    • We like the concept of a kingdom, of being used by God, but what happens when those things are inconvenient?
    • There were 50 days from Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost
    • During 40 of those days, Jesus was present with the disciples
    • The last 10 days they were ghosted
    • They had 10 days to wait and wonder
    • Ten days may not seem like a big deal, but try not having WiFi for 10 days.
      • There’s nothing more painful than the “in between.”
      • That’s a lot time to wait for something invisible.
  • Changing Forms. Pastor Steven shares a story about his son no longer wanting to hug him in public. He didn’t stop loving me, it changed forms. He needed something different from me.
    • Sometimes love doesn’t leave, it just changes forms.
    • You weren’t ghosted, you were gifted [with the Holy Ghost]
    • He did not leave you
    • He did not abandon you
    • He doesn’t want to just be with you
    • He wants to be in you
    • The disciples kept thinking it was something they could see.
    • “It is good I am going away. If I go I can give you something greater.” (John 16:7)
      • Nothing hurts like having someone/something leave (even if it’s a bad thing, it takes time to recalibrate your life.)
  • It doesn’t have to feel good TO you for it to be good FOR you.
    • God uses the things that happened TO you to work good FOR you (Romans 8:28)
  • Jesus told his disciples they would be witnesses in Samaria, a place they didn’t like.
    • We all have “some area” / “Samaria” in our life where God is working even if it doesn’t seem like it:
      • Resentments about other people
      • Unstable feelings about who you are
    • God uses that part of your life to release the Gospel
    • Instead of giving his disciples something to do, he gave them something to be. (Acts 1:8)
  • The space that God has left
  • The place that you call lack
  • Is the place where God’s Spirit wants to be.

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