I Know, But I’m Not Nervous | Pastor Steven Furtick


I was led to 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses
6-10. I didn’t start with this text this week, but
this is eventually the place where I felt like the Lord wanted us to spend a little
time. Second Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 6, the
apostle Paul writing: “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort
and salvation…” Everything I go through serves a purpose. “…and if we are comforted, it is for your
comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we
know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers
[and sisters], of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our
strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence
of death. But that…” Even when it got so hard I felt helpless and
hopeless. “That was to make us rely not on ourselves
but on God…” I found my foundation when I went through
a shaking so that I would trust him who raises the dead. “He delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us.” Why? He’s still God. “On him we have set our hope that he will
deliver us again.” I want you to give your neighbor my sermon
title, but I want you to have a little conversation with them to set the context for it. Tell them, “Neighbor, it’s kind of crazy in
the world these days. There’s a lot going on. The stakes are high.” Now I want you to answer what they just said
to you. Look at them and give them my title. Tell them, “I know, but I’m not nervous.” Try your other neighbor out. Tell them, “I know. I watch the news. I saw what your cousin Jimmy said on Facebook
about a conspiracy theory.” Tell them, “But I’m not nervous.” I am not nervous. I refuse to be, not gonna be, not about to
be. God is too great, and he has been too good
for me to be nervous. Paul would like to set the record straight. There are too many rumors circulating. There’s too much noise and not enough signal. Come on, somebody. We are drowning in opinions, and we don’t
have a drop of truth. Such was the case in Corinth. They’re talking about poor Paul. All he ever did was preach Jesus Christ and
help them and minister to them. These other preachers are seizing a political
opportunity to run a smear campaign against poor Paul that the NRA would have been envious
of, that the Democratic Party couldn’t even come up with. Neither one on the right or the left could
do any better than these opponents of Paul were doing to discredit him. He wants to talk to the church he loves from
his heart and set the record straight. In other words, he wants them to hear it straight
from the source. It does make a difference where you get your
information. It really does. It’s a strange thing that we live in an age
where all information is deemed equal because it takes up the same amount of space on our
timeline. We don’t know whether we’re listening to somebody
who knows what they’re talking about or whether there is a commercialized interest that is
manipulating the information. It is safe to assume that most of what we
are hearing is diluted (watered down) or polluted (added to). It’s really hard to even trust what you hear
these days. Paul was frustrated about that. In much civil turmoil, under oppression, not
only political oppression but religious oppression, he writes back home to the church, and he
wants to tell them not what others say about his situation but to allow them to see the
situation and to hear it straight from the source. He says in verse 8 (this could be a whole
sermon in and of itself), “We do not want you to be ignorant.” He’s setting us up here a little bit. His assumption is that there are some things
we think we know that we don’t really know and some things we need to know. He uses here a Greek word, agnoeo. It’s translated in my Bible ignorant. On the screen, it’s translated in a more updated
version unaware. It’s translated different ways because it’s
a difficult concept to pin down. Paul is speaking to a group of people who
have heard a lot, but in spite of all the information they have received, they still
know very little about the facts. In spite of all the access they have, in spite
of all the blogs they’ve read, in spite of all the 24/7 news stations, what they’re hearing
isn’t very true to reality, because they’re not getting it from the source. He explains the situation, sourcing it with
the reality, because he doesn’t want them to be ignorant. However, agnoeo doesn’t necessarily mean uninformed. Rather, it means, more likely, given the Greek
shade of meaning, misinformed. Could I teach a little bit today? I figured that you would be excited to hear
the Word of God, because you have to hear everybody else talk all the time. So let’s take a little time and talk about
the Word of God. He said, “It’s not that you haven’t heard
