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Sermon: Foundation for Favor by Holly Furtick

Sermon Notes

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.Jeremiah 17:7-8

  • Like a tree planted in the water.
  • Leaves are always green
  • Never fails to bear fruit.

Having a relationship with God does not exempt us from troubles. It gives us a foundation to draw from when hard times come. It enables us to not only survive, but to bear fruit during the most difficult season. Droughts and storms, summer, winter. Fake trees look good but they can’t bear fruit.

Strong people do not happen by accident. Strength is not revealed during the dry season. It just reveals itself

Key Verse

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.Luke 1:28-38

Foundation Elements

  1. Awareness of God’s Presence. Are you aware of God’s presence or is your life so loud, crowded and back to back with busyness that you can’t hear Gods Voice?
    • Make time and space for to fellowship with God
  2. Acceptance. Have you accepted the calling on your life? Living in favor requires work.
  3. Action. Favor requires action on your part. What is your response time? Every calling starts with a small step. If you won’t do and act with the small things, you won’t get to any big things. God does not give you step two before you perform step one.
  4. Attachment. Sometimes favor is the people God has placed in your life. Align yourself with those who confirm your calling. Supportive relationships are helpful to your faith walk.

Blessed are you among women. Blessed is the fruit of your womb. ~ Luke 1:42

Related Bible Study

Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 5

Related Posts

Sermon: Favor Over Fear by Steven Furtick

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Find Your Place

Many of us go through life thinking a dream is all we need. With a dream, anything is possible or rather the impossible becomes believable. Dreams are fun. They motivate and invigorate. Once you’ve achieved your dream, then the real work begins.

Often times we move through life focused on accomplishing goals that move us closer to the image of our life we’ve created for ourselves. Some people accomplish their dreams and keep working on it for the remainder of their lives. Others of us manifest our dreams and wonder what’s next. What will my life be now that I’ve done everything I envisioned? How will I continue to grow? What will I develop into? Is there a need to keep pushing forward? Why can’t I stop now? What’s wrong with digging in and perfecting the imperfect dream?

When I moved to New York City, it was an essential part of a much larger dream. Big city, larger opportunities. Within a year of being there, I re-imagined I would exit the city in three to five years but certainly under ten. All told, this September marked the thirteenth anniversary of my arrival in the Big Apple. The dream was great when I was young. In some ways, it never manifested fully into my vision. In other ways, it surpassed my own expectations for my life. As good as the City was to me in certain respects, it never felt like my place.

For years, I forced it. I was determined to make it work. Until I was simply done. And no longer interested in trying. At that point I decided I was ready for what comes next. My readiness allowed the world to open wide for me. Which led to me finding my place in an area I didn’t even want to visit. A new challenge with no dreams attached. No built in disappointments. Simply the opportunity to greet each new day with joy and adventure for the manifestation of endless opportunities.

This year has has been an open-hearted welcome of everything to come. The future is not a dreaded thing. It’s welcomed with anticipation.

A former co-worker, Gee, shared his migration story with me a few years ago. He was possibly in his late sixties or early seventies. He spoke of how when he came from Thailand, he first moved to San Francisco. Within a short time he said he realized, “This is not my place.” He moved to Los Angeles. Again he said, “This is not my place.” He moved to Oklahoma then to New Jersey. Neither were his place. When he arrived in Queens, he said he new immediately, “This is my place.”

Your place may not be the dream. It may not be one of the first five locations you try. But it will be something that speaks to you directly and immediately. It’s never too late to evaluate where you are and make any changes accordingly.

Be blessed as you go.

Then the high priest asked him, “Are these things so?” And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living. ~ Acts 7:1-4

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Desert of Solitude: Elevator Pitch


Death and Life in the Desert of Solitude

From worn and torn…

We all want what we want, but what happens when we don’t get what we’ve been hoping and praying for by a certain time? For example, by the age of forty?

Desert of Solitude is for dreamers and strivers. People who may have achieved nothing, something or a great deal, but that “one thing” continues to elude them. What is it that you want from life, in life or through your life? What do you think you’re missing? What do you believe will complete your existence?

It doesn’t matter. Whatever “it” is, you are enough for your life as you are now.

To whole and sufficient.

