Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible

by Steven Furtick


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601423221
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/21/2010
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 127,092
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, named by Outreach magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in the nation. In four years, Elevation has grown to more than 6,000 people in regular attendance in three locations. Steven holds a degree in communication from North Greenville University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Holly, have two young sons—Elijah and Graham—and make their home in the Charlotte area.

Read an Excerpt

Welcome to Audacious Faith

Pastor Michael proudly showed me the place where his church was putting in new toilets. I was still adjusting to the smell, trying to pass it off like it didn’t faze me. Like I walked down urine soaked dirt roads every day.
   “These toilets would not be very nice by the standards of your country,” Michael explained. “I know that. But here in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, so many children are sick because the food they eat is cooked right next to the hole in the ground where they go to the bathroom. So our church is building the nicest toilets we can here…for the children.”
   I had a hard time concentrating as he went on laying out his plans. Because as soon as he said the word “children,” my gaze drifted to a cluster of kids playing some variation of Capture the Flag on the trash heap behind the church. The church was really just a shed. And instead of a flag, the kids appeared to be competing for an orange peel. It was weird how content these kids seemed playing with just a peel—more content, it appeared to me, than a lot of kids back home seem playing with a Wii. And this garbage heap here on the edge of Pastor Michael’s church property looked like the neighborhood hot spot. How, I wondered, would parents of elementary-school kids at my church react if they were asked to drop their children off at a playground like this one?
   Pastor Michael’s church members obviously weren’t worried about it. They had been under the shed worshiping loudly for about an hour, and I realized they thought nothing of the fact that there was a small goat eating breakfast on top of the trash heap right next to where their kids were tossing around the orange peel. A scrawny, hungry, scary-looking goat.
   Michael must have noticed that I was taking in the scene. “This is a Muslim hill,” he continued, yanking my attention back to our conversation. “I am used to facing a lot of opposition. A lot of people do not want me here. Especially the witch doctor who tried to destroy our church by threatening our members. But when we prayed for God to make fire fall down from heaven, and his house burned down that same week, he left us alone.”
   I shot him a questioning look.
   “Do not worry,” he said, a twinkle in his eye. “He was not home at the time.”
   For the rest of the tour, I could barely keep up with Pastor Michael. He was moving fast and talking even faster. I felt clumsy and white trying to dodge the mud puddles while he led me down alleys through the slum. This was his village, he said. With every step, he detailed how he wanted to transform it for Christ. A school on this lot. A doctor’s office on that lot.
   “For the children,” he kept saying…
   Tonia could act like a total diva if she wanted to. She’s pretty, well paid, locally famous, and uber-talented. So people in our community are noticeably shocked when they show up to help serve breakfast at a homeless shelter and see Tonia in the kitchen making scrambled eggs.
   It happened the other day. She was volunteering with an outreach group from our church when somebody asked me, “Isn’t that the lady from the news?”
   “Yeah, that’s Tonia. She’s awesome.”
   “What’s she doing here?”
   “She’s serving.”
   “Huh. Wow. That’s impressive.”
   Actually, I would describe the way Tonia does her life as a few notches above impressive. I’d characterize it as audacious.
   Strictly according to her job title, she is a news anchor—a multiple-award-winning one at that. But news anchor doesn’t begin to capture the essence of who Tonia is. She’s a community service superhero who has designed her life around leveraging her on-camera talent to make an off-camera impact. She’s better at it than anyone else I’ve ever met. Charlotte is filled with teen moms, homeless families, and shut-ins who have been touched by Tonia’s passion to serve. And she’s relentless about recruiting others to serve with her.
   In her latest project, she set out to convince thousands to join her for an initiative called Love Week. She was asking them to commit to giving five thousand hours of service to the city. In a single week. It had never been done before.
   I can’t say I was surprised when I heard that Love Week added up to more than ten thousand service hours. That’s just how Tonia rolls. When she gets a vision, it usually sounds a little out there. People try to explain to her that it’s never been done before. And I think she likes it that way. If it’s necessary, and it’s never been done, she seems to assume that’s because God intends for her to do it.

