A young evangelical pastor urged Elevation Church attendees to get past their church and their popular pastor, Steven Furtick, and “get underneath” to what God is doing.
“If we can’t get there, we’re going to be at a superficial plane,” Matt Chandler, lead pastor of the Village Church in Highland Village, Texas, told over 2,500 people at the Code Orange Revival in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday.
As the third speaker at the 12-night revival, Chandler went into the event to “proclaim the majesty of Jesus” to thousands at Elevation Church and thousands more watching on the Web and TV.
He told crowds that many evangelicals have misconceptions about God, believing that He is really about them, that everything God does is because of them, and that “God looks at all His massive creation and is in awe of our greatness.”
But, he said, that’s where they go wrong.
“Yes, Jesus loves you; yes, Jesus is for you … but ultimately God’s motivation in all of that isn’t so you and Him can be boys.” Rather, he said, God’s real motivation is for His glory and renown.
Chandler went on to explain through various scriptures that “from Genesis to Revelation” God is all about reconciling and reclaiming all things for His glory. “The Bible is not about you, it’s about Jesus,” he preached.
Unfortunately, many people look at the Bible from the wrong perspective, viewing it as a roadmap for their life, the Village pastor lamented. And that leads them to infuse themselves into the Bible as if they are the hero.
Once people realize that “God is about God, and [they] are not the center of the universe” then they will know the root of their problems, he asserted. People have conflict in their marriages, at work, or in various situations because they think the world is about them.
The real goal in life is not to focus on ourselves, but rather to delight in God’s law and to take joy in God. Chandler used the example of King David delighting and being sustained by God’s law to make the point he told crowds at the outset of his talk. “I’m not interested in boosting and encouraging your happiness. I believe it’s cheap and it will not sustain you. What I’m after is your joy.”
“God is for God,” Chandler reiterated. “He is not after my begrudging submission. All the commands of God are meant to lead you into greater life and greater joy.”
“Your way is a way, but it’s not the way,” he said, adding that God was going to do all He could to make much of Himself.
Code Orange is nearly halfway through its 12-night revival. Elevation’s lead pastor, Steven Furtick, felt led by God to host the event and is hoping for an “eruption” of God’s power and movement among his church members and Christians around the world in 2012.
While Chandler was invited by Furtick as one of 12 “word-class” speakers, it was just last year that the two pastors had some concerns about one another’s ministries.
“The Reformed community is not a big fan of you,” Chandler told Furtick last year during The Elephant Room, which featured blunt conversations and debates among influential pastors. Chandler had expressed concern that Furtick was rejecting doctrine in the name of outreach.
Furtick clarified that what he rejected was giving “abstract, theoretical truth that is so lofty and disconnected” that it confuses the listener and does not compel them to behave differently or reach out to their neighbor. The Elevation pastor also stressed that he does not appreciate those who criticize preachers for teaching in practical ways and making them look like “we’re sitting around with no brains.”
“We’re praying, we’re seeking God, we’re fasting,” Furtick emphasized to Chandler.
The Code Orange Revival continued in the weekend with speakers A21 founder Christine Caine and Pastor Ed Young, author of the book Sexperiment.
Furtick noted that the reason for such a diverse group of preachers was that he wanted to show his church that there are many different speakers with various styles, but in the end “it’s not about a style, it’s about a Savior.”