Experiencing the Presence of God’s Spirit – Francis Chan

Experiencing the Presence of God’s Spirit – Francis Chan

February 22, 2020 100 By William Hollis


– Here right now to hear Francis Chan, and we are extremely blessed
that in his busy schedule, he would take the time to be with us. He’s leaving here immediately. His plans have changed where he was flying home to San Francisco. He will be flying instead to New York City to be interviewed
tomorrow by Mike Huckabee, and then he flies home
to preach Sunday morning so my friend, would you
come up and we’ll pray, and let you have this place. Father in heaven, you see this man and he is a shell until
you set right inside him. You know his heart desires to
say bigger things than he is, and the size of things that you are. And God, not only does he wanna say ’em, but we wanna hear ’em. And you’re gonna have
to give all of us help to get that done, and we
can’t wait to see you do it as we thank you in Jesus’ name, amen. – Yes, yes, yes. Oh man, amen. That is everything I’m praying
I’m praying for right now. Everything, Terry. I believe that was an anointed prayer. I believe was Dusty just
shared came from God. I don’t wanna interrupt
that, I wanna move along and say this is part three
to what you just heard. I don’t wanna take us
in a different direction because I believe God spoke to me through you, Dusty, through Randy. I’m sitting there going, Lord, this is something bigger
than what I expected. I really believe exactly
what Terry was just praying that God wants to do bigger things than just the message I have, you know? And I believe sovereignly,
I left my notes over there. You know, I–
(congregation laughs) I just realized, I got so
in to what you were saying and what the Spirit was doing, that I’m just going, you know what, there is something going here, and I wanna have the courage
to say what I need to say, what I believe the Lord
has laid on my heart. When you talk about,
man, that illustration about the swimming pool, and
jumping in to the deep end, I believe that’s what God
is calling me to do again. By the way, amazing illustration,
I am gonna steal it. (congregation laughs) Pretend I made it up, you know, Bertha. (congregation laughs) No, because I was that same kid, you know? I wanted in the shallow end, I wanted to be where I know
I could put my foot down, I didn’t wanna, you know,
yeah, I wouldn’t go, I was the same kid, I wouldn’t
jump off the diving board, and yet, I see in my
relationship with God, the times I did, the times
I just dove off the deep end because I knew what the
word of God promised. Despite what anyone else said,
I knew what this book said, and it was on Biblical conviction. Not on tradition, not just
on stuff that I was taught, but when I was alone with the word of God and I would see something there, I go no, God is going to come through for me. I can seek the things of God first, I can seek the kingdom
first, and everything else will be taken care of. He promises me that. So if I don’t take a risk on that, how do I even know there’s a resurrection? You know, I’ve gotta trust
every bit of God’s word, and the times I’ve taken those
leaps off the diving board, off the high dive, in the deep end, because of a Biblical conviction, those, I’m not talking about risk just to risk. I’m talking about risk
because you are so convicted by the word of God. You know, a lot of times in church, we almost like convicting messages, and walking away feeling convicted. And I’m here to tell
you, that is not success. Okay I used to, when I
first started preaching, man I would just lay it
out, I believe I still do, but I wold just teach the word of God, and if people got angry
and walked away sad, I would be like, yeah,
showed you, you know? (congregation laughs) And I mean had people
walking out of the sermon as I was speaking, and
there was a sense of pride, and later on I realized, man,
a lot of ’em were not offended by God’s word, they were offended by me, and my lack of love in the presentation, and I just, ah there’s so many thoughts running through my head right now. Again, just so much I wanna
say in this brief time, but point I was getting
at is I used to think that maybe the goal of
preaching was just saying it and letting people walk away sad, and it’s only the last few
years that God has shown me that the goal is not for
everyone to walk away crying. I mean, where do you see
in scripture Jesus teaching and the people walking away
sad and that being success? Now, we see that like in
the rich young ruler, right? Jesus speaks to the rich
young ruler, you know, who has this self
righteousness, and you know, I’ve done all these good
things, I wanna go to heaven, on and on and on, but
it says when Jesus says sell all your possessions
and give it to the poor, it says in, I’m sorry I can’t read, chapter 18 of Luke, verse 23, it says, when he heard these
things, he became very sad for he was extremely rich. Jesus seeing that he had become sad said how difficult it is
for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. It’s easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to
enter the kingdom of God. Those who heard it said,
“Then who can be saved?” But He said, “What’s impossible with men “is possible with God.” So the rich young ruler
walked away sad, right? Jesus gave him a message, it was too much for him to take in. He’s like, I don’t know if I
wanna jump in the deep end. I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of stuff, I kind of wanna play it safe just in case you don’t come through, I wanna make sure I can