To the untrained eye, a pastor standing in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, and a news anchor scrambling eggs in Charlotte, North Carolina, don’t have much in common. The challenges they face are as different as the hemispheres where they live. But I see them as twins: They share the same spiritual DNA. They’re driven by the same passion. They accomplish ridiculously amazing things for God’s glory. Their faith seems to be turbocharged from some source that the average Christian never quite taps into.
   It’s hard to define exactly what sets Michael and Tonia apart from other people who claim to believe the same things they believe but lead, by contrast, mediocre lives. Most believers I’ve met actually do want to find the source of Michael’s and Tonia’s high octane faith—and they want it desperately. They just don’t know where to look for it.
   Sun Stand Still is all about discovering that kind of faith. I call it audacious faith. By the time you finish this book, the same faith that pulses in Michael’s and Tonia’s everyday life will be pumping through your veins too. You’ll understand that God has much more in mind for your existence on this earth than merely surviving. What you consider possible for your life will expand beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. And the way you approach God and experience him every day will change too. Radically. Suddenly. Irreversibly.
   But first, some honest disclosure.


This book is not a Snuggie.
The words on these pages will not go down like Ambien.
I’m not writing to calm or coddle you.
   With God’s help, I intend to incite a riot in your mind.Trip your breakers and turn out the lights in your favorite hiding places: insecurity and fear. Then flip the switch back on so that God’s truth can illuminate the divine destiny thatmay have been lying dormant inside you for years. In short, I’m out to activate your audacious faith. To inspire you to ask God for the impossible. And in the process, to reconnect you with your God-sized purpose and potential.
   You could think of this book as a one-volume theology of audacity. You probably don’t have one of those yet, but it’s essential. In fact, if you ever encounter a theology that doesn’t directly connect the greatness of God with your potential to do great things on his behalf, it’s not biblical theology. File it under Heresy.
   I’ll take that further: if you’re not daring to believe God for the impossible, you’re sleeping through some of the best parts of your Christian life.
   And further still: if the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.
   Audacious faith is the raw material that authentic Christianityis made of. It’s the stuff that triggers ordinarily level-headed people like you and me to start living with unusual boldness. When you live this way, your eyes will be opened to see your day-to-day life in vivid color. Your spiritual growth will accelerate at a supernatural pace.
   If you’re like most Christians, audacity is not a word you use to describe your faith. Audacity, my dictionary says, makes regular people behave with “boldness or daring, especially with confident disregard for personal comfort [or] conventional thought.” And, if you think about it, confident disregard for the status quo is the essence of the gospel. It describes the radical path Christ’s life took on earth. It goes to the heart of what it means to live by faith.
   Of course, every believer in Jesus has a measure of faith—it’s the prerequisite to salvation. But after that, if we’re honest, we think of faith primarily in terms of a spiritual thought or a comfortable feeling.We hope it’s enough to get us to heaven when we die. But in the meantime, it’s barely enough to keep us praying, giving, and going to the eleven o’clock service.
   Let me ask you: does the brand of faith you live by produce the kinds of results in your life that you read about in the biblical stories of men and women of faith?
   Chances are, not even close.
   For most of us, this disparity is hard to live with. The chasm we see between our mundane spiritual experiences and the overcoming faith we read about in the accounts of biblical heroes is downright discouraging. It can create a heavy weight of condemnation and a sense of failure in our hearts. We can begin to feel like maybe our faith isn’t the real thing. Some believers I’ve known have gotten so tired of faking faith that they have just given up altogether.


