Learn to Balance Celebration and Anticipation

There’s a tension that exists whenever God moves greatly in our lives and in our churches. Manage it well.

There’s a tension that exists whenever God has moved greatly in the life of a person or church. It’s the tension between looking back and looking forward.

Celebration and anticipation.

Both must exist. Together.

But what usually happens is we specialize in one of them at the expense of the other. Some people really celebrate what God has done, but they don’t anticipate the next thing He wants to do. Others really anticipate what God’s going to do, but they don’t celebrate what He’s done.

According to the way God wants it done, He commands both.
Commemoration is equal parts celebration and anticipation.

You can see this in Joshua 4 when God tells the Israelites to put down stones in order to commemorate their passing through the Jordan River. The purpose was for it to be a reminder of how God had led the people through the desert for forty years and through the Jordan. It was a symbol for what He had done.

But it was also looking forward to the Promised Land and taking possession of it. It was a symbol for what He was about to do.

Celebration and anticipation belong together and flow into one another. And we need to be good at both.

It seems trivial, but it’s not. I believe this is one of the main reasons Elevation has seen God move mightily in the past five years. We make every attempt to celebrate passionately and adequately when God blows us away. But we also really try to anticipate how He is going to blow us away next and plan accordingly.

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We’re trying to live in the tension. You need to as well.

Some of you are too busy dreaming about where God is taking you next to appreciate how far He has taken you recently. Stop for a moment and celebrate.

Others of you are so busy celebrating what God has done in your life that you’ve yet to realize it’s just a taste of what He still has to do in you and through you. Stop for a moment and anticipate.

Commemoration is equal parts celebration and anticipation. Learn how to do both well and don’t be surprised when God gives you more things to commemorate.

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Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church. In just under seven years, Elevation Church grew to more than 12,000 people in weekly attendance, meeting at seven locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Elevation has been named one of the fastest growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.

Pastor Steven has been privileged to minister to a global audience, speaking at conferences and churches around the world, including Catalyst Conference, Hillsong Conference, and the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. He is the author of the best selling book “Sun Stand Still” and the New York Times Best-Selling follow-up, “Greater.” Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.