keep all these riches and everything else, I wanna play it safe, and he walks away sad
because he couldn’t walk away from the stuff. And Jesus doesn’t go, yeah, look at him. I did it, I made him sad. No, he just looks at him, and
I believe it was a tone of, it’s so hard, it’s so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s so hard for guys
like that, it’d be easier for me to cram that camel over there through the eye of this needle than for that guy to enter
the kingdom of heaven. It was a sad moment. But what I love is the disciples are like, well then how can anyone get saved? He goes, hey, it’s possible with God. You know, with men, it’s not
possible, but with God it is. And what’s great is in
the very next chapter! In Luke chapter 19, it
says He entered Jericho and was passing through and
there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. So in the very next chapter,
you have this rich man, and you know the story. He’s in the tree, he sees Jesus, Jesus, come on, I wanna go to your house, I wanna eat at your house,
he jumps out of that tree, gets so exited, throws this party. Man, I’ve got Jesus here, he
makes this grand announcement in front of everyone. He goes, look, everything I
have, I’m gonna give half of it, I’m just gonna give it
away to the poor right now. And with the other
half, I have ripped off, I have stolen from a lot of you, I’ll give you four times
whatever I stole from yu. And what does Jesus say? Today, salvation has come to this house. Why, there’s was a repentance right there. See that was the joy,
that’s what God wants is this repentance that
leads to life, right? Godly sorrow, 2 Corinthians. You know Godly sorrow leads to repentance, but there’s a worldly
sorrow that leads to death. There’s a Godly sorry
that leads to repentance which leads to life! Not walking away sad. We walk away sad when we’re
not willing to change. We walk away like Zacchaeus
when we realize the truth and we actually do something. We actually repent. We don’t sit week after
week, year after year, being hearers of the
word and not doers of it, but we hear the word of God,
and like Dusty was saying, we look at those dreams, we look at those Biblical convictions and go, I’m gonna change, I’m gonna do it, and we become like Zacchaeus. Or you can choose today to walk away sad. But I’m just telling you,
look that is not the goal, and we don’t wanna be hearers
of the word and not doers. I mean, for our own good! I believe that Satan is thrilled with a lot of our church services. I believe the enemy loves it, because Satan is the great deceiver. And James says, when you hear
the word and you don’t do it, you’re deceiving yourself. And so Satan’s sitting back
going, look at these guys, they gather on Sunday
morning to hear a message they’re not going to apply, they’re deceiving
themselves, my job is done. Man, I hope this country
is filled with church, I hope they fill them all up
and preach the word of God, and no one does it. That would be Satan’s dream because then they could
just deceive themselves, and he doesn’t even have to do anything. Our God is a God of repentance, of actual change, of turning. It’s not hearing the word of God and not do anything about it. Man, Isaiah six, you
know, one of the passages that changed my life! Isaiah six that you both preached from was one of the passages
that changed my life ’cause it got me thinking about, wow, here’s this prophet
of God, a prophet of God, and yet the moment he saw
God, he just says, “I am dead. “Woe is me, woe is me.” Those words, woe is me, in the Hebrew, it’s I’m about to be ruined. When it says, I am ruined,
I’m about to be destroyed. His immediate thought when he saw God, I mean think about it. You’re coming in the presence of God, and angels, high angels
are covering themselves up, and screaming, “Holy, holy, holy!” And everything is shaking, and
smoke is filling the temple, and you walk in to that,
and his first thought, as a prophet as God, probably
someone holier than any of us, he just walks in there
and he goes, “I’m dead.” I am dead, He’s going to destroy me. He goes, I know what I’ve done, I know what’s coming out of this mouth. I a an of unclean lips, and I dwell among a
people of unclean lips. My eyes just saw, I just
saw the King, He’s gonna. Do you understand, when I saw
that I go, that’s gonna be me! It doesn’t matter if
I’m in front of a crowd and people clap for me. It doesn’t matter if I write a few books and it’s celebrated. It doesn’t matter if I grew a
congregation to thousands of, none of that’s gonna matter. I’m just gonna see God and, (gasps) I’m gonna be so stunned. Job, the most righteous
person on the earth, the most righteous man on earth, when he encountered God, he just goes, “My ears had heard of you but
now my eyes have seen you.” I’m just gonna be quiet, and
repent in dust, cloth, and ash. I’m just gonna be quiet,
I can’t believe this. I’d always heard about
you but now I see you! Look, that’s gonna be all of us! Any moment, we’re gonna see that God, and all the angels, and all the glory, and do you know what that
moment’s gonna be like? You’re not gonna care
about any of this stuff, and all the things you’re holding on to. Man, and we gotta prepare for that. This is real stuff. Look, the things I said to
you, like I said last night, I respect you. Most of you who are older than I am, I respect you, I honor you, and as I pray, I go, God, what’s the most
loving thing I could say to them? It’s like man, open their eyes to what they’re about to encounter, to who they’re about to see. Because I grew up in church, and for years, no one