I’ll admit that faith is a sore subject for millions. It’s been abused, mishandled, distorted, and ultimately disfigured. Sometimes it seems like there’s a custom-tailored faith for everyone:
   If the Galatians 2:20 kind of faith—“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”—is too clunky for you, trade it in. Exchange it for an easier, no-money-down model.
   If trusting in the miracle-working power of Jesus is too out there for your modern mind, play it safe. Don’t ever ask God to provide for you supernaturally. Don’t dare to ask for physical healing or anything else that would put God on the spot. Because what if he doesn’t come through?
   A lot of Christians I know stagger through life in a daze. Suffering from posttraumatic faith disorder, they hunker down in the basement, open a can of Beanie Weenees, and wait for the end of the world.
   Am I reading your mail? If so, you’re probably stuck in spiritual survival mode. You’ve settled for spiritual mediocrity. You’re not trying to be a hypocrite. It’s just that so far the faith thing hasn’t, well, worked for you.
   But we can’t let abuses and misunderstandings hold us back. God has no plan B. The Bible throws down the gauntlet in Hebrews 11:6:

      Without faith it is impossible to please God.

   It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Faith isn’t just a Get Out of Hell Free card. It’s the most vital building block of your relationship with God. And it’s the only real foundation worth establishing your life on.
   We can’t abandon the life-changing promise of full-frontal faith because some have dealt with the topic recklessly and unbiblically. It would be a shame for us to let bad experiences or past disappointments keep us bound, poor, and blind to what God wants to do in our lives.
   We’ve got to find a better way.


You’re about to discover what happens when you dare to believe God for the impossible, ask God for the impossible—then act in audacious faith for his glory.
   You’re about to discover that faith is not a drug to sedate you through a life you hate; it’s a force to transport you to another realm of reality.
   There is a better way—a higher calling to fulfillment and significance that God deeply desires for your job, your marriage, your parenting, your finances, and your impact on this world.
   That kind of life may be a long way off from where you live and breathe right now. And it may take a little convincing before you believe this kind of life is even an option for you.
   Maybe it will help if I introduce you to a man who experienced firsthand what happens when you live with audacity, believing God for the impossible. You’re already a lot more like him than you think.