Desert of Solitude isn’t a pity party or a survival story. It’s a story of a woman who was tired of being tired. Tired of waiting for life to get better. Tired of praying for a partner in life or an immaculate conception. Tired of being alone in the world. After years of being weighed down by deferred dreams, hopes, expectations and plans, she decided to get up and move forward. As she was in that moment… and each subsequent moment. This is the story of a forty year-old woman shaking herself loose of all her youthful ideals and understandings, who made an honest evaluation of her life and proactively began to transform it.

Dedicated to women

Desert of Solitude is a sisterhood helpline to women who have reached the end of their rope with family, friend, and societal expectations for who they should be, how they should live, and what they should have. Women who are impacted by the demands of womanhood, feminism, faith practice, virtue, marriage, singleness, motherhood and career. This is for the woman who is simply tired of not being able to be herself. Who has lost contact with her inner being. Who seeks refreshment, revitalization, new direction, new life. You are not alone. This message is a gift to those whose lives have become deserts; those who do not want to remain dry and fruitless. Life comes after death. Release yourself. Embrace your rebirth into your truth: a wonder-filled, over-flowing existence as a conduit of love and light.

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Prayer and a song

Waking up with a song in my heart, mind and spirit is one of the most encouraging and soothing things I’ve experienced in my faith walk.

Last night I attended our weekly prayer service. I took a long way – a bike ride along the Hudson River Greenway with a pause on a park bench to contemplate the setting sun and my barren life. My spirits were low. My heart was heavy. My mind and my body were extremely tired. Eventually, due to the limited time I had the bike share bike for, I pulled myself from the bench and continued riding until I got to church. I was an hour late but just on time for the message: to ask God to move me beyond my freedom into my full purpose in His service.

I was extremely open and vulnerable by the end of that message, throughout the corporate prayer that followed, the taking of communion and the songs of praise that wrapped up the evening. Leaving the church, I walked to one of my favorite spots in the City, Columbus Circle, to sit and reflect on the city, the people, the lights, the night, and my life. All I wanted to do was cry. I dragged myself home and prepped myself for a nice retching cry to sleep.

The cry didn’t happen. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. When I awoke this morning, the words, “You are my strength, strength like no other, strength like no other reaches to me” were flowing through my spirit and humming in my throat. All I could do was give thanks for the song.

You Are My Strength

by William Murphy is on repeat for the day

Say this tonight: You are my strength. Strength like no other. Strength like no other.
Now lay your hands on yourself and say: Reaches to me.
The strength of God is reaching for you tonight.

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me. [x4]

In the fullness of Your grace, in the power of Your name, you lift me up, you lift me up. [x2]

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me. [x2]

In the fullness of Your grace, in the power of Your name, you lift me up, you lift me up. [x3]

You are my strength, strength like no other. Strength like no other reaches to me.

I declare whatever your struggle is, you’re going to finish strong!
Thank you for being so gracious. Thank you for being so kind.

Here’s Pastor Carter Conlon’s message from the evening: Thoughts on prayer (8/2/16) Don’t worry, it’s short and sweet (15min).

“My question tonight is: What’s keeping you from going that full distance with God? What is it that you’re afraid of? Are you afraid that provision won’t be there? Are you afraid that your message will be rejected when it’s spoken? What is it that causes you to draw back and say, ‘Lord use me for your glory… except for this… or that… or this…but for anything else, God, just use me for your glory?'”

“The problem is that you want to come out of something but you don’t necessarily want to go in… to what God has for you. You just want to stop halfway. You just want to say, ‘I was set free’ for the rest of your life, but you don’t want to be used of God to set others free.”

Reference scripture: Acts 8, 9, 10

Be blessed as you go and remember to be a blessing.


I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

~ Psalm 18, 1-6 (NRSV)


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Prince on Larry King: Sharing Hope and Wisdom

This is truly a phenomenal interview. I’ve never viewed Prince as a particularly spiritually-minded individual, but he very clearly knew his Source and Provider. It’s very interesting to listen to how he processed and manifested his belief and balanced it with a demanding public image.

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Pop Culture Messiah

A Pop Culture vs. The Bible (Re)Post

by LaShawnda Jones/My God and Me (FB) on Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 7:58pm ·

I was a doubter. Not that I exactly believed Michael Jackson molested a child. More specifically, I believe human beings are capable of anything. I wanted to believe in Michael’s innocence, but he didn’t adequately defend himself. He paid money to make a situation go away. Only, money invited more such situations. On the other hand, when the accuser’s parents accepted cash as payment for their child’s allegedly stolen innocence, I then doubted their claims more than I doubted Michael.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Yes, I was a doubter. Until the day he died. From that day on, all I can remember is his message of love, his cry for help, his screams of anguish. I remember how his words have always reverberated through me, reaching to the depths of my soul and vibrating across the width of my spirit. I was a doubter until he breathed his last and I realized even death could not extinguish his light.