talked about this stuff. I’d see little paintings of
Jesus with long blonde hair holding sheep, and in your head, you just start thinking, oh
okay, that’s God, that’s, no, no, no, this is Jesus,
it’s the Isaiah six vision of this is Him in all of His glory. That’s who we’re gonna encounter. And I just want you to
understand what that’s all about. When Randy spoke, he talked
about how the young people that he worked with, he
felt like, you know what, they’re only gonna get about
half of their potential, maybe. And he says, you know, some of
it’s because of the doctrine and not knowing God deep enough to make it through the difficult times, and I believe that’s true. But I believe there’s another reason why they might not reach their potential. And God help me as I say this, I believe there are
people in this very rom that will hold them back. Man, I work with so many young people, and they are dying to
be led by elderly people who are still living by faith, by elderly people who are
willing to believe in them like someone believed in you. They’re willing to not just suppress them, and say oh you don’t
understand, you don’t get it, but maybe to humble ourselves,
and I know this is difficult. Man, it is hard for me. When someone younger, I tell you, man, when I hired my youth pastor, and I saw these young
people just taking off, and pretty soon, great
things were happening amongst the you, and
me, the senior pastor, not as much was going on in my ministry as in this guy that I hired, you know? But then they started to challenge me. You know, they started to
question some of the things we were doing in the church, and man, that’s hard for,
not that I’m that much older, but as an older man, to go, you’re 18, you’re challenging me? But then I went to the
scriptures and I went, ooh, I think he’s right. That’s hard. He’s right. I’m off on this. Ooh, she was right, I’m off on this. And that humility it took
to go, ooh, you know what, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, I was off on that, I was off on. This is just the way I was
taught, it was what I grew up on, but when I searched the scriptures,
there was this humbling, ’cause I ultimately, as much
as I wanna hold on to my pride and as much as I hate being wrong, you know what, I’m gonna
stand before God one day, and I go, okay, you know what, I don’t wanna hold on to that extent to where I have to stand
before God and answer to Him when I’ve gotta let go
of some of these things. And I’m telling you the times
I’ve jumped in the deep end, amazing things have happened. The times I’ve stepped ut in faith and really believed to the point of risk, to the point where, okay,
I know that’s more Biblical than the way I’ve been living,
so I’m going to repent, I’m actually gonna
change my way of living, man, those have been the most
amazing times in my life. My wife and I, we made decision of giving when we read the scriptures and say, wait he’s gonna come
back in all of His glory with all of His angels,
and He’s gonna split us up, you know, sheep and the goats, and it seems like the only
thing there in Matthew 25 is about how we cared for the poor. Because that’s a true
reflection of a believer. It’s not that those works saved you, but it’s a fact that look, you know what, if you’re a lover of God, you’re gonna be a lover of the poor. That’s just part of our characteristic, that’s what the Spirit does in us, He makes us slave to, when we
see those who are starving, or no clean drinking, our hearts break, and we, like Jesus, go, I wanna rescue, I wanna do whatever I can to help them. We look in scripture, we
see it all though that book. And so it’s like, let’s start
giving, let’s start giving. And people say, wait, wait, guys. You know, people would ask me, they go, “Well what if you
and your wife give so much “that at the end of your life, “you have nothing left for yourself?” And I go, “That would be awesome.” They go, “Really, but what
if you starve to death?” And I go, “Really, in America?” I’m not gonna go to any of
the shelters and ask for food? I mean, really, are we
really gonna starve to death? You gotta work hard to starve
to death in our country. I go, first of all, there’s that. Secondly, I go, Jesus
promises me that won’t happen as long as I’m seeking the kingdom first. I go, but thirdly, let’s
just say hypothetically, all the shelters are done,
and God accidentally forget (audience laughs) that here’s Lisa and I, we’re
seeking His kingdom first, and we starve, let’s just say, let’s just take the most extreme situation that we give away everything
to the ministry, to the poor, and my wife and I whittle away, oh I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry, we gave away too, and then we die. Like let’s say that happens. I go, what a great way to come
in to the presence of God? To go, whoops, you know?
(congregation laughs) Maybe I took your word
to literally, you know? (congregation applauds) I thought you were, about caring for, what a great way to come
in the presence of God, know I gave it all. I’d love that moment,
I’d love that moment. What are we afraid of? You know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid of holding
on to too much stuff. Come before God and go, well I wasn’t sure if you’d come through so I just kept this storehouse, and I kept building
bigger and bigger barns. But no, every time we gave away, man, the way that God would
respond just supernaturally. Man, and then I end up writing this book like five years ago. I don’t write. I’d never written. You know, I’m Asian, I’m math, you know? SAT, you know?