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Sun Stand Still 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
crum4519 More than 1 year ago
Confession: I really really dislike inspirational books. Especially the ones that call on me to have a life vision of some sort. I'm not a machine and I don't come with an instruction manual and a single over-riding purpose. So books that turn me into a Purpose Driven Bake-sale drive me crazy. This book doesn't do that. What this book did for me was give me a framework for grappling with the promises of God in my life. Steven Furtick is a man with a practice, not a theory. It's not neat and tidy, and it doesn't boil down to 10 easy steps, but it's all there in the book, and it's able to cope with your day to day reality. This book is for all of us who know God has more for us than the 9 to 5 work day and getting by to make ourselves comfortable. If you've got a dream or a vision for something greater, or a yearning in your heart to do great things and see God come through in your life, but can't figure out how to get there, this book is for you.
SayBunny More than 1 year ago
too drawn out he says the same things over and makes no point not a fan love his purse just not a fan of this book he lost me
corymc More than 1 year ago
Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick is a challenging book on audacious faith. As I read through Furtick's up front honesty about the smallness of most Christian's faith, I couldn't help but analyze my own faith in God. It was very stirring to be challenged to have enough faith to ask God for what would be for me impossible. However, this book does a great job showing the reader that God wants exactly to see Him display His glory. Furtick challenges you to examine your faith, vision, prayer life, and basic understanding of God Himself. By the end of the book your hungry to see what God can and will do. This was honestly a great read for me. Furtick held my attention, not just because I am a pastor, but because he revealed a passion that could be felt on each page. I truly hated to come to the end of the book, because I wanted to gain even more insight on what real faith really looks like. I would definitely recommend this book to any believer, because it's not just a theological thesis meant only for the spiritual "elite" or the "professionals." Sun Stand Still is a very practical tool for all who want to see their faith reach beyond the norm. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Rich_Starnes More than 1 year ago
"Sun Stands Still" is Charlotte pastor Stephen Furtick's call for Christians to dare to do big things with their faith. He draws parallels to the story of Joshua praying for the sun to stand still in the sky to the type of faith that Christians should have to-a faith he calls "audacious faith." He also uses his experience starting the now-megachurch Elevation Church to give a modern day example of a "Page 23 Vision" (he explains the term) about which we are to pray "Sun Stand Still prayers," which are prayers asking God for the "impossible" (by which he means improbable for us, but not impossible for God) There were things I appreciated about the book. Pastor Furtick's enthusiasm for his subject certainly comes through, and his personal experience is a solid testimony of what God can do when we step out in faith. His writing has a easygoing style that reminded me more of a laid-back megachurch-style sermon than of refined prose. With that said, I would not recommend "Sun Stand Still" except to relatively new or less-mature Christian believers who are looking for inspiration to do "big things" for God. Other recent books with the same type of message, such as Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" and David Platt's "Radical," are a bit more serious and challenging. The book is a little thin on Scriptural support for its points, generally sticking to just the Joshua story to make the point. In doing so, it tends to err in assuming that Old Testament narrative is always practically applicable to modern day believers where the biblical text would not support such a conclusion. Also, at times the book seemed to have a "prosperity gospel" feel to it as opposed to a Christ- and gospel-centered focus which I find essential for a good Christian book. So, while I could appreciate the book and Furtick's experiences, I personally would look elsewhere for this kind of motivational message. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
deusvitae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An exhortation to more authentic and "audacious" faith loosely based around the story of Joshua in the Valley of Aijalon.In general, this is probably one of the best treatises on faith I have seen out there-- the author uses many stories, both Biblical and personal, to illustrate the nature of Biblical faith. His portrayal is very realistic and experientially based, and while the writing style is informal, it is rarely pedantic. The author does well at speaking authentically, realistically, and personally. My only qualms would be the insistence on the Protestant way of looking at faith. The author understands the imperative of obedience and works to have true faith while still trying to hold on to the "faith only" ideology. The author creates many of his own definitions based on his experiences. He explains them within the book but they still may cause a little confusion for some readers. On the whole, however, this is an excellent book about the type of faith that believers in God ought to have and how they can find themselves empowered to do great things in His Kingdom through His power.*-- book received as part of an early review program
