Steven Furtick, pastor and founder of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, helped thousands gathered for the final night of the Hillsong Conference to strengthen their faith through a study of God's promise to Abraham - the father of faith.
In a sermon titled "It is What It is, But It's Not What It Seems," the pastor encouraged audience members to face the facts and allow faith to show them that an impossible situation is not always what it is seems.
He examined Romans 4:18, which states, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.'"
"Don't live in denial, but also don't live in despair," he said. "Faith is standing in the middle and making the decision that it is what it is, but it's not what it seems."
Just like Abraham believed God would send him a son despite his old age, Furtick encouraged attendees to "narrate your situation with your faith."
The pastor exhorted listeners to see their lives for what they truly are, but to believe God for what they still can be: "In life, you have to select a narrator. When you narrate your life by grace, this is the context of faith, and so some of the failures most prominent in your life didn't even make the cut in the mind of God because He sees you from a different perspective and sees you in a different dimension."
Jesus spoke of the mustard seed's potential in Mark 4:32, saying, "Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade."
The pastor explained: "When Jesus was trying to explain to people what the kingdom of God was like, he said it was like a seed - you can't see it at first, yet, when planted, it grows. God said it's time for you to start planting seeds of purpose - even in the soil of doubt, if you plant it, it'll grow."
"Come out of despair, and realize that whatever it is you're looking at, it's not the end. It's a portal to your potential," he added. "Right now, you are becoming whatever you believe...That's why it's so important that we take all the limitations off of our lives, all of the lids, all of the labels that people put on you, or the past experiences they put on you, or the failure they put on you... Our potential is always tied to God's purpose."
The Hillsong Conference 2016 was held August 3-5 at Barclays Center in New York City. It was hosted by church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston. Additional speakers included pastors Carl Lentz, Ben Houston, and Joel Houston, with music conducted by Hillsong United and Hillsong Worship.
According to the event website, the Hillsong Conference is an "opportunity for you and your team to pause, listen and hear from God."
"Don't miss this opportunity to benefit from the wisdom and experience of inspirational church leaders, make an investment into your own personal leadership and be inspired and equipped with practical tools that will benefit your local church," it adds.