(congregation laughs) It’s like my math score was near perfect, my English is like. You know, it’s just this thing where you just do what
God tells you to do. Anyways, suddenly they’re telling me, hey, your Book’s gonna
be really successful, it looks like there’s
gonna be a lot of people, there’s a chance that you
may make millions of dollars. And I’m looking at my wife and I’m like, millions of dollars, what are we gonna do, what are we gonna do? And I just, you know what,
if we take this money, we’re gonna end up buying things that we don’t need, we’re happy! And we’ll regret it for all of eternity. How many times have we bought stuff and go, why did I buy that? What a waste? But I go, but if we give it
away, we’d never regret that. And for all of eternity, we’ll have given. I said, let’s just sign over
all of the royalties right now to non-profits, just sign it
all, give it all to the poor, so that we can’t touch it, because I go, I believe this. And if I really believe this,
then let’s just do that. And this amazing thing
where millions of dollars starts coming in, and we’re
able to build schools, hospitals, or whatever,
stuff where afterwards, we go, yeah, look at that, look at that. I mean, I’m talking about joy here. I’m talking about, you ever
been to a foreign country and feed a kid who wasn’t going to eat unless you gave him that food? There’s something so amazing in that. It was so amazing, when
I came back to my church after going to Africa the first time. You know, I’m looking at
my wife and going, gosh, you didn’t go with me, but I’m
looking at everything we have and it’s not sitting well with me. And she’s going, “What do you
wanna do, sell our house?” And I go, “If you don’t mind.”
(congregation laughs) But I’m looking at these kids in Africa, and they’re digging through the trash trying to find anything to eat, and I’m thinking about
our two little girls. At that time, we only
had two, we have now, and I go, I’m thinking about our two kids, and what would I want
someone to do for them? What would I want some rich
American to do for them? I’m supposed to love my
neighbor like I love myself, let’s get practical here. And the amazing wife I
had, and I go, but honey, but I’m not gonna have you sell the house, I want you to come to Africa
first, I want you to see it, ’cause you’ll understand
once you’re there. She goes, “No, as much as I
love this house, I trust you.” And that afternoon, we started
looking at trailer parks. There’s a woman of God right there, who takes the word of God literally, and says, no we’re not
just gonna feel convicted, oh those poor Africans, oh
those poor people in India. No there’s a thing called repentance where you actually do something, and you sell and you change. It was our church, our church, you know, we were about to enter a $20 million building program, and I just said, you know, if
this is really what’s going on in the world, how can we
spend this much ourselves? Let’s just meet outside. So what if it rains on us, so what if we get wet a little bit, maybe we’ll remember those
who don’t actually have homes. And maybe we’ll actually
do, it’s about change, and to see some of the angry
people leave the church, and others flood in and
go, no, you know what, that’s right, I’ll sit
in the blazing hot sun. I mean, what an amazing
testimony that would be if people drove by and
saw a bunch of believers sitting on a field. And I said, what if they
saw thousands of people sitting in the rain? They go, what in the world
are those people doing? We’re saying, you know, we
take His word literally. I wanna stand before Him one day. And to see the congregation come alive as we started giving,
and giving, and giving. And to go to, one of the most, one of the life-changing
moments in my life was getting to Africa
and seeing the school that the church had built. I was there earlier when
there was just naked kids running around, malnourished,
everything else, and then I walked back and I see hundreds of little African kids so beautiful, all in uniform, all getting
food, getting vitamins, shoes on their feet, getting educated, singing to the Lord as
I snuck in to the back of this put together, throw
together little school house and see hundreds of little kids. I’m just in the back watching them as they’re smiling, worshiping God. And the teacher in the front
of the room sees me in the back and she stops everything. Which I didn’t want her
to do it, but she goes, “Hey, listen, stop,
everyone turn around, look, “there’s Pastor Chan. “I want you to know that every one of you “is sponsored by someone from his church.” And all these kids start
screaming, and clapping, and do you know what that feels like? And people go well, aw, you’re
a marauder, you’re just. I am not! I’m not saying, that feeling is better than any car I could buy, any
house I could ever live in. It is so much more blessed
to give than to receive and to take those leaps and
say, no that’ what I want. You should have seen, man there were times when our congregation
gave, and I would tell ’em about the projects, the
way that God came through when we come in, you
know, we’re gonna give a million dollars this year
to Children’s Hunger Fund, we’ll write a cheque for a quarter million
dollars every quarter. And I remember the day,
the second quarter, or third quarter, after the summer months, I go, we don’t have the money. I was in a little bit of a
panic, but I didn’t tell anyone. I go, I’m not even gonna
announce it to the congregation, but we have to write a
quarter million dollar cheque next week, and it’s not in the bank. And did I open my mouth too soon? What in the world, Lord? What in the world, what
did I get us in to? That next Sunday, took the
normal offering, said nothing, no one knew it was due. Monday morning, the
people who count the money come in to my office, and they go, “Francis, you’re not gonna believe this.” ‘Cause they knew the
problem, I knew the problem, no one else knew the problem. And they hand me a piece of paper, and they said, “This was
the offering this weekend.” $251,000. You guys, it was unbelievable.