things or that you have not been exposed to statistics that concerns me. It’s just that I’m afraid that what you’re
hearing and seeing is so far removed from the source that it is not pure in its essence. I don’t want you to be ignorant.” All ignorance is not created equal. There are different levels of dumb. Am I right? There’s an innocent ignorance. Some things you haven’t had the opportunity
to learn yet. I hate when somebody tries to correct my 5-year-old
Abbey from the way she says certain phrases that I think are adorable. She has the rest of her life to get it right. Would you shut up and let my daughter call
it a “vancuum” cleaner? I prefer “vancuum” cleaner. She can call it a vacuum cleaner the rest
of her life. She only has a few years to call it a “vancuum.” Get off my girl’s speech and let her say it
how she wants to say it. It’s cute. It’s beautiful. It’s adorable to me. I like it. That’s fine. There is another type of ignorance, agnoeo. This would be when you have an indifference
that leads to ignorance. You don’t care enough to find out. Personally, this is the way I feel about all
of the people who eat super healthy. They come to me and want to tell me all of
the chemicals that are in my food. I know I probably shouldn’t address this. There’s enough controversy in the world today
as it is without me adding to it. I know somebody is going to email me or send
me a book about the 17 foods that cure cancer and the foods that are rotting my brain, but
I need to let you know if the steroids will make the chicken bigger before Holly fries
it, I am for the steroids. That might make me a horrible person. I might burn in hell for saying this in church,
but I just don’t care. Touch somebody and say, “I just don’t care.” There are some things I just don’t care about. I just want to eat. I do not care. Some things, I just have to be honest with
you, I just don’t care. I am amazed at some of you men with your Fantasy
Football. I am amazed how much you know about another
man’s ankle and whether or not he’s going to play and how that is going to affect the
$100 you might win. Twelve hours a week studying it, and you’ve
been to church once in the last six weeks. Crazy stuff. Ignorant about the things of God, but you
can tell me statistics on somebody in some tight pants. That’s what Paul is talking about. He said, “I don’t want you to be ignorant. I don’t want you to be those kinds of Christians
who just don’t care, who don’t even take time to find out.” When they talk about climate change, you won’t
even look into it, “Because Jesus is coming back on a horse anyway, and he’s gonna nuke
this whole place, and there ain’t nothing we can do.” You know you sound crazy when you talk like
that. You sound so ignorant. Paul says, “I don’t want you to have that
kind of hope. I don’t want you to have this cotton-candy
Christianity, where you are ignorant of the afflictions. No, I want you to know some things.” The most dangerous kind of ignorance is not
innocent ignorance or indifferent ignorance. Who I’m really scared of are the people who
have that confident ignorance. Not uninformed…misinformed. They think they know everything about something
they know nothing about. Perhaps half of maturity is coming to the
place where you know that you don’t know what you don’t know. Am I preaching all right? I love my children, but when Elijah said to
me yesterday… I’ve heard a lot about the teenage years,
and Elijah is 11. A lot of people have tried to create a sense
of fear and dread in me regarding the teenage years. I’ll say, “I really enjoy being a dad,” and
they laugh. “Get back to me on that when they’re 14, and
we’ll see how much you love it, big boy.” I get it, and I’m not planning on preaching
my parenting series until I’m about 75. I got a taste of what this rebellion may look
like when we were pulling into the garage the other day and this boy looks at me confidently
and says, “Daddy, I need you to know,” as one of the greatest albums from the 1990s
plays on my car stereo, Counting Crows, August and Everything After, with the soothing, soulful
lyrics of Adam Duritz blaring on the speakers. He has the nerve to look at me and say, “Daddy,
I hate to break it to you, but the music from your day really isn’t very good.” He said it with swagger too, like he worked
for Rolling Stone magazine. “It’s really not that good.” I hit the brakes. We weren’t even in the garage yet. I hit the brakes. I said, “What?” You can question me as a preacher. You can tell me I’m getting too old to wear
my jeans kind of tight. You can say a lot of things to me, boy, but
when you talk about my music… I said, “What?” He said, “Yeah, the music in your day didn’t
have loops.” I said, “Well, let’s take a little lesson. Do you remember…?” I gave him some history. “Do you remember when I took you to see ‘Weird