jpogue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina, invites his readers to step out in ¿audacious faith¿ in his debut work "Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible". Furtick¿s challenge to pray boldly and courageously for the impossible is based on a study of the Israelites¿ defeat of the Amorite armies in Joshua 10. In this riveting account of a major battle, Old Testament hero Joshua delivered a ¿gloriously unorthodox prayer¿: He asked God to stop the sun in the sky, to ¿freeze time on behalf of his people¿ in order to defeat their enemies. And God grants Joshua¿s seemingly impossible request. In a stunning show of His power over Creation and one of the Bible¿s greatest miracles, God stops the sun in its place in the sky, and the Israelites are victorious over the Amorites.Furtick¿s passion to see the same kind of faith demonstrated in every believer¿s life stirred a growing spark in my soul as I kept reading "Sun Stand Still". This author¿s gift for teaching Scripture and making it imminently practical is rare. He simply, but eloquently, expresses the two Truths on which our faith stands and from which God-given visions are birthed: God is good and God is great. From here, we can tap into God¿s desire to shine through us in the ¿impossible¿. Broken relationships. A need in someone¿s life we are uniquely designed to meet. Weaknesses we can¿t conquer. A call to step out into a new career. Furtick¿s excitement is contagious as he recalls moments through the years when he has seen God move powerfully through someone¿s life in everyday circumstances.Each chapter of this book is packed with nuggets of Truth that had me jotting notes and highlighting quotes. Mr. Furtick never strays from his confession that true faith is not based on our ability¿but on God¿s. ¿The unfailing faithfulness of God-not our capability or performance-is the solid ground of our journey in audacious faith.¿ He even took me by surprise when he confidently states ¿The size of our vision isn¿t¿determined by who God is.¿ He goes on to explain that what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. ¿The scope and impact of your vision will be determined by who you believe God is¿. I found both great comfort and renewed hope as this author reiterated the basis for our belief: God¿s faithfulness, His goodness and His power.Lest we remain passive observers, however, this pastor also admonishes his readers to act on faith. He points out an easy-to-miss piece of Joshua¿s story, the story of the day the sun stood still. In Joshua 10:9, we learn that Joshua had spent the night before his amazing prayer in an all-night march. Furtick warns us to be prepared, like Joshua and his army, to move, to act, and to take the next step in obedience when we ask God for the impossible. ¿Audacious prayer must be tethered to practical obedience.¿ His wise words call us to step out with action, initiating changes in our behavior and choices as we trust God to do the rest. In his own words, Furtick¿s book ¿invites you to believe that you were made to experience the miraculous on a regular basis.¿ He then proceeds to outline a solid, Scripturally-based blueprint to live as a Christ-follower beyond the ordinary. And his engaging style, coupled with genuine love for the Lord, His Word, and His people, makes the invitation all the more winsome. "Sun Stand Still" will ignite a genuine desire in you to be an instrument of His power, to impact the world around you, and to pray for the impossible!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fantasyjoy More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book, easy to read and understand and written in the vernacular of the day.  It presented the Gospel message accurately and was an inspiration to me.  Thanks. 
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Awesome book
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tashanks More than 1 year ago
Generally speaking, this was a good book with a number of strong points. At times it was inspiring and challenging in ways that would empower nearly anyone to live a life of confidence for the cause of Christ; something that this world and the Christian community truly needs. (Are you anticipating a “but”?) But… I struggled to get through this one. There is a significant difference between the usage of language when communicating orally and communicating in written form. This book read as a combination of sermons in a number of ways. When reading 6 months worth of sermons there are certain things that are important speaking techniques that makes a piece of writing seem redundant and circular. Furtick overused alliteration and listing as memorization tools. He also repeated concepts every time he attempted to expand the concept by introducing a new idea. When I’m reading something, if I forget a concept I can flip back to the original explanation and reread it word for word. If I didn’t forget the concept, I’d rather not reread the original explanation word for word two chapters later… and then two chapters after that… and again in the next chapter. However, conceptually the book was passionately written and compelling. There were times when I wanted to challenge how Furtick made his case with the reader. Not enough to give up on reading it, though! Here are a few quotes from the book, in no particular order, that I truly LOVED. I have repeated many of these phrases in daily conversation and during devotional time (something that is key to a books lasting effect). “…extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience.” “But no matter who pays your salary, you’re a full-time employee of the Kingdom of God. And wherever you work, that’s your ministry. Whatever you’re good at, that’s your calling. The components of your assignment are the sources of your significance. And there are burning bushes all around you.” “The people who accomplish the most astounding things for God’s glory aren’t the people who feel the least fear. … They act on the part of God’s direction they do understand.” “Faith is not an abstract theological proposition.” “On a good day, I’m 55 percent sure. And that’s enough certainty to take the next step.” I will end my thoughts with the same invitation that Furtick used to close this book. It is a powerful invitation. It’s striking in a strangely comfortable way (maybe that’s just me though…). It’s something I would love to say every time I greet someone at a ministry function because I believe that everyone has the potential to be “living, breathing, forcefully advancing people of God” if we are willing to live for this cause and the purpose God has given each of us. So, just in case you ever choose to read this book (or simply follow your call), “Welcome to the middle of a move of God.”
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If you want to know God's true strength, Sun Stand Still will make it clear. Biblically sound, Sun Stand Still inspires and challenges. It's no wonder God has chosen Steven Furtick to build the Kingdom in a "game changer" sort of way.
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