(congregation applauds) You know, I was calm, I’m
looking at this paper, I go, “Wow, that’s really cool. “Man, do you guys mind leaving
and just shutting the door?” You know, it was one
of those Joseph moments where like can you just
clear this place out? ‘Cause I just wanna cry, I just
wanna be by myself and cry. I just wanna be by myself, and thank God, and just cry before Him,
’cause this is a holy moment that I don’t think anyone
else is gonna understand, no one else even knows about this, because it was like, God,
I’ve seen you come through for me and my family,
but when you come through for the church body, if
we give this stuff away, a just leave the office,
and I just sat there, I just sobbed before God, going, God, you always do this! You always come through
in these amazing ways. Then when I moved to San
Francisco, I just thought, you know, I don’t like these
conferences, no offense, where we just sing and
speak, sing and speak, and talk, talk, talk, talk. I go, let’s do something. Let’s gather people in the city. I don’t know if anyone’ll show up, but what if I just spoke in the morning and then we worked all day,
and we fed the homeless, and we cut their hair,
and we got dentists, and fix their teeth, we
got the glasses, optomol, optometrist, you know.
(congregation laughs) Is it optomologist or
optometrist, which one? – [Congregation Member] Both. – Both, okay, let’s get ’em both there. You know, let’s,
(congregation laughs) just do all of this stuff and
see if anyone even shows up. And we had like hundreds
of people sign up. Okay, let’s just jump
in the deep end here, see what happens. The leader of the rescue mission realizes, you know, it was Wednesday before Friday, Friday was the conference,
and Wednesday, he goes, “We don’t have any meat,
and Francis wants us “to cook eight thousand
meals with no meat, “and we have no money.” Meanwhile, they had been
fasting and praying, but he has this staff
meeting with his staff, going, what do we do? It’s Wednesday. Friday, we’re supposed to
cook eight thousand meals and we have no meat. You know, and he decides
to borrow a credit card and go, well maybe we do it on credit. I don’t know what to do other than to buy a
bunch of meat on credit. Two hours after that staff meeting, the local supermarket calls
us, Trader Joe’s calls us, and says, “Hey, something
weird just happened. “All of our refrigerators just broke down. (congregation laughs) “Do you mind taking all of our meat?” Literally. You guys,
(congregation applauds) amazing truckload, truckloads,
literally truckloads of pork chops, steak, chicken,
came to our front door. Do you know what a rush it
is to pass out that food and know this came from the Lord, there’s no other explanation for this. So the next year, we do the same thing. Just this last summer, we go, let’s do that conference again. This year, twice, more
than double the amount of people show up, so we
had to do two conferences, one on Saturday, one on Sunday. The Wed, not he Tuesday before,
we have a staff meeting, and at the staff meeting,
the kitchen manager says, “Hey, you guys, we only have
enough meat for one day. “So don’t give everything out on Saturday “because there’s another
900 people coming on Sunday “and they’ll have nothing to pass out.” And we’re like, “Not again.” 15 minutes, maybe 20 minutes
after our staff meeting, we get a phone call. Trader Joe’s.
(congregation laughs) It’s only happened twice.
(congregation laughs) 15 minutes after the staff meeting, they get the phone call that says, “All of our power just went out. (congregation laughs) “Can you take our meat?” And it’s to the point where
we go, this is impossible. You should have seen our staff that day, how we were giddy, how were
just walking around going, can you, this is impossible,
last year was impossible, not again, but to experience these things, I’m saying it’s when we step out in faith, when we go and we actually do something. You know, people say, well
I don’t really experience the presence of God, and I go well, are out making disciples? Are you stepping out in faith? Well, I don’t feel Jesus next to me. Well Jesus says I’ll be with you always, but where’s the context of that? It’s Matthew 28, go make
disciples of all nations, baptize them in the
name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, teach them to obey everything I commanded
you, and I’ll be with you, aways, even to the end of the age. You go, well I don’t experience Jesus, I go, are you making disciples? (congregation applauds) People say, how come I don’t
experience the Holy Spirit? You tell me these stories where you experience the Holy Spirit, and I go well, are you being His witness? ‘Cause why did He send His Holy Spirit? He says, you’ll receive power when my Holy Spirit falls upon you. What, to be my witnesses. In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria
to the ends of the earth. But we wanna feel Him in here
where it’s nice and safe. And go, I think I felt Him.