Al’ Yankovic at Ovens Auditorium and he was singing ‘Amish Paradise,’ that song you thought
was so clever?” Then I had to let him know that before there
could be an “Amish Paradise,” there had to be a Coolio. So I played him… I took him to the source material. Before there could be a Coolio (this is where
some of you are ignorant) there had to be a Stevie, because those strings on “Gangster’s
Paradise” would not have been there without Stevie Wonder. See, there’s always something before what
you enjoy that enabled what you’re a part of. That’s why I can’t stand people who complain
about this country, who don’t even know the first thing about the price that was paid
for you to have the right to express your opinion that you don’t like it. Come on, touch three people and say, “Get
in the know.” Paul said, “I don’t want you to be misinformed
about the price that was paid. I don’t want you to be misinformed about the
situation. I don’t want you to think the hope you enjoy
came cheap. It didn’t. It came hard.” For an ignorant hope is no hope at all. There’s nothing stable about a hope that has
its head buried in the sand. I hear you, Pastor Rod Parsley. “Anyone can sing a tune on a clear day at
noon. God, give me a song at midnight.” That’s what Pastor Rod Parsley used to say. I like that. Paul said, “My hope came the hard way.” If you just read verse 10 of this, it sounds
a lot like some kind of campaign slogan. Do you know the slogan and sound bite kind
of mentality people get over time? It’s when we don’t understand the source of
our hope that we begin to sound kind of silly. This is when people say, “You Christians,
you’re just waiting on the apocalypse. You Christians, you don’t even vote. You just pray.” It’s an ignorant imitation of hope. It’s not confidence; it’s complacency, that
you don’t know. Paul wants them to know. He wants them to know what he went through. He wants them to know what he has been through. When he comes out on the other side… You might know this one. I read the text. I shouted real good, and you were getting
fired up here at Ballantyne. I can’t speak for the other campuses. We almost took off when I read verse 10. “He delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us.” It got us excited to think about that. “On him we have set our hope…” Does anybody have a hope, by the way? Regardless of the polls, regardless of the
platforms, regardless of the pundits, does anybody have a hope? Does anybody have a hope, a living hope? I have a hope. I set my hope on the fact that he will deliver
me again. He’s been with me the last 40 years. Why not 41? You can only say that if you know where this
hope comes from. It only means something if you know. Not if you heard. Not if you thought. Not if you wish. I have a hope. “He will deliver us again.” So let’s make the campaign hats. “He will deliver us again.” If we’re representing the kingdom of God and
if Jesus Christ is our candidate, “He will deliver us again.” The world looks at that and they say, “Really? You believe that? Really?” “Yeah, I believe that. I totally believe that.” “How do you know? Why aren’t you nervous?” Do you notice everybody is so nervous right
now? Just incredibly nervous. They’re either ignorant or nervous. They’re either in Canada or they’re nervous. “What if she…?” and “What if he…?” “I’m going to go press that button, but I
might press it with a blindfold on just to press it. I don’t even know.” Nervous. “They might take my guns.” Nervous. “They might not take my guns.” Nervous. “He might really build that thing.” Nervous. “She might take away our civil liberties.” Paul says, “Hey, I have a hope, but it’s a
hard-boiled hope. It’s not an unaware hope. I see what’s going on out there. I know.” I’m not uneducated. I’m not backwoods. I’m not waiting for the clouds to split so
I can go to glory land and shout, “My troubles are over.” I have troubles right here, and I’m in them. It concerns me about our communities. It concerns me about our schools. It concerns me about our police officers and
the way they’re treated. It concerns me about certain communities and
the way they’re treated, and it concerns me that people are marginalized. I’m concerned about abortion. I’m concerned about many things. Some people get frustrated because you won’t
get nervous. “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” They sound like Elisha’s servant. “We’re surrounded. Look out there, man. What are we going to do? You’d better call down something. You’d better curse somebody. You’d better pray something. You’d better shoot something. You have a bow? You have an arrow? What are we going to do? What are we going to do? We can’t just stand by. What are we going to do?” Nervous. Paul steps into all this and says, “I was
beaten 39 times by the Jews. Don’t talk to me like you know something when
you don’t know anything.” Don’t talk to me about Twenty One Pilots when
