48. Looking Forward to Normal

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: Exodus 14
  2. TUESDAY: Romans 12
  3. WEDNESDAY: 1 Peter 2
  4. THURSDAY: Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3
  5. FRIDAY: Isaiah 48 (especially verse 6)
  6. SATURDAY: Revelation 21 (especially verse 5)
  7. SUNDAY: 2 John 1:5

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

Sermon Notes: “Looking Forward to Normal” ⤵️

Preacher: Steven Furtick
Passages: Exodus 14:10-12; Romans 12:1-2
Title: Looking Forward to Normal
Date: April 19, 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


  • Put it in the chat (it’s the new “touch your neighbor”): This is not normal.
    • What do you wear on Easter Sunday when there’s nobody else in the room?
    • Easter isn’t normal. The dead rising isn’t normal. The angel moving a stone out of the way isn’t normal.
    • The only people who think you’re normal don’t really know you.
  • I’ve heard this at least a hundred times from other people and in the news: “Getting back to normal.”
    • “I can’t wait until things get back to normal.”
    • “How long until things get back to normal?”
    • There’s something nice about being normal.
    • You don’t realize how much you need normal until you don’t have it.
    • I hated my hometown until I left it.
    • It’s easy to make the goal: “Get back to normal.”
  • What if normal isn’t something isn’t something to get back to?
  • What if normal is something to look forward to?
  • What if the normal we knew isn’t the normal God is leading us into?
    • God isn’t leading us back.
    • God is leading us forward.
    • God is saying, “I am bringing you into a new normal.”

A. We’re Not Going BACK to Normal

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Exodus 14:10-12, NIV

  • God’s people were trying to go “back to normal” when God was trying to lead them into something new. The question is, “What is the new normal?” that God knew about all along?
  • The Israelites were slaves for over 400 years [ten generations]. They hated it, but it was normal.
    • Has “never enough” become our normal?
    • Never enough information.
    • Never enough connection.
    • Let’s practice social media distancing.
  • “It’s what my dad did. It’s what my dad’s dad did.”
  • It sounds sexy, “Open the grave, I’m coming out, I’m gonna live.”
    • But what if death is normal?
  • Pharaoh represents the old: both what you fear but also what fed you.
    • That’s what addiction is: it meets a need.
    • When you are afraid, you reach for what’s familiar.
    • That’s why negative feels normal.
  • Moses wasn’t normal. Acts 7:20 says Moses was “no ordinary child”
  • Normal is just a story you’ve told yourself.
    • They craved the grave over uncertainty.
    • Normal is not all that.
  • Don’t take for granted what God put in your backyard is on someone else’s bucket list.
    • I hope this building opens up again, but I hope we never go back to normal.
    • “I want to go back to the old time religion.” Not because it’s old, but because it’s familiar, the kind you yawned through when you were a kid.
  • Just because something is normal to you doesn’t mean it’s normal to everyone else. (e.g., white privilege)
  • Are you holding onto a Blockbuster blessing? Something God is trying to bankrupt in your life so he can lead you into something new?
    • New normal God is trying to give us: New priorities.
    • What is God calling you to give up to get to a new normal?

B. God is Leading Us FORWARD to a New Normal

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2, NIV

  • It’s not normal for people to be able to come to God on the basis of grace instead of the law.
  • This is your new normal:
    • You are forgiven, not condemned.
    • You are a child of the Most High God.
    • Royal priesthood, holy nation (1 Peter 2:5)
  • Normal is broken. The world didn’t get weird just because a virus broke out. It’s been weird for a while.
    • I’m not excited that people are dying.
    • But this virus will help us realize that we’ve been worshiping our kids’ activities instead of worshiping Jesus. That we’ve worshiped busyness.
    • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” because the world was weird to begin with.
  • The news does not make money by showing you normal. It makes money by showing you the most extreme things of what’s going on.
  • Faith is normal. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
    • What is unseen is most significant. Now we’re fighting a virus we can’t see. Faith finally fits.
    • Conformed = Changed from the outside in.
    • Transformed = Changed from the inside out.
  • What the world calls normal, God calls broken.
  • I pray God would bring us into a new normal.
  • Faith is a new normal.
  • God is bringing us into new normals.

But… Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
Exodus 14:13, NIV

  • This is a season to embrace the new normal.

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