(congregation laughs) You guys, is that why
He gave us His Spirit? He says He gave us His Spirit so that we could be on His mission, so we could be His witnesses, and we’ll experience
His Spirit when we’re, I’m not saying we can’t
experience Him in a safe setting, I’m just saying when I look in scripture, it’s people that went and did something, suddenly, they experience
the presence of God. Man, I got frustrated like a year ago, being at a conference, and I’m going, Lord, how come, you know
I believe James 5:17 that Elijah was a man just like us. That’s my favorite verse,
Elijah was a man just like us. But he prayed earnestly. And I’m going, God, how
come I don’t see fire come down from heaven? ‘Cause right before I was about to speak, God, how come I don’t see
fire come down from heaven? How come I’ve asked for this
and I believe James 5:17, you know I believe
that, you know I believe just like Elijah did that
you could do this right now, but God, you could do this,
how come I don’t get to see it? And I was at that borderline
almost frustrated with God, like going, God I believe, why
won’t you shake the ground, why don’t you have fire come down so that when I leave,
people don’t talk about me, they talk about you? How come I’ve asked for
this over and over again and yet when I speak, I’m
waiting for this miracle and I’m not seeing it actually happen? How come, God? And it was one of those moments where I felt like God just opened my eyes to the scriptures, right then. It’s like He spoke to me through His word, and He basically said, “Francis,
Elijah was on Mount Carmel “surrounded by prophets of Baal “who were about to cut his head off “if I didn’t come through. “You are at a Christian concert.” (congregation laughs) Yeah, and He reminded me that
all the stories in scripture, it’s when Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego would not bow down that he throws them in that pit of fire and the king’s like, wait,
I threw three people down, who’s that fourth one? That somehow this presence of God is in those places of
risk, when we do things. And I’m just saying look, there have been times in my life, but when I started my church, (sighs) yeah, let me just go with this. Let me just close with this. I was married about, well
let me go back even further. When I was engaged to my wife, the church I was apart of fell apart. They kicked the senior pastor out, and then right before I
left for my honeymoon, they asked me, “Francis,
will you take over the church “when you come back? “Will you be out interim pastor?” And I was like, oh my gosh,
I don’t know, I’m 25, 26, I’m about to, yes, you know what? If the Lord wants me to do it, I’m gonna do it, I will do it. We go on our honeymoon, we come back, and they said, “Yeah,
we changed our mind.” (congregation laughs) Oh really, okay. “In fact, we don’t even
know if we want you here “because you were friends
with the last pastor “and we really didn’t
like the last pastor.” Oh okay. And I just remember looking at my wife, and a bunch of people had left the church, some of you have gone
through situations like that, and I just got so sad for
people that left the church and walked away from the Lord, and started a Bible study with them, and then I just said, you know what? Why don’t we, this is crazy, but we’ve only been married two weeks, what if we started a church? I just want a place where we
really teach the word of God. I want a place where when we sing, we’re really singing to Him. I want, even if it’s in my
house and no one else shows up, just a couple of our friends,
I want the real thing. I remember my wife looking at me, and I go, look, that
means we get no money, and you work full-time
and support us for awhile, and I go, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go wat tables or something. I go, but I just wanna
be right before the Lord. And again, the Godly woman I married says, you know what, if that’s what
you believe God’s called us to then let’s do it. And amazing, amazing what
God did in that place. I had no idea, I didn’t
know what I was doing. But I’ll tell you, the first thing I did. I found the oldest guy I
knew, a guy named Ron Wilson, and a man who loved the Lord, an older man I could actually look up to, and I said, “Ron, what if I did this? “People aren’t believing in me. “I don’t wanna do anything that
would be offensive to God.” And Ron said, this older
man looked at me and said, “Francis, I will follow
you wherever you go “because I believe the
Spirit of God’s in you.” Do you know what that did
for me as a young man? To have a 60 year old man look at me and say, I’ll go wherever
you go, I will follow you. I’m like, you? Really, like you would show up to service? Like you would actually be like it blew my mind that an older man would come alongside of
me and believe in me. Do you know the courage, it blew my mind that this woman that I married said, no, I believe God’s in you,
so I’m gonna follow you. And then it was, of
course, an older man knows that I’m gonna make mistakes,
I’m gonna do dumb things, but he saw the Spirit of God in me and says, I’m gonna trust that guy. I know him enough to know
that the Spirit of God lives in him and God’s moving in him and something might happen
here, so I’m gonna support him. Do you know what that
does for a younger guy? Verses having people
say, well you know what, I don’t know if you’re gonna do it, you know what, we don’t
want you in our church, you might ruin something, and we’re trying to protect something. What are you even trying to protect? You may be protecting your church from the movement of God. Verses this man who
took a chance and said, no, I see the Spirit of God in that man, and I’m gonna let him in. In fact, I’m gonna support him, and I’m gonna build him up, which is what I see in scripture the older men are supposed to do. I’m gonna pass the baton
to him, I’m gonna let go and believe, that’s what I believe this message is about today. I believe this is the reason why I’m here, just to jump in the deep end for a second, and go, I believe that
there are some of you who could be preventing the move of God. As I see some of these young
men rising up in your church, the Spirit of God is upon them, and my fear is that some
of you older people, not all of you, you’ll have to
stand before the God tonight and know whether you’re one of those that are getting in the way, or one of those that are
encouraging the young people. I’m not saying let them
walk away from the faith, I’m not saying compromise the word of God, but I’m saying dig deep in
to why you’re resisting, and is it truly from the scriptures. Is it truly from the scriptures? Are you sure that you’re
not gonna pass on the church because of a Biblical conviction, or just something you were raised with? Because you will stand before God on that. And some of you may have
to stand up on your boards, and say, look, I believe
what’s about to happen is the Spirit of God, and I believe we’re
gonna have to pass it on to the young people, and maybe
you need to be the first one on your council to do it. I wasn’t gonna bring this up. (congregation laughs) But I, ah. Okay. (Francis sighs) I don’t wanna do anything in the flesh, and so I’m still debating right now. Okay, listen, let me keep
it a little bit generic. It’s, okay.