I no longer doubt Michael Jackson’s innocence. One thing I know for sure is evil and love cannot co-exist. God is love. And Michael Jackson’s existence was an expression of love. His talents were used to sow love around the world, he reached corners were Jesus isn’t known. Even though he may not have stayed here long enough to reap the harvest of his labor, I am confident he will be graced with his eternal reward.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. – 1John 4:7-12

We know that God sends messengers and scouts, He sends us soldiers and prophets. Two thousand years ago He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ. After Jesus, God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us. His indwelling Spirit works to call His children closer to Him. Those who choose to obey His call have their talents activated and magnified for His glorification and are sent forth into the world as light-bearers, truth-sayers, love-doers, performers of His Word and servants of His will.

Perhaps, like many others, the story of Michael Jackson’s life and his cultural significance is hard to appreciate from the viewpoint of his deep valley’s. Similarly, we as individuals have difficulty seeing our significance from our own low points. I am guilty of growing weary. I am guilty of focusing on the ugly scars and errors in judgment received from falls and fatigue. Like every person born since Adam, I am guilty and will forever fall short of the glorious perfection of God and Christ Jesus. But that won’t stop me from being the most wonderful servant of God the world has yet to see. Lack of perfection will not deter me from being a marvelous representation of my Father. I will not falter in my quest to continuously evolve my character into a mirror-image of my Creator.

Change, growth and evolution – they all hurt. They aren’t easy. We witnessed all three in Michael Jackson’s life and career. We didn’t like the look or sound of his change, growth or evolution sometimes, but we certainly saw it. We didn’t understand it, but we definitely felt it. Many of us never spent a moment in his physical presence, but our lives have always been surrounded by his music. To know his music is to know him. His music told us who he was – his music was a healing agent for those in pain and fighting disease; it told us of his love for the hungry and needy. His music spoke of memories, wishes, and prayers; it put his heart in direct communication with our hearts. That is why we love Michael Jackson…. I love Michael Jackson because of his words.

How powerful is a word?

God created the world with a word. “And God said… and it was so.” Genesis 1:3-30

Jesus healed with His word. ”Lord… only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” Matt 8:8

We bind ourselves to our life partners with two words: “Do you take this man or woman… I do.”

We are instructed to “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20

Words are life. They have power. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

So, no, Michael Jackson wasn’t just an entertainer. He wasn’t just a pop star. He wasn’t just a sad, confused human being. He was one of God’s messengers. His message was one of hope, love, peace and unity. That’s scripture. His music was rooted deep in biblical principles. I didn’t see or appreciate that song by song, album by album or year by year. But it’s something I can’t miss looking back over his life and musical catalog since his death.

God’s hand was all up and through Michael’s life. He was holding him, guiding him and speaking through him. I can understand how Michael may have sometimes felt bereft of that comfort, he had far too many people and distractions clamoring around him causing him to stumble. But even in his imperfection he was the best Michael Joseph Jackson ever. He was an awesome steward of his talents. He was a loving and hospitable ambassador of biblical principles. His colossal global renown suggests some obedience to God’s plan for his life. I give thanks for the technology that keeps his voice as clean and clear as the day he first laid the tracks. I give thanks that we haven’t lost him, we won’t forget him and more people will come to love him for his message. Sometimes we don’t notice the little flickering lights in our own lives until a stunningly bright star falls from the sky.

Hold me, like the River Jordan and I will then say to thee, You are my Friend.
Carry me, like you are my brother. Love me like a mother. Will you be there?
But they told me, a man should be faithful and walk when not able and fight till the end, but I’m only Human!
Everyone’s taking control of me. Seems like the world’s got a role for me. I’m so confused, will you show to me, you’ll be there for me and care enough to bear me?

I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could’ve been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change!

We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a better place so let’s start giving. There’s a choice we’re making. We’re saving our own lives. It’s true we’re make a better day, just you and me.

Heal the world. Make it a better place… for you and for me and the entire human race.

Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service Booklet (pictured above)


Other Pop Culture vs. The Bible Posts

Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All
Amy Winehouse: When did she live?
Things Charlie Sheen Has Taught Me
For the Sake of His Praise