you don’t appreciate Nirvana. Don’t talk to me when you haven’t seen the
source of my hope. This is a hope that has been through hell,
and it comes from heaven. The world didn’t give it, and the world can’t
take it away. It doesn’t come from the right, and it doesn’t
come from the left. I have set my hope on one who is above it
all. I set my hope on him. I wouldn’t put my hope on a party’s platform
right now. I don’t think it can hold the weight of your
hope, but if you’re looking for a rock… Paul says, “I have a hope.” Don’t be confused. I’m concerned, but I’m not nervous. I have this peace that passes understanding. I called Tina last week. Her son might die. She said, “I’m broken. I’m devastated.” He’s 23. “I’m uncertain.” She said, “But somehow I have peace.” That’s what Paul is talking about. “We’re taking him to every doctor we can. We will spare no expense to try to get him
well. I can’t imagine what life would be like without
him. I’m a mom. There’s nothing I want to protect more than
the life of my son, but there’s a certain element of this where I just have to turn
it over.” It doesn’t mean I’m disengaged. I’m engaged. I will cast my vote. I am not going to be apathetic and abstain
because I don’t like the options the culture that I’m a part of creating has presented
to me. Hello! But I’m not nervous. I’m hurting. There are some things that broke my heart. “I was utterly burdened,” Paul says. His words. “I’m burdened, but I set my hope, and my hope
isn’t shaken, although my heart is hurting.” It sounds kind of crazy, right? “I’m utterly burdened.” Watch how bad. Not “I lost a night of sleep.” “I was beyond my strength.” Have you ever been there before? “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which way it’s going to go. I have no idea how to rebuild this one. I don’t think I can get this one back. It’s been too much time. This one is beyond my control. I didn’t see this one coming.” “I was so far out there, beyond what I knew
to do, that I despaired of life itself. I didn’t even think I was going to make it
to see another day. I wondered, would I ever preach again? I wondered, can we bounce back from this one? I’m burdened, but I’m not nervous. I’m concerned. I’m involved. I’m praying, doing my part, but I’m not nervous.” I love it. I love it so much that I went all up and down
the Bible. I wanted to interview some other people who
might be able to corroborate Paul’s theory of hope, that you can be burdened and not
nervous, that you can be broke and not be nervous, that you can lose your job and not
be nervous, that you can find drugs in your kid’s room and be concerned and be involved
and beat them half to death but not be nervous. So I asked David, “Really? You have to fight Goliath? David, nobody wants to fight Goliath. He is the Philistine champion from Gath. His body armor weighs more than you, boy. As a matter of fact, you have no fighting
experience, nor a military title. If you were smart, you’d go back home. Goliath has been defying these people for
40 days. There’s a good reason they haven’t fought
him yet. He’s bigger than you.” Do you know what David said? He said, “I know. I see him. I know he’s big. I know everybody else is standing back, waiting
on God to do something, but I didn’t come looking for help from somewhere up there. I come in the name of the Lord God, and I’m
not nervous. I know he’s big. I know he’s strong. I know I’m a shepherd. I know I have nothing but a sling and five
rocks, but I might only need one, if I can steady my hand and stand my ground. I’m not nervous.” “Hey, Shadrach, they’re about to throw you
and your buddies in the fire. Now you understand you have a little bit of
time left. If you will bow before this statue that Nebuchadnezzar
has erected…” I mean, we talk about crazy leaders. They ain’t got nothing on “Nebby.” Nebby was so arrogant. Nebby lost his mind. They said, “You’d better bow to King Nebby.” They heated up the furnace. They turned it up seven times hotter. “Don’t you feel the flame? Can’t you see there’s a situation in front
of you that’s too hot for you to handle?” Shadrach looked back at Meshach. Meshach looked at Abednego. They all looked back at Elevation Church and
said, “We know, but we’re not nervous. See, the God we serve is able to deliver us
from the fire, and we believe he will. We know he can, but even if he doesn’t, I’m
not nervous.” Somebody shout, “I’m not nervous!” I went down in the lions’ den with Daniel. Daniel was looking at a lion, y’all. He was looking at something that could have
snapped him in half in a split second. “Daniel, don’t you see that lion? Don’t you know your life is on the line? Don’t you know you have a wicked king?” Daniel said, “I know, but somehow, someway,