(congregation applauds) I don’t ever wanna slander, I don’t ever want to do
anything except out of love, and so I’m just watching
my heart right now, and going, okay is this,
are you sure this is love and not pride or anything else? And I believe this is
out of a heart of love that I’m about to say
what I’m about to say. Look, when I moved to San Francisco, a dark, dark city, a dark, dark city. I’ve never been in such a dark place. You feel it, you walk in,
you just know it spiritually. Yeah, there’s a lot of great history, it’s a beautiful city,
I’m learning to love it. I was born in that city. I never lived there but my
mother died giving birth to me in that city. I was named after the city
because my mother died there. Then they shipped me to
Hong-Kong right after I was born because my dad had no
way of taking care of me, you know, but so there’s
something about that city. My mom was buried there,
my dad’s buried there. I came back to this city,
saw some just it was sad. Ran in to a member of
one of your churches. Praise God, we became friends, and he was so exited about,
maybe we can do something. Maybe we can do something together here. And I got real excited, and I go, man, you’ve got this giant
facility, no one goes here, just a little old crowd that’s dying out. Why don’t we bring in some young people? And let’s just pray together, and see what the Lord might do. A bunch of young people came
in and we worshiped together, without instruments.
(congregation laughs) It’s like, we’ll adapt, we’ll conform, let’s just be respectful,
and worship, and the prayer, it was just exciting. I thought, wow, maybe we’ll just, we’re in this dark place,
you’ve got this facility, maybe we can just fill it up again. And mmm, no, no, no, no,
we’re not gonna do it. It’s like, you sure? I mean, you’ve got the stuff, and like we could see
a movement of God, man. No, no, we’ve gotta protect this. Man, it was heartbreaking to me. I’m not gonna lie to you, it kind of dampened my
spirit a little bit. It’s like, well why wouldn’t you? What are you trying to
protect at this point? And I think a lot of us, maybe, I’m saying this out of love. You know, and out of love, I even, you know, you may wanna talk to that group and go, look, we have the stuff that could be used for the kingdom, are you sure you wanna
protect it from that? Because you will stand before God on that. ‘Cause I want my house,
my car, my everything, I don’t wanna hold on and go, no, no, no, we’re not gonna do that with it. Man, I don’t know what’s going
on in your churches, okay. I’m just saying, would you
look for the move of God in the younger people
to hand the baton on to, would you look for that rather than just an automatic resist? I understand there’s a sense in which we’ve gotta fight against the world. They are trying to change
our stain on the word of God on morality, and what God says
is sin is still sin today, ’cause that is the word of God, and we don’t back off on that, right (congregation applauds) I’m not talking about
compromising the word of God. I’m talking about a humbling
that needed to take place in those of us who are further along to say maybe they’re on to something, and maybe I have to let
some of these younger people make some of the mistakes that I made. And maybe we’ve been holding
on a little bit too hard. (congregation applauds) And for some of you that
have been in the shallow end your whole life, I’m saying maybe this is
the time where you just say, forget it, I see what’s
happening in other places. That looks fun. And man, I’m 80, 90 years old, you know maybe there’s
the Calebs in this room that go, you know what? I remember when I used to live by faith. And so what if I’m 80 now? Who cares? I still got the same God. I wanna believe again, I
wanna have faith again, and I wanna believe, I’m gonna follow one of these young people that I see the Spirit of God in. Is he gonna make mistakes? Absolutely. Man, I could sit up here
and spend a whole day telling you my mistakes. But I’m telling you right
now, I love Jesus Christ, and I love God, I love
everything He’s done for me. Am I still gonna make mistakes? Yes I am, but I want to do
what the Spirit wants me to do, and I believe like Elijah
that there may be a day where I call down fire from heaven. I believe that can still happen. And man, I tell you, there
is nothing like older people who will come alongside
of me and support me, older people that even have means, and say, you know what,
here, use my building. You know what, here, use my card. Here, use my knowledge. Here, use anything I can
give to you to pass on because I hope you have a double
portion of whatever I had, because this is about the
kingdom and it’s not about me. And I’m just saying, you know what? Look deep, look deep in to your heart. Is that belief still there? Is that faith still there? Try to think back to when you were young and you had those crazy ideas, how awesome it would have been if an older person, like you now, would have come alongside and said, you know what, I believe in you. I thank God for Ron Wilson. I thank God for elderly