the God I serve will deliver me. I’m not nervous.” Be not afraid. “Hey, Jesus, these people are hungry. It’s getting late. You’ve been preaching a long time.” Jesus said, “I know.” “We don’t have any bread.” Jesus said, “I know.” “The people are on edge.” Jesus said, “I know, but I’m not nervous,
because I have hands. If you put what you have in my hands, I don’t
care how little it is. Everybody is going to be filled. I’m not nervous.” Nervous? Intimidated? No. Concerned? Yes. Disturbed? A little bit. Confused? Perhaps. But I’m not nervous. “Jesus, wake up. There’s a storm raging on the sea. How can you sleep in the stern with a storm
on the sea?” They asked him, “Don’t you care if we perish?” Jesus said, “Yeah, I care if you perish, and
I know there’s a storm, but I’m not nervous, because with one word, the one who spoke the
storm into existence by virtue of the elements that created it can tell it to shut up.” “Jesus, this is it. They’re going to kill you now. They have you on trial. Pilate might send you to the cross. Don’t you want to say something?” “No, I don’t need to say anything. I am the Word. I was there in the beginning. I am Alpha and Omega. I’m not nervous. This is the reason I came: so they could bury
me low so I could reign forever.” Find five people and say, “Don’t be nervous.” That’s what sets us apart as the people of
God: that we can know how bad it is and not be nervous. If we get nervous, what hope is there? If we start operating in the same spirit of
the world that caused the fear that created the division and dysfunction we’re a part
of… If the salt loses its saltiness, how will
it be made salty? If you get nervous, if you lose your cool,
what’s the distinctive of your Christian faith? What kind of hope did you even have if one
election cycle can threaten it? “I set my hope,” Paul said. “I tried to put my hope on how I felt, and
I felt like I was going to die. I tried to put my hope on what other people
would do for me, and they…” God, other people. That’s like me asking you to hold this pulpit
while I preach. That thing is too heavy for you. Some of the stuff you’ve been putting on people… Platforms, even the economy is too heavy. I know. I see you in Babylonian captivity. But I know Jeremiah 29:11. I know. This is God speaking, so the inference is,
“You don’t know, but I know the plans I have for you.” “And we know that in all things…” This is Romans 8:28. “…God works together, the good and the bad,
for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” I’m not nervous; I have purpose. I’m not nervous; he has a plan. I’m not nervous; I have a purpose. I’m not nervous; he has a plan. I’m not nervous; I have a purpose. I’m here to glorify God. I’ll glorify him in a lion’s den, in a fire,
on a ship with a storm, or even in a borrowed grave. Jesus said, “I’m not nervous. I came for this. I’m God of the storm. I’m God of the grave, and beside me there
is no other.” So I set my hope when it got really bad, when
it seemed like it was going to be the bottom… I set my hope on the one who is higher. I’m not nervous. I tried nervous. I didn’t like it. I tried nervous. It made me irritable. I tried nervous. It made me eat more. I gained 35 pounds being nervous. I tried nervous. It didn’t make me part of the solution. I tried nervous. It made me a critic rather than a contributor. I tried nervous. It didn’t change anything. I tried nervous. I’m going to show up to my job, do what I
can, cast my vote, be the dad God has called me to be. I’ll be the preacher God has called me to
be. I’ll be the mom God has called me to be. I’m going to do my part, but I’m not nervous. I’m going to do my part, but I will not panic,
because I lift my eyes and I set my hope. I lift my eyes. We used to listen to that song all the time. It was the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I memorized all of Psalm 121 just listening
to that song in the King James. That lady who sang it… I can’t sing it like she sang it, but she
would say… I will lift up mine eyes to the hills
From whence cometh my help My help cometh from the Lord
The Lord which made heaven and earth He said he would not suffer thy foot
Thy foot to be moved The Lord which keepeth thee
He will not slumber nor sleep Oh, the Lord is thy keeper
The Lord is thy shade Upon thy right hand
Upon thy right hand Oh, the sun shall not smite thee by day
Nor the moon by night He shall preserve thy soul
Even forever more My help, my help, my help
All of my help cometh from the Lord My help, my help, my help
All of my help cometh from the Lord. You are the source of my strength
You are the strength of my life I lift my hands in total praise to you. I have a hope. I lift my eyes. Psalm 121 is called a song of ascent. There were 15 of them recorded in our canon
of Scripture for us to read, but they were originally intended for the pilgrims who would