people who came in to my life and prayed for me. I thank God for my wife’s grandmother who was on her knees praying every day. I thank God for a man in
India just two days ago called me on the phone and said, “I pray for you every single day.” A man who’s already been in
the ministry 40 or 50 years, and just has led over two
million people to the Lord, true disciples of Jesus
who were willing to die for their faith, and he’s
telling me he prays for me, he believes in, do you
know what that does? Where you go, okay, I thought
God was working through me, and it’s great to see it affirmed rather than everyone criticizing me, and these older people
telling me it’ll never happen, and they’re protecting the church from the movement of the Spirit. It’s time for a, I believe it’s time for something new to happen here. I would love it if I came back and the majority of the
group were in their 20s, because some of you let
go, and encouraged that, and said, we want the next generation, and we’ll make some
compromises, not in scripture, but in the way we do things. Maybe I’ll start conforming
to the way you do things, because it’s not a Biblical issue. And then we’ll agree on
the Biblical standards and on the way we do
things, I’ll let it go. Because I don’t want people going to hell. It actually matters to me. And I don’t wanna stand before God. (congregation applauds) Let’s pray and believe right now. Will you join me? There needs to be humility on the younger people,
and the older people. It is all about humility, humbling ourselves before the Lord. God, I pray for the young
people in this room, the young people that these
congregations represent. There may not be a ton of them, Father, but God I pray for them, I
pray for a spirit of humility that they would respect
the elders, love them, seek to learn from them. God, I pray for the
older people in this room that there would be humility. God, open their eyes to
areas that they’ve held on to that were not Biblical,
that may actual be hurting the movement at this point. Open their eyes to young people that they may actually be discouraging when the church was a place where we’re supposed
to stir one another up to love and good deeds, that they may be the very
ones preventing them, God, but you have to open our eyes. God, we’re fools, we
don’t understand anything until your Spirit enlightens. You have to open our eyes to
what is true and what is right, so I’m asking you, Holy God,
please show me where I’m wrong! Show us where we’re wrong, God. Show us where we’re
preventing you from moving. God, I do pray for a revival, and I pray that it starts in this room with a humility and a repentance. God, may we believe again
that you can move movements, that you can breath new life, that you would take
some young people, Lord, this is my prayer right now. God, would you raise up some young people within this church, maybe even people that are in this room right now. Maybe there’s some kids that
are sitting here listening, going, man, maybe he’s talking about me, that will be the future leaders, that will fire based upon
your word and your Spirit and that they will not back down. And may they be willing
to gracefully challenge maybe some who are stuck in their ways, but with grace, patience, and respect. And God, right now I
pray that you would break any strongholds that Satan
has put in to our lives. God, it’s so hard to break habits, and by the power of your Spirit, we can. And God, I pray for repentance. I pray that there would just
be a carob of elderly people who would repent and humble themselves, and take risks to where the young people are just drawn to them and
fall in love with them. God, would those of us who are older lead the way, set the
example in our faith, and recognize that we are
gonna see you any day. Before we do, we wanna see another great move of your Spirit. God, only your Spirit can
bring us to repentance, so I pray for that, Lord, and I pray that either we
bring people to repentance, or you remove them. God, if I’m a person who
gets in the way of your move, I ask that you remove me. God, I don’t wanna be that person, I wanna be yielded to you. We believe that you are God Almighty. You sent your Son because
of your great love and mercy to die for us, and that He rose again, and if we repent, be baptized, we will receive your Holy Spirit, and then through the power
of your Holy Spirit, Lord, we could do things that the
world has never seen before. And so God, please fill us in you. Fill us in you, we pray. Move in the Church of Christ, please. All for your glory. And may Jesus be the only
name that is lifted up when it’s all said and done. In His name we pray, amen. – [Congregation] Amen. (congregation applauds)