make their way to Jerusalem so they would have a song to sing on the way. How many know you need a song to sing on the
way to where you’re going? Jerusalem, city of peace, was set in the hills. The hills represent hope, but the hills also
represent hidden enemies. When the psalmist is saying, “I lift my eyes
to the hills,” he might have felt like a tenth grader in a new school, or he might have felt
like a nervous father on election day in America, or he might have felt like a refugee in another
part of the world who would love to be a part of our democratic process. He’s on his way somewhere. He’s on a journey. As he progresses, he lifts his eyes to the
hills, the place where his destination is, the place where his peace is, the place where
his hope is. He’s going to Jerusalem. On his way, he lifts his eyes to the hills
and asks a question. “From where does my help come? Where is it coming from?” I’m not looking over here or over there. I’m not looking to the Hills or the Donald. I’m looking above all of that. I always read the verse like this. I always looked at it like he was saying,
“My help comes from the hills, because God is above and he’s a great King.” When Isaiah saw the Lord in the year King
Uzziah died, he was seated on a throne, high and lifted up. Isn’t it funny he was seated in the year the
king died, in the year where the nation was wondering what to do? God wasn’t pacing the marble floors of heaven
wondering what he was going to do next. He was still seated. I came with an announcement today. He’s still seated. He had a vision. The throne wasn’t vacant, and the one who
sat on it was seated. I always thought he was looking up. That’s true. God reigns above. Did you know that the same God who reigns
above sustains beneath? That’s why I’m not nervous. He said, “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?” I have hope in the hills, hardship in the
hills. Paul said, “I despaired of life, but I set
my hope. Both were happening at the same time. My hope came from my hardship.” Watch this. This is so powerful. “My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven
and earth. He will not let your foot be moved…” Who is he talking to? He’s talking to himself. He’s having a conversation with himself, telling
himself, “Don’t be nervous. I know you see what’s in those hills and you
imagine what might be in those hills. There are boogeymen in those hills. There might be real danger in those hills,
but the Lord is your keeper.” Watch this. He’s not sleeping. He’s not asleep. He knows. He sees. Not one hair of your head falls to the ground
that he doesn’t count it. Not one sparrow falls from the sky that he
doesn’t have a funeral. He knows. “Behold…” It’s all about what you focus on. “…he who keeps the people of God will neither
slumber nor sleep. For the Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your
shade.” For there to be shade there must be heat. For there to be hope there must be hardship
or else it won’t really be hope. How can you know he will deliver you if you
don’t know that he can, and how can you know that he can if there isn’t an enemy in the
hills for you to run to him seeking refuge from? I know. I know you’re worried about your teenager. I know you’re worried about the state of things. I know you’re worried. I know, but the Lord is on your right hand. This is what spoke to me. “I lift my eyes to the hills.” That means he’s above it. “And God is keeping me and sustaining me.” That means he’s beneath it. “And he’s on my right hand.” That means he’s beside me, no matter which
way it goes. So I’m not nervous. He’s great and he’s good. He’s big and he’s near. He’s omnipotent and he’s immanent. He is God, and I’m not nervous. His name will be exalted. He is God, and I’m not nervous. The writer of Hebrews said, “We have this
hope.” What kind of hope? This hope. The same hope that went down into a grave,
that hit rock bottom and still stayed strong. We have… No, let me personalize it. You have this hope, and it’s not out there
and it’s not over here and it’s not over here. It’s an anchor for my soul. It’s in me. Christ in you, the hope of glory. You are the hope of the world. We are the church. An anchor for the soul. What does an anchor do? Floats around at the surface and looks pretty? No, sir. It goes down all the way to the bottom and
makes sure that whatever it’s holding on to… I have this hope, this hope that kept him
on the cross, this hope that spoke the worlds into existence. I feel the spirit of hope coming over the
church of Jesus Christ. I lift my eyes to the hills. I have this hope in my soul. My hope went down to the bottom and three
days later rose to reign forever. I’m not nervous. I know whom I have believeth and am persuaded
that he is able to keep that which I entrusted to him. We trust you, Lord, until that day. He is good!

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